Republicans Lament Failure to Include Lifeline Scholarships in Pennsylvania Budget So Far

Just four days remain until June 30, Pennsylvania’s Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget deadline and much still divides Republicans who control the state Senate from Governor Josh Shapiro and his fellow Democrats who control the House of Representatives. 

The school-choice debate is among the most concerning facets of budget negotiations so far for the GOP. Shapiro indicated last year that he wanted the commonwealth to create “lifeline scholarships,” i.e. a private-school choice program for economically disadvantaged students in poorly performing schools. Republicans hoped they could coalesce with him around the policy’s enactment.

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Senate Panel Recommends Schmidt as Pennsylvania Secretary of State, Votes for Anti-ERIC Bill

Pennsylvania’s Senate State Government Committee on Monday recommended confirming secretary of the commonwealth nominee Al Schmidt.

The panel voted 10-1 to back the Republican acting secretary and former Philadelphia city commissioner. In a subsequent, off-the-floor meeting, the committee approved a bill to facilitate removal of Pennsylvania from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a controversial multi-state data-sharing program supporters say helps states maintain accurate voter rolls. The bill would permit the state to use the Social Security death database and change-of-address records to identify voter-registry errors.

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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Inform Parents of Sexual Content in Schools

A lawmaker is urging his colleagues to back a bill he is sponsoring to ensure Pennsylvania parents get notified when sexually explicit content is distributed in their children’s K-12 schools. 

State Representative Russ Diamond (R-Jonestown) announced he will introduce a companion bill to a Senate measure authored by Senator Ryan Aument (R-Lititz). The legislation would mandate that schools note sexually explicit texts and other media assigned or displayed as part of students’ coursework. The bill would further instruct schools to tell parents when a book their child accesses from their school library features sexually frank content. 

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Pennsylvania House Committee Advances Legislation Favoring Certain Contractors; GOP Flags Alleged Notice Violation

A Pennsylvania House of Representatives panel on Thursday passed bills to favor apprenticeship-trained labor and pay prevailing wages in state contracting in a process Republicans blasted as illegitimate.

The House Labor and Industry Committee reported both bills to the full chamber, with all 12 Democrats supportive and all nine Republicans opposed.

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Pennsylvania Utility Commission: 2023 Natural Gas Impact Fees Top $278 Million

Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission announced this week that the commonwealth and its localities will collect nearly $279 million from natural gas extraction impact fees this year. 

The revenues, applying to drilling activity throughout 2022, bring the total fees collected for gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale sedimentary rock formation to $2.5 billion since 2012, the year lawmakers imposed the tax on fossil-fuel producers. This year’s allocations will be the largest yearly amount the government amassed through the levy, representing a 19 percent increase over the prior year’s take. 

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Pennsylvania House Democrats Pass Minimum Wage Hike, Republicans Fear Job Loss

Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives this week passed legislation raising the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026 and permanently indexing it to inflation going forward. 

Currently, the Keystone State mandates $7.25 in minimum hourly pay for most workers. If the bill passes the state Senate it will receive the supportive Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro’s signature and become law. The measure, sponsored by Representative Jason Dawkins (D-Philadelphia) will move the low-end wage to $11 per hour next January and $13 per hour the following January before bringing it to $15 the year after that. 

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As Philadelphia Malpractice Cases Multiply, Group Asks Court to Review Venue Rule

As Philadelphia medical malpractice cases skyrocket, a pro-tort-reform nonprofit is asking a Pennsylvania Supreme Court committee to review new “forum shopping” rules. 

The Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform (PCCJR) sent its second such request in two months to the court’s Civil Procedural Rules Committee Chair Kathleen Bruder. According to PCCJR, new data show that the failure to keep medical malpractice cases in their proper venues is worsening lawsuit abuse that financially batters insurers, threatens medical professionals, and harms consumers. 

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Republican Lawmaker Want Pennsylvania Corporate Tax Reduced Further

State representative Dallas Kephart (R-PA-Clearfield) wants to reduce Pennsylvania’s corporate net income tax (CNIT) to four percent by 2025. 

Last year, lawmakers budgeted a gradual decrease in the CNIT from 9.99 percent to 4.99 percent over the coming decade. Before the change, the Keystone State charged corporations the highest state business tax in the U.S., behind New Jersey’s 11.5 percent rate. Now at 8.99 percent, Pennsylvania’s levy is 8.99 percent — the fifth highest. Assuming other states’ rates stay constant, Pennsylvania’s CNIT will end up roughly in the middle in terms of corporate taxes in 2031. 

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Pennsylvania Ranks Low on Religious Freedom Index

A new report from a D.C.-based nonprofit suggests that Pennsylvania lags behind most states regarding religious freedom. 

Last week, Napa Legal Institute published its first annual Faith & Freedom Index on which the Keystone State ranked 40th among all 50 states. The report rated each state in terms of its legal protections for faith-based institutions as well as regulatory regimes governing those entities. The commonwealth scored 30 percent for religious freedom and 55 percent for regulatory freedom for an averaged score of 55 percent.

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Biden Sets Leftist Tone for 2024 Re-Election Effort at Philadelphia Event

President Joe Biden held his first presidential re-election campaign event on Saturday at the Philadelphia Convention Center, making strong appeals to his left-wing base. 

Biden appeared alongside organized-labor activists and mentioned in the first few seconds of his oration that when he thinks of working Americans, he especially values the ones who associate with causes he finds politically congenial.

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Pennsylvania Representatives Blast Biden on Quality-of-Life Issues Ahead of His Philadelphia Visit

One day before Joe Biden heads to a Saturday Philadelphia rally, U.S. Representatives Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA-14) and Dan Meuser (R-PA-9) excoriated him in a press call over quality of life issues. 

Joined by Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Lawrence Tabas, the two lawmakers blasted the president for seeking reelection in 2024, insisting Biden has made life worse for Americans on virtually every facet affected by public policy. They mentioned that inflation rages, real wages slump, energy production languishes, gas prices rise, fentanyl use spreads, reading and math scores tumble and crime swells. 

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Pennsylvania Localities Benefitting Substantially from Gas Extraction Fee

While Democrats insist Pennsylvania misses out on revenue from natural gas extraction, a Pittsburgh nonprofit’s analysis published on Thursday observes drilling impact fees yielded $2.25 billion through 2021.

Since the boom in hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), the horizontal drilling technique gas companies use to access the vast reserves of fossil fuel from the Marcellus Shale sedimentary rock formation, many politicians have eyed an extraction tax. Instead of such a tax, former Governor Tom Corbett (R) and a Republican-led legislature levied an impact fee in 2012, with revenues going to localities largely to mitigate fracking-related environmental disruption. In the new policy brief from the Allegheny Institute (AI), the think tank’s executive director Frank Gamrat detailed those revenue gains. 

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Two Pennsylvania State Senators Take Up Rail Safety Bill

Two Pennsylvania state senators announced this week they are introducing a companion bill to a house-passed measure designed to improve rail safety.

Senate action on the bill sponsored by State Senators Katie Muth (D-Royersford) and Lindsey Williams (D-Pittsburgh) would advance the legislation toward Governor Josh Shapiro’s (D) desk. The house version passed that chamber 141-62 earlier this month with the support of all Democratic representatives and a sizable minority of Republicans. 

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Pennsylvania House Republicans Fear Minimum Wage Bill Will Cost Jobs, Fail to Amend It

As Democrats proceeded with Pennsylvania minimum wage hike legislation on Wednesday, Republican state representatives tried and failed to amend the measure to mitigate job losses. 

The bill supported by the Democrats’ one-seat House of Representatives majority would increase the Keystone State’s minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour by 2026. The wage floor would thenceforth permanently rise according to inflation. 

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Pennsylvania House Passes State Earned Income Tax Credit

Pennsylvania state representatives this week passed legislation creating a state version of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). 

The federal EITC, which went into effect in 1975, is designed to incentivize work. It ranges from $560 to $6,935 and goes to households earning up to $59,187. The proposed state-level counterpart would allow low-wage earners to claim 25 percent of the federal credit on their Pennsylvania taxes. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia offer a similar credit.

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Pennsylvania State Senator Wants to Reform Program That Funnels Taxpayer Money to Filmmakers

Pennsylvania state Senator Devlin Robinson (R-Bethel Park) this week proposed changing a program that subsidizes film production to the tune of $100 million annually. 

The Keystone State allots the film-production tax credit to movie and television projects on the basis that it generates net economic growth by bringing in new (if temporary) jobs and boosting local businesses. Robinson is circulating a memorandum among Senate colleagues suggesting the program could benefit from an increased focus on multi-year projects to make the job gains attributable to the program more stable.  

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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Offers Legislation to Count Provisional Ballots in Cases of Defective Mail-In Votes

Pennsylvania state Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) is drafting a bill to ensure voters have their in-person votes counted in cases when their defective mail-in ballots were tossed. 

Boscola sponsored Act 77, the 2019 law that legalized no-excuse mail-in voting in Pennsylvania, and her emerging bill seeks to clarify a part of that statute. A provision in that law led the Delaware County Board of Elections to vote unanimously on May 23 to throw out six of its eligible voters’ ballots cast in the May 16 primary. Three of those voters are now suing the board in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas to have their votes tallied and to guarantee those in similar situations have their ballots counted in the future. 

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Bipartisan Pennsylvania Bill Would Allow ‘Personal Option’ Through Association Health Plans

A bipartisan group of Pennsylvania state lawmakers are championing legislation enabling small-business association healthcare plans to offer workers affordable coverage. 

Such plans facilitate lower costs by allowing business and industry organizations to pool their members and negotiate insurance prices. The measure’s author, Representative Valerie Gaydos (R-Moon Township), was among numerous sponsors who told The Pennsylvania Daily Star they experienced firsthand how governmental burdens have made it harder for companies to provide their members with inexpensive medical coverage. Gaydos said this is particularly true since the Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed by President Barack Obama in 2010, heavily restricted association plans. 

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FIRE: Street Preacher’s Arrest at Pennsylvania Pride Event and Subsequent Dismissal Is a Free-Speech Lesson

Charges were dropped this week regarding Christian street preacher Damon Atkins who was arrested for speaking negatively about an LGBTQ pride-flag-raising he attended at Reading, Pennsylvania City Hall on Saturday. 

“After review of the video of the incident, including body-worn cameras, and a review of the case law, we did not believe we could prove a criminal case of disorderly conduct,” Berks County’s District Attorney’s office said in a statement.

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In Pittsburgh, Massive School Spending Hasn’t Bought Massive Achievement

A Pittsburgh-based think tank’s analysis published this week shows the city’s public schools spend far more per student than the average public school even as achievement severely lags.

Examining student testing statistics and finance data, the brief by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (AI) determined that Pittsburgh Public Schools spend almost $30,000 per pupil — among the highest spending figures in the state — while their institutions score woefully low. 

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Pennsylvania Committee Passes Pro-Marijuana Resolution, Calls for New Federal Law

Pennsylvania’s House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday passed a resolution calling on the federal government to remove marijuana from the top section of its controlled-substances list. 

Called House Resolution 420 — an allusion to 4/20, a day of celebration for many pot smokers — the measure sponsored by state Representative Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia) asks federal officials to move cannabinoid products off of Schedule I. The topmost of five illicit drug categories, Schedule I includes substances the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) characterizes as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” 

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Pennsylvania GOP Senate to Tackle Budget That Overspends Shapiro Proposal by $1.1 Billion

At first, Keystone State Republicans viewed Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro’s Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget proposal with mere skepticism. This week, state House Democrats larded it with an extra $1.1 billion and passed it, making a fray between their chamber and the Republican-run Senate even more probable. 

The nearly $47 billion spending plan, approved by representatives along party lines, hikes spending by $5.7 billion over the current fiscal year, a more than a 13-percent increase. Members of the Republican minority excoriated their Democratic colleagues for rushing the plan to passage within six hours of its completion, a move they said reflected poor transparency. Representative Doyle Heffley (R-Weissport) spoke for many in his party when he called the House-passed plan a “poison pill” for Pennsylvania’s economy. 

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Pennsylvania Freedom Caucus: No Penn State Funding Until Puberty Blockers Ditched

The Pennsylvania House Freedom Caucus (PAFC) this week issued an ultimatum to the Pennsylvania State University: Either your hospitals will stop providing puberty blockers to children or funding won’t be forthcoming. 

Penn State Health operates six hospitals in central Pennsylvania. The PAFC is castigating the university-run system for “prescribing experimental puberty blockers and providing “‘gender-affirming care’ to children as young as FIVE YEARS OLD.”

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Pennsylvania Clean Slate Expansion Passes House Overwhelmingly, Heads to Senate

Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives this week approved a bipartisan expansion of the commonwealth’s “clean slate” policy affecting those with low-level, drug-related felony convictions.

The measure, which passed 189-14, builds on a 2019 policy that made the Keystone State the first in the nation to enact automatic record-sealing for summary offenses as well as certain nonviolent misdemeanors and arrests that didn’t lead to convictions. That reform benefited 1.2 million commonwealth residents. The bill that now awaits consideration by the state Senate would seal records of those who were convicted of minor drug felonies but thereafter stayed crime-free for 10 years.

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Committee Passes Pennsylvania Measure to Facilitate Ex-Prisoner Voting

Incarcerated Pennsylvanias regain their right to vote after release, but Democratic state representatives worry they don’t vote enough, so they advanced legislation on Monday addressing the issue.

Voting 12-9 along party lines, Pennsylvania’s House State Government Committee approved Representative Carol Kazeem’s (D-Chester) resolution to study ex-prisoner election participation. After the Joint State Government Commission completes its research, officials would use the the information gathered to develop policies to aid former inmates’ resumption of voting. 

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Pennsylvania House Democrats Want a New Agency to License AI-Created Products

Democratic Pennsylvania lawmakers are drafting several bills to enable regulation of artificial intelligence (AI), including one measure creating a new state agency to oversee the technology. 

The new proposals build upon legislation Representative Chris Pielli (D-West Chester) announced last month that would mandate labeling of all AI-generated content. Other parts of the legislative package, which Pielli is cosponsoring alongside Representative Bob Merski (D-Erie), also includes a policy governing the commonwealth’s use of software and devices that perform tasks that were once possible only through human action. 

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Pennsylvania State Senator Drafting Bill to Kill ‘Culturally Relevant’ Guidelines

A Pennsylvania state senator is working on legislation to abolish the commonwealth’s new Culturally Relevant and Sustaining Education (CR-SE) guidelines that impose leftist ideology on teachers and students. 

The document instructs teachers to “know and acknowledge that biases exist in the educational system,” biases the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) specifies as “racial and cultural.” Educators are further called on to “believe and acknowledge that microaggressions are real and take steps to educate themselves about the subtle and obvious ways in which they are used to harm and invalidate the existence of others.” Another guideline tasks teachers with “disrupt[ing] harmful institutional practices, policies, and norms by advocating and engaging in efforts to rewrite policies, change practices, and raise awareness.” 

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Pennsylvania Senate Bill Would Reprioritize In-Person Votes

Two Pennsylvania state senators told colleagues this week they are drafting a measure to count in-person ballots rather than absentee ballots in instances when someone uses both methods to vote. 

Before Act 77, a 2019 law letting Pennsylvanians vote by mail without an excuse like illness or travel, those who submitted absentee ballots but became able to vote in person could do so while having their absentee ballots voided. The new law however directs election boards to let an absentee voter cast their vote in person using a provisional ballot; in cases when the mail-in ballot was received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, the earlier mail-in ballot, not the in-person one, is recorded.

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No Word Yet from Pennsylvania State University on FIRE’s Freedom Concerns

The Pennsylvania State University has reportedly yet to answer a Philadelphia-based free-speech nonprofit’s request that the school confirms adherence to freedom of association.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) asked Penn State to do so after a brief disagreement this spring between administrators and the College Independents. This student group hosts political discussions featuring “a wide variety of viewpoints.” 

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Pennsylvania GOP Officials Want Shapiro to Shore Up Rainy Day Fund

High-ranking Republican Pennsylvania officials sounded off on Wednesday in the state Capitol Building against Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget legislation which would deplete state reserve funds in five years.

Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity (R) and House Appropriations Minority Chair Seth Grove (R-York) observed that the scenario is rather sunny insofar as the Democratic governor’s projections don’t account for a potential recession. Shapiro’s calculations also assume government spending won’t surpass 2.36 percent in the next five years, a supposition so rosy it provoked Grove to snicker slightly. 

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Pennsylvania Educrats Sued over Guidelines Imposing Leftism on Teachers, Students

Three school districts north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are litigating over new guidelines enjoined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) directing teachers and students to adhere to progressive ideology. 

Representing Laurel School District, Mars Area School District and Penncrest School District as well as teachers and families in those jurisdictions, attorneys for the nonprofit Thomas More Society contend that the instructions violate both the state and federal constitutions.

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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Wants AI-Made Content Labeled

A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants all content generated by artificial intelligence (AI) to be labeled and is drafting legislation to that end. 

State Representative Chris Pielli (D-West Chester) insisted consumers should expect to know whether they are accessing human-created or electronically produced information. He said people will have a harder time fulfilling this expectation as AI becomes more advanced and commonly used. 

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Pennsylvania Representatives Want to Limit Food-Stamp Balances to Curb Fraud

Two Pennsylvania state lawmakers are spearheading legislation to curb food-stamp fraud by limiting the balances recipients can accumulate.

Representative Ann Flood (R-Pen Argyl) is drafting a bill requiring the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) to request a federal waiver allowing the commonwealth to cap the benefits a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) user can amass.  Kerry Beninghoff (R-Bellefonte) has meanwhile begun preparing a resolution asking the Biden administration to set such limits itself. Currently, the federally funded but state administered entitlement does not require those who draw SNAP benefits to spend them in order to remain eligible for them. 

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Bipartisan Measure Would Create a Pennsylvania Earned Income Tax Credit

Two Pennsylvania state Senators from opposite sides of the aisle are asking colleagues to support legislation they are drafting to create a state earned income tax credit (EITC). 

For nearly a half-century, lower-wage workers have benefitted from a federal EITC which ranges from $560 to $6,935 for a household earning up to $59,187, depending on the number of that filer’s qualifying children. In 2021, this program bestowed $1,874 on the average Pennsylvania family.

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McCormick Prospects Advance as Mastriano Declines Pennsylvania Senate Run

Pennsylvania state Senator Doug Mastriano’s Thursday announcement he won’t seek the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey next year vastly boosts potential GOP hopeful Dave McCormick’s prospects. 

“I know this will be disappointing for some,” Mastriano said of his decision in a Facebook Live broadcast. “At this moment, the way things are, I am not running for the U.S. Senate seat that is going to be vacated by Casey. We need to beat him.”

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Freshman Pennsylvania Lawmaker Wants Pension Changes for Colleagues

Pennsylvania state Senator Jarrett Coleman (R-Allentown) this week introduced a measure requiring colleagues to take defined-contribution (DC) savings plans rather than traditional pensions.

Coleman, an airline pilot and former Parkland School District director, won his first Senate election last year on a reformist platform and has since briskly worked to effect change regarding education, election integrity, regulation and other issues. Now he’s asking members of his chamber to consider a policy directly affecting their own bottom lines. He believes it’s an important initial step toward more making the commonwealth’s employee retirement programs more solvent. 

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Voter Data-Sharing System Issues Dominate Schmidt’s Pennsylvania Senate Confirmation Hearing

At Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt’s initial confirmation hearing on Wednesday, many senators inquired about the commonwealth’s participation in a controversial voter data-sharing program. 

Schmidt, a moderate Republican former Philadelphia city commissioner who subsequently was president of the left-leaning nonprofit Committee of Seventy, will sit for a second hearing covering non-electoral issues his department oversees (e.g., professional licensure). But Senate State Government Committee Chair Cris Dush (R-Bellefonte) suggested discussion of Pennsylvania’s participation in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) will come up then as well. 

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Hears Tax-Versus-Fee Arguments About Whether RGGI Can Stand

Arguing before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday, one state agency alleged another improperly refused to publish an executive action implementing a de facto carbon tax, effectively halting the polcy. 

At issue is a decision made by the Pennsylvania Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) not to publicize a regulation decreed by then-Governor Tom Wolf (D) entering the state into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The LRB, which drafts all state legislation upon lawmakers’ requests and provides other policy reference services, declined to promulgate the rule enrolling the commonwealth in the multistate compact, citing a state House of Representatives resolution opposing it.

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Pennsylvania House Democrats Want to Ban Law Enforcement from Pursuing Illegal Immigrants

Pennsylvania House Democrats this week proposed a measure called the “Police and Community Safety Act” whose sole purpose is barring police and campus-security agencies from enforcing immigration laws. 

Spearheaded by Philadelphia Democrats Jose Giral and Chris Rabb, the bill resembles legislation the latter introduced unsuccessfully in 2017.

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Possible Mastriano Senate Run Elicits Mixed Reactions Among Pennsylvania Conservatives

Pennsylvania state Senator Doug Mastriano’s plans to soon announce whether he’ll run for U.S. Senate next year have Pennsylvania’s movement conservatives brimming with feelings — not all of them positive. 

The Republican who represents Gettysburg, Chambersburg and surrounding communities suffered an overwhelming defeat last year when he ran for governor against Democrat Josh Shapiro. After Mastriano indicated he would publicly decide on a bid against Democratic Senator Bob Casey in just days, state Representative Russ Diamond (R-Jonestown) wrote a tweetstorm Monday urging fellow Republicans to entreat Mastriano not to run.

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Recreational Marijuana Legalization Proposed in Pennsylvania Senate

Pennsylvania state senators announced Friday they will draft a bill to legalize adults’ recreational use of marijuana. 

In a memorandum asking colleagues to join their effort, Senators Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) and Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) cited CBS News polling suggesting two-thirds of Keystone Staters from varied communities back legal cannabis intake. The senators suggested making pot licit could boost the commonwealth’s agriculture industry and generate scads of new tax revenue. They mentioned 2021 testimony by the state’s nonpartisan Independent Fiscal Office averring that legal adult consumption could bring between $400 million to $1 billion into the state Treasury annually.

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$15-an-Hour Minimum Wage Bill Being Drafted in Pennsylvania House

A new bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour is emerging in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. 

Sponsored by Representative Patty Kim (D-Harrisburg), the bill as described in a memorandum appears similar to legislation Senator Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) is spearheading in his chamber. It contrasts with a more radical measure authored by Representative Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia) that would hike the wage floor to $16.50 in July 2025 and gradually increase it to $21 by mid-2028. The Rabb bill would also apply the state minimum wage to prisoners, vastly boosting their pay. 

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Bill Proposed to Require Pennsylvania Legislators to Submit Reimbursement Receipts

Two Republican Pennsylvania state senators this week proposed requiring lawmakers to submit receipts before collecting per diems. 

If a legislator incurs food or lodging costs when traveling more than 50 miles from his or her residence to perform official duties, he or she can claim per-diem payments of as much as $202 per day. Unlike in the private sector, that lawmaker need not show receipts. He or she must only turn in a voucher with the date, the legislative activity being performed, the location of that activity and an affirmation that the official paid an overnight lodging expense. 

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Primary Runoffs Proposed in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Senators Ryan Aument (R-Lititz) and Frank Farry (R-Langhorne) on Wednesday proposed creating runoff primary elections in the Keystone State.

The two lawmakers wrote in a memorandum describing their legislation that they want to ensure that all major-party nominees have the support of at least half of participants in a primary. Their bill would require a second primary contest between the top two vote-getters in the initial nomination election whenever no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote. Aument and Farry clarified that their bill would not apply to general elections. 

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Soros-Funded Dugan Chosen Over Incumbent Pittsburgh-Area Prosecutor Who Could Run As Republican

Leftist attorney Matt Dugan won the Democratic primary for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania district attorney Tuesday night, rejecting six-term incumbent Steve Zappala.

With 97.8 percent of precincts reporting, Dugan, the county’s head public defender, received over 93,000 votes to Zappala’s 74,000. This doesn’t mean the latter can be counted out just yet; if GOP write-in votes — which are still being tallied — number 500 or more for him, he can run against Dugan in the general election this fall. 

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Carluccio, McCaffery Get Pennsylvania Supreme Court Nominations

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania voters nominated Republican Montgomery County President Judge Carolyn Carluccio and Democratic Superior Court Judge Daniel McCaffery to run against each other for state Supreme Court. 

By a margin of 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent, Carluccio bested Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough in a contentious nomination campaign for the seat left open by the death of Democratic Chief Justice Max Baer last autumn. McCaffery defeated his Superior Court colleague Debbie Kunselman in his primary 59.4 percent to 40.6 percent. 

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Democrats Maintain Control of Pennsylvania House With Boyd’s Win

Democrat Heather Boyd defeated Republican Katie Ford in a Delaware County-based special election on Tuesday to occupy the seat recently vacated by Democratic Pennsylvania state Representative Mike Zabel. 

Democrats held a one-seat majority in the chamber since the new legislative session began last autumn, but Zabel jeopardized his party’s hold on the House when he resigned in response to allegations he made untoward sexual advances toward multiple women.

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Pennsylvania State Senators Propose Withdrawal from Multi-State Voter-Data System

Pennsylvania State Senators Cris Dush (R-Bellefonte) and Jarrett Coleman (R-Allentown) are preparing legislation to withdraw the commonwealth from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). 

Over two dozen states and the District of Columbia participate in the election data-sharing system which they use to identify errors in their voter rolls. But seven states — Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Louisiana, Missouri and West Virginia — recently cancelled their membership in the program. 

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