News & Brews December 7, 2021

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Shapiro signs off on RGGI (but battle continues)

After telling a western PA union leader that he couldn’t support the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in its current form, Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro had his office approve the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in its current form. Lawmakers continue, however, to fight against the cap-and-trade program that would costPennsylvanians $2 billion over nine years, or about $43 more per year per household. The Center Square reports that the Legislative Reference Bureau will not yet publish the regulation as state law “gives the General Assembly time to disapprove a regulation.” The Senate disapproved RGGI in October, and the House has until mid-January to do so. House GOP spokesperson Jason Gottesman says he expects the House to vote on the disapproval next week. Wolf could then veto it, and an override would require a two-thirds vote in each chamber.

Report: PA taxpayers fund at least $42 million in lobbying

Just when we think our tax dollars are going to things like roads, bridges, education, or social safety-net programs, turns out we’re also paying for state agencies and local governments to hire lobbyists to lobby other government entities for more government programs and funding. New reports from the Commonwealth Foundation (CF) reveal that“Pennsylvania taxpayers paid for at least $42 million in lobbying expenses from 2007–2020.” And this is just the “tip of the iceberg,” as only 40% of 1,518 government entities responded to CF’s open records requests. The Center Square covered the findings.

Martin hints at entering gov’s race ‘soon’

Sen. Scott Martin (Lancaster County), who formed an exploratory committee for governor over the summer but has not yet officially announced his candidacy, tweeted recently that “big news” is “coming soon,” suggesting he may soon officially enter the fray. Read more at LancasterOnline.

Yelp for gov’t vendors?

The Inquirer reports on an effort by a former Rendell administration official to create an “online government-vendor review platform, which asks state and local agency staff to rate the services they buy from private contractors.” Sort of like Yelp. So far, the platform, dubbed “Procurated,” “has solicited and collected 10,000 contractor reviews in Pennsylvania and six other states.”

Pennsylvania remembers Pearl Harbor

Flags will fly at half-staff in commonwealth facilities and public buildings and grounds across Pennsylvania from sunrise to sunset today in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. In issuing the flag order, Gov. Wolf stated, “It is with heavy hearts that we remember the tragic events that occurred at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, but we are also reminded of and inspired by the resilience, bravery and the indomitable fighting spirit of the Americans who gave their lives on that day.” Meanwhile, on this 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the Post-Gazette Editorial Board reminds us why memories of that day are worth preserving.

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