Pennsylvania State Senator Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) took to the senate floor this week to complain that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is not properly focusing his energy. Farnese said that while the governor and his administration have been outspoken on their positions regarding taxes on Marcellus Shale drilling, school choice, the state store system, and bills dealing with health insurance for the working poor, the governor's "silence has been deafening" when it comes to bills to protect children from abuse.
Farnese is pushing for a vote on legislation aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and punishing state and municipal employees who are convicted of sex crimes against children. Specifically, he is interested in a pair of bills that were pending in the senate before news of alleged abuse at Penn State surfaced.
"They're not reactionary bills, they're not knee-jerk reaction bills, they have been around in the pipeline long enough and they still sit in the pipeline," said Farnese on the senate floor. "Where is the leadership of this administration, coming forward and saying, 'these are bills that need to be passed'?"
Senate Bill 549, introduced by Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Pittsburgh) would lower the threshold for when alleged child abuse suspected by a school employee must be reported and investigated. That measure was first introduced by Fontana six years ago and is now stuck in committee.
Senate Bill 1290 would strip pensions from state and municipal workers who are convicted of sex crimes against children. Farnese introduced that legislation in October. It is sitting in the Senate Finance Committee awaiting a vote.
"Is it really that hard to get your arms around that?" asked Farnese, as he pleaded with the governor to "show leadership" in getting his bill passed.
Farnese said, "It's time for the state's chief executive to speak out on these two bills."