June 17, 1992 |
State government saves almost everything. Almost. You could look up, for instance, how much a certain state employee earned in 1976, an arrest by the State Police in 1905, an action by the General Assembly in 1776 and even the minutes of the Provincial Council back to 1664. But you couldn't find out how much a member of the House of Representatives spent on lunch in May 1989. That's because something has happened to House expense records that is remarkably incongruous in this squirrel's paradise, a place that has a 21- story archive devoted to preserving paper, and even century-old records from the defunct Committee on Lunacy.
February 16, 1995 |
The bipartisan House ethics committee yesterday opened a preliminary inquiry into a sweeping complaint that Speaker Newt Gingrich violated House rules. The 10-person committee, equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, met for more than 90 minutes in private to go over the ground rules for the investigation, members said. Committee chairwoman Nancy L. Johnson (R., Conn.) said it was a thorough discussion of how the committee - officially called the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct - would conduct the probe.
May 1, 2012 |
Change comes hard to Harrisburg. Republican Rep. Curt Schroder, of Chester County, who will quit the state House after 17-plus years on Sunday, knew that intuitively when he arrived at the Capitol in January 1995. But it's a lesson that has been drummed in, time and again. Lincoln said he'd gotten his schooling "by littles. " That's how reform has come to the House, even after the scandal of Bonusgate and the public uproar over a 2005 legislative pay raise enacted late at night, when much of the public literally was sleeping.
January 5, 1997 |
His conservative message aside, Newt Gingrich rose to power on the strength of two convictions: Politics is war, and Democrats cheat. He once insisted that his crusade against the Democrats "has to be fought with the scale and duration and savagery that is only true of civil wars. " He once charged that the Democrats were trying "to destroy honest institutions. " He saw himself as a champion of "honesty and integrity. " He once warned that "dishonesty and deception . . . alienate citizens from their country.
December 8, 1987
The House of Representatives, which boasts of a certain closeness to the American people, has an embarrassing habit of acting undemocratically. The House Rules Committee routinely helps the House leadership pass what it wants by severely restricting what lawmakers can vote on. On the complex matter of welfare reform, which the chamber's 435 voting members plan to begin debating on Thursday, the Rules Committee has allowed just three options: a...
March 14, 2007 |
GOOD GOVERNMENT is government that works by and for the people it seeks to represent and not just for and by the powerful few. In Pennsylvania, the balance between power and responsibility has become misaligned and the result is that the public has little confidence or trust in their state government. A fundamental realignment is needed today to repair the breach and restore faith in our government. In his first official act as speaker, Dennis O'Brien pledged to change the way business is done in the state House.
December 15, 1990 |
Key questions still linger after this week's New Jersey Supreme Court decision to permit municipalities to fund affordable housing programs by levying fees against private builders. Especially this: What will happen to about $30 million that has already been collected by about 75 municipalities under old laws that the court invalidated in Thursday's decision? The towns have been holding the money in escrow, barred from spending it while the case worked its way through the courts.
February 28, 2007
Harrisburg didn't turn into an ethics cesspool overnight; cleaning out its bad habits will take time. But a bipartisan commission of legislators is making quiet progress. One of the first acts by new Speaker Dennis O'Brien (R., Phila.) last month was to appoint this 24-member panel of lawmakers to come up with ideas to make the House more open and democratic. O'Brien understands that some of the legislature's worst abuses in recent years occurred because political power has been too concentrated in the hands of a few leaders from both parties.
August 27, 1986 |
In what may be the first legal challenge to the quotas established by the state Council on Affordable Housing in May, Medford Township officials decided last week to file suit challenging their quota of 412 low-income units. "We basically don't believe that the numbers are realistic," said township manager Richard W. Deaney, noting that the quotas were intended to encourage construction of affordable housing in growing communities. "The state development-guide plan does not identify any area of Medford Township as a growth area.
February 9, 2010 |
Even many opponents of a bill to abolish the state Council on Affordable Housing agree the current system needs reform. But the best way to fix New Jersey's controversial affordable-housing regulations was very much up for debate at a second hearing on the issue yesterday. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D., Union), a primary sponsor of the move to eliminate COAH, said the Senate Economic Growth Committee was expected to vote on the proposal March 8. Lesniak repeatedly stressed that the bill - generally supported by municipal officials and opposed by affordable-housing organizations - falls short of New Jersey's affordable-housing needs.