WEATHER: Philadelphia: mostly sunny, high of 55; Harrisburg: mostly sunny, high of 59; Pittsburgh: mostly sunny, high of 66.
FROM CITY & STATE:
* Four female state senators are joining forces to introduce a package of bills to reform how sexual harassment cases are handled in Harrisburg. The two bills – which are being introduced by President Pro Tempore Kim Ward and state Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill, Tracy Pennycuick and Maria Collett – come in the wake of two high-profile sexual harassment scandals that occurred in Harrisburg this year.
* From our partners at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star: With hydrogen production hubs planned for both ends of the commonwealth, Pennsylvania policymakers will have a major role in ensuring that the projects are successful and contribute to attaining the state’s climate goals, an environmental advocate told lawmakers Monday.
NEW THIS MORNING:
* A federal court has ruled that a Pennsylvania community’s resolution prohibiting the display of an American flag with a thin blue line on all township property is unconstitutional. The ruling about the flag that’s also used as part of the police union’s logo came down Monday, The Associated Press reports.
* Democrats who control the state House of Representatives yesterday advanced an estimated $1.8 billion boost to the pensions of Pennsylvania state government and public school retirees, while some Republicans said taxpayers will unfairly shoulder the financial burden, the AP reports.
* Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty received hundreds of dollars worth of free home repairs paid for by the union his brother, John Dougherty, led for nearly 30 years, a witness in the former labor leader’s trial testified yesterday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
* As defense lawyers got their first crack at contractor Anthony Massa yesterday, they came ready to perform some demolition work of their own, the Inquirer reports.
* A Democratic-led state House committee yesterday advanced two more firearms safety bills despite fresh indications that gun reform remains largely intractable along partisan lines. Two previous bills were approved by the full House over the summer and moved to the Republican-controlled Senate, whose judiciary chair said this week she has no intention of running them, PennLive reports.
* Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said at a media event yesterday at Astrobotic’s North Side headquarters that he remembered when the recent Carnegie Mellon graduate, John Thornton, was working out of a garage in the Strip District. Thornton hopes the attention from the company’s planned moon landing in January will help launch a whole new space exploration industry in Pittsburgh, WESA reports.
* Yesterday, Allegheny County Council was presented with bills that sponsor Bethany Hallam said would provide more financial support to prisoners inside the county jail – and a clearer role for the Jail Oversight Board, WESA reports.
* Campaign finance reports show incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry with a commanding lead in cash on hand versus his seven Democratic challengers. Political analyst Terry Madonna said the Democrats in the race are assured a bruising primary battle in advance of the 2024 election, the York Dispatch reports.
* A host of speakers who gathered at the state Capitol yesterday to support a pair of bills that would require insurers to cover biomarker testing. The bills, one in the state House and one in the Senate, have sponsorship from both Democrats and Republicans, PennLive reports.
* Philadelphia’s 911 emergency response system came into question this summer after police were sent to an incorrect location in response to a call. Yesterday, City Council members held a hearing to talk about what led to that incident and other problems within the system, WHYY reports.
* The Inquirer writes that beyond the police response to speeding and reckless driving, the city also needs to overhaul street designs to protect and encourage pedestrians.
* The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes that without Joe Manchin in the Senate, the math becomes uncertain, and that makes the future of the Pennsylvania seat all the more important.
* The U.S. House yesterday passed stopgap legislation to keep the federal government operating past this weekend, sending the bill to the Senate days before the deadline without any of the deep spending cuts conservative Republicans had sought, The Washington Post reports.
* More than 500 political appointees and staff members representing some 40 government agencies sent a letter to President Biden yesterday protesting his support of Israel in its war in Gaza, The New York Times reports.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough … to state Rep. Josh Siegel … and to Meg Snead, founder of MCS Strategies LLC and former acting secretary of the Department of Human Services … Want to wish someone a happy birthday in our newsletter? Email their name, job title and upcoming birthday to firstname.lastname@example.org.
9 a.m. – The Legislative Budget & Finance Committee meets, Room 8E-B, East Wing, Harrisburg.
9 a.m. – The Local Government Commission meets, Room 515, Irvis Office Building.
9 a.m. – The Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee meets, PA Civil War Battle Flag Education Center, 2221 Forster St., Harrisburg.
9 a.m. – The House Children & Youth and Education Committees hold a joint informational meeting on children and youth homelessness, Room 140, Main Capitol. Watch here.
9:30 a.m. – The Senate Urban Affairs & Housing Committee holds a public hearing on the status of housing, Hearing Room 1, North Office Building. Watch here.
9:45 a.m. – The House Health Committee meets, Room G50, Irvis Office. Watch here.
10 a.m. – The House Local Government Committee meets, Room 205, Ryan Office. Watch here.
10 a.m. – The House Professional Licensure Committee meets, Room 60, East Wing. Watch here.
10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – Pittsburgh City Council holds budget hearings, Council Chambers. Watch here.
1 p.m. – Pennsylvania Departments of Labor & Industry and Human Services kick off the holiday season with an annual donation of stuffed toys collected throughout the year by L&I for routine inspections and later distributed to families through the DHS Holiday Wish program, Labor & Industry Building, Room E-100, 651 Boas St., Harrisburg.
Call of Chair – The House Appropriations Committee meets, Room 140, Main Capitol. Watch here.
Call of Chair – The House Labor & Industry Committee meets, Room G50, Irvis Office. Watch here.
Call of Chair – The House Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee meets, Room 515, Irvis Office. Watch here.
“It was a resounding win for the First Amendment and free speech … It showed once again that the government cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination based upon a message it disagrees with or finds offensive.” – Attorney Wally Zimolong, via the AP
NEXT STORY: First Read PA - Nov. 14, 2023