News & Brews January 9, 2024

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Lawmaker proposes ‘no budget, no pay’

Spotlight PA reports on legislation, proposed by GOP Rep. Jill Cooper (Westmoreland County), that would withhold pay from the governor, lieutenant governor, and legislature during budget impasses. The story notes that Cooper was one of a dozen lawmakers who “didn’t cash at least one of their paychecks during Pennsylvania’s six-month budget impasse last year.” Under her bill, “pay would be suspended if the legislature fails to pass a main appropriations bill by the June 30 deadline. Lawmakers would be retroactively paid when that bill passes; Cooper’s legislation does not require the passage of accompanying code bills to resume pay.”

McCormick raises $5.4M in 2023 Q4

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick reported raising $5.4 million in the last quarter of 2023. This is more than the >$4 million incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Casey raised in his best fundraising quarter in the past 18 years (which was Q2 of 2023). McCormick also gave an additional $1 million of his own to his campaign. (Note: Casey’s Q4 numbers are not yet publicly available, per the story.)

Independents (slightly) lead new ‘motor voter’ registrants

The Tribune-Democrat reports that the implementation of automatic voter registration at PennDOT centers last year has led to a 38% increase in new voter registrations. Among the new registrants, “Roughly 35% … or 12,786 new voters, chose to register as independents, compared to 34% who registered Republican (12,204) and 31% Democrat (11,272).

Op-Ed: ‘The case for universal education choice’

Martin Lueken and Marc LeBlond of EdChoice explain multiple reasons that “states are increasingly passing robust, universally eligible—rather than targeted—choice programs available to all or nearly all students.” Among the reasons: parents want more options, and choice helps not only students who leave traditional public schools but also those who stay.

Op-Ed: ‘Pennsylvania needs regulatory reform’

Commonwealth Foundation Director of Policy Analysis Elizabeth Stelle exposes some of the ridiculous regulations in Pa. that hold people back. For example, “Katie Walsh owns and operates two businesses: a tattoo parlor and a spa. If she could, Walsh would merge her two businesses. Pennsylvania’s onerous regulations, however, force Walsh to maintain separate business licenses and pay rent on two different but connected storefronts.” But get this: “[E]ven though she must maintain two separate outdoor entrances, an interior door connecting the businesses is always open.” If lawmakers need something to do while House Democrats are taking a 3-month vacation, making a New Year’s resolution to kill ridiculous regulations would be a good option.

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