News & Brews August 1, 2023

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Budget impasse may soon impact schools

State payments to school districts normally start going out by the end of July,” the AP reports. However, “the standoff between Gov. Josh Shapiro and a politically divided Legislature appears sure to stretch well into August, and perhaps beyond.”—The next item has more on this timeline.—The impasse came after Gov. Shapiro caved to House Democrats’ refusal to support a school choice program. This program makes up 0.2% of the $45 billion budget.

Kim Ward: ‘What we can do about the Pa. budget’

Pa. Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on the next step her chamber is taking in the state budget. The Senate will return this month and send the budget—which passed both the House and Senate—to Gov. Shapiro, who has promised to line-item veto PASS scholarships. “Signing this bill only provides funding to approximately 75% of programs which includes schools and counties,” she notes. “The remaining 25% still need some form of legislation to authorize their expenditures.” She urges the House also to return “to finalize the remaining parts of the budget.”

McCormick and Casey on the campaign trail … sort of

The Inquirer speculates on why Republican Dave McCormick hasn’t officially announced his campaign for U.S. Senate. The piece seems to be looking for an “aha” reason (but not really finding one). That said, the story notes McCormick is acting like a candidate. Meanwhile, Democrat Sen. Bob Casey, who has announced, “has not started actively campaigning.”

House Dem leaders rally to block kids from leaving failing schools

It’s pretty telling when you literally hold a rally to oppose 0.2% of the state budget that would help kids in failing schools get a quality education. But that’s what House Democrat leaders did yesterday in Philly. The visit was the first stop in the so-called “Save Our Schools” tour. Gee, how would giving parents a choice destroy public schools? In response a House Republican spokesperson noted, “Instead of focusing on saving our schools, House Democrats should join with Republicans in both chambers in saving our students.”

Shapiro signs workforce executive order

Yesterday, Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order creating the Commonwealth Workforce Transformation Program. The Tribune-Review notes that “Shapiro said companies, labor unions and businesses working on federally funded projects will get reimbursed for training workers and retaining them for at least six months.” And the governor hopes the state “will take advantage of the $400 million that is being made available over the next five years.”

Nominees picked for special House election

Democrats and Republicans have picked their nominees to run in the Sept. 19 special House election to replace former state Rep. Sara Innamorato, who resigned to run for Allegheny County executive. Republicans chose Erin Connolly Autenreith, a realtor and chair of the Republican committee in Shaler Township. Democrats chose Lindsay Powell, who works for a nonprofit and formerly worked for several elected officials. The district leans heavily Democrat.

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