Two for the Road
The road to reform in Harrisburg is long and twisted. Here's two working on making it easier to travel.
Two for the Road
John Baer, Daily News Political Columnist
(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.