ShareThis Page

Legislators just itching to do more

| Saturday, June 22, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Here we go again.

With the deadline looming next week for a state budget, legislators are being unfairly lambasted for their perceived inaction on several key bills.

The proposed privatization of the state liquor store system appears to have a future as bright as that of a shell-up turtle in the sunlight, its legs coming as close to flailing as a turtle's extremities can get.

The Senate approved a much-discussed plan to provide at least $2.5 billion annually to address the state's crumbling roads and bridges, but it's as stalled in the House as a Toyota on the turnpike with a faulty intake system.

Overlooked in the discussion of important legislation the General Assembly has failed to enact are the various vital measures that it adopted. They involve issues that are every bit as critical as keeping our bridges from collapsing — but for some reason, they don't get nearly the attention they should.

Take the Nelson Mandela resolution, for example.

Didn't hear anything about that, did you?

The House last week honored the former South African president for his dedication to building a more equitable and united world. Being 94, in declining health and living half a world away, Mandela was unable to accept the kudos in person. But the thoughtful gesture likely will improve what, until now, have been mostly tepid relations between Pennsylvania and South Africa.

Don't be surprised if the Keystone State eventually sends an ambassador over there.

With its international implications, the Mandela initiative was the most significant measure the House approved that, for some reason, failed to attract attention. Yet, it was far from the only one. Some others:

• Libraries across the state were recognized for summer reading programs, an extremely controversial piece of legislation said to have infuriated the powerful video game lobby.

• Charles Warren Scott was lauded for his contributions to the state, although he, like Mandela, couldn't be at the Capitol in person. The former Pennsylvania congressman from Warren County died in 1912, but lawmakers with long memories decided the 170th anniversary of his birth was noteworthy.

• Thinking ahead, lawmakers designated Oct. 29 as Psoriasis Day in Pennsylvania. That's probably because it's never too soon to begin planning for that annual day of statewide festivals and parades centered around the irritating dermatological condition.

I could cite additional examples, but you get the idea. Contrary to popular belief, our lawmakers have been busy on matters of utmost importance.

Don't let their supposed inactivity get under your skin — you know, like psoriasis.

Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.