News & Brews June 14, 2024

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Cutler: Dems used tax dollars for campaign events

House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler has raised concern that the state Department of General Services (DGS) used taxpayer money for two campaign events at the Capitol hosted by President Biden’s re-election campaign. The LNP reports, “Booking receipts from DGS to the Biden campaign confirm that the department’s equipment was requested for both events. But the receipts don’t show that any equipment rental fees were charged to the campaign.” Cutler stated, “While we respect the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and expression, the use of official resources for campaign purposes is unethical and illegitimate….” The LNP questioned DGS but reported, “A statement from DGS sent Wednesday night did not answer questions sent by LNP | LancasterOnline, including one seeking a total cost for the events.”

Jay-Z responds to Dem anger over work to help Philly kids

What happens when you’re a top entertainment mogul who dares suggest kids trapped in failing Philly schools deserve options? The Left comes after you, of course. Democrats (and some in the media, but I repeat myself) went apoplectic this past week after Jay-Z’s Roc Nation came out in support of PASS (formerly Lifeline) scholarships, which would allow funding (separate from current education funding) to follow children to the learning environment of their parents/families’ choice. Responding to the criticism, Roc Nation’s managing director of philanthropy, Dania Diaz, said, “We are supporters of the public school system … But numbers don’t lie, and the data shows that there must be another avenue for success for the state’s most vulnerable students.”

ACLU sues Pa. over public defenders

The Democrat-aligned American Civil Liberties Union has sued the commonwealth for allegedly failing to fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide public defense to individuals who cannot afford an attorney. Spotlight PA reports, “The group brought the suit on behalf of 17 people facing issues including little to no contact with the public defenders they are entitled to…. It was also filed on behalf of all current and future indigent people, those accused of a crime and unable to pay for a private defense attorney. If the court approves this group as a class, any outcome will extend to all of those affected.” The suit names as defendants Gov. Josh Shapiro, state Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, and state House Speaker Joanna McClinton.

NTSB to release findings on East Palestine train derailment

More than 16 months after the catastrophic derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in East Palestine, Ohio—just over the Pennsylvania border—the National Transportation Safety Board is set to release its findings on the probable cause of the tragedy. The Post-Gazette reports, “The NTSB announced Thursday that it would hold a meeting with residents of East Palestine and surrounding areas affected by the derailment on Monday, June 24, and then meet with them again on Tuesday, June 25, when it also will hold a board meeting to approve the probable cause, the findings uncovered during the investigation into the derailment, and the safety recommendations designed to reduce the chances of a similar incident occurring in the future.”

Pa. Housing Finance Agency’s last audit was in ’80s

The Center Square reports that the last time Pennsylvania’s Housing Finance Agency was audited the USSR was still a thing. The law requires that the agency be audited “from time to time” but offers no specific requirement for that “time.” GOP state Rep. Kristin Marcell (Bucks County) has proposed legislation that would require an annual audit. “We cannot in good faith authorize an increase for PHFA until we ensure the proper safeguards are put in place,” she said.

U.S. Army, you look good at 249! 

In addition to celebrating Flag Day, today is also the 249th birthday of the U.S. Army, which was officially established on June 14, 1775. Check out more Army history, along with ways to celebrate, here.

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