News & Brews August 24, 2021

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PA Dep’t of Health: ‘No decision yet’ on statewide vaccine mandate

Yesterday at a press conference, in response to a question of “what stage are state officials in when it comes to considering a vaccine mandate for people that meet the age requirement,” Pennsylvania’s Acting Physician General, Dr. Denise Johnson said, “No additional decisions yet at this point. I think we’re looking at all options, but no other decisions right now….” If you think this means the Wolf Administration isn’t trying to figure out a way to mandate the COVID vaccine as a condition of participating in public life, you haven’t been paying attention to the Wolf administration for the past 18 months. Watch the clip here.

Corman: Senate to conduct ‘thorough forensic audit’ of 2020 election

As I shared yesterday, last week Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman removed Sen. Doug Mastriano from heading the audit of last year’s election and replaced him with Sen. Cris Dush. Following up on this, yesterday the Senate officially removed Mastriano as chair of the Senate Intergovernmental Committee (tasked with reviewing the election) and replaced him with Dush. Also yesterday, Sen. Corman issued a statement that did not reference the recent events while saying that Corman “announced recently the Pennsylvania Senate will conduct a thorough forensic audit of recent elections – including using our subpoena powers.” The Inquirer and the Associated Press, however, were not so quick to overlook the kerfuffle in their coverage.

Two redistricting hearings today

The House State Government Committee, chaired by Rep. Seth Grove (York County) will kick off a series of regional redistricting hearings today. The first hearing, which will address congressional redistricting and will be held at Grove City College, will begin at 9 am this morning and can be live-streamed here. For more info on the hearing, including the agenda and a link to submit written testimony, click here. Meanwhile, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, responsible for redrawing state legislative district maps, will hold a meeting this morning at 10:30 am to receive a report on census data, among other things. Click here for the link to watch that meeting.

Dueling mask-related laws floated, but unlikely to go anywhere

Two Republican senators are proposing legislation that would allow parents to opt out of school mask mandates for their kids. Meanwhile, a Democrat senator plans to introduce legislation to allow families of children who test positive for COVID to sue the parents of students who opt out of mask mandates (a trial lawyer’s dream!). Not surprisingly, PennLive’s Jan Murphy writes that we shouldn’t expect either of these proposals to become law.

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