News & Brews August 3, 2023

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Pa. Senate to send budget to Shapiro today

The Pa. Senate is expected to convene today to send the budget—which passed both the House and Senate—to Gov. Shapiro. Shapiro plans to sign it but line-item veto the school choice scholarship program he originally promised to support. With Shapiro’s signature, only about 75% of the spending in the bill can be acted upon, as the so-called “fiscal code” required for the rest has not yet passed either chamber. This code will now become the focus of negotiation, as Senate Republicans had been willing to agree to some Democrat priorities in the budget on the condition that the school choice program would be included.

Synagogue shooter to be sentenced to death, lawmakers react

Yesterday, jurors recommended the death penalty for the shooter who killed eleven people in 2018 at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Families, community leaders, and lawmakers including Sens. Fetterman and Casey and Gov. Shapiro offered reactions to the recommendation.

Details emerge of Shapiro’s secretive RGGI group

Inside Climate News has a story revealing some details of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s secretive working group focused on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The details are far from complete, however. The story notes, “The documents released by the governor’s office gave no indication of what views were expressed on RGGI’s merits or drawbacks at the meeting or at a subsequent session…. No minutes, memos or summaries were included among the documents.”

The decline of state GOP parties?

POLITICO looks at how some state Republican parties are struggling “in the Trump era.” The story notes, “Current and former officials … blame twin forces for it: The rise of insurgent pro-Donald Trump activists capturing party leadership posts, combined with the ever-rising influence of super PACs.” While the story focuses on Michigan, Pennsylvania is mentioned. (Also, it’s worth noting that nationwide, the overall power of state parties was on the decline well before Trump.)

VP Harris to visit Philly next week

The Inquirer reports that Vice President Kamala Harris is scheduled to come to Philadelphia on Tuesday “to announce a new initiative for workers and highlight the Biden administration’s focus on infrastructure.” The visit comes as President Biden and VP Harris have been focusing on Pennsylvania “as they ramp up their campaign for a second term.”

Exploring faith-based charter schools in Pa.?

Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Andy Smarick posits that a school choice compromise in Pennsylvania may be faith-based charter schools. We continue to hold that universal educational opportunity remains the goal. However, this is an interesting read.

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