News & Brews April 23, 2021
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Filled with PPE, State Farm Show Complex barred from hosting events
PennLive looks at how the Wolf administration’s decision to house $51 million worth of PPE in the State Farm Show Complex not only has raised concerns over the security of the stockpile but also has local leaders frustrated that they can’t use the facility to host events–and bring in much-needed local revenue.
Lawmakers won’t confirm Wolf’s PUC nominee in light of RGGI
As Gov. Wolf pushes PA’s entrance into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by executive order–yet again attempting to bypass the Legislature–lawmakers delivered some news of their own: Unless Wolf withdraws his executive order, they will not confirm his nominee to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Last year, lawmakers passed a bill that would require legislative approval to join RGGI. Although the bill passed with bipartisan support, Wolf vetoed it.
Hoosier State puts kids first; PA lawmakers aim to do the same
The Wall Street Journal editorial board rightly celebrates (paywall) the Indiana Legislature’s passing a “major expansion of school choice.” Among other things, the legislationestablishes Education Savings Accounts for students with special needs and expands the per-student grants for charter schools from $750 today to $1,000 next year and $1,250 in the second year. Why am I talking about Indiana? Because House and Senate lawmakers in PA are also taking the lead to dramatically expand educational opportunity for Pennsylvania students. The proposals here also include Education Savings Accounts, the expansion of our highly popular and successful tax credit scholarship programs, and more. Like in Indiana, teachers’ unions here aren’t happy. But if we have to pick between serving students and appeasing government unions (and we do), we’ll pick students. Every time.
Wolf admin deploys scare tactics on emergency powers amendments
Determined to persuade Pennsylvania voters to oppose two proposed constitutional amendments that would limit Gov. Wolf’s unilateral and unchecked powers, yesterday the administration continued its campaign to convince voters of impending catastrophe if the governor is required to work with the Legislature in managing long-term crises. Of course, the administration is conveniently leaving out the fact that the amendments would actually ensure the governor can act quickly in the face of disaster while also protecting lives and livelihoods by allowing for local input in the management of any disaster lasting longer than 21 days. Here’s our response to Wolf’s scare tactics.
Pro/Con op-eds on emergency powers amendments
The Philly Inquirer published dueling op-eds on the proposed constitutional amendments that would restore a legislative check and balance on a governor’s emergency powers. On the pro side, the Commonwealth Foundation’s Nathan Benefield explains the importance of requiring collaboration between the executive and legislative branches. On the con side (no pun intended), Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Randy Padfield basically continues the tactic of pretending the state wouldn’t be able to respond to emergencies.
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.