The Pennsylvania Constitution mandates that judges retire at age 70. Some thought that was too early and wanted to make it age 75. The amendment process requires one of the legislative chambers — both of which have been under Republican control since 2011 — to write the amendment. It is then advertised in at least two newspapers in every county at least three months before the next general election. It then must be passed again via simple majority by both chambers in the next session. The wording is then placed on a ballot as a referendum giving the general public final say.
The chambers approved this: Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges and justices of the peace (known as magisterial district judges) be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years, instead of the current requirement that they be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 70?
The Senate leadership had second thoughts, however. Cynics are saying they feared the public might vote it down which would have forced the removal of Chief Justice Thomas Saylor, a Republican, giving the Democrats control of the state Supreme Court.
So they filed a legal challenge claiming the words were too confusing. The state Supreme Court laughed and threw it out.
The legislature then passed resolutions, April 6 and April 11 invalidating the election two weeks away. They re-wrote the amendment for the Nov. 8 general election as: Shall the Pennsylvania Constitution be amended to require that justices, judges and justices of the peace be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years.
Democrats filed a legal challenge saying the delay was unconstitutional because the legislation was not presented to Gov. Wolf as required. Commonwealth Court rejected the argument.
They filed another challenge saying the delay illegal because it was political in nature. Commonwealth Court rejected this claim on July 6.
A challenged was filed on July 21 by former Supreme Court justices Ronald Castille and Stephen Zappala Sr, and Philadelphia attorney Richard Sprague saying the new wording was deceitful.
Supreme Court took the case and voted 3-3 which left the wording as the short version. Saylor appropriately recused himself.
Yesterday, Sept. 16, the court ruled 4-2 that the case can’t be reconsidered, hence the short version without the mention of an existing mandated retirement age is what the voters will see.
The Court got it right with the last argument. It isn’t their job to determine the wording of amendments. On the other hand, it is judiciary’s job to judge process and if constitutional amendments require legislative votes in consecutive sessions with advertising in between, then one wonders how changes in the wording can be made at the last minute.
And what’s it say about our solons if they can’t get it right in the first place?
The word changes are pointless gamesmanship and political pettiness at the highest level. This stuff always backfires especially when one learns it has wasted $1.3 million of our money.
And, for what it’s worth, the retirement age should not be increased. Vote this amendment down on Nov. 8.
Killion Backs Anti-Woman Bathroom Bill — State Sen. Tom Killion’s (R-9) latest newsletter contains implicit support along with a distorted description of one of the three “bathroom bills” being considered by the Pennsylvania legislature.
Killion describes SB 1307 as “providing for right to freedom”.
Sure. It gives the “right to freedom” for a man wearing a dress to follow a woman into a public bathroom without impedance. It gives the “right to freedom” for a disgruntled employee to “express” him or herself as the opposite sex and insist on privileged accommodations and perhaps even escape termination. It gives the “right to freedom” for a male to compete on a girl’s sports team and share the locker room.
We can safely describe the bill as anti-woman and anti-business.
All bills add “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” to the protected class and define “gender identity or expression” as gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, expression or other gender-related characteristics of an individual regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.
SB 1307 provides for a little more protection for religious institutions. SB 1316 emphasizes housing a bit more directly. SB 1306 puts its emphasis on business practices. The differences are basically meaningless. None of the bills are necessary and all should die.
SB 1306 Hearing Ignored Citizen Interests — The Aug. 30 hearing concerning SB 1306 before the Pennsylvania Senate Labor & Industry Committee accepted testimony from many “social justice” advocates seeking a Godless society who supported the proposed law along with testimony from religious opponents to it.
No testimony, however, was taken from school directors or administrators, law enforcement personnel or small business owners who would bear the consequences of this thing if it should pass.
The bill defines sexual orientation” as “heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality” and “gender identity or expression” as “the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, expression or other gender-related characteristics of an individual regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.”
It would prohibit discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment against those who define themselves as such.
At the hearing, no testimony was taken regarding bathrooms and housing as those running the hearing insisted it be related solely to business. The senators, however, seemed unable to comprehend that businesses have rest facilities for their employees which are divided by sex.
The wording of the bill clearly indicates that it applies to public accommodations i.e. public restrooms and locker rooms, and housing.
This means that if a woman has to use an interstate rest stop and a guy in a dress follows her in, nobody can stop him.
It means female high school athletes will have to compete with — and share locker rooms with — boys who decide to “express” themselves as females.
It means that a female college student will be forced to share dorm rooms with males calling themselves women.
It means that small business owners will have to walk on eggshells terminating a troublesome employee who decides to start “expressing” him or herself as the opposite sex.
It is a bad, unnecessary bill but the powers-that-be in the state are pushing hard to turn it into law.
Is it a surprise? They backed Graham Spanier and his activities at Penn State for 16 years.
Toilet, roommate and other privacy issues would be addressed at future hearings the senators said.
Penn Delco School Director Lisa Esler submitted testimony but was not invited to speak.
Here’s what she would have said:
My name is Lisa Esler. I am a school board director in Penn Delco School District. As school board directors, we are responsible for approving hires and budgets as well as creating and adopting policies that best represent our district and promote the safety and well-being of our students. State policies and laws that are created and must be enforced by the local district often have unintended consequences that may be overlooked by state level officials making these decisions. I would like the opportunity to shed light on some of the unintended consequences changing the current discrimination laws for employment would have as it relates to a school district and how it would limit our ability to act in the best interest of our district and students.
Once you declare a group of people protected under employment discrimination laws, you must give them access and privileges associated with these protections as you would anyone currently listed under the law. This includes dress code and access to facilities in that district. If SB 1306 is signed into law, school districts will have no recourse but to follow the law. This becomes a significant problem for a school district since we employ many professions including lifeguards, coaches and teachers.
As an employer, school districts ensure dress codes are non-discriminatory and employees comply with sex-specific dress codes according to their gender in the capacity of their job description. A female who now identifies as a male, such as a lifeguard or swim coach, will now be able to wear a male swim suit and use the male changing facility. A male coach, who identifies as a female, will be able to enter the women’s changing area with female athletes. Either we should treat people as they think they are, or we should treat them as biology reveals them to be. It makes no sense to do one sometimes and the other at other times.
Mandating employment policies based on gender identity or expression will undermine and limit common sense school policies and prohibit schools from making decisions about employees.This bill will create a subjective protected class that will expose school districts to unwarranted liability. It will overrule custom, culture, and the very demands inherent in human nature for privacy and safety, particularly the right for children in a school setting.
While issues of sex and gender identity are psychologically, morally, and politically controversial, all should agree that children should be protected from having to sort through such questions before they reach an appropriate age as determined by their parents. SB 1306 would prevent schools and parents from protecting children from these adult debates about sex and gender identity by forcing employers, including schools, to yield to the desires of employees in ways that put them in the spotlight. Children would be prematurely exposed to questions about sex and gender if, for example, a male teacher returned to school identifying as a woman. These situations are best handled at the local level, by the parents and teachers closest to the children.
Children, especially teens, love to test the boundaries set by adults. How do we justify these protections for those in a position as a role model and authority and not extend the same privileges and protections to all students?
If SB 1306 were to pass, it would leave school districts to deal with unlimited liability issues as well as other serious unintended consequences.For these reasons, I ask that you vote no on SB1306. Thank you for the opportunity to share my concerns.
What this means ladies is that if you have to use an interstate rest stop and a guy in a dress follows you in, nobody can say he can’t.
What this means parents is that your daughters will have to compete with — and share locker rooms with — boys who decide to “express” themselves as females regarding school sports.
What this means small business owners is that if your troublesome employee decides to start “expressing” him or herself as the opposite sex you have one new, huge headache on your hands in getting rid of him or her.
This is extremely stupid and unnecessary legislation and must die.
Lisa Esler WAEB Guest — Penn Delco School Director Lisa Esler recently appeared on NewsRadio 790 WAEB to discuss extremely stupid legislation pending in Harrisburg that would open up women’s private places in Pennsylvania — whether it be school locker rooms or interstate rest stops — to basically all-comers and make it far more difficult for small business owners to manage employees.
Wagner Two-Faced On Anti-Business Law — Sen. Scott Wagner, who says in the below article, that he is “extremely concerned with how Federal and State Regulations are choking businesses” and “Barack Obama’s anti-business agenda” is pushing legislation to make life harder for small business by adding “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” to the list of “protected classes“. Nobody likes bullies but what Wagner and Sen. Pat Browne (R-16) are ignoring with the laws they are pushing is that bullies exist in government too and especially in the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission which would be tasked with enforcing this garbage.
There are employers and supervisors who take pleasure in humiliating employees and prospective employees. Nobody likes them. They are not an iota as dangerous, however, as the government officials with that character trait.
Like those in the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
The anti-business bill Wagner is pushing, SB 1307, is advancing and was re-referred to the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee on June 27.
A bill, SB 1316, sponsored by Sen. Browne which would forbid discrimination against men claiming to be women regarding housing such as college dorms moved to the State Government committee June 21.
The Pennsylvania state budget for 2016-17 was finalized July 13. I will be reporting in depth the details in an email next week.
This email is focused on the Presidential election.
I will be traveling to Cleveland next week to attend the Republican National Convention.
It appears that the Presidential race is down to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
I expect that Donald Trump will be nominated as the Republican candidate for the General Election in November.
I would like to share my thoughts and opinion.
As a private sector business owner I am extremely concerned with how Federal and State Regulations are choking businesses.
Case in point – Barack Obama’s war on coal has just about vaporized the coal industry in the US and especially Western Pennsylvania.
Businesses employ people and create jobs – they always have, and always will.
I am very concerned about the thought of Hillary Clinton stepping foot into the White House and doubling-down on Barack Obama’s anti-business agenda.
Americans have witnessed firsthand the last three weeks of events – first when Bill Clinton just by chance happened to be on the same tarmac, at an airport on an airplane, at the same time that the United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch was at the same airport, the same tarmac and on an airplane, and they just happened to meet.
The press reported that Bill Clinton and Ms. Lynch discussed golf, the weather, their children and grandchildren – ironically several days after this chance meeting the FBI announced that they are not going to pursue action against Hillary Clinton over her emails.
Cut me a break – The press, Bill Clinton and Hillary must think that Americans are clueless and stupid – the meeting was preset and a deal was definitely done on an airplane.
I have been watching Donald Trump very closely – I watch what he says and what he does.
Looking back to 2013 when I announced that I was going to run for the Pennsylvania 28th State Senate seat I called a donor in the York community – he told me that he was going to sit on the sidelines with my race – he had concerns that my style wouldn’t work in Harrisburg.
I have worked hard on my style – but at the end of the day – my style is asking questions and continuing to ask questions until I fully understand the issue – demanding accountability – I am pushing the envelope on change and breaking the status-quo mold.
Please allow me to point out – I did not have a lifelong plan to run for a seat in the Pennsylvania State Senate – I was fed up, and when our Senator resigned I decided to roll up my shirt sleeves and get involved to make a difference.
I think Donald Trump is similar in many ways to me – he doesn’t need the job as President and he doesn’t need the money – the guy is seventy years old – I am sure he would be much more happy continuing to operate his businesses – it appears that his children are highly active in the businesses and are smart and intelligent – Donald Trump could spend the rest of his life working with his children and watch them become great business people.
I think that Donald Trump, in his own large ego way, said one day, “I have had enough of America being pounded and run down by career politicians and the crony system.”
I stayed on the sidelines up until a few weeks ago – I made a decision to let the Republican candidates work through the process – at the end of the day I respect each and every Republican candidate who stepped into the ring with their own ideas of how to get America back on track.
Now that Donald Trump is most likely going to be the Republican Candidate I am going to do everything I can to help him get elected.
I put a lot of effort into Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012 – his campaign was not run well in Pennsylvania, and as a result he lost.
This past weekend I reached out to someone in the Pennsylvania State Republican Party to arrange a meeting with the top person or people who are running Donald Trump’s campaign.
I received a call this past Monday afternoon that a meeting had been set up with Trump’s campaign people for that evening.
I traveled to Cleveland and had a forty-five minute private meeting with Paul Manafort, the National Campaign Manager for the Trump campaign and five other high level campaign people.
The conversation was direct and to the point – I expressed that many people in Pennsylvania want to be part of this critical race.
I requested 20,000 yard signs so that any person who wants a “Trump for President” sign for their yard can get one in South Central PA.
I also asked what may be a strange question – Does Mr. Trump have a best friend? – A best friend who can be off stage at an event that Mr. Trump is speaking at, and if he says something stupid that this friend can yell at Mr. Trump for the stupid comment or comments he made.
I am lucky – I have several friends who yell at me if I say something stupid – I am getting better and so will Mr. Trump.
I left the meeting on Monday night with Paul Manafort with an increased level of confidence that Donald Trump has hired Mr. Manafort and a very strong team is being assembled to win the General Election in November and put Donald Trump in the White House.
News releases today are suggesting that Governor Mike Pence from Indiana may be Donald Trump’s pick as his running mate for Vice President.
I had an opportunity to meet and have a conversation with Governor Pence at an Republican Governor’s Association event in Detroit this past October.
Governor Pence has done good things for Indiana since he has been in office – I can tell you he is not a status-quo person and wants to make positive changes – he is very pro-business – remember what I said earlier – businesses employ people and create jobs.
So here is my ask of everyone who cares deeply about our great country – please put aside all of your differences and be supportive of Donald Trump – the bottom line is we cannot – I repeat, we cannot allow Hillary Clinton in the White House.
Please don’t make comments that you are not going to vote for either candidate – your lack of a vote is not acceptable – please remember this great country – the United States of America – please remember the many brave people who fought for, and the people who died for, the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.
The most significant section of the law decriminalizes buying liquor out of state. Our reading of the bill indicates that the fines of $10 per bottle or can of beer and $25 per container of wine or liquor for bringing booze across the border remain in effect but the alcohol is returned to the buyer if he pays the appropriate taxes.
Further the bill states Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any resident of this commonwealth not licensed under this act to purchase liquor outside of this commonwealth so long as the resident pays all state taxes on the liquor to the department of revenue and the liquor is not shipped into this commonwealth.
Bathroom Bills Back In Pa As SB 1306 And SB 1307 — Public outcry stopped pending Pennsylvania legislation that would open ladies rooms and girls sports teams to men but the termites in Harrisburg never sleep and new bills were quickly introduced to catch the sane occupants of the Keystone State off guard.
So on June 10, SB 1306 and SB 1307 were introduced by Republican zealots that, like SB 974, would prohibit “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression” from discrimination in “public accommodations” like, well, public restrooms.
And school showers.
And school sports teams.
And it would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” to the protected classes making it difficult for businesses to fire or discipline those describing themselves as gay or transgendered or whatever.
The prime sponsor of both bills is Sen. Pat Browne, a Republican who represents the 16th District which is in Lehigh County, and who is also the prime sponsor of SB 974.
Brown is being strongly backed by former conservative hero Scott Wagner, a Republican who represents the 28th district which is York County.
SB 1307 adds to the law the phrasing Public policies, reflecting an open and welcoming environment and ensuring equal opportunity, foster economic growth and prosperity which benefit the inhabitants of this Commonwealth. Conversely, the absence of nondiscrimination protections hinder efforts to recruit and retain the diversity of talented individuals and successful enterprises required for a thriving economy and strong public sector on which the inhabitants of this Commonwealth depend.
Sen. Wagner, are you saying that if a guy wearing fishnet stockings comes to you asking to drive one of your trash trucks, there is policy that now prevents you from hiring him?
This is not true.
The only thing Senator that would now prevent you from hiring such a man is your own prejudices. Please don’t project them on to the rest of us.
Protected classes do not foster economic growth and prosperity. They hurt economic growth and prosperity. The goal should not be to expand them but to eliminate them.
A discussion of Wagner’s and Browne’s bizarre crusade can be found on this archived broadcast of It’s A New Day 1180 AM WFYL below:
HB 1947, which ends the statue of limitation for child molesters in Pennsylvania and extends the time frame in which lawsuits can be filed, became a subject of controversy after Pennsylvania House members were criticized by name in Catholic church bulletins for their April 12 vote sending the bill to the State Senate.
But the Catholic church is right to criticize. The push is coming not from those interested in justice but from those seeking profit. Legal fees and percentages of settlements keep lawyers fat.
You doubt us?
Eliminate the statute of limitations but cut the lawsuit extension. There would be no controversy. There is no statute of limitation for murder, after all, and child molestation is equally evil.
But prosecuting these monsters doesn’t make money and the ones crying for this change in law are only interested in the money part.
They want the power to sue an institution with deep pockets, get an huge emotion-based judgement of which they get 30 percent and laughingly waddle off to their Beamers not caring that it is not the criminal who is going to foot the bill.
Institutions should not be liable for damages that cannot be quantified and that are left to moments of emotion. Only innocent people are hurt when this is allowed.
Imagine, however, if administrators’ personal wealth and pensions were on the line. Schultz and Graham Spanier — yes he is also collecting a $59,000 public pension — might not have been so quick to turn a blind eye to Sandusky’s predatory acts.
Their pockets, however, are apparently just not deep enough for class action jackpot seekers.
Or people who get public pensions get political protection.