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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: May 2, 2013 09:28 AM
From: Senator Jake Corman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Religious Childhood Education Facilities Regulation
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce legislation to protect the religious educational content imparted by religious early childhood educational facilities and religious school-based before-school and after-school programs. The intent of this bill is to balance the need for parental choice, religious freedom and child safety at religious educational and child care facilities with the need for governmental regulation and inspection of child care centers. This bill will assure the health and safety of the children in the care of religious entities, while at the same time preserving religious liberties.

Under my proposal, religious early childhood and instructional facilities of all types would be remain under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education and/or the Department of Public Welfare, whichever may currently be prescribed in law. The bill would acknowledge the obligation of religious facilities to comply with applicable health and safety statutes, ordinances or regulations, background check requirements, child abuse reporting requirements, child abuse recognition training requirements and with generally applicable sanitation, building or zoning requirements. The bill would protect religious educational facilities from any regulations relating to program, curriculum, ministry, staff qualifications (other than health & safety training), teaching or instruction.

The General Assembly has already established the same freedoms from curriculum content control for religious kindergartens, elementary schools and high schools when it amended the Compulsory Attendance Law in 1986. My proposed bill would do the same for religious pre-school and after-school programs.

If you have any questions with regard to the legislation above, please contact Scott Sikorski in my office at 787-1377 or ssikorski@pasen.gov.

Thank you for your consideration of this legislation.

Introduced as SB1030