EBENSBURG, Jan. 16 – Maintaining his House Democratic leadership role, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, today was unanimously re-elected chairman of the Northwest Delegation. Burns’ peers in the region gave him a second term at the helm of the delegation, whose members coalesce around ideas, legislation and strategy of mutual benefit to them and the people they represent. “I am humbled and appreciative at the vote of confidence demonstrated by today’s action,” Burns said. “As a delegation, we’ve strived to present a united front on key issues. We’ll continue doing that, to amplify our voice in Harrisburg as we fight for issues of mutual importance.” Burns said he looks forward to cultivating a strong working relationship with the rest of the Northwest Delegation leadership team: Vice Chairman Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, Treasurer Rep. Robert Merski and Secretary Rep. Pat Harkins, all of whom are Democrats from Erie County. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Bob Merski will be taking on a leadership role as he starts his first term in the House: Merski announced today that he has been elected treasurer of the House Democratic Northwest Delegation. “I’m honored and excited to be a part of the group’s leadership,” Merski said. “The delegation is key to providing a unified voice on the issues that matter to our region’s working families. It’s a way for us to join forces as legislators and bring attention to goals, interests and challenges that are shared by families throughout our area of the state. Collective voices speak louder, and being a part of that effort is a terrific opportunity.” Merski added that he is looking forward to strategizing with other members of the Northwest leadership team, including chairman Rep. Frank Burns of Cambria County; vice chairman Rep. Ryan Bizzarro of Erie County; and secretary Rep. Pat Harkins, also of Erie County. Read more
State Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, is pleased the Hospice House and inpatient hospice services in Monroe County will resume operation upon approvals and staffing the facility. Representatives of Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono and an advisory committee of community members who formed to assess the facility’s future made the announcement today after a 90-day review which concluded that reopening the facility for local inpatient services would be in the area’s best interest. "Monroe County's first and only hospice center, built by the people, for the people, is finally re-opening its doors,” Madden said. “The residents expressed sadness and anger when the hospice closed, and protested over the loss of such a vital part of the community. Their voices have been heard and this needed facility and its services again will be available to the community." Madden said the opening of the East Brown Street facility in East Stroudsburg is dependent upon regulatory approvals from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and how quickly staff can be hired. The committee also recommended building referrals and increased community awareness throughout Monroe County and northeast Pennsylvania. In addition, the facility will hold an open house as efforts to resume inpatient services continue. Madden said formal evaluations every six months and a review every two years will be conducted. Planning also continues to display Read more
Rep. Ed Gainey was joined Wednesday in the chamber of the state House of Representatives by fellow legislators of all races, genders and creeds as they paid tribute to the American civil rights leader, who would have turned 90 this year. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, along with delegation members today announced their legislative agenda during a news conference at the state Capitol. The delegation said its top priorities for working toward a better Philadelphia include investing in education and schools, criminal justice reform, health care for all, strengthening commercial coordinators, and alternative energy methods. "We are joining forces to work as one unit for the betterment of all Philadelphians, and that begins with fighting for what our constituents need the most,” Dawkins said. "We are also focused on making sure that everyone gets a fair shot and equal treatment." “Last session we worked in bipartisan fashion to get clean slate legislation signed into law and bring real criminal justice reform to those who need it,” said Rep. Jordan Harris, the Democratic Whip. “Now, we must continue fighting for further reform to reduce recidivism and allow Pennsylvanians who have paid their debit to society to pursue a productive path to citizenry.” “For too long our criminal justice system has been an injustice system for the mentally ill, the poor, and people of color,” said Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. “While we’ve made progress, our prisons remain overcrowded, inmates mistreated, and mental health problems ignored. I stand with my Philadelphia colleagues to address Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – Attending Gov. Tom Wolf’s inauguration today, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, said he was encouraged by the priorities the governor expressed for his second term. “I’m excited for Governor Wolf’s second term,” Merski said. “His address today – and particularly his emphasis on education, workforce development and jobs – made clear that the commonwealth’s working families are front and center in his agenda. It’s good to know that we share the same central priority – a commitment to the needs of Pennsylvania’s families – because we accomplish more when we work toward a shared agenda. “I was especially glad to hear the governor emphasize the importance of investing in our schools. From my years as an Erie educator, I understand the critical role education – from pre-K through career training and higher education – plays in equipping our next generation to take on the demands of the modern workforce. It’s good to know we’ll be working together to enact laws and promote programs that give our kids the start they need so they can stay and raise families in the state, invest back into the economy and ensure that the commonwealth continues to prosper. “Being at the state Capitol for the inauguration also reminded me how fortunate I feel to be representing the people of Erie, and how I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and start Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery, announced that she is proposing new legislation that would make voting more accessible to all Pennsylvanians. The bill would allow an election official to bring a paper ballot – or portable voting machine when available – to any voter outside the physical polling place who has a physical, emotional, intellectual, or developmental disability or short-term inability that would preclude them from easily accessing voting machines. “Just as voting is central to our democratic process, accessibility should become central to the voting process,” said Hanbidge. “It is critical that we enhance accessibility at the voting booth and work to eliminate as many obstacles as possible by minimizing the physical challenges voters face on their way to the ballot box.” Hanbidge said that she’s proposing this bill, her first piece of legislation, to protect every Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to vote. “Voting is a right and a privilege, and we should treat it as such,” said Hanbidge. “We need to make participation in our government as accessible as possible to as many Pennsylvanians as possible.” Hanbidge’s bill is part of a package of bills, called Your Vote Counts , proposed by PA House Democrats. The package is meant to break down barriers to voting and make it easier for citizens to participate in elections. Hanbidge and her Read more
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, will bring the House Democratic Policy Committee to her legislative district to discuss how government and businesses can work together to enhance neighborhoods and ensure all residents benefit from development coming to their communities. Read more
BRADDOCK, Jan. 15 – State Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on wage growth in Pennsylvania. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 at Unity Baptist Church, 420 Fifth St., Braddock. The media and public are invited to attend. Lee requested the hearing to discuss increasing the minimum wage, establishing a living wage, how wage boards can help create truly fair wages for all workers and other suggestions for wage growth in the Commonwealth. She will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 2:10 p.m. Jennifer Berrier , deputy secretary for Safety and Labor-Management Relations, Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry 2:40 p.m. Panel One: Chad Trainer , legislative director, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Steve Kelly , member, 32BJ Shirley Jones , member, SEIU Healthcare PA Clive March , member, SEIU Healthcare PA John Mutchka , dietary worker, UPMC Presbyterian Hospital 3:20 p.m. Panel Two: David Madland, Ph.D. , senior fellow, Center for American Progress Logan Bialik , graduate student assistant, University of Pittsburgh 3:50 p.m. Closing Remarks For more information about the Policy Committee, go to www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – Continuing her ascension into key positions, state Rep. Pam Snyder was today unanimously elected chairperson of the Southwest Delegation of the House Democratic Caucus. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Snyder being named a House Democratic deputy whip, whose duties revolve around ensuring members are present for votes and in tallying support prior to a vote. As she tackles her fourth term, Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, will also now be tasked with devising strategy and promoting ideas on a regional basis – a platform and challenge she said she embraces with great gusto. “Being elected by my surrounding peers to lead the charge on issues of collective importance is a responsibility I do not take lightly,” Snyder said. “I intend to help set and guide our agenda, with a keen focus on what benefits all of us and the people we represent.” First and foremost for Snyder is an expanded push to bring reliable broadband internet into rural areas, a signature effort she’s led in recent years with palpable successes, including a role as co-founder of the legislature’s Broadband Caucus and the governor’s formation of a state Office of Broadband Initiatives. “As I assume leadership of the Southwest Delegation, I’ll be keeping expanded broadband front and center in our discussions, along with other important issues,” Snyder said. “Job creation and Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware, will host an open house from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 for the grand opening of her district office at 905 W. Sproul Road, Suite 203 in Springfield and is inviting residents and families to attend. Residents can expect light refreshments, as well as the chance to meet O’Mara and learn about her legislative priorities for the 165 th District. Interested residents can RSVP to email@example.com . “I want residents to know that I am working for them both in Harrisburg and here at home,” O’Mara said. “I’m looking forward to meeting constituents and learning how my office and I can assist them with state government-related matters. “I’ve been hard at work, getting our services up and running so that I’m able to assist constituents. My office is officially set up to provide SEPTA key cards for seniors so they can ride for free and I’ve been attending local county commissioner meetings to learn about the issues facing our community.” O’Mara also has established two mobile offices in addition to her district office. Residents of Wayne can visit her office at 301 Iven Ave. on the first Thursday of every month from noon to 4 p.m. and residents of Morton can visit her office at 500 Highland Ave. on the third Thursday of every month from noon to 4 p.m. Services that O’Mara’s offices can help assist with include Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, wants to make it easier for voters to update their voter registration signature. Schlossberg said because many people register to vote at age 18 or as young adults, signatures can change over time. It the signature doesn’t match the one from many years ago, this could result in a person’s vote being thrown out. “When you walk into the voting area, you are asked to sign the registration book next to your name,” Schlossberg said. "People's signatures can change over time. My legislation would allow a voter to update a voter registration signature by submitting a voter registration application to the county board of elections.” Schlossberg’s proposed legislation is included in a package of bills proposed by House Democratic lawmakers that would make it easier for people to register to vote and cast a ballet, and restore peoples’ faith in their elections. Read more
State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, said his constituent service office in McKeesport will soon offer free income tax preparation assistance to seniors. Read more
UPPER DARBY, Jan. 15 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, announced she and state Sen. Tim Kearney will host the 2nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Brunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21 at Upper Darby Post 214 American Legion, 6914 Chestnut Street, Upper Darby. U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon will be guest speaker. The event is open to the public but people must pre-register by calling Davidson’s office to secure their seat. There will be no tickets distributed at the door. The event will celebrate the late Dr. King’s ties to Chester and Delaware counties, where the foundation was laid for the man he would become and the movement he would lead. He was a student at Upland’s Crozier Theological Seminary and found a lifelong mentor in the Rev. J. Pius Barbour of Chester’s Calvary Baptist Church. During this time, King also heard a speech in Philadelphia on Gandhian non-violent resistance, which electrified him. In a speech given at Calvary Baptist Church in 1949, King said, “As long as each individual refuses to accept his moral responsibility, there can never be any hope for a better life, either for him or the world.” The Davidson-Kearney event will feature a brunch and the second annual “Judge Carolyn H. Nichols Drum Major for Justice” award ceremony to recognize local civil rights activists. The award is named after the highest-ranking African-American female justice ever elected to the Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – Commenting on the inauguration of Gov. Tom Wolf today, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, said he was encouraged to hear the governor express a continuing commitment to education, workforce development and jobs during his second term. “As I listened to the governor’s address, I was heartened to hear his focus on the needs of Pennsylvania’s working families,” Bizzarro said. “My own work representing the people of Erie has only reaffirmed for me how much their spirit, their energy and their industriousness make our region what it is – from building our economy to raising a new generation of Pennsylvanians with those same values. “As a legislator, I’m encouraged to know that the governor shares my priority of putting working families first. Having common priorities only strengthens our ability to enact laws and implement programs that boost our schools, provide comprehensive workforce development programs that keep pace with modern technology and promote a strong economy with the best possible job opportunities. “In short, the objectives are helping our families prosper, keeping our economy strong, and giving a good start to a new generation that’s well-equipped to take on the future. A shared agenda is more likely to make that happen.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/ Montgomery, will host a hearing of the House Democratic Policy Committee on Jan. 24 to discuss the impact of methane leakage from Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry on climate change. Vitali is the newly appointed Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resource and Energy Committee. The hearing will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Haverford Township Administration Building, 1014 Darby Road, Havertown, 19083, in the Commissioners Meeting Room. Vitali will be joined by state legislators from across the commonwealth, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. Speakers include Dr. Richard Alley , Professor of Geosciences, Penn State University; Professor Don Brown , Scholar in Residence, Widener Law; Dr. Tony Ingraffea , Emeritus Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University; Professor Peter DeCarlo , Associate Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering , Drexel University; Rob Altenburg , Director , PennFuture Energy Center; Andrew Williams , Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, U.S. Climate and Energy , Environmental Defense Fund; Dr. Arvind Ravikumar , Assistant Professor of Energy Engineering , Harrisburg University of Science and Technology; Leann Leiter , Pennsylvania and Ohio Field Advocate , EarthWorks; and Krish Ramamurthy , Director of Bureau of Air Quality, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Read more
SCRANTON, Jan. 14 – Area veterans are invited to take part in the monthly support program next week at the office of state Rep. Marty Flynn. A representative from the American Legion Service Office Outreach program will be in Flynn's office – Jay's Commons, 409 N. Main Ave. – from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23 to provide information on services available to veterans and their families. The American Legion representatives are available to discuss education, health care and death benefits. Legion membership is not required to take advantage of the help, but anyone interested in speaking to the advisers is recommended to schedule an appointment through Flynn’s office at 570-342-4348. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., announced she will host her first event since taking office as state representative of the 184th Legislative District . The Health and Wellness Fair will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 at the East Passyunk Recreation Center, 1025 Mifflin St., 19148. Fiedler said this family-friendly event will have a dance class for kids, exercise and healthy eating tips, information on health and safety programs for people of all ages, and door prizes. She and her staff also will be on-hand to meet attendees and answer any questions they may have regarding state services. “It’s a new year and with it comes New Year’s resolutions, including living healthier, but that sometimes takes a back seat while we all try to balance work, family and our health,” Fiedler said. “My event will provide great resources for busy families to get information they need to work together toward a healthy lifestyle and have fun at the same time.” For more information, constituents can call 215-271-9190 or email RepFiedler@pahouse.net . Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., will host a district office grand opening from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 at 1501 N. Broad St., Suite 17 . “My staff and I are excited to get to work for our neighbors,” Kenyatta said. “I invite all those in the district to come to our office to meet face to face with myself and the people who are working for them. I want open communication with my community. We could not be here without the support of our citizens, and now it’s finally time to give back. Let us know what we can do to serve you to the best of our ability.” Kenyatta encourages residents of Philadelphia’s 181st Legislative District to come to the event to meet his staff and to learn about the various constituent services offered. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the district office at 215-978-0311 or visit www.pahouse.com/Kenyatta , which has links to information on state services and includes a form that enables residents to email him. Residents can also follow Kenyatta on Facebook www.Facebook.com/RepKenyatta and Twitter @RepKenyatta . Read more
American democracy started here in 1776, but in 2019 special interests have too much power that should belong to the voters. House Democrats have a plan to increase voter turnout, make it easier for citizens to register to vote and to cast a ballot, and restore peoples’ faith in their elections. Together, we'll take Pennsylvania from one of the toughest states in which to vote to one of the easiest for a voter to be heard. Read more
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