News & Brews December 3, 2021

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PA gov’t unions are ignoring SCOTUS ruling

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that non-union members cannot be forced to pay a union so-called ‘fair share fees’ as a condition of employment. Why, then, are unions like the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and its affiliates inserting fair share fees into contracts after the court struck down such fees? The Commonwealth Foundation’s Kevin Mooney dives into the unions’ illegalities and how some workers are fighting for their rights.

Former Rep. Margo Davidson pleads guilty

Former state Rep. Margo Davidson, who resigned in July after being charged with misusing campaign funds and stealing from taxpayers, pleaded guilty yesterday and will be permanently banned from holding public office in Pennsylvania. The latest reports don’t seem to mention whether Davidson will keep her pension, as early reports suggestedAttorney General Josh Shapiro had given her a sweetheart deal so she could retain this taxpayer-backed perk.

Op-Ed: America’s energy future depends on Pennsylvania

Senator John Yudichak (Carbon and Luzerne counties) writes in an op-ed in RealClear Energy that “[a]ffordable, Pennsylvania-produced natural gas is a foundational component of our national economy, fueling America’s manufacturing plants, farms, hospitals, schools, and homes.” Attempts by “environmental extremists” to undermine the natural gas industry not only destroy jobs and hike utility bills, he writes, but also threaten our economic capabilities. Read more here.

Op-Ed: A ‘who’s who’ of Johnny Doc patronage

Who’s gotten lots of money from convicted Philly labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty? And will they give it back? Yours truly wrote a piece for Broad + Liberty looking at some of the recipients, including a state Supreme Court justice, our governor, our attorney general, and the new head of a “good government” group (oh, the irony). Read more here.

Objections rise to potential loss of majors as PA universities merge

With the mergers of six state-run universities into two, tensions are rising over a potential loss of majors as they’re combined into other programs. On the one hand, a spokesperson for Cal. U. says, “Simply counting up majors does not give a true picture of the academic offerings that will be available to students. In some cases, programs that are now listed as majors will become concentrations within a broader major at the new PennWest.” On the other, Bloomsburg philosophy professor Wendy Lee counters that her university has “sold its proverbial soul” in exchange for “butts in the seats.” The Post-Gazette has more.

Wolf vetoes constitutional carry legislation

Coming as no surprise, Gov. Wolf vetoed legislation that would have ended the requirement that Pennsylvanians obtain a separate permit to carry a concealed weapon. Legislative support for the bill is insufficient for a veto override.

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