House GOP focuses on ways to kickstart the economy to make Pa. the ‘envy of the East’

By: Jan Murphy

A group of House Republican lawmakers has been tasked with coming up with a strategy to kickstart the state’s economic recovery as it climbs out from under the damage done from the COVID-19 shutdown.

At a Tuesday Capitol news conference, House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre County, said the members of the Economic Recovery Task Force and other House Republicans have been listening to what their constituents have to say about the challenges they face and hearing their suggestions over the past few months. Now, the group is charged with taking that input and using it to examine how the state got in the shape it’s in and craft legislative policies and ideas to get the economy moving again.

Read the full article

As coronavirus hits home, Pa. GOP shifts messaging but still rejects mandates

By: Spotlight PA

HARRISBURG — Rep. Jim Rigby and his wife Kathleen considered themselves lucky when they said final goodbyes to her 89-year-old mother through a six-inch crack in a nursing home window.

Laura Oherrick was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the end of November at an assisted living facility in Bedford County. She died Dec. 5.

Read the full article

Lawsuits contend Gov. Wolf has no authority to issue new restrictions

By: Paula Reed Ward

A Butler County attorney who previously won a federal lawsuit against the Wolf administration over the spring covid-19 shutdown orders filed two new suits over the governor’s most recent orders.

The lawsuits — one filed by the Butler Area School District and the other by two indoor water parks — allege that Gov. Tom Wolf took action prohibited under state law when, on Dec. 12, he issued orders closing entertainment venues, limiting indoor capacity to 10 people and prohibiting school students from participating in extracurricular activities and athletics.

Read the full article

Gov. Tom Wolf halts indoor dining, suspends school sports as part of new restrictions

By: Megan Guza and Teghan Simonton

After weeks spent imploring Pennsylvanians to stay home as much as possible, limit their in-person interactions and wear a mask, Gov. Tom Wolf and the state secretary of Health issued new orders shutting down indoor dining, gyms, school sports and more as cases and deaths across the commonwealth continue to swell.

The order goes into effect Saturday and will last through 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4.

Read the full article

Remaining $1.3 billion in coronavirus cash to prop up Pa. state budget rather than help ailing industries

By: Ed Mahon

HARRISBURG — Against the pleas of restaurant owners, service providers, and other industries, Republican leaders in the legislature are moving forward with a plan to use all $1.3 billion in remaining coronavirus relief aid to pay for the state budget.

In order to avoid raising taxes or borrowing, the legislature intends to use the federal stimulus money to pay the salaries of state-employed public health and safety frontline workers, according to summary materials provided to House Republican members.

Read the full article

Pennsylvania expands mask mandate as coronavirus cases rise

By: Megan Guza

New orders from Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health expand on an April order mandating masks be worn in public, extending the conditions under which one must be worn to include indoors when with anyone outside their household.

The orders, which also give further guidance to hospitals and colleges, are meant to curb rapidly increasing cases of covid-19 and resulting hospitalizations.

Read the full article

Pa. Treasury releases COVID-19 debt reduction review, offers policy recommendations

By: Paul Vigna

Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella on Monday released the COVID-19 Debt Cost Reduction Review, pursuant to Act 37 of 2020.

In preparing this report, Treasury reviewed more than 30 commonwealth authorities that either issue or hold debt, and identified seven possible opportunities for refinancing $2.4 billion in outstanding bonds that could potentially reduce costs by as much as $179.5 million., according to a press release.

Read the full article