A temporary budget set to pass this week is on track to include a provision prohibiting any flag except the American flag, Pennsylvania’s state flag, or a flag honoring missing American soldiers from flying over the state Capitol building or Capitol grounds.
The draft language also bans banners, posters, or temporary signage from hanging in the Capitol’s external windows, balconies or alcoves.
The move is a transparent shot at Fetterman, a Democrat from Braddock, who has flown an LGBTQ Pride flag and a marijuana legalization flag from his office’s balcony — a prime piece of Capitol real estate that overlooks the building’s front steps and can be seen blocks away in downtown Harrisburg.
The provision was tucked into the state’s fiscal code, an omnibus bill passed every year with the budget that includes instructions on spending. The bill often becomes a vehicle for lawmakers to enact policy changes big and small – from tweaks to state alternative energy law to a rule regulating Capitol flags.
Legal Weed For Pennsylvania. pic.twitter.com/iKCLzWm8og— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman)
The language was included in an amendment filed by Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) on Friday.
Through his spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher, Corman didn’t take responsibility for the flag ban.
Kocher said she didn’t know who wrote the flag provision, and that the amendment Corman introduced represented the entirety of the agreed-upon fiscal code — a document that receives input from leaders in the House, Senate and executive branch.
Fetterman declined to comment Friday, but tweeted about the effort after it was published.
“It’s kinda flattering that they changed Pennsylvania law just for me,” he tweeted. He added he only planned to take the flags down once the state legalized marijuana and approved human rights protections for LGBTQ citizens.
It’s kinda flattering that they changed Pennsylvania law just for me.