By Rep. Anita Kulik
The House of Representatives and the Senate were back in full swing the week of April 24. The Capitol was filled with people from all over the Commonwealth, including special interest groups and PIAA Championship teams. Many groups had selected this week as their "advocacy week," and representatives came to the Capitol to address matters of concern.
Both chambers also had the honor of recognizing several World War II veterans.
National Library Week brought representatives from the Allegheny County Library Association to the Capitol. We have wonderful libraries in our district, including Bridgeville, Robinson, Carnegie, Coraopolis, and the FOR library in McKees Rocks. I always appreciate talking with the folks from ACLA about our libraries, as well as discussing the need for more funding for our libraries. Especially in recent years, our libraries have grown their number of visitors as well as the number of programs they offer. Their importance to our communities is invaluable.
Libraries are not merely a place to find books. They offer educational programming, community events, and so much more.
As Chair of the Game and Fisheries Committee, I was proud to welcome all the groups that participated in Sportsmen and Sportswomen Day at the Capitol. From hunting and fishing organizations to conservation groups, it proved to be a very informative and fun day in Harrisburg. As a former member of a Ducks Unlimited chapter and based on my discussion with many men and women who enjoy hunting and fishing, I can assure you that they are some of our most ardent conservationists.
Pennsylvania has some of the most beautiful and bountiful land in the country. The outdoor sports of hunting, fishing, and boating are great sources of enjoyment and recreation to our residents and to out-of-state visitors. These activities are also great boons to our economy. I am looking forward to traveling around our district and the rest of the Commonwealth to take in all that Pennsylvania has to offer our hunting and fishing enthusiasts. As I mentioned, any efforts to bring in out-of-state visitors will greatly help our businesses.
A great number of bills passed out of House Committees in the past several weeks. Many were brought to vote on the House floor. I would like to mention a few of the bills that passed with bipartisan support and will be sent to the Senate and hopefully the governor’s desk.
House Bill 148 addresses matters relating to childhood eating disorders. The bill would require school entities to annually provide parents with educational information on eating disorders for students in grades 6 through 12. The Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Department of Health would be required to develop a Task Force to develop and implement guidelines for providing parents with educational information on eating disorders.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a significant danger to both adults and children. Heightened awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning has come in the last several years and particular attention has been paid to the dangers posed in our homes.
Along with smoke detectors, residents are encouraged to have carbon monoxide monitors added to their homes, with many local groups like fire departments spreading the word and even providing residents with monitors. House Bill 494 would require Department of Human Services licensed child-care programs that have a carbon monoxide risk to maintain functioning detectors.
These would be facilities that have an attached garage, a fireplace, a heater, or an appliance that creates a carbon monoxide byproduct by burning fossil fuels.
Senate Bill 8 came to the House after passing the Senate and will be on its way to the governor’s desk. It is a significant step towards better health care for our residents. For too long, too many women have gone without proper cancer screenings because of insurance coverage issues. This bill will require health insurance policies to provide coverage of breast cancer genetic counseling and various forms of testing for women at high risk.
This bill will require the insurance companies to cover all costs for this counseling, free of copay, co-insurance, or deductibles.