News & Brews February 16, 2024

Get News & Brews in your inbox each day: Subscribe here!

House chamber repair completion timing raises eyebrows

Truly it’s a miracle and a wonder. The exact day GOP state Rep. Joe Adams resigned last Friday, giving Democrats a one-seat majority in the House—and just a few days before Tuesday’s special election which upped the Dems’ majority by another seat—Democrat House Speaker Joanna McClinton’s office “quietly announced” that repairs in the chamber caused by a 2022 water leak were complete. Democrats blamed these repairs for their inability to meet or vote in the chamber. The start of this inability curiously coincided with the resignation of Democrat state Rep. John Galloway, which left the House tied 101-101 until last Friday.

A look at Shapiro’s proposal to tax skill games

Spotlight PA dives into Gov. Josh Shapiro’s proposal “to regulate and tax skill games to raise tens of millions of dollars in revenue.” If he wants his plan to become reality, he’ll need to “first navigate Pa.’s wealthy, warring gambling interests.” And those interests have lots of lobbyists.

Shapiro expands paid leave for some state employees

PennLive reports that Gov. Josh Shapiro has expanded from six weeks to eight weeks the paid parental leave offered to state employees under the governor’s jurisdiction. “The new policy gives eligible employees up to eight weeks of paid parental leave within six months following the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. Employees become eligible after one year of employment and this leave can be taken by either parent and count toward their Family and Medical Leave benefit.”

Pa. has 19th-highest tax burden

A report from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office shows Pennsylvania’s overall tax burden ranks 19th in the nation, at $6,710 per capita. This total factors in taxes including income tax, sales tax, and property tax. The Center Square reports, “While Pennsylvania fares better than New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware, it lags behind Ohio and West Virginia in total state and local taxes per capita.”

No ransom paid or demanded in court cyberattack

In the wake of the recent cyberattack on the PA Courts’ website, the court confirmed that no ransom was either paid to or demanded by the attackers. The AP reports, “Neither the courts nor the FBI or the federal government’s lead cybersecurity agency, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, have identified the attacker. There have been no apparent claims of responsibility.” The story notes that while the attack “disabled some online portals and systems,” they “were all fully restored this week.”

Pa. Dems vote against overturning Biden’s LNG pause

Yesterday, the U.S. House voted 224-200 in favor of legislation overturning President Biden’s pause on liquefied natural gas exports. Nine Democrats joined Republicans in voting to overturn the pause, but all Pa. Dems voted against it. You can see the roll call vote here (and sort by party, state, vote, or name). And read more here.

Sign up to get News & Brews in your inbox