News & Brews December 8, 2022

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Welcome to the Harrisburg circus

Well, yesterday was a free-for-all in the battle over who has the House majority. Here’s what happened: Democrat Leader Joanna McClinton announced she’d been sworn in as House Speaker, much to just about everyone’s surprise. Republican Leader Bryan Cutler called the move an “illegitimate power grab.” The Department of State rejected Cutler’s earlier writ of election calling for a Feb. 7 special election to fill the late Rep. Tony DeLuca’s seat. McClinton issued her own writ, naming Feb 7 as the date for the special election to fill DeLuca’s seat, as well as the seats of Reps. Austin Davis and Summer Lee, who, incidentally, both resigned yesterday. As for what happens next? Who knows, but it likely involves a court battle. Spotlight PA has more on the circus, and the Post-Gazette also explains some of the intricacies.

Pa. courts rank 2nd among ‘judicial hellholes’

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas come in 2nd in the American Tort Reform Foundation’s annual ranking of Judicial Hellholes. This is better than our 1st (and worst) place ranking in 2020-21 but worse than our 4th place spot last year. On explaining our hellhole status, the ATR Foundation said, “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court continues to promote forum shopping and eliminated an important rule governing where lawyers may file medical liability cases.The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas continues to be a preferred court for mass tort litigation.… ” The only state to beat out Pa. this year was Georgia.

Trump less of a factor in a possible McCormick Senate run in 2024?

The AP notes that in the Republican U.S. Senate primary earlier this year, former President Trump’s attacks on David McCormick “contributed” to McCormick’s loss. But if he decides to run again in 2024, “Trump’s derision may not be such a liability.” This is because “Trump is now facing blame from some Republicans for contributing to the party’s midterm shortcomings, and that could open room for McCormick and others without worrying about blowback from the former president.”

Op-Ed: ‘The false assumptions behind climate regulations in Pa.’

Commonwealth Foundation investigative reporter Kevin Mooney writes in RealClear Energy that some of the “climate models … [that] determine the long-term impact of CO2 … are based on assumptions that may not square with reality…. These assumptions tend, for example, to overlook the environmental benefits of Co2 emissions such as the ‘greening of the planet’ that occurred between 1982 and 2009…. At the same time, the models omit the deleterious effect of regulations that restrict Co2 emissions.”

Former Sen. Browne’s last deal for his district raises eyebrows

The Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports that the last deal of longtime Sen. Pat Browne, who lost a primary race earlier this year to fellow Republican Jarrett Coleman, “has some in the Lehigh Valley and beyond asking whether it was as transparent as it should have been.” It involved the sale of “the grounds of the former century-old Allentown State Hospital … directly to a prominent real estate development firm, City Center Investment Corp., for $5.5 million.” But many were concerned about “the process of the sale, and that the land was worth more than the $5.5 million price in Browne’s legislation.”

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