News & Brews March 27, 2023

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Pa. (finally) returns to pre-pandemic job market—long after rest of country

The Inquirer reports that months after the rest of the country, Pennsylvania has finally regained jobs lost due to COVID shutdowns. “The state lost 1.1 million jobs in March and April 2020,” the story notes. “As of January 2023, more than 100% of those jobs had been recovered.” This is six months after the U.S. economy reported the same recovery.

GOP picks candidate for Zabel seat

The Delaware County Republican Party has nominated Katie Ford to run in the special election to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Democrat Mike Zabel. Ford is an Army veteran and special education teacher. (As of yet, I havn’t seen that Democrats have made a nomination). The special election is scheduled for May 16.

Budget hearings continue today

This morning at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a budget hearing with the Department of State. Then, at 1:00 pm, the committee will hear from the State Police. Both hearings will be live-streamed here. On the House side, the Appropriations Committee will hear from the State Police at 10:00 a.m. and the Department of Aging at 1:00 p.m. Those hearings will be live-streamed here.

‘Surprising alliances among Allegheny County Dems’

WESA’s Chris Potter writes of alliances forged—and political enemies made—among Allegheny County Democrats. He notes, “Politics isn’t just about the votes our leaders cast. It’s about the friends, and enemies, they make along the way.” If you’re interested in behind-the-scenes jockeying in county politics, you may like this piece. (Relatedly, the Post-Gazette reports on a call for an ethics probe involving one of the Dems mentioned in the WESA story.)

In the wake of train derailment, a gift to unions?’s Erie Boehm takes a look at the so-called safety measures being pushed in Congress in the wake of the East Palestine train derailment. Among them: a requirement that “no freight train may be operated without a 2-person crew.” Never mind that the Norfolk Southern train that derailed actually had a 3-member crew. Unions for years have been pushing for a 2-person mandate. Boehm writes, “More sensors along the tracks might have prevented the mess, but an extra union worker in the engine’s cab wouldn’t have saved the day—and, indeed, didn’t. It makes no sense to use this accident as an excuse to pile a costly, unnecessary mandate on American railroads.”

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