News & Brews January 4 2022
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Another year, another turnpike toll hike
For the 14th consecutive year, turnpike tolls went up, as this year’s hike went into effect on Sunday. The most common passenger car toll increased from $1.60 to $1.70 for EZ-Pass users. For non-EZ-Pass users, the increase was from $3.90 to $4.10. Want to drive the length of the turnpike from Ohio to Philly? It will cost a passenger vehicle $45.70 (with EZ-Pass) or a whopping $93 without. Of course, this is an appropriate time to re-share the op-ed by our president and CEO Matt Brouillette explaining the real reasonbehind these yearly toll hikes. Oh, and don’t forget that earlier this year, the PA turnpike was named the most expensive toll road in the world.
Wolf names new acting Secretary of State
Last week, Gov. Wolf named Leigh Chapman as Pennsylvania’s new acting Secretary of State, effective January 8. Chapman replaces Veronica DeGraffenreid, who will become a special advisor to the governor. Chapman currently serves as Executive Director of Deliver My Vote, but this won’t be her first stint in the Wolf administration. From 2015-17, she was the Director of Policy in the PA Department of State.
Grove asks redistricting chair to have mapmaker testify
Yesterday, House State Government Committee Chair Seth Grove (York County) sent a letter to Legislative Reapportionment Commission Chair Mark Nordenberg, asking that he hold a hearing where Dr. Jonathan Cervas, the commission’s map creator, can “testify on his map decisions and allow members of the Commission … to vet these decisions in public.” Read Grove’s letter here.
15 new laws PA passed in 2021 that could affect you
PennLive’s Jan Murphy reports that the 100 new state laws enacted last year “were a mere fraction of the more than 3,000 bills introduced in the House and Senate.” From the shelf life of milk to the substitute teacher shortage, Murphy summarizes 15 new laws that could affect your life in some way. Here’s the list.
20 Pennsylvanians to watch in 2022
From sports to politics to healthcare to academia to entertainment, PennLive took a stab at coming up with a list of 20 Pennsylvanians (give or take) to watch in 2022. Check it out here.
Q&A with gubernatorial candidate Guy Ciarrocchi
The Pennsylvania Capital-Star sat down for a Q&A with Republican gubernatorial candidate Guy Ciarrocchi, who formerly headed the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry. Topics ranged from mail-in voting to the economy to why Ciarrocchi believes he can beat Democrat Josh Shapiro. Read the piece here.
Rep. Davis to announce for Lt. Gov., Shapiro to endorse
Democrat state Rep. Austin Davis (Allegheny County) plans to formally announce his candidacy for lieutenant governor today, and Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro will simultaneously endorse him for the role. The Inquirer reports, “The endorsement would break with a recent tradition of Democratic gubernatorial candidates staying out of the lieutenant [governor] primary.”
DOH hides data (again … and again)
In the latest installment of “What data will Gov. Wolf’s Department of Health hide today?” the LNP reports that DOH has gone to court to deny the LNP access to COVID death totals by zip code. DOH claims the info (which is aggregated data) could pose a breach of privacy for individuals. But, um, no, not so. I guess transparency wasn’t on DOH’s list of New Year’s resolutions.
Op-Ed: How state officials use our tax dollars to lobby
The Commonwealth Foundation’s Nathan Benefield has a new op-ed explaining how state and local government, along with school districts and government agencies across PA, spend millions of our taxpayer dollars “to lobby other parts of government, often for more spending and higher taxes.” Enjoy….
Op-Ed: Gerrymandering won’t save unpopular candidates
Speaking of Benefield, he also has an op-ed, complete with numbers, percents, and more, showing that “candidates matter more than the redistricting and often more than party affiliation.” Read Nate’s piece here.
PA Supreme Court Justice Saylor retires, reflects on career
PennLive spoke with recently retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Tom Saylor on his 28-year judicial career, touching on some of the key opinions he wrote, his thoughts on judicial reform, and his plans for retirement. Read more here.