January 12: Constitutional Amendments

PA Constitution

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What We’re Hearing
“He understood the dynamics of the legislature at the time, and it wasn’t important to him whose name was on the bill, it was important to him to get the bill done, and so if it meant having a Republican on the top of the bill, then so be it.” – Former State Rep. Todd Stephens.

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Top Story

1. Senate GOP Pushes Through Trio Of Constitutional Amendment Proposals

State Budget Senate GOP

Almost home.

Pennsylvania Senate Republicans successfully pushed through a set of proposed constitutional amendments on Wednesday that, if passed by the state House, would appear before Keystone State voters on primary ballots in May.

The trio of proposals in Senate Bill 1 (SB1) include:

  • Voter ID: Requiring that both in-person and mail-in voters have unexpired government-issued identification;
  • Regulatory Override: Authorizing the Legislature to block regulations issued by executive branch agencies with a simple majority; and
  • Statute of Limitations Extension: Allowing victims of childhood sexual abuse to seek legal redress for a period of two years. (PoliticsPA)



Constitutional Amendments Pose Test To Incoming PA Governor. “Republicans who control Pennsylvania’s Senate on Wednesday kicked off the new legislative session by pushing through a trio of proposed constitutional amendments that sparked a partisan fight and poses a challenge to the incoming Democratic governor, Josh Shapiro.” (Associated Press)

PA Senate Passes Bill To Help Child Sex Abuse Victims, Other Constitutional Changes. “Past child sexual abuse survivors’ chances of seeking justice against their abuser now rests on the state House of Representatives’ willingness to support its pairing with other controversial measures.” (PennLive)

Relief For Child Sex Abuse Survivors Passes Senate As Part Of Constitutional Amendment Package. “A proposed two-year statutory window for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, after years of delay, could make its way to the ballot this spring, along with a series of other proposed constitutional amendments approved by the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate.” (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

Divided PA Senate Passes Package Of Constitutional Amendments, Including One On Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits. “The Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday passed a package of three proposed constitutional amendments, including one on child sex abuse lawsuits, while the state House remained inactive and mired in partisan disagreements.” (Morning Call)



2. Shapiro To Nominate Former Bucks DA Michelle Henry For Attorney General

She helped convict Kathleen Kane. Now, former Bucks prosecutor hopes to bring change to the AG's office

“Governor-elect Josh Shapiro said he plans to nominate Bucks County’s former top prosecutor Michelle Henry to replace him as Attorney General.

“Michelle Henry has been by my side as First Deputy,” Shapiro said Wednesday during a KYW radio interview. “You may remember she was district attorney in Bucks County for a period of time and a longtime public servant.”

Shapiro said Henry would take over for him by law, as Acting Attorney General, when he is sworn in as governor of Pennsylvania on Jan. 17.” (Bucks County Herald)


Five Named For Cabinet Posts By Shapiro. “Shapiro selected Dr. Val Arkoosh as Secretary of the Department of Human Services; Dr. Debra L. Bogen as Secretary of Health; Dr. Latika Davis-Jones as Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs; Jason Kavulich as Secretary of Aging; and Mike Humphreys as Insurance Commissioner.” (PoliticsPA)

  • Bogen, Allegheny County Health Dept. Director, Named As New PA Secretary of Health. (WESA)
  • Arkoosh To Lead Sprawling Human Services Agency. (Associated Press)
  • Shapiro To Nominate Kavulich As State Secretary Of Aging. (Times-Tribune)


Shapiro Hits The Farm Show, And The Honeymoon Is On. “Gov.-Elect Josh Shapiro has done the Pennsylvania Farm Show thing before, but never quite like this.” (PennLive)

Shapiro, Redding Discuss Future Of PA Agriculture Under New Administration. “State officials, lawmakers, and agricultural stakeholders gathered at the 107th Farm Show on Wednesday to hear from the incoming Shapiro administration about the future of agriculture in Pennsylvania. ” (Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

His Character Is Impeccable – Colleagues Share Montgomery County Native Josh Shapiro’s Journey. “Abington resident follows political path from Montgomery County to the governor’s mansion.” (DelcoTimes)

Judges Weigh GOP Bid To Stop 2 PA House Special Elections In Pittsburgh Area. “Preparations are far along for two Pittsburgh-area special elections that the Republican leader of the Pennsylvania House has filed a lawsuit to delay past their scheduled date in early February.” (Associated Press)

Preparing For Special Election In State Senate 27th District. “It was a busy day at the voter registration office in Northumberland County. Employees were preparing mail-in ballots for the upcoming special election.” (WNEP)

Hand Recount Of 2020 Election Completed In Lycoming County But Conservatives Say Issues Remain. “The hand recount in Lycoming County of two races from the 2020 General Election that Republicans won overwhelming is over, but those who advocated for it say transparency issues remain.” (PennLive)


Around The Commonwealth

3. PA Senate Postpones Krasner Impeachment Trial

“The chamber voted on Wednesday morning to delay the trial that was originally scheduled to begin on Wednesday, January 18, following legal challenges by embattled Philly DA Larry Krasner.” (PoliticsPA)

  • Krasner’s Impeachment Trial Gets Indefinitely Postponed By PA Senate. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • PA Senate Postpones Krasner Impeachment Trial Indefinitely. (Axios Philadelphia)



A Look At The Political Wrangling Over House Speakerships In State Legislatures. “While Republicans in the House were fighting over the vote for speaker, two states faced their own high-stakes tensions as they chose who to lead their statehouses.” (PBS NewsHour)

Baby Boomers Loosen Their Grip On Congress. “Move out of the way, TV dinners, and get ready for avocado toast. Baby boomers, or those born from 1946 to 1964, no longer make up the majority of Congress.” (Roll Call)

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon On Carjacking, Women In Politics And Smoke-Filled Back Rooms. “It’s been a year since Mary Gay Scanlon was carjacked at gunpoint as she left a meeting in Philadelphia. “I don’t think my views changed really much at all,” says the Pennsylvania Democrat, who has made a name for herself as a criminal justice reformer.” (Roll Call)

Kenney Vows A Reset At Beginning Of His Last Year In Office. “Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Wednesday vowed his administration is “still dedicated” to steering the city through grave challenges, a message that came as he begins his final year in office amid criticism that he’s been disengaged.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)


From Pandemic To Partisanship, Gov. Tom Wolf Had A Hard Eight Years In Office. He Loved It All. “Wolf spent his eight years in office with a Republican Legislature. Yet he believes he was able to get things done. How was he able to do that?” (York Daily Record)

Fitzpatrick Wants To Forge ‘Bipartisan Coalition To Get Things Done’ In Congress. “U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick knows that new Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy will need all the help he can get to maintain control of his fellow Republicans while reaching across the aisle to Democrats to get legislation approved in the months ahead. Fitzpatrick may be his man in the middle.” (Bucks County Courier Times)

Montgomery County President Judge To Oversee Appointment Process To Fill Arkoosh’s Seat. “Val Arkoosh’s appointment to serve as Human Services secretary in Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro’s cabinet will leave a seat vacant on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.” (Lansdale Reporter)

PA Senate Bill Aims To Undo 2023 Gas Tax Increase. “Pennsylvania’s state Senate on Wednesday voted to undo an automatic wholesale tax increase on gasoline and diesel that kicks in this year in an effort to prevent motorists from paying more per gallon.” (Associated Press)

Liquor, Wine Prices Set To Increase 4% Sunday In State Stores. “For the first time he could remember in his quarter century in business, bar and restaurant owner Greg Hunsinger is facing an across-the-board price hike on products he buys from the state’s Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores. (Citizens Voice)



4. What They’re Saying

A glance around the Keystone State at editorials and opinions.


1 Thing

5. Doing The Manure Math

A wheelbarrow with manure is shown at the 2023 Farm Show in Harrisburg, Pa. Monday, January 9, 2023.

“A certain scent hangs in the air of the Pennsylvania Farm Show each winter.

Yes, the baked potatoes smell great, the roasted almonds too. But with 6,000 animals — large and small — on display there, there’s a whole lot of manure. It adds up, by the ton, and doesn’t just go out with the garbage.

“There’s two loaders operating all week to move the manure to haulers, and it goes off to become mushroom substrate in Chester County or to become field dressing, fertilizer, that gets spread across farms,” said Shannon Powers, of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. “The pile gets very, very large.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)


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  • When Will PA House Agree On Rules?

    • After the Special House Elections (Feb 7) (92%)
    • End of the Month (Jan 31) (4%)
    • End of Next Week (Jan 27) (2%)
    • Early February (Feb 1-6) (2%)

    Total Voters: 152

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