Monday, November 21, 2005

The citizens' work is never done

A Philadelphia Inquirer editorial from yesterday applauds the (belated) rollback of the legislative pay-hike, but argues that meaningful reforms are needed in the way that Harrisburg handles its business. Among those listed are lobbying disclosure (we're alone among states in not regulating lobbying outlay), legislative reform (several types mentioned here) --
For starters, lawmakers must forbid late changes to legislation in the Rules Committee. They must adhere to the constitutional principle, only fitfully enforced by the Supreme Court, that utterly unrelated amendments should not be attached to bills.
-- open government, and campaign finance. Maybe even nonpartisan redistricting, to avoid the embarrassing snakes that are gerrymandered legislative districts.
This stuff may seem boring, compared to storming the ramparts over a pay raise. But it is these gaps in ethics and process that enable the sleazy culture which in turn fosters abuses such as the pay raise. "It's the power game that controls the things they care about," says Kauffman.
All good stuff. Time to do more than make amends -- time to mend the system. One hopes that the newly awakened public will continue to create pressure for meaningful change.


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