News & Brews October 4, 2023

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Lawmakers call on Shapiro to publicly address Vereb scandal

The Post-Gazette reports that yesterday, Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill (York County) and Tracy Pennycuick (Montgomery and Berks counties) “questioned the Shapiro administration’s handling of sexual harassment allegations against Mike Vereb.” Both senators say Shapiro “needs to make a public statement on the situation.” Phillips-Hill also observed, “If the governor can expedite the state’s permitting process and tout a major bridge repair in days, he needs to address why he allowed the alleged offender to remain in his taxpayer-funded role for several months while never addressing this serious matter.

Pa. House may consider expanded voter ID

Spotlight PA reports that the Democrat-controlled House may consider a measure to expand voter ID requirements. Under the proposal, however, it appears if voters don’t have the required ID or want to get an ID (which would be freely offered by PennDOT), then they can have someone else vouch for them. Super ironically, this proposal is being spearheaded by Rep. Tom Mehaffie, who actually single-handedly blocked voter ID earlier this year.

House committee votes to change Pa. 2024 primary date

The House State Government Committee voted yesterday to advance legislation that would move Pennsylvania’s primary election date next year from April 23 to April 2—both to avoid a conflict with Passover and to give Pa. more of a voice in the presidential primary race. Republicans opposed the bill, noting that changing the primary date this close to the election would not give election officials enough time adequately to prepare.

Pa. House passes tax code bill

The Democrat-controlled Pa. House voted along party lines yesterday for a bill “containing multiple hotly contested changes to the state tax code – including corporate tax cuts sought by Republicans as well as several tax benefits for lower-income workers championed by Democrats.” The bill is separate from the code bills required to end the budget impasse. PennLive reports, “The bill was originally drafted as an update to a manufacturing tax deduction. But on the House floor Monday, Republicans and a handful of Democrats passed amendments to add in an acceleration of the state’s corporate tax rate reduction as well as an increase to the corporate net operating loss carryover allowance.” The bill now heads to the Senate, where its fate is unclear.

Dem. Pa. congressman gets GOP challenger

Republican Rob Bresnahan Jr., who serves as the CEO of Kuharchik Construction, plans to seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democrat U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, whose district is the northeast corner of Pa. Bresnahan is the first Republican to enter the race. Last year, Cartwright defeated Jim Bognet 51.22% to 48.78%.

Another Dem joins 10th congressional district race

Rumors came true as former WGAL anchor Janelle Stelson is entering the Democrat primary for the 10th congressional district seat, currently held by GOP U.S. Rep. Scott Perry. She joins multiple other candidates seeking to challenge Perry, some of whom actually live in the district (Stelson does not) and some of whom have been Democrats for more than a year (Stelson has not). Enjoy.

Pa. university offers ‘glimmer of hope in higher ed’

Judge Susan J. Crawford, a senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and chairman emerita of Bucknell University’s board of trustees, and Kenneth G. Langone, co-founder of Home Depot, have an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on how the free exchange of ideas is flourishing at their alma mater—Bucknell University—through an organization they launched named Open Discourse Coalition. ODC is “an alumni and student-supported organization” whose “goal is to advance the school’s mission to offer students diversity of thought with an unwavering commitment to free speech.” Since its inception, ODC has hosted prominent speakers to debate highly controversial issues. And the response shows students welcome free speech and the civil and open debate of ideas.

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