Taxpayers aren’t getting their money’s worth out of Harrisburg.
The list of unfinished business in Harrisburg is fairly extensive. And, in my opinion, and I hope your opinion too, the legislation that was left sitting in a PA House Committee or on the PA House calendar is unacceptable. I am referring specifically to legislation that would have been some of the most impactful legislation that would have benefitted the citizens of this Commonwealth.
The legislation referenced below, in many instances, has been pending for 5 or more sessions and, since a session is a two year period, 10 years is a long time to wait for something good to happen.
For example, many bills that would improve how we vote in Pennsylvania never even made it out of committee, let alone to the floor of the House for a full vote. Those bills include early voting which is permitted in 37 states, plus the District of Columbia. The average period of time for early voting is 22 days.
No excuse absentee ballot legislation, same day voter registration, optional vote by mail and youth pre-registration bills have all been introduced numerous times — to no avail.
Legislation for redistricting reform that would have created an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission did get quite a bit of activity this past spring but those efforts were ultimately undermined by both Senate and House leadership despite overwhelming support from rank and file members. The proposed Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission would have ensured that district boundaries for state senate, state representative and congress were drawn by other than those in elected office.
Believe it or not, LGBTQ non-discrimination legislation is still not the law of the land.
This legislation would ensure freedom from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation based on sexual orientation and gender identity. There are many people in my personal and professional life who are members of the LGBTQ community and I am horrified that they can be discriminated against solely due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. You should be too.
The legislature has declined to pass legislation that would effectively ban gifts from being bestowed on elected officials, or short of an outright ban, lower the thresholds whereby such gifts would need to be disclosed.
To say that firearm safety legislation is a hot-button issue would be an understatement. Earlier in the spring I was encouraged when the PA House Judiciary Committee held public hearings for 6 days on gun safety and gun violence. Legislation as straightforward as reporting of a lost or stolen weapon, or the requirement of child safety locks or universal background checks went nowhere. The hearings were nothing more than lip service in response to the citizen outcry for the then latest mass shooting that had occurred.
Other legislation that also took the ride to “Dead-endville” included:
- Merit selection of judges, because we think it is better for judges to take money from the lawyers who will try cases before them
- Severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas, because our natural resources should benefit the corporations that are extracting that gas and not the citizens of this commonwealth
- Expanded role of nurse practitioners, because we believe that NPs in Pennsylvania should be at a disadvantage to their counterparts throughout the country by keeping them under the thumb of the medical profession instead of permitting them to practice to their full scope and license.
How do citizens get their money’s worth from the legislature? November 6th sent a loud message when voter turnout crossed 50%. Unless there is consistent and strong turnout, elected officials at all levels of government will operate as if their actions have no consequences. Voting sends that message.
I worked hard this past session to help all of the above move forward but cannot do it alone. I need your assistance. Please continue to pay attention, be woke and continue to VOTE. Please circle May 21 (primary election day) on your calendar now.
Speak Up and Stay Informed
Thoughts? Suggestions? Concerns? Make your voice heard by visiting my office at 6511 Ridge Avenue or calling (215) 482-8726. Walk-ins always welcome.
The office is at the epicenter of the district, (MAP LINK) no more than about 3 miles from any district border, with plenty of free parking. The office is served by the 9 and 35 SEPTA bus routes. Office hours are 9 to 5 Monday through Friday and by appointment in the evening or on weekends.
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