Legislature takes steps to limit executive power, increase government transparency
(HARRISBURG) – Continuing efforts by the General Assembly to limit the power of government and return it to the people of Pennsylvania, Senator Ryan Aument (R-36) applauded the House’s approval of Senate Bill 106, which proposes amending Pennsylvania’s Constitution to restore the balance of power in government and restore voter confidence in our elections and their outcomes. He urged the Senate to concur on the House’s action immediately.
The House of Representatives amended Senate Bill 106 to add four additional proposed Constitutional amendments, including two proposals sponsored by Aument and Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-100) intended to rein in executive power and ensure no single person, authority, or interest can outweigh the voices of the people of the Commonwealth.
“The abuse of executive power by both parties and at all levels of government must stop,” said Aument and Cutler in a recent joint op-ed entitled Balance of Power in Government Means More Power for the People. “The recent unprecedented increase of these executive orders not only concentrates too much power into the hands of a single person, but it also effectively silences the voice of the people and stifles freedom.”
The proposed amendments in Senate Bill 106 would:
- Provide that any executive order or proclamation issued by the governor, which purports to have the force of law, may not be in effect for more than 21 days, unless extended by concurrent resolution of the General Assembly.
- Exempt the disapproval of a regulation by the General Assembly from the presentment requirement for the governor’s approval or disapproval.
- Require voters to provide valid identification in order to vote in an election.
- Provide for the auditing of elections by the Auditor General, including the administration of elections, certification of election machines, the accuracy of the list of registered voters, the administration of voter registration, and election results.
- Allow gubernatorial candidates to select their own running mate, similar to the process in which Presidential candidates select their running mates.
“The people of Pennsylvania deserve transparency, accountability, and integrity from their government, and with these amendments, we can give the power directly to the voters of this Commonwealth to decide if these are values that we should make permanent in our Constitution,” said Aument. “I am pleased that the House has moved to advance these principles and give the people of Pennsylvania the opportunity to make their voice heard through the amendment process, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to concur on these proposals as soon as possible.”
The language providing for election audits to be performed by the Auditor General is similar to language that was included in House Bill 1300, an historic election reform bill passed by the General Assembly and vetoed by Governor Wolf earlier this year. Aument, who has stated on numerous occasions that he is in favor of any audit that would increase the public’s confidence in our elections, voted in favor of its passage this past June.
Aument has consistently supported voter ID proposals throughout his time in the General Assembly, first voting in favor of it when Pennsylvania initially implemented it in 2012. It was later struck down by the courts on a technicality, but voter ID consistently receives strong bipartisan support throughout the 36th Senatorial District and statewide.
“Election integrity is a top priority of mine,” said Aument in a recent op-ed entitled Voter ID Increases Voter Turnout, Strengthens Election Security, & Improves Confidence in Election Results. “I believe that ensuring that every legal voter has the opportunity to cast their ballot without the fear that their vote will be disregarded, mishandled, or lost is absolutely critical. I have been and continue to be committed to making it easier to vote and harder to cheat. Voter ID is the perfect place to start.”
Senate Bill 106 will now return to the Senate for final concurrence on the House amendments. The constitutional amendment process requires passage in both chambers in consecutive legislative sessions, followed by a ballot referendum that gives voters in Pennsylvania the final say.
CONTACT: Stephanie Applegate (717) 787-4420