News & Brews January 17 2022

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Wolf proposes his own congressional map … late

After refusing for months to negotiate with the Legislature, and then bashing the Legislature’s citizen-drawn congressional district map, Gov. Wolf on Saturday released his own proposed congressional map. The move comes after the House held multiple public hearings, invited public comments on the proposed map, and then voted last week to adopt the map. In a joint statement, Republican House leaders noted, “By releasing his maps today, Gov. Wolf is completing the final play of his well-worn playbook of refusing to work with the Legislature on substantive issues, waiting until the clock has nearly run out, and then changing his mind and attempting to issue a unilateral ultimatum that is devoid of all sincerity of effort.”

White wins central PA GOP Caucus gubernatorial straw poll

Garnering 21 of 104 votes cast, Delaware County businessman Dave White was the top vote getter of the GOP gubernatorial candidates among central PA GOP committee members on Saturday. Coming in second in the non-binding poll was former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain (17 votes), followed by former Congressman Lou Barletta (16 votes), Sen. Scott Martin (12 votes), and political strategist Charlie Gerow (also 12 votes). Other regional GOP caucuses will meet over the next few weeks leading up to the party’s official meeting on endorsements on February 5. One wild card: Is former House Speaker Mike Turzai tossing his hat in the ring?

As GOP goes constitutional route, Dems cry foul

Spotlight PA reports that as Gov. Wolf has vetoed more than 50 bills, Republican lawmakers have turned to the constitutional amendment process to take issues directly to the voters. But here’s a few amusing takes on reality: Regarding terminating a governor’s emergency disaster declaration, the piece notes, “When the state Supreme Court ruled that the legislature didn’t have that power, Republican lawmakers launched a push for two constitutional amendments to give the majority that ability.” Um, not quite. The Court never ruled the Legislature didn’t have the power. Rather, it ruled a simple majority didn’t have the power. Meanwhile, the piece says that Dems are complaining that going directly to the voters with constitutional amendments is “an attempt to exclude the minority party from policymaking.” Umm, do Democrats forget they hold a near-600,000 registration advantage among voters?

Senator calls on Wolf administration to testify on RGGI

Pointing to inaccurate modeling on the cost of joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Republican Senator Gene Yaw (Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Union counties) is calling on the Wolf administration to reconsider its refusal to testify at a Senate hearing tomorrow. Yaw notes that joining RGGI will lead to multiple negative outcomes, including “much higher electric rates for all residents, especially our most vulnerable.” Read the letter here.

Union LTE on liquor privatization … something’s missing ….

Wendell Young, the president of UFCW 1776, the state liquor store union, has a letter to the editor in PennLive claiming efforts to privatize the state’s liquor system (efforts supported by an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians) have a conflict of interest behind them. Who wants to tell Mr. Young that since his job relies heavily on a government liquor monopoly, he just might have a conflict of interest in opposing privatization?

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