A battle at the State Capitol between House Democrats and a Republican Committee Chair who’s no stranger to controversy. Democrats now turning to another Republican leader for help.
Last week, Democrats reintroducing dozens of bills they say have been purposefully stalled in committee for partisan reasons. It was one month ago when the Republican Chairman of the House State Government Committee, Daryl Metcalfe, posted a rant on Facebook. In it, he said, “I block all substantive Democrat legislation sent to my committee”. Now, House Democrats say they’re witnessing it first hand.
Bill Patton says, “Right now, we have dysfunction in the House because of this behavior by one committee chairman”.
Last week, House Democrats reintroduced 88 bills and resolutions they say have been stalled in committee by Representative Metcalfe, they argue, for partisan, political purposes.
“I’ve been around the House a long time,” says Patton, “we’ve never seen a single committee chairman refuse to run any bills from the other party”.
The bills being reintroduced include bills to establish same-day voter registration, ban gifts for members of the general assembly, form an independent redistricting commission and ban discrimination against LGBT residents.
Patton says, “These are meaty issues that need to be considered by the full house.”
Democratic Leader Frank Dermody last week sent a letter to the House Speaker, Mike Turzai, requesting he no longer refer any more bills sponsored by Democrats to the state government committee for the remainder of the 2018 session and asking he refer the reintroduced bills to other committees.
A spokesperson for House Speaker Turzai says they are currently reviewing the bills, but haven’t made a decision regarding referral. We also reached out to Representative Metcalf’s Office today. So far, we have not heard back.
–Matt Heckel, JET 24 Action News