PA State Capitol

A New Year, A New Legislative Session

(January 6, 2023) A new year brings new opportunities, new visions, and new legislative sessions. This week, new members of the U.S. Congress and the Pennsylvania General Assembly were sworn into office. In the General Assembly, the Democrats will control the House and the Governor’s office and the Republicans remain in control of the Senate. In the U.S. Congress, the Republicans have taken control of the House and Democrats have control of the Senate and the White House. In past legislative sessions, when two chambers were led by separate parties it has created significant gridlock, with the chambers unable to agree to any significant legislative packages and most bills sitting on a shelf awaiting action.

In Allegheny County, we are starting the session with three vacant seats in the PA House. Former representative Summer Lee has been sworn into the U.S. Congress, former representative Austin Davis is now the Lieutenant Governor, and long-serving representative Anthony DeLuca from Penn Hills died in October. Special elections will be held to fill these seats. The Allegheny County delegation also has a few new faces including the first Indian American, Rep. Arvind Venkat (D-30) and the first out lesbian, Rep. La’Tasha Mayes (D-24). They join 55 new faces within the General Assembly, including 5 Republicans and 1 Democrat in the 50-member PA Senate, and 23 Republicans and 26 Democrats in the 203-member PA House.

These new members will need to learn about the many issues that impact children across the county and commonwealth. It will be our job as advocates to educate the legislators and to encourage them to take action on legislative proposals that improve the wellbeing of children and families. To find your legislator visit the General Assembly website and enter your address. A relationship with a legislator begins with simple communication and grows from there. If they don’t hear from you, they may not know that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Also, always remember, legislators work for you. You are their bosses and if you are unhappy with their performance, their review will be coming up in a future November meeting at the polls.

Jamie Baxter, Allies for Children Executive Director