News & Brews July 1, 2022

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Commonwealth Court halts bridge-tolling plan

Yesterday, the Commonwealth Court blocked Gov. Wolf’s plan to toll up to nine interstate bridges in Pennsylvania. The AP reports that the judges agreed with three municipalities that had argued that the Wolf “administration had violated procedures in getting to the advanced stage of considering the idea.” Click here to read the court’s ruling.

Fiscal year begins with no state budget

The commonwealth begins its 2022-23 fiscal year today without a state budget in place, as negotiations continue. Among several sticking points: funding for education. The AP reports that “[n]ew aid for public schools is expected to land at around $850 million, or about 10% more, lawmakers say. That is short of the almost $1.8 billion more that Wolf had initially requested….” Of course, nearly $1 billion in new education spending is substantial, particularly considering 1) overall public school district spending reached $33.67 billion last year and state spending is at a historic high; 2) schools are sitting on over $5 billion in reserves funds; and 3) schools have an additional $5.46 billion in unspent federal pandemic aid. Oh, and then there’s that recent IFO report noting, “The data suggest there is little or no correlation between the current expenditures spent per student and the share of students that score proficient or above on standardized tests.”

SCOTUS agrees to hear case that could impact Pa.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that “will consider whether state courts, finding violations of their state constitutions, can order changes to federal elections and the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional districts,” the AP reports. White this specific case comes from North Carolina, the issue has also arisen in Pennsylvania. The AP notes that the court will likely hear arguments in the case this fall.

Editorial: ‘Fetterman’s crude attacks on Pa. oil and gas industry’

In the wake of recent campaign emails and tweets from Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman criticizing oil companies, the editors at Broad + Liberty offered Fetterman a tutorial in how inflation works while addressing his interesting (mis)understanding of the oil and gas industry. Read more here.

Mastriano: ‘We can secure our schools without trading constitutional rights’

GOP gubernatorial nominee Sen. Doug Mastriano has an op-ed in the Delaware Valley Journal outlining his proposal to add “an extra layer of security in the classrooms by allowing school staff to carry firearms.” He notes that to be certified to do so, employees must undergo training that includes “courses on protection of students, interactions with first responders, tactics for denying classroom entry to intruders, safe handling and storage of weapons, and proficiency with defensive weapons under duress.” Read his piece here.

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