News & Brews June 7, 2024

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Takeaways from school funding data

Reason highlights several takeaways from the latest school finance data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The data reveals “public education funding is up by 34% per student in the last two decades.” And guess what? Pa. had the 5th-highest percentage increase in the country, at 57.5%. What’s more, Pa. is also among the top spending states in the country, with nearly $25,000 in revenue per student.

Disruption in Pa. House after Dems politicize visit by Jan. 6 police officers

If you hop online to Pa. news sites this morning, you’ll see headlines about Republican lawmakers booing police. Well, there’s more to the story (not surprisingly). Two former U.S. Capitol police officers who are campaigning around the country for President Biden’s re-election held a campaign rally with Democrat House Speaker Joanna McClinton on the Pa. Capitol steps. Then, a short time later, Democrats officially introduced them as guests in the House chamber. A few Republicans opposed what they viewed as a politicization of the event, complete with a group photo by the Dem caucus. Or, as our president and CEO noted, “House Democrats used them [the police officers] as a political weapons on the House floor—where political campaign shenanigans are not appropriate.”

What’s in Philly’s $6.37B budget? 

WHYY reports that yesterday, Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker and the City Council reached an agreement a $6.37 billion budget for the city. The story breaks down a few items in the budget, including “$100 million for a 640-bed drug rehab center on the edge of the prison complex in Northeast Philadelphia.”

Shapiro defends state plane use 

If you’ve observed Gov. Shapiro for any length of time, you know he doesn’t like to be challenged. (Remember this exchange?) Well, recently, he was asked about his use of the state plane (which far surpasses his predecessor’s use and includes a vacation trip down to Hilton Head). His response? “I work my ass off as … governor.” Yes indeed. The AP recently explained some of this “work”: “In recent weeks, Shapiro went Jet Skiing on Lake Wallenpaupack in northeastern Pennsylvania and threw out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game in Lancaster as part of a week-long tour to highlight his tourism rebranding of Pennsylvania as the ‘Great American Getaway.’” The full interview is linked here. The state plane question comes a bit after the 52-minute mark.

Shapiro signs ban on handheld cell phone use while driving

On Wednesday, Gov. Josh Shapiro signed legislation banning the use of handheld devices while driving. The legislation, known as Paul Miller’s Law, will go into effect on June 5, 2025. Until then, the Tribune-Review reports, “police will issue warnings, but after that, the offense will result in a $50 fine.” Under the law, drivers can still “use their phones if they are using hands-free technology.” The law is named after Paul Miller, Jr. from Monroe County. Miller “was killed in a motor vehicle crash with a tractor-trailer in 2010 as the result of a distracted driver who reached for their phone while driving.”

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