News & Brews May 6, 2021
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Wolf (again) targets charter school students
Gee, watching Gov. Wolf these past months and years, you’d think he’s adamantly opposed to giving kids the opportunity to attend schools that meet their needs. Oh wait. He is. His recent slew of firings (which we shared last week) included all sitting members of the state’s Charter Appeal Board, save Secretary of Education Noe Ortega. WITF explains that this board, which hears appeals from charter schools of decisions made by local school boards, “seems to have become functionally non-existent” after Gov. Wolf sent members a short letter on April 23 stating, “Your service on the State Charter School Appeal Board is concluded as of today.” Lawmakers are exploring whether Wolf has the legal authority to do this.
House forms panel to investigate DOS amendment screw-up
With all Democrats in opposition, the House voted 111-90 in favor of forming a panel that would have subpoena powers to investigate the Department of State’s major screw-up that derailed the constitutional amendment designed to aid victims of child sex abuse. While Gov. Wolf also ordered the Office of Inspector General to investigate the mistake, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff said, “It is now four months out. Our goal is to get some answers and make sure if something needs changed that this does not occur again.”
House committee tells RGGI Wolf has no authority to join
The House Environmental Resources Committee sent a letter to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) asking that RGGI reject Gov. Wolf’s proposed entry into the regional carbon cap-and-trade program until Wolf obtains approval to join from the Legislature.
Sen. Toomey wades into U.S. Steel project cancellation
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Sen. Pat Toomey is vowing to find out why U.S. Steel recently canceled its $1.5 billion project for the Mon Valley Works. The Post-Gazette had previously noted the decision “drew reactions of anger and regret from elected officials and business and labor groups who lamented the loss of jobs that the construction project would create, as well as the environmental improvements.” Toomey said, “I’m worried that a lot of this is related to this idea that we have to get to a zero-CO2 environment,” a goal he called “neither possible nor desirable.”
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 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.