Sen. Judy Schwank hosted the second session of her annual model senate program today at the Muhlenberg Township Municipal Building.
During the second session, over 40 high school students from local school districts participated in committee hearings with experts based in Berks County and in Harrisburg.
Experts included Assistant Berks County District Attorney Justin Bodor, Executive Director of the Berks County Medical Society T.J. Huckleberry, Executive Director of the Berks Business Education Coalition Solomon Lausch, and members of Schwank’s staff.
“Committee hearings are an important part of being a legislator,” Schwank told the students. “When you get into committee, you have to come ready to ask questions and get into the fine details of the legislation. If it’s going to move forward and become law, you don’t want any surprises down the road.”
After the committee hearings, the students returned to their respective caucuses and discussed what they learned about the bills being considered. Brady Detwiler, a junior from Governor Mifflin, said he enjoyed getting a chance to hear from experts about the pieces of legislation.
“It’s been amazing to meet a lot of people from different fields and get their perspective on the bills we are considering,” Detwiler said. “Having the opportunity to ask questions about the bills allowed me to get a better understand and see that a bill might look good on paper but there is a lot that needs to be considered when you are drafting legislation and there are many factors that aren’t obvious at first.”
Anna Kate Gwiazdowski, a senior for Schuylkill Valley, reflected on everything she’s learned during model senate so far and talked about the connections she’s made with other students.
“It’s been a really valuable opportunity meeting students from other schools in the county and getting different opinions on issues that affect all of us,” Gwiazdowski said. “Learning about the legislative process has been eye-opening. I’m really getting a sense of what Senators do.”
Next month the students will join Schwank in Harrisburg where they will be introduced before the Pennsylvania Senate and then hold their own senate session where they vote on the bills they have chosen.