- Helping underfunded schools: I joined Rep. Chris Rabb to visit schools in the Pottstown School District and hear from their administrators, teachers, and students. There are so many amazing programs being offered at Pottstown School District, but there's also a very real need for the state to keep its promise to Pottstown by fairly funding education.
Pottstown is underfunded by over $14 million each year - over $4,000 per student, the 5th-worst in the state. I'm proud to be a co-sponsor of numerous bills that would correct this and deliver fair funding to school districts like Pottstown. That money would go a long way in everything from printing and school supplies to retaining teachers and preventing programming cuts – and, of course, providing property tax relief to Pottstown taxpayers.
I am also pushing for bipartisan cyber charter school reform in H.B. 526, which would deliver $2.2 million in savings to help Pottstown's public schools each year. While we need fair funding, I'll also continue to look for and support other ways to reduce mandates and lower costs.
- Bills to support abuse victims: I was proud to support victims of sexual abuse and their families by voting for two reform bills.
H.B. 962 would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes going forward. Under this bill, future victims of abuse would have until age 55 to file lawsuits. This bill, which the House approved, would also remove sovereign immunity in civil claims, allowing institutions which have knowingly covered up child sex crimes to be held responsible.
Meanwhile, the House also passed H.B. 963. It calls for retroactive provisions through a constitutional amendment to pave the way for victims to file civil suits even if they are beyond the statute of limitations.
Both pieces of legislation now move to the PA Senate.
- More time for school budgets: Throughout my 12-plus years on the Spring-Ford school board, we worked together regardless of party. That is one of the reasons why I am proud to be the prime sponsor of a bipartisan bill that would allow school boards more time to approve district budgets.
Introduced with fellow freshman (and former school board member) Rep. Wendi Thomas, R-Bucks, H.B. 1227 would grant school boards 30 days to adopt a spending plan following the passage of Pennsylvania's annual budget. Existing law allows for only 15 days.
This proposal is important because the General Assembly has a recent track record of extended budget negotiations – a trend we hope to stop.