News & Brews November 8, 2021

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Commonwealth Court race comes down to the wire

Last week, reports were that the GOP appeared to sweep all four open judicial seats, although one seat for Commonwealth Court remained too close to call. Now, that race has tightened even further as mail-in, absentee, and provisional ballots continued to be counted late last week. In the latest unofficial tally posted on the Department of State’s website, Democrat Lori Dumas has pulled ahead of Republican Judge Drew Crompton. The .24% margin currently between the two is within the .5% window that would trigger an automatic recount. The AP reports that counties must submit election results to the state tomorrow, after which counties would have two weeks to do a recount if the Secretary of State orders it.

Bucks Democrats warn of coming GOP wave

This story would almost be humorous if it weren’t from the widely-read Associated Press.The piece looks at GOP gains in Bucks County this year and what they might mean for next year’s mid-terms. But while the reporter finds oodles of critical things to say about Republicans, he can’t seem to find one flaw with Democrats’ policy or approach. Go ahead and bang your head against a wall. I’ll wait. Across the state, the Tribune-Review says a “red wave” in the “ring counties” has left Allegheny County as a “blue island.”

Corman expected to announce for governor this week

Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman is expected to declare his bid for governor this week, as he’s been inviting donors and politicos to a “special announcement” on Thursday night. He would join an already crowded GOP field that includes former Congressman Lou Barletta, former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, Sen. Doug Mastriano, Sen. Dan Laughlin, former Chester County Chamber head Guy Ciarrocchi, political strategist Charlie Gerow, and more. (The latest to officially enter is former Delaware County Councilman Dave White, who announced his candidacy on Saturday.)

Huge school funding case set to begin … again

The school funding case that’s been winding its way through the courts for seven years will be back in Commonwealth Court this week. The case is William Penn School District v. Pennsylvania Department of Education. The plaintiff contends the state’s system of education funding violates our constitution. The Commonwealth Court dismissed the case because educational funding is not within judicial purview. The state Supreme Court reinstated the case and sent it back to trial court, meaning the judicial branch—and potentially the state Supreme Court—may soon dictate educational funding in violation of the separation of powers. Other state courts have defined “adequate funding” as billions in additional funding—a gift to teachers’ unions—despite no evidence of performance improvements. On Friday, parties to the case will be back in Commonwealth Court. This is just one example of why judicial elections matter! WHYY has more.

Education scholarships, paid leave mandates on tap in today’s committee hearings

It’s a busy day of committee hearings in the House and Senate. Among the hearings on tap are a House Commerce Committee hearing on Gov. Wolf’s recent executive order mandating higher wages and paid leave if businesses want to receive state loans or tax breaks and a Senate Education Committee hearing on tax credit scholarships. Click the links above for the full list of hearings, along with links to watch them live.

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