News & Brews February 22, 2024

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

Pa. Supreme Court rules PIAA subject to RTK

In a much-anticipated decision, the Pa. Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) is, indeed, a “Commonwealth entity,” and as such, is subject to the state’s Right-to-Know Law. In its 4-1 ruling, the high court upheld a decision issued by the Commonwealth Court in 2021. (Justice David Wecht issued a concurring opinion, and Justice Christine Donohue dissented.)

Higher ed chief knows little about Shapiro’s higher ed plan

Gov. Josh Shapiro made higher ed reform an important part of his budget proposal. But at yesterday’s Senate Appropriations Committee hearing with the Pa. State System of Higher Education, it turned out the system’s chancellor, Dan Greenstein, knew little about the plan. PennLive reports that Greenstein “made it clear over and over again he wasn’t involved in crafting the governor’s plan.” The story notes, “Senators were in disbelief … that the chancellor wasn’t an active participant in the creation of the blueprint or in the subsequent work groups involving university and college officials that are now meeting to discuss elements of the governor’s plan.”

Another Johnny Doc ally receives smaller sentence

Marita Crawford, the former political director of IBEW 98 in Philadelphia, was sentenced yesterday to 15 days in prison and three months of house arrest and was ordered to pay more than $14,000 for her role in embezzling funds from the union. The Inquirer reports that Crawford pled “guilty to wire fraud charges in 2022 and agree[d] to repay nearly $12,000 spent over several years on expenses such as hotel stays, hair and makeup services, [and] birthday dinners for herself and Dougherty. But although prosecutors blamed Dougherty for directing her to charge many of those expenses to Local 98 credit cards, Crawford … maintained that the blame was hers alone.”

Court says employee can challenge union for unfair representation

Yesterday, the Commonwealth Court said that a state employee can continue pursuing her complaint against AFSCME 13 for how the union handled her workplace complaint. The Fairness Center, which is representing the employee, explains that the union “intentionally mishandl[ed]” the employee’s “workplace grievance” because she is not a union member—even though state law requires unions “to fairly represent everyone in a bargaining unit—members and nonmembers alike.” (This so-called “exclusive representation” is something the unions themselves demand.)

Watch today’s budget hearings

The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear from the Department of Labor & Industry at 9:30 a.m. this morning (watch here) and from the Department of Military & Veterans Affairs at 1:00 p.m. (watch here). The House Appropriations Committee will hear from the Department of Aging at 10:00 a.m. (watch here) and from the Department of Agriculture at 1:00 p.m. (watch here).

Sign up to get News & Brews in your inbox