Subscribe to E-Newsletter June 11, 2015

Dear Friend –

I want to keep you updated on the latest news from Harrisburg and some upcoming events that may interest you.

Keystone Graduation Exams on Hold

testThis week my colleagues on the Senate Education Committee and I passed legislation to delay the graduation requirement associated with the Keystone Exams for two years. This marks a crucial first step in reevaluating and rolling back the make-or-break graduation exams that were put in place by the previous administration.

As many of you know, I have raised concerns about the impact of high-stakes exams on students and schools from the get-go. While I would have liked to see their use completely eliminated in our schools, legislatively that was not possible. Still, this bipartisan bill gives the legislature additional time to resolve some of the unanticipated consequences of the Keystone's implementation. I look forward to its passage in the Senate and expect there to be strong support in the House.

Without a doubt, the tide has turned, and we now have a golden opportunity to return the focus of education to teaching instead of testing. Much of that progress is thanks to you and a core group of individuals who have kept this issue on the front burner.

For Our Four-Legged Friends

Senator Dinniman & HenryThe Senate recently passed a package of four bipartisan bills to tighten animal cruelty laws and better protect pets and animals. They include measures to restrict prolonged tethering of dogs, ensure that horses are covered by current animal cruelty laws and prevent Dog Law violators from operating a kennel under a family member’s name. In addition, the Senate unanimously passed my SB 594, which increases the penalty when animal abuse occurs in a domestic violence situation. These bills were part of the Be Kind to Pets Rally that Senator Rich Alloway and I held at the state Capitol in Harrisburg this spring. I am optimistic that we can get them through the House.

In addition, some of you may know that earlier this year I worked with the Chester County SPCA to establish Henry’s Cupboard, a pet-food pantry that assists area income-eligible pet-owners. Now, we are taking the concept of Henry’s Cupboard on the road. Recently, I joined with Meals on Wheels of Chester County, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA) and local senior centers to launch a mobile dog food pantry to assist those in need and their pets.

The PVMA agreed to fund the dog and cat food for the program, while Meals on Wheels will make the actual deliveries. In addition, representatives from local senior centers and senior housing facilities are working to identify homebound pet owners in need.

Fees Waived for Volunteer Child Abuse Background Checks

Following the passage of the new Child Protective Service Law (Act 153 of 2014), I have heard from many residents, school districts, childcare associations, religious groups and nonprofit organizations concerned about the fees related to increased and broader background checks for volunteers working with children. While ensuring the safety of our young people is paramount, we need to promote, rather background checkthan discourage volunteerism.

This week Governor Wolf announced that beginning July 25, fees for child abuse clearances and criminal background checks required under the new law will be waived for volunteers working with children. Persons seeking employment for work with children and others required under the law will still be assessed fees for the clearances, but at a reduced cost of $8 each. For those who have not been a continuous resident of the Commonwealth for the last 10 years, FBI clearances and costs may still apply.

More information about clearances required under the Child Protective Services Law can be found at Individuals seeking clearances can go directly to to create an individual account and apply for their child abuse clearance electronically.

BIO Career Fair June 18th BIO Career Fair June 18th

If you have a background in the life sciences, pharmaceuticals or biotech and are looking for work or to take your career to the next level, I encourage you to check out the BIO Career Fair scheduled for Thursday, June 18 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Hall G of the 2015 BIO International Convention at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

The BIO Career fair is a great way to access career advancement opportunities and professional development resources while meeting some of the industry’s top players. A minimum of a 4-year life science degree or community college biotech degree is recommended and military veterans are encouraged to apply.

The Class of 2015

Around this time of year, I tend to think of our graduating high school and college students. Chester County is fortunate enough to be home to some of the top public, private and parochial schools in the state and the nation. And as always, this year they are again turning out some of the best and brightest students – young people who will likely go on to touch the lives of countless individuals and shape the future.

Senator Dinniman with panelists from the Roundtable Discussion on Education. Pictured (from left to right) Hillary Linardopoulos of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Helen Gym of Parents United of Philadelphia, Dinniman and Korri Brown of PSEA.
Capitol Update

Recently, I was joined by two such individuals: Liliana Flores Cruz of Avon Grove High School and the Chester County Technical College High School’s Pennock’s Bridge Campus in West Grove and Yuyan Pu of Conestoga High School. Both of these young women are first-generation Americans who are graduating this year and represent the best of our region. They participated in my latest episode of Capitol Update. Check it out to hear their thoughts on high school and their hopes for the future.

Thank you and as always, don’t hesitate to give me a ring at my West Chester office or e-mail me directly at


Andy Dinniman
State Senator - 19th District


Offices of State Senator Andy Dinniman


District Office
One North Church Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: 610.692.2112
Fax: 610.436.1721
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Harrisburg Office
Senate Box 203019
183 Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3019
Phone: 717.787.5709
Fax: 717.787.4384

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