News & Brews April 22, 2021
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Wolf blocks lawmakers from viewing PPE stockpile
Well, here’s a new twist on our anti-transparency governor. Yesterday, Rep. Dan Moul, chair of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Rep. Karen Boback, chair of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, and Rep. Seth Grove, chair of the House State Government Committee, arrived at the State Farm Show Complex to view the state’s stockpile of PPE, but the Wolf administration refused to grant them access unless they signed a non-disclosure agreement prohibiting them from telling Pennsylvanians what they saw. Can’t make this stuff up.
House passes bill to prevent retail shutdowns during disasters
Yesterday, the House voted 117-84 in favor of a bill that would ensure small businesses can remain open during future disaster declarations. The bill, sponsored Rep. Brad Roae (Crawford and Erie counties) came in response to last year’s scenario in which Gov. Wolf shut down small businesses while allowing their large big-box counterparts–which sold the same items–to remain open. The legislation now heads to the Senate.
Yet again, Wolf makes up fake ‘metrics’ for reopening
Asked by a reporter yesterday if he had a metric for 100% reopening of the economy, Gov. Wolf responded, “The answer is no…. I don’t have any fixed [metrics].” He then went on to toss out a random ‘two weeks after 65-70% of the population have both doses of the COVID vaccine’ metric. (See question beginning at 16:00-minute mark.) Business leaders responded by calling Wolf’s made-up metric problematic, arbitrary, and with no science to back it up. In other words, entirely normal for Wolf.
PSERS: Still a mess
I realize this is the third PSERS headline this week, but…well, it’s still a mess. The state’s largest teachers union (Pennsylvania State Education Association/PSEA), which makes up a 5-member voting bloc of the 15-member PSERS board, has repeatedly voted in favor of the pension fund’s investment strategy. Last December, the PSEA bloc voted to approve the report showing investment returns were high enough to spare school employees from a rise in their pension contributions. Now, of course, we know that report was faulty. And now, of course, the union appears to be trying to backtrack on its earlier support for PSERS’ strategy.
Road trip while trying to reach state unemployment office?
And finally, while the state’s unemployment system is still not up to par in meeting the needs of the many Pennsylvanians whom Gov. Wolf put out of work last year, apparently Wolf’s office of tourism has had the time and resources to develop Joe and Jill: A Biden Trail, which traces the PA roots of our current first couple. Maybe they’re hoping a road trip will keep families occupied while they’re making 100 calls per day trying to reach the unemployment office.
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.