News & Brews April 7, 2023

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Sen. Casey prepares to run for re-election in 2024

POLITICO reports that although Democrat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has not formally announced his re-election campaign, “he has done everything short of that.” This includes choosing a campaign manager and scheduling fundraisers. And in a year in which Democrats will be “staring down a brutal electoral map … that puts them on defense in 23 states,” a Casey candidacy comes as a relief to the Left. Indeed, “Because Casey is not expected to face a serious primary challenge, he should be free to pivot to the general election as soon as he launches his campaign. Republicans, on the other hand, are looking at the possibility of a contentious primary.”

Court rules against bridge agency’s deal with unions

Yesterday, a panel of judges on the New Jersey Superior Court said the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission had “no authority” to require bidders on a now-complete bridge project to favor specific unions. One of the plaintiffs—George Harms Co.—was ”prepared to do the job for $71 million less than the only bidder,” the Inquirer reports. But only one bid came in after contractors reviewed the commission’s 1,800 requirements, including that “the job include a project-labor agreement with the Philadelphia and Trenton building trades union councils.” Oh, and by the way, to pay for the excess, the once-free bridge between Pa. and Jersey is now tolled.

Senator hopes commission will fix ‘broken’ education system

The LNP reports that. GOP Sen. Ryan Aument (Lancaster County), who spearheaded legislation that created the Pennsylvania Commission on Education & Economic Competitiveness, hopes the commission will “forecast the skills and competencies Pennsylvania’s workers will need in 2030 and offer concrete recommendations for the 2023 legislative session about how to put schools in the best position to meet those needs.” The story notes that the bipartisan commission will conduct an 18-month study of current educational needs. Then, it will create a “shared, bipartisan vision for 21st century education” and as well as “a legislative action plan.”

Op-Ed: Dems sacrifice top legislative goal to stop voter ID

The Commonwealth Foundation’s Nathan Benefield writes, “Preventing … voter identification and regulatory review amendments is the top priority of House Democrats, even if it comes at the expense of doing their job or supporting popular, bipartisan legislation.” Indeed, in the early months of 2023, House Democrats prevented these amendments from moving forward—even though it meant also blocking an amendment “that would have provided legal relief for victims of childhood sexual abuse from making the May primary ballot.”

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