DCNR celebrates Franklin Kury, Pa. Environmental Rights Amendment | Five for the Weekend

An observation area at a Northumberland County state park commemorates former lawmaker Franklin Kury’s Environmental Rights Amendment.

By: - August 28, 2021 6:30 am

Kury Point Observation Area (DCNR photo by Christina Novak).

Happy weekend, all.

An observation area at a Northumberland County state park was named for former legislator and Environmental Rights Amendment author Franklin Kury Thursday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the amendment.

The new observation area, known as “Kury Point,” over looks the Susquehanna River at Shikellamy State Park.

A plaque dedicates Kury Point Observation Area (DCNR photo by Christina Novak).

Kury, 84, authored Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which reads: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment.”

A former member of the state House and Senate, Kury ran as an advocate for the environment. “For Clean Streams and Clean Politics,” his 1966 campaign slogan reads.

“I am humbled and honored by this dedication,” Kury said. “When I ran for the House of Representatives in 1966, I had no idea that anything I might do if elected would be recognized 50 years later. It’s a very satisfying moment. I’m delighted to be here.”

We are proud to honor Franklin Kury’s legacy and the landmark legislation that continues to ensure Pennsylvanians’ natural resources are protected and conserved,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “DCNR and other state resource organizations carry out this mission each day as trustees on behalf of the owners – the current and future citizens of Pennsylvania. We are grateful to Mr. Kury for his contributions to conservation in the commonwealth.”

As always, the top 5 stories from this week are below. 

(Editorial cartoon by John Cole)

1. The (cowardly) Nittany Lion | Editorial Cartoon

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Adams.

2. Pa. GOP lawmaker says the cause for a forensic election investigation is ‘weakened and diminished’

Saying his cause had “been weakened and diminished,” a Republican state lawmaker behind an Arizona-style investigation of Pennsylvania’s election results has pressed pause on the probe.

The announcement from state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, came during a since-deleted Thursday morning Facebook live stream before an audience of more than 1,000 supporters.

Mastriano, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, announced plans to pursue a “forensic investigation” into Pennsylvania’s 2020 general and 2021 primary elections in July. He made a sweeping request for voting equipment and election information from York, Tioga, and Philadelphia counties.

Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, joins GOP colleagues in Fulton County, Pennsylvania on July 23, 2021, to respond to decertification of voting machines. (Screenshot)

3. GOP Feud: Corman changes forensic investigation, reassigns Mastriano’s staff in squabble over probe

The Republican state senator who’s leading the charge for an Arizona-style review of Pennsylvania’s election results has accused GOP leadership of pausing the probe, saying they’ve “done nothing but stonewall,” his efforts.

In an interview with the far-right One America News Network, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, said that Senate leadership canceled an alleged Aug. 6 Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee meeting where the 10-member panel was supposed to vote on subpoenas for the proposed investigation. He added that Senate leadership “threatened” to revoke his title as committee chair.

“The staff of the Senate leadership canceled my reservation of that room to have a vote,” Mastriano told OAN host Christina Bobb on Thursday. “Additionally, calls were made to my committee members, saying the meeting was canceled without even conferring with me. This happened behind my back.”

“This is the kind of games that are going behind the scenes,” Mastriano added, instructing constituents to call Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, and Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, to push for the investigation.

Rep. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, holds up a compendium of climate research compiled by the Heartland Institute during a hearing on climate change. Dush announced he will retire come 2020 this November. (Photo from Dush’s state Facebook page)

4. Pa. GOP lawmaker says he’s taking election investigation ‘very seriously’

The Pennsylvania lawmaker now tasked with leading an investigation into the state’s elections says he’s taking the newfound responsibility “very seriously.”

“We should have been having hearings and moving toward a more formalized plan to conduct an investigation weeks ago,” Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, said in a statement released late Friday. “My team and I are in the process of getting things organized and will work with Senate leadership to get it done.”

Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, announced Friday that Dush would be taking over a review initially launched and led by Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, in July.

The change has resulted in a political feud, with Mastriano — a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump — accusing Corman of “stonewalling” his efforts to conduct a review into the 2020 general and 2021 primary elections. Mastriano’s supporters, including right-wing One America News Network personality Christina Bobb, have alleged that Corman appointed Dush to block the probe altogether.

Joanna McClinton speaks at a Legislative Reapportionment Commission meeting on August 24, 2021. (Courtesy of House Democrats)

5. Pa. redistricting commission to count people in prison at their old home, not in their cell

When drawing state legislative lines, Pennsylvania will count tens of thousands of people locked up in state prisons not in their cell, but at their previous home address before they were incarcerated.

This will effectively mark a small, but meaningful, shift in population from the Pennsylvania countryside to its cities, increasing urban representation while reducing rural representation.

The measure, sponsored by House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, passed in a 3-2 vote after two hours of calm, but pointed, debate by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission’s two Republican and two Democratic members.

The commission is rounded out by an independent chair, former University of Pittsburgh chancellor Mark Nordenberg. Together, they are charged with using the state’s census data to redraw all 253 legislative districts, influencing the balance of power in Harrisburg for the next decade.

And that’s the week. See you back here next weekend. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.