PA Capitol Report: Top 10 Stories From Harrisburg Last Week
Here are the Top 10 Stories From Harrisburg last week–
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
— PA Cap-Star: New Poll: PA Voters Are A Hard ‘No’ On Gerrymandering
[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.
— PennLive – John Baer: Is PA Senate Boss Jake Corman On A Mission From God, Trump Or Himself?
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.
— Scranton T: COVID Cases, Death Rates Rising Rapidly
— MCall Guest Essay: Why Employers Must Mandate COVID Vaccinations For Workers – Union President
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
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.
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.
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.
— MCall Guest Essay: Why PA Gun Owners Shouldn’t Need A License To Conceal Carry
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
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.