News & Brews June 1, 2021

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AP says Trump ‘looms large’ in 2022 PA GOP primaries

The Associated Press gives its take on how former President Trump’s influence will be felt in the 2022 Pennsylvania Republican primaries for governor and U.S. Senate. One point made is that while a Trump endorsement could help Republican candidates in one part of the state, it could easily hurt candidates in another. Meanwhile, Capitol reporter John Finnerty looks at how candidates from both parties are “jockeying for position” ahead of 2022.

Lifting of COVID restrictions doesn’t mean ‘return to normal’ for PA restaurants

Gov. Wolf may have ended his crippling capacity restrictions as of yesterday, but PA restaurant owners say their industry still has a long way to go before it returns to 100%. Not only has the COVID narrative from government made eating and drinking in public “unthinkable” to many, but hiring workers has also become difficult, thanks in no small part to extra unemployment benefits government has provided. PennLive has the story.

Op-Ed: Restoring our education system after COVID-19

Rep. Natalie Mihalek (Allegheny and Washington counties) had an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explaining how expanding education choice—including through tax credit scholarships and charter schools—can help get kids back on track after the educational upheaval of COVID shutdowns.

Here’s how PSERS screwed up

As our state’s largest pension fund remains under federal investigation, Spotlight PA says it’s traced the Public School Employees’ Retirement System calculation error (which initially led about 100,000 employees to believe they didn’t need to contribute more to their pensions) to a small data mistake in April of 2015. Here’s how this ‘small’ error led to a big screw up.

Overhaul of state unemployment system has some feeling anxious

We all saw the debacle of our decades-old unemployment system this past year, as thousands of Pennsylvanians waited for months on end to receive benefits. Well, the system will be offline this week as it undergoes as massive overhaul, with the new system expected to be up and running June 8. But the upgrade, which will move the system to a new, cloud-based program, has some feeling anxious. Spotlight PA reports that “technology experts and unemployment advocates are warning that the state’s decision to shift now, while so many Pennsylvanians are still relying on the benefits, is irresponsible. It could exacerbate existing problems as well as divert resources from helping those who are stuck in a backlog.” Read more here.


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