By Rep. Anita Kulik
Welcome to 2022!
It is my greatest hope that this year brings us normalcy and peace.
The redistricting process is currently underway where all state House and Senate districts, as well as congressional districts, will be redrawn.
Proposed maps have been released and are open for another few days for public comment. Our District 45 will be changing significantly if the maps hold, as will other districts surrounding us. Public comment is important. You can view the maps and make comments at redistricting.state.pa.us.
The state House and Senate will be taking up business, most being the result of bipartisan efforts.
As I have written before, the COVID-19 crisis taught those of us in government many things. Professional license issues were addressed to accommodate the needs of people living in a socially distanced world. Many of those changes have been made permanent because they worked.
Certain regulations across state governments were likewise suspended to help the government work better through the public health crisis. There are many efforts being made to examine some of the regulation changes to consider if they too should be made permanent.
House Bill 1837 is one of those regulatory items, and it passed the House unanimously. This bill seeks to amend the Workers Compensation Act to allow a claimant to appear before a workers compensation judge and provide sworn testimony that the person fully understands and wishes to sign a compromise and release agreement. The need to appear before witnesses or a notary will be eliminated, making the process easier for the claimants.
Senate Bill 729, which seeks to amend the Nurse Aide Resident Abuse Prevention Training Act, passed out of the House and Senate.
Under the program curriculum content for the theory and laboratory requirements of the training may be delivered virtually as well as in-person.
This is another step in addressing professional training that once was strictly in-person.
As a lawyer, I handled many estates and understand the difficulty families go through, especially if the estate left is very small. Opening an estate can incur costs that sometimes outweigh the actual value of the assets.
In order to address small estates, current law provides that if a person dies with $10,000 or less with any financial institution, that institution can release the monies to the proven next of kin without the necessity of probate when provided with proof that the funeral bill has been satisfied.
This $10,000 limit was passed in 2013. As times have changed, House Bill 1822 seeks to raise this limit to $20,000. This legislation will alleviate some of the financial and emotional burdens families face in difficult times. It is an important step to help residents and passed the house with unanimous bipartisan support.