News & Brews April 18, 2023

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Mail-in ballot mess in Lancaster County

Elections officials in Lancaster County discovered a major error affecting approximately 19,000 mail-in ballots. ABC27 reports that per the Board of Elections, “on Friday, April 14, the error was discovered on the Democrat and Republican mail-in ballots for the Superior Court race. The race lets voters select up to two candidates, however, the race was incorrectly listed for voters to only select one candidate.” The county. is sending replacement ballots. If any voters return the incorrect ballots, these ballots will not be counted but will be set aside.

Court dismisses Wolf lawsuit over constitutional amendments

Yesterday, the Commonwealth Court dismissed a lawsuit—filed by former Gov. Wolf and his former acting secretary of state—challenging the General Assembly’s passage last year of several proposed constitutional amendments in a single piece of legislation. Voters would have been presented with each proposed amendment separately. However, the Wolf administration argued the legislation “ran afoul of state constitutional rules that prevent combining changes with multiple, unrelated topics,” the AP reports. The court didn’t rule on the merits but said the case is “not ripe for judicial intervention.” You can read the court order here.

Shapiro’s proposed tax credit for nurses, cops, and teachers draws fire

GOP Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman yesterday pointed out that Gov. Shapiro’s plan to give selective tax breaks to attract more teachers, police officers, and nurses is a “band-aid approach” to a much broader problem. The AP reports that “Pittman said a better idea might be cutting state personal income taxes for all employees to encourage more people to work.” Shapiro’s plan would give ‘up to’ a $2,500-per-year tax break for three years. However, “Shapiro’s proposal effectively asks the rest of the labor force to subsidize a tax break for officers, nurses and teachers, Pittman said. (You can read more coverage of Pittman’s remarks at yesterday’s Pennsylvania Press Club lunch here.)

Fetterman returns to the Senate

Saying, “It’s great to be back,” U.S. Sen. John Fetterman returned to the Senate yesterday following his hospitalization. The Inquirer notes that Fetterman “and Sen. Bob Casey walked into the Senate to cast their votes to advance a nominee for deputy under secretary of defense, Radha Iyengar Plumb, to a confirmation vote.” Fetterman ”gave a thumbs up. Less than a minute later, he walked out with Casey, who also voted yes. Fetterman didn’t talk to reporters.”

SCOTUS to hear religious accommodations case from Pa.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the case of Pennsylvanian Gerald Groff, who left his job with the Postal Service after being told he would be required to work on Sundays, which violates his religious beliefs. Groff had held his job for about four years without such a requirement being in place.

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