News & Brews July 11, 2024

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Budget: Not done

CNHI News reports that despite ongoing negotiations, there is no state budget deal and no timeline for when there will be one. Gov. Shapiro’s spokesperson said the governor and lawmakers “are very close to getting this done.” But House Republican Appropriations Chair Seth Grove called the current talks a “perpetual negotiation,” adding, “At some point there has to be an adult in the room who says, ‘we’re done.’” Both chambers are scheduled to return to session this morning.

Latino-majority Reading embraces role in ’24 election

The AP reports that in Reading, Pa., where the Latino population is the majority, “Latino registered voters say their vote can make a difference.” The city still votes Democrat, but, “Political candidates are taking notice of Reading’s economic and political power. The 2020 presidential election in Pennsylvania was decided by about 82,000 votes, and — according to the Pew Research Center — there are more than 600,000 eligible Latino voters in the state.”

Pa. Senate committee subpoenas Shapiro’s revenue secretary

The Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee voted yesterday to subpoena Revenue Secretary (and former state rep.) Pat Browne to obtain information about the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ). Browne wrote the law that created the NIZ (when he represented the area as a lawmaker). But Browne’s successor, Committee Chair Jarrett Coleman, said,The sources of the Allentown NIZ’s revenues, the way it uses the money and the effectiveness of the program seem to be shrouded in mystery.”

Johnny Doc asks for leniency

Ahead of his sentencing today, where federal prosecutors are asking for up to 14 years in prison, former Philly labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty asked the judge for leniency. The Inquirer reports that Dougherty’s lawyer “described him as a tireless champion throughout his life for union workers, his family and his community as well as a man who ‘spent almost every waking hour of every day of the week working to improve’ their lots.” Further, the attorney asked the judge “to defer any prison sentence [the] ex-union chief might receive so he can remain free to care for his ailing wife.” Dougherty was convicted of stealing more than $600,000 from the union.

‘Where does Gov. Shapiro stand on civil rights?’

As Pennsylvanians are wondering where Gov. Shapiro actually stands on school choice (since he claims to support it, vetoed it last year, called it “unfinished business” in this year’s state budget, but hasn’t lifted a finger to do anything about it this year), the real question is, “Where does Gov. Shapiro stand on civil rights?” Rev. Josh Robertson, founder of Harrisburg-based Black Pastors United for Education, writes in a letter in the Wall Street Journal that Shapiro “needs to prove that he stands with black and brown Pennsylvanians on the civil-rights issue of our time.” Without education freedom, “huge numbers of black and brown children will continue to fall behind. With it, they’ll have a better chance of getting ahead. If Mr. Shapiro keeps his promise, he’ll help these kids share in America’s promise. But if he plays politics, he’ll block them from the equality that is their birthright.”

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