News & Brews May 3, 2024

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

Is Shapiro violating his own gift ban? 

Spotlight PA reports that on his recently filed statement of financial interests, Gov. Josh Shapiro “reported receiving $12,194.62 from Team PA for ‘transportation, lodging or hospitality.’” It turns out that this money paid for Shapiro to attend six sporting events, including last year’s Super Bowl. But Team PA does not disclose its donors. “The secrecy leaves taxpayers in the dark about who underwrites the outings and what interests they may have in state government policy.” And it “also raises questions anew about whether the Democrat is violating his ban on accepting gifts.”

Pa. lawmaker proposes ban on student cell use in school

PennLive reports that GOP state Sen. Ryan Aument (Lancaster County) “is proposing legislation that would require student cellphones be placed in secure lockable bags in all public schools during the school day.” The effort follows an advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General’s office on the impacts of social media on children’s mental health. The story notes, “To help gauge the public’s support for his idea, a petition was posted on Aument’s website on Thursday. He is asking Pennsylvanians to sign and offer comments.”

WSJ Editorial: The ‘outside agitators’ of campus protests

As headlines continue to blaze about anti-Israel protestors on college campuses, including here in Pennsylvania, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board busts any myth that all these protestors are simply self-motivated college students. “Recent days have shown that the protests aren’t merely bursts of student moral concern about Gaza. They’re often guided by professional leftist groups exploiting students to foment chaos and intimidate President Biden.” (The NY Post had more on this last week).

Post-election audit begins with roll of dice

City & State PA reports, “The Pennsylvania Department of State has kicked off another post-election audit by rolling the dice …  on Thursday to determine the seed number needed for a risk-limiting audit of the state’s April 23 Democratic primary election for state treasurer.” The race being audited was determined via a random drawing last month. The story explains, “The Department of State issued a directive in September 2022 asking counties to conduct RLAs after every election, and this year’s primary audit marks the fourth time the state has conducted an RLA since the directive.”

About all that $$$ for mass transit

We often hear about how much Pa. taxpayers (and turnpike toll payers) dole out to fund mass transit. It’s to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year—most of which goes to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which continually claims it needs outside funding to prop it up. Well, our friends at the Committee to Unleash Prosperity (CTUP) report, “Last year the federal government spent a record $21 billion on transit (and more than $1 trillion has been spent on these subsidies since they began in the 1960s). Yet last year, a record-low percentage of commuters used transit.” CTUP charts the share of commuters who use public transit in America’s 14 largest cities, comparing 1960 numbers to today’s numbers. Spoiler alert: There have been “spectacular declines.” Philly has gone from over 25% to about 6%. CTUP concludes: “Ridership is so low in most cities it would probably be cheaper for the taxpayers to simply pay for transit riders to instead take an Uber to work.”

Sign up to get News & Brews in your inbox