News & Brews May 20, 2021

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PA votes yes, and Wolf responds

After voters approved the proposed amendments to our state constitution to restore a legislative check and balance on a governor’s emergency powers, Gov. Wolf was asked yesterday if he was taking the vote as feedback for how he’s handled the pandemic. His response. “I’m not.” He also called the last 14 months of his unilateral rule a “great experiment” and a “great time to see how the system we had worked.” Watch his comment here. Later on yesterday, CBS21’s Ryan Eldredge asked Wolf if he still believes the amendments are an “attack on democracy,” as he claimed in January. Watch Wolf’s reply here.

WSJ Editorial: Voters say no to endless emergency powers

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board took note of Tuesday’s vote, writing that “voters finally rode to the rescue” against Gov. Wolf’s diktats with a “resounding electoral rebuke” of Wolf’s emergency powers and unilateral rule. Read the piece here (paywall).

Amendments passed…now what?

Capitol reporter John Finnerty asks the question lots of people are asking: Now that the amendments passed, what’s next? It appears Gov. Wolf will renew his 90-day disaster declaration, which expires today, but since his (multi-renewed) declaration has already exceeded 90 days, some say it should be automatically ended, while other say the renewal would last only 21 days. Ultimately, however, yesterday’s vote means Wolf will have to work with the Legislature moving forward—something he’s avoided doing for most of the past 14 months.

Wolf (again) targets funding cuts to charter school students

Yesterday, under the guise of ‘reform’, Gov. Wolf continued his calls to cut nearly $230 million in funding from public charter school students. Unfortunately, as with his emergency powers, Wolf has signaled he’s willing to slash this education funding through regulation without any input from the Legislature. In response, Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools CEO Lenny McAllister stated, “Pennsylvania families want more educational options, not less. If we are truly ‘in this together’, togetherness must include all public schools—including charter schools. Now is not the time to pick winners and losers within public education—especially when the most vulnerable among us are counting on our partnership for a better Pennsylvania.”

Philly judges win Dem judicial primaries; one race still too close to call

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Timika Lane won the three-way Democratic primary for state Superior Court. Judge Lane will face Chester County attorney Megan Sullivan (whom we’ve endorsed) in November. Meanwhile, in the Democratic primary contest for two open seats on Commonwealth Court, Philly Common Pleas Court Judge Lori Dumas secured one of the nominations. As of yesterday, the second remains too close to call between Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge David Spurgeon and Allegheny County attorney Amanda Green Hawkins. The two Democrat nominees will face Republicans Stacy Wallace and Judge Drew Crompton (both of whom we’ve endorsed).

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