News & Brews January 11 2022

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Supreme Court denies King’s Bench petition for redistricting cases

Yesterday, the state Supreme Court denied requests to exercises its King’s Bench power in two redistricting cases that ask the court to take over the redistricting process. (Click herefor a description of King’s Bench.) See the orders here and here. That said, the court said the petitioners could ask the Commonwealth Court to accelerate its timeline for hearing the cases. That timeline can be found here (scroll down to the Dec. 20 order on page 87).

House committee advances redistricting and election reform bills

Yesterday, the House State Government Committee, chaired by Rep. Seth Grove (York County), advanced multiple bills aimed at reforming the legislative redistricting process and improving elections. On the redistricting front, HB2207 would establish a Citizen’s Legislative Reapportionment Commission to redraw state House and Senate district maps. This one is a constitutional amendment, so it would ultimately have to go through that approval process. On the election front, the bills address topics ranging from ballot wording to voting machines. Click here for brief descriptions of the bills, all of which now head to the full House for consideration.

Wolf vetoes Legislature’s disapproval of RGGI

As expected, Gov. Wolf has vetoed the General Assembly’s disapproval resolution opposing his plans to unilaterally join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The veto comes as no surprise, as Wolf and majorities in the House and Senate have long been at odds over joining RGGI, which threatens to raise energy prices for Pennsylvanians and cost thousands of jobs.

Philly lawyer enters U.S. Senate race

Former state boxing commissioner and prominent Philly lawyer George Bochettoannounced yesterday that he’s running for U.S.Senate. He joins a large (and growing) field of candidates hoping to replace retiring Senator Pat Toomey in a race that could end up determining partisan control of the Senate.

Court declines to block all of the GOP’s election investigation subpoena

Yesterday, the Commonwealth Court declined requests from Democrats to block a GOP subpoena requesting voter information as part of an investigation into the 2020 election. The AP reports that “the court said state officials and Democratic lawmakers did not persuade it that the subpoena issued in September by a Republican-controlled Senate committee had no legitimate legislative purpose.” That said, the court also “did not immediately greenlight the release of some information that Democratic state Attorney General Josh Shapiro challenged as being protected by privacy laws.” And the court “declined to debate whether the subpoena was issued appropriately under internal Senate rules, saying it would leave that matter to the Senate.” No timeline was issued for how the court will handle the release of information. Read more here.

Details of legislative legal bills remain a mystery

Spotlight PA continues its dive into how the Legislature spends money, this time taking issue primarily with Republican leaders when it comes to disclosing (or not disclosing) details on legal bills. The piece mentions Democrats for good measure. Read it here.

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