Sunday, April 13, 2008

PA Open Records Failing Could be Con-Con Call Revival

Beware Democracy Rising PA and Tim Potts. Still after a Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention in the New Year.

APRIL 13, 2008 Democracy Rising PA homepage contains link to its material desiring a PA Constitutional Convention.


Citizens have proposed some 200 changes to every article of our Constitution. Is it time for our first general constitutional convention since 1872?§ion_id=994&page_id=4048

We've covered the issue extensively, going to the extent of finding a well-respected source that admits in footnoted material to a discussion paper concerning how the 'limited' Pennsylvania process could basically become 'unlimited.'

Such who are in favor of a Con-Con for Pennsylvania don't want to admit of the potential of a 'limited convention,' one called for certain purposes which could become runaway once the convention gets underway.

Search our site or see sidebar special section on PA Constitutional Convention.

Obviously, some in the reform movement in PA just don't want to give it up. A Con-Con remains a central motivation perhaps for finding deeper fault with Pennsylvania's new open records legislation than there is. Though the flaws that are found in the open records legislation are by no means to be ignored or dismissed, rather legislators should be held accountable, in no way should such failings be used as a platform to mount another round of calls for a PA Constitutional Convention.

While Tim Potts and others are not yet using the open records as a base from which to remount their PA Con-Con call, the potential remains for them to do so. Beware.

The Centrist
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Democracy Rising Marks 1,000 Days Since The Pay Raise
From Tim Potts at DemocracyRisingPa:

Reality Check
1,000 - Days since the Pay Raise of 2005.
2 - Laws enacted to improve government integrity. See the cartoon.
0 - "Best-in-America" laws enacted. See the campaign.
See the full April edition of "Reality Check" on the web.

1,000 Days
It's been 1,000 days since the Pay Raise of 2005, and this could be the last time we mention it. But we have to observe how little state government has done to remove corruption and raise standards of public integrity...

..We have a new open records law for the first time in 50 years, but it too is weak.
It allows the legislature and judiciary to police themselves, inviting corruption, and penalties for public officials who violate the law are just about meaningless.

Nothing that the legislature has done in 1,000 days gives PA bragging rights for the best that American representative democracy has to offer. Among many other things, there have been no improvements in:

* Changing our second-worst system for drawing legislative districts (see below)
Prohibiting lame-duck session, favored by 82 percent of PA voters
* Making elections accurate, reliable and verifiable as well as leveling the playing field for all candidates
* Auditing the legislature according to generally accepted auditing principles
Revising one of the weakest campaign funding laws in America
* Authorizing a Constitution convention to debate and decide reforms that lawmakers cannot force themselves to adopt

Nor has anything changed to prevent another Pay Raise of 2005. The General Assembly still can suspend the rules to adopt gut-and-replace laws, and they have refused to act on proposals for an independent body to study and recommend compensation for public officials. They are just biding their time.

No comments: