News & Brews January 25, 2023

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Shapiro creates new government office

Yesterday, Gov. Shapiro signed an executive order creating the Pennsylvania Office of Transformation and Opportunity within the Governor’s Office and the Economic Development Strategy Group. The office is intended to increase government efficiency and help businesses cut through bureaucratic hurdles. Shapiro says the office will be a “one-stop-shop” for businesses. If this sounds familiar, it’s because in 2018 former Gov. Wolf launched the One-Stop-Shop website to help businesses get through bureaucratic hurdles.

A history of school choice

Well, this is pretty cool. The Cato Institute has created a timeline of school choice in America—going back to the 1700s! Did you know that in 1810, Virginia began funding Sunday School education for the poor? Or that in 1879, a lawyer and politician gave a speech in California on the rights of parents to choose the best education for their children? Now you do! Kudos to Cato for creating this timeline

As House speaker blocks votes, proposed amendment will likely be delayed … again

”It’s another sad day for victims,” according to one survivor of childhood sexual abuse. This is because House Speaker Mark Rozzi recessed the chamber until February 27, which would be too late “to pass a constitutional amendment expanding the time allowed for victims to seek civil suits against abusers and get it before voters in the May primary.” Rozzi had said passing this amendment was his top priority, and no other legislation would be passed until the House passed this one. But when offered the opportunity to pass it, he refused to take action because it would also mean sending voters two other proposed constitutional amendments. If the amendment fails to make the May ballot, it would be delayed until at least November. This isn’t the first time the measure has been delayed, as it would have been on the ballot in 2021 but the Wolf administration failed to advertise it, as required by law.

Lawmakers seek regulatory checks and balances

Senate lawmakers are attempting again to “require legislative approval of ‘economically significant regulations.’” These regulations would be defined as regulations that have a “direct or indirect cost to the commonwealth, to its political subdivisions and to the private sector in excess of $1 million on an annual basis.” The bill, according to sponsor Sen. John DiSanto (Dauphin County), is intended to “help restore important constitutional checks and balances” on government agencies and “protect against onerous regulations that hamper job creation and economic growth.” The Senate passed similar legislation last session, but the House did not follow suit.

2023 Pa. elections among ‘races to watch’

FiveThirtyEight looks across the country at “a bevy of fascinating contests on the ballot this calendar year that will affect the lives of millions of Americans.” On the list are the race for an open seat on the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court and the race for Philadelphia mayor. On the court front, the story notes that the race “while important, won’t alter partisan control of the court.” True; however, the outcome of this race could mean partisan control of the court is up for grabs in the next election.

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