News & Brews November 23, 2022

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Big inflation = big pay raises for hundreds of Pa. elected officials

Historic inflation is translating into big salary increases for Pa. officials. The AP reports, “Salaries across the board will rise 7.8%, a figure tied by state law to the year-over-year change in the consumer price index…. That salary increase is substantially higher — about 50% higher — than what federal data shows for average private sector wages in Pennsylvania during the same time period.” PennLive adds, “Rank-and-file members will see $8,570 deposited in their bank account each month, which brings their yearly earnings to $102,844. That is up from this year’s $95,432 salary and more than $12,500 more than they earned in 2020.”

With state House seats vacant, operational majority in flux

Although Democrats won a slim, one-seat majority in the state House on Election Day, several vacancies within that majority mean uncertainty prevails heading into the new legislative session. PennLive reports, “The only thing that really seems certain right now is that when the House gavels in Jan. 3, Chief Clerk Brooke Wheeler will preside over the election of a new Speaker, and at the moment no one can say with certainty what happens from there.”

House Republicans hold leadership elections

Yesterday, House Republicans held internal elections for caucus leadership positions heading into next year. Among those making up the leadership team will be Rep. Bryan Cutler (Lancaster County) as Leader, Rep. Tim O’Neal (Washington County) as Whip, and Rep. Seth Grove (York County) as Appropriations Chair. Click here for the full election results. House Democrats held similar elections last week.

Shapiro names committees to oversee transition

Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro has announced appointees to two committees that will oversee his transition into the governor’s office. City & State PA’s Justin Sweitzer tweeted that the Transition Leadership Board will be chaired by William Sasso, and the Transition Personnel Committee will be chaired by Lt. Gov.-elect Austin Davis. See Sweitzer’s Twitter thread for a full list of the committees’ members.

Wolf admin seeks to bypass legislature … again

The Post-Gazette reports that Gov. Wolf’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is “seeking to push through an emergency regulation [regarding emissions] that would bypass opposition in the state Legislature.” Last week, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee voted in favor of a disapproval letter, which “triggered a 14-day review period that allows the committee to meet and vote on a resolution to stop the regulation.” But the close of this year’s legislative session would delay this period into next year, and DEP isn’t happy about that as it would blow past a federal deadline for getting highway funding. So, the Wolf admin wants to bypass the Legislature. Classic.

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