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Primary Election Recap: Voters Decide Key Ballot Questions, Judicial Races

May 19, 2021

Pennsylvania voters have selected a new slate of candidates to run for key judicial posts and approved two constitutional amendments that limit the governor’s emergency authority during the pandemic and other emergency situations.

Tuesday’s closely watched primary contests featured two ballot questions about the state’s emergency disaster declarations. The first allows the state Legislature to extend or end a disaster emergency declaration through a majority vote. The other allows an emergency declaration to expire automatically after 21 days unless the General Assembly votes to extend it.

About 53 percent of voters approved the changes through the two ballot questions. The results of the statewide primary are unofficial, as precincts continue to report their results today.

In addition, Pennsylvania voters selected candidates to run for key positions across Pennsylvania’s judicial system, including:

Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Brobson defeated two candidates in the Republican primary and will face Maria McLaughlin, a Superior Court Judge who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. The winner in the November election will fill a seat vacated by Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, who is retiring this year

Superior Court Judge: Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Timika Lane, a Democrat, won a three-way primary contest. Lane will face Chester County prosecutor Megan Sullivan, who ran unopposed on the Republican side

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court:  Results are still pending in the four-way Democratic primary contest for two open seats. Republicans Drew Crompton and Stacy Marie Wallace ran unopposed

HAP will continue to monitor the primary election results and provide analysis and updates to members.

Earlier this month, HAP published a bulletin outlining the two ballot questions and their potential impact on the health care community. As part of Governor Wolf’s emergency disaster declaration, the state granted critical COVID-19-related waivers and flexibilities that ensured safe care during the pandemic.

HAP supports legislative efforts—such as House Bill 1011 and Senate Bill 671—that retain those flexibilities and waivers after the pandemic ends, as these policy changes have improved access to telehealth, reduced delays in care related to prior authorization, and supported the health care workforce.

HAP looks forward to continued discussion with lawmakers about this critical issue and will continue to promote legislative initiatives that support Pennsylvania’s hospital community.

For more information, contact Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.