Happy Friday. We'll be at the Commonwealth Court hearing on Mark Critz's challenge of fellow congressman Jason Altmire's nominating petitions this morning, but a couple quick headlines first:
State Sen. Jane Orie's corruption trial continued yesterday, with testimony from former chief of staff Jamie Pavlot:
But it was an email exchange between Ms. Pavlot and the senator that could prove to be one of the strongest pieces of evidence in the case accusing Ms. Orie of theft of services.
In the hours after an intern resigned her position with Mr. Orie, Ms. Pavlot, under direction from her boss, quickly scurried to create a separate campaign office.
The first email on the subject was sent by Ms. Orie at 1:43 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2009, just five hours after an intern quit because she was uncomfortable with campaign activity that was occurring in the legislative office.
In Ms. Orie's email, titled "Campaign Headquarters," sent from her personal account, she wrote, "We need to begin finding one ... set up desk etc. ... Josh needs to carry the laptop everyday once we get headquarters and set laptop up in campaign. ... have papers etc. there."
On the surface, the court's latest ruling only forces Republican leaders to call April 24 special elections that will fill the House seats for the last eight months of the year. But the leaders are likely more perturbed by language in the decision saying the 2001 lines will stay in place through the next state elections in 2014.
Here's a little extra that was cut from that story:
"A new reapportionment plan, once final, takes effect at the next ensuing primary and general election; it does not operate retroactively to remake the districts of sitting House members for the remainder of their terms," the unsigned ruling says.
Pittsburgh attorney Clifford Levine, who is leading the Democratic challenge to the GOP maps, said the ruling is "one more step in clarifying that the 2012 elections will be governed by the 2001 map, makes clear those legislators will serve their districts the next two years, and any legislative reapportionment plans that are approved won't be effective until the next cycle."