News & Brews February 18, 2022

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House Majority Leader sues over new House map

Republican House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff filed a lawsuit yesterday asking the state Supreme Court to reject the newly redrawn state House map. Instead, the AP reports, Benninghoff is asking that this year’s elections be held based on the current map as was done a decade ago after the Supreme Court rejected the redrawn maps as unconstitutional. Read more here.

Supreme Court to hear argument this morning on congressional map

Our state Supreme Court will hear oral argument at 9:30 this morning on our proposed congressional redistricting map. Earlier this month, Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough had recommended the citizen-drawn map that the Legislature had passed but Gov. Wolf vetoed. The Supreme Court could go with this map, choose one of the approximately dozen other proposed maps, or hijack the map-drawing entirely and impose a map of its own as it did in 2018. Audio of the oral argument will be live-streamed here.

Op-Ed: Wolf’s RGGI fixation will slow PA’s recovery

Commonwealth Foundation Senior Fellow Gordon Tomb has an op-ed in City & State PA explaining that Gov. Wolf’s push to join RGGI over the Legislature’s objections “ignores that the policy will raise families’ energy bills and cripple local businesses.” He writes that far from halting climate change, RGGI “will only increase energy prices and challenge the reliability of our electrical grid.” Read his piece here.

Mail-in voting remains up in air as primary approaches

Even as mail-in ballot applications are being sent to voters, the status of mail-in voting in the upcoming primary election remains up in the air. On Wednesday, Commonwealth Court Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt said the court’s previous ruling (striking down mail-in voting as a violation of our state constitution) will go into effect on March 15, a week after the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral argument in the case. The Wolf administration had appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court, triggering a stay, but, as the AP reports, Leavitt said that the appeal “assumes the higher court will overrule decisions in 1862 and 1924 invalidating laws passed to expand absentee voting, but that administration lawyers did not identify an error in those decisions.”

PIAA appeals to state Supreme Court to fight RTK requirement

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a Commonwealth Court ruling that said the PIAA is subject to the state’s Right to Know Law. In its ruling, the Commonwealth Court wrote, “PIAA’s statewide control over high school athletics and the connection between the funds it receives from its members and the commonwealth’s taxpayers is sufficient such that its classification as a ‘state-affiliated entity’ for purposes of the RTKL is reasonable.” Now, the case heads to the Supreme Court.

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