News & Brews March 1, 2023

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Rozzi resigns as speaker, Dems elect McClinton 

Yesterday, Democrat Pa. House Speaker Mark Rozzi resigned his leadership post, paving the way for House Democrats to elect Rep. Joanna McClinton as speaker. McClinton secured the votes of all 102 Democrat House members and won no Republican votes. Spotlight PA notes that Rozzi’s “brief time as speaker was defined by partisan fights and gridlock over the rules that govern the lower chamber.”

Judges offer conflicting opinions on recounts

Two Commonwealth Court judges have offered conflicting opinions in two separate cases surrounding what’s required for a recount request after an election. Spotlight PA reports that Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon “ruled that petitioners must either provide evidence of election malfeasance or file recount requests in every precinct where an election occurred,” while Judge Stacy Wallace “ruled … that recount petitioners do not need evidence.” Now, “Election officials and petitioners hope that the state Supreme Court will take up the issue to provide clarity.”

Sen. Casey returns to work following surgery

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey returned to work this week after successful surgery for prostate cancer. The Inquirer reports, “Casey … returned on Monday, where he cast a vote to advance a judicial appointee. (Casey missed only a handful of votes, since the Senate was on recess last week.)” Fellow Sen. John Fetterman remains away from the Senate as he continues treatment for clinical depression. The Inky notes, “Democrats have a narrow 51-49 edge in the Senate, but have focused mostly on confirming non-controversial nominees who have advanced without trouble during Casey’s and Fetterman’s absences.”

McCormick inching toward 2024 Senate run

ABC27 relates that former GOP U.S. Senate nominee Dave McCormick recently “spoke at a multiday National Republican Senatorial Committee retreat … with senators and potential candidates in attendance.” And the AP notes that given his meetings with national Republicans, McCormick is pondering another run at Senate in 2024, this time for the seat currently held by Democrat Sen. Bob Casey. Of note: The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC connected to Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has reportedly indicated it would support McCormick if he runs.

Pa. Senate Republicans to announce 2023-24 priorities

This morning at 11:00 a.m., Senate Republican lawmakers will hold a press conference to “announce their principles and priorities for the 2023-24 legislative session.” Among those scheduled to speak are Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (Westmoreland County), Majority Leader Joe Pittman (Armstrong, Indiana, Jefferson, and Westmoreland counties), and Appropriations Committee Chairman Scott Martin (Berks and Lancaster counties). Watch the live stream at 11:00 a.m. here.

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