News & Brews May 4, 2021

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Wolf: Still no timetable for fully reopening

After New Jersey announced yesterday that it will ditch many COVID restrictions, Gov. Wolf said he wants to fully reopen our state’s economy as quickly and safely as possible…but he has no timetable for doing so. As our friend Michael Torres at the Commonwealth Foundation aptly noted, There’s “literally nothing in his way but himself.” Even worse, whereas a few weeks ago Wolf tossed out a random “65-70%” vaccination rate as a standard for reopening, yesterday when asked for the standard, he couldn’t give an answer, basically confirming he’s making all this up and has no metrics or scientific backing for anything he’s doing.

PA Supreme Court names redistricting chair

After the four members the Legislative Reapportionment Commission deadlocked on choosing a fifth member to be the chair, the task fell to the state Supreme Court. Yesterday, the court selected former University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg. Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, and House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton—who make up the remainder of the commission—all expressed optimism at the choice.

Lawmakers demand Wolf fire vendor who leaked private data

Yesterday, lawmakers called on Gov. Wolf to immediately cancel the contract with Insight Global, the vendor awarded a no-bid contract by the Department of Health for contact tracing. The call comes after Insight Global leaked the private health data of more than 70,000 Pennsylvanians.

House committee moves to improve amendment process

After the PA Department of State screwed up by not advertising a proposed constitutional amendment, thereby derailing the amendment after years of work to move it forward, yesterday the House State Government Committee overwhelmingly passed legislation that would improve the amendment process. The proposal would shift the duty of advertising proposed amendments away from the Department of State and to the secretary of the Senate or the chief clerk of the House and move the job of drafting ballot language for amendments to the General Assembly. Because the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jason Ortitay (Allegheny and Washington counties), is itself a proposed constitutional amendment, it would need to pass the House and Senate in two consecutive legislative sessions and then be approved by voters.

Op-Ed: Why is Wolf shielding his nominees from confirmation hearings?

Our President and CEO Matt Brouillette has a new op-ed in the Center Square exploring the implications of Gov. Wolf’s recent decision to abruptly withdraw all his pending nominations to lead key agencies—thereby canceling Senate confirmation hearings and shielding his appointees from public questioning.

Inquirer endorses Brobson in GOP primary

It’s somewhat unusual for the Inquirer Editorial Board to offer a good endorsement, but they got this one right. They’ve joined us in endorsing Judge Kevin Brobson in the GOP primary race for state Supreme Court, selecting him above the two other Republicans running for the nomination. The Ed Board writes: “With Judge Brobson, voters know what they are going to get: a conservative jurist who will rule with limited government and a limited judiciary in mind. In his endorsement interview, he discussed the importance of clearly written opinions so that all Pennsylvanians can understand the law and what it means. This a value that we share.”

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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