News & Brews August 4, 2023

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Shapiro vetoes school choice program, signs budget

Yesterday, the state Senate sent Gov. Shapiro the budget passed by both the House and Senate. Shapiro signed the bill, but followed through on his betrayal of his word and line-item vetoed the PASS Scholarship program (formerly Lifeline Scholarships). Shapiro then took credit for bringing together a “divided legislature,” even though he did nothing of the sort. The code bills required to implement some of the spending remain undone.

What’s still in limbo in the state budget? 

PennLive gives an overview of what the recently signed state spending plan accomplishes—as well as what’s still in limbo given the lack of code bills. Among the things still “on hold” are $100 million in “level up” funding for Pa.’s poorest school districts, $7.5 million for indigent defense (a priority for Shapiro), and an adjustment to the Rainy Day Fund transfer.

Help for victims of child sex abuser fails (again) to make the ballot

The proposed constitutional amendment to open a window for victims of child sex abuse to sue will not be on the November ballot, as the deadline passed to get it there. The State Senate had passed the amendment earlier this year, but the Democrat-controlled House refused to take up the Senate’s bill. This is because it would have also allowed voters to weigh in on voter ID and regulatory reform—a no-no for Democrats. The House passed its own bill, but the Senate, having already passed the measure once, continued—to no avail—to encourage the House to pass the original measure. This isn’t the first time the measure has gotten derailed. It was supposed to be on the ballot in 2021, but the Wolf administration failed to properly advertise it, as required.

Pittsburgh SD pays for positive TV DEI coverage 

The Pittsburgh School District recently approved a $70,000 contract with WPXI Channel  11 (NBC) for “an integrated presence in relevant, hyper-local content related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion issues the citizens of Pittsburgh are facing in their everyday lives.” The Center Square reports that under the contract, the station “will run two Pittsburgh Get Real stories per month … that feature public schools in the city.” And the district will also get additional advertising exposure. I wonder what Pittsburgh taxpayers think of this.

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