DeLuca letter urges Chairman Metcalfe to consider election bills

April 6, 2017

Honorable Daryl Metcalfe, Chairman

House State Government Committee

144 Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120-2012

Dear Chairman Metcalfe,

I am reaching out to you to request your assistance in bringing up a package of government reform bills that were referred to the House State Government Committee.   Several of the bills: HB945, HB946, HB947, and HB 951all would improve Pennsylvania’s election process by creating much needed reforms to update the process.

House Bill 945 will allow for same day voter registration.  Thirteen states and the District of Columbia now have same day voter registration programs. Voters will have the opportunity to register at their polling place on Election Day by providing a form(s) of identification that includes a photo ID with legal name and permanent address. Examples include a valid driver’s license or government ID card.       

House Bill 946 will establish a process for early voting in Pennsylvania.  Specifically, the legislation will require county boards of election to establish early voting sites during the two weeks leading up to the primary and general election.  It is important to note that individuals who choose to vote early would have to comply with all the same requirements as individuals who vote on Election Day.  To date, thirty-five states and the District of Columbia have some form of early voting or no excuse absentee voting.   

House Bill 951 will increase the number of feet from 10 to 35 where campaigners are permitted to stand. As Pennsylvania voters arrive at polling locations on Election Day, they often come across aggressive campaigners passing out literature and trying to influence the way an individual will vote. In some situations, this type of abrasive activity keeps people from going to the polls on Election Day to vote. My bill aims to prevent any unwanted confrontations or voter intimidation by limiting voter contact by mandating political activists, campaign staff and candidates must be a minimum of 35 feet from a polling location.

House Bill 947 requires any federal, state, county or municipal official to resign prior to running for an elected office that begins before the end of their current term. Elected officials would still be permitted to run in an election for another office provided their current term expires in the same year as the election. The bill would also prevent individuals from running for more than one office in the same election year. 

House Bill 948 limits the salary members of the General Assembly may receive for services rendered outside of their duties as a legislator. This bill would prohibit members of the General Assembly from receiving more than 35% of their base for services rendered outside of the duties of his/her office. We are a fulltime legislature being paid for fulltime service. Influences and time demands from outside employment do nothing to further our mission of serving our constituents.

House Bill 949 requires additional financial disclosure by elected officials and public employees. Specifically, my legislation would require individuals filing a statement of financial interest to list not only the source of any outside income, but also the amount. Comprehensive financial disclosure of outside income helps public officials and employees avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest, and reassures the public that officials and employees are working for them, not for special interests or other outside groups in which they may have a financial interest.

These bills represent necessary modernization of the electoral process, and outside income requirements for those who are elected.  Each of these bills focusses on a real and pressing area that needs addressed. Our constituents have been calling for similar changes for years, isn’t it time we listen to them?

 I respectfully request your assistance in bringing these bills before your Committee in the near future and I thank you for your consideration.  I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Tony DeLuca

State Representative                                                                                                              

32nd Legislative District