By Rep. Anita Kulik
From all indications it appears that everyone who celebrated the Fourth of July holiday had a wonderful time. The parks across our district were filled with people picnicking, recreating and enjoying some great fireworks displays.
Now that we are in the full swing of summer, I hope that everyone is taking some much-needed time to enjoy all that we missed last year.
As a reminder, if you are still having problems with the Unemployment Compensation system, please reach out to your state representative or senator for assistance. Unfortunately, with the new system that was started last month, there are as many problems as there were at the start of all this last year.
Please note that beginning on July 18, you must certify that you are looking for work when filing for unemployment benefits. The Department of Labor and Industry is encouraging job seekers to register on the PA CareerLink website to learn about free programs and resources that are available, including job search and training assistance, educational workshops and referral services to partners.
Along with the budget bills, the governor signed several other bills into law. I know that many of them did not get a lot of attention and I would like to discuss a few in this report.
One interesting bill came up late in session and has been coined as the “Lemonade Law.” Back in the day – as I am sure many of us remember – kids spent the summer months setting up lemonade stands. Mom would make a pitcher of lemonade and the kids would set up on the front stoop. Kids are a bit more sophisticated today in their entrepreneurial endeavors, but the idea is still the same.
There is something special about young people taking an interest in work and the business world, and we should be doing all we can to encourage their curiosity and ingenuity.
House Bill 664 is now law and takes an extra step in helping minors who want to run their own business, by addressing restrictions on business licenses and permits.
Going forward, a municipality or an agency of a municipality may not require a business license for a business that is owned by a minor and run on an occasional basis. The business must be located a sufficient distance, as determined by the municipality, from a commercial entity that is required to have a business license from a municipality, so as to not be a direct competitor to that business.
A municipality may still enact or enforce local laws relating to the manner in which a business may be operated by a minor but may not require a business license. Restrictions on yearly income and days of operation are included in the law, as well as similar restrictions on licensing imposed by associations.
Drug addiction remains a very real crisis across the nation and Pennsylvania. Not one community in our district is free from residents suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. It is all too real a problem that plagues families trying to deal with loved ones suffering from addiction. Many family members feel their hands are tied as they are unable to get information on loved ones from treatment facilities due to regulations that the facilities must work under.
House Bill 741 was signed into law as a step to help families dealing with addiction. Under this law, a drug and alcohol recovery house shall notify, as appropriate, an emergency contact designated by a resident if the resident self-discharges from or leaves and fails to return as expected to a drug and alcohol recovery house. This process must be consented to by the resident and remain unrevoked by the resident at the time the contact is made.
Notification to the emergency contact must be made immediately and not later than 12 hours after the resident self-discharges or does not return to the facility as expected.
This law provides much-needed help to family and friends who up to now have had no notice that a loved one left a facility, sometimes until it is too late to save the person.
I have spoken to families who had that dilemma–a loved one left a treatment facility, they did not know about it, and then their loved one relapsed. In several cases, this relapse resulted in death. It is hoped that the notification requirement will allow families to provide needed support and intervention.
Two other new laws deal with voluntary donations at the time of application for auto license renewal, identification cards or vehicle registrations. Senate Bill 96 will increase the amount one can contribute to the Veterans’ Trust Fund. Senate Bill 445 will allow those renewing their applications to make a $5 contribution to breast cancer research. These bills seek to assist worthwhile efforts through voluntary contributions.
Please reach out to me for further information on these or other enacted laws, as well as any state-related matters.
A Kennedy resident and attorney, State Rep. Anita Kulik has served Pennsylvania’s 45th House District since 2017.