News & Brews February 9, 2024

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Pa. Legislature’s surplus: Responsible or too much? 

PennLive reports that “Pennsylvania’s legislative branch has a record balance of nearly $300 million,” an amount that “grew by more than $37 million last year over the prior year’s balance of nearly $261.5 million. That means the legislative reserves are large enough to cover operations for about eight months based on their current combined annual appropriation of $441.4 million.” This has some questioning, “How much is too much?” (Of course, in his budget, Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed spending this much 160 times over in one year alone, which would hike taxes on hardworking Pennsylvanians and basically bankrupt our state. So there’s that.)

‘Ominous news for Dems in Pa.’s Latino belt’

RealClear Pennsylvania Editor Charles McElwee writes in POLITICO that Latinos—who are the “fastest growing demographic group” in Pa., are “poised to reshape politics in one of the most pivotal states in the nation.” And while “Latinos have traditionally voted Democratic by large margins, … in places like Hazleton and elsewhere in the Latino Belt, there are growing signs that those habits are fraying.”

After special counsel report, Pa. lawmaker calls on Biden to resign

At least one Pa. lawmaker is calling on President Biden to resign following the release of a special counsel report related to the mishandling of classified documents that called the president “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Western Pa. Republican U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler said, “Joe Biden lacks the mental fitness to be president of the United States. He doesn’t know when he was vice president. He has no idea about key events in his personal life. And he has access to our nuclear codes?”

Shapiro’s motto is not original to Shapiro

We all know that Shapiro likes to use his catchy phrase, “Get Sh** Done” — even though there’s an awful lot he hasn’t gotten done. But I digress. Well, the Philly Inquirer tells us that Shapiro isn’t the first Pa. politician to use this phrase. Former Democrat State Senator Vince Fumo, who was convicted in 2009 on 137 federal corruption charges and spent four years in federal prison, also employed basically the same slogan. Shapiro says he didn’t know.

AI-generated calls to voters now banned

This week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry warned a company after it allegedly used AI to impersonate President Biden in calls to voters. And last month, Henry “also sent a letter … to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of 26 states urging the FCC to subject the use of A.I. in robocalls to existing laws.” Now, POLITICO reports that yesterday, the FCC banned “robocalls that contain voices generated by artificial intelligence, a decision that sends a clear message that exploiting the technology to scam people and mislead voters won’t be tolerated.”

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