Letters to the editor February 16
Bible resolution was controversial
I want to thank Oren Spiegler for his letter on H.R. 535, the “Year of the Bible” resolution (“Bible resolution hypocritical,” Feb. 9). While I can’t explain the position of the legislators who penned it, I would like to take the opportunity to provide context on the process of drafting, and voting for, resolutions.
House resolutions provide a symbolic statement from the legislature — most often on behalf of worthy causes and organizations. I myself sponsored resolutions this session honoring the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and Magee-Womens Hospital.
More often than not, the content of these resolutions is universally supported and passed unanimously; as such, they are listed as “non-controversial” resolutions. The implication is that all House members can agree and, most often, that is the case.
On the same day that H.R. 535 was adopted, so were resolutions declaring “Cervical Cancer Awareness Month” and “Wear Red for Women Day,” among others. It’s appropriate that no time is spent in debate or conversation about truly non-controversial resolutions, which can be helpful to groups seeking to raise awareness about issues or programs.
In hindsight, H.R. 535 simply should not have been brought up on the floor with a “non-controversial” designation. Had there been any discussion on the floor about the bill, I would not have voted for it, and I regret my oversight in voting for a resolution that does not reflect my long-standing belief in the separation of church and state.
That said, I can’t regret that I try to keep my time and attention focused on what I believe to be the most substantive matters of policy — legislation designed to keep our buses running, our water clean and our children educated.
During my time in the legislature, I’ve relentlessly fought for the expansion of civil rights for the LGBT community in Pennsylvania, combated proposals to limit reproductive rights, opposed attempts to defund our public schools and worked for better health care access and quality, at reduced cost. Over the last several months, I have advocated tirelessly to maintain access to Pittsburgh’s world-class — and publicly funded — hospitals for everyone. Currently, I’m the prime sponsor of House Bill 2112, which would adequately fund public transit in Allegheny County and in all of Pennsylvania.
I can assure you that when those votes that are not symbolic, but change real laws in Pennsylvania, come up, there is no oversight or confusion about where I stand.
State Rep. Dan Frankel
(The author represents the 23rd