Wednesday, November 25, 2015

PA Legislature: back & bustling

State lawmakers return to voting sessions this week. Here's some of what they're up to.

PA Legislature: back & bustling


After a long holiday break and before taking a long budget-hearings break, your state lawmakers are back in voting sessions this week. Here's some of what they're up to.

Apart from the usual heavy-lift tasks of naming bridges and highways, there are a few of pieces of legislation that make sense and, in one case, certain to garner attention.

In the House, Beaver County Republican Rep. Jim Christiana has a bill ready for votes (HB 1411) creating a searchable website to allow the public to look at details of school districts' revenue and spending.

I'm all for it. Public should have easy ways to see exactly how tax dollars are spent. Education spending it huge and complex. Most school districts have reserve funds. And many taxpayers will be stunned at the size of some of such funds.

Also in the House, Bucks County GOP Rep. Bernie O'Neill has a measure (HB 1738) setting up commission to review basic education funding and make recommendations, presumably to make it more fair.

Again, complex issue. And while I generally scoff at every new commission or study (since most end up ignored), there's a clear need for a better way to fairly fund public schools.

The fact that both of these measures are sponsored by members of the party controlling the Legislature makes passage possible.

Neither, however, is likely to get the media attention of a Senate measure to make "revenge porn" a crime.

You know about "revenge porn," right? That's when an ex-mate posts what's euphemistically-called "intimate" pics of a former partner for the worldwide web to see.

Berks County Democratic Sen. Judy Schwank is pushng a bill (SB 1167) to make doing so a second-degree misdemeanor; penalties up to two years in jail and a fine up to $5,000.

The bill is to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hey, who knows, maybe folks will spend less time sending out or searching for nude photos and spend more time seeking the truth about taxes and public education. I mean, it's possible, isn't it?

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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