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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 3, 2014 10:48 AM
From: Representative Mark M. Gillen
To: All House members
Subject: Cosponsorship - "Eileen's Law" - Parents' Responsibility for Student Truancy (Prev. HB 2356)
I will be re-introducing legislation (previously HB 2356) amending the Public School Code so that parents and guardians will no longer bear the brunt of the punishment for a student’s truancy. Under my legislation, a parent or guardian will be required to attend a parenting education program or perform community service, or, as a last resort, may be thrown in jail because they can’t afford to pay harsh fines imposed by the courts. Incarcerating parents for failure to pay truancy fines cause further disruption and issues with the very families that need social services and guidance.

Research shows that the majority of individuals being jailed for failure to pay truancy fines are women with very limited resources. This bill is a result of a tragedy that happened in Berks County last year when a single mother of seven, Eileen DiNino, was ordered to pay more than $2,000 in truancy fines or go to jail. Mrs. DiNino, who lost her husband in 2011 after a long illness, couldn’t pay her fines and was ordered to Berks County prison where she died alone in a cell away from her children. Mrs. DiNino was a single mother trying to do her best to raise her children on very limited means.

Please join me in supporting “Eileen’s Law” to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Introduced as HB141