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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 29, 2019 01:16 PM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution to amend the House rules to create a motion to censure

The public trust continues to be degraded in part by elected officials who forget that they are first and foremost public servants sent to Harrisburg to serve not only their own districts, but to govern for the common good of nearly 13 million Pennsylvanians. This is why Pennsylvania is a commonwealth, empowering us as legislators to govern on behalf of all Pennsylvanians and to do so in good faith.

When civil discourse and common decency are overshadowed by hyper-partisanship and vitriol, it is incumbent upon all of us who respect this venerable chamber to demand that order and decorum prevail in the People’s House.

Currently, to censure a disorderly member, a resolution would have to be introduced and sent to committee. Thus, this rule, as is, prevents our body from being able to swiftly condemn the words or actions of a fellow member who has dishonored the institution.

While I believe such a weighty motion should be used very judiciously, the power to censure should be exercised under the direct control of the body as a whole.

In order to put the power to censure back in the hands of the body, please co-sponsor my forthcoming resolution to create a motion to censurea motion that would require a 2/3's vote of the House to be effective.

By requiring a 2/3's vote, we will ensure that the motion to censure is not used haphazardly, but will provide an immediate mechanism for the House to enforce its own rules.