News & Brews October 8, 2021

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DOH threatens to use courts to quarantine uncooperative kids

In what Senate Education Committee Chair Scott Martin is calling a “new low” for Gov. Wolf’s Department of Heath, the agency has been sending some students a letter threatening to use the courts to forcibly remove them from their homes if they don’t quarantine when instructed. The letter, sent to some close contacts of those who test positive for COVID, states in part that if the student refuses to quarantine, “The secretary of health may petition a court to have you confined to an appropriate place chosen by the department to make certain that you are not able to infect the public and to make certain that you receive proper care.” In response, Sen. Martin sent a letter to Education Secretary Noe Orgeta and DOH Secretary Alison Beam demanding the administration stop threatening to remove kids from their homes. 

Wolf joins 3 other states in pact to share gun data

Gov. Wolf, along with governors of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, agreed yesterday to enter into a memorandum of understanding to share information about gun purchases for the purported purpose of detecting and investigating gun crimes. The AP reports that the data would be “for use only by law enforcement, with provisions governing security and mandated notice if the information is misused or improperly accessed.” (Because, you know, we’ve never seen government misuse data before.) The MOU lasts for five years and automatically renews unless a state wants out. States can also exit the agreement with a 30-day notice.

Rep. Dowling in serious but stable condition after crash

Rep. Matt Dowling (Fayette and Somerset counties) is hospitalized in serious but stable condition after a single-car accident on Wednesday evening in Lancaster County. According to a statement from House Republican spokesman Jason Gottestman, Dowling “was taken to Lancaster General Hospital and was treated for significant trauma. Currently, he is in serious but stable condition, and our thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Dowling, his wife and two young sons as he and they deal with his injuries.” We also extend our prayers for Rep. Dowling’s recovery.

He said / She said: Red v. Blue edition 

As House lawmakers ended a three-week session this week, Democrats and Republicans not surprisingly had different perspectives on what did—or did not—get accomplished. Were the past three weeks a smashing success or abysmal failure? Depends on whom you ask (as does pretty much everything in politics).

Mike Stack plotting a return to PA politics?

Former Lt. Gov. Mike Stack has been mostly absent from the PA political scene in recent years. Last we heard of him, he was still in California trying to become an actor and comedian. (In case you missed his appearance on Find Me a Luxury Home, check out a clip here.) Now, word has it that Stack is considering running for the Philadelphia Senate seat he held for nearly 15 years.

PSERS does about-face on investments

Yesterday, PSERS’ board decided to sell all of the pension plan’s hedge funds and almost double its investments in stocks. “The shift in financial policy comes after years of debate between traditionalist and dissident board members who engaged recently in a series of acrimonious exchanges,” the Inquirer reports. Yesterday’s agreement among board members was in word only, with a formal vote on the change expected at the board’s December meeting. Meanwhile, the pension fund is still under FBI investigation, so there’s that.

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