On ‘420 Day,’ Republican and Democratic Senators Push for Marijuana Legalization

Pennsylvania Senate sponsors touted their proposal to permit its recreational use by adults on Wednesday, April 20, i.e. 4-20, the day marijuana users celebrate their indulgence and clamor for its legalization.

“Legalization must be done the right way, and my bill ensures a legalized Pennsylvania market is implemented safely and responsibly, with a thoughtful approach that provides opportunities to medical and recreational consumers, farmers and small, medium and minority-owned businesses,” State Senator Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) said in a statement.

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Pennsylvania Senate Panel Votes to Implement Changes to Improve Voter Records

Ryan Aument

A committee of the GOP-run Pennsylvania Senate voted Wednesday to change the state’s voter-records system as recommended by a Democratic former state auditor general.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lititz), passed the State Government Committee seven to four, with all Republicans and no Democrats backing the measure.

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Pennsylvania Senate Committee Passes Federal Constitutional Convention Legislation

On Monday, the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee approved a resolution calling for a “Convention of States” to amend the U.S. Constitution to check congressional power and federal spending.

Senators Cris Dush (R-Wellsboro) and Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) authored the measure, which all of the committee’s seven Republicans voted to support and all of the panel’s four Democrats opposed.

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Ruling Against No-Excuse Mail-In Voting in Pennsylvania Appealed

Although Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court on Friday invalidated the law that has allowed no-excuse mail-in voting since 2020, the state’s appeal of the ruling means the decision is not yet in effect.

State officials, represented by Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, will likely face a much friendlier forum in the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by Democrats in contrast to the Republican-majority Commonwealth Court. Democrats denounced the latter court’s ruling and pointed out that Republican legislators overwhelmingly voted for Act 77, which allowed Pennsylvanian’s who were not sick, injured or out of town to vote via absentee ballot.

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Senate Bill Would Reform Pennsylvania Mail-In Voting

A Pennsylvania Senate committee passed legislation Tuesday to make absentee-ballot canvassing more transparent, clarify ballot-submission deadlines and allow signature “curing” on mail-in-ballot envelopes.

Sen. Judy Ward (R-Hollidaysburg) said her reforms address concerns raised especially by the 2020 presidential election. The Senate State Government Committee advanced the bill in a party-line vote, with Republicans approving and Democrats opposed.

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Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Corman Calls for Philly District Attorney’s Impeachment

Outrage at Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s (D) leniency toward criminals has driven Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) to call for the prosecutor’s impeachment.

Corman sent a letter to leaders of the GOP-run state House of Representatives asking them to seek Krasner’s removal. In his missive, the lawmaker deplored the city’s sharp present rise in violent crime and said the district attorney has played a major role in that spike by allowing many offenders to escape punishment.

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Pennsylvania County Commissioners’ Group Opposes Live-Streaming of Mail-In Vote Counting

Bipartisan enthusiasm for election-reform legislation appeared solid at a Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee hearing on Thursday, save for one part: video live-streaming of mail-in-ballot counting.

Elements of the bill, sponsored by Sen. David Argall (R-PA-Pottsville) and Sen. Sharif Street (D-PA-Philadelphia), have arisen largely from recommendations in a June 2021 report by the Senate Special Committee on Election Integrity and Reform. Argall and Street’s proposal excludes some of the ad hoc panel’s more contentious ideas, particularly enhanced voter-identification rules, which Rep. Seth Grove (R-PA-York) is spearheading in separate legislation. (While Gov. Tom Wolf [D] vetoed Grove’s bill in June, the representative has reintroduced it in light of the governor’s subsequent remarks in favor of a strengthened voter-ID requirement.)

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