On the 28th day overdue, a key budget negotiator released a hopeful, albeit stern, message indicating a budget deal may come together in August after all.
Senate President Kim Ward, R-Greensburg, said Friday that Republican leaders in the chamber are “actively negotiating” with Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro and “things are moving forward.”
At first, Keystone State Republicans viewed Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro’s Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget proposal with mere skepticism. This week, state House Democrats larded it with an extra $1.1 billion and passed it, making a fray between their chamber and the Republican-run Senate even more probable.
The nearly $47 billion spending plan, approved by representatives along party lines, hikes spending by $5.7 billion over the current fiscal year, a more than a 13-percent increase. Members of the Republican minority excoriated their Democratic colleagues for rushing the plan to passage within six hours of its completion, a move they said reflected poor transparency. Representative Doyle Heffley (R-Weissport) spoke for many in his party when he called the House-passed plan a “poison pill” for Pennsylvania’s economy.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro (D) is already claiming high-ranking Republicans “are praising” his first budget. Those Republicans’ actual remarks tell a different story.
A press release from the governor selectively quotes eight GOP state lawmakers’ reactions to the budget he unveiled last week. While the snippets accurately capture areas of agreement, they leave out decidedly negative sentiments the Republicans voiced about the $45.9 billion plan which would hike state spending by about four percent over the current level.
This past midterm, Pennsylvania state Senate Republicans managed to meet electoral expectations while the remainder of the commonwealth’s GOP suffered stunning losses – many of them unanticipated. Why?
The story begins 99 weeks before Election Day, when state Senate Republicans elected Kim Ward as the legislative chamber’s majority leader.
Days before the 2022 midterm elections, Pennsylvania Republican Senate leaders wrote to their commonwealth’s chief voting overseer seeking assurance that laws governing undated absentee ballots will be followed.
The letter from Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Greensburg) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) goes on to urge acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D) to follow official procedure on other electoral matters as well.
The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a lower federal court’s decision Tuesday allowing Pennsylvania counties to count undated mail-in ballots.
The case originated in 2021 after Republican David Ritter and Democrat Zachary Cohen vied for a judgeship on the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas and their race came to a near tie. Cohen eventually netted a five-vote lead when the Philadelphia-based Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resolved a dispute between the candidates about whether to count 257 absentee ballots. Those sheets were returned in envelopes on which the voter failed to write a date.
Most state senators voted to end Pennsylvania’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) on Monday but fell short of the two-thirds needed to succeed.
In 2019, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) initiated Pennsylvania’s entry into the 11-state compact to reduce carbon emissions by charging power plants for their discharge in hope of counteracting global warming. Unlike most of the other northeastern and mid-Atlantic states that participate in RGGI, the Keystone State’s governor could not get sufficient backing from state legislators for Pennsylvania’s membership and thus acted via executive order. Republicans and some Democrats have argued Wolf exceeded his constitutional authority in rebuffing the legislature.
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, deliberating over oral arguments made last Friday, will soon decide the congressional-district boundaries that apply in next year’s elections.
State House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Bellefonte) has meanwhile asked the court to strike down a newly enacted map containing districts for his own legislative chamber.
Pennsylvania House GOP leaders announced this week that their caucus will hold field hearings on the proposed new legislative-district plan which stands to make House districts more winnable for Democrats.
The first House GOP Policy Committee hearing on the commission’s plan will take place on Tues., Jan. 4 at 4 p.m. at McCandless Town Hall at 9955 Grubbs Road in Wexford. The second will occur on Tues., Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. at the Upper Allen Township Building at 100 Gettysburg Pike in Mechanicsburg.
After years of Pennsylvania Democrats excoriating Republicans for gerrymandering, the 2021 Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s state-level redistricting proposals are drawing ire from members of both parties.
Republicans have broadly opposed the preliminary redistricting plan for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and at least one Senate Democrat, Lisa Boscola (Bethlehem), is incensed about changes to her chamber’s map.