May. 30, 2019

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The Weekly Roundup

 The latest news from the State Capitol

Censure Memo Issued for Sims Reprehensible Intimidation of Peaceful Pro-Life Protestors

This week, I issued the following co-sponsor memo officially calling for the censure of Representative Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia):

“As you know, Representative Sims recorded himself, on two separate occasions, verbally attacking individuals who were peacefully protesting at Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania, located at 1144 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA.

“On the first occasion, Representative Sims recorded himself berating, harassing and violating the First Amendment rights of an individual, whom he labeled, an ‘old, white lady’ for peacefully protesting and praying in public.

“On the second occasion, Representative Sims again recorded himself berating and harassing others. He went a step further the second time, though, calling for the ‘doxing’ of three minor children and one adult female. By soliciting strangers on the internet for their personal identifying information (i.e. names and addresses), Sims placed these citizens in reasonable fear for their own safety, merely because they were exercising their constitutional right to peacefully protest.

“It should be noted that Representative Sims also used his elected position to intimidate the individuals with whom he was interacting, clearly stating on the videos that he was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“As part of my censure resolution, I ask that Representative Sims be removed as a member of all standing committees and that he receives no appointments to any positions or committees that fall under the authority of the Speaker or House Leadership, for the remainder of this term.

“Representative Sims has yet to publicly apologize to the victims of his actions, and to the PA House of Representatives for the shame that he has brought upon this institution. Therefore, I am asking you to join with me in cosponsoring this censure resolution.”
Explore Summer Fun Opportunities in PA

Pennsylvania has thousands of places to visit for summer fun, and the Happy Traveler Guide, now available for download here, is a great tool to help you plan!

Categorized by region, the guide includes nearly 100 pages of attractions, lodging options, dining and many other recreational activities.

The attractions are specially marked for these traveler categories: adventure, arts and culture, family, foodie, history buff, party animal, and shopper.

This year’s guide celebrates our awesome amusement parks, eight of which, including Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, are more than 100 years old! Pennsylvania is also home to more roller coasters rated in the top 100 by Amusement Today than any other state.

Tourism is one of Pennsylvania’s largest industries, injecting $41 billion annually in the state’s economy and supporting nearly half a million jobs. Each year, Pennsylvania hosts nearly 200 million travelers from across the United States. An estimated $2.8 billion is spent each year by international visitors.
Judiciary Committee Tackles Bills to Protect Homeowners, Minors and Victims of Sexual Extortion

As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, I recently voted to approve three bills to help protect Pennsylvanians from a variety of crimes.

Recognizing that some children are coerced into a childhood marriage, House Bill 360 would prohibit the issuance of a marriage license to anyone under the age of 18. The change in law would also better ensure a person choosing to be married is prepared to make this life-altering commitment.

Responding to the growing problem of illegal residential trespassers or “squatters” essentially taking over properties that don’t belong to them, House Bill 365 would give law enforcement officers better tools to remove such individuals from the property.

Finally, the committee approved legislation to create the offense of sexual extortion, which occurs when a person uses coercion and misuses their power to demand sexual acts, images, or videos from victims. Establishing this specific offense better equips law enforcement officers to protect victims and prosecute offenders.

The bills now go to the full House for consideration.
Education Committee Advances Charter School Reform Measures

Four bills aimed at updating and improving Pennsylvania’s charter school laws have been advanced by the House Education Committee, of which I am a member, and sent to the full House for consideration.

The bills included in the charter school reform package include:
  • House Bill 355, which would create a new ethics requirement for charter school trustees and administrators.

  • House Bill 356, which would give charter schools a first right of refusal for the purchase or lease of unused school district buildings and require school districts, community colleges and state-owned universities to give cyber charter schools reasonable access to their facilities to administer standardized tests.

  • House Bill 357, which would require the Department of Education to create a uniform process for a charter school application and a uniform charter amendment process.

  • House Bill 358, which would allow charter school students to be dually enrolled in college classes through a higher education institution.
Charter schools are an important component of our effort to ensure we can meet the unique educational needs of each child.
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