It was a snow news week, but it certainly wasn’t a slow news week. One of Pennsylvania’s newest members of Congress picked up major endorsements in her bid for reelection, a Pennsylvania House committee took action on several high-profile gun control bills and Gov. Josh Shapiro and Sen. John Fetterman found themselves backing opposing candidates in New Jersey’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
Keep reading for more of this week’s Winners & Losers.
Summer Lee -
Progressive U.S. Rep. Summer Lee picked up a key endorsement from Democratic leaders this week, notching support from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Minority Whip Katherine Clark and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar. The endorsements are especially significant this election cycle, as Lee is facing a primary challenge from Democrat Bhavini Patel.
Avolio Law -
A Greensburg law firm led by attorney Scott Avolio is getting a 42% raise for its legal work representing the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County. Under a new deal with the authority, Avolio Law will be paid $185 an hour for roughly 25 hours of work per week, which amounts to a pay increase of approximately $72,000, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
State House Democrats -
After years of trying, Democrats in the Pennsylvania House succeeded in advancing a slate of gun control bills out of the House Judiciary Committee, including a ban on automatic and semi-automatic firearms, and another that would prohibit the sale of accelerated trigger activators – devices commonly referred to as bump stocks – that are designed to speed up a gun’s rate of fire, per The Associated Press. Given that control of the House is currently split at 101, it’s unclear when the bills will get a vote on the House floor.
Lackawanna County -
When it comes to cash-on-hand, Lackawanna County is, well, lacking. After entering 2024 with $19 million in unpaid bills, county officials said this week the county may fall short of cash to pay all its expenses yet again this year. Bill Gaughan, the new Board of Commissioners chair, said at one point last year that the county has less than $500,000 to meet expenses. Gaughan called the crisis “frightening and unacceptable” as the county grapples with a plan to get its finances in order.
Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services -
Lackawanna County isn’t the only one late on payments. Several Philadelphia homeless shelters said they’ve gone months, even years, without being paid by the city. Despite the city’s Office of Homeless Services reportedly spending $15 million more than it was budgeted over the last four years, a half-dozen nonprofits holding contracts with the city have experienced severe payment delays, with some being told their contracts are being terminated due to a lack of funding.
Southern York County School District -
Newly elected board members in Southern York County School District are bringing back a controversial issue – an Indian warrior logo that was retired three years ago. Susquehannock High School’s Indian warhead mascot was retired in 2021 by a 7-2 vote by the school board after a student-led movement, supported by the National Congress of American Indians, brought the issue, community input and research to the board’s attention. Undeterred by the previous move, a new Republican-majority school board is poised to restore the old logo – a prime example of national culture wars playing out at the local level.