PA votes to shift emergency powers; Pittsburgh City Council incumbent keep their seats

On Pittsburgh City Council —

Two City Councilors facing challengers in their reelection bids, Theresa Kail-Smith and Anthony Coghill, won by comfortable margins. Kail-Smith, the council president who has represented District 2 since 2009, defeated Jacob Williamson with 69% of the vote with 38 of 41 precincts reporting Wednesday morning. Coghill won a second four-year term representing District 4, capturing 62% of the vote to defeat Bethani Cameron with all precincts reporting.

On state ballot questions —

  • Pennsylvania voters approved two proposed constitutional amendments that will shift power from the governor to the Legislature when it comes to declaring, extending and ending states of emergency. Republicans campaigned hard on the issue, drawing on their complaints about Gov. Tom Wolf’s unilateral decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wolf had argued that the amendments would seriously damage the state’s ability to respond to emergencies. The first proposed amendment, which allows the Legislature to terminate or extend a disaster declaration without the governor’s approval, received a ‘yes’ vote from almost 54% of voters as of early Wednesday. The second proposed amendment, which limits a governor’s disaster declaration to 21 days, received nearly the same margin.
  • 72% voted to allow municipal fire departments or companies with paid personnel and emergency medical services companies to be eligible to apply for loans from a state program aimed at volunteer fire companies, volunteer ambulance services and volunteer rescue squads.
  • 71% voted to add an amendment to Article I of the Pennsylvania Constitution that prohibits “restricting or denying an individual’s equal rights under Pennsylvania law because of race or ethnicity.” This guarantees anti-discrimination protections at the state level, separate from the United States Constitution and federal laws.

Incumbent Mayor Bill Peduto voting at the Sterrett Classical Academy polling location in Point Breeze. (Photo by Nick Childers/PublicSource)

 

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Dispatches from the polls: PA votes to shift emergency powers; Pittsburgh City Council incumbent keep their seats

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