Getting back on track in Pennsylvania’s House

Posted by By at 1 February, at 12 : 03 PM Print

Common has prevailed, now lets see if sense continues to follow in Pennsylvania’s House. Lawmakers returned to conducting the business of the people in a civil manner as they pushed several measures of reform forward including one that bans legislators from creating nonprofit organizations that receive state money.

The elephant, however, is looming large as the underlying consternation that led to last weeks shouts, swearing, and walkout of a rules committee meeting is still ever present.

Democrats firmly believe that the Republicans, who hold a 22 person advantage in the House, are trying to muzzle them — as proposals to reduce the number of Democrats on Committees and scale back the number of amendments D’s can introduce hangs in the balance.

The Republicans did not bring up these proposed measures during Monday’s session, but that does not necessarily mean the “genie’ is back in the bottle for good.

“We have no indication of whether its on the back-burner, or an inactive idea,” said Bill Patton, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Frank Dermody.

Patton told Rock The Capital that Dermody (D-Allegheny) and Turzai (R-Allegheny), are on speaking terms, in fact, Patton says the two met prior to yesterday’s session, as Patton put it “meetings like that are constructive.”

The relationship between Dermody and Turzai goes back to the 1980′s when both worked out of Allegheny County.

The proposal to lock-down the number of amendments is what ultimately sent Democrats into a rage last week. Patton says limiting the number of amendments is just like putting a muzzle around lawmakers.

Its about transparency, Steve Miskin, a spokesperson for House Republicans said. The issue with the amendments is that people tend to want to throw the kitchen sink in with it, “The speaker is committed to trying to ensure bills are limited to a singular subject,” said Miskin.

As Patton put it, “Amendments are offered by our members to improve the bills.”

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