The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) publishes its Viewpoint newsletter four times per year. This is the Legislative Update from the Fall 2011 issue.
The PCC supports the following legislation:
Senate Bill 1/ House Bill 1678/ House Bill 1708/ Others – School Choice
Senate Bill 1 or what could be another legislative vehicle is a top priority for the PCC. The proposal will increase the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program and create Opportunity Scholarships, or vouchers, for the poorest students in the worst performing schools. PCC has been waging a full scale grassroots advocacy campaign to generate support for school choice.
School choice advocates were disappointed that a reform package that includes school vouchers and an increase to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) scholarship program was not passed before the legislature adjourned for the Christmas break. It is not too late to send a message to your state legislators urging them to pass school choice in 2012. Use the Catholic Advocacy Network to send one today.
House Bill 1378/ Senate Bill 1154 – Special Education Services
These bills would enhance the level of support to special education students in nonpublic schools.
Senate Bill 1134 – Regulation of Religious Child Care Programs
This bill would place the regulation of religious child care and early childhood development facilities in the Department of Education rather than the Department of Public Welfare. It would also remove the asserted authority of the state to demand that religious teaching ministries obtain a state license before they are allowed to exist, while still maintaining all mandates relating to health and safety.
SOCIAL CONCERNS DEPARTMENT
House Bill 1254 – Prohibited use of Public Assistance Funds
This bill would ban the use of an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card to purchase tobacco products, firearms or ammunition, and bans the use of EBT cards at casinos.
Senate Bill 732 – Abortion Clinic Regulations Bill SIGNED INTO LAW
The new law addresses concerns that stemmed from the tragic deaths of one woman and seven infants that occurred in the Philadelphia abortion clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell where a woman died and seven newborn babies were killed by infanticide. Conditions in the clinic were so filthy and unsafe that investigators called it a “house of horrors.” The measure holds abortion facilities to the same fire and safety standards, personnel and equipment requirements, and quality assurance procedures as other freestanding ambulatory surgical facilities.
PENNSYLVANIA CATHOLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION
House Bill 1583 – Protective equipment for motorcycle riders
This legislation would repeal the “no helmet” law that was passed in 2006. It would require drivers and passengers of motorcycles to wear protective headgear.
Senate Bill 1099 – Minimum Wage Law
This bill concerns overtime compensation for employees in health care facilities like hospitals and long-term care facilities. If an employee works more than eight hours in any one workday and in excess of 80 hours in 14 days, the employee would be compensated at no less that 1 1/2 times the regular rate.
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference advocates many different issues – Catholic education, religious liberty, life & dignity of the human person, marriage & family, social justice, health care, and faith & politics. To receive action alerts on active issues, join the Pennsylvania Catholic Advocacy Network at pacatholic.org/advocacy