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PA State Senate to Join House in Closing

They might want to hang a “Closed for Business” sign on the door of the Pennsylvania State Capitol.

First, the state House closed. Now the state Senate announced it will be closed the weeks of Jan. 23 and Jan. 30 because the House is closed.

“Given that the House has not yet organized their chamber, our options for fully addressing legislative issues are limited at this time,” said Kate Flessner, a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-Armstrong).

“Additionally, the Commonwealth Court opinions on the impeachment process create more questions than answers, leaving our proceedings on the matter in flux.  Given that an open appeal period on the litigation runs through January 30, until further notice. No impeachment actions will be taken by the Senate,” Flessner said.

The Senate was to hold an impeachment trial for Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Jan. 18. It was postponed after the court ruling.

In the closely divided House, several Republicans, including the leadership, had agreed to elect Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) as speaker. While the Republicans currently hold the majority at 101-99, the Democrats will likely be narrowly in the majority after special elections are held for three vacancies in heavily Democratic districts.

Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) had said they voted for Rozzi, a moderate who was nominated by Rep. Jim Gregory (R-Blair), to keep progressive Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) out of the position.

“We prevented the progressive agenda from being able to move forward,” White said.

However, when Rozzi did not immediately change his party registration to independent as he had promised Republicans, including Gregory, called for him to step down. And the legislative session paused.

Rozzi adjourned the House and issued this statement. “In an effort to move things forward and to get Democrats and Republicans talking again, I am creating a workgroup of three Republicans and three Democrats of varied interests from across the commonwealth to sit down and find a way forward.

“Make no mistake – we must pass statute of limitations reform (for childhood victims of sexual abuse). But we also must fix the workings of our government and find a way to move forward as Pennsylvanians for the betterment of Pennsylvania.

“History will not judge us based on how many Democratic Party wins or Republican Party wins we achieve, but we will be judged based on what we did for the children of this commonwealth.”

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