Update On The State Legislature
The State Capitol continues to reverberate from the results of the General Election. Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro has named his transition team, which will assist in the naming of a cabinet and the organization of the new administration.
The state Senate, in Republican control with a 28-21 majority, elected Senator Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) as the first woman President Pro Tempore in state history.
Senator Joe Pittman (R-Indiana) will replace her as Senate Majority Leader.
Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) will be the new Appropriations Chair. Other committee chairs are being determined.
Things are a bit more complicated on the House side of the building.
The Democrats gained enough seats on paper– 102– to take the House Majority. But one of those seats is that of a longtime member from Allegheny County Tony DeLuca, who died a couple weeks before the election.
Pennsylvania law required his name to remain on the ballot and his constituency overwhelmingly reelected him.
Two other House Democratic members ran for re-election, and for other offices and won those offices– Rep. Austin David for Lt. Governor and Rep. Summer Lee for Congress.
Although both may vote with the Democrats in the Speaker election on January 3, Davis and Lee will soon resign to take their new positions.
All three Democratic seats will need to be filled in special elections that could be held between March and May. This could delay the ultimate control of the House by the Democrats.
However, there is precedent in Pennsylvania history where deals have been made to persuade members from the other party to vote for the Speaker– the ultimate controller of committee assignments and the flow of legislation.
Most observers believe at the end of the day that the Democrats will control the House– the question being which day.