From coordinating efforts for the placement of drug drop boxes to requiring oversight and accountability for recovery houses to ensure they’re safe, Todd is fighting to protect our community from opioids. More than 2,800 Pennsylvanians lost their lives to opioid overdoses in 2018 and Todd knows more work must be done to protect our families from experiencing the pain of addiction.
This crisis is unlike any other drug crisis we have ever seen. Heroin has never been so plentiful nor so cheap and the haunting story of people suffering an injury and quickly becoming addicted to their prescriptions is one which nearly all of us have a connection to. Drug use and overdoses affect the lives of our friends, families, co-workers, and the community, but most importantly drug overdose affects the lives of Pennsylvania’s children. It is the effects that a parent’s or caregiver’s overdose has on a child that concerns me the most. That’s why Todd is proposing bipartisan legislation that would amend the Domestic Relations Law to mandate the reporting of actual or suspected drug overdoses suffered by a parent, guardian, caretaker, or another custodian of a child under the age of 18.
Todd has also supported legislation that created a Prescription Drug Monitoring database, provides better education for consumers on pain management, limits prescriptions for minors, and increases access to treatment opportunities.
Supporting Crime Victims
SUPPORTING CRIME VICTIMS
Wireless service providers are fully capable of tracking the phones of missing persons and assisting law enforcement in the crucial window after a kidnapping or a person has gotten lost. That’s why Todd championed legislation requiring wireless service providers to assist law enforcement in locating missing persons believed to be in danger.
A career prosecutor, Todd has taken his passion for assisting crime victims and their families to Harrisburg and advocated to protect and support them every single legislative session. Todd authored legislation to protect victims of domestic violence from municipal ordinances which required victims to be evicted merely for calling the police for help.
Todd also led the fight to restore vital funding for Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Centers in each and every state budget which earned him recognition from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Never forgetting our community, Todd also cosponsored legislation to direct a portion of Montgomery County’s casino revenue to our only domestic violence shelter, Laurel House, and our only Child Advocacy Center, Mission Kids.
Currently, Todd has legislation pending which would increase the restitution paid to victims of crime by attaching the inmate accounts used to pay for extra benefits while in prison.
Todd has received awards from the Victims Service Center of Montgomery County and The Women’s Center of Montgomery County for his outstanding advocacy for victims of crimes.
He’s also been endorsed by every FOP Lodge in Montgomery County for his steadfast commitment to protecting our families
As a career child abuse prosecutor, Todd came to the legislature with a passion for protecting children from abuse. Shortly after he was elected the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke and Todd authored one of the 23 reform bills that were signed into law following those tragic events. Todd’s legislation expanded the list of “mandated reporters” who must report suspected child abuse and increased penalties for mandated reporters who failed in their duty to protect a child.
In a report on sexual abuse of children in Catholic churches across Pennsylvania, the Grand Jury specifically praised Todd’s legislation and recommended it be expanded even further. Todd authored legislation to do just that and it was signed into law by Governor Wolf in November 2019.
Unsatisfied with merely increasing the reporting after abuse has already occurred, Todd also wrote legislation to strengthen criminal background checks for school employees to prevent abuse from happening.
It is imperative that we not only do all we can to address threats to the safety of our children but also be free to plan for their future. Todd was instrumental in getting legislation passed to help families facing the financial stress of caring for individuals with disabilities. Todd worked with his colleagues to craft the ABLE Act, bipartisan legislation which creates a tax-free savings account in the Commonwealth to help cover qualified expenses like education, housing, and transportation for individuals with disabilities.
TODD IS ENDORSED BY OUR TEACHERS
As the son of public school teachers, the product of public education and the parent of two young children attending the public school he attended, Todd values public education which is why he has voted every year to increase state funding for basic education, leading to the highest basic education funding levels in state history. Since Todd took office in 2010, state education funding has increased by $3.5 billion. He also led the effort to reform the state’s funding formula which severely shortchanged our students and taxpayers and is now working to ensure the formula is fully implemented for our local schools.
Todd also recognizes the value in providing increased access to early childhood education in Pennsylvania. In the legislature, he introduced social impact financing also known as “Pay for Success” to expand access to pre-k in Pennsylvania while saving tax dollars. Recognizing our state’s budget constraints, this approach to expanding access to early learning would not only be timely, but it would be fiscally responsible, allowing private-sector investors to invest in programs for our children that save taxpayer dollars down the road.
Other legislation Todd has authored legislation aimed at improving education in Pennsylvania include:
- Transferring $250 million in corporate welfare to school districts like ours that received less than 35 percent of their funding from the Commonwealth
- Allowing for additional options to save for higher education by expanding the permissible uses of “529 plans” for higher education expenses.
By working across the aisle with Governor Wolf we’ve delivered record-setting education funding to our local schools.
Fair Basic Education Funding (HB2628)
Recognizing that our taxpayers and students aren’t receiving their fair share of basic education funding, Todd introduced legislation to requirethe state to adopt the recommended funding formula from the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission. This funding formula would give our local districts a more equitable distribution of education funding by eliminating the “hold harmless” provision under current law which requires each of the 500 school districts across Pennsylvania to receive no less than the amount of funding they received the previous year. Today, that means districts whose population has decreased over the years would still receive equal funding while districts who’ve experienced increased enrollment are left underfunded.
If HB2628 is adopted, our local districts would receive the following additional funding:
- Hatboro-Horsham: $1.7 million
- North Penn: $7.8 Million
- Upper Dublin: $1.3 million
- Wissahickon: $ $1.5 million
Leading The Fight For Clean Drinking Water
Following the announcement that the military had contaminated the Horsham Township public water system with dangerous PFAS chemicals, Todd was the first public official to demand the federal government fulfill its obligations to our community by providing carbon filters to remove all detectable levels of contaminants from our drinking water, blood tests so we can understand the nature and extent of any exposure to harmful chemicals and a health study to understand what, if any, health risks we face as a result of this exposure.
Since then, Todd requested and has received support for his efforts to hold the federal government accountable from elected officials from both parties including Governor Tom Wolf, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr., U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, Congressman Brendon Boyle, Congressman Pat Meehan, and Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick. Additionally, Todd sponsored a House Resolution demanding the federal government address these issues was unanimously adopted by the PA House of Representatives.
When the federal government refused to eliminate all detectable levels of the contaminants, Todd worked with Governor Wolf to secure $10 million in the state budget to install infrastructure to ensure our water is clean. As partners on cleaning up our water, Governor Wolf praised Todd's efforts on the issue, stating "I thank Rep. Stephens for his leadership on this issue."
Todd has also called for the state to bring a lawsuit against the federal Government to force them to fully address the contamination issues it caused in Montgomery County, because the federal government refuses to address these issues satisfactorily, Todd repeatedly called on the PA Department of Environmental Protection to assume a greater role in addressing this issue for all our communities by adopting a “zero-tolerance” policy for the presence of these chemicals in our drinking water. He will continue pushing DEP to adopt our own tough drinking water standards to ensure we have the cleanest, safest drinking water in America.
Military Installation Remediation Program (HB1410)
To find a permanent solution to our water contamination issue in our community, Todd designed a new program that provides funding for clean drinking water and infrastructure to remediate PFAS in Pennsylvania. HB 1410, the Military Installation Remediation Program (MIRP), which was signed into law on November 27, 2019, will redirect a portion of future state tax revenue generated on or around the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station to a newly created municipal authority, MIRIA, who will utilize these new program funds to eliminate the water surcharge incurred by Horsham Township residents while also funding new remediation projects including in Upper Dublin Township.
This legislation is a game changer and this new program is designed to generate at least $10 million annually to shield our community from having to foot the bill to clean up the federal government’s mess. The MIRP was supported by several leading environmental groups including Clean Water Action, Penn Environment and PennFuture.
Again, following years of inaction by the federal government, Todd worked with Governor Wolf to create a funding stream to provide water remediation efforts and eliminate any local surcharges water customers may be paying to remove these contaminants from their drinking water.
“As a life-long resident and the father of two small children who had been drinking our public water, I am deeply concerned about the safety of our water and will continue fighting for the highest standards as it relates to our public drinking water and public health.”
COMBATTING ANIMAL CRUELTY
Recognized as a statewide champion for abused animals, Todd has received numerous awards for his work to protect our beloved pets and animals in need across the Commonwealth. Todd has a perfect record with Humane PA PAC and has championed several animal cruelty initiatives including a complete overhaul of Pennsylvania’s archaic animal cruelty law which was signed by Governor Wolf as Act 10 of 2017 and recently celebrated its one year anniversary. Todd’s accomplishments include:
Exotic animals pet ban
Greyhound racing simulcasting ban
Service dog abuse
Protections for dogs injured in kennels (Prime Sponsor) – Enacted - Act 65 of 2013
Animal Fighting Paraphernalia (Prime Sponsor)
Dog law funding – keeping their fees
Dog and cat slaughter for human consumption
Increased penalty for harming police dog
Animal Fighting Paraphernalia (Prime Sponsor) – Enacted - Act 24 of 2015
Libre’s Law - (Prime Sponsor) – Enacted – Act 10 of 2017
Dogs and Cats in hot cars
Todd is endorsed by Humane PA for his tireless efforts to end animal abuse in PA.
As a former federal firearms prosecutor prosecuting Montgomery County’s most violent offenders, Todd is passionate about reducing gun violence and used his background to craft several measures aimed at reducing gun violence without infringing upon Second Amendment rights. Most of those bills focus on felons and those who have been disqualified from possessing guns due to mental health issues. Todd has also introduced and supported several bills to help our law enforcement community combat gun violence on our streets and in our homes and is proud many of these bills have passed unanimously or with broad bipartisan support.
Thanks to Todd’s efforts, over 700,000 mental health records are now being transmitted from Pennsylvania to the National Instant Check System so that those who are disqualified from possessing a firearm in Pennsylvania, cannot evade that ban by traveling to another state to purchase a firearm.
Todd has also championed legislation to impose mandatory penalties on felons who possess guns illegally and therefore pose a greater threat to our communities and voted in support of universal background checks.
Extreme Risk Protection Orders (HB1075)
New threats require new solutions and we have never faced a threat so severe or pervasive as guns in the hands of those who are bent on harming themselves or others. That is why Todd worked with groups like Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence and Ceasefire PA to introduce Extreme Risk Protective Orders or Red Flag legislation in Pennsylvania. His bill is also supported by medical groups like the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society, trauma surgeons, and law enforcement groups like the Pennsylvania Police Chief’s Association as well as the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. This legislation will allow family members or law enforcement who believe a person is at extreme risk of hurting themselves or someone else to petition a court to immediately conduct a hearing to determine whether their guns should be temporarily removed for no longer than one year or until they are no longer a threat – whichever is shorter. This legislation has been implemented in several states after terrible tragedies and is pending passage in several more.
Two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicide. Studies found Extreme Risk Protection Orders reduced suicides by 7.5% in Indiana and by 13.6% in Connecticut. With nearly 1000 Pennsylvanians committing suicide with a firearm every year we can save lives by adopting this important legislation today. We should act swiftly to empower those who know something is wrong to take action and prevent tragedy before it happens.
We can respect gun rights. We can provide full due process rights. And we can save lives in Pennsylvania, all at the same time. This isn’t a gun issue. This is a public health issue.
When Todd took office in 2010 spending in Harrisburg was out of control and Pennsylvania was facing a $4 billion budget deficit. He has worked tirelessly over the last eight years to make sure each budget signed into law prioritized our spending to avoid broad-based tax increases while meeting our financial obligations.
During the 2015-16 budget cycle and again in 2016-2017 Todd opposed the massive sales and income tax increases that were proposed. Instead, Todd has consistently advocated for the elimination of over $700 million in corporate welfare, with specific proposals like eliminating the use of taxpayer dollars to fund the leisure activities of the wealthy, proposing to redirect those dollars to education instead.
Property taxes are by far the most unfair taxation system as they have no regard for an individual’s ability to pay. Property taxes do not care if you are laid off or a senior living on a fixed income, they operate exclusively on the assumption that anyone who has worked hard enough to purchase a home has an unlimited ability to raise the money necessary to maintain the taxes levied on it.
Todd supports efforts to eliminate or freeze property taxes for seniors and has also championed legislation to allow local school boards to rely on alternatives to property taxes.
In the fall of 2017, Pennsylvania voters passed a constitutional amendment which allows the legislature to curtail the use of property taxes. It is only the beginning of the conversation, but we must find a better way and Todd is committed to finding it.
Government doesn’t have any of its own money – every penny it spends it must first take from someone else. Todd remains committed to ensuring your tax dollars are spent responsibly and will continue to focus on protecting taxpayers.