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PA Supreme Court Election Rulings; Philly City Council Passes Police Reforms; NJ Tax Rich, Give Poor
 
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 09/17/20 11:57 pm | updated: 09/17/20 11:57 pm
 
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled on several election related cases on Thursday, 9/17. The court ruled that mail-in ballots that are postmarked by Election Day, Tuesday, November 3 can still be counted if they are received by 5 p.m. Friday, November 6. Pennsylvania is considered an important swing state and this extension in counting could delay the declaration of a presidential winner. Another ruling removed the Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins from the ballot. The court also ruled that counties could use satellite election offices and drop off boxes to collect mail-in ballots instead of sending them through the mail. Poll workers also can only work in the county that they are registered to vote. All of those decisions are favorable to the Democrats. In a ruling that is favorable to Republicans, the court ruled that people cannot deliver another person's ballot. This is sometimes called "ballot harvesting" or "community collection." County election offices can now start sending out mail-in ballots to voters who have already requested one. They had to hold off printing ballots until it was known who the final candidates would be.

Philadelphia City Council passed two police reform measures on Thursday, 9/17. The first bill will require a public hearing to get public input as part of the police contract negotiation process. A hearing would be held 30 days before the City of Philadelphia sends an initial proposal to the Fraternal Order of Police. The vote was 15-2. Councilmembers Bobby Henon and Brian J. O'Neill voted no. "This legislation seeks to mandate public transparency and accountability in a process that has been shrouded in secrecy for far too long," said bill sponsor Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson. "We can no longer afford to have these important discussions happen behind closed doors."

The other bill bans officers from using chokeholds and kneeling on a subject's neck or back. It passed unanimously. That bill was sponsored by Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson. He said, "The bill was introduced in the spirit of George Floyd, who lost his life," Johnson said. Philadelphia Police Department policy already bans the use of chokeholds and kneeling on subjects, it does not explicitly ban kneeling on the neck. This bill will formally codify the reform into law.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has come to an agreement with lawmakers on a tax increase for the rich and a tax rebate for lower to middle income families. The governor made the announcement on Thursday, 9/17, alongside Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver. Higher income residents will face a marginal income tax rise increase from 8.97% to 10.75% on income over $1 million. Other the other side, single people with at least one child earning up to $75,000 and families earning up to $150,000 may get a rebate up to $500. The rebate will be means-tested, so not everyone will get the full $500. "We know that over the course of this pandemic and frankly before it began that our middle class needed help and that countless families working hard to achieve their middle class dreams needed an extra push," Murphy said. Murphy had promised voters during his election campaign that he'd tax the rich. The two measures could end up canceling each other out in the state's budget.

 
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