State House concludes lame-duck sessions with no votes
- State House Speaker calls for recess Tuesday with no scheduled session days remaining in 2016.
- House concluding means pension reform, animal cruelty bills must start over again next year.
- State Senate will hold session on Wednesday with potential vote on gambling reform bill.
State pension reform will officially have to wait until next year barring the House Speaker calling for an unscheduled session day.
Republicans in the state House and Senate made a late push before the election to pass a bill that would change public-sector pension benefits for newly hired teachers and state workers, but neither chamber ended up voting on the legislation.
State Reps. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, and Stan Saylor, R-Windsor Township, both re-elected last week, had expressed hope the bill might be voted through during "lame-duck" session days scheduled after the election. But the House went into recess Tuesday without voting on any legislation.
Grove and Saylor could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
The state Senate will convene for its final scheduled session day of the year on Wednesday, but it cannot push through the pension reform bill to the governor's desk without the House vote.
Prior to the election, the House did pass a bill to reform gambling legislation in an effort to protect municipalities with casinos from losing funds they were receiving.
The state Supreme Court ruled in September that the current law was unconstitutional, and host municipalities would stop seeing the money they've been paid by casinos starting in February 2017 without a change, the Associated Press has reported.
Saylor, at the time, said he believed the bill would be voted through by the state Senate after the election.
State Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, said Tuesday he didn't know what legislation might come up for vote because he had yet to see an agenda.
Next year: Bills not passed by the end of the year must start over in committees in 2017, when Republicans will officially gain three seats each in the House and Senate. The three additional Senate seats give the GOP a veto-proof supermajority, or more than two-thirds.
Among the bills that must start over in the new year is House Bill 869, aimed at strengthening the state's animal cruelty laws.
Dubbed Libre's Law in honor of an abused Boston terrier puppy saved from an Amish dog-breeding operation in Lancaster, the bill had unanimously passed the Senate on Oct. 19 but was never brought up for a concurrence vote in the House.