Rep. DeLissio proposes two resolutions in support of more accountable, transparent governance

HARRISBURG, Feb. 1 – State Rep. Pam DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Philadelphia, has personally proposed two Pa. House of Representatives rules reforms as part of a bipartisan effort to make government more transparent and accountable to the people of Pennsylvania.

Eight lawmakers joined together earlier this week to push for reform after they were not given an opportunity on opening day of the 2019-20 House session to consider proposed changes to current rules that often prevent substantive debate on important issues, require votes on measures with little or no notice, sideline important legislation, and allow impactful bills, e.g. voting improvements or gift-ban legislation, to languish in committees.

DeLissio introduced Resolutions 13 and 19, both of which are among the package of rules reforms supported by Fair Districts PA.

Resolution 13 would allow any legislation with 20 co-sponsors from each party to get a committee vote and be designated as a priority bill upon the request of one of the majority co-sponsors and one of the minority co-sponsors. The bill would then receive first consideration and be positioned for second and third consideration votes on the House floor.

Resolution 19 would reinforce that the only definition that should be used by the House for the word “germane” would be the Mason’s Manual definition. Regarding germaneness, the question is whether the amendment is relevant, appropriate and in natural and logical sequence to the subject matter. Even though the Mason’s Manual is the current definition utilized, it is not administered as such on the House floor.

In the past, the House has arbitrarily ruled on germaneness to rule out of order amendments that were, in fact, germane to the subject of the bill. This is done for many reasons, including to “save” members from having to put up a “bad” vote.

During her remarks at the Jan. 29 news conference, DeLissio commented that the lack of administering the rules fairly, in addition to needing other PA House Rules reforms, have caused her to create and use the hashtags #cluckfuster, #WhenYouHaveToCheatToWin and #FairandSquare.

One question from the news conference included whether or not Democrats would be advocating for such changes if they were in the majority, and the resounding answer was yes.

DeLissio, who represents the 194th Legislative District, supports these proposals to ensure a #FairandSquare process.