Give Power Back To Constituents

December 24, 2018

Editor: In the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the Majority Leader and Speaker of the House have almost all of the power. Individual legislators have very little power. And that means that their constituents — you and I — don’t have an effective voice in the House. For example, a strong bipartisan bill like last session’s House Bill 722, which had support from a majority of legislators and from millions of Pennsylvania voters, was blocked by one person elected in one district. House Bill 722 would have eliminated gerrymandering — the process of manipulating voting districts — by either political party. Democracy means that voters should choose their politicians, but current Pennsylvania law lets politicians choose their voters. Our legislators should support rules reforms to ensure that bills with bipartisan support are given a vote in committee and that bills reported favorably from committee are guaranteed a debate and a vote on the House floor. These changes could be put into place through a reform package introduced on the first day of session or through a reform commission created to recommend reforms. The current rules in place allow one person to manipulate a system to essentially prevent the people from expressing their choices, or even holding a vote. Call your state representative to urge him or her to support rules reforms that give them the power to better represent their constituents. Diane Dreier DALLAS

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