News & Brews February 11, 2021

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State parties endorse PA Supreme Court candidates

The state Republican and Democrat parties have endorsed their respective candidates for state Supreme Court–where one open seat will be up for election this year as Chief Justice Thomas Saylor will reach the mandatory judicial retirement age of 75. Democrats have endorsed Superior Court Judge Maria McLaughlin, while Republicans have endorsed Commonwealth Court President Judge Kevin Brobson. Democrats currently hold a 5-2 majority on the court, and retiring Chief Justice Saylor is a Republican.

PA’s COVID testing trails all neighbors save one

Of 17 states from Maine to North Carolina and west to Indiana, Pennsylvania ranks worse in COVID testing than every single state save Virginia. So reports a new analysis from the Delaware Valley Journal that reviewed testing data going from last April through this past February 5. Faced with the analysis, Gov. Wolf’s Department of Health tried to defend its actions, offering a list of its accomplishments, including testing 5,000 people at Walmart locations. Given our population of 12.8 million, it seems DOH’s bar for success could be a bit higher.

Op-ed: Biden fired me, by order of Big Labor

Our friend David Osborne, CEO of Americans for Fair Treatment, has an excellent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (paywall) on his recent firing from the Federal Services Impasse Panel (FSIP) by President Biden. FSIP helps resolve disputes that arise between the federal government and its unionized workforce. Osborne writes, “New presidents traditionally put their own people in executive-branch positions. What makes this clearing of the decks different is Mr. Biden’s close ties to powerful labor unions and the troubling reality that those unions will end up before the FSIP over issues that could change the way the federal government serves vulnerable Americans and cost taxpayers billions.”

Wolf admin refuses to release details on Department of State’s blunder

Pennsylvanians were stunned by the revelation that the Department of State failed in its basic duty to advertise a proposed constitutional amendment to aid victims of child sex abuse, delaying a vote on the amendment for another two years. Now, Spotlight PA reportsthat “the Wolf administration has declined to provide additional details of exactly what occurred, how it happened, who else was responsible for the error, and whether any other disciplinary action or terminations had resulted.” Transparency, anyone?

First Republican announces for U.S. Senate race

West Chester businessman Everett Stern has become the first person to officially announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that will be open following Sen. Pat Toomey’s decision not to seek reelection. While Stern is the first to announce, PennLive reports there is a “large field of Republican hopefuls interested in Toomey’s seat.”

Ziccarelli running for Westmoreland County DA

Republican Nicole Ziccarelli, who recently lost her challenge to Democrat Sen. Jim Brewster by 69 votes following a weeks-long court battle, has announced her candidacy for Westmoreland County District Attorney. Ziccarelli, who’s worked as an attorney for more than 16 years, aims to unseat six-term incumbent John Peck.

Former State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf dies

Condolences are pouring in following the death yesterday of longtime state Senator Stewart Greenleaf, Sr. A Republican from Montgomery County, Greenleaf served in the legislature for more than 40 years, and friends and former colleagues from both sides of the aisle responded to his death with sadness combined with praise and admiration for his work. We extend our condolences to Sen. Greenleaf’s family.

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