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Legislative Process

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NEWS
December 29, 2006 | By Carrie Budoff INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.) hopes the ouster of two Senate Republican leaders, the second-ranking House Democrat, and dozens of other state lawmakers might do the trick this time. For the second consecutive year, Fumo proposed a package of bills yesterday aimed at opening up the legislative process, offering the public more cellophane and less tinfoil when it comes to the business of Harrisburg. Last session, Fumo's bills to accomplish that went nowhere. This time, Fumo said, the difference might be the toll that voters have exacted on lawmakers for their votes on the 2005 pay raise, which passed at 2 a.m. with no public debate.
NEWS
October 9, 1987 | By JOSEPH GRACE, Daily News Staff Writer
Pennsylvania's sentencing guidelines - a boon to prosecutors and a bane to criminal defendants - were struck down yesterday by the state Supreme Court, which ruled that the Legislature had unconstitutionally created the guidelines in 1982. But because the high court ruled that it was not the guidelines themselves that were unconstitutional but the legislative process used to enact them, advocates said they would immediately campaign to re-enact the guidelines. "The authority to write new guidelines was not taken away from us," said John Kramer, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing.
NEWS
November 25, 1986
The Pennsylvania legislature should let the sun set on the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, an obscure agency of state government that is due to go out of existence at the end of this year unless a bill to extend its life is enacted. It should be allowed to die a natural death. It would be a merciful way to go. Created three years ago, the commission's principal power is to prevent state departments and agencies from implementing regulations for one reason or another - such as lack of clarity or contradictions with other regulations or laws.
NEWS
September 21, 2005
COVERAGE by the Daily News of the challenges still facing Fairmount Park and the decision by City Council members Darrell Clarke and Blondell Reynolds Brown to defer action on their parks/recreation consolidation has created a tremendous opportunity for Philadelphia and Mayor Street. This original proposal to eliminate the Fairmount Park Commission and transfer its responsibilities to the city Department of Recreation would have required a November 2005 ballot question. The Philadelphia Parks Alliance, many citizens and the Committee of Seventy publicly opposed this bill because there would have been no time for meaningful public participation in the legislative process, or time for voter education if a ballot question was in fact approved by Council.
NEWS
January 21, 1991 | By Russell E. Eshleman Jr., Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
The most influential legislative staff person in Harrisburg - often referred to as the "51st senator" because of his knowledge and expertise - is a candidate for the top job at one of the state's most powerful lobbying groups. Sources said last Friday that the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which represents business interests, had put Stephen C. MacNett, general counsel to Senate Majority Leader F. Joseph Loeper Jr. (R., Delaware), on its "short list" of candidates for its presidency.
NEWS
December 15, 2005
POWERFUL STATE senator and NRA member Vince Fumo has finally found a cooling-off period he can like. It's one we approve of, as well. Yesterday Fumo unveiled a number of proposals aimed at slowing down the whole bill-becomes-a-law process in Harrisburg - actually giving legislators time to consider their actions - and making the transaction as transparent as possible. Fumo, a Democrat, is expected to introduce the bills next month and look for co-sponsors. We hope he attracts a formidable number.
NEWS
May 29, 1989 | By Robert Zausner, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
There are no directions to "Collect $200 from Lobbyist" or "Advance to Nearest Expensive Restaurant. " And there is certainly no order to "Go To Jail. " But other than that, it's kind of like the real thing. For those who have said for years that the legislative process is a game, there is now conclusive evidence. Complete with cut-out moving pieces, red and blue Chance cards and a playing board, the amusement event everyone has been waiting for is out - "How a Bill Becomes a Law in Pennsylvania - A Game About the Legislative Process.
NEWS
February 19, 1989 | By Dianne Gordon-Lyles, Special to The Inquirer
Alma Saravia can't remember when her interests in women's rights and the legislative process weren't closely intertwined. "I had gotten involved with the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, then I went to grad school for a master's in social policy analysis," the 36-year-old Burlington City attorney said. She was interning at the state legislature in Trenton in 1979 when the Commission on Sex Discrimination in the Statutes was formed, so she shifted her internship and became the commission's first executive director - before finishing graduate school.
NEWS
July 13, 2013 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Staff Writer
Tasked with drawing a map that would decide which party controlled New Jersey for a decade, the five Democrats and five Republicans settling the high-stakes battle in 2011 needed a tiebreaker. Each group came up with three names. The man at the top of both lists: Alan Rosenthal, a longtime political science professor at Rutgers University who had served on redistricting commissions before. A national expert on state legislatures, Dr. Rosenthal, 81, died Wednesday, July 10, after a battle with cancer.
NEWS
January 11, 2008 | By Amy Worden INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
The ACLU's lobbyist is departing the Capitol after 15 years. Larry Frankel, legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania through four gubernatorial administrations, has accepted a job overseeing state lobbying efforts at the group's national office in Washington. While most of his work has involved trying to stop bills the ACLU believes violate the Constitution, Frankel has also successfully fought for bills that protect or expand civil rights, including one requiring post-conviction DNA testing and another restoring funding for family planning services.
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NEWS
July 13, 2013 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Staff Writer
Tasked with drawing a map that would decide which party controlled New Jersey for a decade, the five Democrats and five Republicans settling the high-stakes battle in 2011 needed a tiebreaker. Each group came up with three names. The man at the top of both lists: Alan Rosenthal, a longtime political science professor at Rutgers University who had served on redistricting commissions before. A national expert on state legislatures, Dr. Rosenthal, 81, died Wednesday, July 10, after a battle with cancer.
NEWS
October 3, 2012 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
  HARRISBURG - A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by an atheist group that challenged the legislature's resolution declaring 2012 the "Year of the Bible," but he also chastised the lawmakers for "pandering. " In his ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner granted the House Republicans' motion to dismiss the lawsuit by Freedom From Religion Foundation, saying he was bound by legislative immunity. However, he issued a strong rebuke of the legislature's action, which he said pushed "the Establishment Clause envelope behind the safety glass of legislative immunity" and called the resolution "exclusionary" and a "waste of legislative resources.
NEWS
July 6, 2012
By Adam F. Scales For many at Rutgers-Camden, Jan. 25 seems like a lifetime ago. On that day, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Advisory Committee recommended — for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained — a restructuring of higher education institutions that would merge Rutgers-Camden out of existence and into Rowan University. This remarkable conclusion, subscribed to without hesitation by Gov. Christie and much of the South Jersey political establishment, marks a low point in education policy-making in the state.
NEWS
March 12, 2012 | By George Anastasia, Inquirer Staff Writer
Former State Sen. Wayne Bryant is back in prison awaiting a judge's decision that could add a new jail sentence to the four years he is serving for a 2008 corruption conviction. The 64-year-old former Camden County politico and lawyer could face an additional term of five to 10 years if convicted of charges that he sold his legislative office to a North Carolina developer. Lawyers have about two months to supplement closing arguments in the nonjury trial that concluded Feb. 28 before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton.
NEWS
January 24, 2012 | By Amy Worden, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - It may have been one small step in the legislative process, but in the long, slow arc of efforts to streamline and modernize the Pennsylvania legislature, it amounted to a giant leap. A House committee on Monday approved a bill to shrink the size of the House by 50 members, from 203 to 153. The bill, sponsored by Speaker Sam Smith (R., Jefferson), cleared the State Government Committee in a bipartisan 16-8 vote and had the first of three considerations by the full House.
NEWS
January 12, 2012
By Adam C. Bonin Last week, Philadelphia launched a registration and disclosure system for those lobbying the city government. While the new system has superficial benefits, I fear it will cause more trouble than it's worth, yielding more confusion than enlightenment. Lobbying has a bad reputation because of the culture of influence that pervades Washington. But there is nothing inherently bad about petitioning the government for a redress of grievances. Just as people and companies hire lawyers who have the expertise to represent them in court, many hire experts in the legislative process to communicate more effectively in that arena.
NEWS
October 13, 2009
Remember Donald Trump's book The Art of the Deal? Well, The Donald would have to write an encyclopedia to explain government deal-making in Philadelphia. It's all about who is connected to whom. Sure, the outcome often is good for the city. But the process turns up its nose at the need for open government, and smacks of paternalism, telling citizens they need not worry about grown folks' business. That's not the way democracy is supposed to work. The Philly way was detailed in Sunday's article explaining how the city Board of Revision of Taxes agreed to cede some power to the city's Finance Department.
NEWS
April 17, 2008 | By Will Hobson FOR THE INQUIRER
Before Pennsylvania weighs in on the race between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Tuesday's primary, nearly 500 middle-school and high-school students will gather in Harrisburg for the YMCA Youth and Government Program's Youth General Assembly. They will be at the capitol building from Friday through Sunday, debating and defending legislation that they've spent most of the school year writing and revising. Among the scores of possible future legislators will be nine middle-school students from the Southern Chester County YMCA's Youth and Government Program club.
NEWS
January 11, 2008 | By Amy Worden INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
The ACLU's lobbyist is departing the Capitol after 15 years. Larry Frankel, legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania through four gubernatorial administrations, has accepted a job overseeing state lobbying efforts at the group's national office in Washington. While most of his work has involved trying to stop bills the ACLU believes violate the Constitution, Frankel has also successfully fought for bills that protect or expand civil rights, including one requiring post-conviction DNA testing and another restoring funding for family planning services.
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