News & Brews July 8, 2022

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State budget taking shape; Massive spending, but a few victories

Yesterday, House lawmakers voted 180-20 in favor of a state budget that massively increases state spending, yet also would deliver a few positive elements. Our friends at the Commonwealth Foundation provided a breakdown of key elements in the budget, which would increase spending by 10.7% over last year’s budget and spend $3 billion more than projected revenue. On the positive side, the budget would provide a historic increase in our tax credit scholarship programs, expanding educational opportunity to approximately 31,000 additional K-12 students, and it would reduce our corporate net income tax. Additionally as part of negotiations, Gov. Wolf agreed to abandon his harmful charter school regulations, approved earlier this year. The AP notes that both the House and Senate are likely to finish the budget today.

Pa. lawyers targeted with ethics complaint for defending Trump

Whether you love Trump or hate him, this one raises eyebrows. The Democrat-backed “65 Project” is trying to disbar several Pennsylvania attorneys because they sided with the former president in challenging the 2020 election results. The group is also targeting Trump-allied attorneys in other states. Curious: Does this mean any attorney who defends any case concluded to be without merit should be disbarred? I wonder if the 65 Project is also seeking to disbar attorneys for Stacey Abrams.

Senate committee advances amendments on abortion, voter ID, Lt. Gov. selection

Last last night, the Senate Rules and Executive Nominations Committee advancedconstitutional amendments that would, respectively, outline that the right to an abortion is not enshrined in the Pa. Constitution (while not changing current state abortion laws), require voter ID at polling places, and let gubernatorial candidates pick their running mates. Next, the full Senate would need to take up the measures.

Bill to prevent repeat DOS failure heads to Wolf

The General Assembly is sending Gov. Wolf legislation, sponsored by GOP Sen. Dave Argall (Berks and Schuylkill counties), which “would outline comprehensive procedures and training for the [State] department to follow when advertising future constitutional amendments, ensuring these critical requirements never again are allowed to slip through the cracks.” The bill comes after the Department of State botched its responsibility to advertise a proposed constitutional amendment for victims of child sexual abuse, derailing the amendment.

Wolf signs 31 bills

Gov. Wolf has become known for his veto pen, but yesterday, he signed 31 bills into law, spanning topics from probation technology to license plates. PennLive has the list.

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