The ceiling of the main Rotunda inside Pennsylvania’s Capitol building. (Photo by Amanda Berg for the Capital-Star).
Happy weekend, all.
With Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro scheduled to give his first budget address next Tuesday, Senate Republicans this week outlined their “principles and priorities” for the 2023-24 state budget.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Senate GOP leadership said their budget priorities will protect jobs, empower families and defend freedoms.
Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman, R-Indiana, said that inflation and energy are top priorities for the caucus.
“There is no doubt that inflation is an issue crippling working families, and access to reliable and affordable energy is key to keeping rising costs under control,” Pittman said on Wednesday. “Increasing energy independence, creating a strong workforce and investing in infrastructure are critical to moving Pennsylvania forward.”
The caucus also pointed to education and workforce development as areas of focus ahead of budget negotiations.
“We are focused on putting forward legislation and ideas that help families restore economic freedom while positioning communities to thrive,” Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, said. “As we work to strengthen Pennsylvania and empower families, we would like to take the opportunity presented to us by the courts and work with the governor and House to establish a 21st-century education framework that ensures every student in Pennsylvania is workforce-ready and has the opportunity to get a degree or obtain a skill to secure a job. We also hope to expand upon the childcare tax credit which we enacted last year and push for investments in behavioral and mental health.”
As always, the top five stories from this week are below.
U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman of Pennsylvania joined a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday introducing new legislation aimed at preventing future freight train derailments like the one last month in East Palestine, Ohio.
Darlington Township, Pennsylvania was also affected by the wreck of the Norfolk Southern train that carried hazardous materials including vinyl chloride. Residents have raised concerns about how the air, water, and soil in the area were affected after Norfolk Southern conducted a controlled release of vinyl chloride in the days following the derailment, claiming it was necessary to avoid an explosion.
Despite an overdose epidemic that killed 107,000 people last year, nearly 9 in 10 Americans who need medication to treat their addiction to deadly opioids aren’t receiving it.
Surprising new results from a first-of-its-kind study in Rhode Island could hold a key to getting addiction medication to more people who need it: allowing patients to get prescriptions at their local pharmacy rather than a doctor’s office. The change would particularly help those with low incomes who lack housing and transportation, the study found.
Gov. Josh Shapiro released a strongly worded letter to the president of Norfolk Southern on Tuesday, criticizing the railroad’s unilateral decision-making in the aftermath of the Feb. 3 derailment of a train loaded with hazardous chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio.
Shapiro’s letter to Norfolk Southern President and CEO Alan Shaw followed a meeting with elected officials and emergency management officials in Beaver County. The derailment happened a quarter-mile from Pennsylvania’s border with Ohio.
Last October in Sandusky, Ohio, a Norfolk Southern train derailed 21 cars and spilled 10,000 gallons of paraffin wax.
In 2020, a Norfolk Southern conductor tried to pull out of a Rossville, Tennessee train yard while one car was still connected to an unloading tower. The accident released about 500 gallons of maelic anhydride — an irritant for the eyes and respiratory tract that’s useful in making resins.
One block away from Kensington Avenue “A.” sat in a wheelchair after having recently gotten out of the hospital.
Doctors at Temple University Hospital told her that if she had waited to come in one more day she would’ve lost her leg. The doctors drained her wound and gave her medication to help it heal.
“It’s terrible. My leg was looking really good when they discharged me … and the second I was back out here, it got infected all over again,” said the woman, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about her experiences.
And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.
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