News & Brews March 28, 2023

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Budget hearing focuses on election integrity, professional licenses

Yesterday, Senate Appropriations Committee lawmakers questioned the Pa. Department of State on issues surrounding elections and Gov. Shapiro’s “money back guarantee on getting a license by a certain date,” PennLive reports. On the election front, questions ranged from pre-canvassing of mail-in ballots to ensuring voter rolls are accurate.

State Police talk hiring push, funding source at budget hearings

At budget hearings with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, State Police Commissioner Col. Christopher Paris discussed staffing needs and Gov. Shapiro’s proposed shift in how the police are funded. PennLive reports the State Police “are budgeting for a significant hiring push in the coming budget year.” However, “a broad decline in applicants and a historically tight labor market are expected to make the effort difficult.” Further, Shapiro’s budget “seeks to pull the agency back from being almost entirely reliant on the state’s gas tax … although Republicans … criticized Shapiro’s proposed new funding mix.”

Today’s budget hearings schedule

This morning at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a budget hearing with the Department of Labor & Industry. Then, at 1:00 pm, the committee will hear from the Department of Agriculture. Both hearings will be live-streamed here. On the House side, the Appropriations Committee will hear from the Department of Health at 10:00 a.m. and the Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs at 1:00 p.m. Those hearings will be live-streamed here.

Dems pick candidate for Zabel seat

The Delaware County Democrat Party has nominated political staffer Heather Boyd to run in the special election to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Democrat Mike Zabel. Boyd has worked as District Director and Senior Advisor for U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon. She was also previously Chief of Staff to Democrat state Rep. Leanne Krueger. Republicans previously nominated Army veteran and special education teacher Katie Ford for the seat. The special election is scheduled for May 16.

Philly area’s chemical spill

The news in Philly is focused on the recent chemical spill in Bucks County that’s potentially impacting Philly’s drinking water supply. More than 8,000 gallons of hazardous materials were reportedly released into a creek near the Delaware River. Officials have been changing the time through which they say water is safe to drink (it was 11:59 pm Monday evening, now it’s supposedly 3:30 pm today). Needless to say, this is not really confidence-inspiring.

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