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2012 Session Ends, Issues Remain. Legislators Look to Election Day

Last Wednesday the 2012-13 Legislative Session came to a close. Several pieces of legislation were sent to the Governor for approval, including the 2012-2013 Capital Budget authorization, but a few bills that were anticipated to be finalized before the election will wait until 2013 for further consideration. The House and Senate will return to Harrisburg the week of November 13 for leadership elections and housekeeping matters.

Governor Corbett’s charter school legislation passed the Senate but floundered in the House where Republicans balked over inclusion of provisions related to correcting budget drafting errors from June.  Language to correct the Fiscal Code was included in a Senate amendment that also included the agreed-upon charter school language in Senate Bill 1115. Lawmakers and staff said the new language approved by the Senate on Tuesday was a product of months of summer negotiations.

Legislators are now back in their home districts preparing for the General Election on November 6. Pennsylvania polls show the races for President and US Senator very close.  Because Pennsylvania does not have early voting, the state produces the most number of voters to physically visit their polling place on election day.

And Pennsylvanians have many choices to make – from President to US Senator, all 17 Congressional seats, three statewide offices (Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer), 26 State Senate seats and all state House seats. For more information on specific races, visit the state Department of State website.

In 2010 the GOP gained 14 House seats, and now has a 110-92 edge. Democrats will need to win at least 10 seats to regain the majority.  It is doubtful that the Democrats can get that number, but they hope to make a significant dent in the GOP lead.  Leaders of both parties have told ERG they expect the Republicans to remain in the majority after the election.

Republicans have controlled the state Senate for two decades, but Democrats have targeted several seats in 2012.  It is highly unlikely that Democrats can take over five GOP Senate seats, but with a few wins, the math on issues such as budget, tort reform and infrastructure would become much more difficult for the majority.