February 23 – Nothing – literally nothing – has happened in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since the session ended last December.
Everything ground to a halt on swearing in day this January when members of the House voted in Speaker Mark Rozzi, a Democrat from Berks County – a move that baffled a whole lot of people.
Since then there have been delay tactics and recesses and no one is really sure when, exactly, the House will actually get back to work.
Legislators are, however, working on legislation.
One bill from a Representative in Montgomery County would allow public school students to take mental health days. It can be done up to three times a year with no doctor’s note required.
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “So if a kid wakes up and says I need a mental health day, this state law would allow them to just take off, no medical verification required. Hard to say where that might go.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “We’re making our young people feel like victims who are so weak and pathetic, they can’t handle anything. We’re just contributing to that.”
PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “You do not need state government dictating what kind of health days kids get back home. Their parents, their school administrators and counselors can determine. It’s just ridiculous. We’re going to regulate mental health days. What’s mental health day mean?”
Additionally, Senator Greg Rothman from Cumberland County is introducing legislation to make Diwali an official state holiday. Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is the biggest holiday in India that falls in October or November.
Barkdoll said, “He’s saying that we have enough people in commonwealth that practice this that it should be made an outright state holiday. There’s a Democrat that is now also signed on to co-sponsor that with him. I’ll be curious to hear about that.”
There is also bipartisan legislation to have Pennsylvania join the green death care industry.
Barkdoll said, “More and more states are allowing cremation through human composting or what’s called water cremation. It looks like Pennsylvania is now going to try to join these other states that are doing that.”
Burial of human remains are regulated by law.
Jansen asked, “I want to know what the incentive is. If there’s a demand and there’s a company that wants to come in with all their safety and health precautions and they’re like oh we need some government help with this, that’s fine. Or is this some greenie’s ideology that’s demanding we bring this into the state? Because if that’s the case? No. No. We are not supposed to have ideology pushed down from the top onto the people.”
Kauffman said, “I certainly think it needs a lot more study because if it’s coming from New York, that is an initial red flag. My instinct sends up that red flag.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “All I’m hearing is a lot of top-down control over our lives based on people’s belief systems. This is wrong. This is not what our government officials should be wasting our tax money on and trying to control our lives. Micromanage what they believe is just or fair or right when they have really nothing to back this other than their own ideology and belief systems. We’ve got to put our feet down and say no. No. Stop it. You do not have this kind of control over our lives.”
Barkdoll said, “What’s fascinating to me, these are not these far-leftist Democrat Reps and Senators. The one on the mental health day might be, but these other ones, the Diwali and the green death care, these are actually being introduced by people that I would consider fairly conservative public officials. That’s fascinating to me in the sense that these very well could be things that get passed in a divided general assembly.”