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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: March 1, 2016 03:34 PM
From: Senator Anthony H. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Passing the Trash ESSA Update
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to provide a necessary update to Act 168 of 2014, Pennsylvania’s “Passing the Trash” law. Passed unanimously by both chambers, it provides critical protection to our children from known and habitual sexual predators in our Commonwealth’s classrooms.

While this landmark legislation was heralded as a long overdue and commonsense measure, serving as model legislation for other states, the recent signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by President Obama requires an additional protection to ensure continued federal education funding eligibility. Act 168 provides penalties against employers for failing to review employment histories of employees who come into contact with children, as well as previous employers who fail to disclose or attempt to cover up a history of sexual misconduct claims.

However, ESSA requires that states also provide penalties against any employee of a school, contractor and educational agency who provides assistance, other than routine transmission of personnel files, in gaining employment at other educational institutions when they know or should know that the applicant has engaged in sexual misconduct as defined under the statute. Closing this small loophole would prevent former colleagues and supervisors from providing personal recommendations for future employment at a school, punishable by a civil penalty.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this vital legislation to ensure continued eligibility for federal education spending for Pennsylvania’s schools and the continued safety of children across the Commonwealth.

Introduced as SB1180