New year, new governor and a slow start for House and Senate
By Rep. Anita Kulik
On Jan. 17, Pennsylvania’s new governor and lieutenant governor were sworn into office.
Austin Davis was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor. Prior to this, Davis served as state representative for the McKeesport area. He is the first African-American person to serve as our Commonwealth’s lieutenant governor.
The lieutenant governor takes the oath of office with a rather simple ceremony in the senate chamber. Our new governor, Josh Shapiro, had a more elaborate ceremony outside of the east wing of the capitol.
Along with members of the House, Senate and appellate courts, many other dignitaries from across the state were present. Former governors, congressional members and the governor’s cabinet choices were in attendance. The Pittsburgh Youth Chorus was invited and performed beautifully.
Governor Shapiro took his oath on a stack of three Jewish bibles. One of those bibles was from the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was retrieved from the building following the horrific mass shooting that occurred there.
History is made every four years with the election of a new governor. It is a time for new beginnings and hope that the administration and the legislature will work together for the betterment of Pennsylvania.
The Senate held session the week of Jan. 16, while the House remains in recess. Because the House is not due back in session, the Senate has now canceled the next two weeks of session it had scheduled.
Leadership from both sides of the House remain embroiled in disagreement over special session rules, regular session rules and other matters.
The House has yet to organize so there are no session dates set and no committees formed.
Three special elections are set for Feb. 7 for the open House seats here in Allegheny County. It is hoped that once those elections are held and certified, the House can organize.
On Jan. 20, Pennsylvanians again witnessed a historical step with the appointment of our first female State Supreme Court Chief Justice. The Honorable Justice Debra Todd took her oath as Chief Justice here in Pittsburgh. She succeeds Chief Justice Max Baer, who died in 2022.
I am pleased to announce that our new Carnegie office is up and running. My staff and I look forward to welcoming constituents on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Our office is located on the first floor of the Carnegie Municipal Building.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is open for the year. Books are available at our Coraopolis and Carnegie offices, and I will be distributing books to our local libraries and municipal buildings shortly if you have not received one in the mail. My staff can assist with the process. Please contact us for an appointment if you need help. We are also able to assist with the LIHEAP program application, as well as other state-related programs and services.