We sort of knew this was coming. Again making news this week was the General Assembly’s attempt to finalize the redrawing of the state’s congressional districts by the court-mandated Jan. 31 deadline. While the House and Senate adopted a plan to draw the 17 congressional districts, Governor Wolf vetoed that plan late yesterday essentially throwing the issue to the courts to resolve. With time expired for a compromise plan between the Republican controlled legislature and Democrat Governor, the courts will now have the final say in how the boundaries will be redrawn. The Commonwealth Court requested that political leaders and redistricting advocacy groups submit drafts of their own plans for them to deliberate, which has led to 14 different proposals thus far. Expect a quick turnaround by the courts to make a decision because the first day to circulate nominating petitions in whatever the new districts will be is February 15.
Driverless vehicles one step closer in PA? The Senate Transportation Committee approved a bill this week sponsored by Chairman Wayne Langerholc that will clear the way for the legalization of autonomous vehicles in Pennsylvania. That bill, Senate Bill 965, will provide a roadmap for the testing and deployment of highly automated vehicles. Last week, Langerholc joined with PennDOT Secretary Yasmin Gramian announcing the need and support of the legislation. Pennsylvania is moving to capitalize on educational centers like Carnegie Mellon University and Penn State University, both of whom are investing tons of money into the research and advancement of autonomous vehicle technologies.
Upcoming schedule. Both the state House and Senate won’t return to Harrisburg until Monday, February 7 for a full week of voting session. On Tuesday, February 8, the governor will make his annual budget address to a joint session of the General Assembly at 11 a.m.