News & Brews March 11, 2024

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In Delco, Biden courts suburban women

The Inquirer states the obvious, that “President Joe Biden is not as popular as he was when he won the 2020 election.” But the story goes on to say that “the group that has stuck by him the most is women.” (As a woman, I have opinions…so many opinions…but I digress.) Anyway, on Friday in Delco, Biden and the First Lady made their pitch to women, focusing, not surprisingly, on abortion, as they hope to keep this issue front and center. The Inky notes that while Biden “leads with women overall, he trails Trump with women who list the economy as their most important issue. He has also seen a drop in support among young voters, Black voters, and Latino voters, other key groups in his 2020 coalition.”

Op-Ed: Shapiro’s higher ed plan = painting a crumbling house

Commonwealth Foundation Education Policy Analyst Rachel Langan has a great op-ed in the Reading Eagle explaining how Gov. Shapiro’s plan to cap tuition at state schools at $1,000/year for students who qualify is “passing the buck without holding K–12 public schools responsible for graduating students unprepared for college.” His proposal still leaves many questions unanswered: “Will the plan require universities to cut costs to meet the tuition cap? Will colleges raise tuition for non-qualifying students to cover the gap? Or will taxpayers foot the bill?” Rachel writes, “The time to invest in children’s education is during their K–12 education,” as kids often end up having to learn in college what they should have learned far sooner. “Throwing money at higher education without addressing the root problems in K–12 is merely turning a bachelor’s degree into the new high school diploma.”

Per diem transparency varies by Pa. Senate/House

The Erie Times News reports that “Pennsylvania lawmakers have a mixed record when it comes to transparency. Monthly expenses for members of the state Senate are regularly posted on the upper chamber’s website as PDF files for easy public access….The situation is more opaque in the … House… where mileage and per diem reports are only posted if individual lawmakers choose to make their expenses readily available.” The story recounts some past efforts to require more transparency.

Across the country, open records disputes can be costly

The Associated Press looked at how “in most states, the most effective — and often only — option for residents to resolve open government disputes is to sue.” But kudos to Pa., as the story notes, “Pennsylvania is one of few states with a robust office for resolving open records disputes. The Office of Open Records reviews appeals and issues binding decisions, which can be appealed in court. Some experts describe the office as one of the better systems for handling such complaints.” Of course, if the appeal ends up going to court, it can still be costly.

Pa.’s U.S. reps split on Laken Riley Act

On Thursday, the U.S. House voted 251-170 to pass the Laken Riley Act, named after the Georgia College student who was murdered allegedly by an illegal immigrant who had previously been arrested and released. As the Delaware Valley Journal explains, “The bill would require that any illegal immigrant who committed burglary, larceny, shoplifting, or theft be detained.” All the Republican U.S. reps from Pa. as well as three of our Democrat reps voted “yes.” The remaining six Democrats from Pa. voted against the bill.

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