To keep boredom at bay, while at the same time pandering to this special interest group or that without actually enacting any meaningful legislation, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passes hundreds of resolutions each session.
These resolutions aren't like acts, or laws. They simply state an opinion on something without any real force of law.
But, they must be fun to do, because there are so many of them. And, they keep the capitol's printing office and the aides that write them busy.
There are the ones that acknowledge familiar and sometimes unfamiliar diseases and proclaiming special days to think about them. For instance, there was enacted House Resolution 358 proclaiming Ataxia Awareness Day - ataxia is a form of cerebral palsy. The Pennsylvania General Assembly was hoping you would think about ataxia on Sept. 16 of last year. The lawmakers didn't pass any legislation that would attempt to combat the disorder; that's up to others.
Nephrology Nurses got their own special week of recognition through HR393, and HR293 congratulated the Pennsylvania Dental Association for its efforts to improve access to dental care.
HR499 congratulated American Indian people.
In a recent broad stroke, the legislature passed unanimously a resolution proclaiming 2012 "The Year of the Bible" in Pennsylvania. Who was going to vote against that? Will next year be the Year of the Torah, or perhaps the Year of the Bhagavad Gita? Not a big constituency to be cajoled with either of those two proclamations.
We pay people $80,000 a year and lavish them with benefits to cast these votes. This session isn't unusual in that respect. Each year the General Assembly passes hundreds of these feel-good resolutions at taxpayer expense.
Perhaps we are off base here, but it seems to us that these public servants could find better ways to occupy their time.
- (Warren) Times-Observer