News & Brews May 24, 2024

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Dems are targeting these Pa. House seats this year 

As Democrats look to expand their one-vote majority in the Pa. House, the Erie Times-News gives a rundown of the seats they’re hoping to flip this year. Per the head of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, “Strong state legislative campaigns across the state will change not just the future of Pennsylvania, but also the country. Turnout at this ballot level will drive success up and down the ballot, helping ensure a (President Joe) Biden victory in a key battleground state. The stakes couldn’t be higher.” Indeed, we agree that down-ballot races in Pa. this year will have impact far beyond the borders of the commonwealth, one way or the other.

Amid re-election battle, Casey flip-flops on gas appliance ban

The Delaware Valley Journal reports, “When the U.S. Senate took a symbolic step toward blocking the Biden administration’s new efficiency rules on gas furnaces, Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) was one of three Democrats to side with the GOP and pass the resolution. But in 2021, without the prospect of a tough reelection fight looming, Casey voted against a measure protecting consumer choice and gas appliances.” This prompted Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association President and CEO David N. Taylor to note, ““Well, you sure can tell it’s an election year, huh?”

COVID pandemic is over; remote voting remains

Until 2000, the PA House banned the practice of remote voting, by which a present member casts a vote on behalf of an absent member. During COVID, the House changed the rule to allow for remote voting, also known as “voting by designation.” But several years later, with the pandemic over, remote voting remains, and because of it, Democrats voted on behalf of absent Democrat state Rep. Kevin Boyle when an arrest warrant was (wrongly) issued for him.

More secrecy from the Shapiro administration 

Gov. Josh Shapiro has been criticized for his lack of transparency—from keeping his daily schedule secret to requiring members of his transition team to sign NDAs. Now, his Department of Aging is refusing “to disclose more about the shortcomings it finds when it evaluates whether county-level agencies are properly investigating complaints about the abuse or neglect of older adults,” the AP reports. The story notes, “The department has recently declined requests by The Associated Press for two sets of documents: one in which the department outlines to county-level agencies the shortcomings it found and another in which the county-level agency must explain how it will fix those shortcomings. The department, under Shapiro’s predecessor, former Gov. Tom Wolf, had provided such documents unredacted to the AP.”

Rep. Dwight Evans recovering from minor stroke

U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (Philadelphia) reported yesterday that he was recovering from a very minor stroke—so minor that he wasn’t aware for a few days that he had even had a stroke. “The main impact,” he said in a statement, “seems to be some difficulty with one leg, which will probably impact my walking for some time, but not my long-term ability to serve the people of Philadelphia.” We wish Rep. Evans a speedy recovery.

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