EDITORIAL: Coroners already know their business

York Dispatch

Obviously, state Rep. Eli Evankovich doesn't have enough to do.

That's the only explanation we can think of for Evankovich's House Bill 297, known as "Noah's Law," which tells the state's coroners that they have to keep doing exactly what they've been doing.

The bill says coroners must notify family members about a death and about the cause and manner of death before releasing the information to the media.

The Republican from Westmoreland and Allegheny counties obviously missed something:

That's what coroners already do.

Coroners are very responsible people. When there is a homicide, a fatal car crash, a suicide, no matter what time it is, in the dark, the cold, the snow, the heat, a coroner goes to the scene to evaluate the situation, declare the person dead and do whatever else is necessary.

And then they track down the family and notify them that their loved one has died.

Only then do they release the information to the media.

Trust us, we know. We often wait to hear information from the coroner. Current Coroner Pam Gay, Barry Bloss before her, Kathryn Fourhman before him — each has told reporters again and again that they're waiting to release information until they notify the family.

Evankovich says he's heard of two cases, one in western Pennsylvania and one in York County, where the media might have heard word about a cause of death before the families were notified.

Gay said that didn't happen in the local case, when a mother and her son died of carbon monoxide poisoning last July in their home.

"We followed our normal protocol. I stand by that," she said. "I can't help if the media jumped to a conclusion. ... I have no control over that."

But Evankovich and state Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor Township, who co-sponsored the bill, said they just want to have it down in the books, to reinforce what's already happening.

The fact that the bill passed the House unanimously is just one more sign that politicians live in a different world than the rest of us.

As Gay said, "It's just one more thing where (the government is) looking over our shoulders."

Legislators, before you go poking your nose in telling more people how to do the job they're already doing without your help, look around and see if there's some part of your own job that you might be neglecting or putting off or have just lost track of while going through this waste of time.

Like — just to pull an idea out of the air — property tax reform. Education funding. Hey, you've only got two-and-a-half months until June 30, when you're supposed to have a budget in place.

After all, you don't want people telling you you're not doing your job right.