News & Brews February 1, 2022

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PA Supreme Court considers taking over congressional redistricting

Following hearings last week in the Commonwealth Court over more than a dozen proposed congressional maps, yesterday the state Supreme Court paused the Commonwealth Court case as it (the Supreme Court) considers an application from the plaintiffs to take over the case and impose a map. The two Republicans on the Supreme Court dissented in the 5-2 order. Notably, the plaintiffs (who want the Supreme Court to take over) are represented by attorney Marc Elias, who sues to get maps in states with majority Republican legislatures tossed out.

Some lawbreaking former lawmakers still get pensions, at taxpayers’ expense

Remember back in July when former Rep. Margo Davidson resigned from office after stealing from taxpayers? Well, thanks to a sweetheart deal from Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Davidson is drawing a taxpayer-backed pension. How much? Well, I filed some Right-to-Know requests and wrote a piece on how much some lawbreaking former lawmakers are getting in monthly pension checks—guaranteed by we the taxpayers. Check it out in Broad + Liberty.

PSERS probe lacked cooperation from key consultant

Yesterday behind closed doors, the law firm hired by PSERS to conduct an internal investigation into the pension fund shared the results of that investigation with PSERS board members. The Inquirer reports, however, that the “$484,000 probe … was undermined by the refusal of a key consultant to cooperate, people familiar with the inquiry said Monday.” Aon Consulting, which according to internal documents “seemed to take much of the blame for the calculation error” that made headlines last year, would not cooperate with the law firm in the investigation. Read more here.

Op-Ed: ‘Ed reform must empower students and parents, not systems’

Lenny McAllister, CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, writes in Broad + Liberty that even as we “ask how to fix education … we fail the test of listening to the true experts about children’s education experience in Pennsylvania: the parents.” He continues, “As we find ourselves between the end of National School Choice Week and the celebration of Black History Month, we must make a choice: listen to the echoes of history and the clamor for scholastic hope by families throughout Pennsylvania today, or cave in to complaints over funding from school districts that have received billions in federal aid just over the past two school years alone?” Read Lenny’s piece here.

$6.8 million ad buy supports McSwain as GOP primary heats up

The Delaware Valley Journal (DVJ) reports on a $6.8 million ad buy for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain, supported by Commonwealth Partners’ connected political action committee. (Disclosure: We have endorsed McSwain for governor). The DVJ notes, “That is more than many of his opponents in the crowded GOP field have in their campaign coffers, let alone their advertising budgets.” Read the story here.

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