Welcome to The Philly Four, a daily recap of four of the top stories from the Philadelphia area, covering everything from local government to the Phillies bullpen. A one-stop shop for the most important news bites in the City of Brotherly Love.
- Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke said that he wants to change the rules about when a councilmember can recuse themselves from a vote. Under the current system, city council members can recuse themselves or be disqualified due to conflicts of interests up until the final vote. Clarke would like to vet members at the beginning of the process, within five days of a bill or resolution being introduced.
- The State Supreme Court is currently hearing the case against former Philadelphia police officer Ryan Pownall who shot David Jones in 2017. The issue at hand is the state's use of force law that allows officers to use deadly force on suspects that are attempting to flee if the officer believes that the suspect committed a "forceable felony" and has a deadly weapon. Pownall was the first Philadelphia cop to be charged with murder since 1999.
- Philadelphia City Council's Committee on Streets and Services held a hearing about a bill that would limit the decibels a car could make. Cars that create noise that is five-decibel levels over background noise measured at 25 feet away would be in violation. The bill would be enforced by cameras and sound measuring devices.
- On Dec. 3, the omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected in Philadelphia, the first infection in the state. Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said it was not unexpected to have a case appear. Though little is concretely known about the variant, a non-peer-reviewed study from South Africa found that omicron has a higher reinfection rate than the detla variant.