State Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-Bucks, has been appointed to serve on the House Appropriations, Education, Environmental Resources and Energy, and Transportation committees for the 2013-14 legislative session, according to a press release from the House Democratic Communications Office.
Santarsiero will serve as Democratic secretary of the Education Committee. He will serve as the subcommittee chairman on railroads within the Transportation Committee. He was also appointed to the Ethics Committee, which is not a standing committee, but seeks to maintain that members of the chamber uphold standards of conduct in accordance with House rules.
Santarsiero, who has served on the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee since 2009, the Transportation Committee since 2011, and the Education Committee since 2012, said the assignments will allow him to address important issues facing his constituents in the 31st Legislative District.
“I am honored to serve in these positions and I will be working with my colleagues on these committees to protect our environment, promote quality public education and higher education, support infrastructure improvements to strengthen our economy, and advocate for adequate funding for mental health and other programs for our most vulnerable citizens,” Santarsiero said.
There are 28 standing committees in the state House of Representatives. The committee system allows legislators to assess and amend legislation and evaluate important issues before bringing bills to the full House for a vote.
The Education Committee reviews bills which pertain to educational funding, school choice and charter schools, teacher standards, and more. The committee is responsible for reviewing bills regarding the Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the State Board of Private Academic Schools, State Board of Private Licensed Schools, State Public School Building Authority and Pennsylvania State Employees System for elementary and secondary schools, as well as the Pennsylvania Higher Education Association, the Higher Education Facilities Authority and the Board of Governors of the State System of Higher Education, and also the professional Standards and Practices Commission.
The Environmental Resources and Energy Committee works with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to establish regulations on environmental issues, including air and water quality, and waste management. The committee also has oversight of the Department of Environmental Protection, Environmental Hearing Board, Environmental Quality Board, and the State Board for Sewage Treatment Plant and Waterworks Operators.
The Transportation Committee reviews legislation relating to all modes of transportation in the Commonwealth, including highways, airports, train service, public transit, ports, the Turnpike Commission, the State Transportation Commission and the operations of the Department of Transportation.
The Appropriations Committee meets regularly while the House is in session to consider fiscal-related matters and conducts budget hearings each spring to review and evaluate the governor's Executive Budget proposal. In accordance with House rules, the committee also evaluates legislative proposals for fiscal implications prior to voting a bill out of committee.
Santarsiero also is chairman of the Southeast Delegation of the state House Democratic Caucus and is the sole legislator on the Public-Private Transportation Partnership Board, which oversees specific transportation projects jointly managed by private industry and PennDOT.
He serves on the Tuition Account Program Advisory Board, which oversees the Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Program, and the Local Government Commission, a bipartisan legislative service agency that affords research assistance to the General Assembly and proposes legislation that enables local governments to be more effective in providing services.