More than two dozen Neshaminy High School students participated in a mock legislature Thursday. State Rep. Frank Farry hosted the event, with help from other legislators, registered state lobbyists, and staff.
The day included committee meetings, policy debate, and voting on ten house bills. These bills mirrored prominent Pennsylvania legislative issues, like the legal age to buy tobacco and vaping products.
“Any time we have a chance to get into the schools, talk to the students, and help them understand the legislative process, and hopefully get them engaged in both the political and policy process, we think it’s a good thing. Neshaminy has been a good partner.”
Students broke into five committees, which handled two bills each. They had the option to pass, amend, or even vote down each proposal.
This is Farry’s second time hosting a mock legislature at Neshaminy High School. It echoes programs similar to those organized by State Sen. Tommy Tomlinson at Bucks County Technical High School.
“We got a lot of favorable reviews last time. It was very interesting seeing the divergent views on some of the bills as they debated,” Farry said. “And my hope is maybe some of these folks engage in the process.”
Farry offered a chance to intern at his office for those who were particularly interested so they can get hands-on experience.
“Hopefully it helps them with having a more well rounded education,” Farry noted. “We try to make it as realistic as you possibly can in this setting.”
Other bills students debated Thursday, verbatim from the itinerary, include:
- Ride Share Companies – An act that requires all ride-share companies and drivers to be registered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and allows the state to regulate and tax them in-line with other taxi services.
- Keystone Exams – An act that provides that each high school senior must take and pass the Keystone Exams, in four subjects, to graduate.
- Tanning Regulation – An act establishing the Indoor Tanning Regulation Act.
- Arming Teachers – An act that allows for teachers to carry firearms in school and on school property.
- Driving Age – An act that changes the driving age to 18 years of age.
- Legal Purchase of Fireworks – An act allowing the legal purchase of fireworks.
- Hotline – An act that establishes the Safe2Say Program, which would allow an individual to submit an anonymous report or tip 24-7 via phone, computer, or smartphone app.
- Legalization of Marijuana – An act that provides for the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.
- Sale of Tobacco and Vaping Products – An act that changes the legal sales age for tobacco products, including vaping products, from 18 years of age, to 21 years of age.
- Sentence Enhancement DUI – An act that adds a sentence enhancement to the offense of DUI homicide by vehicle to apply to a driver who had either alcohol and a controlled substance, or multiple controlled substances in his or her system.