A sad start to the new session. The General Assembly officially convened on Tuesday, Jan. 5 to begin a new legislative cycle. But, sadly, the beginning of the new General Assembly started off on a sad note when it was announced that Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland/Somerset) passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 2. Rep. Reese was recently elected to leadership by his Republican House colleagues to be the new Majority Caucus Chairman this upcoming session. The mood was very somber as a memorial to Rep. Reese adorned his seat on the House Floor and many members paid tribute to him on a day that is typically celebratory in tone. The death of Rep. Reese will eventually result in a new selection to the House Republican leadership team and also a Special Election will be called in the next few months to replace his now vacant House seat.
APC would like to send our deepest sympathies to the Reese family, especially his wife and three young children. Mr. Reese was 42 years of age.
New faces take the oath of office. The beginning of the session, or “Swearing in Day,” is typically ceremonial with friends, families and supporters flocking to the state capitol for the festivities. This year, however, the ongoing restrictions in place due to COVID preventing any of that from taking place. The House swore in its members in “waves” so not to ask all 203 Members to enter the chamber at the same time. Certainly, a very different looking day that in year’s past.
Thirty-one (31) new freshman took the oath of office this term—25 of them in the House and another 6 in the Senate. There were, however, some fireworks that made the day interesting to say the least.
One senator, Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Westmoreland/Allegheny), was not permitted to be seated this past week. The Republican majority opted not to swear in Brewster due to a pending challenge by his opponent, Nicole Ziccarelli, in federal court. There is no timetable as to when that case will be decided. Brewster was certified as the winner of the election by 61 votes.
House appoints committee chairs. At this point in time, only the House has named is committee chairpersons for the upcoming session. In regard to the House Transportation Committee, those chairmen will be the same as they were last session.
Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-Chester) will remain as Majority Chairman of the House Transportation Committee and Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne/Lackawanna) will remain as the Minority Chairman of the committee.
The Senate has not named its committee chairpersons at this time.
A full list of House chairperson’s are listed below:
The House majority committee chairs for the 2021-22 legislative session are as follows:
- Aging and Older Adult Services Committee: Rep. Gary Day (R-Lehigh)
- Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee: Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams)
- Appropriations Committee: Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York)
- Children and Youth Committee: Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland)
- Commerce Committee: Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford)
- Consumer Affairs Committee: Rep. Jim Marshall (R-Beaver)
- Education Committee: Rep. Curt Sonney (R-Erie)
- Environmental Resources and Energy Committee: Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler)
- Finance Committee: Rep. Mike Peifer (R-Pike)
- Game and Fisheries Committee: Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York)
- Gaming Oversight Committee: Rep. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin)
- Health Committee: Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren)
- Human Services Committee: Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks)
- Insurance Committee: Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford)
- Judiciary Committee: Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin)
- Labor and Industry Committee: Rep. Jim Cox (R-Berks)
- Liquor Control Committee: Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong)
- Local Government Committee: Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar (R-Somerset)
- Professional Licensure Committee: Rep. David Hickernell (R-Lancaster)
- State Government Committee: Rep. Seth Grove (R-York)
- Tourism and Recreational Development Committee: Rep. David Millard (R-Columbia)
- Transportation Committee: Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-Chester)
- Urban Affairs Committee: Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Schuylkill)
- Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee: Rep. Karen Boback (R-Luzerne)
The House Democratic committee chairs for the 2021-22 legislative session are as follows:
- Aging & Older Adult Services Committee — Rep. Steve Samuelson (D-Northampton)
- Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee — Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne)
- Appropriations Committee — Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery)
- Children & Youth Committee — Rep. Pam DeLissio (D-Montgomery)
- Commerce Committee — Rep. John Galloway (D-Bucks)
- Consumer Affairs Committee — Rep. Robert Matzie (D-Beaver)
- Education Committee — Rep. Mark Longietti (D-Mercer)
- Environmental Resources & Energy Committee — Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware)
- Finance Committee – Rep. Kevin Boyle (D-Philadelphia)
- Game and Fisheries Committee — Rep. Ed Neilson (D-Philadelphia)
- Gaming Oversight Committee — Rep. Scott Conklin (D-Centre)
- Health Committee — Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny)
- Human Services Committee — Rep. Angel Cruz (D-Philadelphia)
- Insurance Committee — Rep. Tony DeLuca (D-Allegheny)
- Judiciary Committee — Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery)
- Labor & Industry Committee — Rep. Gerald Mullery (D-Luzerne)
- Liquor Control Committee — Rep. Dan Deasy (D-Allegheny)
- Local Government Committee — Rep. Bob Freeman (D-Northampton)
- Professional Licensure Committee — Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny)
- State Government Committee — Rep. Margo Davidson (D-Delaware)
- Tourism & Recreational Development Committee — Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery)
- Transportation Committee — Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne)
- Urban Affairs Committee — Rep. Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster)
- Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee — Rep. Chris Sainato (D-Lawrence)