News & Brews September 26, 2023

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New school choice super PAC launches

One of the country’s leading school choice groups announced yesterday the launch of its new super PAC. The AFC Victory Fund PAC, an effort of the American Federation for Children, plans to “spend at least $10 million during the 2024 election cycle to back [state-level] candidates supportive of school choice. The PAC already has $6 million in commitments,” the Washington Examiner reports.

Sen. Casey gets primary challenge from newcomer 

A progressive Democrat from western Pa. who has never run for elected office announced his plans to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in the Democrat primary next year. Blaine Forkner plans to run on Medicare for All, stricter gun control, and free college tuition.

How our U.S. reps voted on banning gas vehicles

Earlier this month, the U.S. House voted on H.R. 1435, the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act. The bill, which passed 222-190, essentially seeks to prevent bans on gas-powered cars. It came in response to California’s effort to implement such a ban. So, how did Pa.’s U.S. House members vote? All Pa. Republicans voted ‘yay’ on preventing the ban on gas cars, while all Democrats opposed it. Check out the Roll Call vote here. And read more on SEPA lawmakers’ votes on this bill at the Delaware Valley Journal.

Pa. Senate to hold hearing on government data sharing

PennLive reports that the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee “plans to hold a hearing in October to investigate the state’s sharing of information about Pennsylvania drivers with a non-governmental agency for a voter research project.” The hearing comes in response to state government’s “sharing data with the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, which in turn shared it with entities outside of the government.” Pa. Secretary of State Al Schmidt recently ended this practice, but Senate committee Chair Jarrett Coleman (R-Lehigh and Bucks counties) said “there are still questions that remain to be answered.”

Bill calls for reciprocity on automatic voter registration 

The Post-Gazette reports that following Gov. Shapiro’s implementation of automatic voter registration for driver’s license recipients, GOP Rep. Valerie Gaydos (Allegheny County) “is pushing a bill for reciprocity, saying names and addresses of newly registered voters should automatically go to PennDOT and other state agencies.” Democrat Rep. Napoleon Nelson (Montgomery County) a co-sponsor of the bill, said, “We have a significant deficit in how the state manages, processes, and handles data,” and he’s looking to improve “the ability to share information across agencies.” Of note, the bill was introduced well before Shapiro’s automatic voter registration order and has been sitting in committee since April.

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