Bragging rights figure in rites of passage in Legislature

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has only signed one bill into law so far. Part of the delay in getting measures to his desk is that the Senate and House have been working on separate bills accomplishing the same goals.

    Each chamber has passed its own identical “Castle Doctrine” measure, expanding the right to deadly self-defense. The Senate and House have also voted on or considered separate distracted driving bills, bans on bath salts and synthetic marijuana, and measures changing oversight of abortion providers.

    Political scientist Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall College said a main factor is the fact lawmakers jostle for credit over who sponsored the bill that became law.

    “Much of what happens in the Legislature concerns which lawmakers get what credit for bills passed. There’s a sensitivity to the authorship of bills, and there’s also a sensitivity by chamber,” he said.

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    Prime sponsorship of a law is worth more on the campaign trail than a simple “yea” vote in its favor.

    “The other point is that leaders of the various caucuses want to make sure that the credit for bills are spread around among their members,” Madonna continued. “They want to make sure that members who have priorities get credit for the passage. The right to boast about and brag about the legislation that they enacted.”

    When it comes to the Castle Doctrine, House sponsor Scott Perry says he’s willing to put his ego aside and pass the Senate version, just to get a bill to Corbett’s desk.

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