Thursday, January 6, 2011

Proposal Would Require Lawmakers to Pay Portion of Health Insurance

Republicans are working to implement several reforms, now that they’ve taken control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
A committee of top House Republicans and Democrats has begun negotiating rules changes requiring members to provide more documentation when they apply for reimbursement to cover costs when they’re in Harrisburg or on the road.
Lawmakers won’t be turning in all their receipts, but Republican Majority Leader Mike Turzai of Allegheny County says the guidelines are a step in that direction.

"The goal is to get to more accountability. And to institute policies that will show a resultant drop in overall expenditures on per diems. If we take this session and compare it to what was in 09-10, you’re going to see a significant reduction."

The proposed rules would also require members to contribute one percent of their salaries to health care costs. Legislators don’t pay anything, under the current system. Leaders also want to move away from leasing state-owned cars to representatives. Instead, lawmakers would be reimbursed for mileage on private vehicles.
It’s unclear when the committee will finalize those new rules.
House Rules approved on Tuesday ban the Appropriations Committee from amending a bill after second consideration.
Republican spokesman Steve Miskin explains that last session, leaders would move a bill to the panel, and then overhaul its content.

"And then it would come back on the floor, and no member had the ability to change that bill to what the House already voted. It was un-amendable. That was wrong and that was an abuse. "

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