News & Brews October 18, 2023

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Primary election date change back on the table?

Just when we thought efforts to move the 2024 primary election date were off the table, it appears they’re not. Yesterday, a House committee, over Republican objections, gave the nod to legislation that would change the primary date to April 16. County elections officials had warned that it’s too late to move the primary. Yet, the effort continues. The original (and current) primary date is April 23, which conflicts with Passover. Lawmakers had considered April 2, but that would conflict with Easter preparations in churches (which are often polling places). Then, they considered April 9, but that conflicts with the Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr. So, here we are.

Pa. Supreme Court race is ‘biggest game in town’

The Inquirer reports that this year’s Supreme Court race between Republican Judge Carolyn Carluccio and Democrat Judge Dan McCaffery will have long-term implications, and the winner could “become a deciding vote in important cases.” While “Carluccio said the court should follow the law as written,” McCaffery “said he believes it is the court’s duty to interpret the laws and their intent.” (Separately, he’s also said it’s sometimes the court’s job to “change the laws.”) The election is Nov. 7, and Commonwealth Partners has endorsed Judge Carolyn Carluccio.

Lawmakers advance open primary bills

A House committee yesterday advanced two separate proposals to open primary elections to independent voters. The bills passed with only Democrat votes. The AP reports, “The measures would allow independent voters to choose which political party primary they want to vote in. One of the two bills would also allow third party voters to vote in major party primaries if their party did not receive enough votes to be considered an official party.” The measures now head to the full House.

Pa. Senate passes resolutions supporting Israel

Yesterday, the Pa. Senate unanimously passed two resolutions supporting Israel and condemning the Hamas terrorist attacks. The Post-Gazette reports, “The voices of Pennsylvania state senators from both parties were filled with sorrow, revulsion, and a longing for justice Tuesday as they condemned the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel that killed more than 1,400 people and injured more than 3,000 others.” The story notes that the Pa. House is expected to consider a similar resolution.

Senate committee holds hearing on sexually explicit materials in schools

Yesterday, the Senate Education Committee held a hearing on legislation “to ensure parents are aware of sexually explicit material in their children’s schools.” Amid cries of supposed ‘book bans’ (even though parents can freely access supposedly ‘banned’ books if they want their children to read them), lawmakers expressed concern over pornographic materials that young children have access to in schools. “During the hearing, Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50) noted that kindergarteners through eighth graders are currently banned from drinking whole milk in school yet can easily access pornographic material in their school library.”

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