With Republican Michael Stender’s defeat of Democrat Trevor Finn and Libertarian Elijah Scretching in House District 108 in Central Pennsylvania and Democrat Heather Boyd’s victory over Republican Katie Ford in House District 163 in Delaware County, special elections have once again secured Democratic control of the chamber. Over the course of the campaigns, Pennsylvania Democrats spent more than $1 million in hopes of defending their narrow majority. The races have earned national attention, with President Joe Biden endorsing Democrat Heather Boyd.
And there are likely even more special elections on the horizon, as current state Representatives Sara Innamorato and John Galloway have good chances of winning their November general elections for Allegheny County Executive and district court judge, respectively.
While the special elections stole much of the focus at the beginning of the month, both chambers of the General Assembly have been hard at work passing legislation. Democrats in the state House have taken the opportunity to flex their progressive muscles by passing an expansion of protections for LGBTQ+ people, a guarantee to the right to organized labor and collective bargaining in Pennsylvania’s constitution, a “red flag” bill that would allow law enforcement to temporarily seize firearms from a person deemed an immediate threat to themselves or others and a bill to close the “gun show loophole,” and a bill to broaden the definition of “ethnic intimidation.” Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled Senate passed legislation to ban safe-injection sites, among other legislation. Bills passed in each chamber likely face uphill battles in the other chamber.
The state House also now has a new caucus — the Pennsylvania Progressive Caucus is comprised of a group of 34 state representatives seeking to halt political corruption and curb the impact of corporate interests on legislation.
Looking ahead to June, the Legislature will turn their attention to budget negotiations in order to pass a FY 2023-24 general fund budget before the end of the Commonwealth’s fiscal year on June 30th. Today, the PA Department of Revenue announced that fiscal year-to-date general fund collections are $1.2 billion, or 2.9 percent, above estimate.
Governor Josh Shapiro kicked off the month by signing the first bill of his administration — a bill that requires insurers to cover preventative breast and ovarian cancer screenings to women who are considered high-risk at no additional cost.
May also saw the confirmation of several of Governor Shapiro’s cabinet nominees, including Mike Carroll as transportation secretary, Rick Siger as community and economic development secretary, Jason Kavulich as aging secretary, Russell Redding as secretary of agriculture. Governor Shapiro’s pick for secretary of state, Al Schmidt, is still undergoing a multi-hearing confirmation process.
We continue to work with the four film industry caucus chairs in our efforts to have the film production tax credit increased to $300 million in next year’s budget. As the pace of the legislative session picks up, our outreach to legislators and staff will become more nuisance as we filter through all the “noise” in Harrisburg to ensure this budget request is top of mind. The Cozen team will be bringing David Haddad to Harrisburg for some targeted meetings and we will remain engaged with other industry stakeholders to ensure a unified advocacy effort.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 email@example.com