Bipartisan Solutions in Harrisburg Deserve A Vote
In grade-school we had a board game called “How a Bill Becomes a Law.” It taught the process of bill-making. It followed fair procedural rules. It came to a resolution.
So, what goes on in Harrisburg?
Some legislators have gamed the process. Our legislature is among the largest and most expensive in the country. Yet little is accomplished.
Oh, there are plenty of bills. If you’re fortunate and have broadband, Google your legislator and tap Sponsored Legislation. You can see literally hundreds of bills. In the current session there were over 4,000 introduced. Yet only 7 percent got passed, primarily naming bridges and holidays.
Surprisingly, both parties do work together! There are suggested bipartisan solutions where legislators reached agreement on important issues such as childhood lead exposure, fair school funding, minimum wage increases, property tax reform, and BROADBAND! Yes! There is a proposed bipartisan solution!
But, these issues and others are stuck in committee, some for many years.
The problem: Unfair Procedural Rules.
Only six majority leaders decide what gets a vote. Partisan maneuvers as stalling, ignoring, switching committees, and shenanigans disguised as amendments block passage.
In January, new legislators arrive with ideals, plans and campaign promises they mean to keep. But, their first day, their first vote, they could unknowingly give up their power to represent us, to make any meaningful change. They unwittingly could rubber-stamp unfair procedural rules.
Perhaps our legislators need another grade-school lesson. The gaming must end. We need to FixHarrisburg.
Bipartisan Solutions Deserve a Vote!
Joanne C. Santamaria, State College
Republicans Don’t Support Blue-collar Workers
The Republican Party claims to be big supporters of blue-collar workers, but their true colors showed when it came time to support those workers.
For almost a year, railroad unions and managers of the seven major railroads worked to come up with a new contract. The major sticking point is that union workers have no paid sick leave. What’s worse, if workers need to take off because of illness, or to see a doctor, they must use vacation days—and vacation days need to be scheduled, and approved, in advance. In other words, if you’re a union railroad worker, you’d better be able to forecast the future, because if you’re going to be sick, you need to schedule your sick time in advance of getting sick.
The major companies even impose disciplinary measures if an employee takes off for a medical emergency. As a result, union workers often delay needed medical care, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Last year, one union engineer who postponed a doctor’s visit because he hadn’t scheduled a vacation day for it died on the job of a heart attack a few weeks later.
To forestall a strike, House Democrats passed legislation giving union workers seven days of paid sick leave.
In contrast, all but three House Republicans, who, by the way, receive taxpayer-funded UNLIMITED sick leave, voted against the bill, supporting the seven major railroad companies who made $27 billion last year, nearly double their profits 10 years ago.
So much for Republicans supporting blue-collar workers.
Edward Satalia, State College