Pittsburgh City Council today passed the hotly debated Straw Purchasing Bill (Bill 2008-831) by a margin of 6-1. Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, the only dissenting vote, says he is worried about the legality of the bill and finds it hypocritical that council could worry so much about the legality of prior bills, and not consider the legitimacy of Bill 831. Councilwoman Tonya Payne justified her vote by saying that if there is any action that can be taken to save lives, it must be taken. The legislation now goes to the desk of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl where in ten days he must sign, veto, or allow the bill to pass into law unsigned. He says he will consult with his legal department before he makes his decision.
Also at the meeting the City of Pittsburgh officially gained a new sibling: the sister city of Denang in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Dignitaries from Vietnam were on hand to sign the official sister city agreement and accept gifts from the mayor and city council. The new partnership aims at expanding networking capabilities between the two cities and boosting economic development.