News & Brews June 20, 2023

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Pa. Coalition for Civil Justice Reform requests review of venue shopping rule

In light of the skyrocketing number of medical malpractice cases filed in plaintiff-friendly Philly in 2023—after a rule change allowed trial lawyers to shop around for a venue that would be friendly to them—the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform (PCCJR) has asked for an immediate review of the rule. Earlier this month, PCCJR sent a letter to the state Supreme Court’s Civil Procedural Rules Committee highlighting the impacts of the rule change and asking for the review. This letter reiterated an earlier letter, which PCCJR sent in May, noting the impact of the rule change “has been immediate and severe.” And “insurance premiums are increasing as a direct result.”

GOP pushes mail-in voting ahead of 2024

The Delaware Valley Journal (DVJ) looks at the Republican Party’s “Bank Your Vote” campaign, which seeks to urge Republicans to embrace mail-in voting. Pa. GOP Chair Lawrence Tabas told the DVJ, “We’re working very strongly now on educating our voters as to the benefits of voting by mail. …I am very confident that you will see a much larger vote by Republicans supporting our candidates this year and next year.” Democrats have drastically outperformed Republicans in mail-in voting, due in large part to the GOP’s skepticism over the security of ballots cast by mail.

Op-Ed: ‘Tax reform, not tax credits, will grow Pa.’s economy’ 

The Commonwealth Foundation’s Andrew Holman writes in the Pottstown Mercury that Gov. Shapiro’s proposed tax credit “for newly certified teachers, nurses, and police officers … misses the mark.” He writes, “A targeted tax credit that only benefits three professions will not spur the widespread economic growth our commonwealth needs. Pennsylvania must address the root cause of its economic downturn: an unfriendly business tax structure.”

Reading has high hopes for electric vehicle rescue

CNN has a story on how Reading, Pa. is looking to the Biden administration’s ‘infrastructure law’ and electric vehicles to revitalize its downtown. ”City officials have a multimillion-dollar plan to install dozens of EV charging stations,” the story notes. These officials hope to “mak[e] it easier for more workers and visitors to go to Reading.” They also aim to “attract a new, younger generation of residents.” If you’re skeptical, you’re not alone. “EVs made up just 5.8% of new car sales last year.” And beyond EV’s “being expensive, it’s not always easy for drivers to find a charging station when they need one.” We’ll plan to check back in on this in a couple years.

New Jersey’s Josh Shapiro?

Former EPA Region 2 Administrator Alan Steinberg writes in InsiderNJ that the Democrat gubernatorial candidate in Jersey who best models Josh Shapiro has the best chance of winning the party’s primary in 2025. He points to Shapiro’s response to the I-95 collapse as an example of leadership. (We are hopeful the timeline will be as Shapiro said. Time alone will tell.) Steinberg writes, “Shapiro is now the prototype governor those Democratic gubernatorial candidates, incumbents, and challengers will seek to emulate.”

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