Good ideas seldom go far in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Here's one that ought to.
State Rep. Tony Deluca, D-Allegheny County, on Tuesday officially proposed preventing state and local officeholders from running for another office while still holding the one they have.
Such is the case in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh due to local charter rules. If you want to run for something other than the office you hold, you have to resign the office you hold.
The same, says DeLuca, should apply everywhere.
There are at least three reasons why he's right: cost, politics and disenfranchisement.
In the current statewide race for auditor general, for example, both the Republican candidate, Rep. John Maher, R-Allegheny County, and the Democratic candidate, Rep. Gene DePasquale, D-York County, are running for both auditor general and their respective state House seats.
One of them will be elected to the statewide office in November, which means a special election will have to be called to replace him in the House. Such special elections cost taxpayers up to $200,000, according to state officials.
A needless expense at a time the state is fighting to cut government costs and enact government reforms.
Also, during the months between the time the "winner" leaves the House and whenever the special election is held, constituents of the "winner" have no representative. They are disenfranchised.
Then there's raw politics. In the case of a statewide officeholder running for higher office, why should taxpayers underwrite the clear political advantages such as salary, benefits and bully pulpit one statewide office provides even as its holder runs for a different office?
The best recent example whould be a sitting state attorney general running for governor -- you know who.
Because good ideas are seldom welcome in our legislature, I don't give this one much of a chance. After all, it makes sense, saves money, helps improve the political process, all in the interest of voters and taxpayers.
But unless and until legislative leaders start putting such interests ahead of their own, good ideas like DeLuca's remain forever doomed.