By Andy Chek, Weijun Liu and Edwin Lu
John P. Sabatina Jr. represents the 5th Senatorial District. He put in hard work in regard to the issue of education. He has sponsored and cosponsored many bills that have supported the public education system, such as SB 1145, a bill that provides potential alternatives to the Keystone exams, and HB 1177, which invoked a cigarette tax to help fund our school system when many teachers were laid off.
Sabatina also wants to make Pennsylvania a safer place, especially in the city of Philadelphia. As a major city, Philly has a major problem with crimes and law enforcement. He has supported many bills that would enforce tougher punishments and protect victims of criminal activity.
One example is Karen’s Law; which Sabatina introduced. Current law allows one year to pass before a convicted sexually violent predator can re-apply for parole. allowing recently released sexual assaulters to potentially cause survivors of sexual assaults to be re-victimized. With this law, sexual assaulters will be required to wait three years before they will be able to be reviewed for parole. However, Sabatina isn’t constantly tough when it comes to crime.
He understands that, sometimes, these criminals realize that what they did was wrong and want a second chance in life. Sabatina has helped pass bills that allow for the expungement of criminal records and juvenile records if the convicted person hasn’t been arrested for five or more years.
Unfortunately, there are a few issues that we wish Sabatina would tackle. First, there are loopholes surrounding the cigarette tax, which could be remedied by working toward a bill to extend its jurisdiction to all of Pennsylvania and making the tax permanent.
For employment, minimum wage has been a problem for years, and while Sabatina has always voted in favor of an increase, he hasn’t sponsored or cosponsored bills related to it like he has in the past. Overall, the stances that Sabatina has taken are very important and are very beneficial to the people of Pennsylvania, but they require a much more active stance. ••
Andy, Weijun and Edwin are seniors at Julia R. Masterman High School. In their social sciences class, they have been assigned a project to write an op-ed on their local state senator.