WEATHER: Philadelphia: a.m. clouds, p.m. sun, high of 32; Harrisburg: partly cloudy, high of 33; Pittsburgh: cloudy, high of 26.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* WHYY dives deep to answer the question now bedeviling the entire country: Why did Philly entrust a vaccine program to a young student group with no health care experience?
* A proposal moving through the GOP-led Pennsylvania legislature could soon make the state an extreme outlier in the country by allowing lawmakers to exert more control over the state Supreme Court and other appellate courts. The measure, which could be before voters as soon as May, calls for abolishing statewide elections for appellate court judges and replacing them with races in partisan districts determined by lawmakers and redrawn every 10 years, Spotlight PA reports.
* Acknowledging residents’ frustration about the pace and coordination of the coronavirus vaccine rollout, the new leader of Pennsylvania’s Health Department said Wednesday she hoped to improve its communication as the urgent, quick-changing conditions of the pandemic evolve and the country waits for more doses to become available, the Inquirer reports.
* State lawmakers have made it clear they hold a deep resentment toward Gov. Tom Wolf’s unilateral decision-making when it comes to responding to COVID-19 and are fixing to give voters a chance to show how they feel about the governor’s handling of the pandemic at the ballot box this May, PennLive reports.
* Pennsylvania’s Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation to distribute just over $900 million to aid schools and hospitality-related businesses hit hard by the coronavirus, as well as people struggling to pay rent or utility bills. The bill still requires approval from the state House of Representatives and Gov. Tom Wolf, the Inquirer reports.
* U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean has been selected as one of the managers arguing for former President Donald Trump’s impeachment in the upcoming Senate trial, the Capital-Star reports.
* Pennsylvania on Wednesday stepped closer to paving the way for adults who were sexually abused as children to seek recourse in court against their predators. By a vote of 187-15, the state House of Representatives passed a measure that could lead to a temporary lifting of expired statute of limitations for some abuse victims, allowing them to file civil suits, PennLive reports.
* The Senate State Government Committee advanced a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow gubernatorial candidates to select their own running mate. The legislation, which passed the committee on Wednesday by a 10-1 vote, would establish a process that would have a party’s gubernatorial nominee choose the candidate to be their lieutenant governor, subject to political party or political body approval, prior to the general election, PennLive reports.
* For the first time in almost a year, some younger Philly public school students will return to classrooms for in-person instruction. A multi-phase resumption of in-person learning will begin on Feb. 22 with pre-K through second-grade students, School District of Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite said Wednesday, the Philly Voice reports.
* The Inquirer lists four things to watch for as Philadelphia City Council returns to session for the first time this year.
* The Inquirer lays out a scathing indictment of Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw’s failures of leadership during last summer’s civil unrest and calls for her to resign – while making sure to emphasize that there is plenty of blame to go around among the city’s politicians.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: … state Sen. Arthur Haywood … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email us their name, job title and upcoming birthday to email@example.com
10 a.m. - the Philadelphia City Council will meet. Room 400, City Hall, Philadelphia.
11 a.m. - Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller will outline recent changes to the Employment, Advancement and Retention Network (EARN) and Work Ready programs – two comprehensive employment and training programs that provide support for people who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to obtain employment skills, prepare for work, and sustain good jobs.
12:30 p.m. - the PA House will reconvene. Main Capitol, Harrisburg.
1:30 p.m. - the PA House State Government Committee will meet. Room G50, Irvis Office Building, Harrisburg. To RSVP, contact Brandon Cwalina at firstname.lastname@example.org
To have your events included in Today’s Sked, please email the information to email@example.com.
KICKER: “I hope people can understand why on the surface this looked like a good thing. In retrospect, we should have been more careful with this organization.” – master of understatement/Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. From WHYY.