News & Brews April 26, 2023

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Bill raises alarm of doctors being forced to perform sex reassignment surgeries

Yesterday, the Democrat majority on the House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that would force physicians to take part in sex reassignment surgeries, regardless of medical or personal beliefs. Speaking on the bill during committee, Democrat Rep. Emily Kinkead (Allegheny County) said, “When you talk about whether physicians are going to be required to do X, Y, Z—yes! … and when we deny gender-affirming care to people who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, that is causing harm, and absolutely we should be holding the doctors accountable who deny life-saving care to people.”  (Watch the video of her comment here.) Notably, the medical profession is starkly divided over whether sex reassignment surgery should be deemed life-saving.

Shapiro signs executive order on online services

Yesterday, Gov. Shapiro signed an executive order to create the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience (or CODE PA). The new office is intended to “improve online access to government services and … supplement the in-person service,” PennLive reports. Shapiro “intends to staff this office with digital experts that the commonwealth employs using money already in the budget.” If you’ve ever tried to look up campaign finance reports on the Department of State’s website, I think we all know one place CODE PA could begin its work (just saying…).

Op-Ed: Shapiro should deliver on school choice promise

Republican Rep. Joe D’Orsie (York County) has an op-ed in The Center Square noting that while “public school enrollment has dropped by about 7% since 2000 … administrative staff hires in districts have increased by nearly 40%.” Every year, the debate over “more money” for public schools arises, but “what’s the payoff?” D’Orsie writes that just as anti-trust laws “prevent the monopolization of commerce or business,” school choice will deliver a better product for students and families. He calls on Gov. Shapiro to deliver on his school choice campaign promises.

School boards continue as political battlegrounds 

PennLive has a long-form story on how school board races have heated up as issues such as critical race theory and whether biological males can use women’s restrooms have come to the forefront. In some districts, the number of candidates running has increased dramatically from two years ago. The story takes some subtle digs at conservatives. These include talking of “so-called” parental rights. (Why not just parental rights, without the qualifier?) So read it with a grain of salt.

After blocking measure on sex abuse lawsuit window, House Dems send bill to Senate 

House Democrats are trying to claim the moral high ground on efforts to open a two-year window for victims of child sex abuse to sue. This even though House Dems are the reason this measure will not be on the May 16 primary ballot. Yesterday, the House sent the Senate a bill to open this window, but for months the House has refused to vote on a Senate bill to do the same, since the Senate bill would also allow voters to weigh in on voter ID and regulatory reform. For all their talk of ‘listening to the people,’ the Dems apparently are pretty scared to hear the people’s voice on these two issues. The Senate has no intent of taking up the House version. Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman said, “The House would be best served if they would pass Senate Bill 1 as we presented it to them.”

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