News & Brews April 19, 2024

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House Dems pitch new expulsion rules 

Two days after House Democrats argued vehemently that Democrat state Rep. Kevin Boyle—who’s facing an arrest warrant—was just fine and fit to vote by proxy (or “ghost vote”), yesterday House Democrats proposed a new rule for expelling members. As the AP explains, under the new rule, a group of five House leaders would hold an inquiry to “determine if a representative is impaired physically or mentally so that they are not able to perform their duties.” We anticipate any inquiry would be completed hours after the final passage of the state budget, since Democrats would still need to ghost vote for Boyle until then.

Shapiro announces standardized tests will go online

Yesterday, Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that all Pa. schools will be required to move all standardized school assessment tests online as of 2026. The AP reports that this move is “in an effort to save more classroom time for instruction, create a user-friendly exam for students and relieve a burden from teachers and administrators.” In Pa., 32% of schools already do online testing, so Shapiro seems to be jumping on an already-moving bandwagon. Unfortunately, while committing to online testing, Shapiro did not announce any commitment to rescuing kids who are stuck in failing, union-run schools. But in those schools that are failing to teach kids anything, at least kids will be able to take tests online. As Shapiro said on the campaign trail, he takes on the “big fights….”

Pa. House Republicans tackle illegal immigration

Pa. House Republican lawmakers held a press conference Wednesday to discuss their efforts to combat the growing threats of illegal immigration. The Delaware Valley Journal reports that among their proposals are a ban on sanctuary cities in Pa. and “a resolution to ask Congress and federal agencies to monitor ‘ghost flights’ more closely. Those flights, some of which have landed in Pennsylvania, drop off ‘large numbers of undocumented immigrants,’” per one lawmaker.

Poll: What are Pittsburgh-area residents thinking? 

WESA reports on the results of a new survey of Pittsburgh-area adults, which “found that 28% of voters aged 18 to 34 said their vote had no influence at all on national elections. Only 11% of voters over age 65 were so jaded. (Voters aged 35 to 64 skewed closer to the younger mindset: 23% said their vote had no impact.)” Further, “fully 13% of younger voters … [said] they hadn’t made up their minds yet. That compared to just 2% of people over 65, and 11% of folks 35 to 64.” On the issues, “Voters across the board said economic issues and reproductive rights were their biggest concerns. (The largest difference was that younger respondents cared a lot less about immigration and crime — and election integrity! — than elderly voters, but more about education.)”


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