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Lt. Gov. John Fetterman speaking in Harrisburg, Pa., in January 2020. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Pennsylvania Republican senators voted not to seat a Democratic lawmaker elected in November and removed the Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman from presiding over the chamber on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Why it matters: Republicans prevented Sen. Jim Brewster (D) from taking the oath of office, and he will be unable to assume his seat even though state officials certified his narrow win.

Context: Brewster won re-election over his Republican challenger Nicole Ziccarelli, whose campaign is challenging Brewster's victory, asking a federal judge to throw out a handful of votes to give her the win.

Republicans refused to seat Brewster because they believe litigation over the race must first be resolved in the courts.

  • State GOP senators also voted to remove Fetterman from presiding because they believed he did not recognize their legislative motions, according to the Inquirer.

What they're saying: "The votes were counted, the election was certified, and Sen. Jim Brewster is the winner of the 45th Senate District," Gov. Tom Wolf D) tweeted Tuesday.

  • "Senate Republicans’ refusal to swear him in is a disgrace to democracy. I'll do everything in my power to ensure voters have the final say in our elections."

The other side: Jennifer Kocher, spokesperson for the state's Senate Republicans, accused Democrats of breaking chamber rules.

  • “Today, the order and decorum of the Senate were hijacked by Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and members of the Senate Democrat caucus, who failed to adhere to Senate rules,” she said, according to the New York Times.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

North Carolina state senator Jeff Jackson to announce run for U.S. Senate

N.C. State Senator Jeff Jackson (D-Charlotte) in 2019. Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

Charlotte’s most popular millennial politician dad, Democratic state senator Jeff Jackson, will announce a bid for U.S. Senate this morning, kicking off a 2022 race for Richard Burr’s seat that could include Lara Trump on the Republican side.

Why it matters: After a 2020 Senate race that was one of the most expensive on record, North Carolina again figures to be a pricey fight for the balance of power in the midterms.

How Dems could notch tech wins even with a dysfunctional Senate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tech policy may be one area where Democrats will be able to smash through the logjam forming around their razor-thin Senate margin and actually pass meaningful legislation.

The big picture: Many Democrats want to hit Big Tech with new antitrust laws, updates to Section 230, privacy legislation and more. The party may be united enough on such issues — and able to peel off GOP support — to pass laws around them even as the Senate's 50-50 party-line split and shifting priorities imperil other legislative possibilities.

Educators face fines, harassment over critical race theory

People talk before the start of a rally against critical race theory being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Va. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Elementary school teachers, administrators and college professors are facing fines, physical threats, and fear of firing because of an organized push from the right to remove classroom discussions of systemic racism.

Why it matters: Moves to ban critical race theory are raising free speech concerns amid an absence of consistent parameters about what teachings are in or out of bounds.

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