The House Bills passing in the legislation concern me about as much as the daily press releases from the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. For the most part, I get the email notifications, scroll through and ignore. The Pennsylvania General Assembly does not actually do that much that is notable.
But something slid across my email recently. It was House Bill 1939, proposed by a republican house representative Dawn Keefer from York County.
House Bill 1939 posits to remove any and all authority from the Pennsylvania Leutenant Governor, and designate those responsibilities elsewhere….. Specifically to the Office of the Attorney General, Josh Shapiro’s Office. All current responsibility of the Lt Governor would defect to the Pennsylvania Attorney Generals office.
- Legislation has been introduced that would change how the LG is chosen in Pennsylvania. Instead of being selected by voters in a primary, as it’s been done for 50 years, LG candidates — otherwise known as running mates to governors — would be chosen by the gubernatorial candidates themselves. –CITATION
- The particulars of this house bill troubles me for two main reasons: That office has been an elected office throughout the history of Pennsylvania and actually removes voter discretion, because it authorizes the gubernatorial candidate to pick his own running mate. Hence, we could probably end up with someone as obnoxious as Sarah Palin in office, chosen by John McCain and never voted on directly by the People.
- The Bill proposes a disturbing expansion of power for the Attorney General by appointing him as head of the Board of Pardons, and removing that previously designated authority from the office of the Lieutenant Governor. The Office of the Attorney General already has a vested interest in criminal prosecutions, they prosecute those cases oftentimes. So positioning the PA Attorney General as head of the Board of Pardons seems like a direct conflict of interest, as in the OAG can now demand jail sentence, and then turn around and deny pardons.
A very SCARY expansion of power if you ask me, particularly the latter part.
Here is a portion of the bill below, I’ve highlighted a few points that may make you pause:
11 § 9. Pardoning power; Board of Pardons. 12 (a) In all criminal cases except impeachment the Governor 13 shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, to grant 14 reprieves, commutation of sentences and pardons; but no pardon 15 shall be granted, nor sentence commuted, except on the 16 recommendation in writing of a majority of the Board of Pardons, 17 and, in the case of a sentence of death or life imprisonment, on 18 the unanimous recommendation in writing of the Board of Pardons, 19 after full hearing in open session, upon due public notice. The 20 recommendation, with the reasons therefor at length, shall be 21 delivered to the Governor and a copy thereof shall be kept on 22 file in the office of the [Lieutenant] Governor in a docket kept 23 for that purpose. 24 (b) The Board of Pardons shall consist of the [Lieutenant 25 Governor] Attorney General who shall be chairman[, the Attorney 26 General and three] and four members appointed by the Governor 27 with the consent of a majority of the members elected to the 28 Senate for terms of six years. The [three] members appointed by 29 the Governor shall be residents of Pennsylvania. One shall be a 30 crime victim, one a corrections expert [and the third], one a...
Again, my concern lies specifically with my lack of faith in the Criminal Justice System in Pennsylvania. Opening up the Attorney General’s office to an expansion of power creates a legitimate concern that concurrently will transpire an expansion of abuse.
So the Attorney General prosecutes a case and a Judge sentences a criminal offender to death, or life in prison, how willing is the OAG going to be to overturn a sentence that he argued for in the first place? Wouldn’t that sully his record?
I can tell you one thing…. If the Piazza Defendants came up before the Board of Pardons, and Josh Shapiro was heading that Board, there would be no relief.
WHO IS THE CURRENT LEIUTENANT GOVERNOR?
His name is Mike Stack, and he has a Harvard MBA, and comes from a long line of elitist politicians in his pedigree. He is a democrat, but even our liberal governor has a noticeable distaste for him.
He started off wrong, like an entitled brat, and it kept giving worse.
While circulating Campaign Petitions for re-election he lied about his address. He told voters he lived in his mother’s house in Philly, when in truth he lived in the Lieutenant Governor’s mansion, which is staffed with a Butler, Chef and Maid Service.
ONGOING SCANDAL THROUGHOUT MIKE STACK’S TENURE, A WIFE FROM HELL
It broke early on in 2017, that Mike Stack had the wife from hell:
- In a public apology after news of the report became public in April, Stack acknowledged that anger and frustration can lead to what he calls “a Stack moment.” He later took it a step further, calling his and his wife’s behavior a symptom “of a larger problem.” He did not elaborate.
Clearly he sheltered her as best he could, but the damage was done, and in the Harrisburg and DC circles she was declared a “snob.” A silver spoon brat who never worked a day in her life, but cruised through life on the salary and success of her husband, also (by appearances) a silver spoon snot with a Harvard education, who fell into his seat more because of nepotism rather than through any merit.
That cook, maid and butler were all State Employees. So when Stack’s Cruella D’Ville of a wife became verbally abusive, they had recourse.
- Stack and his wife, Tonya Stack, came under scrutiny last spring after Wolf directed his Inspector General to launch an inquiry into whether they verbally abused the state employees who work for them. In Pennsylvania, lieutenant governors and their families have traditionally received State Police protection and live in a residence outside Harrisburg that is staffed with a cook, housekeeper, groundskeepers and others.
Governor Wolf offered the courtesy of a warning to these brats….
- Sources have told The Inquirer and Daily News that the Democratic governor warned the Stacks to change their behavior, and when they didn’t, he asked Inspector General Bruce Beemer’s office to investigate the matter and write up a report.
When they failed to heed, Wolf turned it up a notch and set Bruce Beemer on them:
- That report has not been made public, though Wolf early on signaled he might do so when it was complete. The governor also took the extraordinary step of stripping the Stacks of their State Police protection, and scaled back staffing at the residence as the investigation unfolded.
Despite the strong-handed approach, the abuses seemed to continue, but then subsided under the threat that Governor Wolf may issue a report that he should damn well issue anyways:
- Governor Tom Wolf said that he will not release the Inspector General’s report he ordered looking into Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack’s treatment of his protection detail and staff in the LG’s mansion. “I don’t think anything’s to be served by piling on top of that,” Wolf said according to the Inquirer. Wolf cited concern over being fair to Stack’s wife, who is undergoing treatment for a mental illness and anger issues. CITATION
MIKE’S STAFF’S WIFE WAS KNOWN FOR THROWING GLASSES OF LIQUID AND VERBALLY ABUSING STAFF MEMBERS…..
Unemployed and curled up in the Governor’s mansion with diamonds around her neck, Tonya Stack verbally abused State Troopers and house cleaners, and was known to throw drinks.
- The Stacks are alleged to have been verbally abusive to state troopers who guarded them and mansion workers who cooked and cleaned for them. Sources say most of that came from Tonya Stack. In 2015, state Rep. Kevin Boyle said Tonya Stack “flipped me off” and threw a glass of soda at him while across a table in a Philadelphia parish hall, Philly.com reported.
NO WONDER PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICANS WANT TO ELIMINATE THIS POSITION:
Stack does little and makes the highest salary of Lieutenant Governors in the nation at a whopping $163,000.00.
Tonya’s mental health issues are of little concern to Pennsylvania voters, many of whom are law enforcement or are house cleaners, drivers, butlers or chefs. If you can’t treat those serving you with dignity, then your a spoiled brat, with no right to serve yourself. And Stack’s defense of this abusive behavior is not only sickening, it’s a compelling indication that he engages in the same sort of behavior himself.
As for Wolf’s report? Where is that?
But let’s not go nuts and put the OAG as head of the Board of Pardons, or in Pennsylvania as they say…. Let’s not bring piss to a shit fight.
Get these spoiled nepotistic brats out of there, and lets put a candidate more progressive and appropriate in office..