Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New PA Senate Rules Adopted

Yesterday I wrote about proposed rules changes for the Pennsylvania Senate. Today those rules were passed. The new rules are:

* Session times will be limited to between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.
* Amendments will be posted to the Internet before being offered on the Senate floor.
* The Senate will wait at least six hours before voting on an amended bill or a conference committee report.
* All roll call votes will be posted on the Internet as soon as possible after a vote, but always within 24 hours of a vote.
* Committee votes on bills will be posted on the Internet within 48 hours of the vote.
* The Senate's Legislative Journal - which includes the full text of all floor debates - will be posted on the Internet upon Senate approval of the Journal or within 45 days, whichever is earlier.
* An updated fiscal note will be prepared if a bill is amended after consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee, if the amendment has a fiscal impact.

Let me add one personal observation. For some time now I have been writing up a brief synopsis of the state house and senate journals once a month's worth has been posted to the legislative web site. I've been waiting, less than patiently, for a few straggling days' journals to be added to fill out a month. For the Senate that month is October. As of today at least one more issue for October was missing. That's two months behind. Under the new rules that probably wouldn't happen. Votes and debate in the Senate two months ago might still be interesting or relevant. In the House -- I'm still waiting for a few June issues. That's right, the PA House Journals are SIX MONTHS out of date. It takes six months for them to be posted. The things I'm reading are interesting but they would have been a lot more interesting back in the summer. There is no reason I can think of for it to take half a year for the voters in this commonwealth to find out how their state representatives voted on an issue or what their public remarks, if any, were on that issue. And to the best of my knowledge there is no other way for votes to find that information, without subscribing to a for fee service or nagging their representative for information daily.


eRobin said...

* Amendments will be posted to the Internet before being offered on the Senate floor.

I like that one a lot.

AboveAvgJane said...

I like 'em all