Year in review: The top 5 Capital-Star stories of 2021

From mask mandates and election investigations, to COVID-19 and lawmaker arrests, there was no shortage of important stories to tell in 2021

By: - December 27, 2021 6:30 am

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Another year is in the books, and it was a busy one for Pennsylvania. 

From mask mandates and election investigations, to COVID-19  and lawmaker arrests, there was no shortage of important stories to tell in 2021. 

Without further ado, it’s time to review the most-read Capital-Star stories of 2021, according to Google analytics. 

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. (U.S. House photo)

1. Pa. Rep. Mike Kelly came closer than you think to stealing the election for Trump | Bruce Ledewitz, Jan. 28, 2021

Duquesne University Law School constitutional law professor and commentary page contributor Bruce Ledewitz breaks down U.S. Rep Mike Kelly’s, R-16th District, role in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 General Election and toss out Pennsylvania’s mail-in voting procedures. 

Acting Pennsylvania Health Secretary Alison Beam speaks at a press conference (Capital-Star file)

2. Pa. health officials decline new mask mandate, discuss vaccine initiatives, Lindsay Weber, July 29, 2021

Despite a rise in COVID-19 cases over the summer, acting state Health Secretary Alison Beam said there were no plans to implement another statewide masking mandate, Capital-Star intern Lindsay Weber reported. 

“Wearing a mask is one tool, but it’s also important to get vaccinated,” Beam said at the time. 

By late August, the Wolf administration implemented another mask mandate for children and staff at K-12 schools and childcare facilities across the state. The mandate has faced legal challenges in the courts and an appeal to the state Supreme Court. 

House Homeland Security Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Scott Perry makes opening remarks during a hearing on “critical canine contributions to the DHS mission’” in Washington, D.C., May 18, 2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo by Glenn Fawcett

3. Eight of Pa.’s nine Republicans in the U.S. House say they will oppose certification of Pa.’s electors, John L. Micek, Jan. 1, 2021

Eight of Pennsylvania’s nine Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives rang in 2021 by saying they would oppose the certification of Pennsylvania’s electors on Jan. 6. 

In a letter to Congress, 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; Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District, and Mike Kelly, R0-16th District, argued that the actions of Gov. Tom Wolf and then-Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar were “unlawful.”

On Jan. 6, Trump supporters in Washington mounted an insurrection to stop the certification process. 

Rep. Seth Grove questions Wolf administration officials during a Feb. 13, 2019 budget hearing in the Capitol. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

4. Capital-Star Q+A: Rep. Seth Grove on election hearings, voter fraud, and the future of reform in Pa., Stephen Caruso, April 22, 2021 

More than five months after the 2020 General Election, the Capital-Star’s Stephen Caruso chatted with state Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, who chairs the House State Government Committee. The conversation covered election reform, voter fraud, and the 2020 election. 

“… So you have to have that system that keeps those who are not eligible to vote out, keep those who want to manipulate the system to commit fraud out of the system, and give as much access as we possibly can to those legitimate voters who just want to go and do their civic duty.,” Grove told the Capital-Star in April. 

Members of the Pennsylvania House walk to a ceremony at Grace Methodist Church in Harrisburg, Pa. on Sept. 28, 2020. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

5. Even with Wolf’s disaster powers clipped, Pa.’s mask mandate remains. Why?, Stephen Caruso, May 22, 2021

Despite a referendum vote to curb Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency powers during the 2021 primary election, Wolf’s statewide masking mandate remained in place. The Capital-Star’s Stephen Caruso talked to legal experts  to find out why. 

“We’re not done with COVID-19 rules in Pennsylvania even though these amendments have passed,” Kevin Levy, an attorney at the Philadelphia firm of Saul Ewing said then.

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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.