Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor — that would be state Sen. Doug Mastriano — is under attack by the establishment elite for not being … part of the establishment elite. And, of all people, the Republican Governors Association has signed on for the attack.
For those who have not followed the tale, Mastriano is a 30-year active-duty combat veteran who retired as a colonel in the Army. Apart from being deployed to Iraq for Operation Desert Storm (1991), assigned to the U.S. forces liberating Kuwait, in the post–9/11 world he was assigned to NATO and had three tours in Afghanistan. He ended his military career as a professor at the U.S. Army War College, in nearby (to me) Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He has four master’s degrees and holds a doctorate in history. Read More
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Tuesday the 2019 law expanding the state’s mail-in voting was constitutional, overruling Republicans who argued no-excuse absentee voting should be outlawed. Read More
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin are moving their states in opposite directions.
Gov. Youngkin is focused on lowering the cost of living and improving Virginia’s appeal as a place to do business. Boeing’s recent announcement that it is moving from Illinois to Virginia is an example of his efforts. Youngkin’s aggressive pro-jobs push led CNBC to call Virginia the No. 1 state in the country for business. Read More
Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, covered a Bristol, Pennsylvania, town hall held by Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Senate GOP candidate endorsed by President Donald J. Trump, where the heart surgeon and former TV star addresses questions about his dual citizenship with Turkey. Read More
Neil W. McCabe, the national political editor of The Star News Network, interviewed radio talk show host John Fredericks ‘The Godzilla of Truth’ about how his show is different from other shows just after he hosted an April town meeting with Pennsylvania GOP hopeful, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
‘A lot of my competitors go in a studio, they bring them the paper, somebody brings them a hot chocolate with whipped cream on it. Then they have a coach there, they have a studio, it’s all comfortable, air-conditioned,’ Fredericks said. Read More
The battle for Hispanic voters in traditional Democratic strongholds is intensifying in Pennsylvania. Last month, the Republican National Committee opened a Hispanic community center in Allentown, the state’s third-largest city. It’s the sixth such center that the RNC has opened nationwide.
Allentown, once associated with steel and Mack trucks, is centered in the Lehigh Valley, now a booming region thanks to the warehousing and logistics sector. The politically competitive Valley is increasingly important to statewide elections, such as the upcoming races to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who lives near Allentown, and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. Read More
Former President Donald Trump released a blistering attack Friday afternoon on former Vice President Mike Pence’s claims earlier in the day about the January 6, 2021 Joint Session of Congress over which Pence presided at which Electoral College votes submitted by the states were counted.
In a speech before the Florida Chapter of the Federalist Society in Orlando on Friday, Pence asserted, “There are those in our party who believe that as the presiding officer over the joint session of Congress, I possessed unilateral authority to reject Electoral College votes. And I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to ‘overturn the election.’ President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election.” (emphasis added) Read More
Democrats four years ago rode a blue wave to governors’ mansions across the country, flipping Republican-held seats in the Midwest, Northeast and West alike.
Now, however, many of those governors face Republican challengers amid a political environment that looks potentially promising for the GOP, meaning that contentious races may lie ahead in some of the nation’s most pivotal battleground states. Republicans have already had two strong showings in states that lean Democratic, flipping the governor’s seat in Virginia and coming surprisingly close in New Jersey, a state that voted for President Joe Biden by 16 points in 2020.
Governors in less competitive states are also facing primary challengers from the left and right, making for multiple bitter, closely-followed primaries between candidates from different wings of the same party. Read More
Then-President Donald Trump’s team assembled a 10-day pressure campaign in December 2020 hoping to shame governors and state legislators into officially investigating allegations of Election 2020 irregularities, according to memos newly turned over to Congress by former New York Police Commissioner and Trump confidant Bernard Kerik.
The strategy called for “protests” at governors’ mansions and the homes of politicians ranging from secretaries of states to “weak” congressional members in key battleground states, the memos show.
The documents, turned over Friday night under subpoena to the House’s Jan. 6 commission, are remarkable in part because they show the primary focus of the Trump team leading up to the Jan. 6 certification of the 2020 vote – an event that turned violent when pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol – was to get “support for hearings” to probe allegations of voting irregularities Trump’s team had received but not vetted. Read More
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday ruled to strike down Governor Tom Wolf’s statewide mask mandate for schools.
The challengers of the mandate, including Pennsylvania Senate President pro tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre) and State Representative Jesse Topper (R-Bedford), argued that the decision of masking should be left to local school boards or parents, not the state government. Read More
A shortage of Santas this holiday season prompted a Pennsylvania state representative to propose a tax credit for those who suit up, as well as the businesses that employ Old Saint Nick.
Rep. Jonathan Fritz, R-Susquehanna, posted a memoranda on the House website this week seeking co-sponsors for legislation he said is aimed at the revelation recently highlighted in media reports. Read More
The Pennsylvania House State Government Committee has unveiled a preliminary map for new congressional districts, selected from one of 19 submitted by the public.
Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, chair of the State Government Committee, said a map submitted by Lehigh County resident Amanda Holt was selected because it was crafted without political influence, met constitutional standards and limited splits of townships and municipalities, among other factors. Read More
Two Pennsylvania counties use the same lenient bail-calculation system that is used in Milwaukee County, WI and that is now being scrutinized in the wake of the Nov. 21 Waukesha Christmas-parade massacre.
Suspect Darrell E. Brooks Jr. faces homicide charges for killing six people at the holiday celebration with his car. Earlier that month, prosecutors handling a case of physical abuse and vehicular assault regarding Brooks asked a court to set bail bond for the defendant at a mere $1,000, to which the court agreed. 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
Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed legislation that would have allowed residents to carry a concealed firearm without a license, claiming the measure would exacerbate gun violence in the commonwealth.
“This legislation removes the requirement that an individual obtain a license, and with it, the ability of law enforcement to conduct a background investigation,” Wolf said. “Removal of the licensing background investigation will hinder the ability of law enforcement to prevent individuals who should not be able to carry a firearm concealed from doing so. Read More
Republican Al Schmidt, who is the only GOP member with a seat on Philadelphia’s election board, announced on Tuesday that he will resign from his position.
Schmidt, who has received harsh criticism from former President Donald Trump, is accepting a position as president and CEO of The Committee of Seventy.
The commissioner will step down in the middle of his third term. Read More
The former Republican congressman running for governor of Pennsylvania told The Star News Network drove him to run for governor after watching families and businesses suffer under Gov. Thomas W. Wolf and his pandemic policies.
“Actually, watching how Governor Wolf mismanaged the pandemic,” said Louis J. “Lou” Barletta, who left his House seat to challenge Democratic Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr., in 2018. Wolf is term-limited and cannot run for a third term. Read More
Legislation authored by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, to bring transparency and efficiency to Pennsylvania’s campaign finance reporting system was approved by the state Senate.
Under Senate Bill 140, all candidates for office and political action committees will be required to file with the secretary of the commonwealth by utilizing the Pennsylvania Department of State’s online filing system to provide campaign finance reports. Read More
A lawsuit alleging multiple violations of federal and state election laws as well as Pennsylvania’s “Right to Know” statute was filed in Pennsylvania Wednesday night, according to sources familiar with the litigation.
In early 2021, a whistleblower working for the Delaware County Bureau of Elections began inquiring why it was apparent to her that multiple documents pertaining to the Nov. 3, 2020 elections were being destroyed in the southeastern Pennsylvania county, the sources said. The name of the whistleblower has not yet been made public. Read More
Pennsylvania Republicans want to create a new Bureau of Election Audits to conduct result-confirming audits of every election, as well as performance audits of elections operations, systems and processes at least every five years.
House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, laid out the legislation during a hearing in the General Assembly’s State Government Committee this week, arguing the current system of allowing county election offices to audit themselves is not sufficient.
Local election officials “must be held to a standard of accountability,” Cutler said. Read More
The Editorial Board of the University of Pittsburgh student paper recently published an article calling to get rid of the gifted program in surrounding schools.
“The gifted program segregates students — sometimes based on IQ tests conducted at an early age. The program is deeply flawed, encourages students to unnecessarily compete against each other academically and often ends up leaving behind students of color. It is time for Pittsburgh to follow New York’s example and eliminate the gifted program from local school districts,” claims the piece. Read More
Legislative Republicans excoriated Gov. Tom Wolf for “playing favorites” after a report concluded his administration helped only Democratic counties secure $21 million in private grants ahead of the 2020 election.
Broad + Liberty reported the Pennsylvania Department of State and various left-wing groups worked together to funnel private grant funding to Democratic-leaning counties without offering the same assistance to Republican-leaning counties.
“This latest report indicates the administration and the Department of State played favorites when they connected certain counties to large sums of grant funding while ignoring other counties,” Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, said. “Not only did this create unequal access to voters, but it also essentially disenfranchised voters in counties that did not receive equal funding.” Read More
A Pennsylvania Satanic organization was able to convince a school district to alter its dress code to remove a ban on clothes that were “satanic in nature,” local news station WPVI-TV reported.
Joseph Rose, the founder of Satanic Delco, told WPVI-TV that the children of Satanists enrolled within the Rose Tree Media School District, which is near Philadelphia, made him aware of the dress code. Read More
A new report reveals that multiple private grants tied to the Big Tech giant Facebook overwhelmingly backed Democratic candidates and counties in the state of Pennsylvania in 2020, as reported by the New York Post.
The report by the publication Broad + Liberty (BL) reveals that one such grant, the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), spent more money on turning out registered voters in Democrat-majority counties than Republican-majority counties. In addition to the increased push for voter turnout, these counties were given a jumpstart on this grant and information on how to apply by state officials. Read More
Two Pennsylvania state senators said recently they want to hold social media companies accountable for religious or political censorship.
Sens. Doug Mastriano, R-Gettysburg, and Scott Hutchinson, R-Oil City, said their Senate Bill 604, also called the Social Media Accountability Act, would create a private right of action to allow residents to sue social media companies like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter for banning or censoring their account due to sharing religious or political beliefs on the platform. Read More
Pennsylvania lawmakers plan to introduce a measure banning private organizations from funding election administration in the Keystone State.
The bill’s sponsors, state Sens. Lisa Baker (R-Dallas) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-Jacobus) have cited the role that the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) played in election operations in Philadelphia and other Democratic-leaning counties in 2020. CTCL has been funded significantly by Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg. Read More
Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania announced his retirement Monday after 14 terms in the House, becoming the latest Democrat to retire just over a year from the midterms.
Doyle represents Pittsburgh and is the dean of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation. His decision comes as Democrats seek to defend their 220-212 House majority and they struggle to pass President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda despite their control of both chambers. Read More
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a measure this week that would require schools to post curriculum online.
Prime sponsor Rep. Andrew Lewis, R-Harrisburg, said it’s only an extension of what some districts already do – and gives parents access to what their kids are learning without having to visit a school building in person. Read More
Students at Point Park University are petitioning administrators to remove Logan Dubil, their conservative classmate from the school, after the undergraduate student appeared in media criticizing the university’s “Misgendering, Pronoun Misuse, and Deadnaming Policy.”
The Change.org petition, created by “Max,” currently has 396 signatures. Read More
State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Philadelphia, was arrested late Friday by city law enforcement on charges accusing him of harassment and violating a protection from abuse order.
Court documents show the 41-year-old lawmaker was arraigned in the early hours of Saturday morning. A trial date is set for Tuesday.
The news comes just days after Spotlight PA reported that House Democratic leadership stripped Boyle of his committee chairmanship and limited his access to the state capitol building. Read More
A number of Pennsylvania educators said Thursday the Department of Health hands down COVID-19 mitigation orders and doesn’t back them up when it comes to enforcement, leaving schools in a difficult spot.
Michael Bromirski, superintendent of Hempfield School District in Lancaster County, told the Senate Education Committee that since pandemic mitigation rules lifted earlier this summer, school districts no longer handle quarantine orders for students exposed to the virus after the department told them it’s the state’s responsibility – and authority – to do so.
Except, parents rarely receive such instructions, generating confusion and frustration. Read More
The University of Pennsylvania named its women’s studies center the “Center for Research in Feminist, Queer, and Transgender Studies” — removing a tribute to a prominent suffragette in the process.
According to Melissa Sanchez, an English and comparative literature professor who will lead the center, Penn decided to rename the Alice Paul Center — home to the Ivy League university’s gender studies department — in order to signal “commitment” to LGBTQ “intellectual and political movements.” Read More
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro challenged a Republican-led election subpoena on Thursday, saying that it “goes too far” and violates the constitutionally protected privacy of up to 9 million residents.
“By trying to pry into everyone’s drivers license numbers and social security numbers they have gone too far,” he said. “Today we say enough is enough. What they are doing is against the law and we intend to win.” 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 prime sponsor of a vetoed voting reform bill said Friday he reintroduced the measure after Gov. Tom Wolf shifted his public opinion on some components of the legislation over the summer.
Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, said House Bill 1800 would bolster voting rights “through three broad concepts of increased access, increased security and modernization.”
“We know access and security are not mutually exclusive,” he said. Read More
Gov. Tom Wolf recalled his nomination for acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid on Monday after alleging that Senate Republicans would not vet her fairly amid the chamber’s controversial election investigation.
“It is clear that instead of providing advice and consent on my nominee for Secretary of the Commonwealth, they instead plan on using her confirmation as an opportunity to descend further into conspiracy theories and work to please the former president [Donald Trump] by spreading lies about last year’s election, instead of working together to address real issues facing Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said in an emailed statement to reporters on Monday. Read More
As Pennsylvania Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee Majority Chair Cris Dush (R-Wellsboro) investigates recent elections, Democratic lawmakers against tightening election security must contend with a withering 2019 audit of Pennsylvania’s voter registry.
At his investigation’s initial hearing last Thursday, Dush announced his intention to hold the Department of State (DOS) accountable for the mismanagement identified in the audit by calling the department to testify at the committee’s next hearing to be scheduled soon. Read More
Former President George W. Bush’s remarks about domestic extremism during his speech in Shanksville for the 20th anniversary of 9/11 were “definitely not exclusive to” the January 6th Capitol riot.
Speaking at the Flight 93 memorial, Bush compared violent extremists in the U.S. and foreign extremists.
“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and those at home,” Bush said on Saturday at the memorial in Pennsylvania. “But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit and it is our duty to confront them.” Read More
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has slapped “Harmful Language” warnings on online displays of American founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—and U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA-17) is keeping quiet about it.
The Star News Network emailed Lamb’s press office Friday to ascertain his view of the matter. Neither the congressman—who recently announced a bid for U.S. Senate—nor his staff have replied. Read More
The Pennsylvania Senate committee tasked with investigating instances of election malfeasance asked residents this week to submit their testimony for its review.
Intergovernmental Operations Committee Chairman Cris Dush, R-Wellsboro, said residents should only submit their stories if they are willing to sign an affidavit and potentially testify under oath, under penalty of perjury, before the panel during forthcoming hearings. Read More
The Amistad Project, in conjunction with Pennsylvania Senate President pro tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre) and State Representative Jesse Topper (R-Bedford), filed a lawsuit against actions by Pennsylvania acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam.
In the lawsuit, the organization is challenging a new statewide school mask mandate, arguing the new restriction violates state law and is a broad overreach of governmental power. Read More
As part of a state-by-state review of the 2020 General Election results, the non-profit Voter Reference Foundation (VRF) has discovered 41,503 discrepancies between the Pennsylvania voters officially recorded as having cast ballots and the total ballots certified per the state’s official canvass. Read More
Democrats in the Pennsylvania General Assembly hope to increase monthly welfare benefits in Pennsylvania, reasoning that payments under the federally funded Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program have stayed flat since the 1990s, falling well behind inflation.
Legislation being drafted by state Sen. Katie Muth (D-PA-Royersford) and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-PA-Philadelphia) would increase Pennsylvania’s TANF benefits, which average $403 per month for a family of three in most counties. Read More
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. Read More
Fulton County, Pennsylvania election officials are defending their decision to conduct an audit of the 2020 election in their jurisdiction and their right to continue use of their voting machines.
Attorneys from Dillon, McCandless, King, Coulter & Graham LLP who are affiliated with an election-integrity nonprofit known as the Amistad Project, will be handling the case for the small county of about 14,500 residents, situated about 90 miles southwest of Harrisburg. Read More
State legislatures in six states limited their governors’ emergency powers wielded during the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing executives have overextended their authority.
As of June 2021, lawmakers in 46 states have introduced legislation stripping governors of certain emergency powers, according to USA Today. Legislatures justified their actions as necessary to restore a balance between the branches of state government, pointing to examples of executive overreach and the centralization of power in the hands of governors. Read More
Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb launched a long-expected Senate bid in his state Friday morning, becoming the latest to join a crowded primary field in one of the country’s most competitive races.
Lamb, a 37-year-old Marine, first won a special election in a Pittsburgh-area swing district in 2018, months before Democrats took control of the House. He is vying to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in a state that President Joe Biden narrowly won, as Democrats look to expand their slim 50-50 majority. Read More
In recent years, an acute housing crisis has engulfed both America’s coastal metros and Rust Belt regions. California’s Bay Area, for example, confronts a crisis of affordability and limited supply that hastens a population exodus. Midwest cities like Detroit face low real-estate prices and low demand, intensifying urban decline.
Pennsylvania is a microcosm of such alarming housing trends, especially east of the Susquehanna River, which is seeing an influx of metro New Yorkers relocating to the area.
From the Keystone State’s middle-class suburbs to its post-industrial locales, the housing crisis is a major challenge. In the midstate, most notably in Harrisburg and Lancaster, housing has become significantly more expensive. In the northeast’s anthracite coal region, anchored by Scranton, rents are spiking. And in suburban Philadelphia’s Lansdale, a townhouse went for nearly $500,000. Read More
Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia on Thursday, legal counsel for several Pennsylvania counties as well as numerous public officials and private companies, argued Governor Tom Wolf (D) abused his police powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, the private-sector compainaints charge that the governor’s shutdown of and other demands on businesses during parts of 2020 and 2021 violate the takings clause and the due-process clause of the U.S. Constitution. All plaintiffs, governmental and private, further insist that the governor’s restrictions on public gatherings over the past year violated the rights of assembly, association and religion secured by the First Amendment. Read More
The Pennsylvania Department of State decertified Fulton County’s voting machines on Wednesday after officials there participated in a third-party audit.
The voluntary probe came at the request of Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg) who’s currently spearheading a larger effort to audit machines in Tioga, York and Philadelphia counties amid his ongoing campaign to ferret out fraudulent activity during the past two elections. Read More