Two for the Road

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

JB: I've been thinking about reform in Harrisburg and how little of it there is and how bad the legislature is and...

BE: This again?

JB: Wait, wait. I've also been thinking that not ALL legislators are bad and that...


JB: Hear me out. Not all legislators are bad and, in fact, two of them recently reminded me of that.

BE: This oughta be good.

JB: I'm serious. Rep. Scott Conklin, a Democrat from Centre County (neither you nor anyone will remember this but he was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor last year), has been pushing for a constitutional convention and to his credit, keeps pushing.

BE: Pushing is good.

JB: Just last week, he put out a short piece titled "Let the People Decide" that asks why all the campaign talk, including from now-Gov. Corbett, about a constitutional convention has gone away. He asks, "If we trust a jury of our peers to decide matters of life and death, why don't we trust those same people to give us recommendations on how to streamline our state government?"

BE: Good question.

JB: And over in the Senate, Sen. Dave Argall, a Republican from Schuylkill County, this week said he's again putting in a bill to reduce the size of the legislature.

BE: Excellent idea. Too bad it never goes anywhere.

JB: Well, Argall's plan looks ahead and phases in the reduction over time, suggesting that's really the only way such a bill can pass. He'd cut 50 of the 203 House members and 5 of the 50 Senators over the next four decades to save $10 million a-year.

BE: Long time to wait for savings, eh?

JB: Sure. But the point here is some lawmakers actually try to do things that should be done.

BE: Wait, didn't House Speaker Sam Smith put in a bill to reduce the legislature.

JB: After he got caught mentioning it in public. And where's it gone? If he were serious, wouldn't he push it?

BE: Be nice to have him on the road.

JB: Be nice to have them all on the road.