Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's
happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress
on my "Promise to Pennsylvania," a pledge to advance government reforms, enact meaningful lawsuit abuse reform, eliminate wasteful state spending, and cut
taxes. If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to visit my website at
www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about issues that may affect you and your family.
Week of April 4, 2011
School Mandate Relief Bills to be Voted
Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 5, the Senate Education Committee
is scheduled to consider the package of bills designed to relieve school
districts of some of the mandates imposed upon them by the state. The meeting is
scheduled for 10:30 a.m., in Room 8 East Wing, Main Capitol. Supporters
argue that without this mandate relief, school property taxes will increase,
because of decreased state and federal funding. Opponents argue lifting these
mandates will compromise the quality of education for students.
Senate Bill 612, legislation to empower schools to make furloughs for
economic necessity, just as it is in private industry, is set to be considered,
Bill 202 - allow alternative certifications for principals and teachers;
Bill 293 and
296 - link bid thresholds to consumer price index;
Bill 329 - suspend certain reporting requirements in years when state
education funding declines;
Bill 537 - require 2/3 school board vote to raise property taxes;
Bill 801 - permit single prime bidding
Bill 802 - give districts the option to hire either school certificated
nurses or Registered Nurses;
Bill 803 - permit districts to advertise from a menu of options, including
Bill 814 - reauthorize Mandate Waiver program allowing school construction
project bids by both multi- and single prime;
Bill 857 - repeal obsolete sections of the Public School Code that require
districts to use increases in basic education funding for new programs and
expansion of existing programs;
Bill 858 - permit districts the option of hiring certificated
superintendents or candidates who have a graduate degree in business or finance;
Bill 884 - waive administrator training requirements for districts
demonstrating measured growth in performance.
Senate Communications &Technology Committee Hearing
One of my goals for the Senate Communications & Technology
Committee is to develop an "inventory" of Pennsylvania technology projects and
expenditures to ensure the state is squeezing every penny out of each tax dollar
spent on communications and technology. Part of this effort will focus on state
investments in research and development – key components of future economic
opportunities – including research done by colleges and universities.
The Center for Measuring University Performance annually
ranks major research universities and their 2009 rankings include a number of
private and public institutions at or near the top of their list, including: the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State
University, and Carnegie Mellon University. The Senate Communications and
Technology Committee will hold a public hearing to receive testimony from the
research leaders of these universities. This hearing will be held Wednesday,
April 6, 9:30 a.m., Room 8 E-A, East Wing, Main Capitol.
Hearing Follow Up
As a follow up to the Communications & Technology Committee
hearing held earlier this month on electronic sharing of health information
records and other patient information, there are a number of issues being
pursued, including establishing a directory of providers of health information
record exchanges; certifying networks (perhaps using established or
to-be-established) federal standards; sharing best practices and other
information and polices through a to-be-created governing board; and allowing
consumers to "opt out" of health information exchanges. Additional information
will follow as it is further developed.
Town Hall Meeting Scheduled
I will host a town hall meeting this Thursday, April 7,
at 7 p.m., at the Ono Fire Hall. Please plan to join me!
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are
of concern to you. I may be reached through e-mail at email@example.com,
my website, or any one of my offices listed below.
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