Black Pa. House Members Walk out of Session in Protest

Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 5, 2007

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Just after Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Uniontown, finished explaining an amendment he wanted to make on Senate Bill 1, the open records bill, the Black Caucus members walked, one by one, to a microphone and said they would be on leave for the rest of the day.

“We could be doing this (walking off) until we get meaningful gun legislation,” said Rep. Thomas Blackwell, D-Philadelphia. “Every entity seems to get their business done on the floor except us. Our constituents aren’t talking about doing something on open records. They are talking about kids dying in the streets.”

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“We will boycott anything else until our voices are heard,” he said.

There are 203 members of the House. All Black Caucus members are Democrats. Votes can still be taken without them, but it would leave the 102 Democrats in the House with only 86 votes.

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