2020 Election Finally Resolved. Last week we reported that one senator, Jim Brewster (D-Westmoreland/Allegheny), was not permitted to take the oath of office when the Senate convened for the beginning of the new General Assembly session. Brewster was not seated due to a pending federal lawsuit challenging the election results. The court issued its ruling this week dismissing the challenge and therefore re-affirming Sen. Brewster’s narrow 61 vote victory. Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman convened the senate into a special session on Wednesday to administer the oath of office to Brewster. With that, the Senate has a full 50 members with the GOP holding the majority 29-20 with 1 independent who caucuses with the GOP majority.

Senate Majority Announces Committee Chairs. The Senate Republicans announced the committee chairmanships this week. Senator Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), who was the Senate Transportation Committee Chair last session, was recently elevated to become the Senate Majority Leader. It was announced that Senator Wayne Langerholc (R-Cambria) will become the new Senate Transportation Committee Chairman for the 2021-22 legislative session.

A full list of Senate chairmanships are as follows:

  • Aging & Youth Committee: Sen. Judy Ward (R-Blair)
  • Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee: Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver)
  • Appropriations Committee: Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh)
  • Banking & Insurance Committee: Sen. John DiSanto (R-Dauphin)
  • Communications & Technology Committee: Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York)
  • Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee: Sen. John Yudichak (I-Luzerne)
  • Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee: Sen. Robert Tomlinson (R-Bucks)
  • Education Committee: Sen. Scott Martin (R-Lancaster)
  • Environmental Resources & Energy Committee: Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming)
  • Finance Committee: Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango)
  • Game & Fisheries Committee: Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie)
  • Health & Human Services Committee: Sen. Michele Brooks (R-Mercer)
  • Intergovernmental Operations Committee: Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin)
  • Judiciary Committee: Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne)
  • Labor & Industry Committee: Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington)
  • Law & Justice Committee: Sen. Mike Regan (R-Cumberland)
  • Local Government Committee: Sen. Cris Dush (R-Jefferson)
  • Rules & Executive Nominations Committee: Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland)
  • State Government Committee: Sen. David Argall (R-Schuylkill)
  • Transportation Committee: Sen. Wayne Langerholc (R-Cambria)
  • Urban Affairs & Housing Committee: Sen. Joe Pittman (R-Indiana)
  • Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness Committee: Sen. Pat Stefano (R-Fayette)

Special Election Set for May 18. A special election will be held on Tuesday, May 18 to fill the open state House seat for the 59th legislative district. The seat was most recently held by Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland), who died from a brain aneurysm earlier this month. Reese was set to begin his seventh term this month and was elected the chairman of the House Republican Caucus for the 2021-22 legislative session. In special elections, candidates are selected by their local political parties and face off in one election. The winner is then sworn-in as state representative.