News & Brews May 27, 2022

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Some counties beginning Senate recount today

Several counties will begin their recounts in the GOP Senate primary today, while the majority of counties are holding off until next week. (Counties must begin no later than June 1.) “In a recount,” the AP reports, “most of the ballots are simply rescanned electronically. Election workers check ballots by hand if a scanner recorded no vote or dismissed it as a double vote, and they may find more voters there.” The results of the recount are due to the Department of State on June 8.

Dems shift from ‘defund’ to ‘refund’ the police

Apparently realizing their anti-police messaging doesn’t actually resonate with wide swaths of voters who welcome law enforcement officers, some Democrats are trying to distance themselves from the “defund the police” mantra. The Inquirer reports, “From municipal government to the statewide midterm elections, an increasing number of Democrats are backing proposals to provide more resources to police and are racing to prove to constituents that they’re responsive to historic rates of community gun violence.” Read more here.

Media beginning to question Fetterman’s medical condition

Following a stroke that left Lt. Gov. and U.S Senate candidate John Fetterman hospitalized for a week, some in the media are expressing concerns over alleged inconsistencies in what the Fetterman campaign is saying and what some medical experts say. The Inquirer notes that “the campaign’s explanation of his medical treatment doesn’t entirely make sense, according to cardiologists.” Read the Inky piece here. (PoliticsPA also had a story on the topic.)

PA population loss becoming a ‘new normal’

The Center Square reports that recently released IRS data shows Pennsylvanians are continuing to leave the state for greener pastures. The story notes, “While states like Florida, Texas, Arizona and the Carolinas attracted both people and wealth, Pennsylvania was 31st in population change (losing 5,000 people) and 35th in wealth (losing $1.2 billion in adjusted gross income) from 2019 to 2020, according to an analysis by Wirepoints.” The analysis places PA among the “biggest losers of domestic wealth migration, 2020.”

Judge rules against teachers’ union in 8-year-old case on forced fees

It took eight years, but two teachers have won a battle against the state’s largest teachers’ union. This week, a Lancaster County judge ruled that Pennsylvania’s so-called “fair share” fee law is unconstitutional. The ruling comes four years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, in which the court said public employees could not be forced to pay a union as a condition of employment. Yet, despite the high court’s ruling, Pennsylvania’s law allowing just this scenario remained on the books. Nathan McGrath, president and general counsel for The Fairness Center, which represented the teachers in the Lancaster County case, said, “The judge unequivocally stated that Pennsylvania’s ‘fair share’ fee law is unconstitutional under Janus. To my knowledge, this is the first time a state court has issued such a ruling.” Read more here.

Op-Ed: ‘Open primaries? How about no primaries?’

Kyle Sammin writes for RealClear Pennsylvania that while some want to open primary elections to independent voters, perhaps a better idea is to eliminate primaries altogether and return to a party convention system. While I’m personally not sold on the convention approach, there is merit to ending taxpayer-funding of primaries! After all, primary elections are not public functions but rather mechanisms for private political parties to select their candidates. Sammin’s piece is an interesting read.

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