Katie McGinty Resigns as Tom Wolf’s Chief of Staff

Katie McGinty has made up her mind.

According to Governor Tom Wolf‘s spokesperson, Jeffrey Sheridan, McGinty has resigned today as the governor’s chief of staff. Effective as of close of business today, said Sheridan, “Katie McGinty is no longer chief of staff and no longer on payroll.”

A report earlier today by National Journal‘s Alex Roarty said that she would resign tomorrow in an attempt to run for Pennsylvania Senator against Pat Toomey in the 2016 general election. McGinty will not make a formal Senate declaration tomorrow, Roarty writes, but the resignation after seven months — when she was appointed Chief of Staff by Governor Wolf when he took office in January — would seem to be a strong indication that she’ll throw her hat in the Senate ring. He added that his own sources expect a formal announcement on that front in the coming weeks. Read more »

The Brief: Another Water Main Broke in West Philly

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

1. It’s the summer of water main breaks.

The gist: A 12-inch water main broke in West Philadelphia on Tuesday evening, according to 6ABC. It led to interruptions in SEPTA’s trolley service, and traffic had to be shut down in some areas surrounding 33rd and Market streets. Not much information beyond that is currently available in media reports. Read more »

GOP Will Try Again to Let NRA Sue Pennsylvania Cities

Background | Shutterstock.com

Background | Shutterstock.com

If at first you don’t succeed…

A Republican legislator is trying to revive a bill that would allow third-party organizations like to NRA to sue Pennsylvania towns and cities for having overly restrictive gun laws. An earlier version of the law was struck down in March by a Commonwealth Court panel that said the legislature had passed the bill in an unconstitutionally opaque fashion.

“The court’s decision was based merely on technical procedural rules, meaning that the substance of the legislation itself was never called into question,” Rep. Mark Keller, a Republican from South Central Pennsylvania, said in a memorandum to colleagues. Read more »

Report: Katie McGinty Close to Deciding on Senate Challenge to Pat Toomey

Katie McGinty

The wooing of Katie McGinty has apparently become quite serious.

When last we checked in, McGinty — Gov. Tom Wolf‘s chief of staff — had been approached about running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Pat Toomey by Democratic leaders desperate not to have Joe Sestak represent the party on the ballot next fall. But Ed Rendell pooh-poohed the whole thing and that, we figured, was probably that.

Think again.

“This weekend the DSCC held a retreat at Martha’s Vineyard. Dozens of Senators and Senate candidates were there. So was Katie McGinty,” PoliticsPA reports. “PoliticsPA has learned she flew to the event on a chartered flight with over fifteen Senators. We were also able to confirm with McGinty’s top political strategist Mike Mikus that she left on Friday night and returned Sunday.”

She’s apparently generating enthusiasm that Sestak, who lost to Toomey in 2010, hasn’t been able to muster.  Read more »

The Brief: Philly’s Hotel Occupancy Rates Explode to a Modern High

Convention-Center

The Pennsylvania Convention Center | Photo by Jeff Fusco

1. Philadelphia’s hotels were more booked last month than during any other June since 1993.

The gist: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Center City’s hotel occupancy rates “reached 89.4 percent in June, the highest June rate since 1993″ and that hotels were “booked nearly to full capacity on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at 97.9 percent and 96.4 percent, respectively.” The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau attributes the hotel industry’s success partly to three big conventions that took place here last month.

Read more »

The Brief: Every Philly School May Soon Have a Counselor

School District of Philadelphia

Photo by Jeff Fusco

1. An arbitrator has decided that Philadelphia must have at least one full-time counselor per school.

The gist: That’s because the school district’s contract with the teachers union stipulates that all schools must have one. NewsWorks reports that arbitrator Ralph Colflesh also ruled in the union’s favor on other matter:

An independent arbitrator has ruled against the Philadelphia School District for not taking seniority into account when rehiring laid-off school counselors in 2013.

Facing a large budget shortfall in the summer of 2013, the school district furloughed all guidance counselors.

As school began, and additional funding came through, many were hired back, but without regard for seniority.

Following a union complaint, arbitrator Ralph Colflesh has now ruled against that action — saying that the district must provide back pay for those more senior counselors bypassed by the district.

The district, however, says it is going to appeal the decision.

Read more »

GOP Budget Falls Short of Philly Schools Request

School District of Philadelphia

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the GOP-led legislature’s state budget Tuesday night, in part, he said, because it would set aside far less education funding than he believes is fair.

How much less?

Earlier this year, the Philadelphia School District asked state lawmakers for an extra $206 million. The Republican bill would have provided only an additional $21.8 million to the school district, according to data from Senate GOP spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher. That’s about 11 percent of the surplus funding that district officials said they need. Read more »

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