We Can Reduce Partisanship
In addition to working to increase the power of moderate voters with ranked-choice voting, Bill wants to work for new rules that will turn down the partisanship in the committees where laws start.
While working to get on the ballot as an Independent, Bill heard from Harrisburg insiders that committees can be so partisan that their meeting agendas are not shared with members of the other party ahead of time. It's impossible to come to work prepared to work on complex laws when you don’t know what the meeting is about,. Bill will work for legislation that requires committees to create their agendas in public well before their meetings.
Few laws that are worked on by legislators ever go anywhere in Harrisburg. Whether it’s making redistricting less partisan, having gun background checks at gun shows, or making it easier for citizens to create their own utility cooperatives, good legislation favored by a majority of us sits frozen in committees by hyper-partisan committee chairs. The power of partisan committee chairs can be less by limiting how long someone can be a committee chair and by having rules that allow a majority of legislators to recall bills form committee for a floor vote.
Bill thinks good public education is a priority for Pennsylvania and there are some problems money alone can’t fix. Bill believes Harrisburg has put so much work onto school boards and their central office administrators that they have become overwhelmed, unresponsive, and inaccessible. It's harder than ever to find people willing to volunteer to lead our school districts and there is high turnover.
Bill believes parents, students, teachers, and our communities deserve better. Bill will pursue legislation that simplifies the work of school boards and Superintendents so they can work more on their core mission of teaching and learning.
Bill believes women should make their own very personal healthcare and family decisions without Pennsylvania trying to decide for them. Whether to have a child or continue a pregnancy that could harm their health is their decision, not Pennsylvania's.
Pennsylvanians had for decades a thoughtful, balanced law protecting access to an abortion until viability and protecting the mother's health after viability. Until this year, our “Casey” standard was the law of the land and I’ll fight to keep it.
Bill also believes that equality for women in Pennsylvania is still far from certain. Women are still paid less on average than men, and far fewer women are in leadership positions even in careers where women are the majority participants, like in public education and health care. There is not enough help with child care or family leave. Women are still pushed out of employment when they become pregnant, and still drop out of employment or education while caring for others.
Bill thinks we need to do better for women in Pennsylvania by making sure they are certain they control their personal health and family care decisions and they are certain there will be help for them when they care for others.
Bill has heard from Delco residents about problems they think our state government can and should solve:
Too often, because of substance abuse or domestic violence, children are not safe in their homes. Pennsylvania foster care does not have sufficient resource to meet the needs. A lack of resources is true in general, but can be especially severe for the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that step up in an emergency to take care of their relative’s children. Bill agrees with the Delco residents he talked with that we should do more to help all good people who step up to care for children in crisis.
Child abuse can happen to the same child in different counties but our counties do not always share that information well or quickly. Bill thinks we can fix county systems so child abuse information is shared and children are not left in danger.
Many residents are concerned that Delco’s hospital health care, emergency dispatch, and emergency ambulance services are at risk of failing because of inadequate state oversight and support. This is an urgent problem for our area that Bill wants to work to fix.
Residents in our region are concerned about privatization of water and sewer systems. PA law allows counties and municipalities to sell their systems and get cash for their budgets. This is inevitably only a short-term gain, because the work to operate and fix systems still has to be done, companies have higher borrowing costs, have to use fees to fund their profit margins, and have to balance profits with water safety and the environment. The legislature needs to do more to help water authorities fix their old systems and avoid selling their systems for short term gains and long term losses.
Pennsylvania directs professional election officials to prepare, administer, monitor, count, and certify one-candidate, uncontested party primary races. Most party primary races in Pennsylvania are uncontested, but these one-candidate races serve no democratic election purpose. Bill will sponsor legislation to move uncontested party primary races directly to the November ballot so that our election officials can focus on their real work of democracy, professionally conducting contested elections.
Bill shares the opinion of other citizens that our air and water permitting will serve us better if it includes our regional data on air and water quality. Bill also believes that citizens should be provided with easily understood, clear statements of the most significant air and water quality issues in their region and neighborhoods. Bill will work for legislation to modernize our air and water permitting and modernize the communication between government and citizens about their environment.
Our municipal recycling programs get state grants for each pound we put in the bins even for things that are not actually recycled. Bill thinks Pennsylvanians should encourage real recycling by municipalities and not pay municipalities for make-believe recycling.
Currently a single large green energy project, like a solar or wind farm, crossing municipal boundaries may face conflicting municipal codes. Bill supports standardized licensing and inspection for these large projects.
The smart meters on our houses in southeast Pennsylvania are not as smart as they are elsewhere in Pennsylvania. To help residents save money, our utility commission required smart meters state wide to be able to transmit real-time power usage to home owners. Utilities in Western and Central Pennsylvania turned this capability on, but the utilities in southeast Pennsylvania never did. Bill thinks we should get what we paid for in our smart meters and the legislature should direct the utility commission to require this capability be activated.
Some school districts and municipalities in Pennsylvania and Delco have taxes like per capita that waste about 20% of the tax just collecting the tax. In the legislature, Bill will work to eliminate these inefficient taxes and require local governments to vote either to eliminate them or transfer them to their other taxes that cost fractions of a percent to collect.
In the legislature, Bill will work to bring jobs to South East Pennsylvania.
Along with the positives of more jobs and higher pay, Bill will work to make sure retired Pennsylvanians and our small business owners and their employees don't get left out.
Jobs in our region will definitely be benefiting from de-globalization, infrastructure spending, and our strength in health care and education, but Bill also wants to make sure that along with these great opportunities, retired Pennsylvanians, our small business owners and their employees, and minimum wage employees don't get left out. If all of our prices and taxes rise because of a boom in our area, we must adjust the tax and wage rules in our state to make sure people are not left behind.
A priority for Bill is Pennsylvania jobs that bring our commonwealth together. A sustainable future in Pennsylvania means closer connection between consumption in our cities and production in factories, farms, and greenhouses near by.
Protecting Our Children Online
Bill believes that we’ve let access to our children be sold to tech companies online and the current practice of treating13 year olds as an adult online is ridiculous and harmful. We need laws in Pennsylvania that protect children online until they are adults.
We need better protections because currently it’s almost impossible for parents to know if their children are safe online.