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It’s “do or die” time for an extensive election reform bill pending in the Pennsylvania Legislature, the proposal’s chief architect said Monday.
Without action this month, House State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove, R-York, said the momentum for reform – and the appropriate time to implement the changes – may dissolve.
“It’s really do or die right now,” he said during a briefing with reporters. “There’s a lot going on right now. The best thing that can happen is for the governor to actually engage in election code changes so we can actually get this done. If he’s not willing to do it, that’s on him.”
Grove’s House Bill 1300, dubbed the Voting Rights Protection Act, features a handful of reforms with bipartisan support, including provisions that allow early in-person voting beginning in 2025, monitored drop boxes, standardized ballot curing rules, curbside voting and pre-canvassing for poll workers up to five days before an election.
But the bill biggest change – expanding the state’s voter identification law – could be its undoing and, so far, it’s unclear if Grove is willing to drop the controversial provision to preserve the rest of the bill.
“If Gov. Wolf’s administration wants to come to a compromise … we are more than willing to discuss things with them, but they need to actually pick up the phone and call,” he said.
Grove maintains he hasn’t heard from the Department of State or Wolf’s staff since the end of April about collaborating on a reform bill.
“We need a comprehensive approach to the fix in Pennsylvania’s election system,” Grove said. “We have a great proposal that addresses all of those concerns in a reasonable and rational way … and we are more than happy to engage with the Wolf administration [about the proposal].”
Ellen Lyon, a state department spokesperson, told The Center Square on Monday the agency is “happy to work with the administration and the legislature to enact common sense election reforms that will further expand voter participation, allow counties to begin canvassing mail ballots before Election Day and improve election administration with the use of electronic poll books.”
“We believe that voters and our dedicated election officials would welcome these changes,” she said. “We hope the legislative priorities will focus on these common sense changes and not on creating barriers to voting for eligible Pennsylvanians.”
Wolf said last week he’s against voter I.D. expansion and will block any policy that increases barriers to access. Under current law, first time voters at a polling place must provide identification. HB 1300 would implement the ID requirement each and every time a resident casts a ballot in-person.
Lyndsay Kensinger, a Wolf spokesperson, said the governor has been engaged in election reform with the General Assembly for the last year and wants to continue the conversation about expanding convenient voting options.
“At the same time, the governor has been clear, both privately and publicly, that he is always willing to have a conversation on election reform, but a proposal aimed at disenfranchising voters – by implementing unconstitutional voter ID, and restricting existing voting options – is a complete nonstarter,” she said.
Rep. Jeff Wheeland, R-Williamsport, sponsored a constitutional amendment last week that pivots the voter I.D. question to voters instead. Grove said “it’s an interesting concept,” but prefers getting the policy into statute.
“We think it won’t disenfranchise any individual the way we have it [written],” he said. “We are trying our best to meet my colleagues halfway on a really good proposal. We’ll see. Hopefully the governor has actually read the bill, reviewed the bill, sees all the great stuff we are trying to do to help citizens vote and rebuild trust in the election process.”
The administration, however, believes the proposal has nothing to do with protecting voters rights or increasing access.
“It is an extremist proposal fueled by disproven conspiracy theories which will undermine confidence in our election system by doubling down on misinformation,” Kensinger said. “They don’t like the outcome of the November election and now they are retaliating against the voters, as their counterparts in other states have done, by pushing a proposal disguised as ‘election integrity.’”
“The governor will always defend our democracy and the right to vote for every Pennsylvanian regardless of political party,” she added.
Grove said if a compromise can’t be reached by the end of the month – the same time frame during which the General Assembly will approve the state’s annual spending plan – the effort will move to the back burner as lawmakers address other priorities, like congressional redistricting.
“We may have to move off election issues if this doesn’t get signed now,” he said. “The fall is too close to the fall elections for counties to get these changes in.”
He added that lawmakers remain wary of implementing sweeping election code changes during the 2022 campaign cycle, which will feature open races for the U.S. Senate and the governor. It’s a hard lesson learned from the decision to approve expanded mail-in voting in late 2019, just six months before the 2020 presidential primary election, Grove said.
“I’m not sure that we are going to put Pennsylvania in a position of changing major laws and the ensuing chaos that was seen with the 2020 election,” he said.
Grove’s committee scheduled a voting meeting for HB 1300 on Tuesday morning. He anticipates a floor vote on the House next week.
Three Republican AGs will investigate GoFundMe following removal of Canadian trucker fundraiser
Three Republican attorneys general pledged to investigate GoFundMe’s decision to take down a fundraiser for Canadian truckers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the capital city of Ottawa.
GoFundMe canceled the fundraiser Friday evening, which had raised $10 million.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey all said they would look into the matter of the California-based company, citing potential deceptive practices affecting their state residents.
Morrisey began the trend, as he tweeted on Friday night, “#GoFundMe now won’t honor #FreedomConvoy donations and will instead redirect to other charities? In WV, organizations must not deceive donors and engage in deceptive advertising practices. If you’ve been victimized by a deceptive act or practice, let us know!”
In a reply tweet, Morrisey noted that, “According to their website, #GoFundMe is not automatically refunding the donations. Individuals interested in a refund can submit the form below if they do so by Feb 19, 2022. This will avoid the ‘redirecting’ of the donation.”
Donald Trump, Jr., retweeted Morrisey, saying, “All GOP Attorney Generals should be looking at this & helping to get people their $$$ back so it can be redirected to the truckers. Don’t let @gofundme scam you… call your AGs & let them know. GFM seems to have no problem finding [sic] BLM riots… peaceful truckers should be fine too.”
GoFundMe tweeted an update overnight, saying that it would instead automatically refund all donations to the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser.
“The update we issued earlier enabled all donors to get a refund and outlined a plan to distribute remaining funds to verified charities selected by the Freedom Convoy organizers. However, due to donor feedback, we are simplifying the process and automatically refunding donations.”
The next morning, Morrisey tweeted a screenshot of GoFundMe’s Twitter update, saying, “As a result of YOU weighing in, #GoFundMe has CHANGED its policy for the #FreedomConvoy and will now be AUTOMATICALLY providing refunds to donors. Thanks to everyone who RT’d our message. Little ‘ol WV making a difference! We’re not done yet & will not tolerate shady practices.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted shortly after, likely before seeing the GoFundMe update, because he said, “It is a fraud for @gofundme to commandeer $9M in donations sent to support truckers and give it to causes of their own choosing. I will work with @AGAshleyMoody to investigate these deceptive practices — these donors should be given a refund.”
Landry then tweeted his agreement with Morrissey, writing, “I share the concerns of @WestVirginiaAG. My office will be looking into whether or not #GoFundMe violated our state law. If you are a Louisiana donor to the #FreedomConvoy, please contact my #ConsumerProtection Section! #lagov”
On Sunday, Moody blasted GoFundMe on “Fox and Friends”.
“Think about what occurred here. You have a business that essentially makes money off people, out of the goodness of their hearts, wanting to contribute to a cause that’s important to them. You have a big business that encourages that. They take a percentage,” Moody said, according to Florida Politics.
“They make money when folks raise money through their platform. And then, without any notice to anyone, and no donor knows this before they make a contribution, they’re going to make some political judgment that they think this isn’t a worthy cause anymore, and just shut down after raising millions of dollars,” she added.
“Folks wanted to help in this protest against heavy-handed government as people historically have done when government has tried to overreach and take away the freedoms of its people. People push back peacefully. And you have a business here that makes money off of people wanting to donate to that, and they just shut it down,” Moody continued.
Biden Makes Worst Foreign Policy Blunder Since Afghanistan – GOP Goes After Joe For Greenlighting Russia
Boy, are Democrats having a day! Joe Biden’s press conference last night was an unmitigated disaster. Critics are slamming just about everything he said. But perhaps worst were his comments on Russia.
It’s no secret that Russia is trying to harass the sovereign nation of Ukraine. They’ve even amassed troops along the border, preparing what some fear could be an invasion.
Anything an American president might say right now could end hostilities or trigger conflict. The issue of Ukraine came up during Biden’s presser. I’m sure his handlers thought his comments were supposed to show strength against Putin. Instead, Biden dropped a bomb that might end up being a green light to war.
From Daily Wire:
“IT’S ONE THING IF IT’S A MINOR INCURSION AND WE END UP HAVING TO FIGHT ABOUT WHAT TO DO AND NOT DO,” BIDEN TOLD REPORTERS REGARDING WHAT RUSSIA MIGHT DO…
WHEN ASKED LATER TO CLARIFY WHAT HE MEANT BY “MINOR INCURSION,” BIDEN SAID HE DREW THE LINE AT “RUSSIAN FORCES CROSSING THE BORDER, KILLING UKRAINIAN FIGHTERS,” CNN REPORTED.
Minor incurstion? This is pretty bad. It seems Biden is willing to let Putin do whatever he wants short of an full-on invasion. Republican leaders were not okay with this.
THE REMARKS WERE WIDELY SEEN AS UNDERCUTTING U.S. DIPLOMACY THAT HAS TRIED TO STAVE OFF ANY RUSSIAN INCURSION INTO UKRAINE — “MINOR” OR NOT…
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), WHOSE BILL TO PUNISH PUTIN WITH SANCTIONS FAILED DUE TO DEMOCRAT OPPOSITION, SAID BIDEN’S ANSWERS ON UKRAINE WERE “INCOHERENT AND CATASTROPHIC.” […]
“MOST WORRYINGLY, HE DEFINED DOWN WHAT COUNTS AS AN ‘INVASION’ AND CALLED INTO QUESTION WHETHER WE’D FORCEFULLY RESPOND, WHICH WILL BE READ IN FAR TOO MANY PLACES AS GREENLIGHTING AN INVASION,” HE SAID.
Joe Biden’s comments on Russia’s hostility toward Ukraine are being called his worst foreign policy decision since his deadly Afghanistan withdrawal. His comments did not show the U.S. was ready to defend our ally against Russia. Instead, it appears as if he was giving Putin the green light, as long as he wasn’t going to send “soldiers” into the foreign land.
The phrase “minor incursion” was especially troubling. Russia has more options for attacking Ukraine than just soldiers. They can use cyberattacks, block roads, and disrupt trade moving into Ukraine. Just the fact that Biden suggested he’d tolerate an “incursion,” minor or otherwise, was slammed by critics.
His comments were so bad, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had to do damage control. She released one of several statements hoping to clarify. Once again, she is trying to backtrack something Joe said.
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI ISSUED A STATEMENT WEDNESDAY EVENING IN AN ATTEMPT TO UNDO THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S WEAK STATEMENTS ON UKRAINE AND RUSSIA AT A PRESS CONFERENCE JUST MOMENTS BEFORE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.
She tried to project the kind of strength Joe should have during his conference. But a quickly written statement does not carry the same weight as something that comes right out of Biden’s mouth. His handlers should have done a much better job of controlling what Sleepy Joe was going to say.
Biden came out later that day to say that the U.S. is ready to take strong action against any Russian activity, but it may be too little, too late. Putin is a master poker player, and he just got Biden to admit to the world that Joe will hesitate and let Russia do what it wants.
Red Paper News
‘Let The 25th Amendment Discussions Begin:’ Biden’s Press Conference a Total Failure as Reactions Roll in[VIDEO]
President Joe Biden seemed to confirm the dark suspicions of millions of Americans that he’s mentally unfit during his rambling, two-hour news conference on Thursday.
Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, who was the White House physician to former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, reiterated his grave concerns about Biden’s mental sharpness.
“He’s totally disconnected from reality,” Jackson tweeted Thursday during Biden’s first news conference in 10 months.
The blundering 79-year-old repeatedly lost his train of thought and slurred his words during the event to mark his first year as president.
“He has NO IDEA what’s going on,” the congressman tweeted. “It’s no surprise he’s been kept locked away in the basement. This is an EMBARRASSMENT.”
Jackson pointed out that Biden completely ignored a question from a White House correspondent about his flailing mental acuity.
“BIDEN JUST IGNORED A QUESTION ABOUT HIS COGNITIVE DECLINE! Something is WRONG with him,” he tweeted. “This man IS NOT qualified to be President!!”
The congressman added: “I am demanding he have a cognitive test NOW. There’s too much on the line, we need to know!”
Jackson was referencing a polite but direct question posed by James Rosen, the chief White House correspondent for Newsmax.
“A poll released this morning by Politico Morning Consult found 49 percent of registered voters disagreeing with the statement, ‘Joe Biden is mentally fit,’” Rosen said.
Biden derisively tried to brush off the question, but a persistent Rosen followed up, asking, “Why do you suppose such large segments of the American electorate have come to harbor such profound concerns about your cognitive fitness?”
The career politician awkwardly replied, “I have no idea.” Then he quickly called on another reporter.
Meanwhile, Biden was widely panned by numerous social media commentators, who said the news conference was an epic disaster.
Breitbart’s Joel Pollak tweeted six words that Biden surely didn’t want to hear: “Let the 25th Amendment discussions begin.” The amendment provides a process for the vice president to assume power if the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
Conservative radio host Clay Travis slammed the “incredibly embarrassing press conference,” saying Biden underperformed despite responding to “a pre-approved list of questioners on a list given to him.”
THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY EMBARRASSING PRESS CONFERENCE FOR JOE BIDEN. HE’S READING FROM A PRE-APPROVED LIST OF QUESTIONERS ON A LIST GIVEN TO HIM. IS HE INCAPABLE OF CALLING ON REPORTERS HIMSELF? BECAUSE THAT’S THE ONLY EXPLANATION MOST PEOPLE WATCHING, INCLUDING ME, TAKE FROM THIS.
— CLAY TRAVIS (@CLAYTRAVIS) JANUARY 19, 2022
Media strategist Caleb Hull noted that Biden dismissed his abysmal approval ratings as fake (“I don’t believe the polls”) and even suggested that the 2020 election and the forthcoming 2022 midterm elections could be rigged.
Reminder: The corporate media brutally attacked Trump for making similar remarks.
“Isn’t this everything that made Trump ‘literally Hitler’?” Hull tweeted.
Democrats and their corporate media lapdogs have screeched for the past year that questioning election results is “treason” and “terrorism.”
But if you’re a Democrat, you can call GOP election victories “illegitimate” with impunity.
Hypocritical Democrats and their media minions who disingenuously questioned Trump’s mental fitness for four years are now curiously silent about Biden’s bewildering babbling.
Although people laugh about it, Biden’s faltering mental fitness is not a joke. It is a pressing national security threat that will haunt him for the rest of his presidency.
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