Friday, December 08, 2006

PA General Assembly should follow the rules

In response to Sen. Jay Costa's commentary "Restore Trust First: It's Time to Change the Way State Legislators Do Business" (Dec. 1), I am in agreement with the proposed rule changes and reforms that have been recommended and hope our Legislature does even more to see that the people's business is done in a moral, ethical, open and honest way.
After gambling lobbyists' contributions have quadrupled, even more must be done to stop their anonymous influence, as well as those of other profit-seeking lobbyists. That influence was observed in the recent lame-duck session in Harrisburg.
The Legislature decided to offer us free drinks at gambling facilities as part of 26 pages of amendments to a bill. This decision was done without public hearings or input, without the constitutionally required waiting period and without giving small business owners who will be affected by this provision the time to contact their representatives and let them know how it may affect them. The people were left out.
This was done even after a bipartisan House group signed on to the reform agenda. Twenty-three of the 53 House members of this group voted for these recent changes.
While Sen. Costa's initiatives should be commended and would be a great service to the commonwealth, a greater service would be done if the members of the General Assembly simply followed the rules and reform proposals that are already in place.

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