Rank-and-filers protest canceled votes

Written by Katie Carpenter, Interactive Producer for Transforming Health | Nov 9, 2010 8:21 AM


Outgoing Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith of Chester County said the leaders are walking away from a pressing issue. “We have an opportunity to fix that problem. But because our leadership chose to not come today to gavel us in, you see all of that frustration from all of us standing on this stage, demanding that our leaders do the right thing.” McIlvaine Smith, who lost her election last week, said the aborted votes crystallize the increased disillusionment she’s felt since arriving in Harrisburg in 2007. “I started on a note of positive hopefulness, learned that it is a system that’s broken. And now at the end, on the last days that I’m here, it’s so broken that we can’t even come to the floor and pass this legislation that should be concurred on very simply.” Lawmaker after lawmaker took to the microphone to blast House Speaker Keith McCall and Democratic Majority Leader Todd Eachus for cancelling the votes. “I’m in my 16th year in the legislature,” said Beaver County Democrat Chris Sainato. “I’ve been here until Thanksgiving. I’ve been here until November 30th. When duty calls, you’re expected to be here. And that’s our job, whether it’s Sunday, Monday, holidays. That’s our job to be here.” Other stalled bills include measures overhauling food safety laws, creating a new recycling program and encouraging alternative energy production. Neither McCall nor Eachus’ spokesmen are commenting, and neither Democrat will be back next year – McCall is retiring, and Eachus lost his bid for re-election last week.

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