Saturday, July 12, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Legislative Lag

The state Legislature is once again poised to prove is can do only what it has to do...a body reactive only to deadlines.

The Legislative Lag

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: You know, boss, I'm not one to say "I told you so."

BE: Actually, you say that all the time.

JB: I do? Well, anyway, looks like our Legislature is living up to my Halloween prediction.

BE: You mean your bold Oct. 31 out-on-a-limb call that lawmakers would slink through the rest of the year without passing any big-ticket items such as State Stores, vouchers and shale-fees?

JB: Yep. The Inky on Sunday seemed to support that call with a piece about how major stuff is falling off the table because lawmakers have yet to approve the required, deadlined redistricting of congressional and legislative seats.

BE: I saw that.

JB: In fact, the piece quotes House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin saying that apart from the new lines requirements, "Everything else is off the table."

BE: And so we'll get the usual House blaming the Senate, Senate blaming the House, both blaming the Guv and the Guv blaming both.

JB: And don't forget the editorials to come noting lawmakes just got their annual, automatic pay raise -- this year, 3 percent -- to increase their salaries and pensions while most government workers endure pay freezes and the rest of us stay out in the economic cold.

BE: Ah, yes. More money for less work, the perfect job.

JB: And remember, here in the Land of Low Expectations, nobody will be surprised or angry or even disappointed.

BE: Sorta like that congressional Super Committee that nobody expected any results from?

JB: Exactly like that. Lots of meetings, posturing, the-time-is-now pronouncements about how failure is not an option when, in fact, failure is the recurrent option.

BE: It's the Legislative Lag, the dance of the elected!

JB: And the music never ends. GRRR!




John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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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