News & Brews February 15, 2021

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Will 2022 primary election be delayed?

Well, this is becoming a royal mess. On Friday, the U.S. Census Bureau said it won’t deliver the updated census data that’s used for redistricting until the end of September–six months after the original pre-pandemic March 31 deadline. This means there would be only a few months to redraw congressional and legislative district maps before the May 2022 primary. And given how, ah, smoothly redistricting is predicted to go (or not), this could be a problem. The AP reports Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman said, “We’re not at the point where [we] have to put off the primary, but it’s something we have to consider if the data comes in so late.”

How are PA Dems moving forward after ‘brutal’ 2020?

The Philly Inquirer highlights that while PA Democrats “got their most important job done” last year in electing Joe Biden, “[o]n just about everything else, they flopped, Big time.” So, what’s their plan moving forward? The Inquirer spoke to several Democrat leaders to get their take.

Wolf admin’s decision to cut some doctors from vaccine distribution draws fire

On Friday, Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam announced a shift in the Wolf administration’s vaccine distribution plan that will direct most of the state’s COVID vaccine supply to providers who are distributing it the fastest. PennLive reports this “means that a greater portion of the supply will go to large health systems and community pharmacists.” It also means some primary care/family doctors will no longer have access to the vaccine or will see their supply cut–a move some doctors are calling “a woeful mistake.” The administration’s shift comes as PA’s vaccine rollout overall has drawn fierce criticism for its slow pace and confusing sign-up process.

‘Spicy’ cabinet confirmation hearings coming?

Pennsylvania Common Cause Executive Director Khalif Ali says the upcoming confirmation hearing on Gov. Wolf ‘s nominee to replace former Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar will be the “spiciest” of several upcoming confirmation hearings. You’ll recall Boockvar resigned after her agency botched its basic requirement to advertise a proposed constitutional amendment. It’s not only this confirmation hearing that’s expected to be contentious, however, as several agencies that have been front and center during the pandemic–including the Department of Health–have nominees for new leadership. Capitol Reporter John Finnerty explains.

Sen. John Blake to resign 

Democrat State Sen. John Blake (Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Monroe counties) reportedly plans to resign his seat to take a job with U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright. Blake and Cartwright have scheduled a joint news conference this morning at 11 am in Scranton. This means voters will head to the polls in a special election (date TBD) to fill the seat, with the winner serving out the remainder of Sen. Blake’s current term, which ends in 2022.

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