News & Brews April 11, 2023

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Philly sheriff allegedly misused funds

The Inquirer reports that Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal “used money meant to hire deputies for executives raises” and “tried to double her salary to $285K.” The story notes that “city finance records and an internal Sheriff’s Office memo obtained by The Inquirer show Bilal recently diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars intended to hire more uniformed staff — including deputies — to fund hefty raises for her executive staff and other office workers.” The news comes as Bilal last week asked the City Council for nearly $2 million in new funding for her office.

Budget hearings resume today

This morning at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a budget hearing with the Department of Community & Economic Development. Then, at 1:00 pm, the committee will hear from the Department of Corrections / Board of Probation & Parole. Both hearings will be live-streamed here. On the House side, the Appropriations Committee will hear from the Department of Human Services at 10:00 a.m. and continue with the same department at 1:00 p.m. Those hearings will be live-streamed here.

Op-Ed: Unions & trial lawyers flood judicial races with $$$

Commonwealth Partners President and CEO Matt Brouillette writes in RealClear Pennsylvania that unions and trial lawyers are pouring millions of dollars into judicial races in anticipation of influencing court rulings. And in Pennsylvania, “trial-lawyer-and-union-backed Supreme Court justices have been more than happy to comply with these expectations.” A casualty in all this is the rule of law.

72nd District is ‘anomaly’ in tightly divided House

The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat zooms in on House District 72 in Cambria County, where Republicans outnumber Democrats by about 1200 voters but Democrat Frank Burns keeps getting re-elected. “In a red sea of GOP-controlled seats in western and central Pennsylvania,” the story notes, “the 72nd is a lone blue dot. Republicans have repeatedly eyed it as a district they think can be flipped.”

Poll: Allegheny Co. Executive race is ‘wide open’

WESA reports that recent polling data suggests the Democrat primary race for Allegheny County Executive is “wide open, with County Treasurer John Weinstein and City Controller Michael Lamb in a pitched battle for the lead, and state Rep. Sara Innamorato in third.” Per a poll of 459 Democrat primary voters conducted early last month, 28% supported Weinstein and 24% supported Lamb. Innamorato garnered 17%. However, 26% were undecided.

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