News & Brews June 28, 2022

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Mastriano staying the course for General Election

Even as Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz has begun to pivot away from former President Trump as the campaign’s focus turns toward the General Election, the Philly Inquirer notes that GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano “is sticking to his MAGA playbook.” And while “[t]here are signs that most rank-and-file Republican officials are rallying behind Mastriano,” it remains to be seen how many major donors will follow. At least some Republicans are expected to break rank and support Democrat Josh Shapiro.

Lawmakers seek to tie Pitt funding to ending fetal tissue research

The House voted 108-92 yesterday for an appropriations bill that conditions the University of Pittsburgh’s annual $151 million in state funding on assurances that the university is not conducting research on fetal tissue obtained through abortions. The vote comes as lawmakers and Gov. Wolf have not reached an agreement on the state budget, with just a few days to go until the traditional June 30 deadline. The Post-Gazette has more.

Bill would help prevent SNAP benefits from going to deceased Pennsylvanians

Legislation currently making its way through the General Assembly would help ensure that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are not being paid to individuals who are no longer living. The legislation, which passed the full Senate last week and now awaits House action, comes after an audit found that a Department of Human Services “policy allowed public assistance benefits to be paid to recipients up to 12 months after death.”

$450K contract to onboard new Philly superintendent raises eyebrows

The new Philadelphia School District superintendent earns $340,000 annually, but the district is paying significantly more than that to a Tennessee-based firm for a year’s worth of “transition services” to help him get settled. The $450,000 contract is being called “extraordinarily high,” and the firm that received it has also been accused of questionable practices. Next time the school district claims it needs more money, maybe someone should bring this up.

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