Why does nothing ever get done in Harrisburg?

November 17 – A lot of politicians talk about how they are working for the people, but are they really?

If they work for the people, why does it take so long to seemingly get anything to happen?

Here in Pennsylvania, we have been trying to get radar into the hands of local police organizations for decades. Why on earth is it taking so long?

State Senator Doug Mastriano, attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen talked a lot about the seemingly “do nothing” General Assembly in Pennsylvania this morning during First News.

Mastriano said, “The pragmatic Republicans need to stop this. It’s an excuse not to get on record. What I’m talking about here is a lot of Republicans in Harrisburg don’t want to move any legislation that’s even slightly, moderately controversial because it gets them on record, but they say the governor’s going to veto it. A lot of politicians don’t want to be on record for anything. They don’t want to be on record for the radar bill because it might be used against them. November most of the time we were in session, I was literally in the car. I said I don’t even know why we went to work today because we didn’t do anything. We did a couple of bridge re-namers. I think that’s the number one legislation we do in Harrisburg and that’s great. I’m down with recognizing fallen heroes, absolutely, but there’s a lot of stuff we need to be doing and we sit on it. For instance, I’m glad we finally moved the Second Amendment stuff. I have a bill in there that’s been sitting in committee that has 25 co-sponsors with it. Half of the Senate has signed up and it’s just sitting there. There’s always an excuse to wait and dither. Oh, we have an election. Oh, we have this. Oh, the governor will veto it. That’s the old chestnut they like to pull out because people don’t want to get on record.”

When it comes to the radar bill, there’s one guy, Tim Hennessey, chair of the Transportation Committee in the House who is holding up the process.

Ryan said, “One guy in Harrisburg that has the entire authority over the entire state. Isn’t that just disgusting? I can’t think of any other word. You haven’t been out to boroughs. You don’t know what we’re facing out here. What is it? Do you have some sort of a wink and a nod with the state police? Or with a radar company or something like that? Why is it, Hennessey that you won’t bring it up? Why is it one guy?”

“It’s crazy,” Barkdoll agreed. “We’re the only state in the country that doesn’t have this. There’s overwhelming support for this and we hear this come up session after session, year after year. They won’t take a vote on it. It’s this one guy. He’s in Republican leadership that refuses to allow it to get to the floor for a vote. That’s one of any number of issues. Again, I would throw in property tax reform. Reforms of the General Assembly in general. Do we go to part time? Do we reduce the size of it? These are all things that over the years everyone talks about, everyone wants action done, but you never see it get to a vote. But yet there will be all this time spent on these other issues that they know will not become law and they’ll spend a day debating these things, but yet things that the people that really want done, you’ll have one guy that’s holding up the whole process. It is really frustrating.”

How does all that power come down to one person?

Mastriano explained, “Because he’s the committee chair. Transportation Committee in the House and the chair has a lot of power and they can squash bills. They can move bills. It’s up to them. I don’t know if it’s just him. I don’t know if it’s the House leadership. Obviously it’s better if you ask the House members that. They’d be more familiar. I’m glad we moved it out on our side here previously. It’s just so much mediocrity. Just do the job. Move stuff. Don’t hide behind the excuse the governor may veto it. Maybe he will. That’s not our problem. We’re part of this process here. We diminish our role by not doing our jobs.”