News & Brews November 29, 2023

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Pa. Supreme Court considers Krasner impeachment

Yesterday, the state’s highest court heard oral argument in the ongoing effort to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. The AP reports that the court “weighed whether the Legislature can proceed with an impeachment trial against Philadelphia’s elected progressive prosecutor and whether the court or lawmakers should determine what qualifies as misbehavior in office.” It’s unclear when the court will rule.

DeFoor launches re-election bid

Pa. Auditor General Tim DeFoor—who in 2020 became the first Republican elected state auditor general in more than 20 years—yesterday announced his campaign for re-election. “As Auditor General,” DeFoor stated, “I have delivered on my promise to do the job as intended, free of political and partisan influence…. While my first term has focused on improving and transforming the office, the next four years will be about finishing what we started and ensuring that our work on behalf of the taxpayers is executed to the highest professional auditing standards.”

China a topic in U.S. Senate race, but will it matter?

The Inquirer highlights how both Democrat U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Republican challenger Dave McCormick are criticizing each other in relation to the threat China poses to U.S. interests. But at the end of the day, while voters are concerned about China, it’s highly unlikely to be the issue that motivates them one way or the other. As Republican political consultant Chris Nicholas said, “The China issue will be a wash because people complain about China and then they go to Target and buy the cheapest coasters.” And yet, China will undoubtedly continue to be a topic voters will hear about on the campaign trail.

Erie lawmaker pockets $154K in travel reimbursements

As rank-and-file lawmakers are getting a raise to over $106,000 per year, ABC27 reports that Democrat Rep. Pat Harkins (Erie County) is also getting thousands upon thousands of dollars in travel reimbursements—far above his Erie County colleagues. Since the beginning of 2018, Harkins has gotten $154,686.97 in taxpayer-funded mileage reimbursements—on top of his salary. Incidentally, that’s about enough to buy a new car, every year. Harkins claims it’s perfectly legal and he’s just that hardworking.

State test scores show continued shutdown impact

PennLive reports, “Statewide, with only one exception, the percentage of students performing at or above grade level on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exams last year lagged behind the percentage of students who scored at that level pre-pandemic in 2019. The exception was fourth-graders on the math PSSA.” Secretary of Education Khalid Mumin tried a positive spin, saying, “Pennsylvania’s results are well on their way to returning to pre-pandemic rates…” But House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (Lancaster County), said, “We are not climbing out of this learning deficit fast enough. It is clear money alone is not the answer. As policymakers, we must take these abysmal results as a warning call to put down the special-interest built partisan barriers and finally do the hard work needed to turn our public education system into a child-first and family-focused educational experience.”

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