July 10, 2015

Toomey's child predator proposal passes Senate

Compromise throws out 'passing the trash' practice; Sestak calls it 'campaign talking point'

Legislation Schools
Pat Toomey Matt Rourke/AP Photo

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., speaks during a roundtable discussion, Tuesday, July 7, 2015, at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania office in Philadelphia. The group discussed efforts to detect, prevent and treat child abuse.

The U.S. Senate passed an amendment Thursday sponsored by Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey that bans schools from recommending suspected child predators for new jobs in different districts. 

The amendment bars schools from helping employees receive new education jobs elsewhere if they are a convicted child predator or if there is credible information suggesting they have participated in sexual misconduct with a minor.

Toomey announced the news on his website, touting the safety the legislation provides for children. 

"Tragically, ‘passing the trash' is a serious problem that Pennsylvanians are all too familiar with, and I am pleased that we were able to bridge our differences across the aisle to agree on a real solution," Toomey said in a news release.

The legislation passed Thursday was a softened version of Toomey's original proposal, co-sponsored with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia.

The Morning Call reports that the original amendment would have also required more detailed background checks, a provision that was opposed by several in the Senate who argued that tougher checks would have imposed on state and local regulations of hiring and would not have stopped the "passing the trash" practice. 

A press release from the campaign for Democrat Joe Sestak, who is seeking to challenge Toomey's re-election bid in 2016, criticized the Republican's voting record against several measures aimed at child predators, calling the bill a "campaign talking point akin to saying, 'I like children.'"

The amendment, which passed 98-0, is part of a much larger education bill that is still in the works. Philly.com reports that Toomey wants to vote for the larger bill but would need to wait and see what other amendments are attached.