News & Brews May 14, 2021

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Is ballot language ‘disenfranchisement’

Usually, one party is super vocal about potential (even if imagined) disenfranchisement around election time. I’ll let you guess which party. But that same party has been curiously quiet over the wording of the proposed constitutional amendments on our May 18 ballot that would rein in Gov. Wolf’s emergency powers. This even though obscure and ‘inaccessible’ ballot wording that may be fully understood only by those with many years of education has been likened to shutting some voters out. Gee, I wonder why Gov. Wolf’s allies aren’t really concerned about this. Broad + Liberty examines how the confusing wording represents a form of disenfranchisement.

Lawmaker asks Wolf to suspend gas tax

Rep. Frank Burns (Cambria County) has sent a letter to Gov. Wolf asking him to suspend our 58-cent-per-gallon gas tax in light of rising prices and the recent cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline. The pipeline has resumed operations after the attack, but it’s expected to take several days for things to get back to normal. Bloomberg also reported yesterday that Colonial reportedly paid the hackers nearly $5 million in ransom.

Op-Ed: Amendments are about our future 

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (Centre and Mifflin counties) has an op-ed in City & State PA emphasizing that with the May 18 primary election just a few days away, it’s now up to voters “to once again decide how you wish to be governed and whether additional checks and balances are required to safeguard your liberty.” The history major in me awards Leader Benninghoff bonus points for including a quote from The Federalist Papers.

Philly health commissioner resigns

Yesterday, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley, who’s been a central figure in the city’s COVID response, resigned effective immediately. His resignation had nothing to do with the city’s handling of COVID, however, but was due instead to his mishandling of some of the remains of the 1985 MOVE bombing victims by having them cremated without notifying their families.

PA follows CDC on new mask rules

So if you’re vaccinated, our all-knowing government says you (generally) don’t have to wear a mask. Not vaccinated? Mask up. Have fun figuring out how this one’s going to play out

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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