Monday, March 30, 2009

Session Starts But No Laws Signed

This year's General Assembly session has been underway for about three months and some are wondering if anything is being accomplished by the House of Representatives. A lot of attention has been focused on how to spend Pennsylvania's portion of the federal stimulus package, but at the same time committees have been meeting and votes are being cast. To date, 1,130 bills have been introduced. 73 of them have reported out of committee. Of those, 36 have cleared the Appropriations Committee, as well, and 21 have been passed by the full House. Bob Caton, a spokesman for House Speaker Keith McCall, says some of the legislation has been substantive, “Just last week we passed a bill allowing parents and guardians to extend health insurance benefits to their children up to the age of 29. And given this economic climate, you have a lot of students graduating from college and having to move home and work part time and not have full-time insurance available to them. So this is definitely improving access.” Most early votes have been bipartisan , with near-unanimous approval from members. (The insurance measure passed 190-2.) Tougher and more controversial measures, like Governor Rendell's video poker proposal, likely won't be addressed until later on in the session. A Look at the senate comes tomorrow.

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