News & Brews December 22, 2023

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Ethics smethics: Shapiro to keep taking game tix

Spotlight PA reports that “Gov. Josh Shapiro plans to continue accepting perks like tickets to sporting events from a nonprofit that receives state money despite concerns he may be violating his own gift ban.” This year, Team Pennsylvania has paid for tickets for Shapiro to attend the Super Bowl as well as Phillies and Penn State games. On the Pa games, “the administration defended the trips as a chance to attend the game with business leaders to discuss economic development and job creation.” Because yes, I’m positive economic development was the topic of conversation at the Phillies playoff game.

New Pa. laws taking effect in 2024

Gov. Shapiro signed multiple bills into law last week in the end-of-session flurry. From dog licenses to medical marijuana, ABC27 gives a rundown of several of these new state laws that are slated to take effect in 2024.

Biden: U.S. Steel sale merits ‘scrutiny’

The AP reports that President Biden believes the announced sale of U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh to Japan’s Nippon Steel deserves “serious scrutiny.” This comes, the story notes, “after days of silence on a transaction that has drawn alarm from the steelworkers union.” Per the director of the National Economic Council, the president “believes the purchase of this iconic American-owned company by a foreign entity — even one from a close ally — appears to deserve serious scrutiny in terms of its potential impact on national security and supply chain reliability.”

Philly agency overspent by almost $15M

The Philadelphia Office of Inspector General is looking into why the city’s Office of Homeless Services spent almost $15 million more than its allocated budget over the last four years. The Inquirer reports that the office “spent $9.6 million more that it was allocated by City Council for fiscal years 2021 through 2023 … [and] it has overspent its budget in the current 2024 fiscal year by $5.1 million.” The story notes it’s “unusual for a city agency to exceed its allocation by nearly $15 million over four years without the overruns being noticed sooner.”

Candidates set for Feb. 13 special House election

As the Pa. House is back to its 101-101 partisan split following the resignation of Democrat state Rep. John Galloway (Bucks County), Republicans have picked Falls Township native Candace Cabanas and Democrats have nominated Pennsbury School Board Member Jim Prokopiak to run in the special election, scheduled for February 13. The district leans Democrat, and Galloway ran unopposed in 2022.

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