HARRISBURG, June 8 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would establish the Task Force on Juvenile Life Sentences. Dawkins said the task force would develop recommendations on how to best handle appeals and applications for post-conviction relief from the hundreds of people who were sentenced to mandatory life without parole when they were under 18. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life without parole sentences for people who were under 18 at the time of the offense are unconstitutional. Then, on Jan. 25, 2016, the court ruled in Montgomery v. Louisiana that its decision in Miller must be applied retroactively. Dawkins says that this creates a greater challenge for Pennsylvania to comply with Miller and Montgomery than most states, as it is home to nearly 500 of the nation’s 2,000 "juvenile lifers." "My legislation calls for a thorough and comprehensive review of laws, court decisions, policies and procedures," Dawkins said. "This will ensure an efficient appeals and post-conviction relief process that will provide just and fair sentences that are in line with the Supreme Court's rulings in Miller v. Alabama and Montgomery v. Louisiana ." The task force would be comprised of 11 experts knowledgeable and experienced in issues relating to criminal appeals, post-conviction relief, and the appropriate sentencing of youth offenders. It would be Read more
HARRISBURG, June 7 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., introduced legislation that would abolish sentences of life without parole in Pennsylvania and extend parole eligibility to those already sentenced to life imprisonment. Specifically, Dawkins’s bill would permit a person sentenced to life imprisonment to be released on parole after spending at least 15 years in prison. It also would extend parole eligibility retroactively to those sentenced before the legislation's effective date. Dawkins said that all life sentences in Pennsylvania are imposed without the possibility of parole, which means that people sentenced to life imprisonment may not be considered for parole, no matter how much they have reformed themselves and no matter how unlikely they are to reoffend. "Those sentenced to life in Pennsylvania have no chance of release, even if their age or health make it extremely unlikely that they will ever reoffend," Dawkins said. "Not only is this an injustice to those who are incarcerated and have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation, it also is fiscally irresponsible to require taxpayers to foot the bill for sentences that are longer than necessary." Dawkins added that his bill would not grant a right to parole, and that the Board of Probation and Parole would continue to thoroughly examine parole requests. "The Board of Probation and Parole will continue to carefully consider requests for parole. This bill Read more
HARRISBURG, May 2 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced today that his bill, H.B. 2033 , that would require the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to waive the fee for identification cards for applicants that are low-income, disabled, or experiencing homelessness was assigned to the House Transportation Committee for consideration. The current application fee for an identification card is $28.50. Dawkins said the cost can be prohibitively expensive to those Pennsylvanians who are struggling to get by, and lacking proper identification can be an immense barrier to accessing employment, educational opportunities, financial services, and government programs. Waiving this fee, while having little effect on PennDOT’s revenue, will have a profound impact on those for whom a government-issued photo ID would otherwise be out of reach. “Ensuring that all Pennsylvanians have access to a government-issued photo ID is critical,” Dawkins said. “You need an ID to get a job or an apartment, enroll in school, or open a bank account. We need to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens aren’t needlessly held back simply because they can’t afford such a high fee.” ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 21 -- State Reps. Mike Driscoll, Ed Neilson, Jason Dawkins and Kevin Boyle announced today that four ambulance companies in Northeast Philadelphia are sharing nearly $29,000 in state grants.
"First responders are essential to public safety, and these grants provide them with resources so they can remain more focused on saving lives than on raising funds," Driscoll said. "These men and women make a tremendous sacrifice, and I applaud their service to our communities."
The grants are from Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program and were awarded in February. In all, 2,538 grants were awarded statewide. The grants are partly funded from gaming revenue.
"Northeast Philadelphia relies on these ambulance companies and their volunteers to be there for us when every second counts," Neilson said. "These grants will help them continue to provide this invaluable services to our community."
Grant recipients and amounts awarded in Northeast Philadelphia are as follows:
• Northeast First Aid Corps – $7,202
• Burholme First Aid Corps Inc. – $7,202
• Rhawnhurst Bustleton Ambulance Association Inc. – $7,202
• Wissinoming Volunteer First Aid Corps – $7,202
"Serving on the front lines whenever there is a fire, accident or other calamity, these essential service providers are among the most worthy recipients of state aid," Dawkins said. "These funds will allow them to continue their mission of providing life-saving services for our Read more
Pa. House Rep. Jason Dawkins wonders where the support is for public education and human services. Dawkins speaks in favor of Gov. Wolf's proposal to increase funding for education, lower and eliminate property taxes, make industry pair their fair share and fix the structural shortfall in the state budget. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today announced the award of $7 million in state tax credits to aid construction of a new $29 million shopping center at Harbison Avenue and Tulip Street. Known as Shoppes at Wissinoming, the 110,000-square-foot project will include a Shoprite Supermarket as the anchor tenant, plus space for retail stores and restaurants. “This is great news for our area,” Dawkins said. “I am committed to providing the 179 th District with the resources it needs to support healthy food options and family-sustaining jobs. Shoprite will bring fresh food and produce to our area, which we have been lacking for a long time. The project and new businesses will also create hundreds of jobs, and help move our community forward.” Shoppes at Wissinoming is expected to support 250 full-time jobs during 18 months of construction and create 300 permanent, full-time jobs once completed and fully occupied. Shoprite is expected to employ more than 200 full- and part-time workers who will be offered benefits, job training and career advancement opportunities. ### 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
Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins says it's time for lawmakers to put people before politics and take Pennsylvania down a path where schools are funded, those in need get help and our homeowners don't face higher property taxes every year. 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
Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins speaks about his house resolution honoring the victims of the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs. Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., voted against a bill that would give anonymity to police officers who discharge a firearm or use force unless the officer is charged with a crime in the incident. Proponents claim that the bill, H.B. 1538 , would protect police officers and their families from retaliation when they discharge their firearm or use force, but it seems that it only serves to shield them from any scrutiny of the actions, Dawkins said. "At a time when the relationship between law enforcement and the minority communities they serve is already strained, the last thing we need is a bill that would create suspicion and potentially damage public trust," Dawkins said. "This is a poorly written bill that may be unconstitutional. I am a huge supporter of our men and women who put that uniform on every day to protect the people of this great city, but transparency is desperately needed for our public figures." Dawkins also noted that Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association oppose this bill. The bill passed the House 162-38 and now goes to the Senate. ### 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
HARRISBURG, Oct. 27 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today applauded House passage of a bill that would allow for criminal record expungement in certain situations. As the only African American and Philadelphian on the House Judiciary Committee, Dawkins played a crucial part in moving the bill out of committee for the historic floor vote in the House. "This legislation would directly benefit thousands of Philadelphians suffering from past convictions, which prohibit them from gainful employment and housing," Dawkins said. "Criminal record expungement will allow them to move past prior offenses and become productive citizens." The bill, S.B. 166, would allow a person convicted of a third- or second-degree misdemeanor, if at least 10 years have passed since they completed their sentence, to request the opportunity to appear before a judge and ask for an expungement. All violent offenses punishable by imprisonment of more than two years, and many others of a serious nature, would be prohibited from being subject to an order for limited access under the bill. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. ### Read more
Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins is joined by hundreds of students to demand the Commonwealth do more to help Cheyney University – America’s oldest historically Black institution of higher education – as it struggles to survive in a time of budget crisis and faltering student enrollment. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins applauds the House’s approval of a bill that would allow thousands of Pennsylvanians to have their criminal records expunged. S.B. 166 would allow a person convicted of a third- or second-degree misdemeanor, and who completed their sentence at least 10 years ago, to ask to appear before a judge to request an order for limited access of their criminal record. The bill would give a second chance to many people, including Philadelphians, who are struggling to find housing and employment due to their prior convictions. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins talks about the unintended consequences of a proposal that would re-enact mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins says it's time to restore funding cuts to the critical human service programs that help people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities, the homeless, and those looking for jobs. After years of budget cuts, Dawkins says it's time for Republicans to give these programs the funding they need to help all those who need it for the long run. Read more
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