Friday, March 4, 2011

Another bad Republican idea being fast tracked through the state House

…is there an echo in here?

In the past week, I've received emails from constituents asking me to oppose H.R. 89, which could threaten the meaningful changes to the state's Dog Law approved in 2008.

It bears repeating that, prior to passing the law, Pennsylvania had a dreadful reputation of being the puppy mill capital of the east. As a Lancaster Countian, it was disappointing to have my home featured as the subject of an Oprah investigation.  Also worth mentioning is that many legitimate dog breeders in Lancaster County were already meeting or exceeding the standards in the 2008 law and were hurt more by the negative press caused by the abusers in the industry than they are by the new law.

While the premise of this resolution claims to be innocuous and not an attempt to kill the 2008 law (after all the law was approved with overwhelming support just 2 ½ years ago), it couldn't be worse timing. With the Commonwealth's current fiscal situation, is a study of the effects of this law really where we want to direct our state’s limited resources?

Additionally, the PA Dutch Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is likely to see a drop in their state subsidy for tourism promotion again this year, will have more bad press to contend with and lost business when groups didn't want to patronize our properties for conventions and other gatherings…again.

It's also perplexing that the Republican House majority is in a rush to consider this resolution just days after being introduced and hours before their Governor is likely to deliver the news that there is no money left to spend on things like educating our children or promoting tourism in our state.

What's the rush? Portions of the 2008 law haven't even been implemented yet. What would Oprah say?

This is evidence of a larger issue affecting the state House this session. Some bills are fast tracked, with little to no time to garner any substantive feedback; and when the minority party attempts to improve a bill, with you know an amendment or two, they are found to be not germane.

I’m a big fan of public discourse and airing out an issue, that’s why the Policy Committee is dedicating time to hear from residents across the state on issues that affect real Pennsylvanians. Fast-tracking bills for the sake of a small constituency, especially when that constituency is held in disregard around the country as animal abusers just doesn't make sense.