Had he decided to run for county executive in Northampton County, that race would be over already. I would still support John Stoffa, but Rich would be difficult to beat. Grucela, however, is still navigating the perilous straits in the land of midnight payraises.
He has just introduced legislation (H.B. 592) to protect members of the Pennsylvania National Guard and reservists who are still in college. After learning about a senior who was actually being redeployed and was facing the loss of academic credits and already paid tuition, Grucela decided to do something.
"This is an easy situation to rectify," Grucela says. "Guard troops and reservists should not be put in a situation where they risk losing time and money at school because they've been called to serve their country. It is only right to add this provision, considering the sacrifices they and their families make to protect our nation and the Commonwealth."
This legislation passed unanimously in the House last session, but stalled in the Senate.
It allows any member of the Pennsylvania National Guard or other reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces to take an educational leave of absence.
If a Guard member or reservist was called to active duty, other than active duty for training, the educational institution in which the servicemember is enrolled would have to grant the member or their spouse a military leave of absence from their education without the loss of academic credits earned or forfeiture of scholarships or grants awarded prior to the commencement of military duty.
Under the bill, educational institutions also would be required to refund tuition or fees paid, or credit the tuition and fees to the next semester or term when the servicemember returns.
Grucela serves on the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and is chairman of the Subcommittee on Military and Veterans Facilities.