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Kutztown Student Group Visits Capitol

Monday, December 18, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Written by Becca Zelner, MSW Student, NASW-PA Intern


Capitol Visit

Tim Seip, a social work professor at Kutztown University, took five of his students to visit the capitol on November 30, 2017. The students were invited to speak with Jerry Livingston, the Minority Executive Director of the Protection & Professional Licensure Committee. Livingston offered insight about the legislative process. He explained that the legislative process in Pennsylvania is complicated. It can take many years for legislation to get passed. Only 4% of bills land on the governor’s desk for approval or veto.

 

Legislative Process

A bill is introduced in one of the two chambers (the House or the Senate) and then referred to a committee. If it passes through committee, it goes to the floor of that chamber. If it passes the floor, it goes to other branch to undergo the same process. If a bill starts in the House, it must go through a committee and be voted upon favorably. If that happens, the bill goes to the House floor. Once on the house floor, the bill must be voted on and passed. The bill then goes to the Senate, where it is referred to a committee. If it is passed with no amendments (changes), it will go to the Senate floor. If it is passed with no amendments in the Senate, then it goes to the Governor for approval. When the Governor signs the bill or approves it without signing, it becomes law.

This process seems simple; however, bills are constantly amended, and amended bills must go back to their committees of origin for re-approval. Additionally, all legislation that has not been approved after two years must be reintroduced in a new legislative session. Legislation introduced to provide practice protection for licensed clinical social workers and to update their scope of practice has been deliberated for nearly nine years. Two bills are currently moving through this process, HB 445 and SB 530. HB 445 is currently in the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee and SB 530 is currently in the House Professional Licensure Committee. One of these bills must pass through both chambers with no further amendments (an un-amended bill must go through both the House and Senate) and the Governor must approve it for the bill to become law.

 

Other Capitol Insights

The students got to discuss numerous social work issues such as: medical and recreational marijuana, Megan’s law, exotic dancer registration, Marcella Shale taxes and budgetary impacts. The students were invited to spend time with the floor master, as they explored the hall of the House, learned about the history and artwork, and restoration that has taken place in the Capitol building since its opening. Students also got to speak with the parliamentarian, Clancy Myers. Students also met with Joanne Manganello and Sarah Speed, serving on the Environmental Resource and Energy Committee and the House Judiciary. 



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