Iowa senators advanced a bill Monday that would change the makeup and leadership of district judicial nominating commissions.
Iowa’s 14 judicial election subdistricts each has a nominating commission that screens applicants and selects two nominees for district court judicial vacancies. The governor chooses one of the two to appoint for a district court vacancy.
Currently, the judge of the longest service in the district is the chair of the nominating commission, according to Iowa state statute. If there are two longest-serving judges, the elder is the chair. The commissions have 11 members: five elected by lawyers; five nonlawyers appointed by the governor; and the chair. Each commissioner, apart from the chair, serves a six-year term. Read More
It is hard to know which is more frightening: the Australian radicalism about COVID-19, the Austrian effort to coerce its citizens, or the attitudes of American Democrats who regard extreme sanctions as reasonable behavior toward the supposedly bad people who don’t get vaccinated or wear masks.
Let’s consider each one.
In Australia, the government felt so threatened by the best tennis player in the world that it intervened decisively to block him from entering the country and competing in the Australian Open. Read More
A Pennsylvania government watchdog group is highlighting how the incestuous relationship between local government entities and lobbyists is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. The Commonwealth Foundation also is supporting legislation designed to put an end to the practice.
The Commonwealth Foundation issued a report Monday that reveals Pennsylvania taxpayers paid at least $42 million in lobbying expenses between 2007 and 2020 to advocate for more government spending, though the actual cost is likely substantially more.
The foundation sent public information requests to 1,518 government entities to collect data on taxpayer-funded lobbying, which involves boroughs, cities, counties, school districts and state agencies that hire lobbyists or pay dues to associations to lobby other areas of government. Read More
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement this week that she is reinstating the state’s prevailing wage rules is drawing accusations that the move is nothing more than a sop to the governor’s extensive list of donors affiliated with organized labor.
“Governor Whitmer is putting campaign donors before Michigan’s hardworking taxpayers,” Eric Ventimiglia, executive director for Michigan Rising Action, said in a statement that included an extensive list of skilled trades unions that have contributed to the governor’s campaign war chest. “Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders worked to place this initiative in front of the legislature, and her unilateral decision to break the law is another example of Whitmer pandering to her highest donors.”
Among the donors listed by MRA are the Painters & Allied Trades Political Action Committee; Michigan Council of Carpenters PAC; Michigan State AFL-CIO; and several pipefitters unions. Read More
Pennsylvania Senate Democrats filed a legal challenge in Commonwealth Court against what they call an “overreaching” subpoena of election records containing personal information for nearly 7 million voters.
The lawsuit filed late Friday alleges Republican members of the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee – including Chairman Cris Dush, R-Wellsboro and President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte – broke the law when they issued a subpoena against the Department of State seeking the name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number and partial social security number of each and every resident that voted by mail or in person during the last two elections.
In a joint statement, the Democratic members of the committee – including Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Pittsburgh; Minority Chairman Tony Williams, D-Philadelphia; Sen. Vince Hughes, D-Philadelphia; and Sen. Steve Santarsiero, D-Lower Makefield – said the consequences of the subpoena “are dire” and leave the personal information of residents in the hands of an “undisclosed third party vendor with no prescribed limits or protection.” Read More
The Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and the desperate situation in Kabul has angered U.S. allies, leaving them scrambling to evacuate their citizens and the Afghans who supported them during the 20 year war.
The United Kingdom’s Parliament on Wednesday held Joe Biden in contempt for Afghan debacle, with one veteran MP saying the U.S. abandoned its Afghan allies and disregarded their sacrifices. Read More
Michigan could be on the receiving end of $7.8 billion in federal dollars if the U.S. Senate’s $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill becomes law.
The estimated total is derived from $7.3 billion for Michigan highways and an additional $563 million to fix an estimated 1,200 bridges currently deemed in disrepair.
The monies earmarked from the bill would be in addition to the $3.5 billion in bonds issued by the Michigan Department of Transportation to fix the state’s roads and bridges, which is in addition to the $1.8 billion increase in the state’s transportation spending since 2012. Read More
Warren climbed the wide steps from Marlborough Street to the door of the Province House, the old mansion with its Tudor-style chimney stacks and ornate gables built a century ago by a wealthy Boston merchant. But for generations now it had been the residence of the royal governors of Massachusetts. For a moment he studied the large royal seal affixed over the door, a reminder of the awesome empire that the governor represented, then looked above it to the eight-sided cupola crowning the mansion, noting the weathervane at the very top shifting in the breeze. Read More
More than 60 House Democrats who fled Austin Monday to prevent a vote on election reforms will be arrested when they return to Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said.
“Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas capital and we will be conducting business,” Abbott said.
The 67 Democratic lawmakers flew on chartered flights to Washington D.C. in protest of proposed legislation seeking to reduce the chances of fraud in future elections. The legislation is one of a number of measures being considered during a July special session called by Abbott. Read More
After two orders from the Michigan Supreme Court, the State Board of Canvassers unanimously certified the Unlock Michigan petition aiming to revoke Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers.
The petition heads to the GOP-led Legislature where its expected to be quickly approved, spokeswoman of Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake, Abby Walls, said.
“Seeing as opponents have finally run out of absurd challenges, we will take it up as soon as Secretary [Jocelyn] Benson sends.” Read More
President Joe Biden has pushed for beefing up IRS audits of corporations to raise revenue for his new spending proposals, but Republicans are raising the alarm about the potential consequences of the plan.
Biden unveiled his “Made in America Tax Plan” earlier this year as a strategy to help fund his trillions of dollars in proposed new federal spending that includes several tax hikes. Despite this, a bipartisan coalition in the U.S. House and Senate have agreed to a basic framework for Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan, but one element has been the theme of the negotiations among Republicans: no new taxes.
The GOP pushback against raising taxes, though, puts more pressure on the Biden administration to find ways to fund his agenda. Aside from Biden’s controversial tax hike proposals, the president also has proposed adding $80 billion in funding to the IRS so it can increase audits of corporations. Read More
A pair of Pennsylvania lawmakers said Friday that state residents themselves should decide the stringency of the state’s voter identification law.
The push comes after Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said he’d never support strengthening existing voter I.D. law – one of the top priorities for Republicans in their election reform proposal unveiled Thursday.
Sen. Judy Ward, R-Hollidaysburg, and Rep. Jeff Wheeland, R-Williamsport, both support their party’s proposal to require identification each and every time a resident casts a ballot in-person. Current law stipulates identification only for first time voters in a precinct. Read More
Gas shortages on the East Coast have helped rally Congressional opposition to the portions of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan that would force oil and gas companies to pay more in taxes.
House Republicans sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., calling on Democrats to oppose Biden’s plan to “eliminate tax preferences for fossil fuels.”
The letter, signed by 55 Republicans, came after a cyber attack of Colonial Pipeline shut down a major pipeline on the East Coast and led to fear-driven gasoline shortages. The attack also raised questions about the nation’s energy infrastructure and vulnerability to attack. Read More
The Michigan House Oversight Committee convened Thursday to discuss a bill that aims to ban vaccination passports, sparking heated debate on the topic.
The committee specifically focused its discussion on House Bill 4667. Introduced by bill sponsor Rep. Sue Allor, R-Wolverine, the bill would prohibit “a governmental entity from producing, issuing or providing an incentive for a COVID-19 vaccination passport.”
However, the meeting also prompted testimony from a variety of guests who defended their personal decisions to not receive any of the three available COVID-19 vaccines. Most cited the Federal Drug Administration’s emergency authorization of the vaccines does not equate to the agency’s explicit approval. Read More
Rising Republican star U.S. Rep. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is sponsoring a new measure that would give unprecedented tax cuts to parents with children, and now he is saying his bill is on the front line of the nation’s “culture war.”
The plan in question would give a fully refundable tax credit of $12,000 for married parents and $6,000 for single parents who have children under the age of 13.
“Starting a family and raising children should not be a privilege only reserved for the wealthy,” Hawley said. “Millions of working people want to start a family and would like to care for their children at home, but current policies do not respect these preferences. American families should be supported, no matter how they choose to care for their kids.” Read More
The California Secretary of State’s Office confirmed Monday that it has received and verified enough signatures to trigger an election for the removal of Gov. Gavin Newsom from office.
Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber said Monday the threshold of verified signatures reported by counties had been met and exceeds the required amount of 1,495,709.
“A recall election will be held unless a sufficient number of signatures are withdrawn,” Weber said. Read More
The Michigan House unanimously passed a flurry of bipartisan bills seeking to reform the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by including the governor and legislature under the new Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).
The House passed the package during “Sunshine Week,” which celebrates government transparency, and after reporters used FOIA to expose Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration gifting $253,000 in secret, taxpayer-funded severance packages.
The bill package is virtually identical to bills introduced in the 2015-16, 2017-8, and the 2019-20 legislative session other than technical changes and effective dates.
Those packages all failed. Read More
LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union on Saturday requesting a Brexit delay and a separate note saying that he did not want an extension, a British government source said. Read More
Britain’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks was unlawful and is “void and of no effect.” Read More