The governor spent the afternoon at the Jewish Federation enacting a symbolic signing of Holocaust education legislation and briefing community leaders.
Gov. Tom Corbett’s visit to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon was cut short by a fire alarm that forced the building to evacuate.
The governor was ending an off-the-record budget briefing before several dozen community leaders when smoke in the elevator penthouse above a brand new elevator triggered the alarm, according to building officials.
Corbett descended the fire exit stairs along with dozens of employees and visitors to the building, chatting with one visitor who had just posed a question about the future of Philadelphia's public schools.
Prior to the budget briefing, Corbett held a ceremonious signing of the Holocaust and genocide education legislation, which passed the Pennsylvania state legislature in June and he had officially signed into law then.
Thursday's ceremony, hosted by Federation, brought together legislators, Holocaust education experts and advocates, community leaders and survivors , many of whom had worked together — and at times against each other — to come up with the final version of the legislation. The bill "strongly encourages" but does not require schools to teach Holocaust curriculum but includes a provision that if fewer than 90 percent of the state's schools are teaching it in two years, then it would be required.