Lawmakers spend 15 percent of time approving special-interest “holidays”

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Yes, if you can dream it up, the Pa. state legislature will pass a resolution commemorating your special “holiday.” In fact, last year nearly 400 of such holidays were passed by resolution, including Loyalty Day, Crooked Billet Day, Spanish Water Dog Day, National Nurse Anesthetists Week and Pennsylvania Health Care Information Technology Day.

Critics contend that there are better uses of lawmakers’ time in the Legislature, and that fully 15 percent of their efforts in the last two years went to commemorating the questionable so-called holidays, all for the purpose of placating vocal constituents.

As benign as it might seem, the state government is required to handle the resolutions with the same procedures as a full-blown bill. So even the most non-controversial holiday, such as the Childhood Stroke Awareness Day, needs to be reviewed by at least one attorney, two proofreaders, then back to the attorney for final review, and off to the floor where it’s voted on by lawmakers.

Activists claim the legislation is a colossal waste of time and money, when pressing matters, such as the state’s looming $5 billion deficit and other serious matters requires 100 percent of lawmakers’ attention.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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