News & Brews January 19, 2024

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2024 will bring ‘big test’ for Shapiro

The Inquirer reports that in his first year in office, Gov. “Shapiro rose in his popularity and national profile, in large part thanks to his swift reopening of a collapsed portion of I-95 within 12 days…. But he floundered at the negotiating table when he was unable to convince Democratic lawmakers to support his school voucher plan — leading to a monthslong budget standoff — and his administration faced scandal, paying a $295,000 settlement to a woman who accused his top legislative liaison and close confidant of sexual harassment.” Now, 2024 “will be a critical test of Shapiro’s ability to make bipartisan deals, and it could define his leadership in Pennsylvania — and nationally.”

Shapiro’s duck-and-dodge first year 

And speaking of Gov. Shapiro’s first year, our president and CEO, Matt Brouillette, writes in RealClear Pennsylvania, “Campaigning for governor in 2022, Shapiro said that he’d take on big fights and bring all sides to the table. But his rhetoric was a ruse to hide his unwillingness to defend a position on important issues or wage those big fights. Indeed, Shapiro has shown that his true skill is ducking and dodging tough issues, all while seeking the national limelight.”

Court: Constitutional rights apply to 18-to-20-year-olds, too

In a 2-1 decision, a federal court ruled yesterday “that 18- to 20-year-olds enjoy the same Second Amendment rights as other citizens, just as they do the right to vote.” The case stemmed from a Pennsylvania ban on 18-to-20-year olds’ openly carrying firearms during a declared emergency. U.S. Circuit Court Judge Kent A. Jordan wrote. “We understand that a reasonable debate can be had over allowing young adults to be armed, but the issue before us is a narrow one. Our question is whether the (state police) commissioner has borne his burden of proving that evidence of founding-era regulations supports Pennsylvania’s restriction on 18-to-20- year-olds’ Second Amendment rights, and the answer to that is no.”

Food stamp participation at record high in Pa. 

The Post-Gazette reports, “Since the pandemic, Pennsylvania expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s eligibility requirements, and the federal government beefed up payments. Now, a record two million Pennsylvanians are enjoying those benefits.” This raises the question of “why SNAP participation surged, despite flat population growth in the state and record-low unemployment nationwide.” Still, some say the SNAP program should be expanded and increased even more.

A look at the upcoming special House election 

The Pa. House is currently on vacation as Democrat leadership awaits a special election that’s expected to hand them back a 102-101 majority. City & State PA has a quick guide” to the election: Who’s running, what’s the district like, and more.

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