Thank you for reading this year | Five for the Weekend
In addition to reading our award-winning coverage, there are other ways you can help support our efforts to bring news to all Pennsylvanians
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Happy weekend, all.
Welcome to the last Five for the Weekend countdown of 2021!
From all of us at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, thank you for choosing us as your go-to news site for all things state government and beyond this year.
We hope that you will continue to follow our reporting in the New Year.
In addition to reading our award-winning coverage, there are other ways you can help support our efforts to bring news to all Pennsylvanians:
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Thank you again for all your support this year.
As always, your Top 5 Most-Read Stories of the week start below.
Roughly one in 10 Pennsylvania lawmakers, mostly House Republicans, will face off against their colleagues under maps approved by the state legislative redistricting panel on Thursday afternoon.
In two votes, one unanimous, one 3-2, the five-member Legislative Reapportionment Commission approved the preliminary maps after an hour of pointed but respectful debate.
These lines have a long path to becoming law: 30 days of public comment, a second vote, and 30 days for potential legal challenges remain. But once a new map is implemented, it will fundamentally alter the political balance of power in Harrisburg for the next decade.
With 2022 on the horizon, tracking legislative turnover amid changing lines, double-bunked incumbents, and retirements is difficult. But the Capital-Star will attempt to track these potential changes over the coming months.
Reminder, the legislative maps are drafts and could change in the next 30 days. After that, there is a high likelihood of court challenges.
Still, with that said, here is the latest running tally of lawmakers retiring next year, or facing a colleague to come back to Harrisburg.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a victims’ rights amendment to the state’s constitution, passed by voters in 2019 as a single measure, cannot be put into law as approved.
The ruling blocks Marsy’s Law, a far-reaching effort to enshrine 15 separate rights for crime victims in the commonwealth’s constitution, from taking effect.
The amendment passed the General Assembly late last decade near unanimously, and would have, in a single question, given victim’s the right to petition a judge if they were not informed about the accused’s case or did not have the ability to attend the trial or subsequent hearings.
By forcing so many changes into a single ballot question, the proposed amendment “denied the voters of this Commonwealth their right to vote on each change separately, a sacrosanct right that provision of our organic charter of governance guarantees,” Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd wrote in the majority opinion.
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped slight to 5.7 percent in November, according to state data released Friday.
Department of Labor & Industry data confirmed that the commonwealth’s November 2021 unemployment rate is 1.4 percentage points below its November 2020 level, and three-tenths of a percentage point below its October 2021 level.
Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased four-tenths of a percentage over the month to 4.2 percent.
At a time when Pennsylvania has billions of dollars in federal money plus state treasury receipts dramatically outperforming projections, the Wolf administration is failing to fully address the collapse of the community system that provides critical services for people with intellectual disability and autism.
The administration’s actions may have tragic consequences for people with disabilities.
Congress and President Joe Biden have asked governors to rescue disability programs by increasing funding for the community system’s Direct Support Professionals.
And that’s the week. See you all back here in the new year.
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