In order to keep local residents up to date on state government happenings and community events, I provide electronic news updates on a regular basis for interested citizens. These electronic newsletters allow me to provide regular updates while saving on printing and mailing costs.
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Transparency Needed in Collective Bargaining Process
The process of negotiating public sector collective bargaining agreements involves billions of taxpayer dollars and can have a significant impact on the size and expense of state and local government. I recently introduced a bill that would add a much-needed layer of transparency to this process by requiring public notice and access to any meeting in which a public sector collective bargaining agreement is negotiated.
The requirement would apply to collective bargaining negotiations at the local and state level, including upcoming negotiations between Governor Wolf and public employee unions. Since these costs are ultimately shouldered by taxpayers, I believe the least we can do is give citizens the opportunity to be present when these deals are negotiated.
I introduced the bill last week to coincide with Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide celebration of open government and access to public information. Passing my legislation would be another important step toward ensuring state and local government remains transparent and accountable to the taxpayers.
Protecting Pennsylvania’s Best Teachers
Ensuring we put the best teachers in the classroom is one of the important factors in helping our students succeed. However, when school boards decide that layoffs are necessary, furloughs are determined by seniority instead of performance. That means the last teacher hired is the first person fired, regardless of his or her impact on students.
Pennsylvania is one of only six remaining states that require seniority to be the sole factor in determining furloughs. I recently introduced legislation that would end this practice of seniority-based layoffs to keep Pennsylvania’s best teachers in the classroom.
Senate Bill 5 would ensure school districts use teacher performance to guide furlough and reinstatement decisions. Performance ratings would be determined using the statewide educator evaluation system, which was developed with input from teachers, administrators, school districts, and other education experts. Companion legislation, House Bill 805, was introduced by my colleague Rep. Stephen Bloom.
Every Pennsylvania student deserves to share the classroom with an excellent teacher. Eliminating seniority-based layoffs is the best way to make this goal a reality.
Local School Groups Visit State Capitol
I enjoyed meeting with two local school groups during their recent visits to the Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
Students and teachers from Becknock Elementary School had a chance to learn about the history of our Capitol and the functions of state government during a fun, interactive tour of the building, and talented musicians and vocalists from Cocalico High School Choir and Jazz Ensemble performed for visitors in the Capitol’s East Wing. I appreciated the chance to visit with both groups.
The Pennsylvania Capitol hosts dozens of school groups each year. If you would like to schedule a visit for your school, please contact my Harrisburg office at (717) 787-4420 or visit my website online at www.senatoraument.com.
Senate Box 203036