Parkland Press

Friday, October 20, 2017

Guest View

Thursday, May 25, 2017 by STATE REP. RYAN MACKENZIE (R-134TH) in Opinion

Constituent idea would improve women’s health

As a state representative, constituents often bring legislative ideas to my attention.

They see a problem and are creative in thinking of a solution, which I appreciate.

Many people do not understand the process of how an idea becomes a law and each elected official has his or her own process when working on legislation.

I want to take this opportunity to share with you my approach to a new idea that was presented to me.

Residents in my district, who are members of the Pennsylvania Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, brought to my attention the idea to create a Maternal Mortality Review Commission in Pennsylvania.

The Centers for Disease Control monitors maternal mortality on a national level but there is no process for review in Pennsylvania.

To begin, I first checked to see if any of my colleagues were working on legislation relating to the topic.

If one of my colleagues was working on legislation I could support, I would have become a co-sponsor.

In the case of MMR legislation, none of my colleagues were working on the issue, so I decided to move forward in the legislative process.

After conducting my own research on MMR, which included pulling legislation from other states and finding scholarly articles that support and oppose the idea, I took it to the House Health Committee staff.

Together, we determined that in order to create the MMR Commission in Pennsylvania, legislation was necessary.

The next step in my process involved contacting the chairman of the House Health Committee, as well as the majority leader to gauge if there would be support for MMR legislation.

While this is not required, it is helpful. Because there was support, the Health Committee staff is assisting me in contacting various stakeholders for their assistance and input in drafting the language for this legislation.

Next, I will hold meetings to find agreeable language, and once that is accomplished, I will formally introduce the legislation for my colleagues to review and decide if they are supportive enough to become a co-sponsor.

The bill will then be formally introduced and assigned by the speaker’s office to a committee for review, likely the Health Committee.

If the committee agrees to the language, the bill will then come before the full House for a vote.

If the bill passes the House, this same process will begin in the Senate — assigned to a committee for review and then a vote by the full Senate.

Once both chambers approve the bill, it will go to the governor’s desk to be vetoed or signed into law.

I am thankful the ACOG brought the idea to my attention, and am hopeful we can have this legislation enacted into law to benefit women’s health.

If you have a legislative idea, email me at RMackenzie@pahousegop.com.