PA Capitol Report: Top 10 Stories From Harrisburg Last Week

Here are the Top 10 Stories From Harrisburg last week–

1. Spotlight PA: In Major Shift, PA Reapportionment Panel Votes To Count Incarcerated People In Home Districts, Not State Prisons

Thousands of people incarcerated in state prisons will be counted in their home communities rather than in corrections facilities when Pennsylvania redraws its legislative maps, a major change that advocates hailed as the end of a racist policy.

— House Republican Leader: Ending Prison Gerrymandering Outside Scope Of Reapportionment Commission Powers

— PG: Allegheny County Residents Tell House Committee They’ll Be Watching How They Draw PA Congressional Map

— LancasterOnline: PA Voters Maintain Support For Redistricting Reform, Advocates Hope To Finally Achieve It By 2030

— PA Cap-Star: New Poll: PA Voters Are A Hard ‘No’ On Gerrymandering

2. Spotlight PA: Sen. Corman Resisted His Pro-Trump Wing For Months, Now He Wants A MAGA Makeover

[Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre)] has committed to conducting a “full forensic investigation” of the election– an idea fueled by baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and modeled off the widely criticized partisan review in Arizona.

— PA Cap-Star: Corman Removes Sen. Mastriano As Chair Of Intergovernmental Affairs Committee; Replaced With Sen. Dush

— Spotlight PA: Sen. Corman Resisted His Pro-Trump Wing For Months, Now He Wants A MAGA Makeover

— PennLive – Jan Murphy: Republican Sen. Dush Talks About Election Review, His Doubts About The Vote Count And How Trump ‘Is Watching’

— AP: EXPLAINER: Will An Election ‘Audit’ Happen In Pennsylvania?

— AP: Nov. Election ‘Audit’ Sows Intra-Republican Fight, Attacks By Democrats

— PG: Republican Divisions On 2020 Election In Spotlight As Senators Laughlin, Mastriano Visit Pittsburgh Area

— Spotlight PA: PA’s Legislative Leaders Wield Extraordinary Power, And Election Audit Fight Proves It

— PennLive – John Baer: Is PA Senate Boss Jake Corman On A Mission From God, Trump Or Himself?

3. AP: Wolf Asks Legislature For Law Mandating Masks In Classrooms

Pennsylvania schools need a statewide requirement that students in classrooms wear masks as protection against the coronavirus, the Democratic governor wrote in a letter Wednesday to legislative leaders.  The message was a turnaround for Gov. Tom Wolf, who had maintained that a mask mandate was an issue for school boards to decide and questioned why Pennsylvania should mandate something that wasn’t mandated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

— AP: Republican Leaders Reject Wolf’s Call For Mask Mandate In Schools

— PennLive: PA Reports One Of The Highest New COVID Infection Counts Since Spring

— ErieT: Erie Hospitals Saw 60% Spike In COVID Admissions Last Week

— Scranton T: COVID Cases, Death Rates Rising Rapidly

— WESA: Education Secretary Urging Schools To Require Masks

— MCall: Lehigh Valley H.S. Football Has First COVID Cancellation Of Season: Here We Go Again

— WESA: With No Action In Harrisburg, Eyes Turn To Allegheny County Health For k-12 COVID Mitigation

— Inquirer: Mask & Vaccine Mandates Have Broad Support, Polls Show, But Some PA Republicans Are Campaigning Against Them

— MCall Guest Essay: Why Employers Must Mandate COVID Vaccinations For Workers – Union President

4. AP: Pennsylvania Allows Opioid Emergency Declaration To Lapse Without Action By General Assembly

Pennsylvania’s opioid disaster declaration is set to expire at the end of Wednesday after state lawmakers, newly empowered to help manage statewide emergencies, declined the governor’s request for another extension.

State officials cited progress, with opioid prescribing down by more than 40% and overdose deaths falling by nearly 20% after a record 5,403 people statewide died in 2017.  But overdose deaths have climbed again during the pandemic. More than 5,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2020, according to the Wolf administration.

— TribLive Editorial: Legislature Now Owns The Consequences Of Public Health Emergencies

5. AP: U.S. Supreme Court Allows Evictions To Resume During Pandemic

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority is allowing evictions to resume across the United States, blocking the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary ban that was put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

— MCall: U.S. Supreme Court Allows Evictions To Resume, Here’s What You Need To Know

— PG: Sen. Costa, Democratic Lawmakers To Require Rental Assistance Application Before Eviction Proceedings

— PA Cap-Star: PA Sen. Saval, Gov. Wolf Call On PA Supreme Court To Halt Evictions

— Inquirer: Mortgage Payments Resuming For Many Homeowners, Foreclosures And Sales Are Sure To Follow

6. Inquirer: U.S. Senator Warren Says CEO Of PHEAA Student Loan Agency Lied Before Congress

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has targeted a key Pennsylvania agency that handles student debt, saying that its leader lied to her committee and that other firms can do better servicing federal student loans.

7.  MCall: 2 Years After Auditor General Recommended Gun Tracing System To Stem Violence, Police Depts. Rarely Use It

            After a 2019 report by Auditor General DePasquale recommending the use of ATF’s Ballistic Information Network to track down the owners of guns used in crimes, Pennsylvania still does not require police departments to submit information to the system on seized guns.

— Inquirer Column: While Philadelphia’s Children Are Shot And Killed, Top Leaders Act Like Children

— Inquirer Guest Essay: One Mom Comforted Another After Her Daughter Was Struck By A Stray Bullet, Now The Roles Are Reversed

— KYW: Child Dead, 2 Injured In Shooting After Academy Park-Pennsburg Football Game In Delaware County

— MCall Guest Essay: Why PA Gun Owners Shouldn’t Need A License To Conceal Carry

8. PA Cap-Star: Q&A With Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Jason Richey On Taxes, Hyperloop, Voting

Despite being a newcomer to state politics, the Pittsburgh lawyer Jason Richey has argued he’s the candidate most likely to win.

9. Gov. Wolf: Pennsylvania Ready To Support Afghan, Haitian Refugees

As Pennsylvania begins to welcome Afghan refugees, Gov. Wolf reiterated Pennsylvania’s intention to support refugees and the federal government’s mission in any way possible. Earlier this week, the administration reached out to the federal government, refugee resettlement organizations, and municipalities offering assistance and resources to Afghans fleeing persecution following the fall of the Afghanistan government and Haitians fleeing a humanitarian crisis following a catastrophic earthquake in Haiti

— TribLive: 911th Airlift Wing Based In Pittsburgh Joins Afghanistan Evacuation

— MCall: PA Citizens Head To Afghanistan Airport Friday To Attempt Escape Amid Tear Gas, Fear Of Attacks

— Inquirer: Do You Speak Dari Or Pashto?  Philly Wants Your Help Welcoming Displaced Afghans

— WESA: More Afghan Refugees Destined For Pittsburgh, Support Groups Promise To Help Them To ‘Feel At Home’

10. PA Cap-Star: Commonwealth Court Rejects State School Employees Pension Fund Brief Because It had The Wrong Size Font, Misplaced Staples

A state appellate court told Pennsylvania’s teachers’ pension system, and its well-paid outside legal counsel, to take a mulligan on a legal filing over the staples and font sizes they used in a brief filed last week.  The two-page order, issued by the Commonwealth Court in a case between a sitting state senator and the pension system over transparency issues, made legal observers scratch their heads.

TAP HERE for all articles in August 30 EXPRESS Update