PA Capitol Report: Top 10 Stories From Harrisburg Last Week
Here are the Top 10 Stories From Harrisburg last week–
Carol Kuniholm, an expert on how the state’s elected leaders have drawn heavily criticized political maps, says the latest map-drawing process is off to a fair start — but the final result is still unknown.
— PG Guest Essay: Prison Gerrymandering In PA Must Be Addressed – PA League Of Women Voters
— Legislative Reapportionment Commission: meets August 24 on receive a report on census data
[Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin)] A backer of former President Donald Trump’s effort to carry out an Arizona-style “forensic investigation” of Pennsylvania’s 2020 presidential election suggested Thursday that fellow Republicans in the state Senate are blocking his efforts.
“It is deeply disappointing that Senator Mastriano has retreated from conducting a forensic investigation of the election in Pennsylvania, and it is discouraging to realize that he was only ever interested in politics and showmanship and not actually getting things done.” Sen. Corman asked Sen. Cris Dush (R-Jefferson) to take over the effort to review the November election.
— LancasterOnline – Brad Bumsted: Why Were So Many Of The People Who Assaulted The U.S. Capitol On Jan. 6 From Pennsylvania?
More than nine out of 10 Pennsylvanians live in a county with “high” community transmission, meaning that more than 100 cases per week are recorded for every 100,000 residents. The only two counties not in those categories are Forest and Sullivan counties.
— Dept. of Health: Unveils Free COVID Testing Program For Schools
— MCall – Ford Turner: PA, Lehigh Valley Deaths From Imported Fentanyl Soar
4. New Franklin & Marshall Poll Results—
— Concern Over COVID-19 Increased 10 percentage points since June to 17 percent
— 63 percent support redistricting reform/ 65 percent favor an independent commission
— 78 percent favor campaign finance reform
— 80 percent support reducing the size of the General Assembly
— 33 percent favor John Fetterman in Democratic U.S. Senate Primary race
— 14 percent support Sean Parnell in Republican U.S. Senate Primary race
— 85 percent thought the Jan. 6 assault on U.S. Capitol was bad for democracy
State officials are reminding Pennsylvanians receiving unemployment compensation through federal pandemic assistance programs that they have less than three weeks before those benefits end. The final week of eligibility for payments, which are up to an extra $300 a week, is the week ending Sept. 4. The department said the state’s normal unemployment compensation program is not affected.
6. Dept. Of Labor & Industry: PA Unemployment Rate Drops For 5th Consecutive Month To 6.6% In July
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was down three-tenths of a percentage point over the month to 6.6 percent in July. The U.S. rate fell one-half of a percentage point to 5.4 percent. The Commonwealth’s unemployment rate was 6.4 percentage points below its July 2020 level and the national rate was down 4.8 points over the year.
Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – decreased 16,000 over the month due to a drop in unemployment which fell for the fifth consecutive month. Employment rose for the fifth time in the past six months.
7. PA Gaming Control Board: Reports Record Revenue In July
The PA Gaming Control Board posted reports that show that the combined total revenue in July 2021 generated from all forms of gaming regulated by the Board along with fantasy contests was $423,657,956. That represents the highest monthly revenue total to date for games regulated by the Board.
8. Public Interest Law Center: Trial Date For Pennsylvania School Funding Lawsuit To Begin Oct. 12
Trial in a historic lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s school funding system is now scheduled to begin on October 12. Commonwealth Court Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer announced the new trial date, a month later than the previous start date of September 9, during an August 17 pretrial conference. The later date will allow superintendents and other petitioners who filed the case against state officials additional time to provide up-to-date specifics to supplement the evidence and testimony gathered during earlier stages of the litigation.
9. PA Cap-Star: Philly Gun Violence Leaves Families In Pain, Fear
Principal Leyondo Dunn of Simon Gratz High School Mastery Charter is a big man who doesn’t seem easy to frighten. But, for a while, Dunn was afraid to pick up his own phone.
He was afraid he might get another call with more bad news — that another of his students had been shot or killed. Four had already died of gunshot wounds this school year, prior to the June 8 graduation of his class of 2021. Another 19 had been either wounded or fired upon during the school year.
Five years ago, Noorulhaq Fazly decided to leave Afghanistan. He now works for the Jewish Family and Community Services, the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit which organized the call, finding employment for refugees.
With the fall of Kabul over the weekend, JFCS as well as refugee groups across the state and country are now preparing for an unknown number of people fleeing Afghanistan to escape potential retribution at the hands of the Taliban, an ultraconservative Islamist movement that ran the country under strict religious law in the 1990s.
— PennLive: Gov. Wolf: PA Will Welcome Afghan Refugees