News & Brews April 28, 2022

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Elections, energy, and more at GOP gubernatorial debate

Last night, Republican gubernatorial candidates Lou Barletta, Doug Mastriano, Bill McSwain, and Dave White discussed issues ranging from mail-in voting and energy production to the gas tax, abortion, and the influence of former President Trump in the primary race. Watch the replay of the debate here. Meanwhile, PennLive covered reactions from a couple of the candidates who were not invited to the debate due to low polling and/or fundraising numbers.

PA House passes Lifeline Scholarships

Yesterday, the state House voted 104-98 for legislation sponsored by Republican Reps. Clint Owlett and Martina White that would offer public school students attending low-performing schools (defined as the bottom 15% in performance) scholarships to access better educational options. This marked the first time in state history that lawmakers passed a bill to let education funding follow the child.

Lawmaker seeks to expand online learning opportunities

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on legislation, sponsored by GOP Rep. Jason Ortitay (Allegheny and Washington counties), that “would require the state Department of Education to create a ‘clearinghouse’ of class courses, so students could take a class virtually or with a proctor.” Ortitay notes the proposal, which passed the House earlier this month with strong bipartisan support, “will provide an additional tool for our students, educators, and schools by leveraging existing technology to provide students with the opportunity to pursue coursework which is best-suited to their individual needs, and which might not otherwise be available.” The bill now awaits Senate consideration.

A look at Shapiro’s fundraising

Spotlight PA takes a surface look at the millions of dollars raised so far by Democrat Josh Shapiro in his quest to be governor. His donors range from multiple unions (who collectively have contributed more than $3.7 million) to out-of-state liberal millionaires and thousands of individual contributors.

Candidate profile: Dave White

The Inquirer profiles the campaign of GOP gubernatorial candidate Dave White, noting that White “has emphasized his ‘outsider’ status. But he has a long history in the Delaware County GOP.” The piece also notes that White, who is a third-generation steamfitter, has garnered support from multiple labor unions. Read more here.

House passes bill to post lawmaker expenses online

Yesterday, the House unanimously passed legislation requiring that House lawmakers’ expenses, including per diems, be posted online. Before passage, however, the bill was stripped of a provision requiring the same of the Senate. The Senate already requires online posting of expenses, but not in a searchable database, as the House bill would require. The LNP has more (paywall).

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