John Finnerty

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HARRISBURG — A little more than 22,000 people have left the Republican Party in Pennsylvania since the Jan. 6 attempted insurrection.

Lawmakers used a budget hearing for the Department of Health to blast the state’s response to the COVID pandemic, chiefly taking aim at an early move to order nursing homes to re-admit residents with coronavirus and the more recent problems distributing vaccine doses.

State Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, on Wednesday became the first Republican in the Senate to sign on as a lead sponsor of legislation that would legalize adult use of marijuana in Pennsylvania.

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