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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: What will lawmakers do in new session?

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Sep 14, 2014 6:40 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, September 15, 2014:

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Pennsylvania lawmakers face a busy agenda when they return to session Monday.  Even though the list of legislative proposals may be long, it doesn't mean a lot of action will be taken.

Why not?

There are a few factors that may inhibit moving legislation but top among them is politics. 

Republican incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett faces re-election in a month and a half.  Democrats may not be quick to act on any bills that could give the governor a victory to tout to voters.

So that probably rules out action on public pension reform or liquor store privatization.

Legalizing marijuana for medical purposes may be a different story.  It has bi-partisan support in the Senate but not so much in the House.

Monday's Smart Talk features a preview of the upcoming session from three journalists who cover the capitol. 

Joining us are WITF's Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson and Kate Giammarise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Steve Esick of the Allentown Morning Call.

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  • Robert D Colgan img 2014-09-15 07:48

    I suspect the lawmakers in Harrisburg will do what they always do:

    push for term limits
    push for a part-time legislature
    push for an end to legislative perks and pensions
    push for a Constitutional Convention
    push for an Environmental Impact Study of the effects of fracking
    push for citizen-backed referenda on general election ballots
    push for effective school tax reform so that the elderly can keep their homes

    You know, the stuff they ALWAYS do.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2014-09-15 08:39

    Barry Kauffman Executive Director of Common Cause/PA emails:

    Since there is strong agreement that none of the big issues are likely to get done during the Fall session, we should get lawmakers to focus on accomplishing what is doable.

    For instance two important government reform measures are sitting in the House State Government Committee close to enactment.

    SB-37 and SB-120 both passed the state Senate unanimously in April of 2013, and have strong support in the House.

    SB-37 provides for online voter registration which states across the nation are passing

    SB-120 requires state level candidates to file campaign finance reports electronically.

    Both save our governments substantial amounts of money. Both make government records more secure and accurate. The online registration bill makes it much more convenient for voters to register, allowing people to register from their home, office or school computers 24 hours per day. The electronic filing bill will help voters understand who is backing candidates before the elections. So for the rest of the session we should press lawmakers to accomplish the doable.