HARRISBURG – Following numerous unneeded hurdles put in place by the Wolf administration to shield information from a state government research agency and, by extension, all Pennsylvanians, the House passed legislation by Rep. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover) to ensure the agency has access to information so it can perform needed research.
Last year, the Wolf administration’s Department of Health declined to provide the Legislative Budget and Finance Commission (LBFC) needed data on COVID-19 deaths, claiming the commission wasn’t privy to the information because it is not one of the many “agencies of government.”
“I want to make it perfectly clear that the LBFC is entitled to information it needs to complete reports, and I drafted House Bill 2441
to specifically spell out that it is an agency of government,” Klunk said. “It is my hope these changes will protect the LBFC’s right to information going forward and prevent such stunts the administration tried to pull in the past.”
The legislation stems from Klunk’s House Resolution 1087, which instructed the LBFC to collect data and complete a report on COVID-19 deaths. However, the report was delayed by almost a year because of the roadblocks put in place by Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration. In addition to the Department of Health’s false claims that the LBFC wasn’t an agency of government, it also said the report did not meet “research purposes.”
In its report, the LBFC recommended that the General Assembly move to update the law to specifically state that it is entitled to vital records to complete research. House Bill 2441 would also spell out that the Joint State Government Commission is permitted to review and receive vital records.
House Bill 2441 is awaiting Senate consideration.
Representative Kate A. Klunk
169th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Katelin Morrison