News & Brews July 26, 2021

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$726,877 in reimbursements with no receipts required? Thank you, taxpayers

In the wake of former Rep. Margo Davidson’s resignation last week after being charged with stealing from taxpayers, the Morning Call’s Paul Muschick tells us that last year, lawmakers received more than $700,000 in per diem reimbursements without having to submit one receipt. Instead, the commonwealth (read: we the taxpayers) simply takes lawmakers’ word for it and forks over the money. Time for a little per diem reform, anyone?

Op-Ed: Rising tuition costs not helped by outdated construction law

I missed this one last week, but Jon O’Brien, Executive Director of the General Contractors Association of Pennsylvania, had an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer highlighting that rising tuition costs at Penn State, Temple, and the University of Pittsburgh could be at least partially to blame on a law passed more than 100 years ago. This law, known as the Separations Act, unnecessarily (and significantly) inflates the costs of public construction projects. Who pays for these costs? You guessed it. Read the piece here.

PA lawmakers who are also lawbreakers

Stories like this make me feel like I’m back in my home state of Jersey! PennLive looks at Pennsylvania’s history of lawmakers who found themselves (or, rather, placed themselves) on the wrong side of the law. Click here to read about 21 former elected officials who were either charged with or convicted of a crime and left office as a result.

Gubernatorial candidate investigated for fatal turnpike crash

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Gerow is being investigated in connection with a fatal crash on the PA turnpike last week in which a motorcyclist died. Witnesses said the motorcycle was wedged into the grill of the car as it continued driving. A spokesperson for Gerow confirmed he was driving the car, noted Gerow is fully cooperating with police, and conveyed Gerow’s statement that he did not cause the accident.

WSJ Editorial: Congress beats up charter schools

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board takes Congress to task (paywall) for aiming to cut $40 million from the federal Charter Schools Program, even while increasing overall federal education funding. The Journal rightly concludes, “The Democratic funding raid on charters is an act of sabotage that will deny many children, especially poor and minority children, the quality education they deserve.”

Inky opines on 2022 GOP candidates

The Inquirer decided to analyze some of Pennsylvania’s announced (or potential) 2022 GOP candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, interviewing a bunch of people to conclude that some Republicans “are worried their candidates might blow it.”

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