A “dereliction of duty” in Harrisburg

A “dereliction of duty” in Harrisburg

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If there is to be a tagline for the recently concluded session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, it must be “Dereliction of Duty.”


The House passed a viable bill to finally privatize some facets of alcohol sales, but the Senate, for various illogical reasons, could come up with no bill that would pass and be reconciled with the House version.


The opposite occurred with a bill to provide funding to address critical infrastructure needs and mass transit, the Senate passing legislation to provide $2.5 billion per year for these purposes, the House for varied reasons, unwilling to go along. This legislation had enormous grassroots support, and individuals on both sides of the aisle. Weight limits will be imposed on many structurally-unsound bridges, but who cares?


Neither chamber passed any bill to address what is now a $47 billion shortfall in pension funds to cover rank and file state employees, state public school teachers, and the legislators that fomented the crisis.


There is a hint of bipartisanship in that six Democratic state senators voted for the governor’s budget and that Republican Superior Court Judge Correale Stevens was unanimously approved with fifty Senate votes to replace former Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin. Why could there not be a greater level of bipartisanship to accomplish the will of the people on critical issues?


Not even considered in this session was any bill to provide the property tax reform and relief that has been promised for years, legislation that would require the commonwealth to recognize gay men and women as the equal of heterosexual citizens, and of course, by decree of the National Rifle Association, not a peep about any measure that would take reasonable steps to keep guns out of the hands of the homicidal and deranged. What state do we think this is, Connecticut?


I hope that all of our state �leaders� enjoy their long vacations with a clear conscience. They certainly deserve weeks of quality time to relax after the bang-up job they did for the public.


Why should they care about any level of citizen outrage over their do-nothing session? We will re-elect the same cast of characters next year and in the years to come. At least this session of the General Assembly was able to pass by unanimous consent a resolution designating September as Pennsylvania Mushroom Month. What a comfort!



Oren Spiegler


Upper St. Clair



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