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Politics & Government

In Harrisburg, A Mad Legislative Dash As Session Wraps Up

Harrisburg_web_0.jpg
Elizabeth Thomsen
/
via Flickr Creative Commons

The state Legislature convenes this week in Harrisburg for its final two days of voting scheduled before the November election.

Longtime legislative observers say the proposals that advance this close to an election are more about politics than policy.

Red meat issues abound. There’s a plan to scale back regulations protecting high-quality streams. Another bill would let gun owners sue cities over local gun laws.

Some bills have omnivore appeal, like the measure adding a couple jury duty exemptions to include breastfeeding mothers and people 75 or older.

Denser bills have been chewed over since the beginning of this two-year session, and defy easy categorization or quick consensus. An update of the state’s open records law attempts to further refine the Right-to-Know document request process created six years ago. Lawmakers are still discussing a complicated set of reforms to the state’s rehab program for municipalities with rocky finances. A measure to allow DNA collection from certain arrested suspects before they’re convicted of a crime could go to the governor’s desk.

House and Senate leaders have not expressed interest in scheduling a lame duck session to advance bills after the Nov. 4 election but before proposals effectively die at the end of the calendar year.