News & Brews March 23, 2021

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McSwain takes step toward running for governor 

Former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain has formed a political action committee,Freedom PA,” which the Inquirer reports, gives him “a vehicle to raise campaign cash and promote his political profile now that he’s out of public office but eyeing a campaign in 2022.” McSwain has not announced a run for governor, but the story notes his new PAC is “his most significant step yet toward a run.”

Wolf announces solar energy plan

Yesterday, the Wolf administration announced its intent that by 2023, half of state government’s electricity will come from solar energy. The Center Square reports that Wolf’s plan “will harness 191 megawatts from seven solar arrays in central Pennsylvania to cover 100% of the electricity needs for more than 400 accounts across 16 state agencies, the Department of General Services said.” Read more here.

Ballot questions fail clarity test

Spotlight PA is joining the growing number of voices noting the Wolf administration’s phrasing of two ballot questions to amend our state constitution is anything but clear. In addition to GOP lawmakers raising concern, the piece notes, “Berwood Yost, director of the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College, recently wrote that these questions need to give voters the ‘information they need to make an informed decision.’ And on that account, he wrote, the Department of State failed.”

Op-Eds: Vote yes on constitutional amendments

Senator Judy Ward had an op-ed in the York Daily Record recounting how “two weeks to flatten the curve” turned into 52 weeks of Gov. Wolf refusing to work with the Legislature. Ward urges “yes” votes on two constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot in May that would restore a legislative check and balance on Wolf’s executive powers. Separately, the Commonwealth Foundation’s Elizabeth Stelle has an op-ed in the Delaware Valley Journal urging support for both proposed amendments

Amendment to aid victims of child sex abuse must start process again

After the Wolf administration’s Department of State failed to advertise a proposed constitutional amendment to expand the window during which survivors of child sex abuse can sue, lawmakers floated the idea of advancing the amendment via an emergency process. That idea will not come to fruition however, as lawmakers determined the measure does not rise to the level of an emergency for the purposes of amending the constitution. As Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward noted, emergency constitutional amendments are meant to be used only when something is imminently threatening “the safety or welfare of the commonwealth.”

Profile: House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton

Rep. Joanna McClinton (Philadelphia and Delaware counties) made history by becoming the first woman elected as a House floor leader in PA history. PennLive spoke with her about her childhood dreams of becoming a lawyer (goal: achieved) as well as her path to House Minority Leader and her priorities in the Legislature. Read the story here. Separately, be sure to check out PennLive’s “10 things to know” about Leader McClinton.

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