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Pennsylvania lawmakers consider replacing the state's official song

PA lawmakers considering replacing state song
PA lawmakers considering replacing state song 00:28

Pennsylvania may soon be changing its tune.

A proposal to establish a new state song got a positive vote Thursday in the House of Representatives, although there was some discord.

The resolution to establish an independent commission to review the history, solicit suggestions from the public and make recommendations passed the House of Representatives by a 138-64 vote. It was sent to the Senate for concurrence.

The current state song was adopted in 1990 by a similar committee tasked with the same job. The song "Pennsylvania" by Eddie Khoury and Ronnie Bonner was selected.

But the bill's sponsor, Rep. Joe Ciresi, a Democrat from Montgomery County, contends that these days no one really knows the song and he's arguing it's overdue for an update. (If you need a refresher, it starts aptly: "Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, mighty is your name.")

"This is something we should take pride in," he said. "This is something every member of this chamber should be able to sing, even if you don't sing well."

Rep. Craig Williams, a Republican from Delaware County, agreed. The first time he heard the state song was at the gubernatorial inauguration.

"It was a great performance of a bad piece of music," he said. "I think we can do better."

If the bill is approved by the Senate, a replacement for "Pennsylvania" will be sought. A search would be entrusted to members of the House and Senate, the public and music experts.

The ditty does have its supporters. Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, defended it, though ultimately he cast his vote in favor of the resolution.

"As a musician, there is no bad music," he said. "There are only tastes in music."

"Pennsylvania" was adopted decades ago from more than 200 submissions. When the Legislature approved that song, Khoury — then a retired prison administrator — told The Associated Press, "I feel great, I feel greatly honored. What can I say?"

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