Four at 4 Weekly Recap

Week of June 22 through June 26, 2020

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Top Stories of the Week:

June 22, 2020

1. A new Speaker of the House is elected.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives elected Rep. Bryan Cutler as the new Speaker of the House, as former Speaker Turzai resigned on June 15. Now we wait to see who will be elected Majority Leader.

2. The Penn Capital-Star breaks down the Mail-in Ballot Data:

With Pennsylvania’s first election using mail-in ballots in the books, there is some interesting data to look at. Like 31% of Allegheny County voters requesting a mail-in, or that the counties with the youngest age of requests include Chester, Centre and Philadelphia counties.

3. Will the PA Supreme Court rule this week on Gov. Wolf’s emergency declaration?

The Republican general assembly recently passed legislation to end Governor Wolf’s emergency declaration, and the Gov. took them to court.

4. Three months after the first report COVID-19 case in Pennsylvania, what does the data look like?

Spotlight PA mapped out the data on COVID-19 over the past three months and how some of the metrics we use have changed.

June 23, 2020

1. Walking a thin line, independent living facilities are loosening visitation restrictions.

Independent living facilities, which provide a community setting for seniors, are beginning to loosen their visitation restrictions as counties move into the green phase. While under no requirement to have these restrictions, proceeding with caution is a surefire way to protect lives.

2. President Trump supports a second round of stimulus checks.

While the President is telling his aides he supports another stimulus for the American people, there seems to be some hesitancy for Congressional Republicans.

3. Unity for the Pennsylvania Republican Party?

Bob Asher, a veteran of Pennsylvania State Politics, is dropping out of the Republican National Committeeman race.

4. Is Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney running for Governor?

With rumors from the fall that Mayor Jim Kenney was considering a run for Governor, he announced the launch of his new progressive PAC – the Kenney PAC.

June 24, 2020

1. The cap-and-trade debate continues on.

Yesterday, The Pennsylvania Senate committee on Environmental Resources and Energy held a hearing to debate and discuss joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Currently, Governor Wolf is attempting to join RGGI through an executive order, which is leaving Republicans in the General Assembly out of the loop.

2. Inconsistencies in business waiver process leaves the future uncertain for businesses.

Spotlight PA takes a look at the timeline of events for the business closure and waiver process that was developed by Governor Wolf’s administration in response to COVID-19.

3. A poll watcher in Philadelphia was diagnosed with COVID-19, and the city isn’t telling voters.

With a limited ability for contact tracing in Philadelphia, voters who were potentially exposed to COVID-19 at their polling place have not been informed. With that in mind, it seems only a few counties have a plan to alert voters.

4. Trying to protect their recovery, three states announce quarantines for outside travelers.

The Governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have all issued fourteen day quarantine orders for travelers from states with infection rates of 10 people per 100,000, on a seven-day rolling average.

June 25, 2020

1.Pennsylvania reports largest increase of COVID-19 cases in two weeks.

While several states have seen larger increases of COVID-19 cases, Pennsylvania’s case count has remained relatively low.  However, it looks like Pennsylvania is one of the states with the least amount of testing being done.

2. Lebanon County, the last county in Phase Yellow, has community spread of COVID-19.

Lebanon County, which prematurely re-opened, is now facing an increase of cases of COVID-19. Currently, Lebanon County is slated to stay in Phase Yellow.

3. Did the Department of Environmental Protection protect the public?

While a grand jury was approving charges against Cabot Oil and Gas for environmental crimes, it also took a shot at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for failing to protect the public.

4. Philadelphia may become the first city in the U.S. to offer workers protection against retaliation.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is expected to sign a bill approved by the Philadelphia City Council that would protect works from retaliation if they call out of work due to COVID-19 concerns.

June 26, 2020

1.Voluntary cooperation for contact tracing is hit or miss

As Pennsylvania looks to build a strong contact tracing program, infected individuals aren’t answering or returning calls from health departments. And even if they do, many aren’t willing to share the names of the people they’ve been in contact with.

2. Lucky Lebanon goes green.

Finally, Lebanon County will move to Phase Green on July 3. If you remember from last week, Lebanon County was the only county left in Phase Yellow.

3. Philadelphia is reconsidering its designation of Phase Green.

As case counts across the commonwealth are slowly increasing, Philadelphia is seeing roughly 100 new cases a day. This increase is beyond their targets, and leading to an increase of concern over reopening.

4. It looks like unemployment checks from the Federal Government are ending a week early.

The extra $600 from the Federal Government was benefiting millions of Americans, but it looks like the final issuance date will be July 25/26 instead of July 31.

Top Press Releases of the Week:

June 22, 2020

1.Cutler Elected Speaker of the House

2. Full Committee Hearing to Examine Pennsylvania’s Participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

3. Senate Majority Policy Committee to Discuss Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Economy and COVID-19

4. DEP Launches Expanded Online Permitting Options to Assist Businesses

June 23, 2020

1. Gov. Wolf: Masks Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19

2. Senate Hearing Will Explore Progress on Protecting Long-term Care Facilities Against COVID-19

3. Auditor General DePasquale Says Audits of Medicaid Service Providers Protect Seniors, People with Disabilities and Taxpayers

4. Governor Wolf Reaffirms Commitment to Combat Climate Change, Provides Update on RGGI Process

June 24, 2020

1.    Gov. Wolf: $2 Million Awarded in 2019-20 Senior Community Center Grant

2. Auditor General DePasquale: Glen Mills Audit Shows Reform School Failed to Protect Students

3.    Bipartisan Probation Reform Proposal Moves Forward in the Senate

4. Department of Agriculture: Pollinators Need Pennsylvanians Help to Sustain Future of Food Security

June 25, 2020

1. Gov. Wolf Leads Bipartisan Effort in Calling on President, Congressional Leaders to Invest in Broadband Internet Access

2. Medical Marijuana Exceeds Five Million Dispensing Events, Three Clinical Registrants Operational as Part of Research Program

3. 43rd Statewide Grand Jury Finds Pennsylvania Failed To Protect Citizens during Fracking Boom

4. Senator Bob Mensch’s Senate Bill 595 Unanimously Approved by the House, Goes to Governor for Signature

June 26, 2020

1. Gov. Wolf: Last PA County will Move to Green on July 3

2. Wolf Administration: Business Loan Deferrals Extended for Three Months

3. Senators Pam Iovino & Mike Regan Raise Awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Recognize PTSD Awareness Day on June 27 

4. Gov. Wolf: CARES Act Funding Now Available to Museums and Cultural Organizations

Written by

Ridge Policy Group


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