The surge may be coming, Will House Republicans try to reopen Pa. this week? | Monday Morning Coffee

April 13, 2020 7:22 am

Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny (“Friends of Mike Turzai” / WikiMedia Commons)

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

If, as they say, pictures really do speak 1,000 words, then here, via five Tweets, are about 5,000-ish words on the drama that appears to be set to unfold in the Republican-controlled House this week.

1. Always, always, always read the calendar.

2. Why that matters:

And, yes, there was some pushback:
Neal Lesher, Turzai’s chief of staff, had some thoughts to share, They were, of course, entirely welcome.

3. Why That Math Matters: If Democrats do sit Tuesday out, as some indicated they might, in favor of staying home and helping constituents in some of the state’s most pandemic-afflicted districts, House Republicans would be in a position to push through two pieces of legislation aimed at reopening the state and sending Pennsylvanians back to work. Both are opposed by Gov. Tom Wolf, who has suggested that the state could get hit with a long-awaited surge in cases this week.

There’s this bill, for starters:

And also this one:

4. In a conference call with journalists on Friday, Wolf underlined his opposition to any effort to reopen the state before health officials believe it’s safe to do so.

Some House Democrats interviewed over the weekend believe that Turzai’s power-play is payback for their own parliamentary maneuvering — Democratic leadership later played this down.

5. Earlier in the day on Saturday, Levine, like Wolf, said she understood the desire to get back to work. And while she was encouraged by an apparent flattening of the curve in infections, she also stressed that it was still too soon.

Today and tomorrow in the House should be fascinating. Here at the Capital-Star, we’ll be bringing you full coverage.

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
Washington Reporter Allison Stevens
 leads our coverage this morning with her look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has only widened the broadband gap nationwide and here in Pennsylvania.

Associate Editor Cassie Miller goes deep on the March revenue collections — and what they signal for the budget debate to come — in this week’s edition of The Numbers Racket.

From the weekend:
Stephen Caruso has the heartbreaking story of a central Pennsylvania family who played host to an Italian exchange student, and found they had to send her home to a COVID-19 epicenter.

Washington Correspondent Arianna Skibell takes a look at mail-in balloting, which some warn is not the panacea that some have said it is.

Elizabeth Hardison, who’s become our in-house data expert, walks you through the decision-making process behind our daily map and graphs charting the pandemic.

On our Commentary Page, state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, argues the case for his bill that would protect retail workers during the pandemic. And one expert argues that this is the worst possible time for healthcare rationing.

(Image via

Pennsylvania wine retailers say they can’t get the state Liquor Control Board to replenish their best bottles, the Inquirer reports.
The Post-Gazette looks at the way lockdown is reshaping public education in the state.
And public school construction projects are restarting in the Lehigh Valley under new guidelines, the Morning Call reports.
The pandemic is threatening the state’s vulnerable dairy industryPennLive explains.

Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:

WHYY-FM has the stories of Philadelphia’s Easter celebrations in lockdown. explains why the South will be hardest hit by the pandemic.
Roll Call explains how congressional committees are meeting in the midst of the lockdown.

What Goes On.

As noted above, the House comes in for a non-voting session today. The House State Government Committee meets at the call of the chair in the Majority Caucus Room140 Main Capitol.
Time TBD: Daily COVID-19 briefing.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s an old favorite from Sugar that popped up last night on shuffle. It’s “Hoover Dam,” from their amazing debut LP “Copper Blue.”

Monday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
Legendary L.A. Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda — wearing a mask — had a pep talk for fans (via Twitter).

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.