July 2: The effects of SCOTUS immunity

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🗓️ What’s happening todayThe State House convenes at 11 a.m., and the Senate bangs the gavel at 1 p.m.

👂 What do we hearThe Commonwealth Foundation’s Q2 Common Ground poll shows more than half of respondents disapprove of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal and do not believe the governor has achieved significant successes during his time in office.

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The best story

1. Supreme Court rules that former presidents have some immunity for official acts

“The Supreme Court ruled by a 6-3 majority that the former president has absolute immunity and cannot violate his basic constitutional powers.

Basic constitutional powers include the appointment of ambassadors and foreign governments.

Former presidents are also entitled to at least a presumption of immunity for their official actions.” (PoliticsPA)

  • The Supreme Court has ruled that former presidents have broad immunity, reducing the chances of Trump being tried before the election. (AP)
  • An explanation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on presidential immunity — and what it means for Trump’s ability to stand trial. (“Philadelphia Inquirer”)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Trump will receive a reprieve but not complete immunity from prosecution, a legal expert from western Pennsylvania says. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
  • In this session, the Supreme Court deals a final, powerful blow to the “administrative state”. (known)


New polls after debate show Trump with clear lead over Biden in Pennsylvania“A new Cygnal poll shows Trump with a good chance of repeating his 2016 victory, leading Biden in the Keystone State by 4 percentage points.” (Washington Examiner)

7 Democrats Considered as Potential Biden Successors“If President Joe Biden were to step down, several prominent Democrats could be in line as potential successors, including Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro.” (Hill)

What we know about Jill Biden’s visit to the Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. “First Lady Jill Biden will visit Allentown on Tuesday, where she will appear alongside U.S. Rep. Susan Wild and other elected officials to discuss educational and employment opportunities for the Hispanic community.” (Morning call from Allentown)

Sen. Bob Casey endorses Biden, says voters will decide on issues, not bad debate“Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said Monday that President Joe Biden is in a position to run a strong race and serve a second term in the Oval Office, standing alongside his close ally in a key battleground state after a disastrous debate performance that prompted some national Democrats to question his candidacy.” (AP)

  • Bob Casey says Joe Biden had a gritty night in his first comments on the president’s debate performance. (“Philadelphia Inquirer”)
  • Casey defends Biden; GOP Super PAC plans to buy McCormick ad for $24 million. (DV Journal)

2. PA Missed Budget Deadline. What’s Next?

Capitol Steps in Harrisburg

Pennsylvania’s budget is delayed for the second year in a row, even as top lawmakers say they hope for a quick deal after a weekend of closed-door talks.

State government will continue to function without a spending deal. The commonwealth is required to continue paying its employees, making debt payments, and paying federal programs like Medicaid, among other obligations. Schools, mental health and addiction treatment centers, and libraries will only face a crisis if the delay drags on into a week-long standoff.” (PA reflector)


Shapiro Calls SCOTUS Immunity Ruling ‘Dark Day for America’ “Speaking in Lackawanna County, Gov. Josh Shapiro responded to the Supreme Court’s presidential immunity decision by calling it a “dark day for America.”” (PoliticsPA)

PA budget negotiations continue, but no final agreement on higher education changes has been reached“The constitutional deadline for approving the budget passed on Sunday evening, but the lack of an approved spending plan for 2024-25 is unlikely to affect state operations unless it lasts for many weeks.” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

Bogen confirmed as health minister. “Dr. Debra Bogen officially became secretary of the Pennsylvania State Department of Health after being finally confirmed by the Senate on Monday.” (Central Square)

As gun violence plummets in Pennsylvania, attention turns to what works“Gun homicides in Pennsylvania are down 23% from a year ago in the first four months of 2024, according to the Center for American Progress. Pennsylvania had the second-largest decline in the country last year.” (WITF)

Around the Commonwealth of Nations

3. Pittsburgh College Student Political Leaders React to Presidential Debate

“Regardless of their views, student leaders from Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and Point Park University largely agreed that college voters are not enthusiastic about their choices.

While both presidential candidates are approaching or have already passed the age of 80, they must now appeal to the millions of 18- to 22-year-olds who gained the right to vote in 2020. (THAT’S IT)


Cabell wins Commonwealth Court appeal to uphold one provisional vote and reject another“The Commonwealth Court issued a ruling Monday on one of three pending appeals in the tight race for the 117th Republican congressional district — a ruling that grants incumbent Michael Cabell’s motion to count one provisional paper vote and reject another.” (Leader of the times)

Washington County Voters Take Legal Action Against Commissioners Over Mail-In Voting DQ Policy“Washington County’s elected commissioners were sued Monday by voters who say a policy to fix mail-in voting disenfranchised voters who believed their votes would be counted.” (PoliticsPA)

The organization of the school board may be subject to Pennsylvania’s public records law.“The organization representing 500 Pennsylvania school districts would have to follow the same transparency rules as most other government agencies, under legislation the Senate passed Monday in a nearly unanimous 28-22 vote.” (PennLive)

SNAP errors remain high“New USDA data released Friday shows that many states continue to report high payment error rates for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the nation’s largest anti-hunger program. Six states, including Pennsylvania, received notice of financial penalties for two years of poor performance. All reported payment error rates were 15 percent or higher in 2023, the new data shows.” (POLITICIAN)


4. What do you mean

1 Food Thing

5. Shady Maple named best in the country

Shady Maple Smorgasbord - Lancaster's Largest Smorgasbord Restaurant

“Pennsylvania has many great accomplishments to offer, and now we can add buffets to that list.

According to USA Today’s 2024 10Best Readers’ Choice ranking, two of the 10 best buffets in the country are located in Lancaster County.

Shady Maple Smorgasbord, which claims to be “the largest buffet in America,” took the top spot on the list. The East Earl restaurant serves Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine on a 200-foot buffet.” (Cornerstone)

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