20 January 2023- PA House Speaker Mark Rozzi made a rather surprising announcement today on how he plans to move forward in coming up with way to finally opening up the 2023-2024 state house session. He says he going to let the people of Pennsylvania decide.
Rozzi in a statement said that “Harrisburg is broken” and that his interpretation of his pledge to be an independent Speaker of the House means he will not work with party leaders and caucuses to resolve this among the people’s representatives, but by taking the members of the bipartisan work group he formed on a statewide tour to “seek the counsel of those most often neglected: the people of Pennsylvania”.
Rozzi said he formed the Speaker’s Workgroup to move Pennsylvania Forward to advise on the next steps to ensure that the chamber operates appropriately and “to make sure and that our top priority – seeking justice for survivors of sexual assault – is addressed swiftly”. It’s unclear who the “our” in that statement refers to as many would put simply getting a functioning legislature for all the people up and operating as top priority, not simply to address his personal politically championed solution for “justice” for childhood sexual abuse that is actually pretty controversial. That is why the proposed constitutional amendment for his solution would go to the people for a vote before it’s enacted.
Rozzi, a Democrat, despite his pledge to behave as an Independent as Speaker, also made it clear he will not be non-partisan in addressing the issues as he called the proposed amendment for voter ID favored by Republicans, a very popular measure among all voters, an attempt to “make it harder for everyone to vote”, that was apparently asked for along side his favored amendment only for “ideological and political ends”.
How such a listening tour could be conducted and result in any kind of timely or procedurally cohesive way to produce results was not addressed. And how this would effect other business of the state is not clear and generates even more uncertainty about just how dysfunctional the state government is and how long this level of dysfunction will last.
See the announcement HERE.