HARRISBURG, March 7, 2012 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione today said Senate approval of a bill requiring photo identification from voters, which comes one week after the Corbett administration barred disabled visitors from public areas of the Capitol, represents a “disturbing trend” for people already struggling under state budget cuts.

“Creating barriers to prevent the disabled from voicing their grievances with their government, either inside the Capitol or inside the polling place, has become a priority with the legislature’s Republican majority and the current administration,” Tartaglione said.

The Senate today passed House Bill 934 along largely party lines, after rejecting a Tartaglione amendment to exempt those with disabilities.

“More than 20 years after implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Pennsylvania is still struggling to make all polling places accessible,” Tartaglione said. “Creating bureaucratic barriers on top of that sends a clear message to more than a million Pennsylvanians that this administration has no interest in hearing from them.”

Last week, Tartaglione wrote a letter to Corbett protesting the closure of Capitol hallways and elevators on February 29, when advocates for the disabled planned a rally.

Signed by the entire Senate Democratic Caucus, the letter cited the action’s “disturbing overtones of discrimination.”

“Such a policy represents an unconstitutional overreach of executive power, and it fosters distrust and alienation between the government and the people it is elected to represent,” the letter said.

The bill, which now heads to Corbett’s desk, is expected to cost as much as $11 million in the first year. Tartaglione said that money would be better used to improve a program that provides loans to disabled Pennsylvanians for purchase of technology that would allow them to return to the workforce.

“Nearly 200,000 Americans were disabled fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Tartaglione said. “Creating barriers to their participation in the government for which they sacrificed is repugnant and shameful.”

Listen to the Senator’s remarks following the floor vote on the Voter ID legislation:[audio:http://www.senatortartaglione.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/voter-id-reaction-sen.tartaglione-03-07-10.mp3|titles=voter-id-reaction-sen.tartaglione-03-07-10]

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