News & Brews March 29, 2023

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Congressional committee probes Luzerne County ballot mess

Yesterday, the U.S. House Administration Committee held a three-hour hearing examining the ballot disaster that happened in Luzerne County on Nov. 8. You’ll recall that the county ran out of paper ballots, leading a judge to order that polls remain open an extra two hours. The AP reports, “The hearing included claims that paper shortages were widespread, questions about the procedures used to cast emergency or provisional ballots, and reports some voters were unable to cast ballots at all.”

Op-Ed: ‘Shapiro should represent workers over powerful campaign donors’

Gov. Josh Shapiro talks a lot about worker freedom, but when it comes to unions—which gave Shapiro’s campaign millions of dollars—Shapiro ignores that lots of workers want the freedom NOT to join or pay a union. The Commonwealth Foundation’s Andrew Holman writes, “If Shapiro truly wants to protect worker rights, he should advance reforms that allow workers to hold government unions accountable — such as empowering state workers to leave their union or vote for their representation.”

Today’s budget hearings schedule

This morning at 9:30 a.m. and continuing at 1:00 p.m., the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a budget hearing with the Department of Education. That hearing will be live-streamed here. On the House side, the Appropriations Committee will hear from the Department of State at 10:00 a.m. That hearing will be live-streamed here.

At budget hearing, Dep’t of Labor talks backlog

PennLive reports that the Pa. Dep’t of Labor “is seeking funds to expand its unemployment compensation workforce, with the goal of finally eliminating the backlogs that have plagued the system since the pandemic….” You’ll recall DOL’s disastrous response during COVID, when Pennsylvanians couldn’t reach the department and were left hanging for months on end.

Kenney claims Philly water is safe

Yesterday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the city’s drinking water is safe. This comes after days of officials’ changing their tune on the timeframe through which the water would be safe following a chemical spill in Bucks County. First, they said it was safe through 2pm Sunday, then 11:59pm Monday, then 3:30pm Tuesday, then 11:59pm Wednesday. Now, Kenney says, “We can all confidently say the threat has passed.” If Philadelphians aren’t quite so “confident,” it’s not hard to see why.

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