Commonwealth Court to hear arguments in GA lawsuit on 4/17/13

In October 2012, three woman whose General Assistance was terminated filed a lawsuit challenging the end of General Assistance.  They were joined by seven statewide organizations, including the PA Community Providers Association and the Mental Health Association.

The lawsuit argued, among other things, that the way that this legislation was enacted violated Article III of the Pennsylvania Constitution.  Article III requires a certain level of “legislative due process” to ensure that laws are only passed after careful deliberation.  Specifically, this lawsuit argued that the way this law was enacted was unconstitutional because (A) there was no “single subject” where the provisions affected 2.7 million Pennsylvanians and 39% of the state budget; (B) the original intent of the bill had nothing to do with the final bill; and (C) the bill was not considered on three separate days.

At the end of October, a judge with the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court declined to issue a preliminary injunction in the case.  This would have given the petitioners a quick victory.  However, the case continued in both Commonwealth Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, April 17th, the case will come before a seven judge panel of the Commonwealth Court.

The panel will convene at 9:30am in the Supreme Court Room on the 8th floor of the City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, PA. 

The hearing is open and the public is welcome to attend.

There are typically a number of cases listed at one time.  Although this case will be heard some time during the morning, it is unknown when specifically when the case will be called that morning.  The Department of Public Welfare will argue first.  They will have 15 minutes.  The Petitioners will go after they are done.  The Petitioners will also have 15 minutes.

Please see below for links to the legal documents involved in the case.

NOTE: Petitioners are the three women who lost their General Assistance, plus several statewide organizations affected by the bill.  The Respondent is the Department of Public Welfare.

Petitioners’ Petition for Review (10/1/2012)

Respondent’s Brief in Support of Preliminary Objections (1/7/13)

Petitioners’ Opposition to Respondent’s Motion for Preliminary Objections (2/6/13)

Brief of Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioners (2/4/13)

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