News & Brews July 12, 2023

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Senate leader asks if House plans to vote on any more budget items 

Yesterday, Republican Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman sent a letter to Democrat House Majority Leader Matt Bradford asking if the House intends “to vote on any of the remaining budget implementation legislation.” Pittman also asked Bradford to clarify whether House Democrats and Gov. Shapiro will “speak as a unified voice in future discussions.” The letter comes as Shapiro abandoned his support for Lifeline Scholarships after he negotiated with the Senate to include these scholarships in the budget. Currently, neither chamber is scheduled to return to session until September.

Yass: ‘Josh Shapiro throws children under the bus’

School choice advocate Jeff Yass, co-founder and Managing Director at Susquehanna International Group, addresses Gov. Shapiro’s school choice hypocrisy in the Wall Street Journal. “In siding with radical education activists like American Federation of Teachers union President Randi Weingarten and threatening to veto school-choice funding,” Yass writes, “Gov. Shapiro threw the poorest and most needy children under the bus…. If Mr. Shapiro follows through with his flip-flop, he will betray the most disadvantaged students in Pennsylvania, whose parents he suckered into voting for him by promising to throw them an educational lifeline.”

Op-Ed: ‘The man who governs Gov. Shapiro’

Our president and CEO, Matt Brouillette, explains in RealClear Pennsylvania how Gov. Shapiro ceded his political clout to House Majority Leader Matt Bradford when Shapiro flipped on his promise to support Lifeline Scholarships. “Shapiro wanted an easy out that would let him avoid taking blame for breaking his promise and avoid pressure from union lobbyists,” Matt writes. “So instead of taking on a fight, he found his escape through fellow union-backed Democrat state Rep. Matt Bradford.”

Poll: ‘School choice support soars from 2020’

A new RealClear Opinion Research poll shows “school choice enjoys overwhelming support (71% vs. 13% opposed).” The support crosses party lines and stands at 66% among Democrats, 80% among Republicans, and 69% among Independents. “Additionally, 70% of Asian, 73% of Black, 71% of Hispanic, and 71% of White voters support school choice.” Overall, support for school choice increased by 7 percentage points since April 2020.

Lawmaker wants to change Pa. per diem policy

The Center Square reports that GOP Rep. Brett Miller (Lancaster County) has proposed legislation (HB 1344) to “abolish per-diem reimbursements and require legislators to provide receipts instead.” Currently, lawmakers get a flat per diem payment—of about $180 per day—on top their salaries, for “travel more than 50 miles from their house for legislative business.” This payment “doesn’t require any proof of purchase.” Lawmakers have the option of rejecting per diems, and some exercise this choice. Under Miller’s proposed legislation, “Only actual expenses shall be reimbursable to an individual member upon the receipt of documentation of the expense.”

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