Mar. 25, 2019

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

                 Setting Up Students for Career Success

I met with students from the Dover Academy of Career & Technical Education (CTE) this past week in the Capitol to learn more about how CTE is helping them prepare for careers.

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 have 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 click here.

Protecting Children with Down Syndrome
Thursday was World Down Syndrome Day. The date of 21st day of the third month was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome.

Sadly, most pregnancies involving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are terminated. Close to 100 percent of children diagnosed with Down syndrome are terminated before birth in Iceland. This has led to the near eradication of those with Down syndrome.

Elsewhere in Europe, nearly 90 percent of pregnancies that involve a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome are ended. The numbers in the United States aren’t much better. Between 67 percent and 85 percent of children with a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome are aborted.

I can’t think of a good reason why these babies should not be afforded the chance to live and experience life. That is why I signed on as a cosponsor of Rep. Kate Klunk’s (R-Hanover) House Bill 321 to prohibit the abortion of a child due to a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

To read more, I encourage you to click here to read my full column.

Holding Public Officials and Employees to a Higher Standard
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 conviction, 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.

Webpage Dedicated to Unclaimed Military Medals
The Pennsylvania Treasury has a website to help reunite military decorations with their rightful owners.

The search function allows users to search their names, or the name of a loved one, to see if Treasury is holding a military decoration as unclaimed property. In addition, users can look through a photo gallery featuring some of the decorations that are in the unclaimed property vault, as well as medals that have been returned to their rightful owners. Military decorations are often reported to Treasury as contents held in a safe deposit box that has gone unclaimed or abandoned.

Since 2017, Treasury has returned 58 service decorations, including Purple Hearts, some of which have been in Treasury’s custody for decades, to their rightful owners. The department continues to search for the owners of over 500 unclaimed military awards.

To search for unclaimed military medals, click here.
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