News & Brews October 6, 2021
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Shapiro charges pipeline developer
True to his political agenda of bringing criminal charges against natural gas companies, Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro yesterday announced 48 charges against Energy Transfer, the developer of the Mariner East 2 pipeline. The charges allege contamination of waterways and residential water supplies. Energy Transfer said “it intends to vigorously defend itself.” It’s clear from Shapiro’s press conference announcing the charges that he believes government should go beyond merely fining companies for violations and instead move to revoke their ability to do business. When asked about union jobs that could then be lost, Shapiro appeared not to understand the question. In response to the charges, Natural Gas Now published a piece arguing that Shapiro, who is widely expected to run for governor, is criminalizing natural gas in order to advance his political ambitions: “bringing indictments against the Mariner East pipeline developer to grab some Southeast Pennsylvania headlines he needs to solidify his political base there.”
Wolf admin refuses to testify at hearing on bipartisan voting bill
Acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid refused to appear at a Senate State Government Committee hearing yesterday that was “designed to gather input from the Department of State about potential changes to election law,” the AP reports. Specifically, the hearing was on a bipartisan bill that would implement some of the less controversial improvements to our voting processes and systems. The Department of State countered that it had sent written comments and would respond to written questions. This is yet another example of the Wolf administration refusing to come to the table (literally in this case) to have a conversation with lawmakers. Consider me shocked.
Growing crisis in PA long-term care admissions
The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) is sounding the alarm on long-term-care staffing shortages that are forcing some providers to limit admissions. The alarm comes as PHCA conducted a survey of facilities that showed that since February 2020, facilities have lost 18% of staff, on average. The top four reasons facilities gave for employees’ departure were wages, burnout, COVID safety concerns, and reluctance to comply with COVID vaccine mandates. Click here to watch PHCA President and CEO Zach Shamberg’s short video on the findings.
Staffing shortages continue to plague central PA restaurants
PennLive reports that restaurants are continuing to struggle due to lack of workers. According to the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA), a whopping 89% of restaurant owners say they don’t have enough workers to support customer demand. And PRLA president and CEO John Longstreet says, “There’s no question it’s worse than it ever has been.” The labor shortages have persisted despite the ending of the extra $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits. At the same time, Longstreet notes that hiring was restaurant owners’ top problem pre-COVID, and the pandemic only made things worse.
Who’s who in Johnny Doc trial?
I have a feeling this “Johnny Doc Trial” segment of News & Brews is going to make regular appearances for the next few weeks. In case you’re wondering why we should care about the trial, since 2010 Johnny Doc’s union has doled out nearly $40 million in political campaign contributions, earning him the title of Philadelphia’s “most powerful unelected politician.” Now, with Johnny Doc’s federal bribery trial underway, the Inquirer gives a run-down of the “political players and groups” that are likely to come up during the trial.