Seen on 6 News
- Monk walking across America arrives in Centre Co.
- Ritz Theater pays off loan for new projection system
- Community supports Altoona family through funding for new van
- WWII planes visit Blair County
- Dairy Queen's Miracle Treat Day a sweet deal
- Somerset Co. fundraiser helps pay for infant's funeral
- Group hopes to help families who lost a child
- Organizers prepare for 2014 Heart and Stroke Walk
- Water therapy teaches Centre Co. puppy to walk
- Wiffle Ball Bonanza builds replica Forbes Field for fundraiser
- Local V.F.W. asking for donations for care packages
- Family pleads for daughter who jumped from car to return home
- Clearfield veterans memorial wall
- New York film company features Bedford teen with inoperable tumor
- Despite rising firework costs, 4th Fest continues, tickets still available
- 4th Fest in need of volunteers
- Meyersdale blaze ruled arson, plagues problems for borough
- Red Knights help toddler severely burned by campfire
- Altoona police searching for bank robbery suspect
- Hundreds support Trooper Brad Wilson with benefit run
- Family of crash victim asking for prayers
- Anchor Marty Radovanic opens up about cancer diagnosis
- Walking in her shoes raises awareness for domestic violence
- Federal CHIP funding set to end in 2015
- Route 22 road improvement plans shown in Blair Co.
- Centre Co. United Way partners with Centre Volunteers in Medicine
- Prescription drug drop-off boxes now in Blair Co.
- 4th Fest officials looking for heroes
- State College Borough considers using crowdfunding
- WEB EXTRA: Johnstown's History
- Therapy dogs a success in Jefferson County
- Rate increases coming to Penelec customers
- City leaders create relief fund for troubled Bosnian city
- Cambria Co. Showcase for Commerce kickoff
- Boalsburg Memorial Day events carry on despite recent vandalism
- Johnstown event featuring downtown businesses, food
- Battling prescription drug trafficking an ongoing effort
- State lawmaker, coroners disagree on proposed organ donation act
- Several area schools score high on state performance profile
- Community sending care packages overseas
- Master plan presented for updates to Teener Field in Ferguson Township
- Facility for overweight children to open in Windber
- RAW INTERVIEW: AG Kathleen Kane talks heroin
- Mother’s Day 5K helps to raise money for homeless mothers
- Man tractoring across America for wounded heroes
- Johnstown not backing down as residents continue to fight pressure testing
- AG Kane: Heroin problem in Johnstown is out of control
- Police following leads, community offering to help after cemetery vandalism
- Specially designed adaptive bike program expands to Cambria County
- Centre Co. PAWS hosts ‘yappy hour'
- Centre Co. cemetery vandalism tops $100K
- Family hosts first Max Deitle 5k
- Jefferson Co. drive-in could close down
- Electronic addiction can negatively impact children under 12
- Underage and undercover: Underage sales investigated
- Prized Shelby Mustang to be auctioned in Centre Co.
- Senior who asks Miss America to prom gets suspension
- Community helps to raise money for baby with rare genetic disorder
- Police officer pretends to be Amish woman
- School stabbing victim speaks out
- One Run for Boston passing through Pennsylvania
- Disabled boy reunited with special bike after it was stolen
- Non-profit helps rebuild home in Cambria Co. after fire
- Woman fighting for domestic violence programs a year after shooting
- RAW VIDEO: Police searching for men who poisoned 1,000 fish
- Area mother pushing survival length of son diagnosed with Duchenne
- Earthquake Monday disrupts a Los Angeles morning show
- Jennertown Speedway opening day
- President Barack Obama on
- Elderly woman charged $1,200 for one time snow removal
- Pa Lawyer's controversial advertisement
- Trooper Wilson T-Shirt order form
- High number of complaints recorded by Pa. officials
- New designation added to PA State license for veterans
- Injured trooper shares his road to recovery
- Reporter plowed by snow
- Students learn dance to raise money for playground
- Heroin: A story of grief and hope
- State looking for owners of unclaimed property
State lawmaker, coroners disagree on proposed organ donation act
By: Maria Miller
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- It's proposed legislation 6 News reported on last week that that has coroners and prosecutors across the state up in arms -- House Bill 30, or the Donate Life PA Act, is aimed at making more organs available for the nearly 500 Pennsylvanians who die every year waiting on a transplant list. Lawmakers say it will provide more awareness and education, clarify who is able to make a donation and streamline the process.
6 News found the bill is controversial. Both sides have their own opinions and don't seem to be talking it out.
Coroners and district attorneys across the state and their prospective associations are absolutely allowed to have their opinions on proposed legislation, but the lawmaker who proposed the bill said he doesn't think they understand it. The state Coroner's Association told 6 News it's read the bill loud and clear.
"There is nothing to make (organ donation) opt-in or opt-out," said Susan Stuart, president and CEO of the Center for Organ Recovery and Education.
That's in stark contrast to what Cambria County coroner and current board member of the PA Coroner's Association, Dennis Kwiatkowski, told 6 News last week.
"Basically what it does is takes the decision making away from families," Kwiatkowski said. "It makes you an organ donor, implies you're an organ donor, unless you have a form that basically says you are not."
Lawmakers said that's just not true. Democratic State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, who proposed the house bill last year, said it would not make everyone in the state an implied donor as the coroners' association seems to think.
"Nowhere does (the bill) say that it sets up situation of implied consent or a situation that you are organ donor till you opt out," Petrarca said. "The legislation just does not do that."
But he never said it wouldn't prevent organ procurement organizations, like CORE, from asking family members of the deceased for organs.
In fact, that's part of the process the bill lays out.
"The process is very clear, (If) you have not registered to be a donor, then that means we have to go to your next of kin and that would be, if you're married, your spouse and if not married, your parents," Stuart said. "It's very clear in the priority by whom we have to obtain authorization to carry out the organ recovery. We would not be permitted to just recover your organs."
"The coroner has a right to deny an organ donation if he or she chooses," Petrarca said. "Nowhere in the bill does it take away any jurisdiction from coroners."
The coroners association disagrees. It's legislative liaison told 6 News she's repeatedly gone over the bill line by line and said because organs need to be harvested and living for transplant, the bill basically takes the autopsy away; therefore, impeding death investigations.
"According to the bill, it is up to the organ procurement agency, in other words CORE or Gift of Life, to determine when the individual is dead enough that they can take the organs while they're still living," Susan Shanaman said. "I don't know how you do an autopsy when the organs aren't there anymore."
"I don't think the coroners understand the legislation," Petrarca said. "I have been asking to meet with them for three years now and they have refused to meet with me to even discuss legislation."
"Frankly what we've gotten are demands, not a request to negotiate," Shanaman said. "It's been, 'You tell us what you want to change and we will look at it and see if we agree'."
Petrarca was adamant in that nothing would change when it comes to the coroner's duties. But the coroners association doesn't agree and is standing by its opinion that the bill is taking away their rights, people's choice and the families decision.
Follow the link below to read the bill in its entirety: