Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania Senate have pledged since February they would not vote on bills after the November 2nd election.
Despite the promise, the Senate voted to override Governor Rendell’s veto of an education bill Wednesday. In October, Rendell vetoed the wide-ranging legislation because of language granting tax exemptions to groups and people who rent out space to charter schools. He claimed that was unconstitutional.
Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi acknowledged he had vowed again and again not to convene a lame duck session this year.
But he said “it’s safe to say no one foresaw” the Democratic-controlled House overriding a bill Rendell had vetoed in a post-election vote.
Before the vote was held, Pileggi said the override was different than holding a lame duck vote on a new or controversial measure.
"I am asking the members to vote on precisely the same language we all considered on September 29th when we approved House Bill 101 by a unanimous vote of 47-0. Not a single word has changed."
Newly-elected Minority Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County said the Senate was violating what he called “a very hollow promise,” and warned the chamber was contributing to public mistrust of government.
"The public view of our institution, in my opinion – and as I think we heard over the course of the last year – is at one of its lowest points in history. Some of the reasons for that may be fair, and they may be unfair. But unfortunately much of it is at our own doing. Much of it is our own fault."
The chamber voted 42-7 to override the bill. Governor Rendell has vetoed 35 bills during his tenure. This is the first time he’s been overridden.