News & Brews December 9, 2022

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Non-partisan legislative bureau says Dems don’t have House control

The plot thickens. After Democrats moved to seize power in the House, claiming a 102-101 majority despite the passing of one state representative (and now the resignation of two more), the non-partisan Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau has issued a legal opinion saying Democrats do not have a majority after all. In fact, neither party does.Read the opinion here. The power struggle is likely headed to court.

Teachers’ union membership drops in Pa. and nationwide

Mike Antonucci of The 74 writes that according to U.S. Department of Labor disclosure reports, “[t]he National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers lost more than 59,000 working members combined during the 2021-22 school year.” The NEA ended the academic year with 2,496,627 working members, a decrease of 40,107 from the previous year, while the AFT had 1,189,904 working members in 2021-22, a drop of 19,078.” In Pennsylvania, the state affiliate of the NEA, the Pennsylvania State Education Association, had 137,885 members, a decrease of 1,458.

Op-Ed: ‘PSSA results show students need a lifeline’

Commonwealth Foundation Policy Analyst Andrew Holman writes in the Delaware Valley Journal that the recently released results of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exams, showing significant learning loss since 2019, demonstrate the need for lifeline scholarships, which would rescue kids attending public schools in the bottom 15% in terms of performance.

New online platform for state taxes (finally) goes live

“It took ten years and $100 million, but finally the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue has an online system that provides a complete view of each taxpayer’s tax obligations and payments,” PennLive reports. The new system was supposed to be done by 2013, but, well, it wasn’t. Department of Revenue spokesman Jeff Johnson said the state will save about $10 million by not having to keep up the old system.

Dems, GOP to pick candidates for 3 special House elections

The Tribune-Review gives an update on when the Democrat and Republican parties will select their respective nominees for special elections in three House districts. In every case but one, Dec. 17 is the day. The one outlier is that Democrat committee members will meet this Sunday to pick their candidate to run for the seat of former Rep. Anthony DeLuca, who passed away in October.

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