It’s a very different Farm Show week | Five for the Weekend

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Pa. Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding unveiled the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show butter sculpture. It was carved from a half-ton of butter (Commonwealth Media Services photo)

Happy Weekend, all.

Saturday, Jan,. 9 kicks off the first-ever virtual farm show in the exposition’s 105-year history.

Virtual visitors will be able to watch live feed from the duckling pond and beehive cameras daily in addition to other virtual events scheduled to take place this week.

The Farm Show and its exhibits will run from Saturday, Jan. 9 – Saturday, Jan. 16. 

The complete schedule of events can be found here. 

As always, the Top 5 Most-Read Stories from this week are below.

Enjoy your weekend,
Cassie Miller, Associate Editor

1. Eight of Pa.’s nine Republicans in the U.S. House say they will oppose certification of Pa.’s electors

Eight of Pennsylvania’s nine Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives have released a joint statement saying they will oppose the certification of Pennsylvania’s electors when Congress meets to count electoral votes on Jan. 6.

The lawmakers, U.S. Reps. Dan Meuser, 9th District; Scott Perry, R-10th District, Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District; Fred Keller, R-12th District; John Joyce, R-13th District; Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District; Glen ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District, and Mike Kelly, R0-16th District, argued in a joint statement that Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar exceeded their authority by, among other things, allowing counties to accept mail-in ballots that were received after Election Day but were postmarked by Nov. 3.

2. Pa. Sen. Toomey: I’ll ‘vigorously defend our form of government’ when Congress meets to count electoral votes

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., issued a stinging statement Saturday, chastising GOP colleagues who plan to oppose the certification of Joe Biden’s win, calling it an effort to “disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others.”

On Saturday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joined by nearly a dozen colleagues, announced they planned to oppose Biden’s win, a symbolic move that will not prevent him from taking office, but one will plunge Congress into a rancorous partisan debate on a day that is usually pro forma and without drama.

According to the Washington Post, Cruz and the Republicans, whose ranks include senators-elect, are not trying to reverse the election results, but “but rather give voice to those who don’t believe it was conducted fairly, despite no investigation nor court finding any evidence of wrongdoing.”

3. Pa. Republican Rep. Mike Reese dies at age 42

Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Reese, a Republican whose 59th House District seat spans Westmoreland and Somerset counties, has died, aged 42, apparently of a brain aneurysm, officials said Saturday.

Reese died Saturday afternoon at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital with his family by his side, KDKA-TV reported, House Republicans said in a statement. His death comes just days before the members of the 203-member House are due to be sworn into office for the 2021 legislative session.

On December 7, Reese tested positive for coronavirus, the Capital-Star previously reported.

Reese, who was first elected in 2008, and won re-election in November, served as the House Republican Caucus secretary during the 2019-20 session. He was elected to serve as caucus chairman in the 2020-21 session, KDKA-TV reported.

4. Pa. caps off a very strange year in alcohol sales

What happens when a state with a monopoly on alcohol sales moves, in one fell swoop, to close all of its retail locations for weeks on end during a pandemic?

Not much when it comes to the bottom line, annual data from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board show – though your sales graphs might look a bit erratic.

Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board saw a 9 percent jump in net income in the fiscal year that ended in June 2020, owing largely to reduced operating costs during a year of start-and-stop sales, the agency said in its annual report last month.

That’s despite a 7 percent decline in overall retail sales from the previous year – the result of a weeks-long shutdown of state-owned liquor stores starting in March, part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s public health orders to help the state contain the coronavirus.

5. Dozens of GOP lawmakers, including many from Pa., to reject certifying Biden as president

The final step in a turmoil-filled 2020 presidential election is set for Wednesday, when Congress will certify election results showing that Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump.

But a series of objections from GOP legislators is expected to stretch that routine process into a much lengthier one — and one that is dividing the Republican Party between those who back Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud and those who do not. Those claims have failed repeatedly in dozens of lawsuits brought by Trump’s legal team.

At least 12 GOP senators and dozens of House Republicans say they intend to object to the Electoral College results as those votes are read, state by state, in a joint session that begins at 1 p.m. ET Wednesday.

The positions of every Republican member of Congress from States Newsroom’s 20 states are collected here—as well as the names of the many Republicans who have not yet disclosed whether they will vote to certify Biden as the president-elect.

It’s not yet clear exactly how Wednesday’s process will unfold, but Republicans could raise objections to the results from as many as six swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada.

And that’s the week. Enjoy the weekend and we’ll see you back here next week. 

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. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.