HARRISBURG - A proposal to change the name of Department of Public Welfare became an eleventh-hour casualty of the budget process.
So for now, Pennsylvania remains one of only two states that still uses welfare in the title of the agency that oversees programs for low-income residents.
This fall, supporters will urge the Senate to consider legislation already approved by the House that would rename the agency the Department of Human Services.
Bill sponsor Rep. Tom Murt (R., Montgomery) said he would meet with Senate lawmakers to urge their support.
Murt said he was confident the bill would be approved this fall and signed by Gov. Corbett, who has voiced support for it.
"Both Democrats and Republicans worked hard to move this forward," said Murt.
The change was originally included as part of a budget-related bill approved this month, but the language was removed during negotiations by House GOP leaders who wanted a stand-alone bill.
A coalition of nonprofit organizations and former governors backing the change said welfare has negative connotations that do not accurately describe the duties of the department.
Some GOP lawmakers said the stigma was justified.
"I don't want to soften it for those who are on welfare who could be out there working for themselves," said Rep. Dan Moul (R., Adams). "It's not up to me to make them feel better for going out there and having baby after baby and living on welfare."
Murt said the bulk of the agency's responsibilities involve helping abused and neglected children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
"I don't think we should be shaming or humiliating people who have fallen on hard times," he said.
Murt said costs would be negligible since the agency would use letterhead and other materials with the old logo until they run out. The department will also not replace signs on buildings or update computer programs until needed.