State House leaders of both parties announced this week which members will head legislative committees and determine the commitee agendas over the next two years.
With Republicans now holding the majority in the House all eyes are on the new leaders in that chamber.
Sure to be the most closely-watched leadership change is in the state government committee. Until last month it was led by the most liberal House member (Rep. Babette Josephs, a Philadelphia Democrat) and is now controlled by the chamber's most conservative member (Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican from Butler).
Metcalfe wasted no time announcing his plans to promote legislation that "protects, affirms or advances our God-given, not government-given individual liberties."
Among the legislation at the top of Metcalfe's list? Protecting "traditional marriage" and ending the "illegal alien invasion."
In a press release, Metcalfe said he plans to introduce a Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment; election reform legislation requiring all Presidential candidates to officially submit proof of U.S. citizenship documentation; and an "Arizona-modeled legislation to provide state and local law enforcement with full authority to apprehend Pennsylvania's estimated 140,000 illegal alien invaders for deportation."
Similar proposals - well, except for the Presidential candidates proof of citizenship, which as far as I know has never come up (Is that even a state issue?) - have failed in the past.
Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) said he will work to defeat Metcalfe's marriage amendment in the Republican-controlled Senate.
"If Mr. Metcalfe wants to try to write discrimination into our sacred Constitution, he can certainly try. But this hateful Amendment is going nowhere in the Senate," said Leach, who last year proposed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. "At a time when we have recently passed a federal Hate Crimes law, welcomed gay Americans openly into the military, and municipalities across the state are passing anti-discrimination ordinances, it seems odd to be fighting a rear-guard action to keep bigotry alive."
The state government committeee reviews proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Constitution, statewide initiative and referendum, legislative redistricting, election code reform, lobbyist disclosure, and campaign financing.
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