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June 20 PoliticsPA Playbook: Battle Over Gun Laws

☀️ Hello, It’s Tuesday. Welcome to a new work week.

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Pittsburgh | Mostly Cloudy, 82
Harrisburg | Mostly Cloudy, 81
Philadelphia | Mostly Cloudy, 80

PA Sports
Phillies (38-34) | Tu-Thu vs. Atlanta
Pirates (34-37) | Cubs 0-8 | Tu-W vs. Chicago Cubs
Union (9-5-3) | Wed vs. Orlando City

What’s Happening Today
The House will convene at noon. The Senate convenes at 1p. Cabinet nominations hearings for Dr. Latika Davis-Jones, Al Schmidt and Nancy Walker.

What We’re Hearing
“I did not think you could make Josh Shapiro look that cool.” – Tommy McDonald

Happy Birthday
Cake and candles for Gov. Josh Shapiro and former Rep. Phil English.

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Top Story

1. From TikToks To A 24/7 Livestream, Shapiro’s I-95 Response Grows His National Profile

Gov. Josh Shapiro surveys the collapsed I-95 bridge in Northeast Philadelphia from a State Police helicopter on June 11, 2023.

“It’s an image tailor-made for a political ad: Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro hovering above a collapsed portion of I-95 in a State Police helicopter, assessing the damage with a concerned but determined expression.

“The helicopter, the bomber jacket, the low angle — I did not think you could make Josh Shapiro look that cool,” said Tommy McDonald, a Democratic ad-maker based in Fishtown.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)


Shapiro Says I-95 Will Reopen Within Two Weeks. “I can state with confidence that we will have I-95 reopened within the next two weeks. We are going to get traffic moving again thanks to the extraordinary work of those here and our incredible union trade workers.” (PoliticsPA)

Fakery And Confusion: Campaigns Brace For Explosion Of AI In 2024. “Dozens of Democratic strategists gathered on Zoom on Wednesday for a novel meeting. The topic: How to combat an expected explosion of AI-generated fake content flooding TV airwaves and mailboxes in 2024.” (POLITICO)

Republican Primary Spending Expected To Approach Or Surpass $1 Billion. “The Republican presidential primary is getting crowded. With a former president and well-heeled politicians running, plus super PACs boosting them, it all points to what’s likely going to be the most money ever spent to win the GOP nomination.” (NPR)



2. How PA Gun Laws Could Change

Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Gun Laws: CCW & Reciprocity Map | USCCA 2021-05-19

“For the first time in years, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is advancing bills to tighten, not relax, the commonwealth’s gun laws.

In the Senate, Republicans maintain a six-seat lead. Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman has given no indication that he and his GOP colleagues are interested in advancing those bills.” (PhillyBurbs.com)


Raising PA’s Minimum Wage Could Stop Workers From Leaving The State For Jobs: Study. “Pennsylvanians living near the borders of neighboring states are traveling to those states to find work that can pay $100 more per week than an in-state job, a study by the Keystone Research Center says.” (PennLive)

The PA Senate Passes Commemorative Measures On 9/11, Juneteenth And Fallen Heroes As Budget Talks Continue. “During a brief state Senate session Monday held as budget negotiations continued behind closed doors, the chamber approved a measure that would require schools to hold a moment of silence every Sept. 11 to remember the 2001 terrorist attacks.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

PA Senate Approves Measure To Protect Prescription Medication Coverage For Seniors. “Sen. David G. Argall voted Monday for a bill approved by the Senate that would protect Social Security recipients who might lose access to two state prescription medication programs.” (Standard-Speaker)

Bonuses Proposed For Employers Who Hire Workers In Drug Recovery. “Pennsylvania has expanded access to fentanyl test strips as well as anti-overdose drugs in recent years to combat the opioid crisis. Now, the legislature is also considering a more hands-on approach to connecting opioid users to jobs and training.” (The Center Square)

PA Sits On $4B In ‘Unclaimed Property.’ Garrity Wants To Give it Back. “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has $4 billion in other people’s money sitting in its coffers. State Treasurer Stacy Garrity wants to do something unusual with it. She wants the government to give it back.” (DV Journal)

Secretive State Climate Talks Stir Disconnect With PA Governor. “Already infuriated by a decision to allow drilling in a town with tainted water, onetime supporters are questioning Josh Shapiro’s commitment to environmental issues.” (Inside Climate News)


Around The Commonwealth

3. State Unemployment Rate Drops To Record Low

Maryland Unemployment Rate Reaches Record Low of 2.7% in March - The Southern Maryland Chronicle

“Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate declined by a tenth of a percentage point over the month to 4% in May, the lowest rate since records started being kept in January 1976.” (New Castle News)


Penn State Has 26-Person, $11.4 Million Legal Unit. Why Does It Hire Outside Law Firms? “During fiscal year 2022, Penn State paid more than $4.3 million to five private law firms — Ballard Spahr, Duane Morris, McGuireWoods, McQuaide Blasko, and Saul Ewing — according to information filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.” (Spotlight PA)

Inexperience And Staff Turnover Led To Luzerne County’s Election Debacle, Investigation Finds. “A ballot paper shortage in Luzerne County last fall — an almost singular stain on Pennsylvania’s otherwise smooth midterm elections — was caused by high staff turnover and loss of institutional knowledge, according to a long-awaited report from the county’s district attorney.” (Votebeat)

Parker Campaign Made Most Of Limited Finances. “Entering the 2023 mayoral election, former State Representative and City Councilmember Cherelle Parker seemed to have some advantages to stand out in a crowded field. However, she did trail her rivals in one important area: cash.” (Philadelphia Tribune)

Former Candidate Charged With Assaulting Detective After Attempting To Accost Gainey. “An unsuccessful candidate for Allegheny County Executive and in other recent races faces a preliminary hearing on July 6 after Pittsburgh police charged him with assaulting an officer while trying to accost Mayor Ed Gainey during the Grand Jubilee Juneteenth Parade.” (WESA)



4. What They’re Saying


1 Thing

5. Meet Miss Pennsylvania 2023

Environmental engineer Miranda Moore, Miss Central PA, won a new title on Saturday being crowned Miss Pennsylvania 2023.

Moore, 24, of Harrisburg, performed Festive Overture by Dimitri Shostakovich on the clarinet as her talent. She advocated for her community service initiative “Take Action in Fashion.” (PennLive)


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