News & Brews January 16, 2023
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Court panel rules in Dems’ favor on election date
On Friday, the Commonwealth Court ruled against GOP House Leader Bryan Cutler in his lawsuit challenging Democrat Leader Joanna McClinton’s authority to schedule two special House elections for February 7. Cutler had previously scheduled the elections for May 16. The case stemmed from the debate over which party controls the House. In its decision, the court opted not to enter that specific debate, instead calling it “nonjusticiable.” The court ordered that the elections be held February 7.
A look at tomorrow’s inauguration-day schedule
From breakfast to swearing-in to partying, PennLive describes the schedule of events for tomorrow’s inaugurations of Gov.-Elect Josh Shapiro and Lt. Gov.-Elect Austin Davis. One new tradition Shapiro hopes to implement is a morning breakfast with former governors.
‘Secrecy dominates’ Shapiro’s transition to governor
Spotlight PA examines the transparency—or lack thereof—surrounding Gov-Elect Shapiro’s transition into the state’s executive office. The story notes that the more than 300 members of Shapiro’s transition team “were required to sign a three-page nondisclosure agreement that bars them from publicly sharing information about their activities. If they breach the agreement, they can be sued and face a heavy fine.” What’s more, the transition team is organized as a 501(c)4, which means Shapiro does not have to disclose who’s funding its work.
Op-Ed: Financial filings show teachers’ union’s values
During the 2021-22 school year, the state’s largest teachers’ union “spent just ‘$1 out of every $5 of member dues representing teachers, support staff, and other members. The rest of the membership dues money goes towards running the union, politics, and lobbying.’” Americans for Fair Treatment Special Counsel David Osborne writes that these filings clearly demonstrate: “The PSEA cares more about amassing political influence and rewarding its executives than the teachers it claims to represent.”
Senate cancels sessions as House working group prepares to meet
On Friday afternoon, the state Senate canceled sessions for the weeks of January 23rd and 30th. This was due in part to the House’s inability to organize (i.e. pass rules) in order to conduct any business. Last week, House Speaker Mark Rozzi appointed a bipartisan working group of members to try to resolve things. That group is scheduled to meet tomorrow to “start talking about rules that might get the House functioning in special session again.”
A ‘GOP postmortem’ in Pa.
Republicans are reportedly spending about $100K on a DC-area firm to try to figure out what went wrong in November’s election. POLITICO reports they are “holding focus groups throughout the state and interviewing thousands of voters about everything from abortion to former President Donald Trump in hopes of getting to the bottom of their losses.”