News & Brews March 17, 2023

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Pa. House Ethics Committee is ‘open for business’ 

PennLive reports that “Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives ethics committee is now officially organized and open for business.” The bipartisan committee met yesterday for the first time to organize and adopt rules. Committee Chair Rep. Donna Bullock (Philadelphia) “announced that a complaint process will soon be available on the committee’s website for anyone who experiences sexual harassment or discrimination by a sitting House member or current House employee on House property or at a House sponsored meeting or event.”

Lawmakers propose distributing DNA kits via schools

PennLive reports that Republican Sens. Camera Bartolotta (Beaver, Greene, and Washington counties) and Scott Martin (Lancaster and Berks counties) have proposed a bill to “provide schools with fingerprint and DNA collection kits to give families as part of an effort to better identify missing children.” The story notes, “The information collected would not be part of any database, and would be used only by parents or by law enforcement in order to help identify or locate their child in an emergency.”

Tips for getting government transparency

This week is Sunshine Week, the week set aside to promote government transparency. Of course, government doesn’t always like transparency. So, Spotlight PA offers 5 tips for winning open records battles in Pennsylvania. One key takeaway: If you submit a Right-to-Know request and it’s denied, that doesn’t necessarily mean the fight is over!

Norfolk Southern CEO visits East Palestine

Yesterday, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw hosted a roundtable discussion in East Palestine “to shed light on the company’s response to the hazardous trail derailment just over the Pennsylvania border,” the Post-Gazette reports. Shaw stated, “I want to do the right things today, tomorrow, a year from now, five years from now.” The company has pledged millions of dollars to help in the recovery. And the story notes, “Part of the effort is creating a medical compensation fund, as well as protection for home sellers if their property loses value due to the derailment.”

Virtual budget briefing: Register now! 

The Commonwealth Foundation will host a virtual Budget Briefing on Tuesday, March 21, from 12:00pm-1:00pm. Hear more about the state budget lay-of-the-land, ask questions of policy experts, and more. Register here.

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