HARRISBURG, Pa. (WENY) - After forming a bipartisan work group to resolve gridlock in Harrisburg, House Speaker Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) announced the group would hold listening tours throughout the commonwealth to hear from the people of Pennsylvania. This afternoon, the work group held its third listening tour in State College.

The bipartisan work group was assembled by Speaker Rozzi to look for ways to break through the partisan divide that has halted Harrisburg.  

“This group up here has been committed to working on rules and finding a bipartisan pathway forward, and we're going to continue to do that for the public,” said Rozzi.  

The public weighed in on several topics like gun violence, a gift ban, election reform, as well as the top two issues Rozzi assembled the workgroup to solve: operating rules and a two-year civil window for victims of childhood sex abuse. 

“We are looking for fair, good government rules for the majority party and the minor minority party to move forward. We've heard so many good comments from the public and we are going to take those to heart,” said Rozzi. 

Some constituents expressed frustration during their testimony, specifically when talking about the operating rules that determine how Harrisburg functions. Many said that the rules should create an easier path for bipartisan legislation to become law. For example, making it harder for “good bills” to die in committee, or harder to add on amendments that render an otherwise good bill, ineffective. These amendments are often referred to as “poison pill” or “wrecking” amendments. Some testimony today said two poison pill amendments are to blame for the delay with the two-year civil window for victims of childhood sexual abuse. 

Rozzi says he hopes to take the input from the hearings and turn it into tangible progress. 

“We are looking forward to getting back to Harrisburg, but we are doing it, I think in a way that hasn't been done before and that is actually hearing from the people of this commonwealth, which are so important and the voters. And we're going to continue to do that,” said Rozzi. 

But whether he is successful in doing so, depends on several factors. One of them being, his future as Speaker. 

Three special elections in Allegheny County on Feb. 7, could officially give Democrats an undisputed majority, which means Rozzi’s future as Speaker could be in jeopardy, if Democrats choose to nominate and vote for someone else. In early January, House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) seemed to be the clear choice for Democrats before both parties ultimately agreed on Rozzi. However, there is speculation that McClinton may be the frontrunner for the Speakership, if a Democratic House majority becomes an undisputed reality. 

On Jan. 3, Republicans and Democrats compromised to nominate Rozzi as Speaker. Rozzi pledged to be “Pennsylvania’s first independent speaker” and vowed to caucus with neither Democrats nor Republicans. According to Republicans, a switch in party affiliation from Democrat to Independent was key for their support. It is something they say they are still waiting for. 

Yesterday, it was reported that Rozzi plans to retain his job as Speaker, even after the special elections next week.