Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy has risen in the polls to a top 5 candidate. Now the Ohio businessman and political outsider has secured a spot on the Republican National Committee debate stage.Read More
Category: State News
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.”Read More
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.”Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Philadelphia Voters Worry about Crime, but Wary to Embrace ‘Tough’ Approach
Voters in Philadelphia ranked crime as a top concern heading into the May primary election.
Democrats, who have a strong majority in the city, even chose former City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, who campaigned on public safety.Read More
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.”Read More
Commentary: Rally Round the … Flag?
On June 1, 2023, Lower Gwynedd Township, Pennsylvania will raise the Pride Flag. In what sounds like a solemn ceremony, students will speak about the Pride Flag’s personal significance to them. Politicians, civic leaders and religious leaders will also show their support for the LGBTQ+ community.
So Lower Gwynedd Township, one of the oldest townships in Montgomery County wants to celebrate a certain lifestyle. They will permit the LGBTQ community to display a flag that represents the pride a group of people has for their sexual orientation: homosexual, bisexual, transexual and others. So what is sexual orientation? According to the website of Planned Parenthood, sexual orientation is defined as: “who you’re attracted to and want to have relationships with.”Read More
DeSantis Enters Presidential Race with ‘Skewed’ Narrative He’s Better Positioned to Beat Biden than Trump
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis officially launched his presidential campaign Wednesday, ending months of speculation and ratcheting up what promises to be an intense battle for the Republican Party nomination.
DeSantis enters the race as a top tier candidate, but still lagging far behind frontrunner Donald Trump, according to just about every poll out there.Read More
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.Read More
Trump, DeSantis, Ramaswamy, and More: News and Notes from the Presidential Campaign Trail
A glitchy start to the Ron DeSantis campaign, Tim Scott fires back at “The View,” Vivek Ramaswamy takes on Target, and Nikki Haley gets a CNN Town Hall.
There’s no rest for the weary on the expanded presidential campaign trail.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Oklahoma State Superintendent Cites Teachers’ Unions as ‘Marxist’ and ‘Terrorist’ Organizations
Oklahoma state superintendent of schools Ryan Walters repeated Saturday that teachers’ unions are “Marxist” and “terrorist” organizations that are not advocating for students or teachers, but seeking power and financial gain for their leaders.Read More
$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.Read More
Pennsylvania Bill Would Exempt Corrections Officers from Paying Taxes on Pensions
A Michigan bill seeking statewide allowance for some former public employees to pay income taxes on pensions has been introduced by state Rep. Kathy Schmaltz, R-Jackson.
House Bill 4578, if passed, would exempt pensions of Michigan Department of Corrections retirees from the state income tax. Michigan allows retired police, firefighters, and county jail corrections officers to fully deduct their pensions from the Michigan income tax.Read More
Opioid Settlement Shrinks After Pennsylvania Counties Forgo Participation
While Pennsylvania will receive more than $2 billion from a number of opioid-related settlements, the total amount will be less than what officials initially hoped.
During the latest meeting of the Pennsylvania Opioid Misuse and Addiction Abatement Trust on Thursday, Trust Chairman Thomas VanKirk noted that the “Wave 2” settlement money will be at least $200 million less than previously anticipated.Read More
Support, But Not Funding, for Vocational Schools in Pennsylvania
Career and technical education attracts bipartisan support in Pennsylvania, but that doesn’t mean funding flows freely and problems are quickly resolved.
While student interest is high, at least in some parts of the state, finding qualified teachers and offering enough classrooms can hold back expansion.Read More
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.Read More
Ranked-Choice Voting Proposed for Pennsylvania Municipalities
Three Pennsylvania House Democrats this week proposed allowing localities to adopt ranked-choice voting (RCV) in municipal elections.
Under such a system, in an election with more than two candidates for one office, voters would rank their options rather than choose just one.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Parker and Oh to Compete for Philadelphia Mayor This Fall
Philadelphia’s Democratic voters nominated Cherelle Parker in Tuesday’s mayoral primary election.
The former state representative and former ninth-district city councilwoman will face a downhill general-election battle against David Oh (R-At-Large) whose bid for the Republican nod was uncontested.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Pennsylvania Democrats Want Prisoners Included In Minimum Wage Hike
A Pennsylvania state correctional-facility inmate can expect to earn between $0.23 and $0.50 per hour at his prison job — not counting free room and board. Sixteen Pennsylvania House Democrats now want the state government that feeds and shelters these prisoners to pay them $21 an hour for their work.
Led by Representative Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia), these lawmakers are spearheading legislation to dramatically increase the state minimum wage and apply the new rate to prisoners.Read More
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.Read More
Conservative Former Bucks County, Pennsylvania Commissioner Challenges Liberal GOP Incumbent
Many residents of Bucks County, Pennsylvania remember Andy Warren as one of their Republican commissioners in the 1980s and 90s. Now he’s asking them to put him back on the job by nominating him for the GOP slate on Tuesday and electing him in November.
Warren, of Middletown Township, is running for one of two seats on the county Board of Commissioners while the Bucks County Republican Committee is backing incumbent Gene DiGirolamo and County Controller Pamela Van Blunk. Two Republicans will get nominated to face Democratic incumbents Diane Ellis-Marseglia and Robert Harvie in the fall, with seats going to the top three vote getters.Read More
Pennsylvania Bill Seeks Higher Ambulance Reimbursement Rates
Ambulance services could see their reimbursement rates go up, making the financial crisis for some EMS services less dire.
Currently, reimbursements aren’t enough to cover the average cost of sending an ambulance for an emergency call.Read More
DOJ’s Shadowy ‘Community Relations Service’ May Be Behind Covenant Killer Manifesto Coverup, Sources Say
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Metropolitan Nashville Police Department have refused to release the manifesto and related documents of the Covenant School killer, citing spurious reasons for their denials.
But is a shadowy Department of Justice unit billing itself as “America’s peacemaker” behind the information freeze? Some say the disclosure dance has all the markings of the Community Relations Service.Read More
In Delaware County Special Election, a Ford Win Would Flip Pennsylvania House
Pennsylvania’s legislative elections are 18 months out, except for the Delaware County-based 163rd district whose voters will decide on Tuesday which party controls the state House.
Democrats enjoyed a one-seat majority since session began last December, but sexual-misconduct allegations prompted the resignation of Democrat Mike Zabel, who represented the district covering Aldan, Clifton Heights, and Collingdale as well as parts of Darby and Upper Darby. Republican Katie Ford is campaigning to flip the seat red while Zabel’s party picked Heather Boyd to keep hold of it.Read More
State Representative Urges Pennsylvania Governor to Attack Deficit with Zero-Based Budgeting He Used Before
Going into annual budget deliberations, Pennsylvania faces a structural deficit exceeding $1 billion, a problem Republicans say Governor Josh Shapiro (D) should address with a concept he once embraced: zero-based budgeting.
The practice involves setting initial the budget amount at zero and forcing agencies to justify each proposed expenditure rather than using the previous year’s budget as a base upon which to request spending increases.Read More
Pennsylvania Republicans Will Soon Nominate Carluccio or McCullough for Supreme Court
In Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary, Republicans will nominate either Carolyn Carluccio or Patricia McCullough for a seat on the state Supreme Court.
Despite their contentious campaign, the two women have much in common, including extensive legal careers and generally conservative judicial perspectives.Read More
Pennsylvania House Democrats Propose Letting ‘All Incarcerated Individuals’ Vote
Several Democratic lawmakers this week proposed legislation allowing all imprisoned Pennsylvania citizens to vote by absentee ballot.
State Representatives Rick Krajewski (D-Philadelphia), Christopher Rabb (D-Philadelphia), Donna Bullock (D-Philadelphia), Jason Dawkins (D-Philadelphia) and Aerion Abney (D-Pittsburgh) announced they will cosponsor the bills.Read More
Pennsylvania State Representatives Call for Federal Rail Safety Legislation
Three Republican Pennsylvania lawmakers are preparing to introduce a resolution calling on Congress to pass a new rail-safety statute in light of February’s train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
State Representative Jim Marshall (R-Beaver Falls) told The Pennsylvania Daily Star he is co-sponsoring the resolution to encourage an “all-in approach” to reduce the likelihood of freight-train accidents. State Representatives Natalie Mihalek (R-Pittsburgh) and Ryan Warner (R-Connellsville) spearhead the measure.Read More
Committee Passes Accelerated Pennsylvania Corporate Tax Cut in Bipartisan Vote
In a bipartisan 8-3 vote on Tuesday, Pennsylvania’s Senate Finance Committee passed legislation to speed the state’s reduction of its corporate net income tax (CNIT).
Last year, as part of the Keystone State’s budget, lawmakers initiated a reduction of the CNIT from 9.99 percent to 4.99 percent over the next decade. Before the change, Pennsylvania had the second-highest state corporate tax in the U.S. behind New Jersey’s 11.5-percent rate.Read More
Shapiro Takes Property Tax and Rent Rebate Plan on the Road
Gov. Josh Shapiro visited Erie recently to highlight his plan to grow the state’s property tax and rent rebate program for the first time in nearly two decades.
It’s the most recent stop in an unofficial statewide budget tour touting many of the administration’s key spending proposals meant to build the workforce and, by extension, a bank account flush enough to keep Pennsylvania from falling off a “demographic cliff.”Read More
Law Enforcers in Philadelphia Suburbs Blame Krasner’s Performance on Spreading Crime
In Delaware County on Monday, law-enforcement experts asked Pennsylvania GOP state lawmakers to consider a variety of responses to the state’s crime epidemic… and to one left-wing official’s lack of urgency about it.
Speakers suggested various ideas like increased resources for detention facilities and youth courts. Over the course of the hearing, numerous testifiers complained that the leniency of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D) remains a major hindrance to public safety in the City of Brotherly Love and nearby communities.Read More
University President Apologizes for ‘Liking’ Tweets Criticizing COVID vaccine, Child Gender Surgery
The president of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia recently issued an apology and walked back his apparent affirmation of tweets expressing conservative views.
“I regret my lack of understanding of how ‘liking’ a tweet is an implied endorsement,” President Mark Tykocinski, who is also a molecular immunologist and medical doctor, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.Read More
Lawmakers Propose Reforms for Pennsylvania Budget Balance and Transparency
Several Republicans in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives are spearheading a package of proposed budgetary reforms to strengthen transparency and prevent fiscal imbalance.
House Minority Appropriations Chair Seth Grove (R-York) announced the series of bills with Representatives James Struzzi (R-Indiana), Eric Nelson (R-Greensburg), Sheryl Delozier (R-Mechanicsburg) and John Lawrence (R-West Grove). The lawmakers suggested their proposals are needed to avert the budgetary problems that arose in Fiscal Year 2016-17. In that period, revenues to the state Treasury totaled $1.5 billion less than the forecast amount.Read More
High Weed Tax in Pennsylvania May Repeat California’s Mistakes
A revenue analysis estimates that Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal for adult-use cannabis could bring in more than $250 million annually — but legalization advocates aren’t so enthusiastic.
The concern is not about legalizing and regulating marijuana. Instead, it’s a worry that Pennsylvania will repeat the mistakes of high-tax states that have failed to move people from the illegal market into a regulated one.Read More
Pennsylvania Zoning Restrictions Price Many Out of Homeownership
Onerous rules that restrict new housing and make it impossible to build starter houses or small apartment buildings drive up prices and push homeownership further out of reach, experts told Senate Republicans on Wednesday.
As Pennsylvania faces a housing shortage, a return to abundance may require state-level zoning reforms – and limits on local control, they say.Read More
Pennsylvania Republicans Consider Paths to Hospital Price Transparency
A committee of GOP Pennsylvania lawmakers on Thursday gathered in downtown Lewisburg to consider ways to make patients aware of hospital service prices ahead of time.
At the House Republican Policy Committee hearing at the Open Discourse Coalition headquarters, policy experts testified that, despite a new federal rule requiring price transparency, many hospitals still fail to accurately inform patients of procedures’ costs. Representative David Rowe (R-Middleburg), who organized the event, recalled constituents telling him they’ve faced shocking examples of pricing opacity.Read More