Rendell wants reforms

At least one elected official thinks this week's charges against State Rep. John Perzel should lead to sweeping reforms. Gov. Ed Rendell announced yesterday that he will spend the remainder of his time in office pursuing major changes in Harrisburg.

Rendell, who will be out of the office at the end of 2010, said the culture of corruption has hurt his policy agenda and must change.

"We've done great things legislatively [but] get virtually no credit for it because we have a process that's broken," Rendell told reporters at a press conference. "Special interests still dominate the scene here in Harrisburg."

The governor made three specific proposals: campaign finance reform, merit selection for judges, and changing the redistricting process. Below are the details, as described by the Associated Press.

Rendell renewed his pitch for imposing the first-ever limits on state campaign contributions, ending the election of appellate judges, and giving citizens control over the redrawing of legislative districts every 10 years.

Rendell's campaign-finance plan would limit contributions to candidates for statewide office by individuals or political committees to $5,000 and set limits on total contributions during any two-year election cycle. Current law prevents corporations from giving to campaigns but imposes no monetary limits.

Rendell is a lame-duck at this point, so passage of these reforms will be difficult. Here is the real question: Will the public show enough outrage to force the legislature to act? What do you think?

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