- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed four bills on Friday, including legislation that would have made the inspector general’s office an independent agency and required the inspector general to be confirmed by the Senate.

Wolf also rejected bills that would have given lawmakers the ability to delay decisions on new regulations by a state commission, let people outside Philadelphia serve on the city’s parking commission and required Senate approval of his appointments to the Delaware River Port Authority board.

He signed into law bills to fix a mistake in an eight-month-old law that had held up millions of dollars in awards to breeders and owners of Pennsylvania-bred thoroughbreds and to meet standards in federal law regarding parents who have committed child sexual abuse and help combat human trafficking of children .

The Democratic governor, who had previously signaled his opposition to the inspector general legislation , said the executive branch needed an “internal watchdog” and that the attorney general and auditor general already serve as external monitors on government actions. The inspector general’s office investigates complaints about fraud, waste and misconduct in state agencies.

State lawmakers already have considerable influence on regulations, Wolf said in rejecting a bill that would have given certain lawmakers the ability to hold up decisions by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission .

“This bill has the potential to grind the regulatory review process to a halt,” Wolf wrote in his veto message .

The five-member commission board is filled by appointees from the leader of each of the four legislative caucuses and one from the governor.

House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said some lawmakers were concerned about whether the regulatory review process was independent enough, and wanted to give legislative committees more influence over issues that fall within their purview.

A coalition of environmental groups , the Clean Power PA Coalition, called the proposal a “power grab” that would have given “powerful special interests and big polluters an outsized role in our political process.”

The governor said he could not support adding people outside Philadelphia to the city’s parking authority when it has major problems and mismanagement that were not addressed in the legislation. Miskin said parking in Philadelphia involves people from around the region, so non-residents should have a voice in the agency.

Wolf said he supported much of the bill concerning the Delaware River Port Authority , but was “concerned” about subjecting his appointees to Senate confirmation. He called the bill an encroachment upon his powers that did not improve the authority’s operations.

“These are all good government bills aimed at strengthening oversight and better public participation,” Miskin said.

Senate Republican spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said potential veto override votes “may be a question we will ponder down the road.”

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