News & Brews May 12, 2021

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DOH backs out of testifying on data breach

After initially confirming its attendance, the Department of Health backed out of yesterday’s scheduled Senate committee hearing on the data breach by DOH’s vendor that leaked the private health information of at least 72,000 Pennsylvanians. DOH cited pending litigation on the matter, but this excuse is unconvincing at best. Gov. Wolf has been in the midst of pending litigation over his shutdown orders for months, yet he’s done oodles of press conferences talking about his orders. Click here to watch Committee Chair Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill’s comments on DOH’s refusal to testify.

Unions influenced Wolf admin on school closures

You may have seen recent national news showing union influence on the CDC’s guidance on reopening schools. Well, the same thing apparently happened on the state level here in PA. Investigative reporter Todd Shepherd details how officials from the state’s powerful teachers’ unions met with the Wolf administration in advance of the administration issuing guidance to schools. And that guidance “led to many school districts abandoning plans to return to full, in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year.” Read the full story here.

Capacity restrictions to change 5/17, because (not) science

It’s the march of science! I mean, press conferences! Or maybe, politics? Yes, that’s it, the march of politics! Yesterday, Gov. Wolf announced he would increase indoor and outdoor capacity limits on Monday, May 17—coincidentally (or not) one day before the primary election when Pennsylvanians will vote on reining in a governor’s emergency powers. Under Wolf’s new orders, maximum occupancy for indoor gatherings will go up to 50% and outdoor gatherings will go up to 75%. Folks have stopped expecting the Wolf administration to provide any hard and fast data for his restrictions or the dates he picks to change them.

State employees slowly returning to the office

In case you’re wondering whether state government employees are back in-person in the office or still working remotely, PennLive has a nice look at who’s doing what across various departments. Personally, in reading the story, I’m just impressed that some folks working from home actually opt for jeans over sweatpants….

Parnell announces for U.S. Senate

Former Republican congressional candidate Sean Parnell, who lost last year to Rep. Conor Lamb 51.15% to 48.85%, has officially announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate. He joins an already crowded Republican field that includes former Lt. Gov. candidate Jeff Bartos, Montgomery County attorney Sean Gale, West Chester businessman Everett Stern, and conservative commentator and former congressional candidate Kathy Barnette.

Breaking down the ballot questions

Our president and CEO Matt Brouillette joined the Manufacture & Business Association’s (MBA) Jezree Friend on MBA’s podcast to break down the emergency powers constitutional amendments that are on the May 18 primary ballot. Listen here!

Wishing health and speedy recovery to Senator Kim Ward

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward revealed she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone treatments over the past few months. She shared that she also has additional surgeries planned. We wish Sen. Ward a speedy recovery and renewed health moving forward.

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 for resources including 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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