Pa. Officials Busy With Last-Minute Bills

Monday, 12 Dec 2011 05:01 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Pennsylvania legislators have a number of high-profile, controversial bills to debate this week before the holiday break begins, including school vouchers, redistricting, a natural gas extraction fee, and voter-identification requirements.
“Will we get it all done? I don’t know,” House Speaker Sam Smith told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Smith said there are still attempts being made to work out a settlement on the natural gas extraction fee, and if no action is taken before Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget address in February, the measure might get pushed aside.
The House is also considering a scaled-down version of the voucher bill, which the Senate passed in October. The bill, if passed, will allow vouchers for low-income families whose children are in the bottom 5 percent of poorly performing public schools.
The Senate will also be busy this week. The House in June approved a voter-ID bill, which will require residents to present their identification before voting. The Senate is expected to discuss the voter bill, but there may still be changes to come in the legislation.
Corbett said Saturday he believes the measure will be on his desk by years’ end.

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