Pennsylvania legislative leader Costa blasts suggestion of session before Wolf sworn in as governor |
Politics Election

Pennsylvania legislative leader Costa blasts suggestion of session before Wolf sworn in as governor

HARRISBURG — A suggestion by incoming Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman that Republicans might consider a session to ram through bills before Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf takes office is “inappropriate, unprecedented and inexcusable,” the chamber’s top Democrat said Friday.

The House and Senate return to session Jan. 6 when new members are sworn in. The GOP has large majorities in both chambers.

Corman, R-Centre County, said during a taping of “Face the State” on WHP-TV in Harrisburg that he has not ruled out holding a session during Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s final weeks in office.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, said that would be “an act of desperation and serious blow to reform.”

Corbett believes Costa and the Democrats are making “political theater,” spokeswoman Lynn Lawson said.

She said Corbett has not talked with legislative leaders about a special session, though leaders could meet before Wolf’s Jan. 20 inauguration without the governor’s urging.

“He is certainly ready, willing and able to continue the work at hand,” Lawson said.

Senate Republicans for years have avoided lame-duck sessions. Technically, this would not be the same. The chambers would not be allowing defeated or retiring members to vote after the election. New members elected in November would have been sworn in.

Wolf’s “priority is to move Pennsylvania forward,” said spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan. “He looks forward to working with legislative leaders from both parties … to tackle the difficult decisions needed to solve our state’s financial crisis.”

“Lobbyists are talking about it; reporters are talking about it,” said Stephen Miskin, a House Republican spokesman. “I have not heard a single legislator talk about it.”

GOP lawmakers left unresolved Corbett’s top issues: pension reform and state liquor store divestiture.

During his campaign, Wolf said the state’s public employee pension problems are not a crisis and that he favors modernizing, not eliminating, the state stores.

“Why would anyone think they could do it now, when they’ve been unable to do it the last four years?” asked Moe Coleman, director emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics.

Liquor sales and pensions are complicated issues. Diverse constituencies support and oppose selling the state stores.

J. Wesley Leckrone, a political science professor at Widener University, agreed it’s unlikely lawmakers could solve “intractable issues” in a few days.

Leckrone said it may be an effort by some Republicans to set the stage for negotiations with Wolf — sending a message that Corbett lost the election but they beefed up their majority control.

“It could be the beginning of legislative posturing,” Leckrone said.

Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media’s state Capitol reporter. He can be reached at 717-787-1405 or [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.