Ciresi condemns House blocking debate, amendments on constitutional amendment

HARRISBURG, July 13 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, condemned today’s decision by the Pennsylvania House majority to push forward S.B. 1166, a proposed amendment to the state constitution, while blocking discussion on further amendments.

There had been 63 amendments filed by representatives from both parties.

“This extraordinary decision was a shameful abuse of legislative power,” Ciresi said. “While all bills deserve to be properly debated and discussed, and potentially improved through amendments, this is especially true for amendments to the constitution itself. To push through a bill of this magnitude without a public hearing or discussion, while refusing to even consider amendments that my colleagues worked hard to draft, is unacceptable.”

Senate Bill 1166, which received second consideration by the House today, would amend the state constitution to prohibit denying legal rights on the basis of race or ethnicity, limit a governor’s declaration of a disaster emergency to 21 days unless extended by the General Assembly, and prohibit a governor from being allowed to veto a legislative termination or extension of a disaster emergency declaration.

Among the filed amendments were proposals that would extend protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, religious creed, gender identity, or national origin; amend the allowed duration for a governor’s declaration of disaster emergency to 90 days instead of 21; allow for property tax reductions for owner-occupied homes; and constitutionally allow the legislature to convene remotely during an emergency. Ciresi had introduced an amendment that would require majority and minority party legislative caucuses to receive equal appropriations in each annual budget.

For more information, contact Ciresi’s office at 484-200-8265.