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Political Notebook


State Rep.

Daryl Metcalfe, R-12th, joined with several other state lawmakers Tuesday to introduce the National Security Begins at Home illegal immigration reform package for the 2011-12 legislative session.“Since the federal government remains AWOL in fulfilling its constitutional obligation to defend the states against foreign invasion,” Metcalfe said, “Pennsylvania state lawmakers have no choice but to stand together to advance the National Security Begins at Home package.”Metcalfe is founder of the group State Legislators for Legal Immigration.He said the legislation would restore security to Pennsylvania communities by limiting public benefits, employment access and other economic incentives to illegal aliens.He said the bill would:• Provide state and local law enforcement with authority to catch Pennsylvania's estimated 140,000 illegals for deportation.• Require all employers and government entities to enroll in the federal government's free E-Verify program to confirm Social Security numbers of prospective employees.• Challenge the interpretation of the Constitution that allows all children born in the United States to claim citizenship.———

State Sen. <B>Mary Jo White</B>, R-21st, recently applauded Gov. Tom Corbett<B> </B>for repealing the policy of imposing additional restrictions on oil and gas drilling on state park and forest land as part of the state Department of Environmental Protection's standard well-permitting process.“The governor took the appropriate action in repealing the policy,” said White, chairwoman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.“As I outlined in my letter to Gov. (Ed) Rendell<B> </B>last November, the policy was irresponsible, and could potentially cost Pennsylvania taxpayers tens of millions of dollars from the impairment of existing contracts.”White added that by repealing the policy, Corbett properly upheld a legal precedent set in the court case of Belden & Blake Corp. v. DCNR.The courts in that case, she noted, prohibited the state from imposing surface use agreements and drilling conditions on permit applicants who owned the subsurface mineral rights underlying state park land.———This weekend Congressman <B>Jason Altmire, </B>R-4th, will join other members of Congress and civil rights leaders in Alabama to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday civil rights march.On Sunday, Altmire will walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, which civil rights activists crossed on March 7, 1965, to rally support for voting rights.The brutal images of state troopers beating marchers after they crossed the bridge that day rallied support for the civil rights movement nationwide.———<B>State Rep. Jaret Gibbons, </B>D-10th, has introduced a multi-bill government reform package that would change how local, county and state government functions.“I have spent years carefully crafting these bills that would save millions of tax dollars, improve transparency in government and better ensure public officials are serving the public and not themselves,” Gibbons said.• A pair of bills would merge the state Senate and House of Representatives into one smaller chamber and eliminate the office of lieutenant governor. Gibbons said the changes would save taxpayers an estimated $90 million and make government more efficient.The one chamber would have 201 members serving staggered four-year terms.• A bill would eliminate the lieutenant governor and transfer the office's duties to other state officials.• The second proposal would impose term limits on state legislators.It would increase state representative terms to four years and limit service to three consecutive terms for a total of 12 years. State senator terms would increase from four to six years with a limit of two consecutive terms for a total of 12 years.• The third proposal would amend the state constitution to empower voters to recall state, county and local elected officials.Gibbons said judicial officers would be exempt from the recall.• Another proposal would make it illegal for a public official, a person appointed to serve on a government body or elected official to require a public employee to perform an activity not related to the office's official duties.The bill would also outlaw the practice commonly referred to as “pay for play” in which a public contractor provides goods or services for the personal benefit of an elected officials.