News & Brews December 11, 2023

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UPenn president and board chair resign

Following fierce, widespread, and bipartisan backlash for her unwillingness to say that calling for genocide against Jews violates the University of Pennsylvania’s code of conduct, UPenn President Liz Magill resigned on Saturday. Gov. Josh Shapiro had condemned her remarks, donors had threatened to pull donations, and some lawmakers had announced they would not vote in favor of any funding for the university until Magill resigned. The Chair of Penn’s Board of Trustees, Scott Bok, also announced his resignation on Saturday.

Shapiro dodges question on top accomplishment of 1st year

Speaking with KDKA in Pittsburgh last week, Gov. Josh Shapiro said he’s “gotten a he** of a lot done” his first year. But when asked what he considers his greatest accomplishment as governor, he dodged the question. Instead, he said, “Look, I always hate to sort of single out one thing. I think in general, we’re getting government working again. We’re delivering for the good people of Pennsylvania — investing in education, public safety, economic opportunity.” Maybe his inability to pick a highlight stems from the fact that his administration thus far has been the least productive of any governor in the last 50 years.

Mileage-happy lawmaker says he works just about every day—even most holidays!

There’s more to the story of Democrat state Rep. Pat Harkins (Erie County), who’s claimed more than $154K in mileage reimbursements since 2018. ABC27 reports that Harkins’ “mileage logs show that nearly every single day he drives for work and bills the state from 2018 to now, nearly every Saturday and Sunday. Nearly every Fourth of July, almost every Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Easter. As the state shut down for COVID-19 in March 2020, Harkins didn’t slow down. Billing every single day.”

GOP state senator won’t run for re-election

Republican state Sen. John DiSanto (Dauphin County) announced on Friday that he will not seek re-election next year. He is in his second term and said his decision honors his pledge to serve only two terms. Democrat state Rep. Patty Kim who—unlike DiSanto—opposes school choice, has already announced her candidacy for the seat. Kim fights to keep other people’s children trapped in failing schools but she sent her own child to a private school.

Will Pa. lawmakers finish state budget this week? 

As Pa. House Democrats prepare to send their chamber home for three months, blaming a leaky roof that’s been leaking for almost a year, lawmakers will convene this week in Harrisburg in hopes of [finally] finishing the incomplete state budget. Spotlight PA reports, “The main item on this coming week’s agenda is finishing code bills, the budget-related legislation that serves as an instruction manual for state spending.” However, “There’s a lot of ground to cover.” We’ll be watching.

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