Corbett can’t compel Pa. lawmakers to vote on Philly cigarette tax

    Gov. Tom Corbett is asking Pennsylvania lawmakers to end their vacation early to address legislation concerning the Philadelphia schools funding gap that threatens to delay the school year.

    The ball is in state lawmakers’ court.

     

    Leaders of the Republican-controlled House and Senate alone have the power to return to the Capitol to approve a bill that could help Philadelphia start its school year on time.

    The measure has received preliminary approval in each chamber, but peripheral issues are causing disagreement.

    Corbett is urging prompt action.

    “I’m calling for the legislature though to come to Harrisburg before school starts,” the governor said Wednesday in Philadelphia. “And I expect them to address this issue as their first and No. 1 order of business.”

    Neither chamber has indicated it will oblige Corbett’s call.

    House and Senate sessions are scheduled for mid-September — too late to help Philadelphia plan the start of its school year.

    The governor could demand lawmakers return to Harrisburg this month, at least for a day, by calling a special session.

    But legislative staffers suggest that might not be effective.

    The governor is able to call a special session, but no way to compel lawmakers to do more than bang the gavel to declare the session, and end it promptly thereafter.

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