News & Brews December 23, 2022

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Fetterman gets settled in (temporary) basement office

The Inquirer tracks incoming U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, who’s now set up shop in “a temporary office in a colorless conference room in the basement of a Senate office building…. As is tradition with incoming freshmen, he must wait for senior members to move into their offices before getting a permanent home, likely sometime in the spring or early summer.” Beyond the office, the Inky considers how Fetterman will transition into his Senate role.

Much-needed perspective on cyber charter school funding

Writing in the Allentown Morning Call, Agora Cyber Charter School CEO Rich Jensen addresses some of the narratives used by those seeking to cut funding for Pennsylvania’s cyber charter schools. For all their opposition, “No one has considered it necessary to bring charter school administrators or board members to the table to get their perspective.” Jensen breaks down how Agora uses its funding and notes the harm funding cuts would cause.

Laughlin to introduce voter ID constitutional amendment

Republican Sen. Dan Laughlin (Erie County) announced he will “introduce legislation amending the Pennsylvania Constitution to require voters to provide valid identification in order to vote in an election.” He noted, “In 2021, Franklin & Marshall College conducted a poll and found that a large majority of Pennsylvania voters support strengthening the state’s voter ID requirements. According to the poll, 74% of respondents agree voters should be required to show ID at the polls.” Last session, the General Assembly passed voter ID as part of a broader election reform bill, which Gov. Wolf vetoed.

Treasury is latest state agency to ban TikTok from devices

Yesterday, Pa. Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced that she has banned the use of TikTok on phones and computers owned by the agency. The ban comes amid concerns that “the app, which is owned by Beijing, China-based ByteDance, poses a security risk because it could put sensitive data, including location information, personal habits and interests of Americans, in the hands of the Chinese government,” PennLive reports. The app is already prohibited in several other state agencies.

Pa. continues downward population trend

The Commonwealth Foundation notes, “Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that Pennsylvania lost over 40,000 residents between July 2021 and July 2022. These population estimates show that Pennsylvania had the fourth-largest total population decline in the country. Additionally, the state has the eighth-largest population loss from domestic migration, losing just shy of 40,000 residents in net migration to other states.” Unfortunately, this trend has been ongoing for a while, as Pa. has lost residents to other states every year but one since 2010.

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