News & Brews April 8, 2021

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Two more enter (or at least almost enter) U.S. Senate race

Republican Sean Parnell, who challenged Democrat U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb last year but lost 51-49%, is “99% sure” he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2022, the Inquirer reports. Meanwhile, across the state, political newcomer Kevin Baumlin, who is chief of emergency and urgent care services at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philly, announced he’s entering the race as a Democrat because of the COVID death toll and his belief that leaders failed to act properly to address COVID.

Shapiro not happy taking questions on suing Trump, funding for ad

In case we were wondering what it takes to get Attorney General Josh Shapiro angry, we need wonder no more. During yesterday’s budget hearing, Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (York County) asked Shapiro about the number (and cost to taxpayers) of the many lawsuits he brought against former President Trump’s administration. Phillips-Hill also asked about who paid for a TV ad Shapiro appeared in after the election. Shapiro apparently didn’t like either question, telling the Senator, “Your line of questioning, I don’t appreciate the tone of it.” Perhaps he’s forgetting who he works for. Watch the exchange here.

Inquirer won’t correct false education funding claim

On Monday, I shared that the Inquirer had falsely reported that “[s]tate lawmakers have drastically reduced state funding for public schools over the last generation.” The claim quickly drew attention given the reality is that from 1990 to 2019, total K-12 education funding per student in PA increased by 73% (inflation-adjusted) and state funding alone rose 68%. But Broad + Liberty reports that faced with the facts, the Inquirer is standing by its false narrative. The Inky writer, Maria Panaritis, tried to justify her statement by saying she’s looking at the “state share of what it pays for school district costs,” compared with the local share. But Corey DeAngelis, national director of research at American Federation for Children, explains why the Inky’s explanation falls flat. Read more here.

This year’s judicial elections explained

WHYY dives into this year’s judicial elections, looking at who’s running for our three statewide courts, what each of the courts does, notable past decisions by the courts, and more. In this year’s races, we have endorsed the Republican ticket led by Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Brobson, who is running for state Supreme Court. The ticket includes Chester County Attorney Megan Sullivan, who is running for the single Superior Court vacancy, and McKean County Attorney Stacy Wallace and Commonwealth Court Judge Drew Crompton, who are running for two spots on Commonwealth Court.

Wolf’s (latest) position on vaccine passports

It’s tough being governor. You’re expected to answer questions and perhaps even give consistent answers. That can be hard. In February, Gov. Wolf called vaccination “a personal health decision” (time stamp 3:13 in this video). In March, Wolf said he didn’t have a position on so-called COVID “vaccine passports,” and then 24 seconds later said he would support them (see question beginning at 16:10 here). Now it’s April, and Wolf is back to not having a position on vaccine passports (see question beginning at 24:40 here). We can’t wait to see what May brings!

On May 18, VoteYesPA to save lives and livelihoods

On May 18, voters can approve two proposed constitutional amendments that would restore a legislative check and balance on Gov. Wolf’s (and any future governor’s) emergency powers. Check out, which has resources including link to request a mail-in ballot, a VoteYesPA sign you can download and print, a sample email businesses can send encouraging others to vote yes on May 18, and more.

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