– Rep. Mark Keller (R-Perry/Cumberland), vice-chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, today questioned Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of House Bill 2157
. The legislation is related to responsibilities of the Commission for Agricultural Education Excellence, which was created last year through legislation sponsored by Keller.
“I am extremely disappointed the governor chose to veto this legislation over a disagreement related to the authority of the Department of Education (PDE) and how that affects school funding,” said Keller. “We believe the administration got it wrong. The bill does not remove program approval authority from PDE, as was indicated in the governor’s veto message. The Wolf veto is very puzzling, given his claim to be a strong proponent of developing Pennsylvania’s workforce for the future.”
According to Keller, House Bill 2157 merely gives the commission the authority to issue and update guidelines to allow a student to use academic credit toward the completion of an agricultural education program. Since the PDE secretary sits on the commission and currently chairs it, those guidelines would not be created in a vacuum. The measure does not even mention PDE program approval authority.
“This proposal was passed unanimously in the House and overwhelmingly in the Senate,” added Keller. “That approval certainly would not have occurred if there was any doubt funding would be in jeopardy.”
Keller also noted that the legislation was supported by the Pennsylvania Association of Agriculture Educators and the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA).
The Commission of Agricultural Education Excellence was created to assist in the development and implementation of agricultural education programming for K-12 schools. The departments of Agriculture and Education have oversight of the 15-member commission, which recently hired a coordinator to run the program.
Representative Mark Keller
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs