Hot: Proposed Legislation
Passed by the Senate
Senate Bill 1142 (Sen. Browne, R-Lehigh) provides for methods of anonymous reporting concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools or the threat of the activities. The program would be administered by the state Attorney General, who would promulgate regulations and adopt guidelines necessary for the program in consultation with statewide organizations. The program will cover emergency and non-emergency reports, and anyone can utilize the reporting mechanism. The bill calls for procedures to be created for the notification of law enforcement agencies via 911 and the PA State Police in cases of an immediate threat of violence or criminal activity. PSBA supports Senate Bill 1142.
Approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee
National Guard Youth Challenge Program
House Bill 824 (Rep. Saylor, R-York) requires the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to establish a National Guard Youth Challenge Program in Pennsylvania, a dropout recovery program that helps at-risk young people earn a high school diploma or its equivalent. The Pennsylvania program would be established as the Keystone State Challenge Academy. Consistent with the requirements of federal law which authorizes the establishment of the program at the state level, the program consists of a 5-month residential phase and a 12-month post-residential mentoring period
Amended on the House floor and re-referred to the Appropriations Committee
State assessment opt-out
House Bill 85 (Rep. Lawrence, R- Chester) requires school boards to determine whether or not they will allow parents to opt their children out of any state assessment for philosophical reasons. If no determination is madewithin 180 days of the bill's enactment, such requests for excusal must be granted. A student cannot be denied a diploma if he/she was exempted from the tests. A school cannot be penalized for any exempted student.
As originally drafted and approved by the House Education Committee earlier this week, House Bill 85 only related to Keystone Exams. The bill was amended on the House floor to include, in addition to Keystone Exams, the PSSAs and any state assessment established or approved by the State Board of Education to comply with state and federal requirements
Approved by the House Education Committee
Support services for children of military members
House Bill 2052 (Rep. Reese, R -Westmoreland) as amended requires public school entities to provide access to support services if a student's parent/guardian is deployed for active duty, notifies the school and requests additional supports. Services include school guidance counselors; school psychologists; school social workers; or home and school visitors; information regarding existing federal and state military support services; and any other service, agency or resources necessary to assist the student and parent/guardian. The state departments of Education and Military and Veterans Affairs must coordinate to provide information about the requirements and materials for schools to use to inform parents/guardians. PSBA supports House Bill 2052.
School security drills
House Bill 2215 (Rep. Kavulich, D-Lackawanna) would require schools to conduct one school security drill per school year within 90 days of the beginning of the school year in each building in place of a required fire drill. The bill was amended to allow schools to conduct two additional security drills after the initial 90 days in the place of two required fire drills.
Executive session for security reasons
House Bill 2327 (Rep. Fee, R-Lancaster) would amend the School Code to allow public school entities to go into executive session for school safety and security discussions. Official actions on discussions held during executive session must be taken at an open meeting. PSBA supports this legislation.
Dyslexia/early intervention pilot extension
Senate Bill 776 (Sen. Tomlinson, R-Bucks) extends the provisions of Act 69 of 2014 for another two years. Act 69 created the Dyslexia and Early Literacy Intervention Pilot Program to define dyslexia and provide early intervention reading support for kindergarten through second grade students. Eight school districts are participating in the pilot and the extension is designed to show how students who initially began the program in kindergarten will now perform on their 3rd grade PSSA tests.
Approved by the House Judiciary Committee
Use of "vaping" and nicotine products in schools
House Bill 2268 (Rep. Mullery, D-Luzerne) amends the Crimes Code to add "nicotine products" and "nicotine delivery products" to the prohibition of tobacco products on school property. The definitions expand on the types of tobacco (chewing, snuff, little cigars, etc.), and include electronic cigarettes that deliver nicotine or other substances through vaporization and inhalation to the list of prohibited products. The bill was amended to include charter schools.
Sale of "vaping" and nicotine products to minors
House Bill 2226 (Rep. Rapp, R-Warren) amends the Crimes Code to expand prohibit the sale or purchase of "nicotine products" and "nicotine delivery products" to or by minors. The definition of such products corresponds with the definitions under House Bill 2268. The bill also updates other provisions in the Crimes Code prohibiting the use of tobacco products on school property to include electronic cigarettes and other nicotine products. The bill includes charter schools.
Senate Bill 1090 (Sen. Corman, R-Centre) would expand Pennsylvania's anti-hazing law to apply to, in addition to institutions of higher education, public and private secondary schools and organizations affiliated with such schools. Penalties allowed for violating school policies regarding hazing include fines, withholding of diplomas or transcripts, no longer allowing an organization to operate under the recognition of the school, probation, suspension or expulsion. Secondary schools must ensure that students are informed of the school's antihazing policy, including the rules, penalties and program of enforcement. The bill was amended to provide editorial changes to clarify multiple provisions of the bill. PSBA supports Senate Bill 1090.
Approved by the House Labor and Industry Committee
House Bill 1840 (Rep. Kauffman, R-Franklin) brings Pennsylvania workers' compensation law into compliance with a recent state Supreme Court decision in Protz v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board as it relates to Impairment Rating Evaluations (IRE). PSBA supports House Bill 1840 because it will update the law with the most recent edition of the AMA guides and apply it to current and future claims.
Approved by the House State Government Committee
Sunshine Act expansion
House Bill 1531 (Rep. Christiana, R-Beaver) would require government agencies, including school boards, to post an agenda 24 hours before a voting meeting that includes a list of each matter of agency business which would be the subject of official action or deliberation. The bill would prevent an agency from acting on any matter not listed on the agenda, with an included exception for emergency situations and de minimis actions.
Disclaimer: The documents posted to the PMSD Legislative Liaison webpage are for informational purposes only. Any opinions or viewpoints expressed in documents posted to this webpage are those of the authors, not the Pocono Mountain School District.