Last Week Today is a roundup of all things politics and civics that happened in Philadelphia during the previous week. This includes legislation, news from political officials, government initiatives, and internet ephemera.
Weekend – 8.4 – 8.6
Kenney Endorses Krasner
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney endorsed Democratic District Attorney nominee Larry Krasner, obviously.
— Alicia Lozano (@aliciavlozano) August 3, 2017
Monday – 8.7
A Waste-Free Philly
Mayor Kenney is calling for Philly to be a waste-free city by 2035. He wrote a letter for Philly.com outlining his vision and an action plan that will be executed by the newly-created Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet. Kenney called for collective action in the article, saying everyone in the city must do their part to help the city reduce waste and litter.
In Philadelphia, a city where litter is all over the place, that’s going to be a huge undertaking.
If Philly succeeds in implementing its new Zero Waste plan, the nickname Filthadelphia may be obsolete by 2035. https://t.co/WDjZC3oFfy
— PlanPhilly (@PlanPhilly) August 7, 2017
Tuesday – 8.8
Kids must now have all their required vaccinations before the first day of school, according to new PA health rules. Students without the required vaccinations will be excluded, unless they meet religious or medical exceptions. The new rules also require more vaccinations than before.
Pipeline Dispute Settled
Protesters and environmentalists are happy after a settlement with Sunoco LP that requires the company to more strictly monitor the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline. The agreement also requires Sunoco to hire experts to reevaluate the current plans at over 60 locations along the 350-mile pipeline. Environmental groups in the settlement cited nearly 100 instances of spills or leaks during the first three months of construction.
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) August 9, 2017
Wednesday – 8.9
New Philly Casino
A proposed plan for a new South Philly casino, Stadium, has been approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The casino and hotel will be owned by Watche Manoukian, the owner of Parx Casino in Bensalem.
Laws in PA prevent casino owners from owning over 33.3 percent of another casino. Manoukian avoided the law by gifting his sons money so that they could also be part-owners of Stadium, lowering his ownership stake to below 33.3 percent.
Tax On Utilities
Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering adding a tax on utilities in an effort to fill the $2.2 billion gap in the state’s budget. The tax squeaked past the Senate, 26-24, and should meet similar controversy in the House. The bill raises taxes on electric and telephone utility bills, among other things. It also introduces a new tax for people who use natural gas to heat their homes.
PA Sen revenue bill: severance tax, tax on utilities, expanded s tax nexus, tax on fireworks, manuf credits, NOL reform, $1.3B in borrowing.
— Ryan Maness (@RyanLManess) July 27, 2017
Thursday – 8.10
Opioid Epidemic is a National Emergency
The opioid epidemic, which has ravaged Pennsylvania, is now being considered a national emergency by the administration of President Donald Trump. The epidemic killed over 900 Philadelphians last year. Pennsylvania ranks 4th highest in heroin deaths among US states. It ranks 7th for deaths from all opioids, including deaths from opioid-based prescription medication.
Trump has yet to outline what he will do about the issue, but declaring it a national emergency should increase funding for the issue, which should more people into treatment.