Republicans who control the Pennsylvania Senate are seeking an opinion on whether a bill passed by the House to impose a gas the natural gas drilling industry violates the state constitution.

Erik Arneson, spokesman for the Senate majority leader, said there were several concerns with the House bill.  And he said Senate Republicans want an opinion from the Legislative Reference Bureau. 

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One problem is that the state constitution requires that any revenue revenue-raising bill must originate in the House:

“This bill originated in the Senate. Now, the House was the first place to put in revenue-raising provisions. We don’t think that passes constitutional muster. But, presumably that’s part of what the Reference Bureau’s opinion will deal with.”

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Arneson said the bill is also problematic because it does not deal with a single subject.

While leaders of both the House and Senate have pledged to forge an agreement on a natural gas extraction tax, the two chambers remain far apart.  And the constitutional question could complicate efforts to get a resolution in the final days of the legislative session.

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Reported by KYW Newsradio’s Tony Romeo