Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Political Civility Short-lived in Harrisburg

A Pennsylvania House committee meeting devolved into a shouting match after Republican leaders tried to change the House rules and restrict Democrats’ ability to offer amendments.
Republicans were planning on voting a package of reform bills, but Democrats attached 43 amendments to the measures.

That angered Majority Leader Mike Turzai.

"We’re not going to be having people doing this nuclear stuff. So if that’s how it’s going to be done, we’re going to make the needed changes in rules, bring it out to the floor next Monday and get it done. And then we can begin a disciplined and professional approach. "

“Disciplined” and “professional” aren’t the best way to describe what happened next in the Rules Committee, when Turzai introduced language limiting the ability to offer amendments, and taking a Democrat off each House Committee. Democratic leader Frank Dermody said the GOP was trying to disenfranchise them...

"On a day when we’re supposed to be running reform bills, and reforming what we do and how we operate in government, here we are – they’re taking an attempt to punish the minority, and make sure they disenfranchise the minority. Stifle the minority and silence. It’s wrong."

Democrats then walked out of the meeting.

Turzai says the full House will vote on the changes Monday.

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