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8/27/2018

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Upper Dublin Schools Must Protect Our Kids from Contaminated Water
At a press conference Friday, I demanded Upper Dublin School District officials close off water fountains and sinks in school kitchens to prevent students from ingesting PFAS contaminants. I also advised parents to send their children to school with bottled water.

No extensive testing has been done on the Upper Dublin water supply. Yet, PFAS contaminants were first reported in 2016 in two of three water systems in the area.

Since my press conference I have been advised by school district officials that they will be addressing the issues I raised.

I continue to fight for a lower, more stringent, drinking water standard consistent with the most recent science from the CDC.
 

My Legislation Will Strengthen Our Child Abuse Laws
 
Responding to a recommendation by the grand jury report on child abuse by members of six Pennsylvania archdioceses, I am introducing legislation to clarify when higher penalties should apply to people mandated to report suspected child abuse but fail to do so.

We saw during the investigation into child sex abuse at Penn State that people in positions of authority failed to report the criminal activity of convicted child sex abuser Jerry Sandusky. Now we’ve learned this problem occurred for decades within several Pennsylvania archdioceses.

The grand jury report, released Aug. 14, named more than 300 priests accused of child abuse dating back to 1947. The report said the church's methods were "a playbook for concealing the truth." The report investigated abuse by clergy in six dioceses: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. Dioceses in Philadelphia and Johnstown-Altoona were the subject of prior investigations.

As stated in the report: “Reporting child abusers isn't just a moral obligation; it's the law. We can't pass laws telling the church how to administer its internal operations, but we can demand that it inform authorities about rapists and molesters. Unfortunately, document after document told us the same story: church officials repeatedly received word of crimes against kids, yet repeatedly refused to alert law enforcement.”

Following the child abuse revelations from Penn State, I authored the part of the Child Protective Services Law that related to those who are required to report suspected child abuse by virtue of their profession or position. My bill, which became Act 32 of 2014, dramatically increased the penalties for failing to report suspected child abuse.

The grand jury report detailing the abuse within the Catholic Church recognized my efforts, but suggested recommendations to clarify when those tougher penalties apply.

I will offer changes to Act 32 to make sure there is a continuing obligation to report if there is a reasonable cause to believe the abuser is likely to commit additional acts of child abuse against any child.
 

Save for College with State 529 Plan
For families looking to plan for higher education, the Pennsylvania Treasury offers the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP), in which growth is tied to the rate of college tuition inflation, and the PA 529 Investment Plan (IP), which offers 15 investment options by The Vanguard Group.

Contributions to PA 529 plans are deductible from Pennsylvania income taxes, grow tax free, and, when used for qualified educational expenses, are federal and state tax exempt. Both plans provide flexibility to pay for higher education expenses at most higher education institutions across the country. The PA 529 GSP is designed to enable your savings to help keep pace with the rising costs of higher education. The PA 529 GSP contributions grow at the rate of tuition inflation but are subject to fees and premiums.

The PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan (GSP) is offering free enrollment – a $50 savings – for all new accounts opened before Aug. 31, at PA529.com. Use code “SUMMERGSP” when prompted.

The PA 529 Investment Plan (IP) features low fees and more than a dozen conservative and aggressive investment options. No enrollment fee is charged for the PA 529 IP.
 

Schedule Now for Your Spring 2019 Capitol Tour
The Capitol tour office is now taking reservations for the 2019 spring season. The late spring and early summer seasons are the busiest time for Capitol tours. Dates fill up fast, so make your reservation as soon as possible.

You can call the Capitol tour office directly at 1-800-868-7672, or call my office and we’ll set it up for you. When you call, have your group name, total number of participants and best contact information ready.

You are also welcome to visit the Capitol in small groups, including as single participants or individual families. Reservations are still recommended.

Tours are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, Sunday and most holidays at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The Capitol is closed for tours New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Weekday tours begin at the top of the hour and every half hour. The tours last between 30 and 45 minutes depending on the size of the group.

For more information, you can visit the Pennsylvania Capitol’s website. I look forward to seeing you in Harrisburg.
                                   
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  Office Locations
  515 Stump Road, North Wales, PA 19454 |  Phone: 215-368-5165
  4A East Wing, PO Box 202151, Harrisburg PA 17120-2151  |  Phone: 717-260-6163
  Email:  Tstephen@pahousegop.com
  TTY: 855-282-0614 
 
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