Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has signed into law stiffer penalties for hazing, prompted by the death of Pennylvania State University student Timothy Piazza at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house in 2017. The law makes hazing a felony offense if it results in severe injury or death. It also requires high schools, colleges, and universities to report hazing incidents. Jim Piazza, who became an anti-hazing advocate after his son’s death, attended the signing ceremony and said all young people should be protected from “rampant criminal behavior.” Prosecutors had limited success bringing cases against the men accused of facilitating Timothy Piazza’s death. None have so far faced jail time. —L.J.
Education is top of the ballot in many states this year, even if it’s not on the ballot, strictly speaking. Several prominent gubernatorial races focus on education initiatives, especially classroom funding and teacher pay. Following this year’s wave of teacher strikes and battles with lawmakers in several states, dozens of educators launched campaigns for public office. And incumbents face tough battles that could reshape education policy for years. Nowhere is that dynamic more prominently displayed than in Wisconsin, where Republican Gov. Scott Walker hopes to fend off a challenge from the state’s Democratic superintendent of schools.
Several states do have education initiatives on the ballot in November. The most significant is in Arizona, where voters will decide whether to overturn a law expanding education savings account access to all students. School choice advocates have rallied around ESAs as the best new vehicle for giving parents control over their children’s education. But so far, they’ve only succeeded in getting ESAs for limited groups, like students from low-income families or those with special needs. Arizona would be the first state to launch a universal program—an important test case for the movement. Teachers unions oppose ESAs because they use taxpayer funding for nonpublic schools. —L.J.