News & Brews January 21 2022

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Op-Ed: Can PA GOP ride Republican wave?

Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, writes in RealClear Politics, “For now, all signs indicate a Republican advantage in Pennsylvania’s midterms.” But he cautions that this opportunity doesn’t come without potential risks. We agree with his conclusion that candidates matter but disagree with his casting of far-left Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro as a centrist Democrat. Read the op-ed here.

Where do PSEA union dues go?

Where does the Pennsylvania State Education Association (the state’s largest teachers’ union) send dues money? PSEA wants you to think it goes to helping kids, improving schools, and supporting teachers. But our friends at Americans for Fair Treatment explain that in 2018, PSEA created a “Fund for Student Success,” which received about $900K in union dues. That fund then gave all the money to PA Alliance Action, which is the primary funder of PA Fund for Change, which spends millions to elect Democrats to office. Read more here.

Taxpayer-funded Covid testing program stands at $900 per test

Remember the fanfare back in August when the Wolf administration announced free Covid testing in schools? At the time, the Department of Health said Ginkgo Bioworks had received an $87 million contract to provide the testing. Well, Broad + Liberty dove into what’s happened since. It turns out the program has distributed just 97,000 testing swabs, which would be about $900 per test so far. What’s more, fewer than 300 schools are fully enrolled in the program (while more are still onboarding). Read the story here.

Are PSERS / SERS reforms on the horizon?

The Inquirer reports that “[s]tate lawmakers met with officials of Pennsylvania’s public pension funds Thursday to vet reform measures that have been introduced to increase transparency and oversight of the pension system.” The meeting comes as PSERS, the Public School Employees’ Retirement System, is facing federal investigations and other woes. The reforms under consideration would also impact the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). Separately, the Pew Charitable Trusts explains a proposed shift in PSERS’ investment strategy that could save the system more than $100 million annually.

Op-Ed: ‘I’m stuck with an anti-Semitic labor union’

Our friends at the Fairness Center, along with attorneys from the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, are representing Avraham Goldstein, a professor in New York and an observant Orthodox Jew who resigned his union after the union took an anti-Semitic political stance. Although he resigned, under New York law, he’s still forced to rely on the union to negotiate on his behalf. Now, he and several other plaintiffs are suing to be free of the union. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he writes, “New York law shouldn’t provide cover for unions at the cost of individual freedom. Nor should it countenance forcing Jews to associate with a union that doesn’t want them around.” Read his piece here (paywall).

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