LETTER: Raining cash paid off in Capitol
Margaret Mead once wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, organized, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”
On May 6, 2019, a half dozen March on Harrisburg activists threw a total of 500 one dollar bills marked with the words “ban bribes” from the balcony of the Pennsylvania House gallery while chanting “Some are guilty; all are responsible!” and “Pass the gift ban; stop taking bribes!”
As expected, we were arrested for this action.
Fast forward to Nov. 19-20, 2019, our MoH activists met with House leaders plus their staff to discuss the gift ban legislation on Monday prior to the State Government Committee vote on Tuesday. Although it sounds scary to talk with leaders, and it sounds boring to attend a committee hearing, we were thrilled because the committee chair Rep. Garth Everett was sponsoring the bill and local representative, Seth Grove, was co-sponsoring this bipartisan legislation.
After years of lobbying, marching, and nonviolent action, the gift ban passed out of committee and is now headed to the floor. Since the legislation as written isn’t perfect, MoH will continue to work with members of the committee to amend the bill. I’m looking forward to the day when my legislators can no longer be bought and sold and hope that Speaker Mike Turzai calls the legislation for a vote in a timely manner — as he promised MoH activists following our May 6 action.
Should this legislation pass the House and Senate and become signed by the governor, I will the consider the fine I paid for making it “rain cash” onto the House floor well worth it, not to mention a memory to pass onto my grandchildren.