By: David G. Greineder, IOM, ABC Pennsylvania Director of Government Affairs
Get ready for a jam-packed 2022. If you’ve been paying attention to what’s been going on in Harrisburg this past month, you know the drama has already begun.
Let’s start with what we affectionately call “re-districting.” Every decade, states go through a process of their own choosing to re-draw state and federal legislative districts. Because Pennsylvania is losing population, the Commonwealth’s congressional delegation will shrink from 18 to 17 congresspersons. This means legislative leaders will have to merge two seats. No easy task. A few weeks ago, preliminary maps were released by the House. The maps must go through the entire legislative process, and the governor must sign-off unless there are votes for an override. There could be legal challenges depending on the outcome of the legislative process and how contentious the talks will be. Regardless, the timeline is extremely tight, as session days are short, and candidates begin circulating petitions in mid-February. If you are interested in reviewing or commenting on the congressional maps, you can go to www.paredistricting.com.
Next, we all know the impact the governor’s executive orders had on the construction industry, and all industries. Republican leaders have been clear that they do not want the same chaos that ensued over the last two years to continue. The first remedy was the public’s approval of a constitutional amendment ending a governor’s emergency declaration after 21-days. This essentially ended the governor’s COVID-19 executive order. Despite the new rule, the administration has been releasing orders and mandates through the agencies, which are enforceable until a legal challenge is successful. In addition, the Department of Environmental Protection could be implementing a carbon tax program – which ABC opposes – sometime next year. This program was initiated through the regulatory process without legislative approval. The legislature passed multiple disapproval resolutions via a bipartisan vote; however, those resolutions were vetoed and continue to be opposed by the governor. Returning to election issues, Republican leaders have been frustrated that the governor has vetoed and opposes various election reform bills proposed by the legislature.
This back-and-forth has led to the legislature, largely along partisan lines, to move another constitutional amendment bill that would:
- End an executive order or proclamation that purports to have the force of law after 21 days, unless extended by concurrent resolution of the General Assembly.
- End the practice of presenting a disapproval resolution of a regulation to the governor.
- Require voters to provide valid identification to vote.
- Require the Auditor General to ensure the accuracy of the list of registered voters, the administration of voter registration, and election results.
- Allow gubernatorial candidates to select their own running mate.
This proposed amendment has a long way to go, as the same bill must pass in two consecutive sessions. (The earliest it could go to the voters would be 2023.)
As we enter the “silly season,” ABC will strive to provide as many opportunities as possible for you to meet with candidates and ask questions. In addition, there are many ways for you to financial contribute to ABC’s political action accounts. You can go to https://abckeystone.org/advocacy-political-action/#national for more information on ways to contribute.
Here’s to a successful, prosperous, and entertaining New Year.
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Posted December 28, 2021