Burns among handful of Democrats voting to fund child advocacy centers, prisons and burn centers in show of compromise

Demonstrating his willingness to cross party lines, state Rep. Frank Burns was among a handful of House Democrats who voted with the Republican majority this week to restore state funding for child advocacy centers, prisons and burn centers.

Burns said the votes, undertaken to counteract line items vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf in the 2015-16 state budget, gained his support because they represented the right moves for Pennsylvania, especially regarding child advocacy centers.

“I was one of 15 Democrats who voted for House Bill 1802 to restore $1 million in funding for these centers, which serve child-abuse victims,” Burns said. “When children undergo that type of trauma, we need to make sure they have access to the skilled professionals who can help them, especially medical, law enforcement and Children and Youth Services personnel.”

Burns, D-Cambria, said child advocacy centers also use a specially trained interviewer so that a child only has to recount his or her trauma one time. The information gleaned from the interview is then shared with police departments and in court.

Burns was also one of three Democrats who voted for H.B. 1801, which would restore $939 million in state correctional institution funding eliminated by Wolf as part of his budget-related veto.

“The state prison system is one area where adequate funding is absolutely necessary,” Burns said. “Keeping criminals locked up and those who guard them safe is too big of a matter to succumb to political partisanship.”

Additionally, Burns was one of five Democrats voting for H.B. 1803, which would restore $3.78 million to the state Department of Human Services for assistance to hospital-based burn centers, again overriding Wolf’s veto pen.

“Burn victims are neither Republican nor Democrat; they are human beings who need help,” Burns said. “We shouldn’t make them part of any partisan wrangling.”

All three bills now move to the state Senate for consideration.