As the weather heats up, so does the pace on Harrisburg.
Generally I tend to drive within the speed limit. Ok…maybe I drive 5 or 8 miles over the limit when I am on a highway.
But in Harrisburg, during the month of June in particular, I feel like I am going 100 miles an hour.
June is the month when budget negotiations happen in earnest and therefore a lot of non-budget related legislation picks up speed. Why? Because if leaders are looking for budget votes, they want their legislation to move (although much of that legislation are bills authored by the majority party).
Information is coming at legislators (including yours truly) via phone, email, text, fax, appointments, walk-ins, instant message and snail mail; and occasionally in the deli line at Shop Rite. The halls of the capitol are often crowded with advocates and even more lobbyists than usual; all trying to ensure that the needs of their organizations aren’t forgotten.
The number of voting committee meetings also increases as the legislation pipeline starts to flow like a fire hose instead of the usual garden hose. I have five committee assignments and that alone necessitates a few hours of reading on most days.
Due to my policy wonk nature, I both thrive in this environment and endeavor to be as fully informed as possible. My votes impact my constituent’s lives and I take that responsibility very seriously.
It is often frustrating when I see good legislation languish (e.g. bills that could improve our voting process) and when I see good legislation (e.g. redistricting reform to end gerrymandering) trashed with poison pill amendments.
The opportunities to cheer stellar legislation that moves the commonwealth forward and truly supports the greater good of our citizens are few and far between.
I work diligently to cultivate relationships ‘across the aisle’ and count as friends both my Democratic and Republican colleagues. That effort alone often produces agreed-to amendments and bi-partisan priming of legislation.
The days are also rather unpredictable. We are scheduled for almost twice as many session days as usual and it is not unusual to hold sessions well into the evening; or a session could also abruptly end with little warning, or session days can be added through the weekend.
By the time that you read this, we will know the outcome of the budget and which pieces of legislation made it to the Governor’s desk for his consideration.
At our town hall gatherings in July and August we will discuss in detail the events of June. Even though it seems a blur going through it, I make decisions based on data, facts, and for the greater good of the 194th. I look forward to sharing the happenings of this adventure and my role as your state representative.
Speak Up and Stay Informed
Thoughts? Suggestions? Concerns? Make your voice heard by visiting my office at 6511 Ridge Avenue or calling (215) 482-8726
Stay in the know by signing up for my electronic newsletter (delivered twice monthly) or my paper newsletter (delivered twice a year) by calling my office at 215-482-8726.
Representative Pamela A. DeLissio serves the 194th Legislative District, which includes East Falls.