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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Strengthening Accountability of the State’s Wildlife Commissions, Take 2: ‘Don’t Pass the Trash’ and Other Issues of Importance on House Agenda Next Week

Strengthening Accountability of the State’s Wildlife Commissions, Take 2: ‘Don’t Pass the Trash’ and Other Issues of Importance on House Agenda Next Week

The House returns to session on Monday, March 17 (yes, St. Patrick’s Day). As always, House session and most committee meetings will stream live on Many events also may be viewed on

On the agenda this week is House Bill 798 (Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon County), which would reduce the term of service for members of the board of the state Fish and Boat Commission, while allowing for multiple terms of continued service. The legislation would reduce the terms to four years and allow for no more than three consecutive four-year terms with reappointment by the governor and approval of the Senate. The shorter terms and reappointment process are designed to ensure accountability on the part of the board of commissioners.

Last week, the House passed Senate Bill 895, which does the makes the same changes for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The bill is now in the Senate for its concurrence.

Reviewing the employment history of school employees… It’s needed!

Very sadly, and almost weekly, there are dreadful news stories of abuse by teachers, coaches and others at schools. Schools are a place where kids should automatically be safe. Parents should never fear dropping their kids off at the school or an athletic event.

The time to stop the practice known as “passing the trash” is now.

House Bill 434, which unanimously passed the House last June, and Senate Bill 31 (to be taken up in the House on Tuesday) make school officials and employees mandatory reporters of child abuse. The companion bill, House Bill 2063, will require public and private schools in Pennsylvania and their independent contractors to conduct a thorough employment history review prior to offering employment to any applicant for a position involving direct contact with children. The House Education Committee is scheduled to bring up House Bill 2063 on Wednesday.

House Bill 434 and House Bill 2063 are both authored by Rep. Dave Maloney (R-Berks County), a former school board member. As a member of the school board, Maloney has personally dealt with these issues and worked to address these problems from there. When confronted with a specific incident, he did contact the local district attorney immediately.

“Passing the trash” is a process by which school employees who are suspected of sexual misconduct with students move from job to job because officials, rather than report the accusations or fire the worker, agree to conceal the charges from prospective employers if the worker resigns.

Under House Bill 2063, each applicant must provide detailed background information in order to be considered, and previous employers must provide a school entity with all requested background information regarding a former employee. The bill provides for immunity from criminal and civil liability for employers, school entities, school administrators and independent contractors that disclose the requested background information, unless the information or records provided were known to be false. The bill prohibits a school entity or independent contractor from entering into an agreement to maintain the confidentiality of findings or allegations of abuse against a current or former staff member.

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Anonymous said...

a lot of the trash ends up in Harrisburg, where term limits are needed more than anyplace else.

Anonymous said...

Unions and liberals don't care who teach our children! They stick up for dopers and molesters!