News & Brews August 18, 2021

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Hey taxpayers: Thanks for the golf game

As Pennsylvania emerges from the pandemic and government-induced business shutdowns, you’ll be pleased (or not) to know your government has made a gentleman’s agreement for you to pay millions of dollars for the U.S. Golf Association to bring some of its tournaments here. “It’s kind of funny,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, “Golf’s a game of honor, right? You keep your own score and call penalties on yourself. And this is more of a handshake right now. There’s no commitment of dollars or contracts, or anything like that.” Gov Wolf is all in on the handout, but I’m not sure taxpayers will agree on the humor. What could you be paying for? Among other things, a new bridge over the turnpike (which splits the Oakmont Country Club) to accommodate fans. I’m sure this is how you would want your tax dollars spent, right?

Correctional nurses sue SEIU

Two nurses at a state correctional institute have sued SEIU “after a union official refused to let them vote on a 2019 collective bargaining agreement until they signed new membership cards with updated collection rules for paycheck deducted dues,” the Center Square reports. Nathan McGrath, president of the Fairness Center, the nonprofit public interest law firm representing the nurses, stated, “Our clients allege that union officials prioritized locking employees into dues payments over making sure union members got the voting rights they were already entitled to. Public employees should be able to trust their union representatives to follow the rules, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case.” Read more about the cases here and here.

Senators introduce tamed down election bill

City and State PA reports that after Gov. Wolf vetoed election reform (remember: by his own admission, he prejudged that the reform was bad because it came from Republicans),two Senate lawmakers “are now taking a different approach as they prepare to introduce legislation that leaves out some of the more controversial provisions that sank the original bill.” The new bill is being proposed by a Republican and a Democrat, so maybe Wolf will prejudge that only half of it is bad.

Amid redistricting, here are 4 takeaways from census data

I’ve got another census/redistricting story for you! Spotlight PA picks four things to highlight from the recently released census data, offering its take on what these highlights might mean for the redistricting process.

Op-Ed: PA’s alcohol monopoly—we told you so

Antony Davies, associate professor of economics at Duquesne University, and James Harrigan, managing director of the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom at the University of Arizona, had an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reflecting on the slowly unraveling government liquor monopoly in PA and noting how the past five years have debunked myths from those who cling to the monopoly. Importantly, Davies and Harrigan remind us that “the people who stand to gain from the monopoly will say anything to scare or cajole voters into submission. Whether the monopoly is good for the public isn’t their concern. That it’s good for them is.”

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