News & Brews January 13, 2023

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And the latest nominees are…

Gov.-Elect Josh Shapiro has selected recently-defeated Republican Sen. Pat Browne as his revenue secretary. Browne drew criticism recently for his hand in the sale of the Allentown State Hospital property—a process many say lacked transparency. Shapiro also selected former Democrat Rep. Mike Carroll for transportation secretary, Carnegie Mellon Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President Rick Siger to head the Department of Community and Economic Development. And to lead the Department of Banking and Securities, Shapiro picked Sarah Hammer, currently the managing director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance.

Wolf holds record for most pardons granted

With 2,540 pardons granted since he took office, Gov. Wolf “has issued more than twice the amount of pardons granted by any of his predecessors.” According to the Wolf administration, at least a quarter of these pardons were related to non-violent marijuana crimes.

A look at Gov. Wolf’s legacy

As Gov. Wolf prepares to leave office, Spotlight PA says he “leaves behind a long list of policy wins, from boosting education funding to legalizing medical marijuana..” His legacy, however, is “complicated” in that “policymaking in the Capitol often teetered on the edge of political brinkmanship.” From vetoes to budget impasses to executive overreach, Wolf’s record draws both praise and criticism.

Rozzi names working group members

Yesterday, House Speaker Mark Rozzi named the six lawmakers—three Republicans and three Democrats—whom he’s charged with “fixing ongoing gridlock in the state House.” They are Republican Reps. Paul Schemel, Jason Ortitay, and Valerie Gaydos and Democrat Reps. Morgan Cephas, Peter Schweyer and Tim Briggs. The announcement came four days after Rozzi canceled legislative sessions for the week after lawmakers didn’t even set the rules needed to govern any House activity. According to Rozzi, the group will ““meet regularly until a path forward is reached.”

Rozzi touted transparency, now dodges media

Speaking of Speaker Rozzi, the Inquirer takes him to task for avoiding questions, not speaking to the media, and keeping Pennsylvanians in the dark about his intended political affiliation. The story notes Rozzi “promised to end all back-room deals and increase transparency in Harrisburg.” Instead, he “hasn’t spoken publicly since Jan. 3. His skeleton staff has hardly answered questions. [And] Rozzi himself won’t answer reporters by phone, by text, or in person.”

Shapiro talks about the path ahead

Given his history of “striking while the opportunity is hot” to run for another office, it comes as somewhat of a surprise that Gov-Elect Josh Shapiro said he “intend[s] to serve every single day of my term and presumably seek another.” (But key word: ‘intend’.) This is one of several topics covered in an interview with PennLive. In the conversation, Shapiro also revealed that unlike Gov. Wolf, he intends to use the Governor’s Residence as an active residence again.

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