News & Brews February 9, 2023

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Will Rozzi step down as Speaker? 

The Inquirer reports that yesterday, for the first time, House Speaker Mark Rozzi “signaled … that he would consider stepping down … once Democrats take the majority” and lawmakers pass a measure for victims of childhood sexual abuse.Since his Jan. 3 election as Speaker, Rozzi has failed to organize his chamber, hold session, or oversee the passage of House rules. Prior to Rozzi’s surprise election, Democrats held that the speakership would go to Democrat Rep. Joanna McClinton. Separately, PennLive reported that while 16 Republicans supported Rozzi’s election as Speaker, some of them have since called on him to step down. But it remains unclear whether there are enough votes to remove Rozzi or whether McClinton has enough votes to secure the Speaker’s gavel.

Fetterman hospitalized due to lightheadedness

Sen. John Fetterman was hospitalized in D.C. last evening after feeling lightheaded during a Senate Democrat retreat. The AP reports, “Initial tests at George Washington University Hospital did not show evidence of a new stroke…. Doctors were running more tests and the senator remained at the hospital for observation.”

Pa. Supreme Court issues opinions on mail-in ballots

The state Supreme Court yesterday issued opinions on the court’s previous order surrounding how to handle mail-in ballots. The Inquirer reports, “The ruling follows an order the court issued last fall instructing counties to set aside all undated and wrongly dated ballots for last November’s midterm. It did not issue opinions explaining the decision at the time or providing guidance to counties going forward. … But writing for the court Wednesday, Justice David Wecht said the dating requirement spelled out in state law is clear: For a mail ballot to count, it must be dated with the date the voter filled it out.” As for how to determine what the correct date is, the court left that up to individual counties.

First Republican enters race for Allegheny County exec

The Democrat field is already seven deep, but this week, Republican Joe Rockey became the first GOP candidate to announce his campaign to succeed Rich Fitzgerald as Allegheny County executive. The Post-Gazette reports that Rockey is “a former chief risk officer at Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services” who “identified as a political centrist” and “warned against ‘politics as usual’ and ‘radical ideas driven by ideology and not common sense.’” Fitzgerald is term-limited so cannot run for re-election this November.

Lawmaker threatens funding retaliation against state university

Well, this is interesting. Last week, teaching and research assistants at Temple University went on strike. The Temple University Graduate Student Association’s demands included “a living wage, dependent healthcare, longer leave, and better working conditions.” In response, the university apparently told those participating in the strike that as a result of their participation, their “tuition remission has been removed for the spring semester,” and they “owe the full balance.” Now, Democrat state Rep. Chris Rabb (Philadelphia) tweeted that the university’s move is “beneath contempt,” and he’s “going to remember this when budget season nears!”

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