News & Brews August 6, 2021

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Taxpayer-funded perks ‘ripe for abuse’

This isn’t really breaking news, but Spotlight PA dives into our system of taxpayer-funded perks for lawmakers, noting that the system which has “little transparency and even less oversight” is “ripe for abuse.” The piece also includes a nifty searchable database where you can track lawmaker per diems.

PA Dep’t of Corrections bans visitors for unvaccinated inmates

Yesterday, the Department of Corrections announced unvaccinated inmates will no longer be allowed to receive in-person visitors and will also be placed in separate housing. The change affects about 8,000 inmates who have chosen not to receive the COVID shots, or about 20% of the inmate population in state prisons.

Kids in 18 states get more educational options thanks to 2021 reforms

Americans for Tax Reform’s Patrick Gleason has a piece in Forbes on the dramatic expansion of school choice in 18 states that have either created or expanded education savings accounts, tax credit scholarship programs, or other means of letting education funding follow students.

Lamb enters U.S. Senate race

As expected, Rep. Conor Lamb today announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate. The Inquirer reports that Lamb is casting himself as the ‘centrist’ candidate in a field that includes Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Rep. Malcom Keynatta (Philadelphia), and Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh.

Lawmakers will not extend Wolf’s 15th opioid disaster declaration

Gov. Wolf’s latest opioid disaster declaration expires on August 26, and lawmakers have indicated they will not renew it, per the recently passed constitutional amendment requiring legislative approval for the extension of an emergency disaster declaration beyond 21 days. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and House Speaker Bryan Cutler sent a letter to Wolf explaining their decision and promising legislative action to combat the opioid crisis.

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