News & Brews April 20, 2021
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As election hearings wrap up, lawmakers eye voting changes
Spotlight PA reports that multiple current and former election officials and commissioners were impressed by the “thorough and detailed testimony” presented at the recent election hearings held by the House State Government Committee, chaired by Rep. Seth Grove (York County). Now comes the work of exploring legislative improvements to our election processes–a task already causing disagreement between Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature.
PSERS’ about-face: School employees will pay more into pensions
Well, this is certainly a mess. Following the revelation that the state’s largest pension plan had reported inflated investment results (thus sparing employees from paying more to fund their pensions), the board of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) voted 12-1 yesterday to reverse course and require school employees to pay more. The change affects about 94,000 employees hired since 2011. Meanwhile, PSERS remains under federal investigation.
U.S. Supreme Court rejects another PA 2020 election case
The fate of about 10,000 mail-in ballots received after the polls closed on Election Day but before the revised deadline three-days later (imposed by the Wolf administration) remains up in the air. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case and directed a lower court to dismiss it as moot. The AP reports, ‘Wanda Murren, the communications director for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said Monday the elections agency is considering what to do about those ballots now, and whether they should be added to the final tally.” The ballots would not change the outcome of any statewide race.
Johnny & Susie’s lemonade stand may get reprieve from government
We love entrepreneurs! And nothing encourages entrepreneurship among kids like penalizing them for wanting to run a lemonade stand. I mean, seriously, do they have a permit? How about health and safety standards? Paid time off policies? These are questions every 8-year old must answer! Or … maybe not. Yesterday, the House unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Rep. John Hershey (Juniata, Franklin, and Mifflin counties) that would exempt businesses owned by youth under the age of 18, earning less than $5,000 in annual net proceeds (unless run for charitable purposes), and operating fewer than 84 days per year from being required to obtain a license. Seriously, how were they ever required to do so in the first place?
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 VoteYesPA.com, 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.