Government & Politics
7:15 am
Wed June 26, 2013

When Will State Lawmakers Wrap Up the Spring Session? Depends Who You Ask

State lawmakers and the governor's office don't seem to be in agreement about when they'll break for the summer.

Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati said Tuesday he's not open to the idea of scheduling session days in July.

"We still have before us the ability and, I think, the will to get issues done," Scarnati said. "We will clearly be able to have the budget done and the accompanying bills before June 30."

But consensus on proposals near and dear to Gov. Tom Corbett is appearing more dicey by the day. On Tuesday, action was delayed on two key items in the governor's agenda — the proposal outlining the state spending plan and the bill to fund road and bridge repairs.

People within the Corbett administration suggest the governor won't let legislators go home without action on transportation funding, pension overhaul, and liquor privatization. Some half-joked that they've been instructed to cancel appointments and party plans in the first week of July. The governor, for his part, has said he's keeping his calendar clear next month.

State House Speaker Sam Smith said Tuesday on his way out of a meeting with administration staff that negotiations are progressing.

"It's like it always is at this time," he said. "You take one step forward, one step sideways, and hope you don't stumble backwards."

Rep. Dick Hess (R-Bedford), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, acknowledged lawmakers are "running out of time."

"Unless we go on into next week," said Hess. "And I don't see that happening."