News & Brews February 28, 2023

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GOP lawmakers to announce bills to combat waste

This morning at 10:00 a.m., Rep. Seth Grove (York County), along with other Republican House members, will hold a press conference to announce legislative efforts to combat fraud and waste of taxpayer dollars. You can watch the live stream here.

Dueling Capitol press conferences yesterday 

Yesterday, House Republican lawmakers held a press conference calling on Democrats to organize the chamber (which has been without operating rules since January 3). GOP lawmakers also blasted Democrats for not acting on claims of sexual harassment against a sitting Democrat member. Separately, Democrat senators held a presser calling on the Republican Senate majority to call a special session to pass the proposed constitutional amendment and the legislation that would open a window for victims of child sex abuse to sue. (In fact, the Senate already passed the proposed amendment, but House Democrats refused to take it up in the Senate’s form as it also would allow voters to weigh in on voter ID and regulatory reform.)

Fetterman recovering, expected to be out several more weeks

Sen. John Fetterman is expected to be away from the Senate for several more weeks, as his spokesperson said he is “on a path to recovery.” Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on February 15 to be treated for clinical depression. His spokesperson expressed appreciation for the well-wishes for Fetterman, adding that “this will be a weeks-long process” and “we will be sure to keep folks updated as it progresses.”

Is gov’t making poverty worse? 

A new report from the Commonwealth Foundation finds that government itself is often a barrier to escaping poverty. Covering the report, notes, “For individuals struggling to make ends meet, the government might be causing more problems than it is solving.” Indeed the “survey of more than 1,000 low-income Pennsylvanians found that taxes are often a major barrier to economic security—ranking ahead of more commonly discussed problems such as credit card debt and student loans.”

Senate committee holds hearing on train derailment 

At a hearing yesterday of the Senate Transportation Committee, lawmakers heard that “the federal government’s claim to sole regulatory authority under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution means that Pennsylvania has limited power to institute its own rules, even if it wanted to,” the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Additionally, many of the issues that arose at the hearing “were industry best practices and not hard-and-fast regulations.” Separately, the Senate Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee will vote tomorrow on whether to subpoena the CEO of Norfolk Southern.

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