News & Brews July 27, 2023

Get News & Brews in your inbox each day: Subscribe here!

Rozzi considering auditor general run

After shutting down the Pa. House during his stint as Acting Speaker and blocking a Senate-passed attempt to help victims of child sex abuse—despite claiming it was his top priority—Democrat state Rep. Mark Rozzi is considering running for auditor general. You’ll recall the Senate voted to let voters weigh in on voter ID and regulatory reform, along with helping victims of child sex abuse. But Rozzi balked at giving voters a voice in the former two, so he blocked all three issues from heading to voters. Meanwhile, Rozzi is also pushing legislation that would prevent someone from running for two offices at once.

Lawmakers ask Pa. Supreme court to consider Krasner impeachment effort

House lawmakers who led the move to impeach Philly DA Larry Krasner have asked the state’s high court to consider the impeachment effort. GOP Rep. Craig Williams (Delaware and Chester counties) said, “We have appealed the Commonwealth Court ruling concluding there was no misbehavior in office by DA Krasner….” It’s unclear when the Supreme Court will rule in the case. Rep. Williams joined the Delaware Valley Journal podcast to discuss the appeal. You can listen to that podcast here.

Unions push for bigger pensions for state retirees

Spotlight PA reports on union-backed efforts by Democrat lawmakers to increase taxpayer-funded pension benefits for currently retired public employees by as must as 24.5% The story acknowledges the very real concerns of retirees living on a fixed income, particularly amid inflation. Yet it virtually ignores the decades-long effort that culminated in the 2017 pension reform. This reform began addressing the state’s massive ($60 billion) unfunded pension liabilities. But the pension system remains underfunded. Rep. Brad Roae—GOP Chair of the House State Government Committee—said the increase would be irresponsible since Pa. “has among the most insolvent public pension plans in the country, and our taxpayers are already paying a lot of money to prop them up.”

Could budget mess impact attempt to change Pa. primary date?

The Post-Gazette reports concerns that the budget impasse—and, specifically, if lawmakers don’t return to session until September or October—could impact efforts to move Pa.’s 2024 presidential primary election date up. Lawmakers, however, pushed back on this concern and said September or early October would not be too late.

Op-Ed: Students in failing schools need options

Republican state Sen. Judy Ward (Blair, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties) provides data showing a lack of correlation between spending and student outcomes. Plus, she notes that Pa. is “near the top” nationally in education funding. “We rank 11th in the nation in average starting teacher salary, average teacher salary, and per student spending. This is far from lagging.” Yet, many students are still falling behind. “The status quo is not working, and those parents and children hopelessly stuck in failing schools know it. We must explore alternatives to low-achieving public schools and enact the PASS scholarship legislation now. The hope and future of countless children depend on it.”

GOP state rep enters congressional race

Pa. state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (Lehigh County) has announced his campaign for the 7th congressional seat, currently held by Democrat Rep. Susan Wild. Two other Republicans—Kevin Dellicker and Maria Montero—have already joined the race. LehighValleyLive reports that the 7th District “is almost evenly split between registered Democrats and Republicans. Political observers have labeled the districts as one of the few true toss-ups districts in the country.”

Sign up to get News & Brews in your inbox