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HARRISBURG — A special election to fill the Pennsylvania House seat vacated by Democrats should be held on February 7, a federal court has ruled.
Both the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House claimed they had the authority to schedule three key special elections in Allegheny County. The results of these races will likely determine which political party holds a majority in the state legislature, which is currently stalled due to the ongoing power struggle.
The parties had previously agreed to hold one special election on February 7 to replace the late Rep. Tony Deluca, but were at odds over the other two.
On Friday, a panel of three judges control He supported Democratic leader Joanna McClinton’s desire to hold all three elections on that day. Republicans had called for two elections to be held in her May primary.
“Today’s decision is good news for the nearly 200,000 Allegheny County residents who currently lack representation in the state House,” a spokesman for the state House Democratic Caucus said in a statement. Election officials will be able to print ballots and make final preparations for special elections on February 7 in Legislative Districts 32, 34 and 35.”
A statement released by the state House Republicans did not specify whether the caucuses will appeal the ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
“Instead of resolving disputes where the answers are self-evident based on numbers, courts will choose the path of least resistance, thereby strengthening the foundations of our republic and the law,” said House Republican Majority Leader Brian Cutler. It weakened confidence in control,” he said. statement“Republicans in the House have been unwaveringly consistent with our desire to fill these seats, holding elections in the ordinary course of business and not through unjust loopholes.”
A spokesperson for the Allegheny County Elections Division did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to Associated Presscounty attorneys said Wednesday that the voting machines had been tested and precincts secured.
In November, Democrats won 102 of the 203 seats in the House. But DeLuca died just before Election Day, and his two other victorious Democrats resigned in December to take higher office.
Those vacancies put Democrats at a three-vote disadvantage against Republicans, setting the stage for the start of a two-year congressional debate in early January.
Towards the start of the session, Democratic and Republican leaders failed to negotiate a power-sharing pact.
After negotiations broke down, McClinton swore early, claiming that the Democratic Party’s 102nd victory had given her the power to schedule an election on February 7.
Cutler, who was speaker of the state House of Representatives in November, set the date for Deluca’s special election for February 7. Days after McClinton’s actions (which Republicans called a “paperwork rebellion”), Cutler took the oath himself and had his two other elections scheduled. primaries in May. He argued that doing so would reduce confusion and costs for Allegheny County.
Cutler then filed a lawsuit in the state court of appeals to reject McClinton’s election date and to respect his authority to set the date.
Amid the trial, state legislators met in Harrisburg on January 3 to elect a speaker. The Speaker moderates debates on the floor, introduces bills for voting, and appoints the chairs of the committees on the floor. They also have the power to set the dates for special elections.
The Democrats decided to adjourn the House after failing to win the votes to elect McClinton as Speaker.The proposal was rejected by his one vote, followed by Surprise Nomination of Rep. Mark Rozzi (D., Burks).
Lotzi’s nomination Designed behind the scenes by state House Republicansthey said they expect Lotzi to drop his Democratic affiliation and become an independent. Probability is high.
But since his surprise victory, Rozzi has not spoken to reporters or answered questions about whether he would give up his Democratic registration. In general, he said he was “only thinking about switching.”
In this uncertainty, Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on the basic rules necessary to govern the Chamber and advance the lawThis includes a constitutional amendment to open a two-year window in which survivors of childhood sexual abuse can sue the abuser and the agency that covered up the crime.
Rozzi convened a working group of three Democrats and three Republicans to work on the rule. The group will meet for the first time on Tuesday.
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https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2023/01/pa-house-special-elections-court-ruling/ PA House Special Election Should Be Held Feb. 7: Court Spotlight PA