News & Brews November 3, 2023

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Shapiro silent on whether he’ll appeal RGGI ruling

You’d think after nearly ten months in office and more than that on the campaign trail that Gov. Shapiro would know his position on unilaterally forcing Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). But after the Commonwealth Court struck down former Gov. Wolf’s effort to do just that, Shapiro said yesterday that his administration is “reviewing the opinion and will make a decision in the next few weeks” on whether to appeal. Either Shapiro still has no clue where he stands on this huge issue, or he knows exactly where he stands but he’s trying to appease both sides—unions (which stand to lose jobs) and environmentalists, both of whom are his campaign donors. Either way, it’s unclear how Shapiro thinks he can “take on big fights” when he won’t even state his position on a big issue.

‘Credible evidence’ of hostile work environment by former Dem campaign leader

The Pa. House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC), which works to create a Democrat majority in the Pa. House, seems to be having a rough year. First. HDCC fired its executive director after revelations that he had taken $365,000 in “reimbursements” over about two years and couldn’t provide receipts for more than $150,000 of this. Now, a newly obtained document shows that in 2022, an investigation found “credible evidence from multiple witnesses” to substantiate that another former executive director created “a harassing and hostile work environment against at least one employee,” according to reporting from Broad + Liberty.

If Pa.’s regulatory landscape were a dating app…

Commonwealth Foundation Director of Government Affairs Abbey Haslam relates the continuing exodus of Pennsylvanians to other states to red flags on a dating app. “After this amount of rejection, Pennsylvania might be wondering: Is it me? If your relationships keep failing or you keep getting dumped, yes, it’s you.” One big turnoff? Over-regulation. “Pennsylvania has 166,219 regulations—about 30,000 more than the national average—that make it more expensive for businesses to keep their doors open,” she writes. “Do we need 1,254 restrictions on how, when, and where we can park our cars in Philadelphia? Do we need 485 rules on how to sell milk? Mind you: not how to make milk but how to sell it.” If you’ve ever thought of looking for some regulatory love outside of Pa., check out Abbey’s piece.

‘Philly Council to hold hearing on bias against Black-led charters’

Chalkbeat Philadelphia reports that the ”City Council plans to hold a hearing in December on whether the district has discriminated against Black-led charter schools.” The hearing, scheduled for December 6, follows a report in which Ballard Spahr law firm “found what it considered a flawed and problematic charter school authorizing and renewal process that leaves the district open to charges of bias — but uncovered no evidence of deliberate discrimination against Black-led charters.” The story also notes, “In Pennsylvania, unlike in some other states, only the host district can authorize charter schools, creating an inherent conflict of interest.”

CNX, Pa. to partner on ‘environmental monitoring and chemical disclosures’

Yesterday, CNX Resources Corporation joined the Shapiro administration in announcing “a historic commitment that will further heighten the company’s operational disclosures in collaboration with state environmental regulators and the public.” CNX President and CEO Nick Deiuliis stated, “This unprecedented approach to operational transparency is good for resident health, the industry worker, economic development, energy security, the environment, and community investment. We aim to lead the natural gas industry into a new era of sustainable domestic energy production….” (And be sure to check out Nick Deiuliis’ weekly podcast, “The Far Middle,” which ties together sports, business, politics, culture, and more.)

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