News & Brews April 13, 2023
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Major union has major influence in Pittsburgh mayor’s office
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that SEIU Healthcare “has considerable sway over Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey’s administration after it helped elect him … including drafting Mr. Gainey’s talking points for an ongoing fight with UPMC — with which the union has long clashed.” In fact, SEIU Healthcare Executive VP and Political Director Silas Russell “was intimately involved in preparing Mr. Gainey for a meeting last year with UPMC.” This included “strategizing ahead of that meeting, including explicit demands to unionize UPMC’s health care workers.” SEIU healthcare spent more than $350,000 to help elect Gainey, which is “more than all his other contributors combined.” Read the Post-Gazette story here, or click here to watch the report.
Fetterman to chair subcommittee hearing
U.S. Sen. John Fetterman announced yesterday that he will chair his first subcommittee hearing next week. PennLive reports that Fetterman “will chair the hearing titled ‘SNAP and Other Nutrition Assistance in the Farm Bill’ at 3:30 p.m. April 19 with Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican.” The announcement comes about two weeks after Fetterman was released from the hospital.
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 Health. Then, at 1:00 p.m., the committee will hear from the Department of Transportation. Those hearings will be live-streamed here. On the House side, the Appropriations Committee will hear from the Department of Community & Economic Development at 10:00 a.m. and from SERS and PSERS at 1:00 p.m. Those hearings will be live-streamed here.
Budget hearing focuses on unemployment claims backlog
Capitolwire reports, “Lawmaker complaints about the slow handling of unemployment claims dominated the House budget hearing Wednesday for the state Department of Labor and Industry.” The backlog has been a recurring theme for years, particularly after former Gov. Wolf closed down businesses and forced Pennsylvanians out of work.
Philly sheriff tries to shift blame for budget allegations
The Inquirer recently reported that Philly Sheriff Rochelle Bilal tried to double her salary, and she used money intended for new hires to increase staff pay. Now, the Inky reports that she’s trying to “distance herself” from the “controversy.” Specifically, she’s “claiming that her finance staff tried to double her salary without her knowledge. She also contended that Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration had advised her team that it could redirect money allocated for new hires to give raises to top staffers and others.”
Introducing Winning Edge
Commonwealth Partners has launched the Winning Edge leadership training program! Winning Edge gives you the tools you need to lead and influence in the political and policy arenas. Every other week, Winning Edge will release short (approximately 5-minute) audio spots—or “snacks”—focused on one of four areas: fundraising, media, policy, or persuasion. Listen to the first “snack” here, on “How to ask for a donation.” Or, click here for the audio transcript or here for an informative handout.