News & Brews March 30, 2022

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House committee advances lifeline scholarship legislation

Yesterday, the House Education Committee voted to advance legislation that would establish lifeline scholarships. The bill, sponsored by Republican Reps. Clint Owlett and Martina White, would offer public school students attending low-performing schools (defined as the bottom 15% in performance) scholarships to access better educational options. The vote was 14-10, with Republican Rep. Meghan Schroeder of Bucks County joining all Democrats on the committee in opposing the legislation.

IFO: RGGI could nearly quadruple electricity rates

The state’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) testified yesterday that according to its analysis of the Department of Environmental Protection’s model for joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, cost increases would be far higher than what the Wolf administration has been saying. In response, Sens. Gene Yaw and John Yudichak noted, “Among the many shocking details of the report, IFO Director Matthew Knittel said Pennsylvania energy generators could spend upwards of $781 million annually on emissions credits at the RGGI auctions – nearly four times the amount anticipated by the administration’s taxpayer-funded analysis used to justify our participation in RGGI in 2020.” Meanwhile, Republican Senate leaders have asked the Commonwealth Court to block Gov. Wolf’s attempt to unilaterally force Pennsylvania into RGGI.

GOP Senate candidate forum this morning; Watch online!

This morning, four Republican candidates for U.S. Senate—David McCormick, Jeff Bartos, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Kathy Barnette—will participate in a forum in Erie hosted by the Manufacturer & Business Association. The forum will be live-streamed at beginning at 9:05am.

Transparency bill passed House committee

Yesterday, the House State Government Committee advanced legislation, sponsored by GOP Rep. Keith Gillespie (York County), that would require that all lawmakers make public their legislative expenses. Click here for more on this and other bills the committee advanced.

Fairness in Women’s Sports Act advances from committee

Also yesterday, the House Ed Committee advanced the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. The legislation, sponsored by Republican Reps. Barb Gleim, Martina White, Dawn Keefer, Valerie Gaydos, and Stephanie Borowicz—all former student athletes—would “protect opportunities for women and girls in athletics by ensuring women are not forced to compete against biological males playing on women’s sports team.” Not surprisingly, some in the media reported the legislation as a ban on transgender athletes, which is false. Click here to read more and watch clips from yesterday’s committee testimony.

Judge removes school board members in mask mandate case

Here’s some interesting news out of Chester County. Yesterday, a judge ordered that all five Democrat school board members in the West Chester Area School District be immediately removed from office. While the petition to have the members removed stemmed from their votes to mandate masks in schools, the judge said the reason for his decision was actually because there was “no response” to this petition from the school district. It’s unclear why the district didn’t respond by the court’s deadline. The board members plan to file a motion to reconsider. Read more here.

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