Sep. 28, 2018

Improving Education Opportunities

This week at the House Education Committee meeting, I successfully inserted an amendment into Senate Bill 1095, which would provide students with several alternative pathways to demonstrate postsecondary readiness in the workforce. As you know, I have been a strong advocate for technical and career education because not all jobs require a four-year traditional degree.

My amendment would bring the Commonwealth more in line with what applicable education means and what student success means in Pennsylvania.

I recognize that knowledge is valuable and different types of knowledge are important for students, employers and our economy.

Click here, as I explain how this amendment will benefit students as they prepare for post-secondary education and the workforce.
House Votes to Empower Victims

In a historic, bipartisan vote, the House passed legislation that would empower victims of sexual abuse by eliminating the criminate statute of limitations for prosecutions of sexual abuse of minors and extending the civil statute of limitations for lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors until the victim reaches 50 years of age.

Among its most notable provisions, the House voted to open a two-year statute of limitations window for those victims claiming abuse who are beyond the age of 50.

This legislation, Senate Bill 261, includes several of the recommendations outlined by the state attorney general after the August release of a report alleging widespread coverup of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church across the state and dating back generations.

The bill now goes back to the Senate for concurrence.
Supporting Small Business

This week, I was humbled and honored to receive the Guardian of Small Business Award by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Rebecca Oyler, legislative director of NFIB, presented me with the award.

This is the most prestigious honor that NFIB bestows on legislators in recognition of their efforts to support small business issues.

I am a supporter of small business. They create jobs, spark innovation and provide opportunities for many people to achieve financial success and independence.

NFIB is the voice of small business, advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan and member-driven. Since its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses.


Presenting me with the Guardian of Small Business award is Rebecca Oyler, legislative director, NFIB.
Broadband Caucus Looks for Ways to Expand Access, Availability

More than 30 members of the state House gathered Tuesday at the state Capitol for the inaugural meeting of the General Assembly’s Broadband Caucus. The goal of the group, which includes members from both sides of the aisle, is to bring access to high-speed internet to unserved and underserved areas of the Commonwealth.

Leaders of the caucus have put forward a four-bill package of legislation that would address compliance of non-rural telecommunication carriers, use of existing state communications assets, recommend improvements to the deployment of high-speed broadband services and audit the existing Educational Technology Fund.

The Broadband Caucus considers addressing the lack of access to sufficient broadband internet service to be critical if Pennsylvania wishes to remain economically, medically and personally competitive.
Organizations Given Option of Carrying EpiPens

To help save lives in emergency situations, the House unanimously approved legislation this week that would allow law enforcement and a variety of organizations and businesses to carry epinephrine auto-injectors, known as EpiPens.

House Bill 126 would permit a number of entities – law enforcement, recreation camps, colleges, universities, day cares, youth sports leagues, amusement parks, restaurants, places of employment and sports arenas – to stock a supply of EpiPens in the event a patron comes in contact with an allergen and has an anaphylactic reaction, which could be fatal.

Under the bill, a designated employee must receive training in how to recognize signs and symptoms of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis; standards and procedures for the storage and administration of an epinephrine auto-injector; and emergency follow-up procedures. Immunity would be granted for those who reasonably administer the EpiPen in good faith.

The bill has been sent back to the Senate for agreement.
Emergency Alert to Sound Test Next Week
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Oct. 3.

The wireless portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA.

The EAS test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute.

The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones.