News & Brews June 16, 2021

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Senate committees advance school choice bill

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Education Committee advanced Senate Bill 1, the Excellence in Education for All Act, sponsored by Sen. Scott Martin (Lancaster County). In a dramatic expansion of educational opportunity for Pennsylvania students and families, this legislation would lift arbitrary caps on tax credit scholarship programs and improve charter school opportunities. The votes were party-line, with all Democrats in opposition. The full Senate is expected to consider the bill today.

House committee passes election reform package

In another party-line vote, yesterday the House State Government Committee passed the Voting Rights Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove (York County). The reform package seeks to make it “easy to vote and hard to cheat” by implementing measures including early in-person voting, pre-canvassing of ballots, and improved voter ID requirements. Click here to read Rep. Grove’s statement on yesterday’s vote.

May 18 election finally certified; Wolf’s disaster declaration terminated

The Department of State yesterday certified the results of the May 18 primary election. While many held last week’s termination by the Legislature of Gov. Wolf’s disaster declaration was valid with or without certification, those who thought otherwise now agree that Wolf’s disaster declaration, in place since March 6, 2020, has now officially been terminated.

Roadblock for mixed-drinks to go?

I’m no good at liquor puns so will refer to PennLive’s observation that the party may be over for cocktails-to-go in PA. While Wolf had issued a waiver allowing mixed drinks to go, now that his disaster declaration has ended, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) immediately began notifying licensees that the waiver was over as well. Now, you might ask, is this an example of why the disaster declaration was needed? Nope. Lawmakers have already begun acting to make cocktails-to-go permanent, but Gov. Wolf is threatening to veto the legislation because it also slightly loosens the ridiculous stranglehold the PLCB has on liquor. I’m so glad that as Pennsylvania and the world emerge and recover from a global pandemic, Gov. Wolf remains intent on keeping us in 20th-century prohibition days. #Priorities

Gerow running for governor

Political strategist Charlie Gerow has announced he’s running for the Republican nomination for governor. Gerow, who began his political career in 1976 working for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, says he plans to campaign as a “conservative happy warrior.” Other Republicans who have taken steps toward running include former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, and state Sens. Scott Martin, Dan Laughlin, and Doug Mastriano.

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