Pa. lawmakers sworn in for new legislative session

Rare timing found all members of the state House and half the Senate sworn in for the new legislative term on New Year’s Day.

Law states that legislators be sworn in on the first Tuesday of January.

Local lawmakers sworn in were Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, and Reps. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township; Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven; and Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte.

Wozniak was sworn in for his fifth term and reappointed as Democratic chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and transportation topped the priority list of all Centre County officials.

“I think people are frustrated by the lack of movement on transportation infrastructure and the backward movement on jobs,” he said in a news release Tuesday. “There is momentum now to move and we can’t lose it.”

Conklin was sworn in for his fourth House term, which he has said will begin with introducing a package of bills looking to change the governance at Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal and a report on recommended changes by Auditor General Jack Wagner.

“Reforming the structure and operations of Penn State’s (b)oard of (t)rustees and enacting a comprehensive transportation funding plan are just a few of my local and statewide priorities for the 2013-14 session,” Conklin said in a news release.

Benninghoff returns for his ninth term and will serve again as chairman of the House Finance Committee and the Cancer Caucus.

Hanna has served in the House since 1991 and will again serve as Democratic whip.

Sen. Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, also represents Centre County, and is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He is in the middle of his fourth term.