Each legislative session, thousands of resolutions are introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate that designate certain days, offer congratulations to a particular organization or group, or highlight a cause important to a member of the General Assembly.
These resolutions, called simple resolutions, do not have the effect of law. Instead, they are a statement, or expression, of the legislative chamber. Most are voted unanimously and shuffled through at the end of a legislative session day.
While I support many simple resolutions, I recently introduced a resolution amending the Senate Rules that would limit the number of simple resolutions each Senator could introduce in a two-year session to 10 per cycle.
The reason I am seeking to do this is because, while simple resolutions are important, they take away from the important function of actually passing bills and they add additional cost to the legislature.
Simple resolutions are nice, but I believe we need to focus on enacting laws that promote economic opportunity for the people of Lancaster County and Pennsylvania.
Instead of symbolically naming days of the week or months of the year, my constituents expect me to spend my legislative time promoting higher performing schools, enacting bills to encourage the free enterprise system, and support policies that will strengthen our families and communities.
Change is difficult in Harrisburg, so I do not know if my resolution to limit simple resolutions will be considered. But reforming how we do the peoples’ business in the Senate is important if we want to demonstrate our priorities and show that we really do care about the cost of the legislature.
Certainly, this does not mean that there are not resolutions worth offering.
For example, Senator Smucker and I are currently encouraging members of the Senate to support a simple resolution we are introducing that expresses the support of the Senate for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and encouraging this important non-profit organization in its efforts to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Founded in 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has enriched the lives of more than 226,000 children with life-threatening medical conditions.
The goal of the Make-A-Wish program is simple and was inspired by Chris Greicius, a young boy who suffered from leukemia. During his brave fight with cancer, Chris had a heartfelt wish to be a police officer. Make-A-Wish helped make that happen.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of children with very serious medical issues have had their wishes granted through Make-A-Wish. In 2014 alone, 14,000 wishes were granted, which was, on average, one wish every 38 minutes.
For those who have been touched by the Make-A-Wish program, they understand that the benefits go well beyond creating a memorable experience for suffering children. Families, referral sources, donors, sponsors, and entire communities are enriched through the spirit of giving.
In fact, a network of 25,000 volunteers for the Make-A-Wish Foundation serve as wish granters, fundraisers, special events assistants and in numerous other capacities.
Each year, Lancaster County experiences the unique power of the Make-A-Wish effort.
In 1990, a young man requested a wish to ride in an 18 wheeler and speak to his sister on a CB radio. Over 40 trucks and drivers showed up to grant the wish and the Lancaster County Mother’s Day Truck Convoy was born.
This year, for the 27th time – and always on Mother’s Day – the Make-A-Wish Foundation will hold an annual fundraiser to grant wishes to children with severe medical conditions at Burle Industries, 1000 New Holland Avenue (Route 23), which includes an auction, games, clowns, delicious local food and terrific entertainment.
Of course, the highlight of the annual tradition that over 5,000 come to see is the awesome truck convoy, which includes over 400 trucks carrying messages of hope and inspiration, as well as a few wish-children who enjoy waving to the cheers of supporters and blowing the air horns in the trucks.
After departing Burle Industries, the spectacular convoy travels north on Route 222 to Denver, then returns. Thousands of people watch from the roadways and overpasses and for many, this event has become a Mother’s day tradition.
While admission to the Mother’s Day event is free, all monies raised at this event go directly to granting children’s wishes and remains locally, in our communities.
At a time when so many issues divide our society, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is a great reminder of how we can celebrate and help children who face struggles greater than most of us will personally experience.
I encourage you to visit the Mother’s Day Make-A-Wish convoy, which will be held on Sunday, May 8. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and the convoy will depart promptly at 1:30 p.m. Seeing a struggling child smile and watching families enjoy a carefree day when medical issues are temporarily forgotten is a rewarding, enriching experience.
This is precisely why, notwithstanding my efforts to reduce the number of simple resolutions, I am supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation resolution.
To me, this is a resolution worth making.