News & Brews November 2, 2021

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It’s Election Day!

Today, voters will elect one new Supreme Court justice, one Superior Court judge, and two Commonwealth Court judges. Our picks are Judge Kevin Brobson for Supreme Court, Megan Sullivan for Superior Court, and Stacy Wallace and Judge Drew Crompton for Commonwealth Court. Remember to vote! Polls are open until 8pm tonight!

Wolf announces vaccine ‘incentive’ that will cost $100M 

Yesterday out of the blue, Gov. Wolf announced a new ‘incentive’ for state workers to get the COVID vaccine. Specifically, the 72,000 state workers under Wolf’s jurisdiction can receive up to five days paid leave if they are fully vaccinated by Dec. 31. If they don’t take the leave by the March 31 deadline, they will get a lump sum for the unused days. What will all this cost taxpayers? Well, you may want to sit down for this one. Wolf’s plan would cost a whopping $100 million (conservatively speaking). State Treasurer Stacy Garrity immediately denounced the plan, noting, “This decision by Governor Wolf – made in a backroom deal completely outside of the state budget process and away from public scrutiny – is fiscally irresponsible. As an independent fiscal officer charged with protecting money that belongs to hard-working Pennsylvanians, I call on the governor to drop this ill-conceived scheme immediately.”

Analysis: How will 2022 elections play in Pittsburgh?

As the ongoing battle between ‘moderate’ and ‘progressive’ Democrats plays out in Washington—along with the continued tension between Trump and non-Trump Republicans—Andrew Cuff takes a look at how these same battles are playing out locally in southwestern PA. Read his piece here.

As voters pick new judges, here are some major cases the courts consider

Underscoring the importance of judicial elections, the AP gives a rundown of several types of cases before the courts, ranging from redistricting to abortion to education funding. This list is only partial, however, as the courts also consider issues that greatly impact businesses, individuals, and the economy as a whole, such as natural gas, workers’ compensation, expanded liability, healthcare, and forced unionization. Our friends at the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform dive more deeply into some of these issues in their Judicial Voter Guide. Check it out here.

Spotlight PA wants to be the new thought police

Spotlight PA reports that PA counties vary in how easily accessible they make local campaign finance reports. Sounds like a good story, right? Well, Spotlight PA’s real motive in the piece comes toward the end, when the outlet targets only what it considers right-leaning organizations and donors and raises questions about the “motives” of school board candidates who may be supported by these groups and donors. (In case you’re wondering, Spotlight thinks you hold “extreme views” if you oppose critical race theory.) So nice when the media anoints itself the arbiter of pure motives and acceptable opinions. Keep it classy, Spotlight.

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