News & Brews February 19, 2021

Get News & Brews in your inbox each day: Sign up here!

PennDOT identifies nine bridges it wants to toll

A couple weeks ago, I shared that PennDOT was moving forward with a plan to toll up to 10 major bridges across the state. Well, yesterday the agency announced its list of nine targets, and not surprisingly, lots of folks are unhappy. Included in the list are the I-83 bridge in Harrisburg along with four bridges on I-80, one on I-81, one on I-95, one on I-78, and one on I-79. PennLive has the specifics.

Kenyatta announces for U.S. Senate

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta has entered the contest for U.S. Senate, announcing his candidacy yesterday. The Philadelphia Democrat has already won several union endorsements, including the American Federation of Teachers, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and the Working Families Party. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Kenyatta is “casting himself as a champion of working people who would make history as Pennsylvania’s first Black and first openly gay senator.”

Op-Ed: Wolf pretends to help kids while selling them out

Commonwealth Foundation Senior Education Policy Analyst Marc LeBlond doesn’t mince any words in taking Gov. Wolf to task for “making a show of helping kids, while funneling education money to special interests.” LeBlond also addresses the myth of “chronic underfunding” of education. Read his piece here.

Op-Ed: Why businesses aren’t coming to PA

Sen. Scott Martin (Lancaster County) has an op-ed in the Center Square pointing out that while 18,000 businesses have left California in recent years, they’re not coming to PA. Instead, they’re looking for “refuge in states with more business-friendly tax and regulatory laws.” Martin lists several changes Pennsylvania can make to become such a state, and these changes don’t include Gov. Wolf’s proposed 46% income tax hike.

Independent review commission says ‘not so fast’ on RGGI

The state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC), which is tasked with reviewing proposed regulations from state agencies to consider (among other things) their economic and fiscal impact, has asked the state to hold off on joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) until 2023. The Center Square reports that the IRRC says “too many questions remain about the program’s purported environmental and health benefits, as well as its impact on the economy and the overall cost it would impose on electricity consumers.” On the one side, Gov. Wolf and his allies have pushed to join RGGI, while on the other, many–including multiple lawmakers–are concerned it would spike electricity costs for Pennsylvanians. You can read the IRRC’s report here.

Judge denies restaurant’s request to stay open while fighting Wolf’s orders

An Allegheny County judge has denied a request from the Crack’d Egg to remain open as it appeals its challenge to Gov. Wolf’s COVID orders. The judge had previously said the restaurant could stay open during its appeal only if it followed the mandates of the Allegheny County Health Department, which the restaurant is declining to do.

SCOTUS to consider whether to take case on PA’s mail-in voting law

While denying an earlier request to fast-track the request, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider a petition brought by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly challenging mail-in voting in PA. The Post-Gazette reports, “In a closed-door session on Friday [today], the U.S. Supreme Court will discuss if it wants to hear a case on the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law”. One law professor, however, says most of the time the court says no and does so quickly, adding it’s likely we’ll know their decision by next week.


Sign up to get News & Brews in your inbox