This morning, Republican State Representative Dan Truitt held a press conference to introduce the Pennsylvania Safe Schools Act (aka PASS, aka H.B. 156), which would “strengthen Pennsylvania’s anti-bullying laws with clearer definitions, follow-up requirements and online system for recording, tracking and reporting incidents of bullying in PA schools.”
The introduction spawned immediate support from reps Dan Frankel and Philly’s Brian Sims, who sent an email to Democratic colleagues announcing his co-sponsorship on the bill, and urging them to follow suit. He wrote:
“The fact remains that young members of the LGBT community (or those perceived to be) are bullied and otherwise discriminated against at alarming rates. Every study that looks to analyze the impact of bullying has shown there to be lasting, and extremely detrimental effects that can stay with a person for a lifetime. … I’ve thought long and hard about the PASS Act and I am satisfied that it will help take the first steps towards addressing bullying and discrimination in our schools. For that reason, not only have I signed on as a co-sponsor of this bill, I’m asking that each of you do so as well.”
Sims says he’s optimistic the bill will pass, considering that Truitt, a member of the House’s Republican majority, is a leading sponsor, and that it has support from renowned orgs Equality PA and SEIU. A representative from Truitt’s office says there are currently 56 bipartisan supporters for the bill, but they are still unsure about when it will go to the floor for a vote. More to come.