The Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Senate reconvene in voting session today, Monday, January 30 at 1:00 PM.
PA Supreme Court Throws Out Legislative Redistricting Plan
On January 25, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, by a vote of 4-3, deemed the state legislative redistricting plan previously approved by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission "contrary to law" and ordered them to be re-drawn. Pennsylvania's current district lines, framed in 2001, will remain intact while the plan is sent back to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission to be revamped. As a result of the Supreme Court's ruling, new campaign deadlines for the April 24 primary Election are as follows:
- Jan. 26: First day to circulate nominating petitions
- Feb. 16: Last day to circulate nominating petitions
- Feb. 23: Last day to submit objections
- Feb. 27: Last day for hearings on objections
- Mar. 2: Last day to withdraw candidacy and last day for courts to make rulings on ballot eligibility.
To view the Supreme Court's Order re: Reapportionment Plan, click here.
On January 17, the Senate approved three measures impacting the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE):
Senate Bill 1133 (Sen. Don White, R-41) would allow all Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities to offer professional doctorate degrees, which are also known as applied doctoral degrees, a level of education currently only available at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Universities would have to demonstrate to the Board of Governors the cost-benefit and need for the proposed programs and provide a capacity analysis when the proposed degree program is offered at another member university.
Senate Bill 1308 (Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, R-6) would remove a provision in current law that prohibits the PASSHE and its employees from entering into economic development agreements to develop or market intellectual property, such as research. Professors in the state-related and private universities do not have such a prohibition. The agreements would also be subject to the Right-to-Know-Law and would be listed on the State Treasury Department website.
Senate Bill 1322 (Sen. Lloyd Smucker R-13) would allow the PASSHE to enter into an agreement with any entity for the cooperative use of supplies and services. All purchases and agreements would have to be the result of a system of competitive bidding and in accordance with state laws.
On January 24, the Senate Education Committee held an informational meeting on fiscally distressed school districts. Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis spent several hours responding to lawmakers' questions and concerns about school districts on the brink of financial collapse. Both chairmen of the Committee called for open and bold leadership from the administration to develop a workable plan for the state's growing number of fiscally distressed districts. Committee members expressed their frustration at the Department's unwillingness to provide information about the number of districts in financial peril. Information, they believe, will help them craft a long term solution to this rapidly escalating problem. In addition to the Secretary of Education, the Committee also heard from representatives of the Education Law Center, the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, Pennsylvania State Education Association and the Pennsylvania Coalition for Public Charter Schools. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association submitted written testimony.
To watch the hearing and to read the written testimony submitted, click here.
On January 24, the same day the Senate Education Committee held its hearing on fiscally distressed
school districts, Democratic leaders in the House held a press conference and released this analysis of the financial condition of the Chester Upland School District.
The House Education Committee cancelled the informational meeting on cyber charter school funding that was scheduled for Thursday, January 26. To date, the meeting has not been
The House Appropriations Committee held public hearing on the funding and financial status of the Chester Upland School District at Widener University in Chester on January 27. The EPLC
Education Notebook will report on the outcome of that meeting in its next edition.