News & Brews January 31 2022

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Commonwealth Court strikes down no-excuse mail-in voting, case heading to state Supreme Court

On Friday the Commonwealth Court ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting, implemented by Act 77 of 2019, violates our state constitutional requirement for in-person voting. Notably, the court did not come out against no-excuse mail-in voting, but simply said that for it to be implemented in PA, our constitution would first need to be amended. See the court’s ruling here. The Wolf administration immediately appealed the ruling, which is on hold pending the appeal.

PA Dems ‘deadlock’ on Senate endorsement

The Pennsylvania Democrat Party failed to endorse a candidate for U.S. Senate this weekend, as no candidate reached the required two-thirds threshold of votes among the approximately 350 committee members, the AP reports. Coming closest was U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, who garnered 60% of the vote. Meanwhile, in no surprise, the party endorsedAttorney General Josh Shapiro for governor and his handpicked running mate, Rep. Austin Davis, for lieutenant governor.

White, McCormick win SWPA GOP straw poll

In a straw poll of Republican state committee members from southwest PA, gubernatorial candidate Dave White and U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick emerged the winners. White garnered 31 votes, more than twice that of any other candidate, and McCormick secured 35 votes, more than three times any other candidate. In reporting the results, PennLive notes, “The straw poll votes are not binding, but are intended to give the candidates a realistic look at where they stand with party committee members in advance of the winter endorsement meeting scheduled for Feb. 5. In some of the earlier caucus meetings, there has been a strong sentiment expressed not to endorse this year.”

WSJ Editorial: Pittsburgh bridge collapse & infrastructure bill

Hours before President Biden arrived in Pittsburgh on Friday to tout his misnomered ‘infrastructure’ bill, 10 people were injured in a bridge collapse. Some of the photos were jarring, and it’s miraculous no one was killed. Biden used his visit to claim, “We’re sending the money.” I’ll let the WSJ Editorial Board take it from here: “Sorry, he isn’t. The bill he signed doesn’t have nearly enough money unless his Administration plans to borrow from the Energy Department’s green energy venture-capital fund. The bill includes $40 billion in new funding for bridges, a pittance compared to the $156 billion for mass transit and rail that are bleeding cash due to generous labor agreements and low ridership. Mass transit had already received $70 billion in pandemic relief.” Read the editorial here(paywall).

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