LEG REG REVIEW is a periodic newsletter produced by PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES, a professional lobbying and consultant firm located near the State Capitol. It contains news on the legislative and regulatory scene in Pennsylvania that may be of interest to the Insurance and Business Communities. It is a free member benefit for those who are members of the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU). Subscription information may be obtained by contacting PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 FAX 717/232-7005 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please email email@example.com supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from or added to this list.
THE 2014 ELECTION SPECIAL ISSUE
Although the Governor’s race was depressing for Republicans with former Rendell Budget chief and York businessman Tom Wolf defeating incumbent Tom Corbett 54.8% to 45.2% (1,892,193 to 1,559,954 votes), Republicans strengthened their control over both Senate and House. Senate Republicans will be at 30 Republicans to 20 Democrats while the House GOP will have at least a 33-vote cushion, presenting an interesting challenge for the new Wolf Administration as it presents its legislative agenda.
In a rebuke to earlier concerns about Republican vulnerabilities seen in southeast PA, Republican incumbents were handily re-elected: Stewart Greenleaf (Montgomery) 63.6% ; John Rafferty (Montgomery) 61.4%; Robert Mensch (Montgomery) 59.9%; Chuck McIlhinney (Bucks) 58.7%, Tommy Tomlinson (Bucks) 61.8%. Open Republican seats also went to the GOP. One Democratic seat in AlleghenyCounty was moved to MonroeCounty via redistricting (Senator Jim Ferlo-D-Allegheny retired) and was picked by the GOP. The closest race in the southeast was the open ChesterCounty seat vacated by Senator Edwin Erickson (R-Chester) who retired. He is succeeded by Republican McGarrigle who won by a 52% to 48% margin.
Two turnovers occurred in traditionally Democratic southwestern PA which has been tending more conservatively Republican in recent years. An open seat formerly held by Democrat Richard Kasunic in FayetteCounty was taken by Republican Patrick Stefano 57.3% to 42.7% (36,197 to 26,935 votes) over current Rep. Deberah Kula who had sought the higher office. GOP Senate turnover win number two came with the loss of WashingtonCounty incumbent Democrat Tim Solobay to Republican Camera Bartolotta 53.6% to 46.7% (35,820 to 31,436 votes).
The House GOP added to its majority by adding at least seven new seats to Republican ranks. The new ratio will be either 119 Republicans to 84 Democrats or 118 Republicans to 85 Democrats depending on final tallies.
VACANCIES TO NOTE (and Appreciate)
A number of legislators who have been sensitive to insurance issues will not be returning next year. On the Senate side, former insurance agent Bob Robbins (R-Mercer) did not choose to run again. Member of the Banking & Insurance Committee Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster) also retired. On the House, Rep. Gordon Denlinger (R-Lancaster) who authored insurance legislation and facilitated PAHU’s Staff Briefings lost a primary race to succeed Brubaker. Former Insurance Committee Chair Nick Micozzie (R-Delaware) retired while Labor & Industry Chair Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) moved up to the Senate. Of particular interest are the number of House committee chairs that are open due to retirements: Transportation, Environmental Resources & Energy, Education, Labor & Industry, and Tourism & Recreational Development.
MOVEMENT UP FROM HOUSE TO THE SENATE
Several representatives will take office as newly elected Senators. Michelle Brooks (R-Mercer) fills Bob Robbins’ seat in northwest PA. Rep. Mario Scavello (R-Monroe) assumes office in MonroeCounty’s new Senate district. Rep. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) fills the vacancy created with Senator Brubaker’s decision to retire. FayetteCounty’s Democratic Rep. Deberah Kula was unsuccessful in advancing.
INSURANCE COMMITTEE RESULTS
Members of the House Insurance Committee and Senate Banking & Insurance Committee have largely been returned to office. The great caveat here is that with the new session, there will be re-shuffling of both committee chairmanships and members on those committees to accommodate new members of the General Assembly and the desires of returning House members to seek different committee assignments. Add to this the wrinkle that Lt. Governor-Elect Mike Stack (D-Phila.) has also talked about retaining his Senate seat in addition to assuming his new role as Number Two in the state. Stack’s Senate seat was not up this year. If he does stay as a Senator, a question here is whether or not he would have to give up his minority chairmanship of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee. Having said that, here are committee member election results for 2014.
Senate Banking & Insurance Committee
Republicans up for re-election Democrats up for re-election
Pat Browne (Lehigh) Lisa Boscola (Northampton)
John Eichelberger (Blair) Anthony Williams (Phila.)
John Rafferty (Montgomery)
Jake Corman (Centre)
Chair Don White (Indiana) was not up for re-election this election cycle.
House Insurance Committee (All members of the committee were up for re-election.)
Chair Tina Pickett (Bradford) Chair Tony DeLuca (Allegheny)
Rosemary Brown (Monroe) Bryan Barbin (Cambria)
Gary Day (Lehigh) Ryan Bizzarro (Erie)
Eli Evankovich (Westmoreland) Brendan Boyle
Bob Godshall (R-Montgomery) Dom Costa (Allegheny)
Glenn Grell (Cumberland) Tina Davis (Bucks)
C. Adam Harris (Juniata) Edward Gainey
Dave Hickernell (Lancaster) Nick Kotik (Allegheny)
Tom Killion (Delaware) Robert Matzie (Beaver)
Nick Miccarelli (Delaware) Eddie Day Pashinski (Luzerne)
Marguerite Quinn (Bucks)
Brad Roae (Mercer)
Justin Simmons (Northampton)
Curt Sonney (Erie)
Mike Tobash (Schuylkill)
REPUBLICANS MAINTAIN MAJORITY OF PA CONGRESSIONAL SEATS
Although successful in retaining control of the 13th congressional district that is being vacated by Allyson Schwartz who lost in the Democratic primary for Governor, Democrats had little to cheer about in congressional contests where incumbents were re-elected and the open seats vacated by retiring Republican Jim Gerlach stayed with the GOP 56.2% to 43.8% instead of flipping to the Democrats. Those members of Congress winning a second term also scored with comfortable vote margins. Republican Mike Kelly in northwest PA won with 60.5%, Republican Keith Rothfus from western PA won with 59.3% of the vote, Republican Scott Perry from south central PA won with 74.5%, and first-term Democrat from north central PA won with 56.8%. The ratio of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation is 13 Republicans and five Democrats.
NEXT UP: HOUSE AND SENATE LEADERSHIP for the 2015-16 legislative session is selected on November 12, 2014.