Ah, August. The time for lawmakers to enjoy some well-deserved time off. The state budget has been finalized, kind of. Nominees are being selected for special elections. Candidates are declaring their intention to run for office. Office-holders are getting caught on hot mikes. Nothing like the quiet summer months.
Kim Ward. The Senate President Pro Tempore called the members of her chamber back to Harrisburg to “finalize the General Appropriations Budget (HB 611). Signing HB 611 will provide the necessary funding to schools, counties, and organizations completing 75% of the budget. The remaining 25% of the budget requires legislation to authorize expenditures.”
Mark Rozzi. The former Speaker of the House has to wait another election cycle, as the champion for child sex abuse relief will not see a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. The Department of State said it is too late to draft, approve, and publish the legally required notices in newspapers to hold a constitutional referendum this year.
Devlin Robinson. The Republican state senator from Allegheny County is under fire for presumed comments made at yesterday’s joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees. We’ll leave the video here for your review. And Robinson has issued an apology.
Pennsylvania GOP. Around the nation, state Republican party apparatuses — once bastions of competency that helped produce statehouse takeovers — have become shells of their former machines amid infighting and a lack of organization. In Pennsylvania, the state party sold its headquarters last year, sparking concern among some Republicans in the state about its finances. The Democratic state party’s main PAC also outraised its equivalent nearly two-to-one in 2022. One plugged-in Pennsylvania Republican said that the hard-right activists who have won state committee seats in recent years aren’t able to tap wealthy friends for cash in the same way the party’s more establishment-minded foot soldiers in the past could.
Maria Montero. The Republican field for the 7th Congressional District nomination grew by one on Monday as Montero officially announced her candidacy for the U.S. House position. She joins a growing GOP field that includes Kevin Dellicker and state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie that hopes to unseat Democratic incumbent Rep. Susan Wild.
Fake PA Electors. Pennsylvania’s slate of alternate Trump electors – Bill Bachenberg, Lou Barletta, Tom Carroll, Ted Christian, Chuck Coccodrilli, Bernadette Comfort, Sam DeMarco III, Marcela Diaz-Myers, Christie DiEspositi, Josephine Ferro, Charlie Gerow, Kevin Harley, Leah Hoopes, Ash Khare, Andre McCoy, Lisa Patton, Pat Poprik, Andy Reilly, Suk Smith, and Calvin Tucker – added an important caveat to the certificate that likely shielded them from the consequences faced by their counterparts in Michigan. Pennsylvania’s certificate said the votes they were casting should only be counted if a court found that they were the “duly elected and qualified Electors.”
Gov. Josh Shapiro. He signed an executive order on Monday, creating the Commonwealth Workforce Transformation Program. The CWTP is a first-in-the-nation job training program that provides workforce development grants to ensure companies, contractors, unions, and others who are working to build Pennsylvania’s infrastructure have the skilled workforce they need.
Lindsay Powell. Powell was nominated by the Allegheny County Democrats as their nominee for the 21st House District special election to replace Sara Innamorato. She would be the first Black woman to represent the 21st District, which is nearly 90 percent white.
Erin Autenreith. Autenreith was nominated by the Allegheny County Republicans as their nominee for the 21st House District special election to replace Sara Innamorato. With a 57-26% advantage in voter registration in the District, it will be a tough climb for Autenreith and Republicans to claim the seat and a majority in the state House.
Liv Bennett. The progressive Allegheny County Councilwoman will not be seeking reelection as an independent candidate. Bennett has clashed with progressive leadership in the region, endorsing John Weinstein over Sara Innamorato for Allegheny County Executive, and will endorse Samantha Schmidt, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, as her replacement.
Taiba Sultana. The Easton councilwoman faces one second-degree misdemeanor charge of simple assault, and a summary charge of harassment after an incident on Monday involving her son. Sultana is accused of slapping, punching, and head-butting the victim in the face multiple times, causing injuries. Her son also told police his mother punched him in the stomach, according to the affidavit.
City of Erie. City officials on Friday sent the Trump campaign an invoice requesting a $5,200 reimbursement for taxpayer-funded, employee related costs incurred by the city as a result of Trump’s Saturday rally at Erie Insurance Arena. Schember told the Erie Times-News on July 24 that his administration would pursue reimbursement from the Trump campaign in advance of Saturday’s rally, despite the fact that Trump’s campaign committee did not pay the city’s request for a $35,129 reimbursement related to Trump’s October 10, 2018 Make America Great Again rally.
Devin Maresca. The independent challenger for mayor of New Castle made his candidacy official, but his inclusion on the ballot and possible election is clouded due to the 11 felony federal mail fraud charges in Florida. It is alleged in court documents Maresca used fake and fictitious usernames, emails, contact information and different addresses to collect more than $100,000 in reimbursement checks.
Brian Albelli. A Stroudsburg man defrauded the federal government out of $2.2 million in pandemic relief funds, spending the money on boats, cars and other luxuries, officials allege. Albelli, 45, has been charged with wire fraud and money laundering in the case, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.