News & Brews March 26, 2021

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Profile: Is this Josh Shapiro’s moment? 

PhillyMag has a long-form piece on Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s gubernatorial aspirations. It’s definitely an interesting read, but if you want the summary in a paragraph, it’s this one (from the piece): “The deal Shapiro offers to voters has always been this: I’m working for you, and I’ll get things done — as long as they benefit me as well, on my timeline, in a way that makes me look good.”

Candidates chosen for (another) special election

Parties have named their candidates to run for the special election to fill the seat vacated by the recent retirement of Rep. Jeff Pyle (Armstrong, Butler, and Indiana Counties). Republicans have selected Pyle’s former chief of staff, Abby Major. Democrats have picked Frank Prazenica, school board director in the Freeport Area School District and former superintendent of South Butler County School District. And the Libertarian Party endorsed Drew Hreha, a senior at Waynesburg University and editor of the campus newspaper. The election will be on May 18.

Shapiro loses at PA Supreme Court

The PA Supreme Court ruled Wednesday against Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s attempt to extract additional money from natural gas companies whom he claimed underpaid landowners with natural gas drilling leases. The 6-1 ruling held the state’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law protect buyers, but in oil and gas leases, the landowners are the sellers, not the buyers.

Commission starts looking at new transportation fees

Gov. Wolf’s Transportation Revenue Options Commission, recently established as his way to look at where the state can get more money in lieu of the gas tax, met yesterday for the first time. PennLive reports that among the revenue options mentioned were doubling vehicle registration fees, a vehicle sales tax, an electric car fee, a mileage-based user fee, tolling of interstates (currently not allowed by the federal government), and congestion pricing

PLCB illegally restricted wine shipping, high court rules

Everyone’s favorite liquor monopoly (or not) was dealt a blow yesterday when the state Supreme Court ruled the PLCB violated the law by preventing wine dealers from shipping wines not carried by the PLCB directly to retailers and restaurants. The Inquirer reports this “caused a headache for retailers during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic last year when state stores were completely closed. That meant anyone trying to sell wine to go — a lifeline for many restaurants and bars during the pandemic — had no access to their preferred wines for about five weeks.” Hey, here’s an idea. Let’s get government out of the booze business entirely. What a thought!

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