News & Brews March 8, 2022

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Supreme Court rejects bid to block PA congressional map

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday rejected a request to block congressional redistricting maps in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, although some of the justices indicated they would have taken up the cases. Justice Alito noted that parties can still appeal after they’ve gone through the lower courts. That said, practically speaking, this means as of now, Pennsylvania’s elections will move forward based on the redrawn congressional map. NPR has more.

Marcellus Shale Coalition responds to Wolf’s attacks

Following Gov. Wolf’s accusation last week that lawmakers want to ‘line the pockets’ of the natural gas industry, Marcellus Shale Coalition President David Callahan sent a letter to Wolf, noting, “As America contemplates how to best respond to this situation, we are disappointed to see the unfounded and unnecessary accusations claiming that Pennsylvania businesses and their employees are simply motivated to ‘line their pockets’ in the midst of a crisis. Such an assertion is inaccurate and unwarranted.” Callahan further wrote, “Russian-produced natural gas has a 65% higher methane intensity than natural gas produced in the United States – and natural gas produced right here in the Appalachian Basin has the lowest methane intensity of any large basin in the entire country.” Read the full letter here.

Wolf requests $2M to help displaced Ukrainians

Yesterday, Gov. Wolf asked the General Assembly to give $2 million to the Office of Refugee Resettlement to help Ukrainians fleeing Putin’s attacks. Wolf noted, “That funding would allow us to support community-based resettlement agencies across the commonwealth as they provide services to Ukrainian refugees, providing faster and more flexible ways to get services to the people who need them.” PennLive has more.

PA Supreme Court to hear argument today in mail-in voting case

This morning at 9:30 am, the PA Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case challenging Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting law. The Commonwealth Court previously declared no-excuse mail-in voting unconstitutional, noting that if lawmakers want to implement it, the state constitution would first need to be amended. That ruling is on hold, however, as the Supreme Court hears the case on appeal. The audio of the oral argument will be live-streamed here.

Tense exchanges mark budget hearings with Dep’t of Education

As expected, yesterday’s House Appropriations Committee hearings with the Department of Education included some intense questioning from lawmakers. Committee Chair Stan Saylor (York County) released key takeaways from the hearing, including how the Wolf administration has tried to cut funding for public charter schools. Read the takeaways—and watch some of the questioning—here.

House and Senate budget hearings continue today

The House and Senate appropriations committees will continue their respective budget hearings today. On the Senate side, the committee will hear from the Department of Human Services at 10am and continuing at 2:30pm. Watch those hearings here. Meanwhile, on the House side, lawmakers will hear from State-Related Universities at 10am and from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency at 1pm. Live-stream links for those hearings are available here.

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