News & Brews January 7 2022

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Wolf’s interpretation of his record contradicts reality

The Morning Call has an amusing op-ed by Gov. Wolf, in which he recounts his (imagined) record then shares some goals for his final year in office. But here’s a sampling of how Wolf’s interpretation of his record contradicts reality: 1. He congratulates himself for supporting the restaurant industry. FACT: He decimated the industry by prolonged shutdowns. 2. He says kids should have access to a quality education regardless of zip code. FACT: He’s opposed expanding school choice beyond government-assigned schools. 3. He praises himself for pension reform. FACT: He signed pension reform only after first vetoing pension reform. I could go on (and I just might later…). In the meantime, here’s your morning dose of fiction.

Lawmaker warns redistricting deadlock could change how congressional elections are held

Rep. Seth Grove (York County) is warning that if Pennsylvania fails to adopt a congressional redistricting map, it would mean we would elect our members of Congress on a statewide basis rather than by congressional districts this year. PennLive reports that the little-known federal provision was used in the 1890s “for a cycle or two” until the state implemented a new congressional map. Yet, Grove notes that Gov. Wolf still refuses to come to the table to negotiate on redistricting. In response, Wolf’s office criticized Grove’s warning as a “publicity stunt.” (But notably, Wolf still isn’t coming to the table to negotiate, so there’s that.) Check out the story here.

State redistricting hearings today

On the state redistricting front, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission will hold two public hearings today on the preliminary House and Senate district maps. The first hearing will be at 9am and the second will be at 1pm. Both hearings will be live-streamed here. Meanwhile, commission chair Mark Nordenberg defended the preliminary House map (which has drawn the most GOP concern), saying the Democrats’ plan was “more persuasive and better supported” (see p. 22-23 of Nordenberg’s statement).

Op-Ed: What critics get wrong about energy choice

Sen. Gene Yaw (Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Union counties) has an op-ed in Broad + Liberty calling out critics of his legislation that would prevent PA’s municipalities “from banning access to certain utilities, like natural gas or heating oil.” Yaw writes that his bill “reaffirms what many local and statewide officials, including the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, already understand to be true: municipalities do not have the authority to restrict energy sources.” He adds that his bill “means that residents can pursue ‘cleaner’ electricity sources if they want to or can afford to, while not punishing those who don’t have the option.” Read more here.

State warns of unemployment fraud … while failing basic security test

ABC27 reported that the state Department of Labor and Industry “is warning residents about ‘increasingly aggressive and sophisticated schemes’ to steal unemployment compensation benefits.” But according to one expert, “the scheme does not appear to be sophisticated at all.” Instead, it’s pretty basic, and a key problem is that our unemployment system lacks the “minimum standard” security feature of multifactor authentication. #governmentthatworks. Read more here.

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