December 03, 2021
🛍 Happy Friday! If you haven't started holiday shopping yet, you're officially late.
☀️ Today's weather: Mostly sunny with highs in the upper 40s.
Situational awareness: The Philadelphia City Council passed legislation Thursday mandating funeral homes to provide families of the deceased with information about transferring their home titles.
- We told you about Philadelphia's $1 billion tangled titles problem earlier this fall.
Today's newsletter is 941 words — a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: The influences of Roe ruling in Pennsylvania
Abortion will remain legal in Pennsylvania, up to about 24 weeks, if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. But protections are still vulnerable.
Driving the news: The nation's high court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a case over Mississippi's law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The big picture: The Supreme Court's decision could potentially overturn the 1973 ruling that set the precedent for a constitutional right to abortion.
- Without Roe, abortion laws vary by state, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez reports. Abortion would immediately become illegal in 12 states, none of which are located in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic region.
Zoom in: Pennsylvania isn't one of the 15 states with laws explicitly legalizing abortion, but it does have a long list of patchwork abortion restrictions.
- Pennsylvania bans abortions after 24 weeks. If Roe v. Wade is reversed, the state legislature could create a more restrictive law and send it to the governor to sign.
- However, Pennsylvania has a Republican-controlled legislature, and the term-limited governor's seat is up for grabs next year.
- Having both Republican-controlled executive and legislative branches would likely change the dynamics, potentially allowing for stricter laws to be enacted faster.
What they're saying: "I remain committed to do everything in my power to protect these rights for the rest of my term," Wolf said.
- Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who's running for governor next year, called this case an attempt to "rob women of their constitutional right to control their own bodies."
- Shapiro filed an amicus brief with several other states arguing Mississippi's law is unconstitutional.
The other side: Former Republican congressman and governor hopeful Lou Barletta told Axios in a statement that he hopes SCOTUS upholds the Mississippi law.
- "As Americans, we should do all that we can to protect the most vulnerable, and that should include unborn children," he said.
- Meanwhile, Republicans in the House and Senate are trying to amend Pennsylvania's constitution to clarify that there's no right to an abortion.
What to watch: The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in the summer of 2022.
2. (Some) streeteries could be permanent
Restaurant streeteries that popped up during the pandemic can remain permanent fixtures in Philly — but only in some areas of the city.
Driving the news: City Council passed a bill on Thursday that allows restaurants to continue operating outdoor dining service on street parking spaces in broad swaths of the city.
- That includes Center City, Fishtown, Main Street in Manayaunk, Old City and East Passyunk, among others.
Yes, but: Restaurants and other businesses outside of those pre-selected areas must get approval for a streetery through legislation, which means winning the support of their district legislator.
Flashback: Philly began offering temporary permits for sidewalk cafes and streeteries in response to the coronavirus pandemic last year.
- The city has issued 780 permits for sidewalk cafes and streeteries during the pandemic, said city Department of Licenses and Inspections spokesperson Karen Guss.
Between the lines: The outdoor dining options became lifelines for restaurants, which allowed them to offer in-person dining when COVID restrictions were in effect.
- Restaurants also got creative and set up Instagram-worthy streeteries inside igloos, greenhouses and yurts.
What they're saying: Councilmember Allan Domb, the main sponsor of the bill who had initially proposed to make streeteries permanent citywide, worked with Council President Darrell Clarke on the newly approved legislation.
- Clarke told Axios that streeteries in some areas have led to limited parking and raised accessibility issues.
- "There were significant swaths of residential communities where these things simply don't work," he said.
Of note: Council members also passed legislation that allows the sidewalk cafe permits issued during the pandemic to remain in place through 2022.
- City approvals for outdoor dining streeteries and cafes would have expired at the end of the year.
What's next: The legislation will go to Mayor Jim Kenney for his signature or veto.
3. News Market
🏘 Complaints about broken streetlights have tripled — up to 3,000 a month — after the city let a light-maintenance contract lapse in June. In one case last month, broken streetlights hindered a homicide investigation. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
💵 Philadelphians were able to get more Hurricane Ida aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency than any other county in the state. (WHYY)
📺 "Dr. Oz" got pulled from TV stations in Philly, New York City and Cleveland after announcing his run as a Republican for a Pennsylvania Senate seat. (NBC Philadelphia)
4. What to do this weekend
🕺 The new Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade — which runs from 2nd and Market streets to City Hall — will kick off at 5pm on Saturday.
- Expect balloons, marching bands, floats and dance groups, all celebrating the winter holidays.
🍻 Bring out your tacky holiday gear for The Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl this Saturday. Tickets run between $22.99-$39.99.
🎁 Buy gifts, baked goods and holiday deli items at this weekend's Luciafest & Christmas Market at the American Swedish Historical Museum. Admission is $5 for non-members 12 years old and up.
- Plus: Check out our list of holiday markets going on throughout the city.
- The day ends around 5:15pm with a procession of working boats decked out in holiday lights on the Delaware River, which is free.
5. 1 pic to go: Rising sun over Billy Penn
Billy Penn never looked so good standing atop City Hall.
- This photo concludes our final newsletter of the week. Have a great weekend, and we'll see you bright and early on Monday!
🎅 Mike is looking forward to taking his toddler to see Santa for the first time this weekend.
😋 Taylor is craving a coffee cake muffin from The Monkey & The Elephant cafe.
Editor's note: Story 2 has been corrected to reflect that Councilmember Allan Domb was the main sponsor of the newly approved streeteries bill.