WEATHER: Philadelphia: a chance of thunderstorms, high of 79; Harrisburg: a chance of thunderstorms, high of 84; Pittsburgh: a chance of rain, high of 75.

 

NEW THIS MORNING:

* The Pennsylvania Supreme Court yesterday picked former University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg to chair the state’s redistricting commission after the General Assembly’s four caucus leaders deadlocked on selecting the chair, Spotlight PA reports.

* Without an endorsement by the local Democratic Party in the race for district attorney, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and challenger Carlos Vega are fighting over endorsements from local officials and unions, Billy Penn reports.

* Republican lawmakers called on Gov. Tom Wolf to fire the private vendor that handled contact tracing data for COVID-19 infections, which was recently revealed to have mishandled patients’ confidential information, The Associated Press reports.

* U.S. Sen. Bob Casey argued before the Senate in support of President Joe Biden’s proposal to use an infrastructure funding bill to invest $400 billion in home-based care and services for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

* As Republican leaders in the General Assembly plan to propose a ban on lobbying, one of those leaders, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, attended a $5,000 per ticket fundraiser at a golf course in Arizona organized by a lobbying firm,Spotlight PA reports.

* Republican state Sen. David G. Argall is one of the latest lawmakers to call on Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment, the Morning Call reports.

* U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright announced that restaurants in northeastern Pennsylvania can now begin applying for relief from the American Rescue Plan’s $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the Pocono Record reports.

* The House State Government Committee passed a proposal to reform how the state handles proposed constitutional amendments, planning to cut the governor out of the process entirely, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports.

* Leaders and communities in western Pennsylvania are deeply disappointed after U.S. Steel canceled plans to invest $1.5 billion in its steel facilities in the Mon Valley, the Post-Gazette reports.

* Wolf bumped fists with Gritty, the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers, at an event where the governor called on those who have not yet gotten COVID-19 vaccines to get vaccinated, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

* Plans to consolidate six of Pennsylvania’s state universities into two institutions while retaining six individual campuses are attracting confusion and concern among the broader academic community, Inside Higher Ed reports.

 

EDITORIAL PAGES:

* The Inquirer endorses Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Brobson for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the Republican primary.

* The Norristown Times Herald has an op-ed supporting state Rep. Rosemary Brown’s proposal to impose stiffer penalties on drivers caught using cellphones while driving. 

* The Capital-Star has an op-ed arguing that state lawmakers need to stop making inappropriate Holocaust analogies during debates and hearings.

* The Post-Gazette praises state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s plans to provide illegal drug users who break the law with addiction treatment instead of incarceration.

* The Tribune-Review writes that to fund the repair of state bridges, Wolf should negotiate with lawmakers who oppose his administration’s plan to impose new tolls on commuters instead of trying to force the tolls plan through.

 

NATIONAL POLITICS:
* Medical experts welcomed the news that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine could be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for use in adolescents ages 12 to 15 by early next week, a major step forward in the U.S. vaccination campaign, The New York Times reports.
* The Biden administration is racing to end a bottleneck that has prevented state and local governments from distributing nearly $50 billion in rental assistance that Congress allocated to keep those tenants from going over a financial cliff, Politico reports.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Superior Court President Judge Jack A. Panella. … 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:

8:30 a.m. – The House Health Committee holds a public hearing on reproductive rights and fetal experimentation, Room G50, Irvis Office Building, state Capitol, Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. – The House Appropriations and Education committees hold a joint public hearing on the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s plan to consolidate six state schools into two schools, Room 140, state Capitol, Harrisburg.

9:30 a.m. – The House Children & Youth Committee holds a voting meeting, Room 515, Irvis Office Building North, state Capitol, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. – The House Aging & Older Adult Services Committee holds a voting meeting, Room 523, Irvis Office Building South, state Capitol, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. – The House Judiciary Committee holds a voting meeting, Room 205, Ryan Office Building, state Capitol, Harrisburg.

10 a.m. – Pennsylvania Department of Human Services acting Secretary Meg Snead and other stakeholders announce a partnership to establish a centralized call center to help Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers access COVID-19 vaccines during a media-only call.

10 a.m. – The Pittsburgh City Council meets, Council chamber, City-County Building, Pittsburgh.

10:45 a.m. – Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, state Veterinarian Dr. Kevin Brightbill and state Rep. Steve Malagari discuss the threat of dangerous transmissible animal disease to Pennsylvania’s $34.6 billion animal agriculture industry, PEMA, 1310 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg.

10:45 a.m. – Department of Health acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson tours the COVID-19 mobile vaccination unit, administer vaccines and discuss the importance of vaccinating Pennsylvanians and overcoming vaccine hesitancy, Handles Foundation, 2412 Chestnut St., Harrisburg.

2 p.m. – PEMA Director Randy Padfield discusses how flexible disaster emergency declarations allow emergency officials to maintain response and recovery operations for the extent of long-duration disaster incidents,1310 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg.

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

 

KICKER: “We’re looking for all kinds of ways to get people to overcome the hesitancy. And most of it is sort of (people) sitting on the fence, (where) there’s not a profound antipathy to vaccines.” – Gov. Tom Wolf, via the Inquirer