News & Brews July 13, 2021

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GOP lawmakers seek to boost redistricting transparency 

This year’s congressional redistricting process will boast more transparency than the map-drawing of a decade ago, according to House State Government Committee Chair Seth Grove (York County). Yesterday, Grove said his committee will implement transparency measures including holding public meetings and accepting public suggestions for the new map—both of which are central parts of legislation introduced by Rep. Wendi Thomas (Bucks County). Broad + Liberty has more.

Public media lose state funding

One aspect of the recently-passed state budget that hasn’t garnered a ton of attention is that it eliminated funding for seven public TV and radio stations across the state. Gov. Wolf had requested the funding cut, and the Legislature went along with it. While some (namely, the media…shocker) are raising concerns, did it ever strike anyone that government-funded news outlets might not be all that conducive to a free and independent press to begin with? Just tossing that out there. (By the way, the kicker in the story is this quote: “It’s glaringly obvious the market cannot support the levels of news and information that democracy requires.” Just gonna leave that one there.)

PASSHE to vote tomorrow on school merger 

The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is expected to vote tomorrow on a plan to merge Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield universities into one entity and California, Clarion, and Edinboro universities into another. The effort comes as the schools are facing falling enrollment numbers and financial difficulties. To pass, the plan must garner the approval of 12 of PASSHE’s 18 current board members (there are two board vacancies).

Will PA kids be forced to wear masks this school year?

The Allentown Morning Call reports on the debate over requiring children to wear masks in school this year in the wake of recent CDC guidance recommending masks for unvaccinated kids and teachers. Secretary of Education Noe Ortega said PA plans to follow CDC guidance. Meanwhile, Sen. Scott Martin (Lancaster County), chair of the Senate Education Committee, plans to schedule a public hearing on the topic, adding, “I hope there are no schools out there that are thinking of mandating masks on the kids. I believe our children should not be forced to wear masks going into this school year.”

Biden coming to Philly today

President Biden will be in Philly today to convey what’s being touted as a “moral case” for voting rights. The speech comes as Democrats continue to advance the narrative that election security measures, such as Voter ID (which enjoys broad support from the public), equate denying individuals the legal right to vote.

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