|Bill Unveiled to Defend Children with Down Syndrome
Along with my House colleague Rep. Kate Klunk (R-York), I introduced legislation that would prohibit the abortion of a child due solely to a diagnosis of possible Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is a congenital, chromosome abnormality causing developmental delays and physical limitations impacting a child’s height and facial appearance.
Under current law, a woman can obtain an abortion prior to 24 weeks gestational age for any reason, except if the woman’s sole reason is to select the sex of the child. House Bill 321 will expand that exception to prohibit aborting a child due solely to a prenatal diagnosis that the unborn child has Down syndrome. The law would have no restrictions on a mother obtaining an abortion in cases of rape, incest or personal endangerment.
I believe in the dignity of every human being. None of us are born perfect and we all have something beautiful to contribute. We want to welcome and support families caring for a child with Down syndrome. They need to know they are not alone.
The future has never been brighter for babies with Down syndrome and they deserve our respect. I spoke about it during a press conference this week at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. Click here to watch my remarks.
Hail to the Chief!
This week, the Borough of Franklin Park honored Police Chief Don Dorsch, who is retiring after more than 41 years of dedicated and distinguished service to the borough. You positively touched the lives of so many people in our community.
Franklin Park Mayor Dennis O’Keefe presented Chief Dorsch with a House of Representatives citation on behalf of my staff and me.
Thank you for your service, Chief. Enjoy your retirement!
Setting Up Students for Career Success
Working to ensure Pennsylvania students have a diverse array of career paths from which to choose, the state House overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan package of bills designed to boost career and technical education (CTE) at schools across the Commonwealth.
The initiatives are a cornerstone of the House Republican Caucus’ #GoodJobs4PA initiative aimed at ensuring all Pennsylvanians have access to good-paying jobs and careers.
To help students plot their path to success, there are bills that would allow technical schools to recruit students like colleges do; make it easier for students to see where credits transfer; create a database of workforce development programs at secondary and post-secondary institutions; create an online career resource center; and allow students who complete classes in STEM education to apply the credits to a course through a vocational-technical school, technical institution or vocational school.
The package is also aimed at improving business and education partnerships by creating a CTE investment incentive program, requiring CTE programs to establish advisory committees and having at least once administrator from a CTE center on each of the state’s Workforce Development Boards.
The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
Learn more about #GoodJobs4PA here.
Holding Public Officials and Employees to a Higher Standard
This week, the House gave overwhelming approval to a bill that would ensure public officials or employees who commit felony crimes related to their jobs will not collect a taxpayer-funded pension.
Senate Bill 113 would expand the types of convictions that require officials or employees to forfeit their pensions to include any felony convictions, guilty plea or no contest plea related to an official’s job.
The measure would also put a stop to the practice of a person pleading guilty to lesser crimes to avoid losing their pension and closes several other loopholes that have been exploited by officials to continue to collect pensions from the state after breaking the law and violating the public trust.
The bill is now on its way to the governor for his signature.
Protecting State Workers’ Rights
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that public employees cannot be required to pay money to a union, the House could soon consider a bill to ensure public sector employees are notified of their rights under the First Amendment and state law.
House Bill 785, which was approved by the House Labor and Industry Committee this week, would require public employers to notify their employees who are not union members annually that they are not required to pay any money to the union unless they agree to do so.
The bill would also require public employers to inform job applicants of their right to choose whether or not to join the union – and of their First Amendment right to not pay any funds to an organization they did not consent to support.
The bill is currently awaiting consideration by the full House.
New License Plate Options for PA Veterans
PennDOT is adding several New License Plates to its collection Honoring veterans and their service to our country.
The Honoring Our Women Veterans registration plate costs $35, of which $15 goes to the Veterans Trust Fund to be used for programs and resources that assist women veterans.
The Soldiers Medal, Presidential Service Badge and Legion of Merit registration plates each recognize veterans’ specific contributions during their service. These plates are available for a fee of $20. Veterans must be able to show that they are recipients of the respective awards.
Veterans from other countries can apply for a Veterans of an Allied Foreign Country registration plate, also available for a fee of $20.
Motorcycle owners can now get the Purple Heart Medal Motorcycle registration plate, which displays the words “Combat Wounded Veteran” across the bottom of the registration plate at a cost of $11.
Another new plate is the Historic Military Vehicle registration plate, which is available for antique or classic vehicles manufactured for use in any country’s military forces. This plate is available for both historic military vehicles and historic military motorcycles for $75.
For more information about plates for veterans and applying for these plates, click here.
DEP Starts Statewide Surveillance of Ticks
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is beginning a five-year environmental surveillance of ticks to assess the risk of tickborne illnesses across Pennsylvania.
The survey is taking place in every county in Pennsylvania to track ticks’ habitats, life stages and peak activity levels and to test them for human pathogenic diseases. Additionally, 38 counties are conducting a specific survey of nymphal blacklegged (Ixodes scapularis) ticks, which can transmit Lyme Disease to humans.
The project is being funded through the Department of Health.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day
I always have a great time celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with my family. Lidia, Matt and our dog Finnegan got the opportunity to meet-and-greet people from our community.
St. Patrick’s Day observes the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The holiday has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing and a whole lot of green.