June 10, 2022

While survivors of the mass murders in Uvalde, Texas, continued to mourn and bury 21 shooting victims, members of Congress this week dithered about measures to reduce U.S. gun violence. Many such measures enjoy the support of a majority of Americans, according to multiple public opinion polls. On Thursday, 220 CEOs across the country turned up the heat, imploring Congress to take “bold, urgent action.” We’ll see if that gets anyone’s attention.

Closer to home, a gunfight melee late Saturday on South Street in Philly left three dead and 11 wounded. The 14 people hit by gunfire was more than any other episode of gun violence in Philadelphia since at least 2015. Gun control advocates and city leaders decried Pennsylvania’s preemption law, which does not allow any city to pass gun control laws that are stricter than those of the state.

The Jan. 6 Select Committee kicked off its series of hearings detailing the findings of its nearly year-long investigation of events leading up to and following the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The committee’s overriding theme was that former President Trump was the central character responsible for one of the darkest days in U.S. history.

And if we haven’t yet killed your buzz, the new inflation numbers came out this morning, and the news was not good. The inflation rate hit 8.6% in May, a 40-year high, causing stocks to drop sharply. And the experts say inflation hasn’t peaked yet.

Turning to brighter news, representatives from business, labor and children’s advocacy groups joined with officials from the United Way of Pennsylvania on Tuesday to promote a state Earned Income Tax Credit to help the working poor. The anti-poverty initiative could benefit as many as 874,000 low- to moderate-income Pennsylvania households.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced this week that Pennsylvania will cough up $8.25 million to help Berks County baby formula manufacturer ByHeart to increase capacity and hire more workers. ByHeart is the first infant formula manufacturer in the country in to be registered with the FDA in 15 years.

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a decision of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had ruled that the Pennsylvania law requiring voters to hand-date their mail-in ballots was immaterial because the ballot’s return envelope is post-marked by the U.S. Postal Service and time-stamped by counties when they receive it. The ruling meant that undated ballots could still be counted, as long as they arrived at the boards of election on or before Election Day.

The House Liquor Control Committee advanced a measure to ask voters whether Pennsylvania should get out of the liquor business. The measure now advances to the full House. It also would require Senate approval in the current legislative session, and approval by both the House and Senate again in the next legislative session because… well, this is Pennsylvania.

In a unanimous vote, the PA House approved a measure that would erase the word “homosexuality” from the definition of prohibited sexual acts in the state Crimes Code. Supporters said the bill cleans up language that does not belong there because homosexuality is not a crime. Senate consideration awaits.

And over in the Senate, lawmakers approved a bill that would ban the eligibility of transgender females to play girls’ and women’s sports. Governor Wolf has already declared the measure DOA.

The Port Authority of Allegheny County will henceforth be called Pittsburgh Regional Transit as the public transportation agency resumes a rebranding effort that was put on hold a couple of years ago due to the pandemic. The agency said the rebranding effort is designed to bring uniformity in color scheme, signs and transit stops to the system.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman has been out of the hospital for a couple of weeks following his stroke last month, and according to his wife, Gisele, it may be July before we see him back on the campaign trail. Fetterman, currently lieutenant governor, will face Mehmet Oz in November to determine who will succeed current Sen. Pat Toomey, who is not seeking reelection.

And now for a bit of Shameless Triad Self-Promotion, featuring Triad Partner Mike Acker, who made a Central Penn Business Journal list of the 2022 Power 30 for Law & Lobbyists. Way to go, Ack!

And in a monthly Capital recap in the Philadelphia Tribune, our Brandi Hunter-Davenport takes a look back at May.

Our We Can’t Make This Up segment takes us to Las Vegas, where if you were counting on The King to preside over your nuptials, we have some bad news. The licensing company that controls Elvis Presley’s name and image has put Las Vegas wedding chapels on notice that Elvis-themed weddings will not be permitted. Vegas weddings without Elvis is like Philly without cheesesteaks. Wayne Newton, anyone?

And so that wraps it up for this week as we slog through the state budget process! From your pals at Triad, have a great weekend, and meet us back here again next week.