Dem control of Pa. House set for messy start

Plus, Pa. House Republican explains lone GOP vote against impeaching Krasner.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
November 21, 2022
House control, 'bad faith,' massive methane, in the running, lone Republican, funding fight, and rolling the dice. It's Monday. This is PA Post.
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‚ÄĒColin Deppen, PA Post editor
MESSY START

Democrats have narrowly won control of the Pennsylvania House for the first time since 2010, but a vacant seat means the party will need GOP support in the early months of 2023 to get their pick for speaker elected.

That's because a majority is needed to confirm a pick for speaker of the House and at least one Democratic vote won't be available to support state Rep. Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia), the party's nominee.

Democrats won a 102-101 state House majority in this month's midterms, but the posthumous reelection of longtime state Rep. Tony DeLuca (D., Allegheny) means his seat will be open, effectively creating a 101-101 split. 

Democrats will, at a minimum, need one Republican to secure a majority. It could be more if U.S. Rep.-elect Summer Lee, currently a state House representative, is unable to cast her vote before taking office in D.C.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: The Democratic takeover of the Pa. House will be a little messy to start. Here’s why.

THE CONTEXT: Lee is set to be sworn in as Pittsburgh's new U.S. representative on Jan. 3, the same day Pennsylvania lawmakers return for a new legislative session, putting her vote status in question.

A spokesperson said Lee was still evaluating her options.

Special elections to fill DeLuca and Lee's seats could take place between February and May. Both seats are considered safely Democratic.

Sources told Spotlight PA it’s possible McClinton could win the support of at least one suburban Republican who lives in a Democrat-heavy district and narrowly survived the Nov. 8 election. The party may also try to offer concessions to a group of GOP lawmakers to gain support.

McClinton would be the first woman and second Black person to hold Pennsylvania's speaker of the House role.

NOTABLE / QUOTABLE

"This is the first time we've had a transition between governors of the same party since the 1960s... That's really significant."


‚ÄĒSpotlight PA¬†government editor/reporter Katie Meyer during a panel on¬†what's next for¬†Pennsylvania's election winners; watch the panel¬†here

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ūüď∑¬†POST IT
The Glen Mills Train Station in Delaware County, via Don N. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania. 
DAILY RUNDOWN
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.IN CONTEMPT:¬†A Commonwealth Court judge has recommended that the state‚Äôs Supreme Court impose civil contempt penalties against¬†Fulton County's GOP-majority government for allowing a third party to copy data from 2020 voting machines even after the high court told it not to.¬†Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer said county commissioners¬†‚Äúengaged in vexatious, obdurate, and bad faith conduct.‚Ä̬†

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.LASTING LEAK: The massive natural gas leak at a storage facility in Cambria County that was reportedly stopped on Thursday quickly started up again, per The Allegheny Front. The well had been leaking since Nov. 6 and was losing 100 million cubic feet of gas a day, according to the owners. That put the leak among the largest seen in recent years, with significant environmental implications. In an update, the owners said they'd managed to stop the leak again on Sunday.

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.SCOPA BID: Daniel McCaffery is running for the open seat on Pennsylvania's highest court. McCaffery, a Superior Court judge and Democrat from Philadelphia, appears to be the first candidate to announce he's running in next fall's election for a 10-year term on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. A seat was left vacant by the sudden death of Chief Justice Max Baer.

Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.NO VOTE: There was one state House Republican who voted no on impeaching Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner last week. Capital-Star reports state Rep. Mike Puskaric (R., Allegheny) broke ranks in the largely party-line 107-85 vote, saying he believed impeachment would set a disastrous precedent for the future and that a disagreement over ideology isn't enough of a reason to remove a duly elected official.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.FUND FIGHT: Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf says a last-minute GOP vote to oppose oil and gas air pollution rules is a "disgrace" with "extreme consequences," namely possible sanctions on up to $1 billion in federal highway funding for Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh Union Progress reports a party-line disapproval vote happened in a surprise committee meeting called by state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Cranberry).
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IN OTHER NEWS

WEB MAPS: Maps providing "the best picture available to date" of where broadband internet is and isn't in the U.S. are now available via the FCC. Spotlight PA reported in September that the maps will be integral in guiding up to a billion dollars for broadband expansion here. 

CASE FILES: Schuylkill County Commissioner George F. Halcovage Jr. also has an impeachment case before Pennsylvania lawmakers. Last week, he was ordered to turn over documents in a lawsuit centered on the sexual harassment and assault claims driving the impeachment probe.

TEN-SIDED: What do the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game and the kickoff of Pennsylvania's post-election risk-limiting audit process have in common? City & State reports the answer is an unusual dice.

AG INTEREST: Attorney General and Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro asked Taylor Swift fans for their complaints about last week's Ticketmaster debacle and received "a lot" of them. He isn't the only AG paying attention.

UNION NEWS: Pittsburgh public radio workers voted 26-1 in favor of forming a union last week, while striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette brought "the bride of Scabby" to the publisher's wedding. 

THE SCRAMBLER
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 6 p.m. on issue date will be counted.
 
E N T R N A O I C C T N O

Friday's answer: Jurisdiction

Congrats to our weekly winner: Jerry H.

Congrats to our daily winners: Craig W., John P., Bruce B., Susan N.-Z., Judith D., Kimberly D., Barbara F., Don H., Wendy A., Starr B., Marty M., Jon W., Chuck M., Kimberly B., Ronnee G., Brian B., George S., Patty R., Jody A., Kim C., Jodi R., Al M., Eddy Z., Jane R., Daniel M., Ginny P., Elaine C., James B., Dianne K., Joe W., Bill S., Nancy S., David S., Moon M., Elizabeth W., Karen W., Stanley J., and Irene R.
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