HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s been more than two weeks since lawmakers were sworn in at the Pennsylvania Capitol, but the State House is still not up and running. State representatives are getting paid, but their Harrisburg work is not being done.
So what’s going on? abc27’s Capitol reporter Dennis Owens was in Harrisburg to find out.
As newly elected Speaker of the House Mark Rozzi gaveled in the State House on Thursday, Jan. 19, order was nowhere to be found.
Virtually no one was was in the chamber, and no real work is getting done. The entire session lasted only about 20 seconds.
“We are in a very awkward waiting stage right now,” said Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin/Cumberland).
Democrats, like Kim, blame Republicans for a power grab that gave Rozzi the gavel in the first place. Republicans blame Democrats for stalling, refusing to establish rules and get the chamber back in business.
“Very little, very little is going on right now,” added Kim.
The State House’s paralysis is not just affecting the State House either; The State Senate was supposed to be in session but canceled the next two weeks, releasing a statement saying without a dance partner, there’s no reason to be on the dance floor.
The State Senate won’t be back until Feb. 27, 2023.
The House is focused on special elections set to take place on Feb. 7, 2023.
“I think that’s the magic number where we can solidify whose in the majority and who’s not and then move forward with the calendar,” said Kim.
Kim hopes to move forward with Joanna McClinton as speaker, but that would require Rozzi to step aside. But will he?
So far, the speaker is not speaking.
“From afar it’s like 3D chess. It’s kind of interesting and fascinating, but when you’re in it up close and waiting to work it’s incredibly frustrating,” said Kim.
There’s no doubt that survivors of childhood sexual abuse are frustrated, as the amendment letting them sue their abusers beyond the statutes of limitations cannot pass the House in time to make it onto the May ballot.