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Reporter's Notebook: Senate debates Voter ID bill before vote

Reporter's Notebook: Senate debates Voter ID bill before vote

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It’s starting to feel like spring outside. The temperature is climbing, my allergies are in full force, and on Sunday we lose an hour of sleep but gain an hour of daylight.

As much as I love sleep, I love daylight more. It’s nice to leave work and have it still be light outside.

State government

As the various appropriations committees continue to grapple with the state budget, a noble and laudable goal, the Senate — the only chamber in session this week — spent most of Monday and Tuesday debating amendments to the Voter ID bill.

HB 934, as the bill is officially known, would “require voters to show a valid, non-expired photo identification when they vote. Identification could include IDs issued by the state or federal government, such as a driver’s license, a military identification card, or a passport. Photo identification cards from state-accredited colleges and universities and state-licensed care facilities will also be accepted, as will county and municipal employee photo cards,” according to the Senate GOP caucus website.

Democrats are decrying the bill, calling it a solution in search of a problem and alleging that Republicans are trying to push it through in a presidential election year in an effort to disenfranchise poor and minority voters, who typically vote Democrat.

Republicans, of course, are claiming that it’s necessary to ensure the integrity of the process.

Statistically, the instances of voter fraud are on par with the instances of humans contracting leprosy from armadillos.

Senate Democrats spent most of the sessions this week trying to get amendments added to it in an effort to tone it down. Each amendment fell in succession, in what one colleague of mine described as “legislative whack-a-mole.”

Oh, and since the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such laws are copacetic only if the IDs are free, this “free” solution will cost taxpayers of Pennsylvania $1,000,000 in fiscal year 2012 from the general fund and $3,837,500 in fiscal year 2012 from federal funds, according to the fiscal note from the Senate.

The bill now goes to Gov. Tom Corbett for his expected signature and will be in effect for the April 24 primary.

In history

On this date in 1619, Johannes Kepler discovered the third law of planetary motion, which says that the square of the orbital period of a planet is directly proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit.

Essentially, what that means is that if Planet A is four times further from the sun than Planet B, then Planet A must travel four times the distance of Planet B each orbit. It further means that Planet A travels at half the speed of Planet B in order to maintain equilibrium with the reduced gravitational centripetal force due to being four times further from the sun. (4 times 2 8 and 8 squared 4 cubed).

Somewhere, my high school physics teacher is capering in delight that some of the stuff he drilled into my head stayed there.

Lauren McLane covers state politics, the Borough of Carlisle, Dickinson Township, Penn State Dickinson School of Law and Dickinson College for The Sentinel. You can read her Reporter’s Notebook covering news and events on her beats every Thursday and her politics notebook on the weekends. You can contact her at, follow her on Twitter @Clink_Carlisle1, or read her blog, “Carlisle Off the Record.


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