News & Brews February 23, 2023

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Future of measure to help sex abuse victims remains in limbo

Even as the House is poised to open a window for victims of child sex abuse to sue—and even as the Senate previously voted in favor of the same—the future of the effort remains uncertain. That’s because after the Senate voted to send the measure—along with voter ID and regulatory reform—to voters to have the final say, the Democrat majority in the House refused to do the same as Democrat lawmakers don’t want voters to weigh in on voter ID or regulatory reform. So the Democrat House majority convened in special session and passed the sex abuse reform as a stand-alone measure. But since the Senate has already passed it once (via Senate Bill 1), Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman sees no need to convene a special Senate session to take up the issue again. He said, “The Senate has fulfilled and completed our commitment to address this issue and a special session remains unnecessary. I believe the only path to resolve [House Speaker Mark Rozzi’s] top priority is for the House to pass Senate Bill 1 as presented.”

Did Shapiro violate his own gift ban with Super Bowl tix?

Spotlight PA reports that Gov. Shapiro’s administration “insists” that he “did not violate his own gift ban when he and top staff went to Arizona for the Super Bowl on the dime of a nonprofit that has received millions of dollars in state money.” But the story notes that under Shapiro’s own policy, the governor “and executive branch employees are not allowed to accept tickets to recreational events such as football games … from any ‘person or entity’ that ‘has financial relations with the Commonwealth’.” Shapiro’s spokesperson tried to explain away the situation, but it seems Spotlight is (understandably) less than convinced.

Trump visits site of train derailment

Former President Trump, who’s campaigning again for the White House, joined the line of folks visiting the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment. The AP reports that he “criticized the federal response” to the derailment as a “betrayal” and said residents deserve “answers and results.” The story notes, “The disaster has become the latest front in America’s political divide, with Trump criticizing the federal response and the White House in turn saying Trump could have done more as president to toughen rail and environmental regulations.”

Pa. Senate committee hearing today on train derailment

This morning at 10:00 a.m., the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee will hold a public hearing on the Norfolk Southern train derailment and emergency response efforts. Among those invited to testify are local residents as well as local and state officials. Click here for the proposed agenda and live-stream link.

Pa. tax burden is ‘above average’

The Center Square reports, “In a yearly comparison carried out by the Independent Fiscal Office, Pennsylvania is above-average with its tax burden. … When looking at the state and local tax burden as a share of personal income, the analysis notes that Pennsylvania has the 21st highest tax burden, representing a 10.08% ratio of taxes to income.” The story continues, “For specific taxes, Pennsylvania is a mixed bag of above-average and below-average burdens. The commonwealth has the 22nd-highest personal income tax (2.57% tax-to-income ratio) and 16th-highest corporate net income tax (a .53% ratio), but only the 40th-highest sales and use tax (a 1.96% ratio).”

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