York County lawmakers discuss state House uproar - The York Daily Record

JOHN WALK The York Dispatch

In all his years as a politician, Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor, said he has never seen anything like what happened in Harrisburg Wednesday.

In a standing-room-only committee hearing, state House Republicans voted to remove one Democrat from every House committee and overturned amendment procedures passed as a reform change in the wake of the 2005 pay raise law.

But it wasn't the vote that got the most attention. Instead, when the Republican committee chairman began a vote on the measure while Democrats wanted to continue debate, Democratic members screamed about dictatorship and slavery before storming out of the room.

The proposal now goes to the full House, where Republicans hold a 112-91 seat majority.

Democrats were upset because they said House Majority Leader Mike Turzai stifled debate from Democratic members who said the changes would disenfranchise their constituents.

But Saylor said Democrats were wrong to act in the way they did because Republicans have done a good job being bipartisan.

"(Republicans) have negotiated with them since the day we took over," Saylor said. "Everything we've been talking about, we have worked with them on the committee side, we worked with them on a lot of things."

Civility: Wednesday's event came just one day after President Barack Obama began his State of the Union address with a call for civility. And just last week, Gov. Tom Corbett's inaugural address challenged state lawmakers to be firmly dedicated to a civil discourse.

Although Saylor acknowledged that the average citizen might be upset that civility between Republicans and Democrats hasn't been shown so far, he said in the end all that will matter is "what will get accomplished."

"If we allow Democrats to block good reform, they'll say 'Look at us, it's just us bickering and not getting anything done.' And I think people want to see government in action and sometimes that's not pretty. But in a week or two from now when reforms start getting passed, people will start paying attention," he said.

Reaction: Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York City, said he is very frustrated with Wednesday's events.

"I view it as an overreaction. Hopefully we can get back together and make things work. Because we certainly need to work together," DePasquale said.

"You get a little ticked that amendments happen sometimes. But if every time you have a situation where you drive out one side from sharing their views, you get bad legislation. I just think at the end of the day, legislators have to be able to offer amendments if they think they can improve the bill."

No comment: During Wednesday's commotion, Saylor sat to the left of Turzai and remained silent. He said even though he is the House majority whip - which is the third highest Republican job in the House, behind speaker of the House and majority leader - there was "no use" for him to say anything.

"Why would I want to shout back at the Democrats? It would not have done me any good. When a chairman strikes the gavel to quiet everyone, you be quiet," he said.

Going forward, the proposed changes from Wednesday will likely be voted on by the full House Monday.

And by that time, Saylor said he is planning to meet with some Democrats "to make sure something like Wednesday's events don't happen again."

- Reach John Walk at 505-5439 or or follow on Twitter @ydcity.

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