2016 PA Election Summary: Republican Majorities Grow in House and Senate; Dems Win Row Offices, Lose President and US Senate Races
Pennsylvania saw mixed results in the statewide elections with Republican’s Donald Trump and Senator Patrick Toomey both winning the Commonwealth. Trump’s success is the first time a Republican candidate for President has won Pennsylvania since 1988 in a surprising result where Hillary Clinton was expected to win the state. Sen. Toomey barely squeaked by Katie McGinty winning by less than 2% of the vote, but his win also allowed Republicans to keep the majority in the US Senate. However, Democrat Candidates for Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer all won their statewide campaigns. Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro won for Attorney General with 51% of the vote over State Senator John Rafferty, Eugene DePasquale retains his position as Auditor General with 50% of the vote to challenger John Brown’s 45%. Joe Torsella easily won for State Treasurer with 51% of the vote over Otto Voit who received 45%.
As of January the State Senate will have a 34 seat (veto-proof) majority for the Republicans. Republican Senator Tom Killion (Delaware) won a rematch over challenger Marty Malloy in a repeat of a Special Election earlier this year to replace former Senator Dominic Pileggi. Incumbent Democrat Senators Rob Teplitz (Dauphin) and Sean Wiley (Erie) lost to their Republican challengers John DiSanto and Dan Laughlin, respectively. Also, an open seat to replace Democrat John Wozniak was won by Republican Wayne Langerholc over Democrat Ed Cernic of Cambria County. Other new faces in the Senate include Mike Regan (R-Cumberland) replacing Republican Sen. Pat Vance, Sharif Street (D-Phila) replacing Shirley Kitchen, and Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) replacing Lloyd Smucker who successfully ran for a seat in the US House of Representatives, succeeding retiring Cong. Joe Pitts. All of the other PA Congressional delegation won re-election.
Pending a potential re-count in Chester County, Republicans in the State House also saw their majority increase to 122 with Republicans winning two open seats that were vacated by incumbent Democrats not seeking re-election. Republicans also defeated Democrat incumbents Jarret Gibbons (D-Lawrence) who will be replaced by Republican Aaron Bernstine, and Tim Mahoney (D-Fayette) who lost to Republican Matthew Dowling. Rep David Parker was the lone House Republican to lose re-election, losing a rematch with his 2014 opponent, Democrat Maureen Madden.
The House and Senate were in Harrisburg only a couple of days this month, to clean up a few pieces of legislation, but primarily to elect their new leaders for the 2017-18 legislative session. There were few contested elections, and only a couple of changes in the leadership rosters of the four caucuses, mostly due to retirements, and mainly in the House Republican delegation. State Representative Stan Saylor (York) was elected Majority Appropriations Chairman, to replace retiring Bill Adolph; Marcy Toepel (Montgomery) becomes Majority Caucus Chair, succeeding Sandra Major, and Kurt Masser (Northumberland) as Caucus Administrator, replacing Rep. Brian Ellis. Current Senate Democrat Caucus Administrator, Sen. John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) was not renamed to the post as of Wednesday. The position is appointed by the Minority Leader. Of note, Sen. Yudichak challenged Sen. Farnese for his role as Caucus Secretary.
New Senate Republican Leadership
President Pro Tempore-designee: Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson)
Leader: Jake Corman (R-Centre)
Appropriations Chairman: Patrick Browne (R-Lehigh)
Whip: John Gordner (R-Columbia)
Caucus Chair: Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery)
Caucus Secretary: Richard Alloway (R-Franklin)
Caucus Administrator: Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks)
Policy Chair: David Argall (R-Schuylkill)
New Senate Democratic Leadership
Leader: Jay Costa (D-Allegheny)
Appropriations Chairman: Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia)
Whip: Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia)
Caucus Chair: Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny)
Caucus Secretary: Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia)
Caucus Administrator: Has Not Yet Been Appointed
Policy Chair: Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton)
New House Republican Leadership:
Speaker-designee: Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny)
Leader: David Reed (R-Indiana)
Appropriations Chairman: Stan Saylor (R-York)
Whip: Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster)
Caucus Chair: Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery)
Caucus Secretary: Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion)
Caucus Administrator: Kurt Masser (R-Northumberland)
Policy Chair: Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre)
New House Democratic Leadership:
Leader: Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny)
Appropriations Chairman: Joe Markosek (D-Allegheny)
Whip: Mike Hanna (D-Clinton)
Caucus Chair: Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny)
Caucus Secretary: Rosita Youngblood (D-Philadelphia)
Caucus Administrator: Neal Goodman (D-Schuylkill)
Policy Chair: Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster)
The 2015-16 Legislative Session officially ended on November 30. Any bills that did not make it to the Governor’s desk died, and must be reintroduced next session. The General Assembly acted on the following bills of interest to PSPE in the past month.
HB 1398 RE: Partnerships and LLC’s (by Rep. Adam Harris, et al)
This legislation replaces existing law on general partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies with the most recent revisions of three acts promulgated by the Uniform Law Commission (ULC): the Uniform Partnership Act (UPA), the Uniform Limited Partnership Act (ULPA) and the Uniform Limited Liability Act (ULLA).
Approved by the Governor 11/21/2016 (Act No. 170 of 2016)
The PLANCON Advisory Committee held two public hearings in SEPA, on November 21 in Philadelphia and November 22 in Delaware County. To see video clips from the meetings, click here: http://plancon.pasenategop.com/
HB 2203 RE: Autonomous Vehicles (by Rep. Jim Marshall, et al)
Amends Title 75 (Vehicles) adding a new chapter providing for autonomous and connected vehicles. Provides for the development, testing and operation of autonomous vehicles in the Commonwealth. Further provides for the requirements for the safety and control of the vehicles, vehicle testers and the traveling public.
Laid on the table, and removed from the table, 11/14/2016