It may be hard to believe, but we are in fall right now. Summer vacations are ending as we get ready for back-to-school nights and football season. This will be true for our chapter too as our classrooms begin to fill up with apprentices again soon. In a way, fall resets a clock for the coming year.

This also usually brings a returning state legislature to Harrisburg to pick up where they left off after passing a state budget. But like with most things in 2023, there isn’t really a norm to see here. After an oddity in how the state budget was partially adopted following over a month impasse in early August, questions remain on aspects of the budget yet to be negotiated between the House-Senate-Governor and now we have a tied 101-101 democrat-republican balance in the House after the resignation of Rep. Sara Innamorato (D-Allegheny) it’s hard to predict what will happen next. For those keeping score that last part means that the slim majority previously held by democrats is temporarily broken for an even tie.

We will have a special election for the Innamorato seat shortly after the House officially comes back later this month, but Rep. John Galloway (D-Bucks) may become a judge in this fall’s municipal election. So again, without a special election the majority balance is tenuous. This fall will bring the unofficial start for 2024 election campaigning both at the state and national level, so be prepared for lots of ads and mailers soon.

It is difficult to predict what will happen or exactly what to prepare for this fall as a prelude to the coming election year. The only thing that can be certain is a reminder of how fragile the political climate really is in Harrisburg (and D.C. really). With that being said, the best course of action is to continue to engage with all public officials to inform them of the work you’re doing and what keeps you up at night. Be clear about what they can do to help those concerns and be clear in how you want to help them through creating jobs and building quality projects. Be mindful that many of the negative issues we are concerned about are election campaign issues for 2024 just as much, if not more than a policy proposal now. With narrow majorities and clear political divides everywhere sharing that important line of communication will be a key factor in pushing back on any of the negative policies that may be voted on or have debates in the capitol.

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