News & Brews July 21, 2021
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Wolf does about-face on voter ID
Yes, you read that headline correctly. After months of adamantly opposing enhanced voter ID requirements, decrying them as “voter suppression” and “discriminatory,” and even vetoing the Voting Rights Protection Act because it included voter ID, Gov. Wolf now says he no longer opposes voter ID. That’s not a typo. In an interview with the Inquirer, (scroll down for partial transcript), Wolf said he prejudged Republicans’ legislation because he assumed they were trying to suppress the vote. Rep. Seth Grove, the sponsor of the Act, captured our reaction perfectly: “I’m dumbfounded, I’m literally dumbfounded. Unbelievable.” Seriously, you’ll want to read the Inky’s interview. (Or, actually, you may not want to read it.)
Op-Ed: The coming woke backlash in our workplaces?
My colleague Abhi Samuel, Director of Entrepreneur Engagement here at Commonwealth Partners, has an insightful op-ed in Broad + Liberty, looking at how diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) trainings in the workplace fail to bring about their stated end. Instead, Abhi writes, proponents of a free workplace environment must focus on clarity, conflict, and conversation. Read his piece here!
Will FBI probe spur pension changes?
The Inquirer reports that reforms to our pension system may be in the offing in the wake of the ongoing troubles facing our Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS). These reforms include increasing transparency, adopting national standards, implementing audits, and merging the investment arms of PSERS and SERS (the State Employees’ Retirement System). The last one of these is expected to be the heaviest lift.
Senate committees to hold hearing on no-bid emergency contract
A day after yesterday’s House subcommittee hearing on no-bid emergency contracts, today the Senate Communications and Technology Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services Committee will hold a joint hearing on the Department of Health’s emergency no-bid procurement of a contact tracing vendor. You’ll recall this vendor—Insight Global—leaked the private health data of more than 72,000 Pennsylvanians. The hearing is set to begin at 10 am this morning and will be live-streamed here.
First public hearing on congressional redistricting set for Thursday
Yesterday, the House State Government Committee announced that it will hold its first public hearings tomorrow on congressional redistricting. The hearings are part of GOP efforts to increase transparency and public input in the congressional redistricting process. Thursdays hearings, which will be held at 9 am and 1:30 pm, respectively, will be live-streamed at paredistricting.com.