The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Robin L. Quillon

June 26, 2011

Buckling down in Harrisburg

— It looks like work is finally getting done in Harrisburg, although most of the Democrats are being dragged along kicking and screaming.

In all likelihood, we will have a budget on time for the first time in eight-years.

Groups and organizations depending on state money will be happy to know, one way or the other, how much they will receive.

Knowing early is a far cry better than being strung along and having to change organizational plans on the fly.

True to his campaign promises, Gov. Tom Corbett remains firm in his commitment to spending cuts and not raising taxes – two simple concepts former Gov. Ed Rendell simply could not comprehend. But let’s face it, when you spend eight years pandering to Philadelphia, what do you expect?

It is so refreshing to see the governor’s office finally recognize that there really are citizens living outside of Philly. Imagine that, folks, a state budget in on time.

What’s next, the Pirates winning the World Series?

In another positive move, the state Senate sent the governor a bill expanding the state’s “Castle Doctrine” – as in “a family’s home is its castle” – last Monday. This bill expands the right to use deadly force in self-defense in Pennsylvania. This bill passed both houses last year, only to have “Frenchy” Rendell veto it. Rendell was always true to his motto of retreat first and protect the rights of thugs.

During “Frenchy’s” two long terms, he and other frightened liberal Democrats were on a mission to disarm law-abiding citizens.

Thank goodness the days of the governor’s office sucking up to Philadelphia are over.

While more needs to be done, I see signs of tort reform. The state Senate is poised to pass a bill limiting the liability of defendants in civil court cases for negligence. Current law holds all guilty defendants potentially liable for 100 percent of damages if their co-defendants cannot pay for the negligence resulting in death or injury to a person or property damage.

Under the bill, defendants found to be less than 60 percent at fault wouldn’t have to pay more than their share of the damages.

To be sure, passing this bill will make Pennsylvania more attractive to prospective employers. This bill will hopefully reduce frivolous lawsuits egged on by ambulance-chasing “remember, there is no fee unless we get money for you” attorneys.

With more aggressive tort reform, hopefully, one day, that stupid jingle will read, “there is always a fee, plus court costs and opposing attorneys fees if we frivolously sue another and lose for you.”

The House adopted the voter ID bill on Thursday night.

This is a bill requiring voters to produce valid photo identification, issued by the state or federal government. This bill should be passed. Having to provide a valid ID, which most people already have, is a small price to pay to ensure against voter fraud.

Finally, the “Dream Act” bill proposed by Philadelphia Democrat Tony Payton should be squashed quickly. This bill proposes “affordable” college education to illegal aliens. I am all for the U.S.A. accepting the poor, the tired, or huddled masses longing to be free. If they come through the front door legally!

Having lived in Florida for many years, I have seen firsthand how illegal aliens and their anchor babies, with impunity, consume taxpayer resources like ravenous locusts. We do not need a law that makes it easier for illegals to set up residence in our state. But don’t just take my word on this, just ask anyone from the states of Texas, California, Arizona or Florida.

I urge you to get involved and let your representatives know your feelings on these issues. Remember, they work for you!

Robin L. Quillon is the publisher of The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at rquillon@tribdem.com

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