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January 2023

Paula Wolf, Liquor Control Board Price Jump Draws Backlash, Lehigh Valley Business (January 13, 2023), Paula Wolf writes that the decision by the Liquor Control Board to increase the prices of thousands of goods by 4% has been criticized as being poorly timed and lacking transparency. Senator Mike Regan characterized the price increase as an additional tax on the products, saying that the state constitution gives the legislature sole power to levy taxes.

Editorial Board, We Need Serious, Comprehensive Strategies for Improving Air Quality in Lancaster County, Lancaster Newspapers (January 15, 2023), the Editorial Board writes that the poor air quality of Lancaster County and surrounding counties has the potential to cause serious health effects and that citizens should urge officials to address the issue. The editorial suggests that citizens vote against a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow environmental regulations to be nullified by the legislature, reminding voters that the state constitution grants the right to clean air and water.

Francis Scarcella, Removed Shamokin Councilman to Seek Seat Again in Spring, Daily Item (January 22, 2023), Francis Scarcella writes that former Shamokin City Councilman Joe Leschinskie has announced that he will be running to regain the position after being removed in 2022. Leschinskie had been removed after a judge determined that his 2009 felony conviction was for an “infamous crime” and that he was barred from holding office by the state constitution.

Staff, Pushing Abuse Window Over the Finish Line, Daily Item (Sunbury, PA) (Jan. 10, 2023), a staff writer states in an op-ed that lawmakers have shown a bipartisan willingness to back the proposed constitutional amendment opening the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The op-ed argues that getting the amendment onto the ballot as quickly as possible is an important step to benefit victims who have already been waiting on the amendment for years longer than necessary. [Following publication of this article, the January deadline passed without the proposed amendments being confirmed in the House.]

Eric Scicchitano, PA Senate Committee Votes to Combine Constitutional Amendments into Single Bill, Daily Item (Sunbury, PA) (Jan. 11, 2023), Eric Scicchitano writes that Senate Republicans voted to combine constitutional amendments concerning voter ID, regulatory disapproval, and exceptions to the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse victims into a single bill. Any proposed amendments must be adopted by the end of January if they are to meet the advertising requirement needed to appear on the May 2023 primary ballot. [No special session followed publication of this article, resulting in the January deadline passing without the proposed amendments being confirmed in the House.]

Peter Hall, Commonwealth Court Opinions on Krasner Impeachment ‘Create More Questions Than Answers’, Penn Capital-Star (Jan. 15, 2023), Peter Hall writes that, in an opinion released by the Commonwealth Court explaining a prior order that declared the articles of impeachment against District Attorney Krasner not constitutionally valid, one justice reconsidered his agreement with the prior order. This change of heart makes it unlikely that the court would have sufficient votes to enforce the order if requested, leaving the impeachment proceedings on uncertain grounds. The Senate has voted to indefinitely postpone the impeachment trial and cancelled session days through January, noting that the period to appeal the order ends on January 30.