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Demand After COVID-19 Sparks School Choice Proposals in Pennsylvania

Low-income families in Pennsylvania’s lowest-performing school districts could gain access to tuition assistance for private schools as part of a reform package.

Pending legislation would create education savings accounts, into which the state could deposit funds that parents may use to buy education products and services for their children. Such accounts can make private schooling options more affordable.

The proposal also would expand existing tax credit programs that provide students with tuition assistance in the form of scholarships.

“Once this bill moves forward and passes, Pennsylvania is going to be a model state for educational opportunity,” state Rep. Andrew Lewis, a Dauphin County Republican and lead House sponsor, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

“We’re going to ensure that every kid no matter what their family’s income, no matter what their socioeconomic background is, and no matter what school district they’re born into, they’re going to be able to access the economic dream through an excellent education,” Lewis said. “What we’re doing is shifting the focus from institutions to kids, and from institutions to families.”

The dollar amount for education opportunity accounts, or EOAs, would be based on average state funding per student, minus transportation costs. The most …read more


6 Goals in Black Lives Matter’s New ‘Impact Report’

Political activists who call for defunding police and ending what they call systemic racism used the banner of Black Lives Matter to raise tens of millions of dollars and launch a political action committee, according to the main organization’s “2020 Impact Report.”

The report declares victories in the election of two Democrats to the U.S. Senate in Georgia’s runoffs as well as three Democrats to the U.S. House from Texas, New York, and Missouri.

The report credits the new PAC for coordinating get-out-the-vote efforts. The main Black Lives Matter organization also entered the legislative fray for the first time while making generous grants to allied organizations.

In an introduction, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors says the radical organization believes that “white supremacy is currently sanctioned by our systems and even by some of our elected officials.”

Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, a fiscally sponsored project of the Tides Center, a left-leaning nonprofit, remains the main organization of the Black Lives Matter movement.

But the foundation now has what its leadership describes as a sister organization called Black Lives Matter Grassroots, which includes state chapters across the U.S. and Canada.

The “impact report,” while not detailing Black Lives Matter …read more


Scott Walker Takes Helm of Young America’s Foundation

Left-wing ideologues who attempt to suppress conservative ideas on college campuses and in legislative chambers don’t genuinely believe in either unity or diversity despite what they say, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Walker, the new president of Young America’s Foundation, said such persons on the left mostly are interested in their own opinions.

“They profess diversity, but they’re not for diversity,” Walker told The Daily Signal in the interview just days before he took over the conservative youth organization Feb. 1. “What they’re for is their own opinion. They talk about unity, but what they mean is they want you to support what they believe and to affirm what they believe.”

Walker, 53, succeeds Ron Robinson, who served as president of the Young America’s Foundation for 43 years.

Under Robinson’s leadership, the Reston, Virginia-based foundation inaugurated student-oriented programming and seminars for high school- and college-age conservatives.

Robinson, now 70, also oversaw the 1998 purchase and preservation of former President Ronald Reagan’s Rancho del Cielo near Santa Barbara, California, and acquisition of the Reston-based National Journalism Center in 2001, which runs training programs for aspiring journalists. The Reagan Ranch Center opened in …read more


Pennsylvania Governor’s Climate Regulations Draw Bipartisan Opposition as Hearings Begin

Other elected officials in Pennsylvania continue to question the constitutionality of Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed carbon tax in the run-up to 10 public hearings that begin Tuesday on the disputed regulations to address climate change.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board has approved a “cap and trade” plan to cap carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

The plan, which the board OK’d in mid-September, would require power plants to obtain carbon dioxide allowances equal to the amount of the greenhouse gas they emit. Electric utilities that emit more than their assigned cap would have to purchase allowances at an auction to offset the excess.

Elected officials in both parties, however, say that Wolf is circumventing the Pennsylvania General Assembly in an effort to impose taxes that only the state lawmakers can approve or reject.

“I think we’ve kind of exhausted our options legislatively,” state Rep. James Struzzi, a Republican, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “I think this will come down to the courts.”

Wolf’s secretary of environmental protection, Patrick McDonnell, is chairman of the 20-member Environmental Quality Board. With representatives from 11 state agencies, the board is charged with adopting the Department of Environmental Protection’s regulations.

Wolf, a Democrat, …read more


Soros-Funded Prosecutors Put ‘Social Justice’ Above Law and Order, Analysts Say

Self-styled progressive political activists who win election as district attorneys with financial support from wealthy donors have made “social justice” initiatives more important than public safety, legal analysts say.

George Soros, the Hungarian American billionaire investor, stands out as the big donor behind a super PAC that helped elect district attorneys who have overseen a dramatic increase in crime.

The Justice and Public Safety super PAC feeds into a larger network of local political action committees. Some of the district attorneys elected with its support have attracted media attention for their antipathy toward law enforcement.

“I refuse to call them progressives,” Charles “Cully” Stimson, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said in an interview with The Daily Signal, adding: “There’s nothing progressive about what they’re doing.”

In July, Fox News reported on St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who benefited during her 2016 campaign from advertising funded through Justice and Public Safety in her 2016 campaign.

Conservatives criticized Gardner for announcing her intention to pursue felony charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who stood outside their St. Louis home with firearms in June as Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched past after breaking through a …read more


Film ‘Climate Hustle 2’ Targets Hollywood’s Green Hypocrisy, Double Standards

Politicians, media figures, and Hollywood elites who maintain lavish lifestyles while advocating restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions are on full display in a new documentary.

Climate Hustle 2: Rise of the Climate Monarchy” is a sequel to the 2016 documentary film “Climate Hustle,” which questioned the premise of theories linking human activity with potentially catastrophic climate change.

“Climate Hustle 2” is not in theaters because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but was scheduled to be streamed as of 8 p.m. Thursday and available for replay through Sunday.

The new film builds on the findings of the first one while taking a deeper dive into motivations behind climate change initiatives such as the congressional resolutions called the Green New Deal and the United Nations’ Paris climate agreement, which the Trump administration has exited.

Actor Kevin Sorbo is narrator of the new documentary. In opening scenes, Sorbo cites “an increasing number of scientists who are becoming skeptical” about “overhyped claims made about severe weather events, temperatures, rising sea levels, and even disappearing polar bears.”

Sorbo then asks some questions in arguing that science has shifted against alarmist claims.

“Why would those claiming a global warming catastrophe …read more


Pennsylvania Lawmakers Resist Governor’s Executive Actions on Climate Change

If Pennsylvania joins a multistate agreement that restricts carbon dioxide emissions, the commonwealth could jeopardize its position as an energy producer and exporter without achieving discernible environmental benefits, according to elected officials who are resisting executive actions to address climate change.

The state Senate on Wednesday passed legislation to prohibit Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, from joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and imposing carbon taxes without the approval of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

A state Senate committee last week voted to move to the floor two bills that reaffirm the General Assembly’s authority over tax policy while asserting that Wolf’s Department of Environmental Protection cannot act unilaterally “to abate, control, or limit carbon dioxide emissions by imposing a revenue-generating tax or fee on carbon emissions.”

The Senate passed the House version of the legislation Wednesday by a vote of 33-17, one vote shy of a veto-proof majority.

“I don’t think the governor has the legal authority to proceed as he is,” said state Sen. Joe Pittman, a Republican representing the 41st District, which cuts across Armstrong, Butler, Indiana and Westmoreland counties.

“At the end of the day, we are not an appendage of the governor’s office, we …read more


From Nixon to Trump: EPA Chief Touts Environmental Gains, Hits ‘Single Issue Advocacy’

Under President Donald Trump’s leadership, the government has reduced air pollution by 7%, declared Superfund sites safe again at a record pace, and directed tens of billions of dollars to ensuring clean water, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Thursday in a speech marking the agency’s 50th anniversary.

Wheeler, speaking at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, drew a sharp contrast between the Trump administration’s environmental achievements and the “poor choices” made by some policymakers at the state level.

“Here in California, where the modern environmental movement began–and from where President Nixon brought it to the rest of the country–it’s important to acknowledge the role states have in being laboratories for democracy, and in this case, laboratories for environmental policy,” Wheeler said.

“But for environmental policy to work nationally, the federal government and states must work together as partners, not as adversaries,” the Environmental Protection Agency administrator added.

Wheeler was particularly critical of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and other East Coast governors for impeding construction of natural gas pipelines.

New England states now must import natural gas from Russia, Wheeler said, because Cuomo has stood in the way of pipelines that could have transported gas …read more


School Choice Could Put Pennsylvania ‘Back on Track’

Some Pennsylvania homes suddenly are getting a little crowded with young students who are drawing from the same internet connection.

That’s one reason why Najimah Roberson, a Harrisburg parent with three children pursuing online learning, is keen on the idea of getting some of her tax dollars back in the form of scholarship funds that may be used to cover unexpected education costs.

Since Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, first announced closure of the commonwealth’s schools in mid-March to protect against the spread of COVID-19, Roberson has had to pivot and adjust to new realities.

Like many other parents, she has some hard decisions to make before school is back in session.

“None of my kids will be going to a brick-and-mortar school this year,” Roberson said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “All three of their schools are willing to accommodate online learning, but this puts me in a bind because all three of my kids are at home with a laptop or desktop or tablet pulling from the same internet source.”

>>> What’s the best way for America to reopen and return to business? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, assembled America’s top …read more


Nurses Rally Against Unionization as Law Muzzles Hospital Management

Nurses opposed to unionization at Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, made their voices heard over heavy rainfall at a demonstration in front of the hospital.

“I don’t want someone standing between me and my patient, telling me how to do my job,” said one nurse who is voting “no” on the union-organizing effort. “I can make my own decisions.”

“What if someone dials 911, and we happen to be on strike at the time?” asked another nurse, who is part of the “Vote No” movement. “I’m concerned with the divisiveness with everyone in the hospital. We are a team.”

The Daily Signal counted about 10 “Vote No” nurses gathered outside of the hospital in the rain Friday morning during the streaming event.

“It’s easy to bring your concerns to the hospital,” another nurse said. “You can do this through the right process and make changes, and it doesn’t cost you anything from your paycheck.”

Two “Vote No” nurses express themselves in the rain during the streaming protest Friday from Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina.

Supporters of the unionizing effort by National Nurses United, however, cite what they say are staffing shortages and working conditions that put nurses and hospital patients alike …read more