News & Brews March 2, 2022
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PA Supreme Court keeps mail-in voting, for now
Yesterday, the state Supreme Court ordered that our mail-in voting law be kept in place as the court considers the appeal of the Commonwealth Court’s ruling declaring the law unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in the case on March 8. The AP has more.
Dep’t of Ed delays release of testing data until Friday
The information was supposed to come yesterday, but now the results of the 2021 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment and Keystone Exams won’t be released until Friday. PennLive reports, “In a statement that went out on Monday afternoon to school districts, a Department of Education official advised the delay was prompted by requests from school leaders who asked for more time to review their 2021 assessment data for accuracy before it was published.” As I noted last week, Secretary of Education Noe Ortega is trying to lower expectations on the results, and now the additional delay (and the decision to release on a Friday) suggests what many suspect: the data on learning loss isn’t going to be good.
Reactions to Biden’s SOTU
The Delaware Valley Journal rounds up some reactions from PA and beyond to President Biden’s State of the Union address last evening. One Democrat called it a “brilliant speech” and said the president “could not have done better.” (Ummm.) Meanwhile, Sen. Pat Toomey said, “Tonight was an opportunity for the president to turn a new page towards the unity he promised our country when he first took office, but unfortunately, Americans got more of the same.”
PA’s biggest public pension fund to consider divesting from Russia
As lawmakers are calling for PA to divest from Russian assets, and as state Treasurer Stacy Garrity is divesting $2.9 million in Russian holdings in the accounts under her purview, next week our state’s largest pension fund will consider divesting from Russian assets. The AP reports, “The $72.5 billion Public School Employees’ Retirement System [PSERS] said it had under $300 million directly invested in Russian and Belarus investments, or less than one-half of 1% of the fund’s total assets. Belarus has been a key ally of Russia in its attack on Ukraine.” The PSERS board plans to discuss the issue at its March 11 meeting
PA GOP lawmakers urge pipeline expansions as Putin targets Ukraine
Multiple PA lawmakers are among those urging the Biden administration to allow construction on the Keystone XL pipeline to resume. President Biden revoked the permit for the pipeline on his first day in office. The call comes as Russia’s hold on the energy market is helping fund its invasion of Ukraine, and completion of the pipeline would reduce dependance on Russian energy. City & State PA has more.