Bellevue Bulletin 01/04/2019: Swearing-In Recap and a Happy New Year!
Happy first Friday of the New Year, everyone!
We’re bringing you a special report today with a recap of the swearing-in ceremonies that happened on New Year’s Day. A record number of women were sworn into Congress, including seven new lawmakers. In total, twelve Senate seats will now be held by women. In the House, 43 newly elected members found their seats on Tuesday, with women and Democrats gaining a number of those seats.
On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania legislature kicked off its two-year session with all of the swearing-in ceremonies, which were decidedly celebratory. In the Senate, there are seven new lawmakers, including four from the counties ringing Philadelphia: Sens. Katie Muth (D., Montgomery), Maria Collett (D., Montgomery), Timothy Kearney (D., Delaware) and Steve Santarsiero (D., Bucks).
In the 203-member House, there are 43 newly elected members — again, with more than half elected by voters in either Philadelphia and its suburbs or Allegheny County. They include Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler (D., Philadelphia), Meghan Schroeder (R., Bucks), Jennifer O’Mara (D., Delaware), Wendi Thomas (R., Bucks), Mary Isaacson (D, Philadelphia), and Todd Polinchock (R., Bucks). Representative Jordan Harris (D., Philadelphia) is the caucus’ new whip, and Representative Joanna McClinton (D., Philadelphia), is the caucus chair, and Representative Rosita Youngblood (D., Philadelphia) is its secretary. Go Philly!
Click here for more specifics on the new Reps and Senators!
During the swearing-in ceremonies of the Senate, GOP Majority Leader Jake Corman advocated bipartisan efficiency, telling members, “It doesn’t matter what we’re for, doesn’t matter what we want to do. If we don’t get it done, we’ve failed.” The House Minority Leader Frank Dermody echoed Corman’s promise of compromise. Following the ceremonies for new members, both congressional chambers adopted updates rules that will govern their conduct for the coming years. The House updated over a dozen rules, most relating to the legislative process: the chamber decreased the number of members assigned to standing committees and did away with “ghost amendments” – amendments tacked on to other, unspecified amendments on a bill, often for the purpose of bogging down legislation.
Lawmakers also voted to allow non-religious invocations at the start of their sessions and passed a rule creating a new, bipartisan committee called the House Government Oversight Committee, which has been given the power to subpoena to review actions by the executive branch. They have also ordered the Ethics Committee to investigate sexual harassment allegations.
The final piece of news is the vote that granted Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House gavel. Click here to see how your lawmaker voted.
That’s all for today, folks! Happy New Year, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @PhillyAdvocates for a whole new year of news!