Jun. 22, 2017

Career and Technical Education Bill Now Law

This week, House Bill 202 was signed into law. I sponsored the bill with my House colleague Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Dauphin) to provide career and technical education students with additional pathways to fulfilling their graduation requirements.

The new law will now allow students in vocational education programs to meet their graduation requirements in other ways, such as obtaining a competency certification in their program of study. The Keystone Exam will not be a high school graduation requirement for career and technology students.

This legislation ensures our career and technical education system is flexible enough to adapt to the needs of emerging industries, is accountable to ensure every child has a chance to succeed, and is providing robust support for our educators.
PA’s Charter School Law Celebrates 20 Years

This week marked the 20th anniversary of Pennsylvania’s Charter School Law. Signed into law on June 19, 1997, by Gov. Tom Ridge, the Charter School Law paved the way for families to choose the public school that best serves their child. Now, 20 years later, Pennsylvania is home to more than 160 public brick-and-mortar charter schools that enroll nearly 100,000 students, with thousands of students on waiting lists.

At the state Capitol in Harrisburg, I had the pleasure to join Gov. Ridge, my colleagues from the House and Senate, students and parents to celebrate a public education system that puts students’ futures first.

Every child deserves a high-quality education and I am passionate about giving families real options for their children’s education. Allowing education choices ensures students of all backgrounds can have access to a quality education.

Click here to watch my comments.


Governor to Sign Historic Animal Protection Bill

Gov. Tom Wolf says he will sign comprehensive legislation that passed unanimously in the Senate this week that would strengthen existing animal cruelty laws and make it easier to prosecute a person who knowingly mistreats, abuses or neglects an animal. I supported House Bill 1238 when it was approved by the House in April.

The measure came to be known as “Libre’s Law,” named after a Boston terrier puppy who was rescued from a Lancaster County farm last summer after suffering from severe neglect. Libre was a frequent visitor to the Capitol in recent months, lobbying on behalf of the bill.

The bill also would place limitations on the tethering of dogs outdoors, allow local district attorneys to decide the appointment of humane society police officers, and provide civil immunity to veterinarians or vet techs who report animal neglect, along with humane society police officers who investigate possible abuse cases.
Protecting Excellent Teachers

Legislation designed to keep excellent teachers in the classroom was endorsed by the House Education Committee this week.

House Bill 1495 would end the mandate that forces local school boards to furlough teachers based on seniority and allow schools to base those decisions on performance evaluations. Reinstatement would also be based on performance, instead of seniority.

Under current law, school boards must eliminate entire education programs – and the educators who are part of them – during challenging economic times.

The measure now moves to the full House for consideration.
REAL ID Extension

You will be able to use your current driver license to access federal facilities through Oct. 10, 2017, under an extension granted by the federal government last week.

The extension was granted after Pennsylvania adopted a plan to comply with REAL ID requirements, known as Act 3 of 2017.

According to PennDOT, REAL ID-compliant driver licenses and identification cards will be available to customers who wish to obtain them in 2019. This will allow ample time for customers who want a REAL ID license to obtain one before the final federal effective date of Oct. 1, 2020.

More information about REAL ID and Act 3 is available here.
PennDOT Unveils New Driver Licenses, ID cards

PennDOT has started issuing newly designed driver’s licenses and photo ID cards with enhanced security features.

The department began a pilot program for the new product this week in the Harrisburg area. All driver and photo centers will transition to the new licenses by the end of October.

The licenses look very different, but they also have additional enhanced security features, which improve fraud prevention and protect from counterfeiting and alteration.

The new licenses are not REAL ID-compliant. PennDOT expects to have Real ID-compliant licenses and identification cards available as an option in 2019.
Battle of the Blight


The Town of McCandless is once again participating in Allegheny County’s Vacant Recovery Program. The Side Yard and Blighted Structure Program gives residents the opportunity to improve their community by purchasing side yards and blighted structures at a reduced rate.

Applications, along with a copy of the property plans, are due no later than Aug. 31. No more than five applications per municipality will be accepted at this reduced cost.

For more information and to apply, call 412-350-1090 or visit the program’s website.