Good Saturday morning, everyone.

This is John L. Micek, editor of Capital-Star sitting for Cassie Miller, who takes a few days of well-deserved rest. Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

Much has been said in recent years about the need to invest in the well-paying jobs of the future. This week, the Wolf administration put its money where its mouth is, announcing it has $297,000 in government funding to support apprenticeships in the electrical industry.

The beneficiary of the money is Shamokin Electricians JATC IBEW LU 607, which indicates that he plans to use the windfall to help offset the expenses of students who must contribute to the cost of their studies and to fund program supplies. Money goes back to the state Subsidy program for pre-apprentices and apprentices. You can learn more about the program here.

According to Administration of wolvesthe JATC runs a five-year program that includes 180 hours of classroom training and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. While students receive a paycheck (which increases, along with their responsibilities, as they advance), they are still expected to help defray the cost of their education.

“We couldn’t be more grateful for this investment in central Pennsylvania electricians,” Michael J. Glowatskithe JATC director of training, said in a statement. “This will have a significant impact on our ability to provide training in our rapidly changing industry.”

Currently, 35 apprentices are registered in the apprenticeship program at the JATC training center in Shamokin, Northumberland County, the administration said. Their instructors are all graduates of JATC who work or have worked in the electrical industry, according to the administration.

“Apprenticeships are a vital tool for developing the Commonwealth workforce,” Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement. “Apprentices earn a paycheck while learning the hard skills they need to get a good job when they finish their program. This is a real win for apprentices and businesses in Pennsylvania. »

As always, your five most-read stories start below.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 24: Ukrainians demonstrate outside Downing Street against the recent invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 in London, England. Overnight, Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in several towns and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels. European governments have responded with widespread condemnation and calls for new sanctions. (Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

1. The stakes could not be higher in Ukraine. Here’s why and what to do next | John Nagl

It can be difficult to understand that we are living through a historic event in the history of the world.

This was not the case in October 1962, when the world held its breath as the United States and the Soviet Union stared at Nikita Khrushchev’s secret stationing of nuclear missiles in Cuba.

After diplomacy backed by the threat of military force, the Soviet Union blinked and withdrew its missiles, and Khrushchev lost power some eighteen months later in the world’s closest known contact with the ‘Nuclear Armageddon.

We may be in a similar moment now. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine went badly, far worse than he expected, due to a combination of extraordinary Ukrainian bravery, Russian logistics, planning and performance on the battlefield.

The global reaction has been nearly unanimous and fierce, with Russia facing crippling economic sanctions, Germany lifting its longstanding ban on allowing the transport of lethal aid and NATO gaining strength with the possible addition new members, Finland and Sweden.

There has never been such a swift and fierce international response to state action, a testament to both the nakedness of Putin’s aggression and the masterful diplomacy of the Biden administration.

Putin is cornered like a caged rat. But caged rats don’t have nuclear weapons.

U.S. Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Feb. 26, 2022 in Orlando, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

2. Analysis: GOP plan would raise taxes for 35% of Pennsylvania residents | Wednesday morning coffee

After enduring for years the entirely justifiable criticism that the modern Republican Party was devoid of ideas and inspiration, and had simply become a vessel for the authoritarian delusions of a man, U.S. Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla.decided to take matters into their own hands.

Scottthe leader of the Senate Republicans’ re-election wing, sat down and offered a policy platform so uniformly terrible that some of his fellow Republicans (notably House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.), can’t bring themselves to support it, WFLA-TV reported.

Scott came under heavy criticism for his suggestion that all Americans, regardless of wealth, should be required to pay federal income taxes.

Although it might theoretically sound great on paper (yes, we’re looking at you, Jeff Bezos), the consensus is that this would lead to a massive tax hike for the bottom 40% of Americans, who would see their tax liability rise by an average of $1,000, according to one analysis.

The share of households facing tax hikes would vary by state, according to an analysis of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policyranging from a low of about 24% in Washington State to a high of about 50% in Mississippi, which is among the poorest states in the country.

Sen. Mike Regan, R-York, speaks during a Senate Law and Justice Committee hearing on the legalization of adult cannabis on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. (Screenshot)

3. Senate Committee Examines Oversight and Economic Growth with Adult Cannabis Legalization

After pondering whether legalizing adult-use cannabis could curb black market demand earlier this month, a Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate committee heard from experts on Monday on how — if the state goes from forward with legalization – to regulate the product and secure the economy. growth.

The two-hour Senate Law and Justice Committee hearing was part of a series of meetings to assess the possible benefits of legalizing recreational cannabis for adult use in Pennsylvania and to draft oversight measures.

Pennsylvania’s neighbors – New York, Virginia and New Jersey – have legalized recreational cannabis. Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, changed his stance on adult cannabis use in 2019, joining Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman in calling for legalization.

There is also growing support for similar legislation among Pennsylvania residents. An October 2021 poll by Franklin & Marshall College showed 60% support among registered voters for cannabis legalization.

Sen. Mike Regan, R-York, who chairs the Senate panel, announced plans to introduce legislation legalizing adult cannabis use to help fund law enforcement last fall alongside of State Rep. Amen Brown, D-Philadelphia. Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, became the first Senate Republican to support adult cannabis use, introducing a legalization proposal with Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, last year.

But Pennsylvania is unlikely to join its neighbors and states across the country in passing adult-use cannabis legislation. House and Senate leaders have not expressed support for the measure, though some have signaled an openness to considering a proposal.

The Pennsylvania State Higher Education System Board of Governors approved a new name for three consolidated schools — Mansfield, Bloomsburg, and Lock Haven Universities — on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Screenshot)

4. Three public schools consolidated to become “Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania”

Three Pennsylvania State Universities in the process of consolidation have new names as they become a regional northeast campus for students enrolling this year.

The merged schools – Bloomsburg, Mansfield and Lock Haven universities – will form the Commonwealth University of Pennsylvania, following unanimous approval by the board of governors of the state of Pennsylvania’s higher education system on Wednesday.

The new title still needs to be approved by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which handles the accreditation of colleges and universities.

“It’s extremely exciting work, but it’s also very hard work,” said state system chancellor Daniel Greenstein. “And it takes a lot of effort and application to achieve a new vision for the future of our students.”

This is the latest step in consolidating six PASSHE schools into two regional campuses to deal with rising tuition fees and declining enrollment in the education system. The merger also includes the universities of California, Clarion and Edinboro, which were renamed Pennsylvania Western University last fall.

(Image via The Philadelphia Gay News)

5. Pennsylvania’s new congressional map reflects Commonwealth voters, the justices said. enacted the map of Congress. The court, in a February order, chose the so-called “Carter Map,” named after a group of voters represented by the law firm of Democratic attorney Marc Elias, to be the next map of the Commonwealth after Governor Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled General Assembly could not agree on a plan. With Pennsylvania about to lose a seat in Congress, the map had to be redrawn from 18 to 17 districts. As such, doing nothing was not an option, and a dozen plaintiffs, including lawmakers, citizens and good government groups, submitted maps to the court. The court backed the Carter 4-3 card, with a liberal judge – Debra Todd – joining her two opposing conservative counterparts in the selection. Much of the court’s internal debate has centered on how to apply the 2018 court ruling invalidating the Congress plan then drawn by Commonwealth Republicans as a partisan gerrymander to the redistricting stalemate of that decade.And this is the week. See you all here next week.