Democracy Rising Pennsylvania
First Senator Signs the Petition
Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Allegheny, is the first state senator to sign the petition for a Constitution convention referendum this fall. He joins seven members of the House who already have signed:
Rep. Barbara McIlvaine-Smith, D-Chester
Rep. Bryan Lentz, D-Delaware
Rep. John Bear, R- Lancaster
Rep. RoseMarie Swanger, R-Lebanon
Rep. John Galloway, D- Bucks
Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre
We also can report two other candidates who have taken a stand on a convention. Susan Rzucidlo is a Democrat challenging incumbent Rep. Chris Ross, R-Chester.
Finally, Russ Diamond, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, is promoting his own version of a Constitution convention. Like Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Wagner, who also supports a convention, Diamond has not signed the petition.
And here is more editorial support:
Both parties realize constitutional convention is necessary, Harrisburg Patriot-News, March 14.
Bonus Scandal Jury Still Thinking
If Murphy’s Law still applies on the day after St. Patrick’s Day, no sooner than we dispatch this edition of DR News will jurors announce the guilt or innocence of four defendants in the Bonus Scandal. After deliberating for two hours last Friday and three full days so far this week, the eight women and four men continue to work. Although they informed Judge Richard Lewis that they have reached one verdict, the judge ruled that no verdicts could be announced until the jury is ready to announce all four.
Rather than wait any longer for the news, we’ll give you this much and promise a special edition when the jury has determined what happened.
Meanwhile, former House Democratic Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Greene, had been invited to testify in the ongoing trial. Instead, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Click here for a column by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Brian O’Neill.
Campaigning on Integrity
One candidate for an open senate seat believes an integrity agenda will separate himself from the pack of three Democrats and one Republican seeking to replace Sen. Raphael Musto, who retires this year. Rep. John Yudichak, D-Luzerne, recently announced plans to introduce legislation that would
• require lawmakers to produce receipts in order to get reimbursed for daily expenses (per diems).
• limit the number of terms a lawmaker can serve in leadership.
• authorize a referendum for a Constitution convention for a few key issues.
Click here for a report from the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader.
It is entirely possible that this is nothing but campaign rhetoric, as some comments after the news story suspect. However, there is value in talking about these issues and having legislation introduced. Citizens can’t beat something with nothing, so it helps to have proposals in writing. Click here for an editorial from the Beaver County Times. As of this writing, though, the bills have not been introduced.
What becomes of Yudichak’s proposals is another story that may have more to do with the three-way field of Democrats seeking the senate seat. As an incumbent representative, Yudichak could get a boost from fellow Luzerne Democrat and House Majority Leader Todd Eachus. If Yudichak has any juice with Eachus, we may see action. Or if House Democrats who oppose reform have enough juice to threaten Eachus’ hold on leadership, Yudichak’s proposals may go nowhere.
It’s worth recalling that the only thing standing between 12.5 million citizens and the best state government in America are 129 people: a majority of 102 in the House, a majority of 26 in the Senate, and one governor.
• Will your representative and senator be two of the 129?
A New Reality
We don’t have to settle for whatever government lawmakers, judges and governors want to give us.
1. Click here to sign the petition for a referendum on a Constitution convention.
2. Forward this edition of DR News to others and ask them to sign the petition.
3. Donate to keep the pressure on.
A new reality is up to us, because only we can keep democracy rising!
We can be reached at: P.O. Box 618, Carlisle, PA 17013
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