Pa. lawmakers prepare for New Year’s Day swearing-in

Pennsylvania's Capitol building (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Pennsylvania's Capitol building (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

All 201 of Pennsylvania’s newly-elected or re-elected House members are being sworn into office Tuesday, as are the 25 senators who were up for election in 2018.

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 ceremonies, 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 and five in the Senate in November’s election. Though it wasn’t enough to flip either chamber, some Democrats have said it could make them more effective on issues such as hiking the minimum wage and strengthening unions.

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

Increasing protections for children abused by clergy and potentially changing the way legislative districts are drawn are among those initiatives.

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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