News & Brews April 30, 2021

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Data breach by DOH-picked vendor impacts 72K Pennsylvanians

Yesterday, news broke that Insight Global, the company retained by the Wolf administration to perform COVID contact tracing, leaked the private information of at least 72,000 Pennsylvanians. For context, this would be the company that secured a $23 million no-bid contract that the Wolf administration entered into under Wolf’s emergency disaster declaration (as stated in the contract cover document). Naturally, the news sparked outrage. Of added concern is the administration originally denied the breach, as noted in a statement from Rep. Jason Ortitay (Washington and Allegheny counties). On Monday, lawmakers plan to hold a news conference to announce further plans to address the disaster. Meanwhile, perhaps endless emergency powers vested in one person aren’t such a great idea after all.

Wolf’s Revenue Options Commission continues to eye bridge tolls

At its third meeting yesterday, the Transportation Revenue Options Commission, the group Gov. Wolf formed and appointed to look at alternatives to our gas tax, focused much of its attention on the proposal to toll nine bridges on major highways across Pennsylvania. Also yesterday, PennDOT released its Pathways report, which the Post-Gazette notes “puts in writing the reasoning PennDOT officials have been using since last fall to support bridge tolls and other funding options, such as tolls for express lanes and fees for traveling during rush hours.” PennDOT Is taking public comments through June 1.

The Feds’ two-pronged investigation into PSERS

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that federal investigators and the FBI are probing not only PSERS’ inflated investment returns but also the pension fund’s “spending spree on Harrisburg real estate.” Apparently, since 2017, the state’s largest pension fund has allotted $13.5 million to purchase and clear property in Harrisburg. To date, the Inky reports, “PSERS has demolished structures on its real estate, but otherwise, the land lies open. Top development officials in Harrisburg say no one from the pension fund has contacted them about its plan for the properties.”

PA has no plans for vaccine passport, but…..

There’s always a “but,” right? The Inquirer reports that Pennsylvania has no plans to implement a government COVID vaccine passport that would be required for folks to go about their daily lives. BUT, we’ve all seen how Gov. Wolf changes his mind, mandates, and metrics on a dime, so take this latest news update with a grain of salt. Thankfully, state lawmakers have already proposed legislation to ban what House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff rightfully calls “an opening to unfathomable government intrusion into people’s personal lives.”

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 a 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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