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RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• Turmoil results in ‘Independent’ House speaker and no majority

A deal struck by Harrisburg Republicans — which reportedly shocked rank-and-file members on both sides — resulted in Pa.’s first Independent House speaker, Rep. Mark Rozzi of Berks County. A longtime Democrat, Rozzi hasn’t confirmed he’ll actually switch registration, but did pledge to push through his longtime goal: extending the statute of limitations on suing for childhood abuse (it would’ve been on the 2020 ballot had the DOS not forgotten to advertise it). His move means if Dems win three Feb. 7 special elections as expected, the House will be split 101-101, and Philly Rep. McClinton may not get to become the state’s first Black woman speaker. [Capital-Star/Pa. House/Spotlight PA/Inquirer$]

• Shapiro picks Philly Republican for secretary of state

Bipartisanship appears to be trending in the state capital this year: Democratic Gov.-elect Shapiro nominated Republican Al Schmidt to be his secretary of state. Schmidt knows all about running elections, one of the office’s key responsibilities, from his decade as city commissioner in Philadelphia. Schmidt was a prime defender of Philly’s 2020 election integrity, garnering death threats after Trump called him out, and for that work last week he was honored by Biden with the Presidential Citizens Medal. [Billy Penn/BP 2020/WHYY]

• PGW says it found no leaks to cause Port Richmond explosion

PGW cast doubt on the idea that the New Year’s Day explosion in Port Richmond — which destroyed three homes and damaged more than 40 others — was caused by a faulty gas main. The agency said it found the lines it manages were in “good operating condition.” An investigation is ongoing, but could take a year to complete. Neighborhood residents are skeptical; the area suffered a similar gas-fueled explosion two decades ago. The city published a list of resources for anyone affected. [Billy Penn/WHYY’s PlanPhilly/Morning Call/Phila Gov]

• Eagles Xmas album tops the charts

A Philly Special Christmas,” the charity album featuring holiday songs performed by three Eagles players, made it to No. 1 on Billboard’s compilation chart. A positive omen? Birds fans will take all they can get as Jalen Hurts makes a return to try to clinch the No. 1 seed. Meanwhile, the Eagles have been paying homage to the Bills’ Damar Hamlin, who is recovering well from his cardiac arrest — with the top-selling jersey across all sports, he facetimed with Fanatics’ owner Michael Rubin and buddy Meek Mill. [BP/Billboard/NFL/CBS3/BP/CNN/@JClarkNBCS]

Boathouse Row in winter Credit: Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• Mayoral candidates court constituencies

With many longtime political players among the nine declared candidates for Philly mayor, word is the Democratic City Committee may not make an endorsement. That means unless former Mayor Nutter jumps in — here’s a look at his time in office — a lead of 10,000 to 15,000 could win the May primary, a de facto overall victory given Philadelphia’s D-to-R registration imbalance. Expect hopefuls to attend as many meetings and forums as possible, like the livestreamed series Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church began last month. [Billy Penn/Eventbrite/Enon Tab]

• School selection process wraps up

Students in the Philadelphia School District who’ve applied to magnet or specialized schools will find out results of the lottery at the end of this week or early next. The process was overhauled last year, resulting in many more Black and Hispanic kids accepted to the city’s most selective schools. This year’s procedure is similar, but the controversial essay writing portion has been eliminated and state test scores were reinstated. [Chalkbeat/Phila SD/WHYY]

• Why the Rocky statue is such a draw

Podcast listeners: Get ready for a new jam. The first of six episodes of “The Statue” drops on Tuesday. Framing Rocky as “the most famous Philadelphian who never lived,” the pod from WHYY Digital Studios (including former BP reporter Michaela Winberg) examines the myths, mystique, and magnetic draw of the famed monument at the base of the Art Museum steps. It’s hosted by Paul Farber of Monument Lab. [WHYY/PhillyVoice/Monument Lab]

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Danya Henninger

Danya Henninger is director of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the...