News & Brews November 11, 2021

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Tight Commonwealth Court race heads to recount

The race for one open Commonwealth Court seat between Republican Drew Crompton and Democrat Lori Dumas is headed for a recount, as the margin between the two is less than .5%, the Department of State announced yesterday. Crompton noted this will be the first recount triggered by a close margin since no-excuse mail-in voting went into effect. According to the Department of State, as of yesterday afternoon, Dumas led by 16,804 votes, with 13,500 ballots still to be counted.

Commonwealth Court strikes down school mask mandate

Yesterday, the Commonwealth Court struck down the statewide school mask mandate issued by Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam on August 31. In its ruling, the court said that Beam’s order constitutes a regulation, but Beam did not comply with mandatory rulemaking requirements for issuing such a regulation. As such, Beam “attempted to issue her own emergency declaration.” As a result, the order is “void” and “unenforceable.” The Wolf administration is appealing the ruling. I’m no lawyer (to quote Gov. Wolf), but it will be interesting to see how an appeal plays out given Wolf already announced the order will largely expire on January 17.

Corman to run for gov, but announcement delayed

The AP reports that according to a “source,” Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman will run for governor next year. (This is not really new info, as earlier this week we shared that Corman was widely expected to announce his candidacy this week.) HIs announcement, originally scheduled for tonight, has been postponed, however, after he tested positive for COVID yesterday. (Also, the Senate Education Committee, on which Corman sits, canceled its hearing yesterday at which members were set to consider SB527, the automatic escalator bill for the state’s tax credit scholarship programs.)

Coleman to run for Lt. Gov.

Jeff Coleman, who served in the state House from 2001-2004 and is the founder and principal of Churchill Strategies, yesterday announced he is running for lieutenant governor. Coleman’s focus is promoting civility while expanding school choice, promoting entrepreneurship, and restoring the dignity of work.

$1.9M renovation at governor’s mansion underway

It’s “been in the planning stages for at least the last two gubernatorial administrations,” so this isn’t a Gov. Wolf-initiated project, but PennLive gives an update on the $1.9 million renovations happening at the executive mansion. According to the story, “The work will transform the Second Street view of the Georgian mansion with the introduction of more green space, the addition of benches, new lighting, and putting the flag garden in a more visible spot.” No additional comment from me (shocking, I know).

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