A-G bill held up in committee

A bill detractors say was aimed directly at Attorney General Tom Corbett failed to pass a House committee today.

The measure would have barred Pennsylvania Attorneys General from seeking higher office until four years after their terms expire. Philadelphia Democrat Babette Josephs sponsored the legislation.

She insisted it has nothing to do with Corbett’s run for governor, but was instead focused on keeping politics out of the prosecutorial post. “We want that person to be in a position who has a passion for justice. Not a person who is using that position just in order to move on to something that he or she might consider a better job.”

Josephs said she had been thinking of introducing the bill before Corbett entered the gubernatorial race. Corbett’s spokesman, Kevin Harley, begged to differ.

Josephs chairs the State Government Committee. She brought the bill up for a vote after a brief discussion period. When fellow Philadelphia Democrat Brendan Boyle voted “no,” Josephs stopped the tally, walked over to Boyle and engaged him in a hushed conversation. Overheard: Boyle saying, “you shouldn’t have been under that impression.”

Josephs then scratched the vote. Afterwards, she conceded she didn’t have enough support to clear the measure. (Democrats hold a 15-10 advantage on the committee, and several legislators were missing.) Boyle later said he agrees with the idea of removing politics from the A-G’s office, but didn’t think this specific bill would accomplish that goal. He’d like to see a bipartisan commission address the issue in the near future.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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