News & Brews September 7, 2021

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Lawmakers, parents challenge Wolf’s mask mandate in court

On Friday, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and Rep. Jesse Topper (in their capacity as parents), two private schools, and parents from three public school districts filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court challenging Gov. Wolf’s latest statewide mask mandate. The AP reports, “The masking order isn’t valid because it didn’t go through the state’s regulatory review process, the lawsuit said. It also accused the Wolf administration of trying to circumvent newly approved constitutional amendments limiting a governor’s emergency powers.” In response, a spokeswoman for Gov. Wolf accused Republicans of “undermining public health.” This is an interesting accusation, as the lawsuit takes the exact same stance Wolf held up until seven days ago—that local decisions are best when it comes to masking. The court has scheduled a hearing for September 16.

Rep. White: Progressives have made Philly the nation’s murder capital

As Philadelphia recently nabbed the unenviable spot of having the highest murder rate in the country per capita among the nation’s 10 biggest cities, Rep. Martina White (Philadelphia) has an op-ed in the Delaware Valley Journal laying the blame squarely at the feet of Philly D.A. Larry Krasner, Philly Mayor Jim Kenney, and Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro. White writes, “The elected Democrats running our city (and state) fear uttering even a single word of support for our police and the critical role they play in protecting victims and keeping the peace, because the Cancel Culture mob will turn on them if they do.” Read her piece here.

State to refund >$19 million in unemployment interest overpayments

Back in July, news broke that the Department of Labor (DOL) had overcharged Pennsylvanians millions of dollars in interest for overpayment of benefits in the decade beginning in 2006. Now, DOL plans to refund more than $19 million to the nearly 110,000 people who were overcharged. Spotlight PA reports, “Department officials said notices were mailed out Aug. 27 to 109,554 people, informing them of the mistake and instructing them on how they can receive a refund. Refund amounts go as high as $13,500, with the majority of people owed less than $500, according to the agency’s calculations.”

PA gets ‘F’ in K-12 civics and U.S. history standards

A recent report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute gives Pennsylvania a failing grade for how civics and U.S history are taught in K-12 schools. An op-ed from the institute notes, “According to our reviewers, [Pennsylvania’s] civics content ‘is exceedingly broad, vague, and repetitive — and the U.S. history standards don’t contain any actual U.S. history.'” See the report here.

Nearly 80% of Americans support ESAs

A new national survey by EdChoice finds that 78% of Americans support Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), while just 19% oppose them. Among current school parents, support for ESAs rises to 84%. See the complete poll results here.

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