We’re back!
Yes, This Week in the Capitol is back and will resume now that the General Assembly is back in town for the fall legislative session. The legislature resumed this week for the first time since it adjourned in June. And many legislative committees hit the ground running with numerous hearings on a variety of “familiar” topics. Welcome back!

And yes…COVID still occupies the agenda.
House Republican leaders began the week outlining a series of legislative proposals to respond to Governor Wolf’s recent regulatory COVID mandates mainly centering around the mask mandate for schools. Democratic leaders responded saying they will oppose any GOP efforts to stop the mask mandate in schools. So…we’ve seen this play out before and it seems we are poised to watch it unfold again.

Reshaping the lines.
The meetings of the Legislative Reapportionment Commission heated up this week which we reported to you would surely dominate much of the fall 2021 legislative agenda. The commission is charged with redrawing all 253 House and Senate districts based on population shifts that resulted from the 2020 Census. The five person commission met and adopted a series of resolutions guiding how they will “count” Pennsylvanians when drawing the lines. Parallel to this effort will be a necessary step by the General Assembly which will need to adopt legislation redrawing the state’s U.S. Congressional Districts, which Pennsylvania is scheduled to lose 1 seat bringing the new total to 17. Hang on to seats…this roller coaster is just starting to begin.

Senate Transportation Committee held several hearings.
Chairman Wayne Langerholc also hit the ground running this week by convening two Senate Transportation Committee meetings. The first was a hearing on evaluating the state’s DUI laws. The committee heard testimony on a number of bills aimed at strengthening the laws regarding impaired driving. The second hearing was held with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) on toll-by-plate payment leakage. It was recently reported that there was approximately $104 million in unpaid and uncollected tolls since the launch of its cashless toll collection system.

Upcoming schedule.
The General Assembly recessed today until Monday, September 27, when both the House and Senate return for legislative session.