Castle Doctrine Officially Dead

We’ll have to try again next year. For this year, the Democrats have in charge of the House have announced there will be no more voting sessions this year. Next year the Republicans will control both houses. Let’s hope we can move a clean bill through both chambers, where Governor Corbett is sure to sign it.

17 Responses to “Castle Doctrine Officially Dead”

  1. Adam Z says:

    Sappy sore losers…No problem, as stated, we have the House, Senate, Gov Mansion and Committee appoints etc. for the next 2 years. It will be passed and signed then!

  2. You’re damn right I’m sore; this didn’t have to wait until next year, there was no reason it shouldn’t have passed THIS year. Then next year we could’ve focused on other pursuits, instead of trying to get this passed for the SEVENTH year in a row.

    Thanks, John Hohenwarter; me and others who lobbied in Harrisburg last month in conjunction with the ACSL/FOAC watched you scuttle months of effort from supporters in a matter of minutes. I hope it was worth it, because the NRA just made a lot of enemies out of everyone who had their efforts squandered.

  3. How did the NRA scuttle months of effort?

    I mean, didn’t they wait on endorsing until votes had been made? Seems to me the Democrat Party was just playing a super-game of partisan politics, using every delay tactic.

    Besides, if it had been successfully voted on. I don’t think it’d have succeeded. Governor Rendell would have merely vetoed it. Sadly…

    So I am optimistic that we should be able to get this passed pretty early next year.

    But I am curious why you feel the NRA is to blame.

  4. Sebastian says:

    I’m curious to know what John did to screw this up as well.

  5. Last month right after the House had passed HB40 as a clean bill, we were in Harrisburg to lobby the Senate to do the same thing. We insisted that HB40 be passed, because it had already been through the House clean, and didn’t have to go back to them unless it was amended.

    While we were pushing HB40, instead of working WITH US, Hohenwarter convinced enough of the Senators while in Caucus to attach a similar Senate version of the Castle Doctrine bill to HB1926, a Megan’s Law bill which had been passed by the House and was up for vote in the Senate.

    The amendment passed, but in doing so required the bill to go BACK to the House for concurrence, an action Hohenwarter (and many of the Senators I’m sure) knew wouldn’t happen. This tactic gave the Senate the appearance of supporting the effort while giving them cover on the issue because, once passed, it wasn’t there fault if the House didn’t concur on the bill. It also gave the opponents to the bill cover, because even though their amendments failed, the bill ultimately didn’t pass.

    If they had passed HB40 clean (and given that HB1926 had no other amendments attached other than Castle, HB40 would have run clean), it would’ve went right to the Governor’s desk for signature. Instead, Hohenwarter convinced them to take course of action which was known to very likely be unsuccessful at the time because the dependence on the House to concur.

    Why this course of action was taken by the NRA, I can’t say for sure. I have a number of ideas, but they’re just ideas that I can’t confirm or deny. I won’t bother to enumerate them here.

    Once thing I can say for sure, is that after seeing how the NRA treated our most important state-level grassroots organization, my faith in the NRA as a whole has been shaken, and I can see why more progress isn’t made.

  6. Sebastian says:

    It’s always easy to place blame after the fact. Having more options at your disposal to get something done isn’t a bad idea. The amendment to the Megan’s Law (HB1929) bill was filed when the bill was still languishing in the Appropriations committee under Evans. Then you remember the delaying tactics with the discharge petition that came after, as the opponents of this bill attempted to run out the clock?

    NRA pushed for HB40 to be passed by the Senate, but they didn’t do that, thanks to the intransigence of legislators like Greenleaf and Tomlinson, both of whom lost endorsements over it. NRA was serious about pushing HB40 clean, as can be seen here.

    Yes, in hindsight it probably was a bad idea to push Alloway’s amendment to the bill, but that would have required betting the Democrats weren’t going to be successful in running out the clock in the House. They were. This is one thing I’m not going to blame John for. The blame lies squarely with the Democratic opposition in the House and with two GOP senators who are getting softer on us.

  7. I’m not placing the blame after the fact. I was concerned when I was in Harrisburg that his antics would result in this outcome, and I said that to Kim Stolfer and all the other FOAC supporters at the time; I just didn’t make any comment on it outside that group until now.

    Everyone there knew that the House would have to come back after the election for the HB1926 route to succeed, and that’s why we told John we didn’t want to see him endorse that course of action. Sending HB1926 back to the House for concurrence, especially after the contentious House vote on HB40, was something we were concerned had no chance of succeeding; our collective opinion was that it was better to invest our energy in taking a stand on HB40 right there. We were especially insistent because earlier in the day many of the senior staffers we had been lobbying mentioned that Greenleaf might run HB40. It wasn’t a dead dog at the time.

    Unfortunately, John seemed to have other plans. The Democrats were successful in stalling the bill because the decision was made in Caucus to take a course of action that almost guaranteed such stalling succeeded, and John advocated it. Of course, what EXACTLY took place we don’t know, because while we were in the hall, somehow he had access to the Caucus room and was popping in and out. One would think that having an NRA rep with such access would be a good thing, but in this case I’m not so sure.

    You can call this blaming John after the fact if you’d like, but I was there and I know what I saw, and what I heard from his own mouth even after Kim objected on what were very valid grounds IMHO.

    Note that there’s still talk that Eachus is getting pressure to hold a voting session for other issues, so this might not be totally dead, and I’ve been calling and leaving messages with House leadership all day in the hopes of changing the outcome in our favor. However, I must admit that I believe the first nail is in the coffin… again. For the sixth year in a row.

  8. Sebastian says:

    I didn’t mean blaming after the fact to suggest that you weren’t aware what was going on and had concerns about it at the time, but I see John’s strategy as plausible even if it didn’t work out in the end. Without knowing what John knew, versus what you knew, it’s hard to say what the right call would be. And I don’t know either of those things. But we won’t know if HB40 would have passed on its own, even if the HB1929 route not been done. Greenleaf was willing to push HB40? Then why didn’t he just pass it as it was when he was presented with the opportunity? I don’t think Greenleaf wanted Castle Doctrine to pass.

  9. Sebastian says:

    Plus, at this point I’m just not all that interested in why it didn’t pass and who’s fault it is. We’ll get it done next year. Sure, it’s going to be a pain in the ass, but we have a GOP House, and a Governor who will sign it… and hopefully Greenleaf and Tomlinson will come to their senses.

  10. Bitter says:

    I might add that the Democrats were going to come back for a voting session after all of this happened. It was canceled and turned into a non-voting session at the last minute. It was not automatically dead on arrival just for that.

    Unfortunately, there are other issues that have come up to make any other voting days quite the battle – pension crap, severance taxes, etc.

  11. I don’t think Greenleaf wanted it to pass either, but I’d also like to think what we were hearing about his possibly running HB40 had something to do with our lobbying efforts. In addition, I don’t see how you believe John’s strategy to be plausible, when it was known at the time that the House had no plans to reconvene. I’ll admit that HB40 looked as grim given Greenleaf’s position, but at the time there was IMHO more hope on that route given what we had been hearing.

    FWIW, I agree there’s a good chance we’ll see this legislation get through next year. And then, of course, the NRA can claim their 2010 election endorsements had something to do with all that, and that’s why we should keep sending them money…

    Nothing like scuttling a legislative effort in the name of fundraising.

    (Anti-NRA comment flame suit on)

  12. Bitter,

    What we were hearing in Harrisburg at the time was that the only thing that would’ve REALLY gotten the House back was Marcellus Shale. Once that was ruled unconstitutional, they really had no reason to reconvene other than pensions, which was always heavily dependent on the election results.

  13. I’d also like to point out to those who believe this effort will be a cakewalk next year: we’ll still have to deal with Greenleaf’s opposition to this being a tort reform bill; he’s still going to hold it hostage as the Senate Judiciary Chair, unless he’s voted out.

    • Bitter says:

      Keith McCall called another session after they let out. So something brought them back that wasn’t severance tax-related. Unfortunately, just a few hours before they were to meet, it was switched to a non-voting session and then I don’t think anyone likely bothered to go.

      And no one said it would be a completely cakewalk next year. However, we do have more tools at our disposal. That would include more young Republicans from his area who got into office partially due to NRA backing who are going to need to come back to the district sportsmen and say they got it done. Peer pressure works in politics, too. It’s one more thing we have going into next year.

  14. guest says:

    If anyone thinks Rendell was going to sign that bill, they are certifiable.
    Chambered Round–you can untwist your panties now.

  15. I’d rather have a known opponent oppose me on his conscience than have a supposed friend subvert my efforts.

    We didn’t get to see what Rendell would have done with either HB40 or HB1926 because of how it all went down.

  16. tsafa says:

    The bill should have been put to vote. At least then we would have had a record of all those who voted against it.


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