HARRISBURG, March 22 – The state House Judiciary Committee has approved a measure authored by state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, designed to curb animal cruelty throughout the commonwealth. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 17 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today released the following statement after the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed H.B. 1801, which he said would help wrap up the long-overdue 2015-16 state budget: “Until we can come up with a compromise budget that mathematically works and addresses the real fiscal issues we face in Pennsylvania, this plan is the only option. Time is not on our side. I don’t want to see our schools close, and I don’t want to see massive layoffs. I don’t want to see our nonprofits fold, and I don’t want to see Pennsylvanians denied the crucial services they need. I don’t want the divisiveness of this impasse to loom over this great commonwealth and the people we serve. “This is no way to govern or lead, but it’s the unfortunate reality of the situation we’re in, given the lack of ability to compromise, and lack of political will to address the real issues at hand. We are over nine months into the fiscal year, and we need to make sure our schools are not disrupted by the mass dysfunction in Harrisburg. We have many challenges ahead of us and we cannot overcome them without bipartisan support. “Choosing to support this budget proposal wasn’t an easy decision, but I believe that we as a legislative body, and especially its leaders, should have done better because Pennsylvanians deserve better. But at the end of the day, this job requires you Read more
HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today applauded the approval of a bill that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in the commonwealth. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed S.B. 3 , which would allow patients with serious medical conditions including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder and glaucoma, to use the drug. “Today’s vote has been a long time coming for so many people, especially in our area,” Bizzarro said. “It’s been heartbreaking to watch parents beg for relief for their children dealing with debilitating diseases, and hear patients tell alarming stories about having to suffer from chronic pain. Patients and doctors should be able to choose the course of treatment that is right for them, including medical marijuana. I am proud to support this measure and hope it will become law soon.” Under the bill, medical marijuana would only be permitted to be used as a pill; oil; liquid; tincture; topical form, such as a gel, cream, or ointment; or through vaporization or nebulization. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, in addition to the District of Columbia. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration of House amendments. Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated if medical marijuana legislation reaches his desk, he will sign it. Read more
ERIE, March 4 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, is announcing changes to the schedules at his McKean and Edinboro offices. The McKean office, located in the McKean Township Municipal Building at 9231 Edinboro Road, will now be open weekdays by appointment only. The office was previously only open Thursdays. Residents can call (814) 835-2880 to schedule an appointment. Bizzarro’s Edinboro office, located in the Edinboro Municipal Building at 124 Meadville St., Suite 222, is now open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The phone number is (814) 734-2773. "The new schedule will allow my staff and me to more readily help constituents any day of the week,” Bizzarro said. “I encourage anyone who has a question or concern about state government to contact my office. We can assist with Property Ta/Rent Rebate Program applications, questions about PennDOT, and so much more.” In addition, Bizzarro’s main district office is located in the Peninsula Plaza in Erie at 1101 Peninsula Drive, Suite 209. It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays. The office can be reached at (814) 835-2880. Read more
Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more
PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 9 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, issued the following statement after Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address for the 2016-17 fiscal year: “It’s no secret that drastic changes are needed in order to move our commonwealth forward. For too long, job growth has been stagnant, schools have been underfunded and property taxes have ballooned. We can’t afford to continue down such a destructive and unstable path. “I applaud the governor's efforts to improve our state’s finances and put the commonwealth on track for a brighter and prosperous future. By getting Pennsylvania back on sound fiscal footing, we will help build a stronger middle class, fully fund our schools and protect older Pennsylvanians. “The road ahead isn’t easy. Hardworking Pennsylvanians, especially in our region, have already had to make tremendous sacrifices to provide for their families and stay in their homes. We need to be cautious about how we budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and remember to put the people of Pennsylvania before politics and gimmicks. Without question, additional revenue is needed. Finding the appropriate way to generate the revenue is the major issue at hand. “Of course, before any major work can begin on next year’s budget, we need to come to a responsible agreement on the current fiscal plan. The people of Pennsylvania deserve better than the stalemate they’ve been forced to deal with. Read more
Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more
Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more
In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more
ERIE, Dec. 29 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today echoed Gov. Tom Wolf’s call for the legislature to return to session, in light of the governor’s line-item veto of a $30.3 billion budget plan passed by the Senate last week. “By using his constitutional line-item veto authority to substantially scale back more than 100 appropriation lines, Pennsylvania is still without a responsible budget that fully funds our schools, human service and public safety programs,” Bizzarro said. “Simply put: The math just doesn’t add up. It is that simple. The budget sent to the governor is not balanced and will grow the commonwealth’s multi-billion-dollar deficit. This budget spends $30.3 billion without the sufficient revenues to pay for it, and if any governor signed this bill, regardless of their political party affiliation, the commonwealth would end the year over a half-billion dollars out of balance. "Last week, the speaker of the House decided to adjourn and send lawmakers home, instead of staying to pass a compromise plan that would’ve ended the impasse,” Bizzarro added. “We need to return to work and finally pass a responsible budget that works for our state.” Wolf today announced he will line-item veto parts of the budget, including education cuts. In the meantime, he is authorizing the release of emergency funding for key services like schools and human service providers. “While Read more
Pa. state rep. Ryan Bizzarro speaks in favor of moving a state budget forward in the legislative process to get better funding to our schools, human services and others counting on support from the state. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro has introduced a bill that would require hospitals to screen for adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) in newborns. ALD is a debilitating disease that is fatal when left untreated, and can otherwise lead to the loss of voluntary muscle function, hearing, and vision. Screening for ALD could be performed using the same heel pinprick newborns already undergo under the Newborn Child Testing Act. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro held a resource fair for senior citizens and their families at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie. The event allowed seniors to meet Bizzarro and his staff, learn about state-related programs and services, get free flu shots, take part in exercise demonstrations, learn about health care options in their communities and more. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro voted “no” on a bad Pennsylvania budget that does nothing to help restore school funding cuts that have hurt students in our area and does nothing to reduce property taxes for homeowners. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 10 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today lauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement to waive state background check fees for volunteers working with children. “The governor’s action today is encouraging for our volunteers who dedicate so much of their time to improving our communities,” Bizzarro said. “I am proud we will be able to continue protecting our children, as well as give some assistance to the volunteers who help them every day.”
ERIE, Pa. -- It's time to modernize Pennsylvania's election system, and state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro has proposed one way to do so -- allowing same-day voter registration. Read more
Last fall, when Pennsylvania voters ousted a sitting governor for the first time in a century and a half, a resounding majority of the electorate skipped the historic occasion. This spring, when Philadelphia Democrats chose from an array of candidates for the city's highest office, the landslide - some 70 percent - was for doing something else. Meanwhile, nearly a fifth of the state's adults aren't even registered.
In last month’s primary, voter turnout across the state was was 19 percent. Nineteen percent. Eighty-one percent of the voters eligible to cast ballots in that election – in which voters chose judges and county commissioners and state appellate court judges – sat this one out. Read more
ERIE, June 4 – Joined by volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services providers at West Lake Fire Department, state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro today voiced his support for legislation that would exempt emergency responders from paying more than $47 in fees for state and federal background clearances. Bizzarro discussed H.B. 1081 , which would excuse volunteer and paid firefighters and EMS providers from paying the $10 state Department of Human Services child abuse clearance fee, in addition to the $10 Pennsylvania State Police criminal background clearance fee. It would also waive FBI clearance fees, totaling nearly $30, provided the emergency responders have lived in Pennsylvania for the past 10 years and have clean records. “Our volunteers put their lives on the line for us every day, while saving the commonwealth billions of dollars,” Bizzarro said. “We rely on them to keep our communities safe, even though many volunteer organizations’ budgets are suffering. Instead of potentially deterring many interested people from signing up to volunteer, we should ease the burden of these fees so our courageous men and women can continue to help improve our state.” According to Bizzarro, the fees are the unintended consequences from recent changes to the state’s child protection laws. “One of our most important jobs is to protect our children,” Bizzarro said. “However, we also need to look out for those caring Read more
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