Incentivizing Vaccines: Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week that state employees will be granted five days of paid leave or have an option of a lump sum payment – if they get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 31. The leave is eligible for use between Dec. 20 and March 31 and already-vaccinated employees will automatically be granted their five-day bonus leave. There are more than 70,000 Commonwealth employees who are eligible for this incentive. State Treasurer Stacy Garrity denounced the incentive, saying it would cost taxpayers more than $100 million. Read more from PennLive.com.
Special Elections: Democrat Thom Welby, former chief-of-staff to Sen. Marty Flynn, was elected fill Sen. Flynn’s former State House seat in Lackawanna County, capturing 68 percent of the vote in a four-way race. Meanwhile, in Delaware County, Democrat Gina Curry, an Upper Darby School Board member, beat out two opponents, capturing 78 percent of the vote to win the state House seat vacated by Rep. Margo Davidson.
Departing Legislators: The State House will soon have four open seats. Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, was elected the next mayor of Pittsburgh, and Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, is expected to join Gainey’s administration as Deputy Mayor. Meanwhile, Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Luzerne, was elected to the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas and State Sen. John Sabatina, D-Phila., was elected to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, will be tasked with setting the date for a special election to fill the three vacancies.