News & Brews February 12, 2021

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GOP candidates line up for vacant senate seat

There’s no shortage of Republican candidates interested in running for the senate seat left vacant by the passing of Sen. Dave Arnold last month. The seat, which includes all of Lebanon County and parts of Dauphin and York counties, has drawn interest fromnine Republicans. So far, no Democrats have stepped forward to run in the heavily Republican district.

For wrongly convicted, Wolf proposes $50K for each year in prison

PennLive reports that “[t]ucked into Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2021-22 budget plan is a proposal for Pennsylvania to pay people who were wrongly convicted $50,000 for each year that they were held behind bars.” According to the Wolf administration, as of now about 70 people could qualify for these payments.

Op-Ed: Voters fight back against power-hungry governor

Charles Mitchell, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation, has an op-ed in The Federalist encouraging other states to follow Pennsylvania’s lead in pursuing a constitutional remedy to unchecked executive power during times of emergency.

Unions, lobbyists upset over vaccine prioritization

Unions and other taxpayer-funded lobbyists are upset that Gov. Wolf is following federal guidance for the COVID vaccine which made individuals 65 and older, as well as those younger with serious medical conditions, eligible. Instead, they argue teachers should be prioritized. WESA reports that the Wolf administration “replied … that it will not accelerate vaccinations for school staff.”

2020 may be PA’s worst year for fatal drug overdoses

Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Jennifer Smith said 2020 may turn out to be Pennsylvania’s worst year of drug overdose deaths, surpassing the previous record set three years earlier. While all the data is not yet in, she tied the increase in drug overdose deaths to climbing poverty rates, unemployment, and social isolation brought by the pandemic. Of course, much of this isolation and unemployment was caused not by COVID but by the government.

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