PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — The State House, which has been in a state of paralysis for more than a month, has no rules, no session day, and apparently no plan on how to move forward.
It does, however, have a Speaker who has been mostly silent up until now.
Tomorrow, Feb. 3, will be the one-month anniversary of Mark Rozzi being the surprise pick as Speaker of the House. Rozzi was supposed to be a compromise pick, but that has been mostly broken down.
The speaker is now listening. Rozzi will have the fourth and final stop on his listening tour tonight in Wilkes Barre.
Republicans are blaming Rozzi for not calling the House into session and getting the chamber to work, however, he sees it differently.
House GOP Leader Bryan Cutler shared his frustrations surrounding the locked chambers. “We were not here, the work was performed in the middle of the night, and the fact that other people could have had access to those offices is unacceptable.”
Cutler, the former speaker of the house, was using the space that technically belongs to the current speaker, Rozzi, who kicked him out.
“It’s absolutely petty, and it started with him locking his own office and the house floor. And now it’s to the point where he doesn’t want our employees to work,” Cutler said.
Rozzi spoke with abc27 on the record on Thursday, where he said that Republican leader Bryan Cutler is the problem.
He said that Cutler has been offered several deals to bring the House back. Rozzi also mentioned that Cutler has been lying to his own members about those proposals.
Cutler responded, ” I’ve got a history of delivering on bipartisan ideas and working well together. Who doesn’t is this individual, and it’s unfortunate he would resort to attacking my character because of his inadequacies.”
Rozzi stated that he’s been crafting what is known as “The Rozzi Rules for operating the House.” According to Rozzi, these rules will be fair to both the majority and minority parties.
Special elections are to be held next week and Democrats could likely add seats that could spell the end of Rozzi’s speakership.
Rozzi knows that but said, “I will be staying speaker if I can, but am unsure about the numbers… I am really trying to bring people together, but the full body will have to make that decision.”
Rozzi said that he has not had a speaker related discussion with the Governor Josh Shapiro and he doesn’t think that the Voter ID Amendment that passed the Senate is even constitutional. He stated that he can’t support bundling it with an amendment to help victims of child sexual abuse.
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Cutler, who voted for Rozzi last time, has made his decision. “I can tell you, given the latest action, the speaker no longer has my support and shouldn’t put me in his vote tally.”
Rozzi has been talking with Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton, but he said that GOP Leader Cutler has been quite nonexistent the past few weeks.
A locked door seems like the perfect metaphor for the entire situation, and it’s still unclear who holds the key to a functioning House of Representatives in Pennsylvania.