Saturday, July 4, 2015

Legislature Returns, YIPPEE!

Great news! The Pennsylvania Legislature is back! With flowers!

Legislature Returns, YIPPEE!


(A brief discussion tween Baer and Baer's editor, a.k.a., BE)

JB: You know your favorite Legislature starts a new session today, right?

BE: Wow, right to work, eh? Figure out how to cut that $4 billion deficit, sell the State Stores, bring jobs to every region of the state? Must be a full agenda today.

JB: Uh, actually, it's just speeches, receptions and lots of flowers.

BE: Flowers?

JB: Yup. Desks in the 203-seat House and 50-seat Senate will be adorned. It'll look like a florists' convention.

BE: Who pays?

JB: You're joking, right? We're talking the PENNSYLVANIA legislature. Last time, two years ago, taxpayers spent $13 K just on new Bibles for the swearing-ins.

BE: Of course.

JB: But, hey, a glimmer of hope. House leaders are using donor funds to pay for Bibles, flowers, receptions, according to a front-page piece in the Harrisburg Patriot-News yesterday by my colleague Jan Murphy.

BE: And the Senate?

JB: Not so much.

BE: How much?

JB: Well, Jan's piece estimates around $23 K just for the House; no word on the Senate.

BE: So, special interests pay House expenses and taxpayers pay the Senate tab.

JB: Pick your poison.

BE: Well, at least they're back early and ready to dig in, eh?

JB: Actually, after today they're gone until Jan. 18 when Tom Corbett gets sworn in, according to an AP piece today.

BE: Who pays for that?

JB: I'm thinking the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

BE: Well, at least taxpayers aren't footing the whole bill speechifying, balls, partues and all those Bibles and flowers.

JB: Right. Reform is in full bloom. 

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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