News & Brews March 6, 2023

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Previewing Gov. Shapiro’s first budget address

Tomorrow, Gov. Josh Shapiro will deliver his first budget address to the General Assembly. From education to taxes (which he said he will not raise) to business climate and more, the AP previews topics that will be addressed. The story notes, “Shapiro will not follow through on one key campaign promise: sending $250 to households for each vehicle, paid for by federal pandemic aid. That federal aid is now committed, his aides say. The fate of other campaign promises remains to be seen.”

Rep. accused of harassment declines to resign

Amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment and calls for his resignation, Democrat Rep. Mike Zabel (Delaware County) on Friday announced he will not resign. In a letter to House Democrat leaders, Zabel did resign his seat on the Judiciary Committee, however. Additionally, he wrote that his “illness has caused some behavior I regret.” He did not specify the illness. Democrat leaders responded by saying, “While Rep. Zabel has declined to resign, we agree that it is appropriate for him to take a step back from his work and focus on the challenges before him.” PennLive notes, “Democratic spokeswoman Nicole Reigelman declined further comment when asked whether Zabel will continue to collect his $102,844 salary and vote on matters that come before the chamber.”

10 Republicans vie for open House seat

The field of Republican candidates hoping to fill the 108th House District seat—vacant after former Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver won a special election for an open state Senate seat—now stands at 10. The Daily Item reports that six of the candidates hail from Northumberland County and four from Montour County. Republican committee members will ultimately choose the nominee. The district leans heavily Republican. The date for the special election has not yet been set, and Democrats have not yet announced a candidate.

Lawmakers want to legalize marijuana, sell through state liquor stores

Well, if you love how the PLCB runs liquor in Pennsylvania, you’ll love this. Two Democrat lawmakers—Reps. David Delloso and Marty Flynn—are proposing legalizing recreational marijuana and selling it through Pennsylvania’s state-owned liquor stores. CNHI reports, “Mandating sales through the state system would give the commonwealth a monopoly over liquor and marijuana sales and align the industry with union labor. Both Delloso and Flynn receive strong union support, campaign finance records show.”

Allegheny Dems split endorsements among progressive and establishment candidates

When the Allegheny County Democrat Party endorsed candidates yesterday, the vote tally gave the backing to progressive candidates for District Attorney and County Council. But for County Executive, committee members backed an establishment candidate. The Post-Gazette reports that this “split decision … points to competitive primary elections ahead.”

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