PA Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Beaver, Butler, Lawrence) is not one to pull punches or mince words. He will tell it like it is. So it is no surprise that Bernstine is backing a bill to make local government in Pennsylvania more transparent. Transparency was the basis of his campaign when he ran for the seat he now holds.
His commitment to that is even stronger now.
“After being in Harrisburg for the last 3-1/2 years, it is even more imperative that our state governments are transparent to the people that they represent,” Bernstine told me on a recent phone conversation. “It really impacts the Sunshine Act and ensures that meeting agendas are posted at least 24 hours ahead of time so people will know what is actually going to be voted on. The more information that you can have out there for folks the better….Transparency isn’t there to just catch people doing bad things, it’s there to stop them from doing bad things in the first place.”
Bernstine also had success in getting House approval for his bill “Marky’s Law,” which would toughen penalties for crimes committed in prison.
“It ensures that people who commit crimes behind bars are held accountable for those crimes when convicted,” he said. “Oftentimes when people are convicted of crimes behind bars they are given concurrent sentences and they’re not given sentences that are added on to the existing crime that they’ve been convicted of.”
Bernstine named the measure after seven-year old Marky Mason, who was stabbed by a man that he feels should never been let out of prison in the first place.
“We’re going to get that done. We got it through the House of Representatives. It is currently through a Senate committee. It will be taken up—probably in September when the Senate comes back. We look forward to getting that done. It’s a good, common-sense piece of legislation and looking forward to working with people to get it done.”