Oct. 12, 2018

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Harrisburg Update

A quick look at what’s happening in Harrisburg
and the 125th Legislative District...

Giving Students Flexibility for Graduation Requirements
It’s my firm belief that success is measured by more than just standardized tests. I have spearheaded legislation to give our students more options to demonstrate job, career and post-secondary readiness that are more relevant to their individual paths.

I am pleased to report that the House passed legislation this week that would remove the heavy focus on standardized testing as a requirement to graduate and instead allow students various options to show proficiency in pursuing their own career paths.

Senate Bill 1095 would provide Pennsylvania students with additional options to fulfill high school graduation requirements beyond the Keystone Exams. Students who do not score proficient on the Keystone Exams would be able to demonstrate their readiness to graduate through alternative routes.

Specifically, the bill outlines several commonsense options for assessing student performance while also giving teachers more flexibility with classroom instruction time. Some alternatives include a student’s successful completion of work-based learning programs, a service learning project, or an offer of full-time employment as evidence of post-secondary readiness.

As part of the bill, the Keystone Exam graduation requirement would be put on hold until the 2021-22 school year. The alternate graduation options in Senate Bill 1095 would take effect when that delay expires.

This legislation, which now goes back to the Senate, seeks to enhance a multi-bill package to expand career and technical education to benefit both students and employers looking to fill jobs in high-demand fields.

Roundtable Discussion: Helping Businesses Attract Skilled Workers
Recently, I joined my colleagues from the House and Senate for the Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association Legislative Roundtable at the Mountain Valley Golf Clubhouse in Barnesville.

This annual event is to commemorate National Manufacturing Day. More than 1,600 American manufacturers open their doors and take up the important work of inspiring our young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering.

I emphasized to the group that we have many young people in our area who are very skilled, but their career path does not require a four-year college degree to succeed. We need to better connect our education system with what our businesses are looking for so organizations can find what they need.

I have been heavily involved in efforts to raise awareness of jobs and careers in these fields. Not only do jobs in these industries pay well, but they are also greatly in demand. To read more about my work thus far, click here.

Approximately 100 people attended the session, which touched on subjects important to businesses such as pension, regulatory and tax reforms.

New Law Enhances Training, Oversight of Humane Officers
To help ensure the state’s animal cruelty laws are enforced in the fairest way possible, legislation has been signed into law to strengthen the training and oversight of Humane Society police officers.

Act 77 of 2018 increased initial and annual training hours for Human Society police officers and requires the training to include the proper procedure to file citations and warrants, including when and how to contact other law enforcement.

Other provisions of the new law require training in farm operations and biosecurity, including at least one on-site visit to a working commercial farm operation. Any organization that employs Humane Society police officers will be subject to the state’s Right-to-Know Law.

Additionally, a Humane Society Police officer must be a resident of Pennsylvania. If the appointment of a Humane Society police officer is revoked in one county, it would be revoked in all counties.

House Passes Bill to Crack Down on Hazing
Legislation that seeks to better ensure the safety of students on college campuses by cracking down on hazing passed the House this week.

Senate Bill 1090 would increase penalties for those involved in hazing; require schools to have policies and reporting procedures in place to stop hazing; and ensure that parents and students are provided with information related to the issue. The legislation also would establish clear parameters on hazing for organizations such as fraternities and sororities.

The legislation is named in memory of Tim Piazza, a Penn State student who died as a result of hazing in 2017 and was denied medical care for hours. The measure now heads back to the Senate for concurrence.

Senior Fair in Halifax

I would like to thank Rep. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin/Lebanon) for inviting me to participate at her Senior Fair in Halifax last week. I hope everyone who attended found it to be fun and informational. It’s nice to meet and greet people and talk about the issues affecting their lives. Many vendors were also at the Senior Fair to share their expertise with those who stopped by. Overall, I had a great time!
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988 Route 61 South, East Main Street, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972 | Phone (toll free) (855) 271-9384
Borough Building, 200 S. West St., Williamstown, PA  Phone (717) 647-7208
4B East Wing, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2147 
Email: mtobash@pahousegop.com
TTY: 855-282-0614