State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

State lawmakers prepare for New Year's Day swearing-in

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Dec 31, 2018 3:41 PM

The entire House and half of the Senate will be sworn into office for a new session on New Year's Day. The ceremony traditionally happens on the first Tuesday of the year. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg) -- All 201 of Pennsylvania's newly-elected or reelected House members are being sworn into office Tuesday, as are the 25 Senators who were up for election in 2018.

There are two vacancies in the House that will be filled via special election. 

The new delegation will see Democrats with the most influence they've had in years--though Republicans still control both chambers.

In the weeks leading up to the swearing-in, Senate Republicans appeared poised for a potential conflict over seating a new member. They questioned whether Pittsburgh-area Democrat Lindsey Williams met residency requirements, and requested she provide proof.

But now that Senate leaders have indicated they won't oppose her seating, it appears the New Year's Day ceremony will go off without any major controversies.

Democrats picked up 11 seats in the House last election, and five in the Senate. Though it wasn't enough to flip either chamber, some Democrats have said it could make them more effective on issues like hiking the minimum wage and strengthening unions.

Lawmakers are expected to hit the ground running with several initiatives that remained unfinished last session.

Those include increasing protections for children abused by priests, and potentially changing the way legislative districts are drawn.

Officials may also face a tricky state budget. The Independent Fiscal office has projected a significant deficit, though both parties say their estimates differ.

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