News & Brews June 23, 2023

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Lifeline Scholarships inch closer to reality

Government unions are apoplectic at news that Gov. Shapiro may stand by a campaign promise and support expanding educational opportunity for students attending low-performing traditional public schools. Earlier this week, Shapiro’s acting secretary of education, Khalid Mumin, reiterated the governor’s support for Lifeline Scholarships. These scholarships would give “taxpayer-funded grants to students living in the attendance area of the 15% lowest-performing public schools.” This funding “could be applied to tuition, school-related fees and special education services to attend a non-public school,” PennLive reports. Teachers unions, who gain their members—and their dues money—primarily through public schools, are aghast at the idea of allowing families and kids to choose options that help kids, rather than fill the unions’ coffers.

Temporary I-95 lanes to open today at noon

Ahead of schedule, temporary lanes on I-95 in Philly will open to drivers today at noon. This is well ahead of the original timeline Gov. Shapiro gave last Saturday (“within two weeks”). And it’s even ahead of the accelerated timeline Shapiro gave earlier this week (“this weekend”). There’s no timeline as of yet for when the permanent reconstruction of the highway will be complete. Shapiro and PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll will hold a reopening press conference at 10:30 a.m. You can watch that here.

House committee to discuss energy policy

The House Republican Policy Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing this morning at 10:00. a.m. to discuss “where our energy policy is heading and how to leverage our energy resources for an economic boom to avoid an economic bust. Scheduled to testify are “representatives from the Homer Center School District; Boilermakers Local 154; and Pennsylvania-based energy companies Robindale Energy … and Doral Renewables….” The hearing will be live-streamed here.

House subcommittee considers open primaries

Yesterday, the House State Government Subcommittee on Campaign Finance and Elections considered two proposals that would establish open primaries in Pennsylvania. The Center Square reports that while some lawmakers “want to reform the status quo,” others have concerns. Particularly, they “worry that the complexity of the state’s electoral code is too convoluted for the switch to be a wise choice.” Currently, only registered Republicans can vote in Republican primaries. And only registered Democrats can vote in Democrat primaries. In recent years, calls have increased to allow independent and unaffiliated voters to vote in these primaries as well.

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