Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Throw Jake Corman Out of Office Redux

Today Adam Smeltz at the CDT covers the new Right-To-Know bill which is headed toward a Rendell signature. Adam does a very good job of discussing the weakness of this bill with respect to Penn State and the Commonwealth's other state-related universities, although the headline, which Adam didn't write, should have been Penn State weasels its way out of accountability.

This post is a slightly edited version of the comment on Adam's article which I left at the at the CDT.

The bill as originally written classified state-related institutions, i.e. Pitt, Temple, Lincoln, and Penn State, as state-affiliated entities. In turn, state-affiliated entities where classified as Commonwealth agencies and Commonwealth agencies were made subject to open record requests The bill as passed, by both the House and Senate, added a single sentence to the definition of state-affiliated entity which explicitly excluded the state-related institutions from that category. The result is that they will not be subject to open record requests.

In place of making Penn State, subject to open record requests, they must, as Adam's article discusses, make public a fixed set of data each year. That requirement was add to the bill by Senator Jake Corman (R-Penn State). When this reporting requirement was added to the bill, I thought it was like adding suspenders to a pair of pants which already had a belt. It now appears that shaky Jake's action was part one of a two part play. Add the suspenders,the weaker data reporting requirement, and then remove the belt, with the sentence which excluded state-related institutions from the list of state-related entities, which includes the state-related institution run by Jake's boss Graham Spanier.

I'm happy to read that State Representatives Kerry Benninghoff and Scott Conklin think Penn Sate should be covered fully by the Right-To-Law.

We citizens of Centre County should put together our own two part play. As the first part of our twofer, I ask Benninghoff an d Conklin to immediately file a bill to amend the law to strike the sentence which took state-related institutions out of the definition of state-related entities. The second part: Let's throw Jake Corman out of office and find someone who will stand with the people. We need to be represented by someone that realize that we, the citizens, need a tool to defend ourselves against the 800 pound gorilla that the Commonwealth has created and feeds.

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