Speak Up If You Want Government Reform

December 23, 2018

Editor: Are there crooked politicians? Of course. Every group of people contains some who try to take advantage of the system. What is more damaging to our democratic process in Washington and Harrisburg though is a rigged system where the party leaders and committee chairs have too much power. In January the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will vote on the procedural rules for the next two years. It will be the first thing they vote on in the new session. Why should we care? Because the rules used in the past were undemocratic by giving the party leaders an excessive amount of power. The chair of a committee has the power to kill a bill even if the majority of the committee favor it and wants the House to debate and vote on it Even if the bill does leave a committee, just one leader can shut down a vote on that bill. This is true even if it has strong bipartisan support. Often bills are used as bargaining chips in the last few days of a session, so rules must be put in place to have bills move quickly through debate and to a vote on the floor. Also, reforms must be made to the number of committees, committee schedules and committee chair selection. Since committee chairs often refuse to moderate fairly, there should be mechanism for removal by its members. If you want to eliminate the crooked system in Harrisburg, please call your representative and make your feelings known. If enough people get involved, the House of Representatives will once again be the “people’s house,” instead of the “party leaders” house. Since there is strength in numbers, reform-oriented citizens should consider joining a local nonpartisan organization such as Clean Money Squad Pennsylvania or Fair Districts Pennsylvania. Joe Czarnecki DALLAS

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