The major story of the day (month? year?) is a report from the Bonusgate grand jury, which "has determined beyond any doubt that the General Assembly, if left to its own devices, is utterly incapable of reforming itself."
According to the report, grand jurors were appalled to learn about waste and abuse of taxpayer money during the investigation. They blamed the partisan caucus system which, they wrote, "eats up taxpayer resources with little to no tangible benefit to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania."
One witness testified that only about 350 of the House Democratic caucus's 911 staffers perform necessary functions. Grand jurors said they were appalled to find that lawmakers sometimes hired additional staff to make up for incompetence of existing aides.
Those hiring practices open opportunities for patronage jobs and ghost employees, the grand jury said in its report.
Jurors also took issue with a budgetary system that provides each caucus lump sums to be spent at the discretion of caucus leaders, creating excessive power and influence over rank-and-file lawmakers.
"Members who should be representing the interests of their constituents instead focus on pleasing their party leaders in order to curry favor," the report said. The system is "rife with the potential for abuse and must be eliminated."
Grand jurors also recommended that the Legislature should be considered part-time and that lawmakers' pay should be reduced. Full-time pay for a rank-and-file lawmaker is $78,315, far more than in most other states, the report said.