Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Where’s the R-E-S-P-E-C-T in Harrisburg?

Harrisburg could use Aretha Franklin singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T this week!

Regardless of your political leanings, I encourage everyone to watch this YouTube clip from the House Rules meeting. Click PA House Rules Committee Meeting for the video. Some would suggest it was just a matter of time before the partisan bickering surfaced, but I found the disrespect among the state’s legislators shocking. If the behavior on Wednesday in the House Rules Committee is any indicator, the sandbox is getting crowded in Harrisburg and it is going to be a long two years!

If I understand the meeting correctly, the House Republican leaders claimed that the Democrats were trying to reform bills, suggesting they are using amendments to “slow” or “obstruct” legislation. Interestingly, most of the amendments introduced by Democrats actually would have been expanded the reforms.

Loosing his temper, the Republican majority leader Mike Turzai tried to silence the Democrat opposition, completely throwing respect for the minority (and for his fellow legislators) to the wind. Not to be outdone by Turzai, the minority leader Frank Demody claimed that this attack was an attempt to muzzle the minority. However, is not that exactly what the Democrats did to the Republicans when they were in the minority? And the cycle continues . . .

In 2011, the Republicans have an advantage (112-91) which should enable them to do much as they wish for the next years. But that advantage does not absolve them of the duty to hear the minority view. Remember, the minority does represent 45 percent.

This is such childish behavior . . . each side trying to silence the voices of the other side. The optimist in me had hoped that the veil of bipartisan, ‘let’s work together for the people of Pennsylvania’ could have taken a bit longer to be lifted. Because of the tumultuous committee meeting in the state House, the chairs of both the Democratic and Republican parties is calling for the resignation of both the majority and minority leaders.

Where is the civility? Where is the R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

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  1. I saw this the other night on PCN, and totally agree.

    What I would like to know (from my view anyway) is where was the news media on this one, did not see one story on this???

    People need to know about this craziness!!!!!!

    1. Yes, Version — everyone needs to watch this video! I don’t care if you are a Rep, Dem or Ind — I do not believe that this behavior should be acceptable to any of us!! You decide . . . just watch the 8 min. video!

  2. Thank you, Pattye for giving voters a taste of what our state legislators are up to. It sets a very negative tone for the next two years. One is struck by the utter dysfunction of the bipartisan process and the clear intent of Republican leadership to stifle any minority input going forward.

    We all need to keep an eye on HARRISBURG. The apparent decision to shut out 45% of the state’s representatives is a prescription for extremist solutions to the huge problems we face, including the challenges of our cities, represented largely by Democrats.

  3. I’ve since found additional information/context on what you viewed on the above You-Tube clip. You may find it helpful. I hope you will decide to call our newly minted state rep to let him know the proposed change in rules is unacceptable.

    This week in the State House of Representatives, the House Rules Committee, chaired by Republican Mike Turzai of Allegheny County, voted on a rules change that would 1) strip every committee of a Democratic member, going from 15-10 Republican to 15-9 Republican and 2) allow the Rules Committee to table all amendments to all bills as they see fit.

    The first point is just a petty slap in the face to Democrats. We will hold 45% of the seats in the legislature but only 37% of the seats on each committee. It is the second point that is really dangerous. This rules change will allow the Republican Majority to stifle any amendments without voting on them. No matter how popular an amendment might be, they can kill it without going on record as voting against it. Their pretense to this move was that Democrats were trying to “gum up the process” with amendments. Specifically, the state reform package that Governor Corbett asked for. However, most of the Democratic Amendments would have strengthened those proposals! What’s worse, the amendment process that is being scrapped for this new one, is the process put in place after the “midnight” pay raise that was rushed to the floor without Amendments being allowed!

    This rule change, as I understand it, must be passed by the full house. It is also my understanding that it will be voted on this coming Monday. I plan to call Warren Kampf”s office today to register my suggestion that he stand with his mostly moderate constituents and vote NO on this rule change. I would suggest everyone do the same, and urge your friends and neighbors to do so as well. This is not a partisan issue; it is about preserving the democratic process. Minority voices in the legislature represent 45% of Pennsylvania, but their voices will be silenced.

    You can also read some of the coverage here:

    Article and Video from the Harrisburg Patriot-News


    Editorial from the Scranton Times

    Altoona Mirror Article:

    HD157: Warren Kampf (610) 251-2876 / (717) 260-6166

    HD167: Duane Milne (610) 251-1070 / (717) 787-8579

    1. I thought the GOP was going to be agents of solve problems.


      Well, the GOP was trying to pass 7 reform bills that passed unanimously (meaning GOP supported when Dems introduced) when the Dems controlled the House. But now, when they are not in control, the Dems try to tack 40+ amendments onto the legislation rather than vote for something they supported not too long ago.

      Not sure who is blocking the change there, but a pretty strong argument can be made it wasn’t the GOP in this case.

  4. Here goes John Petersen again…going after Warren Kampf, even if the story does not involve Warren Kampf.

    Really John. . .there are 12 Step Programs that help people get over their obsessions. You obviously have a Kampf fixation and need to get over it.

  5. Pattye

    I picked this up the other day on a couple of “conservative” websites, and thought what else is new. It reminds me of the U.S. House & Jon Boehner. Oner of those websites is calling it “kerfuffel”. Also saw a headline indicating a call for resignations. Remember the national newscasts of some country’s parliament/congress (I forget whose) where they resorted to fisticuffs & more?

    Harrisburg is covered by their local news outlet (ch8), their local paper, & other papers in the “T”as Kate indicated. It might have been carried on PCN or their roundtable might have discussed it.

    I can’t help but wonder where has civility in politics gone, and why can’t our elected officials (national & state) work together for the benefit of their constituents. Can’t they work across the aisle anymore and come to some sort of consensus instead of bashing the daylights out of the oposition. I guess not again in my lifetime. And it appears that once in office they forget what they campaigned about.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I liked seeing our. lawmakers sit together at the State of the Union. That hasn’t happened in a long time.

  6. I believe the article linked below sums this issue up best.

    There are legitimate reasons to limit the number of amendments that can be added to legislation — not just reform legislation as this particular issue pertains to, but all legislation. Far too often, both sides use never-ending amendments to kill good legislation, sneak in costly items, and for other purposes far outside the intent of the original legislation.

    The attempt to cut out a Dem member of the committees is petty partisanship (which, as the article states, has been undertaken by both sides.)

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