News & Brews March 17, 2022

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PA Supreme Court upholds state legislative maps

Yesterday, the state Supreme Court ruled that the newly redrawn state House and Senate district maps are constitutional and will be used in the upcoming elections. The court had previously suspended the primary election calendar as it considered the case, and per the new calendar, candidates may begin circulating and filing nomination petitions tomorrow, and the last day to file the petitions is March 28. The May 17 primary election date remains unchanged. The AP has more.

…and some legislative retirements

Republican State Senator Mario Scavello (Monroe and Northampton counties), who has served in the Senate for nearly seven years following a dozen years in the House, announced his retirement yesterday. With Scavello’s endorsement, Republican Rep. Rosemary Brown (Monroe and Pike counties) will run for his seat. Meanwhile, after the state Supreme Court upheld the new district maps, school choice champion Rep. Andrew Lewis (Dauphin County) announced he will not seek re-election. He stated, “Throughout my brief time in office, I always kept it at the forefront of my mind that government works for the people, not the other way around — and the people I represent are therefore my bosses. I’ve done my best to always remember that and to stay as accessible and helpful to my constituents as humanly possible.”

Federal judge tosses lawsuit over undated Lehigh County ballots

Yesterday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit arguing that undated mail-in ballots in Lehigh County should be counted, despite the fact that the law requires mail-in ballots to be dated. You’ll recall that in January, our state Supreme Court denied an appeal of the Commonwealth Court’s ruling in this case, which rejected the undated ballots. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, the ACLU took the case to federal court on behalf of five of the voters who didn’t date their ballots. The ACLU plans to announce in the near future whether it will appeal the federal judge’s decision. The Morning Call has more.

Senate committee to wrap up budget hearings today

The Senate Appropriations Committee will conclude its series of budget hearings today. The committee is scheduled to hear from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission at 10am and then from the Budget Secretary/Department of General Services at 2:30pm. Both hearings will be live-streamed here.

From the, ‘Ah, Philly’ files…

Sometimes, the stories coming out of Philly just make you want to bang your head into a wall. Here are a two recent examples: First, the Philadelphia Parking Authority spent millions of dollars on a new towing headquarters—which is now sitting empty. Second, Philly health officials “wrongly inflated” child Covid vaccination rates for weeks (as opposed to “correctly inflated”??) because the health department counted thousands of vaccinated kids twice. Can’t make this stuff up.

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