By Rep. Anita Kulik
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives held Session from April 25 until late on April 27. Many groups were welcomed to the Capitol and a wide array of bills were considered, both on the floor and in committee. I thought that I would review some of the bills, which I believe address issues that are of interest to all Pennsylvanians. I would note that these bills passed through the House with substantial bi-partisan support.
The House state government committee sent out a bill that will help the Department of State have further resources by which to remove deceased persons from the elector rolls.
Currently, allowable resources for removing deceased electors can be newspaper obituaries and official estate documents issued by offices of the Registers of Wills for the various counties. House Bill 2507, which passed unanimously off the House floor, would allow the use of the Electronic Registration Information Center and similar data sources.
A bill that I believe was very important likewise passed unanimously on the House floor. This bill will make the number of vaccines administered, and the number of vaccines “wasted,” open records, in accordance with the Right-to-Know Law. “Wasted” vaccines are vials that are accidentally broken, spoiled, have expired prior to administration, or have been drawn up but were unused. I have received many comments from medical care providers and citizens about this issue.
"Automotive knives" – which may be daggers, basic knives, razors, or certain similar cutting instruments – are called so because the blade can be exposed in an automatic way by switch, push-button, spring mechanism or otherwise. They are commonly used by outdoor sports people and trade workers. These knives have been on the “offensive weapons” list. House Bill 1929 removes them from the definition of “prohibited offensive weapons.” By such removal, it would now be legal to possess, use, sell or repair such items. As I noted, these knives are used lawfully for work and for outdoor activities like hunting and fishing. As a member of the Game and Fisheries Committee, I had several sportsmen mention this matter, as did some of the union members that I have spoken with over the last year.
House Bill 2271 provides for a sentencing enhancement for the crime of sexual extortion. The enhancement would apply when the complainant attempts suicide and such attempt results in either serious bodily injury or death by such suicide. The bill is designed to recognize that many victims of sexual exploitation do experience extreme emotional and psychological pain, and do attempt suicide. If death or serious injury is a proximate result of the trauma that the complainant experienced from the offense, the enhancement can be applied by the court.
As an effort to further provide for victim’s rights, House Bill 2525 would allow crime victims or their legal representatives to have access to criminal history investigative information for use in civil actions.
House Bill 1791 will amend Title 53 (that section of our statutes dealing with municipalities) to allow municipalities to create and maintain a vacant property registration and assessment program. This bill also addresses the matter of blighted properties and grants to help municipalities deal with blight.
I have introduced various “anti-blight” bills while serving as State Representative, and I wholeheartedly support any efforts, like this, to address the problems of blight in our communities.
Along those lines, House Bill 2210 further addresses the issue of blight in our communities.
Under this bill, a land bank can be a “party of interest” to petition the court for appointment as a conservator under the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act.
These, and other bills passed by the House, will be sent to the Senate for concurrence and, if so approved, will proceed to the Governor’s desk.
The month of May celebrates many of our essential workers on a national and local level. This month we have recognized Teacher Appreciation Week from, May 2 to 6 and Nurses Week from May 6 to 12, and will be celebrating both National Police Week and National EMS Week from May 15 to 21. All these members of our communities not only keep us safe, healthy, and educated but they also make many personal sacrifices for the good of those they serve.
Throughout the past two years, especially, the members of these groups stayed on the job risking their personal health and well-being for the good of others. Please take time this month to remember and thank all those who remain steadfast in their commitments to serve, protect and educate.