News & Brews May 25, 2023

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Pa. Supreme Court hears RGGI case

The AP reports that Pa. Supreme Court justices “appear split” over the constitutionality of former Gov. Wolf’s forcing Pa. into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) without legislative approval. “Republican lawmakers contend the carbon-trading plan is an unconstitutional tax because it lacks legislative approval,” the story notes. “State lawyers contend it is a fee that a state agency has the authority to impose to operate a program.”

Diamond: ‘Let’s encourage Mastriano to sit this one out’

Conservative Republican Rep. Russ Diamond (Lebanon County), who spearheaded opposition to Gov Wolf’s harmful COVID shutdowns, has an op-ed in Broad + Liberty “calling on all level-headed Pennsylvania Republicans to join me in requesting that Doug Mastriano abandon any plans he may have to run for US Senate in 2024.” To underscore his concern, Diamond shares screenshots of texts he exchanged with Mastriano. Per his Facebook page, Mastriano is expected to make an announcement tonight at 8:00 p.m.

Shapiro’s pick for sec’t of state faces ‘multi-hearing’ confirmation process

Al Schmidt, who is Gov. Josh Shapiro’s nominee to serve as secretary of state, “is facing an unconventional multi-hearing confirmation process that began on Wednesday.” PennLive reports that the Senate State Government Committee held a hearing yesterday. That committee will also hold “a subsequent joint hearing … with the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee, which has oversight of the licensing responsibilities that the department handles.” Further, “In a sign of the growing importance that election administration has taken on in recent years, the purpose of Wednesday’s gathering was to get to know more about Schmidt and his views on ‘strengthening public confidence in every election at every level,’” committee Chair Cris Dush said.

DeSantis’ ‘distant’ Pa. ties ‘could prove significant’

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis officially entered the 2024 presidential race yesterday, the Post-Gazette covers his past mentions of his Pa. ties. In his memoir, DeSantis says he was “geographically raised” in Tampa Bay. Yet he wrote that “culturally my upbringing reflected the working-class communities in western Pennsylvania and northeast Ohio.” The story notes that per Republicans, even a “tenuous and distant … connection to swing-state Pennsylvania …could prove significant.”

Philly superintendent releases 5-year plan

Philadelphia School District Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr. released his 5-year plan yesterday for how he intends to fix the city’s schools. The Inquirer reports that the plan “will lean on $70 million in new curricula, significant recruitment and retention incentives for teachers and other staff, and a pilot of year-round education in 10 schools.” Among other things in the plan is a call for “paying some parents to help bridge the gap between the district and the community.”

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