Capitol Wire: Bill to limit displaying human remains suspended

I continue to cover the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste. This is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association.

HARRISBURG – A bill that would impose civil penalties for certain commercial displays of human remains will stay in the House Judiciary Committee until after a public hearing can be held this summer, the committee decided Tuesday.

House Bill 2299, sponsored by Rep. Mike Fleck, R-Huntingdon, would require greater knowledge of the source of cadavers and other remains displayed in museums and places of public view.

On June 4, Fleck proposed an amendment to a 2008-09 non-preferred budget bill that would have eliminated the Carnegie Science Center’s $254,000 appropriation. Fleck was critical of the science center’s recent exhibit of human cadavers, called “Bodies: The Exhibition.” The exhibition showcases preserved human bodies dissected to display bodily systems.

Such exhibits have come under fire from some ethicists, human rights activists and religious leaders regarding the source of the cadavers used in the exhibit, with exhibitors unable to demonstrate the circumstances that led to the death of the individuals, or if people consented to their remains being used in the exhibit.

No date for the public hearing was given. The decision to table the bill until after the hearing came on a unanimous voice vote.

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