DALLAS - Rep. Karen Boback (R- Lackawanna-Luzerne-Wyoming) commended the General Assembly for adding language to encourage schools to test for lead as part of the package of bills that made up the state budget. The particular budget bill that included this language is known as the Public School Code. Included in the legislation is language that requires schools to supply safe water if testing concludes that the supply is found unsuitable.
“What little data we have indicates lead is a pervasive problem in Pennsylvania schools’ drinking water. As a former educator, this is a step in the right direction - it begins a conversation we very much need to have,” said Boback. “But, it must only be the beginning. Every school child deserves access to clean drinking water. That is indisputable.”
Schools aren’t required to test for lead under this legislation. However, if a school decides to forgo lead testing, officials must discuss the issue at a public meeting.
Boback has been an advocate for lead testing in water. House Bill 2025
, which she authored, would require regular lead testing for all school drinking water and public notification of all test results, and set a maximum allowable level in the water of 5 parts per billion.
“This standard,” said Stephanie Wein of PennEnvironment, which has worked with the representative on this legislation, “would make Pennsylvania a leader for protecting students from lead in their water.”
Needing 102 votes to pass the state House of Representatives, House Bill 2025 already has overwhelming bipartisan support with over 70 co-sponsors.
“The lead testing language in this code bill is not a substitute for comprehensive legislation to keep our children safe,” said Boback. “I urge the legislature to take up my bill, which would ensure schools test for lead, disclose to parents what they find, and if indicated, remove lead from school water.”
House Bill 2025 has been referred to the House Education Committee.
Representative Karen Boback
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Mike Madry