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

By: - December 25, 2021 6:30 am

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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:

  • Engage with us – We enjoy hearing from our readers and welcome questions about our coverage. You can send us an email or follow us on Twitter, using the icons here. 
  • Share a tip or story idea – From state government to wildlife management, our team of editors, reporters and correspondents is willing to hear any story ideas or tips you may share with us. Tips and ideas can be sent to our general mailbox at: [email protected].
  • Tell your friends – If you’ve enjoyed our coverage, why not share it with a friend or family member? Tell them about us and our mission to bring quality news to every Pennsylvanian.
  • Help us grow – While there’s an abundance of news stories waiting to be told in Pennsylvania, it’s difficult to give everything its due diligence with such a small team. A one-time or recurring donation to our nonprofit newsroom will help us expand our coverage and welcome diverse voices to our team.

Thank you again for all your support this year.

As always, your Top 5 Most-Read Stories of the week start below.

Pa. House draft map

1. Panel approves new Pa. legislative maps that leaves incumbents in the lurch

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.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

2. The Capital-Star’s 2022 Pa. incumbent retirement and primary tracker

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.

Marsy’s Law supporters protest a press conference held by the ACLU and the League of Women Voters in the state Capitol, where the groups announced legal action that would remove the proposed constitutional amendment from ballots on Nov. 5.

3. Pa. Supreme Court rules against Marsy’s Law; says victims’ right amendment cannot be enacted

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.

(Image via Flickr Commons)

4. Pa.’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in November

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.

(Getty Images)

5. Gov. Tom Wolf has failed to address the collapse of Pa.’s intellectual disability system

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. 

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

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.