News & Brews July 1, 2024

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No budget, no surprise

Well, the traditional June 30th state budget deadline has come and gone, and—surprising no one—we have no state budget. Both the state House and Senate are scheduled to be back in town today, with school vouchers remaining a sticking point in negotiations. Yet, the Post-Gazette reports, “The optimism was evident when lawmakers left the Capitol late last week. It was rooted in positive reports emanating from closed-door budget negotiations. The fact that July 1 — the first day of the new fiscal year — would arrive without a state budget in place was mostly an afterthought.” And with the July 4 holiday fast approaching, “At least some members hope to have a deal done and passed into law” by then. We’ll see.

Speaking truth to power on education equality

Our president and CEO, Matt Brouillette, writes in RealClear Pennsylvania, “The Left talks of ‘speaking truth to power,’ or standing up to the entrenched government leaders who use their position to oppress others. But when it comes to education, the Left has become the entrenched oppressor in what is quickly becoming the civil rights frontier of our day: equal educational opportunity.” He notes that thankfully, there are those who ARE speaking truth to this oppressive power. “And the truth is that every child, regardless of zip code or socioeconomic standing, deserves access to a quality education.”

‘Judicial emergency’ in Dauphin County

Here’s something you don’t see every day. The state Supreme Court declared a “judicial emergency” in Dauphin County after the court clerk and first deputy resigned on Friday and a second deputy was fired. The AP relates, “The abrupt departures followed ‘months of crisis’ in the office that saw problems such as defendants stranded in jail, others picked up on bench warrants that should have been terminated and incorrectly recorded case dispositions and sentences.” The high court ordered the president judge of the county to appoint a temporary acting clerk until Gov. Shapiro selects an acting clerk.

Lawmaker seeks to end political work on taxpayer dime

House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (Lancaster County) plans to introduce legislation that would “prohibit state agencies from expending funds for the preparation, planning, or holding of a political campaign event.” The effort comes after Cutler observed Department of General Services (DGS) employees apparently working on logistics for two Democrat campaign events. DGS responded that it helps with “hundreds of public events a year within the Capitol Complex,” without regard to partisan politics.

After debate debacle, Shapiro’s name again swirls

The Post-Gazette reports that after President Biden’s disastrous debate performance Thursday evening, “panicked Democrats around the country began openly asking whether they had to replace their nominee….” And one name that’s continually popping up is Gov. Josh Shapiro. Per Allegheny County Republican Chair Sam DeMarco, “If you don’t think he’s getting calls … you’re deluding yourself.” Of course, such a swap would be unprecedented, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a topic in serious circles. For his part, Shapiro continues to play the role of dutiful Biden surrogate, saying regarding his own potential candidacy, “I’m not going to engage in that hypothetical. I’m all in for Joe Biden. I’m all in to support the nominee that the good people of Pennsylvania have chosen.”

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