(Photo by Daniella Heminghaus/New Jersey Monitor)
Happy weekend, all.
Pennsylvania’s top election official announced this week that a statewide audit of the May 16 primary election found “no discrepancies between the original and audited unofficial results.”
The risk-limiting audit (RLA), required election officials from 14 counties across Pennsylvania (Adams, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Union, Washington, and Westmoreland counties), to hand-tally randomly selected ballot batches before comparing those vote totals to the original machine counts for that race.
According to the department, the races to be audited were determined through a random selection process on May 22. The auditing process was live-streamed by the department on May 25.
“I want to thank county election officials for their participation in this RLA at a time when they were also busy conducting the 2% statutorily required review that they must perform after each primary and general election,” Acting Secretary of State Al Schmidt said. “Because of their efforts and hard work, Pennsylvanians can feel confident in the accuracy and integrity of the commonwealth’s electoral system.”
The first statewide RLA was held in 2020 with the department issuing an order in November 2022, that directs counties to conduct pre-certification RLAs after every election.
As always, the top five stories from this week are below.
A bill to modernize Pennsylvania’s dog licensing system unanimously passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday after years of discussion around the system’s solvency.
The bill, SB 746, was sponsored by state Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Beaver, and would raise the cost of a dog license for the first time in more than two decades to a rate of $8 for an annual license and $80 for a lifetime license for male and female dogs. The rates for Pennsylvania residents 65 years of age or older and persons with disabilities would be $6 for an annual license or $50 for a lifetime license for male and female dogs.
This year marks my twentieth as a member of the U.S. Army War College faculty and resident of the greater Carlisle community.
Each year we receive a new cohort of War College officer-students attending the resident education program. They come from diverse backgrounds and locations from across the nation.
In addition, we have about 80 International Fellows from more than 70 countries.
Pennsylvania House Democrats proposed more than $900 million in additional spending over Gov. Josh Shapiro’s $44.4 billion spending plan introduced in March.
The budget amendment approved in a 102-101 vote in the House on Monday significantly increases funding for K-12 funding, state universities, and financial aid for college students.
It adds up to a $1.7 billion increase in education spending compared to the current budget, Appropriations Committee Chairperson Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, said.
Even with a Democratic majority in the state House and a governor who included legalized adult-use marijuana in his future budget projections, the commonwealth is no closer to creating a regulated recreational cannabis market.
Pennsylvania remains one of the only states in the region not to have established or be in the process of debating weed legalization. Neighboring states, including New York and New Jersey have fully established adult-use recreational markets. To the south, Delaware and Maryland’s state legislatures recently passed measures to begin regulating, licensing and taxing for cannabis sales.
As LGBTQ+ organizations around the country celebrate the start of Pride Month, a coalition of trans- and queer-led groups are hosting a Pride event on Friday to protest the annual Moms For Liberty conference at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott later this month and the event’s keynote speaker, Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis.
The 6:15 p.m. event comes as the General Assembly returns to session next week to an agenda that includes final approval of a long-sought LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination bill.
And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.
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