Policy Constraints Force Electric Bills Up in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvanians’ electric bills rose by an average of nearly three-quarters over the last two years and policymakers have only made the problem worse, according to the Harrisburg-based Commonwealth Foundation (CF). 

State residents served by Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) have seen their rates go up by just over half since December 2020. Customers of the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) have meanwhile experienced a doubling of their power costs during that time. All other providers have also risen their rates considerably. 

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Keefer to Chair Pennsylvania House Freedom Caucus

Pennsylvania’s new House Freedom Caucus announced its initial leaders this week, with state Representative Dawn Keefer (R-Dillsburg) to chair the new organization and Representative David Rowe (R-Mifflinburg) to serve as vice chair. 

Keefer and Rowe were among the 20 GOP members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to vote against this fiscal year’s budget, a compromise between the majority-Republican General Assembly and Democratic Governor Tom Wolf which increases state spending by 16.6 percent to $43.7 billion. In remarks to the press, the new caucus’s leaders complained of the extent to which government is growing in the commonwealth and promised to pursue zero-based budgeting as well as regulatory reform. 

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Pennsylvania Charter School Enrollment Up 12 Percent, Public Enrollment Down Three Percent

Since the pandemic began, Pennsylvania’s public charter schools enrollment has gone up by almost 12% as parents have chosen to take their children out of traditional public schools.

According to a new report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools,  the change isn’t unique to Pennsylvania. Since the 2019-20 school year, the 41 states examined in the report with charter systems had a 7% increase in charter school enrollment and about a 3.5% decrease in public school enrollment.

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Pennsylvania AG Shapiro, Now Gov-Elect, Charges Ex-Political Consultant with Forging Petition Signatures

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who was elected governor last week, has announced charges of forgery for Democratic nomination petitions against a Philadelphia political consultant who reportedly worked on his 2016 campaign.

On Wednesday, Shapiro announced the arrest of Rasheen Crews for allegedly forging signatures on nomination petitions for Democrat clients in 2019 Philadelphia primary races. The nomination petitions were to get Crews’ clients on the ballot in primary races.

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Pennsylvania Committee Votes to Impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Krasner

Pennsylvania state representatives expect to vote Wednesday on whether to impeach Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D); a legislative panel voted to move the idea forward on Tuesday.

All 14 attending members of the state House of Representatives Judiciary Committee supported advancing an impeachment bill sponsored by Representative Martina White (R-Philadelphia). All eight Democrats present for the vote opposed the legislation. 

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Fetterman Edges Oz; Shapiro Defeats Mastriano for Governor

In the early hours Wednesday morning, multiple media outlets projected that Democrat John Fetterman would win the open U.S. Senate seat left by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.

Fetterman, the state’s Lieutenant Governor who suffered a serious stroke just before the Democratic primary, won his party’s nomination, and then went on to defeat Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz for one of the only Democrat U.S. Senate pickups on the 2022 election cycle.

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New Poll: Oz Leads Fetterman in Pennsylvania Senate Race

For the first time in the 2022 race for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, a poll shows Republican Mehmet Oz leading Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman. 

The poll from Wick Insights indicates the celebrity surgeon has the support of 49.1 percent of likely voters while Fetterman garners the backing of 44.6 percent. 

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Mastriano Condemns FBI Raid of Pennsylvania Pro-Life Activist

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano this weekend condemned the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s raid and arrest of Bucks County resident Mark Houck, a prominent pro-life activist. 

According to a LifeSiteNews.com report citing Houck’s wife Ryan-Marie’s firsthand reaction to the SWAT team’s Friday-morning visit to the home where the two live with their seven children, between 25 and 30 armed agents arriving in approximately 15 vehicles surrounded the house. 

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DeSantis: Electing Mastriano an ‘Opportunity to Make Pennsylvania Free’

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) came to Pittsburgh this weekend to argue that his success governing Florida needs to be replicated in Pennsylvania and that state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-PA-Gettysburg) is the man to do it. 

The Adams County lawmaker is running against Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, someone who Mastriano and DeSantis believe will intensify the liberal governance the Keystone State has underwent during Tom Wolf’s eight-year administration. 

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DeSantis to Rally with Vance in Ohio and Mastriano in Pennsylvania

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is coming through western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio on Friday, August 19, to speak at two rallies, one for Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano and the other for Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance. 

The conservative activist organization Turning Point Action is hosting the events. In a statement, turning Point founder and president Charlie Kirk expressed his gladness to facilitate the rallies and his hope that DeSantis’s endorsement will “unite conservatives” around Mastriano and Vance.

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Pennsylvania Governor Promotes Abortion with Lawsuit and Executive Order

As the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania General Assembly advances a constitutional amendment to preserve its ability to restrict abortion, Governor Tom Wolf (D) is suing to defeat that amendment and taking executive action in favor of the practice. 

Keystone State governors typically don’t play a role in the constitutional-amendment process. If both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate pass an amendment in two consecutive sessions, the commonwealth submits the measure as a ballot question for voters to accept or reject at the ballot box. If a majority agrees to it, the amendment becomes law, with or without gubernatorial blessing. 

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Pennsylvania Department of State Sues Counties to Count Undated Ballots

Pennsylvania’s Department of State this week filed a lawsuit against three counties, all controlled by Republicans, to count undated absentee ballots.

Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D) wants Berks, Fayette and Lancaster counties to follow the rest of the state in counting votes delivered in undated envelopes toward the official tallies for candidates nominated in May 17’s primaries. A Pennsylvania law requiring absentee and mail-in voters to date their ballot envelope has underwent significant court scrutiny over the last two years.

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Pennsylvania Senate Democrats Propose Codifying Roe

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on Friday, Pennsylvania Senate Democrats proposed codifying abortion rights by state statute.

Sen. Katie Muth (D-Royersford) circulated a memorandum asking Senate colleagues to cosponsor the legislation that would keep the practice legal in Pennsylvania. So far, Sens. Amanda Cappelletti (D-Norristown), Lindsey Williams (D-Pittsburgh), Maria Collett (D-North Wales), Judith Schwank (D-Reading), Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) and Carolyn Comitta (D-West Chester) have signed onto the measure.

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Mastriano Announces Measure Toughening Penalties for Fentanyl Pushers in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) on Thursday announced he will soon introduce legislation to strengthen penalties for fentanyl pushers whose sales result in deadly overdoses. 

The senator is naming his measure “Tyler’s Law” after Tyler Shanafelter, an 18-year-old constituent who bought what he believed was Percocet but turned out to have acquired a fentanyl-laced product. The young man fatally overdosed. 

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Republican Mastriano to Face Democrat Shapiro for Pennsylvania Governor; Senate Race Too Close to Call

Pennsylvania Republicans on Tuesday gave State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) the nod to face state Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) in the race for governor this year.

The Democratic Party also nominated Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) for the Senate seat from which Republican Pat Toomey will retire at the end of 2022. At this writing, the GOP primary contest for that seat remains too close to call between top-tier candidates David McCormick and Mehmet Oz. 

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Grove Proposes Bill to Address Future Pennsylvania Election Complaints

State Rep. Seth Grove (R-PA-York) told legislative colleagues on Monday that he will introduce a measure to ease the process by which Pennsylvanians can report voter fraud and other election-related problems. 

The bill would require the Pennsylvania secretary of state to establish a 1-800 hotline that voters could call to note any alleged misconduct they encounter in the course of an election. The secretary would also need to host annual training sessions for county-level prosecutors on the commonwealth’s election rules. 

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Corman Withdraws from Pennsylvania Governor’s Race, Endorses Barletta; Santorum Adds His Support

Lou Barletta picked up two high-profile endorsements in his campaign for Pennsylvania governor on Thursday: newly withdrawn gubernatorial candidate Jake Corman and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). 

Corman, who serves as state Senate President Pro Tempore and represents a district that includes State College, polled consistently in the single digits throughout the Republican gubernatorial primary. Despite his ending his bid, his name will remain on the ballot as the deadline has passed for removing it. 

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Former Prosecutor McSwain Running on Constitutional and Economic Conservatism

Bill McSwain, a Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, likes to emphasize his public-service experience — and his distinction as a relative political newcomer.

The 53-year old former federal prosecutor and Chester County native hasn’t held elected office, unlike other high-polling hopefuls state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg), former Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA-11) and former County Commissioner Dave White (R-Delaware). That’s often among the first details McSwain and his supporters mention about him.

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Bill to Let State Attorneys Prosecute Philadelphia Gun Crimes Passes Pennsylvania House

Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives voted 151-49 Wednesday for legislation allowing state prosecutors to handle some of Philadelphia’s gun-related cases.

The bill would renew the state attorney general’s “concurrent jurisdiction” with the Philadelphia district attorney, letting the commonwealth shoulder part of the effort to prosecute firearm-related offenses in a city where many feel the job isn’t getting done.

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Longtime Conservative Campaign Strategist Gerow Persists in Bid for Pennsylvania Governorship

Charlie Gerow has worked with Republican public officials for over four decades. He hasn’t been among them, though he contends that augurs well for how he would perform if elected governor. 

“I’m an outsider who knows what’s going on inside,” he told The Pennsylvania Daily Star. “And that’s what voters are looking for — somebody who’s not an officeholder, who’s not part of what’s going on right now but who knows what needs to be done and knows how to do it.”

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Pennsylvania House Committee Passes Prosecutorial Measures, Rebuking Krasner

On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee approved term limits for the Philadelphia District Attorney as well as a bill allowing state prosecutors to pursue Philadelphia gun violations.

Both measures have the secondary effect of rebuking the performance of the city’s top prosecutor, Larry Krasner (D), under whose watch violence and crime have skyrocketed. In 2017, 315 murders occurred in Philadelphia and the number rose to an all-time high of 562 last year. Many attribute the increase in crime to Krasner’s tendency to release many defendants charged with illegal gun possession and violent offenses.

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Commentary: High Stakes in Pennsylvania’s Primary Races

Pennsylvania, where deep-blue and deep-red politics collide, is in the midst of an unprecedented primary election season. The May primary is the first one in the Commonwealth’s 235-year history in which voters – except registered Independents – will have the chance to vote for candidates in open gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races, new state House and Senate districts, and new congressional districts.

In the marquee races for Senate and governor, both major parties are struggling to nominate candidates who can not only make it through the paddlewheel of the primary, but also win in the general election – especially in a state that typically plays politics between the 40-yard lines.

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Mastriano and McSwain Tie for First in Pennsylvania Leadership Conference Gubernatorial Straw Poll; Barnette Wins Senate Poll and Schillinger Takes First for Lieutenant Governor

William McSwain and Doug Mastriano

  HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania— In a straw poll of conservative activists from across Pennsylvania last weekend, Kathy Barnette, Doug Mastriano, Bill McSwain and Clarice Schillinger finished ahead for the statewide offices they’re seeking. About half of the nearly 800 attendees from all around the Keystone State (and a few from nearby…

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Biden Tars Political Dissenters with ‘Terrorism,’ Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Candidate Barletta Fires Back

Former Pennsylvania Republican congressman and current gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta blasted President Joe Biden’s administration Tuesday for issuing a “Terrorism Advisory Bulletin” equating political dissenters with terrorists.

The document, issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the day before, lamented the presence of “an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories” that “sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions.” The administration warned about opposition to “COVID-19 mitigation measures—particularly COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates” which allegedly “have been used by domestic violent extremists to justify violence since 2020.” 

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Prominent Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Josh Shapiro Cites ‘Scheduling Conflict’ During Biden Pennsylvania Visit

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and a prominent candidate for the state’s governor, did not attend President Joe Biden’s appearance in the state, citing an unexplained “scheduling conflict.”

The scheduling issue comes as President Biden’s poll numbers continue to drop. According to the latest numbers, compiled by Reuters, only 45 percent of individuals approve of his job performance.

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Ruling in Pennsylvania Election-Investigation Lawsuit Expected to Come Soon

exterior of Pennsylvania Judicial Court

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court is expected to soon issue a decision on whether the state Senate Republicans’ 2020 election probe may continue.

Specifically, the judges must determine whether delivery of information subpoenaed by the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee would breach voters’ privacy rights as state Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) and other plaintiffs maintain.

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Pennsylvania GOP Senators’ Internal Battle Over Imperiled Forensic Election Audit Goes Public

An internal fight among legislators over a forensic election audit is spilling into public after Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Gettysburg, accused leaders in his own party of stonewalling his investigation.

The senator made the comments during a Thursday interview with One America News Network that he later doubled down on in a lengthy statement posted to his social media pages the following day.

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Commentary: How Pennsylvania Citizens Can Be Voter Fraud ‘Prosecutors’ for Trump

voters polling place

Tens of thousands of Trump voters in Pennsylvania angry they were disenfranchised by voter fraud in Philadelphia and other parts of the state have an option for justice through what is called a “Private Criminal Complaint.”

Pennsylvania is one of the states that allows citizens to file criminal complaints. A Rule 506 complaint must be submitted to a PA District Attorney, who may reject it. Rejections of Private Criminal Complaints by PA District Attorneys may be appealed to a court, but rarely does an appeal succeed. Therefore, it is important Private Criminal Complaints be submitted correctly.

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Pennsylvania’s Dem AG Declares ‘Trump Is Going to Lose’

The attorney general of Pennsylvania has already declared Joe Biden the winner of the Keystone State as long as “all the votes are added up.”

“If all the votes are added up in PA, Trump is going to lose,” Josh Shapiro tweeted Saturday Afternoon. “That’s why he’s working overtime to subtract as many votes as possible from this process.”

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