By Rep. Anita Kulik
The Pennsylvania legislature is currently in the throes of budget work. June is always the busiest month. The most important job of the house and senate is to set a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The house and senate will be in session every week this month, hoping to work out a budget before the June 30 deadline.
The House Appropriations Committee will meet daily, sometimes multiple times on any given session day. The bills passed that pertain to the budget all must have fiscal notes attached, meaning the funding for the budget must be spelled out.
Besides what comes out of the state’s general fund, and the many line items, non-preferred items will be considered. These include appropriations for the universities, such as the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State University. These non-preferred appropriations can be the most controversial and most debated ones the legislature considers.
The Capitol Complex is at its most busy in June. Stakeholders of all kinds, groups of tourists and school children descend on the capitol, making it the best time of year there.
House and senate members will be busy with committee meetings as well as meeting with individuals and groups who want to talk about the budget or their causes. These people come to the capitol in earnest to discuss important issues with legislators. These face to face meetings are sometimes the best way for those of us in the legislature to really get to know what issues are important to our constituents.
GAME AND FISHERIES
I am learning new things every day as I chair the House Game and Fisheries Committee. I hear from constituents across the state about issues surrounding hunting and fishing. I also get to travel around the state to experience first-hand the many areas of interest to our outdoor sports men and women.
I am looking forward to getting out this summer with the members of the Fish and Boat Commission to learn about all they do to keep our waterways clean and safe.
With boating season in full swing now, I want to remind all of the safety measures we should practice when out on the waters, whether for sport or recreation.
Life jackets are life savers. Properly fitted jackets for adults and children are vital and should be worn at all times. You may not be able to get to a stowed jacket in time in an emergency.
Just like on a roadway, speeding on the waters is not appropriate. You can be cited for speeding on the waterways.
Always make sure that someone on land knows of your plans and keep all emergency communication equipment and your cell phone charged and ready.
Driving a boat is a responsibility. You don’t drink while driving a car and a boat is no different.
While it may be tempting to drink alcohol when stationary on the waters, there should always be a designated driver. A BUI is cause for arrest in the same manner as a DUI.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website has all these tips and more, as well as all the boating regulations. Please be sure to be safe on the waters this summer.