Pennsylvania lawmakers are abusing the constitutional amendment process | Opinion
A disturbing trend is emerging in some corners of Pennsylvania politics: if at first you don’t succeed, change the rules until you do.
Republican state lawmakers, frustrated by the governor’s power to veto laws, are now abusing Pennsylvania’s constitutional amendment process to get what they want.
The legislature is supposed to use its power to override the governor’s veto, if enough legislators disagree with the veto. Instead, they are proposing amendments to our constitution – the foundational document of our state government – to get around the governor’s check on their power.
constitutional amendments – which must be passed in identical form in two legislative sessions before being presented to voters on a ballot – should be used sparingly. And they certainly should not be used to let one branch of government sidestep the checks and balances of the other branches.
But Pennsylvania legislators are now using the amendment process to take power from other branches of government and increase their own influence.
In just one year of the current two-year legislative session, lawmakers have proposed at least 75 amendments; and 24 of them are attacks on the powers of the governor and the courts. For comparison, in the entire 2019-20 session, a total of only 70 constitutional amendments were proposed, and only three targeted the independence of the other two branches.