Tuesday, November 21, 2006

House Passes SB 628!

Our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack,
the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear,
the people all exulting . . .

Late on Monday afternoon, November 20th, just before 5:30 pm, the House approved, by a 191-0, vote Senate Bill 628. The final form of the bill is found here. Hurrah!

Now, SB 628 will be sent to Governor Rendell for his consideration as the Commonwealth's chief executive. If he signs SB 628, as hoped & expected by the various advocacy & professional organizations that support it, the resulting statute would take effect 60 days after the date of his signing.

The only sadness in this process is that some of the legislators who voted for SB 628 did so as one of their final personal acts as elected Senators or Representatives, whether by their retirement or due to election results.

No one was assassinated in the process of the prolonged struggle for change in the law on this subject, as was Lincoln -- the subject of Walt Whitman's "O Captain! my Captain!" -- after the Civil War.

Change, while necessary, is still painful in a matter of degree, depending upon your role. And so, for some in the Legislature during the 2005-2006 Session, there is personal sadness amidst the triumph of a unanimous vote to adopt this legislation.

Pennsylvanians thank all legislators for staying the course, nevertheless, and for giving us your best efforts, together.

As to SB 628, all Pennsylvanians will benefit from your efforts.

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound,
its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won:
Exult O shores, and ring o bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

-- Walt Whitman (1819-1892), from "O Captain! my Captain!", found