News & Brews May 26, 2021

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Committee passes resolution ending parts of Wolf’s disaster declaration 

Yesterday, the House State Government Committee voted 15-10 to pass a resolution ending in part and extending in part Gov. Wolf’s COVID disaster declaration. While the vote was on party lines, a few Republicans noted they hope to see further amendments to the resolution once it reaches the House floor. For his part, Gov. Wolf seemed somewhat surprised at the resolution. I can’t imagine why. 

Congressional redistricting committee hearing this morning 

This morning, the Senate State Government Committee will hold the first public hearing on congressional redistricting. Scheduled testifiers include Albert Sarvis, Director of the Harrisburg University Center for Applied Environmental and Geospatial Technology; Kyle Kopko, Director of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania; David Thornburgh, President and CEO of the Committee of Seventy; Carol Kuniholm and Patrick Beaty of Fair Districts PA, and redistricting specialist Amanda Holt. The hearing begins at 9am, and you can watch it here (this link also provides links to the written testimony submitted). 

Transparently disinterested in transparency

How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were wasted? It’s a fair question, but, surprising no one, the state Department of Health initially denied requests from Spotlight PA for this information. Citing a law from 1955 that “gives the state wide authority to keep information related to contagious diseases… But it has been used more broadly over the past year to withhold all kinds of information. Like the wasted vaccines, state health officials initially cited the law in refusing to release the number of COVID-19 tests the state was conducting and the number of cases in specific nursing homes. After criticism, the Wolf administration reversed course in both instances.” Read more about the administration’s continued reluctance to share critical information with the media, as well as the scoop on wasted vaccines, from Spotlight PA here.

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