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Discussion PA Politics 1000.2 PA Clean Sweep's Reform Agenda

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Discussion PA Politics 1000.2 PA Clean Sweep's Reform Agenda
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The second pledge PA Clean Sweep candidates are required to take requires new legislators to adopt voter referendums to weigh in directly on legislative consideration of increases in salaries of legislators...
The PA Constitution does not now contain provision for voter referendum unless an amendment to the Constitution is proposed by the legislature, and for ballot question usually pertaining to raising the commonwealth's debt limit.

To amend the Pennsylvania state constitution, a proposed amendment must be approved by a majority vote in the General Assembly in two successive sessions of the Assembly.  Once that is accomplished, the amendment can be placed on a statewide election ballot as a referendum. If a majority of statewide voters approve the referendum, the amendment is adopted.

The Clean Sweep pledge wants referendums by the people whenever the General Assembly wants to give itself, or others under its jurisdiction, salary increases.
Our founding Fathers warned of a democracy.
Referendums sound nice, but direct democracy was not the intention of our founding Fathers, not for the United States, and not for individual states.
Our United States Constitution guarantees to each state a republican form of government

U.S. Constitution: Article IV

Section 4.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

An agenda that wants to alter our form of state government from a republican form is unconstitutional according to the United States Constitution.


Abraham Lincoln instructed, "The people are the masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who would pervert it!"

PACleanSweep on PCN Thursday March 16, 2006 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
PACleanSweep founder & chair Russ Diamond addresses the LP State Convention. Check for more details.


There was no mention by Diamond during his talk of his own considerations for office - for Governor, even though, according to the recent news, the dispute between Diamond and his board of directors arose in early March when Diamond relayed a potential bid for the office. 


Diamond was asked by an audience member at the convention to elaborate on the pledges candidates seeking the support of PA Clean Sweep must take.


Diamond stated the first part of the three-item pledge "to repeal the pay-raise" was done, not an issue.


The second part of the pledge was to have a referendum of the people on any new salary increases for Governor, general assembly, and judges.


The third part of the pledge was to have a ten-day cooling off period for any legislation after the consideration of the bill after the 3-day requirement so the people could weigh in.


Read the Declaration candidates must sign: 


All candidates listed on have signed the following declaration:

I, the undersigned, hereby declare my commitment, upon election to the Pennsylvania General Assembly by the citizens of my legislative district, to sponsor and/or vote to enact legislation to specifically meet the following goals:

  1. the repeal of Act 44, effectively returning compensation for members of Pennsylvania's legislative, executive and judicial branches to pre-Act 44 levels;
  2. establishing a policy whereby all future compensation changes for Pennsylvania's legislative, executive and judicial branches shall be subject to voter approval by referendum; and
  3. establishing a policy whereby no legislation in the General Assembly shall be considered for final passage until the citizens of the Commonwealth have been given no less than ten business days to review such legislation and provide comment to their respective legislators.


Has anybody bothered to question the second Declaration as being one that would require a major alteration in the Pennsylvania Constitution?


The PA Constitution does allow for referendums when the PA Constitution itself is about to undergo alteration via a legislative Amendment to it.


The pacleansweep pledge would affect the salaries of members of the General Assembly and is already adequately addressed in the Constitution.



Section 8. The members of the General Assembly shall receive such salary and mileage for regular and special sessions as shall be fixed by law, and no other compensation whatever, whether for service upon committee or otherwise. No member of either House shall during the term for which he may have been elected, receive any increase of salary, or mileage, under any law passed during such term.


In July 2005, in the wee morning hours, legislators passed a measure that increased their salaries - That was legal. 


 State legislators can pass legislation that increases their own salary, and that of those under their jurisdiction during the current term. However, legislators cannot receivgoes around e the increases until the next term.


What went beyond the Constitution was legislators taking the increase during the same term the legislation to increase salaries was passed. 


To get around this problem, legislators took the salaries as unvouchered expenses.  (See wikipaedia for treatment of the pay raise controversy)


After public pressure, and pressure generated by Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania organizer Chris Lilik, Russ Diamond and PA Clean Sweep, Gene Stilp, - tagged Citizen heroes of the pay-raise rebellion - the pay raise was repealed.


Diamond admitted that part of the pledge was then accomplished.


Not a single journalist is asking why the second part of the pledge of candidates who seek the support of PA Clean Sweep remains.


The PA Constitution doesn't need altered for the people to vote on salary increases of legislators in a referendum.


Just tell your state legislator to follow the Compensation clause of the PA Constitution.


Appearance after appearance of Diamond and others shows the intention - alteration of our PA Constitution.


The second pledge of PA Clean Sweep candidates reveals the hidden slight of hand of PA Clean Sweep.





Even if the referendum should be instituted for that occasion alone - salary increases - how long will it be before there will be measures for more referendum for whatever - how about term limits?  How about for access to phone records of legislators?  How about for whatever.  You get the idea.


There will be a call for a convention to present any number of amendments and those will run the gamut of desires, populist desires, the will of the people.


this kind of new Pennsylvania is not what the Founding Fathers fought for - they fought for a Republic - if you can keep it.


Albert Paschall of the Lincoln Institute April 3, 2006 Diamond's Digital Democracy


More recent proposal from journalist, keep adding to the wish list


Clarke Thomas: Constitutional Convention wisdom
Keep momentum growing to attack the core problems in Harrisburg
Wednesday, July 05, 2006Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Talk is in the air of mounting a Constitutional Convention to update the Pennsylvania Constitution. For one thing, the furor over the Legislature's secretive after-midnight vote last July to increase its pay has boiled over into talk of trimming its size...


More who support a PA Constitutional Convention


Foundation for Pennsylvania's Future

Constitutional Convention Needed in PA November 15, 2005

by Christopher Freind


Democracy Rising Makes Case For Citizens' Constitutional Convention


Pennsylvania has not had a general constitutional convention since 1872-73. More recently there was a limited constitutional convention in 1967-68 – limited meaning that some ideas were not officially authorized for discussion. Currently in the House, there is a proposal for another limited convention that would be authorized by House Bill 1995. Here’s the link:

With newspapers and political leaders discussing a constitutional convention, 2006 could become the year when Pennsylvania prepares for a general citizens’ constitutional convention in 2007. To that end, we have gathered ideas from people across Pennsylvania. They are listed below. Some ideas ultimately may be better pursued as ordinary laws while others require amending the Constitution. Deciding which ideas fit into which categories also could be part of the discussion leading up to a convention.


Challengers line up to unseat legislators

Mon, Mar. 20, 2006 By Martha Raffaele  The Associated Press

...From local officials who have cut their political teeth on school or municipal boards to people who have never held political office, challengers of all experience levels have stepped forward to try to dethrone incumbent state lawmakers in what promises to be a lively -- and potentially historic -- election year.

In all, 394 candidates filed petitions to challenge incumbent members of the General Assembly or vie for open seats left by the retirements of 30 legislators. It's the largest number of challengers since 1992, when 436 nonincumbents sought election to the General Assembly.

The challengers are overwhelmingly male, and nearly two-thirds are battling to oust incumbents. They are concentrated primarily around southwestern, south-central and southeastern regions of the state. The pay-raise fallout has fueled several non-party organizations seeking to capitalize

Perhaps the best-known is PACleanSweep, an anti-incumbent group formed by Russ Diamond, an Annville businessman who is a registered Republican but lost simultaneous campaigns for the state House and Congress as a Libertarian in 2004.

Diamond contends that the furor over the pay-raise law -- passed in the wee hours of July 7 without public hearings or floor debate and subsequently repealed -- provided an opening for a broader discussion of the need for legislative reform. In his view, the only way to accomplish that is to send as many new legislators as possible to Harrisburg...


Pay Raise Foes Push For Other Reforms
by Tom Barnes
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 01.04.06

Pay raise foes push for other reforms

Say 2006 will be 'year of integrity' for state Legislature

HARRISBURG -- Now that the year that saw the pay-raise debacle has ended, a coalition of citizens groups wants to make 2006 the "year of integrity" for the state Legislature.

Reform groups like Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, Rock the Capitol, Democracy Rising and Pa. Clean Sweep yesterday urged lawmakers to make state government more "open and accountable" to Pennsylvania's 12 million residents and to give all bills adequate hearings before they are voted on....

Besides seeking to oust incumbents, especially those who voted for the pay raise July 7, the citizens groups have set out an ambitious list of goals for the year, including:

Urging the House to approve, by Jan. 31, a lobbyist registration and spending report bill already approved by the Senate.

Ending the "lame duck sessions" held in November of even-numbered years, when many controversial bills, including pay raises, are passed right after legislators have been safely re-elected.

Beginning discussions aimed at a "citizens constitutional convention" in 2007, where changes could be made to the state constitution, including reducing the size of the House and Senate. It would be the first such convention since 1968.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 Activists Hope To Reform State Government
Citizens’ Constitutional Convention (C3) Update
C3 Update
Thanks to all of you who have sent us ideas for debate and decision at a Citizens’ Constitutional Convention in 2007. DR Fans from across Pennsylvania have submitted dozens of good ideas on subjects from the legislature to elections to local governments to the judicial branch. We are now researching facts about your issues, including how other states treat them. As we finish our research, we will begin posting detailed information on our web site for additional comment.

In the meantime, interest in a constitutional convention continues to run strong. Here’s a timely editorial from the March 22nd

Potts and Friend support 2007 PA Constitutional Convention
Visit newspaper sites around the state to determine how much one-sided coverage the so-called "reforms" ideas have received.
PA Leadership Conference 

FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2006

2:00 PM Susan Staub, Pennsylvanians for Right to Work - LIVE
2:15 PM Lynn Swann, Republican for Governor - LIVE
3:30 PM Reforming the Keystone State - Panel Discussion - LIVE
Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-PA Senate Majority Whip
Rep. Michael Turzai, R-Allegheny County
Tim Potts, Democracy Rising PA
Christopher Friend, Foundation for Pennsylvania's Future
News sites, search Diamond, Friend, Potts, PA Clean Sweep, Common Cause, Foundation for PA's Future, Democracy Rising PA...

and its offshoots

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