News & Brews April 19, 2021

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Barletta nearing gubernatorial run? 

The Inquirer reports that former Congressman Lou Barletta “is moving toward a potential run for governor by forming a political group focused on state issues.” His new political action committee, Change PA(C), will allow him to raise money, and its formation is similar to the recent move by former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, who is also reportedly considering a gubernatorial run.

Nearly half of PA nursing home staff declining COVID vaccine

The Wolf administration revealed that almost half the staff at Pennsylvania’s nursing homes have declined to take the COVID vaccine. While the administration expressed deep concern over this, perhaps the better question for officials and media alike would be an objective study of why many healthcare professionals continue to have varying views on the vaccine. Perhaps “settled” science isn’t so settled after all.

Wolf admin continues to defend its COVID response

PennLive handed the mic to Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam and Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Randy Padfield to let them defend Gov. Wolf’s unilateral rule over the past year. Enjoy.

Commonwealth Court candidates forum tonight

Republican and Democrat candidates for Commonwealth Court will participate in a virtual forum tonight from 6:30-8:00 pm. Read more here, and register for free at this link. We at Commonwealth Partners have endorsed the Republican judicial ticket led by Judge Kevin Brobson, who is running for Supreme Court. Also on the ticket are Superior Court candidate Megan Sullivan and Commonwealth Court candidates Stacy Wallace and Judge Drew Crompton. The latter two will be participating in tonight’s Commonwealth Court election forum.

House lawmaker proposes COVID Freedom Act

Rep. Dawn Keefer (York and Cumberland counties) plans to propose the COVID Freedom Act to ensure “that citizens cannot be discriminated against by their government or businesses operating within the state based on whether or not they have been vaccinated.” It would also “prohibit government restrictions on our freedom of worship and prohibit restrictions on businesses providing their services to the public” and “make it clear that government cannot issue stay at home orders or impose a curfew based on public health concerns.” (A similar effort to prevent discrimination based on vaccine status is also underway in the Senate.) The Allentown Morning Call reports that Gov. Wolf’s office says Keefer’s proposal violates the constitutional separation of powers, underscoring Wolf’s unique understanding of checks and balances. Then again, as he says, he’s not a lawyer.

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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