News & Brews March 26, 2024

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GOP lawmakers detail new plan to move voter ID

As House Democrats have blocked a proposed voter ID constitutional amendment from advancing out of committee, Republican lawmakers yesterday announced a new plan to try to get the legislation moving. In what’s known as a discharge resolution, lawmakers can move a bill out of committee if 25 lawmakers from each party sign the petition to do so. In a news release, House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler “noted 22 House Democrats voted to support enhanced voter identification requirements in a prior House vote, meaning only three more Democrats need to sign on to the discharge petition to get the constitutional amendment out of committee.”

Dem primary race in Philly is one to watch

The Inquirer reports on an “unusual” primary race in northeast Philly that’s pitting two politically powerful families against each other. Incumbent Democrat state Rep. Kevin Boyle (the brother of U.S. Congressman Brendan Boyle) is running for re-election. But after his recent outburst at a Montgomery County bar, the Democrat Party is backing his primary opponent, Sean Dougherty—the son of Pa. Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty and nephew of convicted former labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty. Amid the infighting, Republicans are eyeing the seat as a potential flip, and a two-way GOP primary will determine who takes on the Democrat.

Shapiro’s energy plan banks on theoretical sources

Broad + Liberty’s Todd Shepherd reports that Gov. Shapiro’s recently announced energy plan “asks the state to get 35 percent of its energy from so-called clean energy sources by 2035.” But some of these sources don’t currently exist as “commercially viable, raising serious questions as to whether those technologies could play a legitimate role in the state by the 2035 goal — a mere eleven years away.” One projection has small modular nuclear reactors not even coming to the commercial market until 2030, while another says the prototype for a fusion reactor would be built by 2040. Not surprisingly, Shapiro’s office did not respond to a request for comment from Broad + Liberty. (Relatedly, this isn’t the only part of Shapiro’s plan raising questions. Check out this piece on Shapiro’s “senseless expansion” of unreliable energy sources.)

Who’s running for state treasurer?

Spotlight PA has a rundown of the three candidates running for state treasurer. On the Republican side, incumbent Treasurer Stacy Garrity (whom we are supporting) is running for re-election. Democrats, meanwhile, have a two-way primary between state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (Erie County) and Erin McClelland of Allegheny County.

Bill would require disclosure of union ‘salts’

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board backs proposed federal legislation that “would make unions reveal the secret workers they pay to organize workers at companies.” The bill targets what’s known as union “salts” who are “paid activists” hired by labor unions “to organize nonunion workplaces while posing as ordinary employees.” For example, “One Starbucks barista described her organizing efforts at a House hearing in 2022. She didn’t tell Congress that the union paid her $50,000 for her efforts.” In short, the bill would level the playing field. “Employers often hire consultants to warn employees against unionizing or report on organizing activity, but they’re required to report it to the Labor Department. Unions know who’s working against them on the shop floor, but managers are blind while playing defense.”

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