News & Brews October 27, 2021

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Senate to consider RGGI disapproval measure today

The Senate plans to take up a disapproval resolution today on Gov. Wolf’s order that Pennsylvania join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). As we’ve pointed out before, RGGI would raise electricity costs on Pennsylvanians and kill high-paying union jobs. If PA joins by Wolf’s order, we would be the only state to join this regional cap-and-trade program without legislative approval. If both the House and Senate pass the disapproval resolution, Wolf would be able to veto it, and the Legislature would then need a two-thirds majority in both chambers to override the veto.

Analysis: Working-class voters will shape PA’s political future

Looking at places like Hazleton, Reading, and Allentown, Charles McElwee, the editor of RealClear’s public affairs page on Pennsylvania, writes that “the GOP should take note that its electoral future in Pennsylvania depends on working-class voters, regardless of background, who flocked to the party during Trump’s presidency. In blue-collar communities, Democrats’ ever-leftward turn has alienated families who once associated the party with the labor movement and upward mobility.”

House committee votes to take Beam to court over mask mandate

The House Health Committee voted yesterday to appeal to the Commonwealth Court the recent decision by the Joint Committee on Documents upholding Secretary of Health Alison Beam’s school mask mandate. At issue, committee members say, is not the mandate itself but rather the fact that Beam did not go through the regulatory process but instead simply issued an order, complete with penalties and seen as having the force of law. Meanwhile, Gov. Wolf recently suggested that the expected approval of the COVID shot for kids 5-11 is a key step toward lifting the mask mandate: Translation: The mask mandate for kids will be replaced by a shot mandate.

PA lottery awards contracts estimated at >$607M

PennLive reports that the Pennsylvania Lottery has awarded “humongous” 10-year contracts intended to “modernize” the system with “new equipment, new signage, and a new app.” The 10-year contracts, based on a percentage of ticket sales, are estimated to be more than $607 million.

PSERS drama (Part 8? 12? I’ve lost count)

In the latest in the ongoing drama over the FBI and SEC investigations into our state’s largest pension fund, the Inquirer reports that state Treasurer Stacy Garrity (who also sits on PSERS’ board) is holding off paying the fund’s defense lawyers. The story notes Garrity has declined to pay a $276K bill from one firm “on grounds that its charges were ‘unsupported'” as well as a $321K bill from another firm, on the same grounds. That said, some PSERS board members said they expect the payments to be addressed at a closed board meeting this evening.

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