Legislation Under Consideration

Academic Performance Incentives

Intended to reward good teachers and to attract the best and brightest to the profession, this would establish criteria for teacher compensation.

 

Athletic Department Reporting

Intended to end exploitation of college athletes and to ensure that they receive an education, this would amend the Right-to-Know Law by requiring each college or university to file an annual report listing revenues and expenses of athletics programs.

 

Credit Checks for Insurance

To prohibit insurance providers from denying or canceling homeowner or private passenger automobile insurance due to a  person’s credit history.

 

Criminal Background Checks

Intended to reduce the number of persons not hired due to false information on a criminal background check, this would standardize criminal background checks so that they are conducted exclusively by the Commonwealth, rather than by prospective employers using private companies.

Following a suggestion made by an entrant to my There Oughta Be a Law! competition, the bill would also prohibit disclosure of misdemeanor offenses committed when the applicant was under 21 years of age as well as misdemeanor offenses by an applicant who has been free of arrest or prosecution for seven years or more.

 

Early Voting – By Ballot

To ease the practical difficulties faced by people attempting to exercise their constitutional right to vote by establishing early voting sites at which electors may cast a ballot for up to two weeks prior to an election.   With this, Pennsylvania would join 35 states which allow some form of in-person early voting, no-excuse absentee ballot voting and/or all-mail voting.

 

False Claims Act

To give the Attorney General investigative and prosecutorial authority to guard against fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer funds due to false claims and to provide for recovery of treble damages, costs and civil penalties.

 

Fracking Chemicals Disclosure

To require well-operators drilling in the Marcellus Shale to disclose chemical constituents, chemical compounds, quantities of chemicals and the quantity of flowback at each well-site.

 

Idling Vehicles

The winning entry in my 2012 There Oughta Be a Law! competition , this is intended to reduce the air pollution and the waste of energy resulting from idling vehicles.  Current law imposes limits on idling commercial vehicles with a gross weight of 10,001 pounds or more.  This would extend these limits to lighter vehicles as well.

 

Illegal Transportation of Firearms

To allow forfeiture of property and seizure of  vehicles or vessels used to unlawfully transport firearms and to allow for a forfeiture hearing in criminal court so the lawful owner may receive due process and challenge the forfeiture.

 

Intercollegiate Student Athlete Rights Act

An Act requiring institutions of higher education to provide health insurance coverage, athletic scholarships and life skills workshops to student athletes; and providing for collective bargaining rights and publicity rights for student athletes.

 

Intergenerational Family Care Act (Grands as Parents)

To establish a pilot program to assist families in which children are being raised by their grandparents or other generation-skipping older relatives.  It would provide:

  • Rental assistance
  • Day-care assistance for working heads of households
  • Training for state Department of Public Welfare employees
  • Caseworkers to offer support and counseling
  • Development and improvement of intergenerational housing
  • Activity areas for children in intergenerational family homes

 

Lowering the Voting Age to 16

Young people are more information-aware and civically-engaged than ever due to the connecting nature of the internet. We trust sixteen-year-olds to operate motor vehicles, to work, and to pay taxes so why should we not trust them to decide who represents their interests in the General Assembly or City Council?

 

Natural Hair Braiders Licensing Reform

Across the country, states are setting aside formal beautician training for natural hair braiders as a requirement for licensing. Prior to 2010, this was the case in Pennsylvania; however, natural hair braiders are currently required to attend 300 hours of formal instruction in practices they usually do not perform. This costly barrier to entry keeps talented braiders from making a living performing a valuable service and craft handed down to them by generations of experts.

 

 Open Primaries

To allow independent and non-party voters to vote in primary elections.

 

Parent Trigger

To require that one of four approved models of reform be instituted at a habitually underperforming school if a majority of parents petition for reform:

“Senate Bill 1067 empowers parents with the ability to trigger a habitually underperforming school to reform.  If over 50% of parents or guardians of the school’s students sign a petition, the school would be required to institute one of four approved intervention models: (1) restart model; (2) turnaround model; (3) transformation model; or (4) school closure.”

 

Philadelphia RCAP Employment

Requires Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant (commonly referred to as RCAP) proposals in Philadelphia County to include a statement of anticipated employment for people of color. Also requires 100% of Philadelphia RCAP project employees to be residents of the city. 

 

Philadelphia School Reform Commission (SRC) Reform

Intended to increase accountability of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission (SRC), this would add an educator, a parent/guardian and a student to the SRC.  Members would need to be residents of Philadelphia and would not be permitted to engage in business activity with each other or with elected officials, outside of official SRC business.  The terms of SRC members would be coterminous with those of the appointing governor or mayor.  The SRC would issue an annual report to parents.

 

Post Conviction DNA Testing bill

At times, innocent people confess to crimes they did not commit.  This will codify a recent PA Supreme Court ruling that a confession does not bar access to post conviction DNA testing.  In order to obtain post conviction access, the applicant must assert that there is a reasonable possibility that his or her requested DNA testing would produce exculpatory evidence establishing his actual innocence.

 

Small Diverse Business Procurement Reform*

This legislation will ensure predictable, visible standards and methods for a minority-, woman-, veteran-, or service-disabled veteran-owned business to become certified as a small diverse business for procurement. It gives small diverse businesses tools such as a hotline to report fraud, assistance with certifications and contract compliance, and funneling contract modifications through the Bureau to combat against abuse by prime contractors. It also adds penalties for non-compliance and for abuse of a small diverse business’s certified status.

 

Tax Credit for Hiring Veterans

Intended to combat joblessness among military veterans, this would provide tax credits to businesses that hire veterans.  The amount of the credit would range from a low of $1,200 for hiring a short-term unemployed veteran to a maximum of $4,800 for hiring a long-term unemployed disabled veteran.