News & Brews March 15, 2022

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House, Senate education committees to consider response to Wolf’s charter school regulations

Today, the House and Senate education committees will each hold a meeting to consider whether to issue a letter formally disapproving of new charter school regulations from Gov. Wolf’s Department of Education. Republican lawmakers have expressedconcern that the Democrat-supported regulations would have an “overwhelmingly negative impact” on charter schools. Additionally, Wolf is seeking to impose his desired charter changes via these regulations as he has been unable to garner sufficient support for the changes from the Legislature. The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) has scheduled a March 21 vote on the regulations, which are available here. The House committee meeting is at 9:30am and will be live-streamed here. The Senate committee meeting is scheduled for 11am and will be live-streamed here.

Senate hearings on recreational marijuana draw criticism

Yesterday, the Senate Law & Justice Committee concluded a series of hearings on legalizing recreational marijuana. But some criticized the hearings as inviting only the pro-legalization side of the debate to testify. PennLive reports, “Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair County, said the issue represents a huge policy shift that deserves more vetting including input from drug and alcohol professionals, chiefs of police, representatives from the business community, among others.” Indeed, from the business side, one of our board members, Rob Shearer, penned an op-ed a few years back outlining the many unanswered labor-law questions that those who want to rush legalization are ignoring.

It’s Sunshine Week! Here are some ups and downs on gov’t transparency

March 13-19 is Sunshine Week, which is aimed at promoting transparency in government. Not surprisingly, government didn’t come up with the idea of this annual observance. But I digress. Anyway, as we celebrate (or long for) open government, Paula Knudsen Burke, a staff attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, gives some examples of where government is trying to hide things, as well as some signs of progress on the road to transparency. Read her piece here.

Op-Ed: Three opportunities to show courage & reclaim American values

My colleague, Abhi Samuel, has an excellent op-ed at Broad + Liberty, addressing “the loss of faith in the innate characteristics and values that make us uniquely America.” While calling this “alarming,” Abhi—a naturalized U.S. citizen who understands what it’s like growing up in a socialist nation—identifies three ways we can reclaim these values. Check out his piece here.

Senate budget hearings continue today

Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee will continue its series of budget hearings. The committee will hear from the Department of Labor & Industry at 10am and thePennsylvania State System of Higher Education at 2:30pm. The hearings will be live-streamed here.

Today is deadline to file petitions for statewide office

Today marks the deadline for candidates for statewide office to file nomination petitions to get on the ballot for the primary election. This means after today, we’ll have a better view of how many candidates among the many declared candidates for statewide office have gathered enough signatures to garner a spot on the ballot. This deadline doesn’t apply to state legislative offices, as the state Supreme Court temporarily suspended that calendar as it considers challenges to the redrawn state House and Senate maps.

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