News & Brews June 17, 2022

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Internal battle for PA Dem party control comes to head tomorrow

As the Democrat state party meets tomorrow and votes on who will be the next party chair, an internal battle has been brewing. On the one side is Gerald “Jerry” Lawrence, the current chair of the Democrat party’s Southeast Caucus (covering seven counties). Lawrence has the backing of Attorney General and gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro as well as Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Bob Casey. On the other side is state Sen. Sharif Street, who contends that “Black and brown people in urban areas feel that the party has taken them for granted” and says, referencing Shapiro, “Our party cannot simply be an extension of a statewide candidate’s campaign.” The Inquirer has more.

Secrecy v. transparency at state’s biggest pension fund

Bloomberg has a long-form story on the battle Democrat state Sen. Katie Muth (Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties) has been fighting to get some transparency from the Public School Employees’ Retirement System. Central to the story is that Muth is a trustee of PSERS, yet she had to sue the pension fund to obtain internal documents. It’s an interesting read!

House looks to expand who can bring sexual harassment complaints against lawmakers

Spotlight PA reports that House leaders of both parties are looking “to close a loophole in the chamber’s rules that protects lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct from facing institutional sanctions.” The current rule specifically addresses unwanted sexual advances by lawmakers against state House employees. The rule under consideration says such advances against any individual could be handled ‘institutionally’ by the House. Here’s a thought: How about lawmakers not make unwanted sexual advances, period?

VP Harris to visit Pittsburgh today

The Post-Gazette reports that Vice President Kamala Harris will be in Pittsburgh today “to discuss the replacement of lead pipes as part of the White House’s Build Back Better plan.” The story notes that “Harris is expected to discuss the allocation of $15 billion under the November infrastructure law to replace lead service lines.” It’s unclear if she will also address historic inflation and painfully high gas prices.

Oz v. Fetterman: A preview

Well, the race is on. And City & State PA reports that Republican Senate nominee Mehmet Oz is ‘pivoting’ to the General Election to draw a contrast between him and Democrat nominee John Fetterman. Meanwhile, as Oz blames Democrats for inflation, Fetterman looks to paint Oz as out-of-touch with Pennsylvanians. Read more here.

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