January 4 – With the start of a New Year, everyone looks to change and forward momentum and get things done.
Well, everyone except the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, apparently.
The Chamber will not be back in session again until March because of a roof leak. Keep in mind, Pennsylvania has a full time legislature.
Also keep in mind that because of a recent resignation, the PA House has 101 Democrats and 101 Republicans. Could that have something to do with Speaker Joanna McClinton (Democrat from Philadelphia) deciding on the recess?
PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “Because of what I would term as ‘reported’ leak in the ceiling, we will not be back to voting in the legislative session until mid March.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM asked, “How can that be? Are you getting some response back from your constituents? Is anybody in leadership hearing? Wait a second, it’s January the 4th and we’re not going to be back at it until the beginning of March, middle of March, end of March.”
Kauffman said, “It appears right now mid March is what they’re saying. That’s the date they’re saying. Now granted, we will be back at the beginning of February for the governor’s annual budget address and for some reason we will be doing it in the Grand Rotunda, which is uncharacteristic. It is very glamorous. He will be doing it at the staircase, which is fashioned after the Paris Opera House, so I can see him marching down. It will be quite a grand event. But that is happening there, which would have all the legislators. I suspect they’re going to have chairs out and they’re going to have the Rotunda, the Capitol closed off because of course they have to have it secure for the governor and his entourage. So my suspicion is that the main Capitol Rotunda will be closed.”
Ryan asked, “Why can’t we get an answer on this ceiling thing? If that’s what’s holding it up and nobody seems to have any answers, who would have those answers?”
Kauffman said, “I did see that a reporter did a Right to Know request, which of course Right to Know requests take up to 30 days to produce from the House, so it will be interesting what information is produced to that reporter. It’s actually a reporter that I spoke to before the Christmas break. We will see if the House produces hard evidence that there’s a roof leak.”
Ryan insisted, “If it’s a lie, I want to know where the lie is and who started the lie. If it is a lie.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “It would be all communication. Emails or communication about oh, there’s something wrong with the ceiling. We’re going to make some kind of order to get this fixed. I mean, you can’t create that retrospectively and you shouldn’t be able to, but what would be the things that he could possibly get on that?”
Kauffman said, “My hunch would be that there would be work orders. There would be emails, if it’s done by an outside contractor, there would be estimates, cost estimates. So it’s hard to tell.”
Ryan pointed out, “Let’s hope they get the job done by a Pennsylvania contractor. I know when we were looking for cars for Governor Wolf, we had to go out of the state because we shut car dealerships down. There’s not a lot of brains going on up there in Harrisburg right now.”
Kauffman said, “Depending on where this supposedly leak is, if it’s something of a great historical and architectural significance, who knows, maybe they will have to go outside the Commonwealth to get a special contractor. It’s hard to tell.”