Primary Election Results Weigh on Session This Week
Pennsylvania's primary election was one of the most-watched in the country, with a heavy focus at the federal level on replacing outgoing Republican Senator Pat Toomey. On the Democratic side, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman handily beat Congressman Conor Lamb and state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. The Republican Senate primary results are still too close to call, with Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick within the 0.5% margin guaranteeing an automatic recount. The two are currently in a battle over undated mail-in ballots. Dr. Oz's lead has shrunk to just over 1,000 votes, so Pennsylvania's automatic recount clause will shortly kick in with final results due by June 7th.
Switching to the race for the next governor, running unopposed, Attorney General Josh Shapiro is the Democratic nominee, and his chosen running mate state Rep. Austin Davis was declared the Lieutenant Governor nominee on election night. State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) was the resounding victor of the GOP gubernatorial primary, and state Rep. Carrie Lewis DelRosso (R-Allegheny) won the Republican Lieutenant Governor primary.
The primary also resulted in many surprises in the state legislature, including the defeat of eight incumbents by primary challengers. House Appropriations Majority Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York) lost to Wendy Fink by over 1,000 votes. Senate Appropriations Majority Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) is currently down 17 votes to opponent Jarrett Coleman. The race has not been officially called, and it is unclear whether it will also go to a recount. Other incumbent losses in the legislative branch include state Representatives Keith Gillespie (R-York), Brian Kirkland (D-Delaware), Pam DeLissio (D-Philadelphia), Mike Puskaric (R-Allegheny), and Jason Silvis (R-Westmoreland). Due to the redrawn electoral maps, three districts contained incumbent-on-incumbent match-ups. In those districts, Rep. Perry Stambaugh (R-Perry) defeated Rep. John Hershey (R-Juniata), Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh) beat Rep. Gary Day (R-Lehigh), and Rep. Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia) bested Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald (D-Philadelphia).
Coming out of last week’s primary, the state House and Senate are in Harrisburg this week for session activity and turning their focus to the June 30th budget deadline. Yesterday, the House Education Committee approved: SB 224 to address the teacher shortage in PA, SB 932 to revise the definition of household income for educational tax credits, and SB 933, which modifies the rules for the PASSHE School of Governors. The House Insurance Committee also met and approved HB 2585, which prohibits DHS from limiting CHIP MCO plans from bidding to allow for more consumer choice; PPC sent a memo supporting the bill to the committee members. Today, companion legislation, SB 1222, is slated for a vote in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.
The Senate Education Committee also met today and approved the following bills: SB 1244 to allow for temporary graduation pathways for students impacted by COVID-19 testing waivers, HB 972 requiring children to play sports with the gender they were assigned at birth, and HB 1041 which would allow homeschooled children to participate in academic classes offered by the school districts in which they live.
Finally, the House passed HB 1866 by a unanimous vote Monday. The bill, a priority for PPC’s child welfare work, would improve permanency protections for transition age youth. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.
The General Assembly is off for the Memorial Day holiday, but longer session weeks begin on June 6th. PPC will update you as budget negotiations heat up and a clear picture of state investments emerges.