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Each legislative session thousands of bills and amendments are introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Only a fraction become law, and an even smaller portion receive wide media coverage.

These bills impact the lives of people living in Pennsylvania every day.

Each week The Sentinel will highlight one bill that has not received widespread attention.

About the bill

The average household credit card debt has risen from less than $2,000 in 1986 to more than $8,000 in 2016, according to CNBC.

Even when adjusting for inflation, the typical credit card debt owed by people in America has doubled in that time frame. That is on top of a rising student load debt.

One lawmaker wants to encourage high school students to invest a bit more in learning about financial literacy.

Rep. Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe County, has introduced a bill that would allow students take a financial literacy course in place of one of their current graduation requirements.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that individuals save money, make sound financial decisions, grow their assets and develop a secure financial future for themselves and their children,” Brown wrote in a co-sponsorship letter. “However, many families are financially insecure, with little or no savings to cover emergency expenses or plan for the future. In order to help young people acquire the knowledge necessary to make wise financial choices as adults, I believe high school courses in personal financial literacy should be encouraged.”

House Bill 429 would give students the option to take a course in personal financial literacy and have it count as a credit toward the current social studies, family and consumer science or math credit graduation requirements.

Which area the personal finance course would count toward would be up to the determination of the local school board, according to the bill.

When Brown introduced the bill, the class was only eligible for a social studies credit but was amended in committee.

The bill has cleared both the House Appropriations and Education committees and passed the full House with one dissenting vote.

Brown’s bill was sent to Sen. John Eichelberger, R-Hollidaysburg, in the Senate Education Committee in November, where it has not been brought up for a vote.

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