State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Police ID bill may be setting the stage for a rare veto override

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Mar 29, 2017 3:39 AM
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Representative White has said her bill is a bid to shield officers and their families from the strong public reactions that sometimes happen after an officer-involved shooting. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- This past November, Republicans added even more members to their already-dominant numbers in Pennsylvania's House and Senate.

Since then, they've thrown their weight around on several priority issues. But a bill currently working its way though the legislature could give the party an opportunity to do something much less common--override Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.

House Bill 27 would keep local police departments from releasing names of officers involved in shootings for at least 30 days following an incident.

Despite opposition from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, it had bipartisan support, passing both chambers with enough votes to override a veto.

Wolf struck it down anyway, and the session ended before advocates for the legislation could respond.

But now the bill's back, and it has already passed the House by another veto-proof majority.

Republican Representative Martina White of Philadelphia County, who sponsored the legislation, said this time, lawmakers will overrule Wolf if necessary.
"I sure hope the governor reconsiders vetoing the legislation for a second time, but I believe that there is sufficient support in the legislature across both chambers to override any veto that should come," she said.

Wolf said his position hasn't changed.

House Democratic spokesman Bill Patton said leaders in his caucus support the governor, and would urge the bill's Democratic supporters to do the same if a veto override seems imminent.

White said that would be disingenuous.

"I don't know how you vote in favor of a bill twice in a row, to switching your vote just because the governor asked you to," she said.

Veto overrides are rare.

The most recent one happened in 2010, under Governor Ed Rendell. And the one before that was over two decades ago, when the late Bob Casey Sr. was governor.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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