News & Brews April 27, 2021

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It’s official: PA will lose one congressional seat

According to U.S. Census data released yesterday, Pennsylvania will lose one U.S. House seat, marking the 10th consecutive decade our representation in Congress has dropped. Of course, this means our Electoral College votes will drop from 20 to 19. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as our lagging population growth has portended such a loss for several years. Other states on the losing end are California, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and West Virginia, each of which will lose one seat. Meanwhile, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Oregon, and North Carolina will each gain one seat, and Texas will gain two seats. Since 1920, Pennsylvania has lost 19 seats in Congress.

Preliminary vote expected Wed. on merging six PA state universities

Yesterday, the PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) released a plan to merge six of its 14 universities into two new schools–a plan it says can help save $18.4 million over five years. Not everyone is happy with the proposal, however. A preliminary vote by the PASSHE board is expected tomorrow after opportunity is given for public comment. If the plan is approved, a formal 60-day public comment period will begin.

Super PAC backing Bartos for Senate

Republican Jeff Bartos has secured the backing of a new super PAC in his bid for U.S. Senate. Politico reports that the support of Jobs for our Future, which has raised more than $750K to date, “is a boost to Bartos in an election that is all but guaranteed to be one of the most expensive in the nation next year.” Bartos raised almost $1.2 million in the first quarter of this year, compared with nearly $4 million raised by Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is running for the same seat. While Bartos and Fetterman are the most high-profile candidates to enter the race to date, the field is larger than the two and expected to continue growing.

Interviews begin for redistricting chair

Yesterday, the four sitting members of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission began interviews for the fifth member, who will also serve as chair. Based on comments made during yesterday’s interview hearing, I think 39 people applied, but don’t quote me on that, as one report says 37, one says 41, and one says 60. The interview process will continue this morning beginning at 9am (or shortly thereafter), and you can watch live here.

On May 18, VoteYesPA to save lives and livelihoods

On May 18, voters can approve two proposed constitutional amendments that would restore a legislative check and balance on Gov. Wolf’s (and any future governor’s) emergency powers. Check out, which has resources including a link to request a mail-in ballot, a VoteYesPA sign you can download and print, a sample email businesses can send encouraging others to vote yes on May 18, and more.

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