Kerry Benninghoff

Solar panels in a field
Anne Danahy / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s targets for renewable energy are set to max out this year unless the General Assembly takes action, and Republican leaders seem ready to leave increasing goals for green energy up to the private sector.

The state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards require utilities to buy certain amounts of power from renewable sources. For example, utilities now have to get 8% of their power from “Tier 1” energy sources like wind and solar.

Every year, the Governor of Pennsylvania and the General Assembly have to agree on budget. But this year, lawmakers are also tackling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Added to that are hot button issues including the outcome of the presidential election and legislative redistricting. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with two elected leaders from Centre County: Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff.

TRANSCRIPT

A male voter at a voting booth with a "Vote" sign
Alex Brandon / AP

 

The U.S. Census Bureau said Friday that it will get redistricting data to the states by the end of September, not the end of March as originally planned, a hold up that Pennsylvania Republican leaders say could lead to a delay in next year’s primary.

 

“When you’re making decisions in life, it’s always good to have information as early as you can," said Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, who is one of the Republicans who will serve on the state’s redistricting commission.

 

An aerial shot of the completed Potters Mills Gap Project.
Hawbaker, Inc.

 

On Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation hosted a celebratory ribbon-cutting along State Route 322 east of State College. After six years, the Potters Mills Gap Project to widen the road there from two to four lanes is finished. 

 

Photo of Rep. Kerry Benninghoff
Office of Rep. Kerry Benninghoff

The 171st Pennsylvania House District includes parts of Centre and Mifflin Counties.

Kerry Benninghoff is the Republican candidate running for this seat against Democrat Peter Buck in the general election this year. Benninghoff has held the seat for 23 years and is currently the Pennsylvania House Majority Leader. He was the Centre County Coroner before becoming a state representative and previously worked at Mount Nittany Medical Center. 

WPSU’s Min Xian talked with Kerry Benninghoff.

TRANSCRIPT:

Min Xian: Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, thanks for joining us.

Jacqueline Larma / Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania House has turned to a seven-term Republican member to become its next speaker, elevating him to the chamber's top job a week after his predecessor stepped down in mid-term. The Monday vote for Rep. Bryan Cutler of Lancaster County made him the House's presiding officer, one step up from the job of majority leader, a post he held for nearly two years. After he was sworn in, Cutler spoke of the state's founder, William Penn, as well as the challenges the state currently faces. Republicans elected Rep.

Erin McCracken standing
Anne Danahy / WPSU

An Amish buggy passes by as Erin McCracken gives a tour of the Breman Town Ballroom in Millheim. She and her husband, Joshua, host events in the space they converted from a bar.

“We’ve had some of the best concerts in here," McCracken said. "We’ve had hip-hop. We’ve had Texas country, where we taught everybody how to two-step and everybody was doing it. We’ve had polka parties. We just basically try anything.”

County leaders stand with PennDOT secretary
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Politicians, business leaders and Centre County officials came together Tuesday to celebrate a $35 million federal transportation grant that will go toward the Interstate 80 and 99 interchange project.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards said the federal money will be the catalyst to get the entire project moving forward.

“It is not often that we get tens of millions of dollars in federal funds to help us with a major project," Richards said. "That’s exactly what we’re celebrating here today.”

Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program — known as ARD — is meant to give participants a “fresh start.” If they complete the program, they can get a clean record.

Under a new Pennsylvania law, someone charged with a sex offense against a child can not qualify for the state’s first-time offender program. 

State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff said ARD was set up for non-violent offenses — maybe a first-time DUI.

“I don’t think it was ever intended to be used for sexual offenders, especially sexual offenders of minors," Benninghoff said.