WEATHER: Philadelphia: rain and thunderstorms, high of 71; Harrisburg: rain in the morning with some sun by afternoon, high of 68; Pittsburgh: rainy and cloudy, high of 68.

 

NEW THIS MORNING:

* When voters head to the polls on May 18, they will encounter two major ballot questions that will serve as a de facto referendum on Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 pandemic response, while also shaping the breadth of gubernatorial power for years to come, City & State PA reports.

* City & State PA has been hard at work to relaunch our website and begin publishing an exciting new monthly magazine covering Pennsylvania politics and is proud to announce we have hired a new editorial team

* A PAC funded by billionaire George Soros has invested $60,000 in radio ad buys on behalf of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner just two weeks before he faces challenger Carlos Vega in the Democratic primary, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

* Gov. Wolf announced that Pennsylvania will lift its COVID-19 mitigation orders by Memorial Day and the state’s masking order will be dropped once 70 percent of Pennsylvanians 18 and older are fully vaccinated, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

* Gov. Wolf’s administration on Tuesday issued a final rule solidifying its plans to begin imposing a price on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants next year as part of plans to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the Associated Press reports.

* Philadelphia City Councilmember Derek Green recently led a hearing on the feasibility of the city adopting a progressive “land value tax” to lower tax burdens for property owners in areas with less public investment and lower market values, WHYY reports.

* Philadelphia City Council members are skeptical of Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposal to reduce resident and non-resident wage tax rates and the business income and receipts tax rate in hopes of helping the city rebound from the pandemic, the Inquirer reports.

* Council members also expressed concern that Mayor Kenney’s budget doesn’t invest enough in stimulating growth among Black- and brown-owned businesses, The Philadelphia Tribune reports.

* Comcast executive David L. Cohen, who was chief of staff to former Mayor Ed Rendell, is rumored to be in the running to serve as President Joe Biden’s ambassador to Canada, Politics PA reports.

* Pennsylvania agriculture secretary Russell Redding stressed the importance of the governor’s executive powers to declare emergencies in the event of diseases spread through animals and said citizens should not vote to amend the constitution to limit those powers, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

* District 182 candidate Deja Lynn Alvarez is running to be the first transgender person elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, NorthCentralPA.com reports.

* Rising rents and renovations have displaced Pittsburghers and added to the city’s ongoing issues with gentrification, Pittsburgh City Paper reports.

* The Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee announced that its new executive director will be Trevor Southerland, the former executive director of the Virginia House Democratic Caucus from 2018 to 2019, Politics PA reports.

* State Sen. Vincent Hughes and his wife Sheryl Lee Ralph-Hughes will host five vaccination clinics in West Philadelphia, WHYY reports.

 

EDITORIAL PAGES:

* The Post-Gazette has an op-ed from House Speaker Bryan Cutler arguing that citizens should vote in favor of constitutional amendments to restrict the governor’s powers to declare emergencies for more than 21 days to help protect Pennsylvania businesses and communities.

* The Tribune-Review supports plans to reopen the Pittsburgh Penguins’ stadium with separate sections for vaccinated and non-vaccinated spectators, saying they create new incentives for citizens to get their COVID-19 shots.

* The Inquirer has an op-ed arguing that Philadelphia schools and students would benefitted from President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan, specifically its inclusion of $9 billion in funding to bolster the teaching workforce, increase diversity and expand educator leadership opportunities.

* The Washinton County Observer-Reporter writes that after years of seeing public schools underfunded, many citizens are eager to see the results of a pending lawsuit brought by public school advocates against the state asking the court to provide fair and adequate funding for public education, now tentatively scheduled for trial in September.

 

NATIONAL POLITICS:
* House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and some of his allies are moving quickly to nudge GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney from her leadership post, publicly criticizing her and privately lining up a potential successor in New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, Politico reports

* As the pace of U.S. coronavirus vaccinations slows, President Biden announced a shift in federal strategy away from mass vaccination sites to smaller, more local settings in an attempt to boost the campaign to get more shots in arms, The New York Times reports

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: No birthdays today … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email their name, job title and upcoming birthday to editor@cityandstatepa.com.

 

TODAY’S SKED:

9:30 a.m. – Gov. Tom Wolf will congratulate 51 state employees who earned the Governor’s Awards for Excellence at a virtual ceremony.

9:30 a.m. – The House Finance Committee holds an informational meeting with the Department of Revenue on tax credit reform, Room 205, Ryan Office, Capitol, Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. – The House Health Committee holds a voting meeting, Room 515, Irvis Office North, Capitol, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. – The Senate Democratic Policy Committee holds a public hearing on legionella prevention, streaming live on Zoom.

10 a.m. – The House Commerce Committee holds a voting meeting, Room 60, East Wing, Capitol, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. – The House Local Government Committee holds a voting meeting, Room 523, Irvis Office South, Capitol, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. – The House Transportation Committee holds a voting meeting, Room B31, Main Capitol, Capitol, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. – The Pittsburgh City Council Standing Committee meets, Council chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.

11 a.m. – Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Meg Snead and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia managing attorney Amy Hirsch will remind Pennsylvanians to file their taxes by May 17 to ensure they are receiving economic impact payments and new expanded Child Tax Credits during a media-only call.

1:30 p.m. – The Pittsburgh City Council Committee on Hearings holds a public hearing to hear Pittsburgh residents’ concerns on “the crisis of forced mass displacement of Black Pittsburghers and the reasons for this displacement,” Council chambers, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.

2 p.m. – Gov. Wolf will join Pennsylvania State University’s football coach, president and a student athlete to encourage all students to get vaccinated prior to summer break to help stop the virus, Beaver Stadium, E. Park Avenue, University Park.

7 p.m. – Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Democratic challenger Carlos Vega will participate in the lone debate of the race for the Democratic nomination for D.A. ahead of the May 18 primary, broadcast live on NBC10 and KYW-1060 AM.

To have your events included in Today’s Sked, please email the information to editor@cityandstatepa.com.

 

KICKER: “Why would we be rewarding this group by lowering their wage tax rates? They don’t live in the city of Philadelphia, and now some of them won’t ever be returning to Philadelphia to work. … So instead, why wouldn’t we be focused on some of the Philadelphians who both live here and they work here?” Philadelphia City Council Member Cherelle Parker, via the Inquirer.