State House Sound Bites

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

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Some question new, administration-monitoring House panel

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 4, 2019 5:36 AM
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It's not clear how lawmakers plan to utilize their new oversight committee, but if could lead to them filing subpoenas for information from the Wolf administration. (Photo by AP)

 

(Harrisburg) -- As one of its first actions of a new legislative session, the State House of Representatives has passed some updated rules governing internal procedures, one of its first actions of the new legislative session.

Lawmakers agree to these operating the rules every two years, and generally it's not too controversial.

Though this time, a newly-approved committee is raising some eyebrows.

The new Government Oversight Committee will have five Democrats and four Republicans, charged with investigating actions by the executive branch.  

The way House GOP Leader Bryan Cutler explains it, it's a way of following up on the governor's administration.

"The committees will often focus on passing new laws, but it's really an effort by us by which we can follow up to check the effectiveness of laws," Cutler said.

The committee will be one of three the legislature has with subpoena power--meaning members can legally compel people to respond.

The other two--the Appropriations and Ethics committees--focus on fiscal issues and individual legislators' actions. Cutler said he doesn't believe those jurisdictions overlap.

A number of Democrats have said they weren't totally on board. Most--58 out of 91--ended up voting against the entire rules package for one reason or another.

A spokesman for Democratic Governor Tom Wolf said since it's not yet clear how exactly the committee will be used, the administration hopes the formation of the new committee doesn't "reflect a desire to abandon bipartisanship in the House."

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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