Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120



_____________________NEWS RELEASE

State Senator

1st Senatorial District
Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman
Room 545 Main Capitol, Harrisburg PA 17120
Internet Website:


PHONE: 717-787-5662 


     HARRISBURG, August 9, 2006 – In an attempt to bring meaningful legislative reform measures to the floor of the Senate before the end of the legislative session, state Senator Vince Fumo (D-Philadelphia) has filed discharge resolutions for three separate bills that he introduced earlier this year.

     The bills would halt “sneak legislation” and would open the legislative process to both the public and to rank and file members of the General Assembly by increasing opportunities for public hearings, and by requiring time for public scrutiny of bills once they are in their final form. The measures were drafted in consultation with the public interest lobby Common Cause, and have received the organization’s endorsement.

     “This summer there has been a lot of talk by public officials about legislative reforms. These three bills that would provide meaningful benefit to the public have languished in committee, without a hearing or consideration,” Fumo said. “This is despite majority or near-majority initial support in the Senate.”

     Unlike concepts such as reducing the size of the Legislature and eliminating the lame duck session entirely, these reforms do not need a constitutional amendment. They can be done statutorily, although Fumo also plans re-introduce the legislation as constitutional amendments after the newly elected legislature takes office next January.

     “I intend to seek passage of this package when the Senate reconvenes in September,” Fumo said. “There has been a lot of talk about legislative reform, but little action. This is a tangible act that could have immediate, positive results for the people of Pennsylvania.”

click here to listen to Sen. Fumo talk about the discharge resolutions

     The three bills, which already have significant Senate support, indicated by a large number of co-sponsors, have been locked in committee since being referred on April 26. Senate Bill 102 and SB 103 are in the Rules Committee, while SB 104 is in the Judiciary Committee.

     SB 102 has 26 co-sponsors and the other two each have 24 co-sponsors in the 50-member Senate. (A description of three bills is appended.)

     A discharge resolution is a mechanism by which the Senate may remove a bill from committee if it has been before that committee for longer than 10 legislative days. The package of Fumo reform bills have been in their respective committees for 19 legislative days.

     A discharge resolution may be adopted by a simple majority vote, and if passed, would then permit the entire Senate to consider and vote on a bill without waiting further for committee action.

     Fumo stressed that if the Legislature deals with his reform proposals quickly upon its return to Harrisburg in September, they could be enacted into law in time to apply to the so-called “lame duck” session after the November 7 election. Fumo intends to offer amendments to the bills to have them take effect in time for the lame duck session.

     “This could be an important tool to prevent improvident and sneak legislation, which we sometimes see in the lame duck session,” Fumo said.


     Senate Bill 102, which has 26 co-sponsors, would mandate that each vote taken in the House or Senate be posted on the Internet site of that particular chamber within 24 hours of the vote. Committee votes would have to be posted within 48 hours. The bill would also require the complete journal of each legislative session day to be posted on the Internet within 30 calendar days. It would further mandate that a Legislative Data Processing Committee maintain a publicly accessible database of the official version of all statutory laws of the Commonwealth. Currently, only private companies have maintained such databases.

     Senate Bill 103, which has 24 co-sponsors, would require that no bill be passed until it has been in its final form, as amended, for at least 72 hours. This is intended to prevent the gut-and-amend process by which a piece of legislation appears on the legislative calendar for three days as required by the state Constitution, then is amended at the 11th hour, often with dramatically different provisions than those contained in the original bill.

     Similarly, no bill could be approved by a committee unless it has been in the considered form for at least 48 hours, and no amendment could be added to a bill in committee unless it has been publicly available for at least 24 hours.

     The final version of any bill that would require the expenditure of state funds would have to be referred to the Appropriations Committee of either chamber and receive a fiscal note prior to passage.

     The bill would also allow 10 percent of the elected members of either the House or Senate to sign a petition requiring a public hearing on the final version of any bill prior to passage.

     Senate Bill 104, which has 24 co-sponsors, deals with enforcement of SB102 and SB103, and with other laws of the state concerning the manner in which bills are passed. It would grant legal standing to every adult resident of the Commonwealth to challenge in court, within one year of enactment of a bill, the legislature’s compliance with those legal requirements.

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