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State representative John Taylor is the rarest of Philadelphia’s elected officials: He’s a Republican. More than that, he’s a Republican liked by the unions, a Republican liked by Mayor Jim Kenney.
Taylor told City & State PA last week he’s done something that makes him stand out even more among Philadelphia’s politicians: "In Harrisburg, I passed more bills than all the Democrats combined, in terms of legislation affecting the city."
We’re talking about one representative versus 23 Democratic representatives. Could he really have passed more bills than all of them combined?
First, we asked Taylor what time frame he was referring to. He said he meant this two-year term, from 2015 to present, given the article in which he was quoted focused on his bid for re-election against Democrat Joe Hohenstein.
To test Taylor’s statement, we turned to the Legislature’s website, which tracks every bill sponsored by members of the state House and Senate. And it turns out Taylor is dead on.
This term he’s been the primary sponsor of five bills that have passed into law, four of which have at least some relevance to Philadelphia. All 23 Philly Democrat representatives have been the primary sponsor of a combined two bills that have passed into law.
The only two Democrats to sponsor bills that passed are Kevin Boyle and Bill Keller. Keller’s bill was about renaming portions of highways and streets in the area. Boyle’s had to do with emergency vehicles. Democrats Ed Neilson, Dwight Evans and Lynwood Savage haven’t even been a prime sponsor for a bill, period.
"I don’t how far back that statistic would hold up," Taylor said of his passing more bills than the Democrats, "but it is certainly true for this term. And frankly it would be true for the next term."
With that reference to the future, Taylor refers to the likelihood that Republicans will continue to hold power in the Senate and House. He said Republican leadership, which dominates the various committees, tends to emphasize their members ahead of the other party, meaning Republican-sponsored bills have a better chance of passing than Democrat-sponsored bills.
"I was in the minority for 10 years," Taylor said. "You could come up with the cure for cancer and it would get put aside or it would come out with the Democratic name on it."
Taylor said he attends most Philadelphia Delegation meetings and describes he and the Democrats from here as "kind of one big, happy family." And as one of three Republicans representing Philadelphia (Martina White is the other; Thomas Murt has a slice of Philly in addition to Montgomery County), he said he’s in the best position to act as a voice for the city.
"For us to make things happen in a Republican-dominated body," Taylor said, "we need that."
In an article about Republican state Rep. John Taylor’s bid for re-election against Democrat Joe Hohenstein, Taylor emphasized the need for Philadelphia to have a prominent Republican by saying, "In Harrisburg, I passed more bills than all the Democrats combined, in terms of legislation affecting the city."
According to the Legislature’s website, Taylor has been the prime sponsor of five bills that have passed this term. The 23 Philly Democrats have been prime sponsors of two bills that have passed. We rule the claim True.
Phone interview, John Taylor, Sept. 16, 2016.
News article, "Hunting Philadelphia’s last great elephant," Sept. 13, 2016.
Website, Pennsylvania General Assembly.
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