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Dems' control of Pa. House set for shaky start

Plus, what’s next for the Krasner impeachment case.


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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
November 28, 2022
Horse trades, recount requests, impeachment schedule, Shapiro successor, frack water, child crimes, and state-owned vehicles. It's Monday.

Democrats will take control of the Pennsylvania House in 2023, but Republicans will have a temporary 101-99 edge in the chamber.

The death of a longtime Democratic state representative and the elections of two more to higher office could jeopardize Democrats' pick for speaker of the House if the party doesn’t secure buy-in from a few GOP lawmakers.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: Pennsylvania House Democrats will lose their majority for at least a few weeks. Here’s why.

THE CONTEXT: The Democrats' dilemma has highlighted the ability of state lawmakers to run for reelection and another elected office at the same time, something two of the lawmakers referenced above did on Nov. 8.

Special elections to fill their seats have yet to be scheduled. 

Democrats will likely be a few votes shy of the majority needed to confirm their pick for speaker, state Rep. Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia), and likely to engage in horse-trading with Republicans to bridge the gap, said former Democratic House speaker Bill DeWeese.

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Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.RECOUNT RUSH: Supporters of the losing Republican nominee for governor, Doug Mastriano, filed more than 100 recount petitions in at least a dozen Pennsylvania counties in recent weeks, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. Mastriano lost by 781,000 votes to Democrat Josh Shapiro, and recounts tend to change results only marginally, if at all. But the effort may succeed in sowing confusion and delays.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.KRASNER CASE: Impeachment proceedings against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner will begin in January in Pennsylvania's state Senate, where two-thirds support is needed to remove him from office, Capital-Star reports. Krasner, meanwhile, is rallying public shows of support in Philadelphia, an attempted counterpoint to GOP impeachment leaders who say they're acting in the city's interest.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.AG NOMINEE: The Legal Intelligencer (paywall) reports Michelle Henry, the long-time first deputy to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, is the likely choice to be Shapiro's interim successor when he assumes the role of governor in January. Meanwhile, William Sasso, a GOP power broker and one-time law partner of the governor-elect, will chair Shapiro's gubernatorial transition team.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.FRACK FALLOUT: Residents of Dimock in Susquehanna County — whose flammable tap water earned national attention via the award-winning Gasland documentary — are getting a clean, reliable supply of drinking water for the first time in 14 years, the AP reports. The oil and gas driller charged with fouling the water in Dimock and nearby communities is set to enter a plea in a related criminal case this week.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.ADULT CHARGES: Andre Simms was 17 when he was charged as an adult with attempted murder in Pennsylvania. He was sentenced to an adult prison, where he was kept in solitary confinement to separate him from older inmates. PBS News Hour reports on Pennsylvania's practice of trying young people as adults in certain criminal cases and the risks those youth face in prison and after they're released.
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CAR CUT: The Pennsylvania House has approved a potentially reversible resolution that ends publicly funded vehicles for its members, per CNHI. There were roughly 26 state reps, all Democrats, who drove state-owned cars as of April. That same month, Capital-Star broke down the costs, when it's actually a better deal for taxpayers, and when it's not.

PROFIT PLUNGE: UPMC's year-over-year profits were down 75% in the first nine months of 2022, TribLIVE reports, totaling $196 million compared to the $800 million seen at the same time last year. The health-care giant cites increased labor costs and investment losses

NEW SHELTER: A state-of-the-art, 45,000-square-foot homeless shelter has opened in downtown Pittsburgh after multiple delays, WESA reports. The low-barrier shelter allows couples and pets and opens its doors as Pittsburgh clears tent camps amid a rise in the local unhoused population.

LOAN PAUSE: The Biden administration says it will extend a payment pause on federal student loans while its debt forgiveness plan remains blocked by the courts, CNBC reports. The payments were set to resume in January. The pause is set to be extended until at least next summer.

SHOPKEEPERS: Billy Penn reports that while Philadelphia's famous cheesesteak shops are often named for men, it's the women behind the counters who keep some of the city's favorite spots running.

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