A newcomer to the Pennsylvania Legislature is trying to gather a group of fellow members who would at least partially define themselves as “reformers.”
Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin County) has joined forces with Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster County) to create what they are calling the House-Senate Government Reform Caucus.
“It's easy for us to all introduce legislation, but we want to have a way to make sure that we have a united effort, a bipartisan, bicameral effort to get them translated into law,” said Teplitz, who hopes the caucus will push the reform efforts that will crop up during the current and future sessions.
Teplitz knows that other issues such as transportation funding, healthcare coverage and education will draw all the headlines, but he said good government practices will lead to success in those efforts.
“The public is never going to buy in on those tough decisions if they feel like they are constantly being sold out by their elected officials,” he said.
Teplitz would like to make sure the caucus begins by focusing on issues such as requiring annual audits of the legislature, ending automatic cost of living pay increases for members and suspending the pay of legislators and the governor if they do not get a budget passed in time.
“We would like to usher in a new era in state government to bring in transparency, inclusiveness and accountability,” said Teplitz.
Since taking office in January, the former advisor to then-Auditor General Jack Wagner has co-sponsored several reform bills. Most of them are still sitting in committees.