HARRISBURG, June 20 – Citing a strong investment in kindergarten through 12 th grade education and school safety, state Rep. Tom Caltagirone voted today for Pennsylvania’s 2018-19 General Fund budget. The budget bill, H.B. 2121, passed the House 188-10. The budget now goes to the Senate for a vote that is expected to happen Friday. Caltagirone said that he welcomed the increase in basic and special education funding for the Reading and Governor Mifflin school districts. “At a time when the Reading School District is considering a 4 percent tax increase to make up for the $3.8 million deficit, I am proud to be able to bring an additional $5,031,122 home for the district, and hopefully this funding can help them avoid a tax increase as well as provide our students with the resources they need to achieve great things. “Not to be outdone, I was able to get Governor Mifflin a 2.5 percent increase in basic education funding. “I am happy we are able to pass a budget on time with no tax or fee increases, but we also prioritize programs that matter most to the people I represent. “We increased funding for education. We made a $70 million investment in school safety, and this budget begins to replenish the Rainy Day Fund for the first time since 2006. “We are providing more funding for child care, fighting the opioid crisis, reducing the waiting list for people seeking services for intellectual disabilities and at my Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – The Democratic Women’s Caucus, which includes 21 diverse women from across the state, has condemned President Donald Trump’s actions separating families at U.S. borders. “Trump’s immigration policy is inhumane and a national embarrassment. Many of our colleagues have co-sponsored H.R. 1000 urging the president to immediately reverse this outrageous policy,” the caucus said in a joint statement. Trump today signed an executive order expressing some level of desire to keep families together, but will not renounce so-called zero-tolerance border patrol policies. State Rep. Emilio Vazquez, D-Philadelphia, is one of several key co-sponsors of the House resolution, as this policy adversely affects Latinos disproportionately. He and state Rep. Helen Tai worked on the resolution. Tai, who is the prime sponsor of the resolution, is the newest member of the Women’s Caucus, a woman of color and only the second Asian woman to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. There are currently no Latinas serving in the state House of Representatives. Women and women of color are underrepresented in government on the local, state and federal levels. “These facts are important because I believe that we would not see so many anti-immigrant and anti-family policies if more women and more diversity including women of color, Latinas, and others had their voices heard. It could lift our public discourse, Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee considered several gun safety reform measures at meetings Tuesday and Wednesday. The bills that were approved by the committee include: H.B. 1872, which would ban devices such as “bump stocks” that assist in rapid firing. H.B. 2060, which would ensure that domestic abusers be required to relinquish weapons to an appropriate authority. H.B. 2227, which would allow concerned family members and law enforcement to file for extreme risk protective orders to prohibit firearm possession by individuals who are at risk or causing harm to themselves or others. H.B. 273, which would allow people with mental or physical health concerns to voluntarily surrender their firearms. H.B. 2266 and H.B. 2267, which would require expedited reporting of mental health records to state police. Of the bills considered, only H.B. 1400, requiring universal background checks, failed by one vote, 13 to 14. “Today was a historic day for Pennsylvania and the effort to enact overdue firearm reforms,” said PA SAFE Co-Chair Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery. “While I am disappointed that universal background checks failed to be reported out — despite overwhelming public support — I am eager to continue progress on these other life-saving bills for full passage as soon as possible. And I am determined to have universal background check for all firearm sales in Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, is pleased that the House passed H.B. 2121 , the 2018-19 state spending plan. Led by increases in state funding that benefit area school districts and higher education, Hanna released the following statement on the new budget: “I’m happy we were able to increase funding for basic, special and early education by $140 million and in higher education by $15 million,” said Hanna, the House Democratic Whip. “We need to start relieving our students and families of some of the highest higher education tuition rates in the nation, and the crushing debt burden that too many young people face as they leave school and begin their families and careers. “Having a budget pass on time shows a bipartisan effort to tackle the demands of the needs throughout the commonwealth. What’s equally important is that this budget has no tax increases. “With the opioid crisis hitting the commonwealth hard, I’m happy to see more funding to fight that epidemic, along with maintaining funding for seniors through the Lottery Fund, and an increase to fix and manage our roads. “The commitment to putting more money into the Rainy Day Fund is also something we can be proud of. We haven’t had the additional money available to do that for over a decade, but it is something that is needed should the economy take a downturn.” Hanna added, “More and more of our Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Angel Cruz’s latest effort to curb gun violence is moving forward, after his mental health legislation was voted out of committee today and now heads to the full House for consideration. “Senseless killings are constantly happening in our streets and taking the lives of those we love most,” said Cruz, D-Phila. “Closing mental health loopholes is one tool, among many others I’m proposing, to help us ensure that guns do not get into the wrong hands.” Cruz, Democratic chairman of the House Human Services Committee, said his bills (H.B. 2266 & 2267) would update procedures to require officers and judges to report mental health notifications to the Pennsylvania State Police within 72 hours instead of the current seven days of adjudication, treatment or involuntary commitment. Once the information is received, PSP would be required to submit it to the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS). “Cutting this timetable is critical in making sure that our background checks systems for gun purchases have the most up to date information,” Cruz explained. “Lives are at stake and my legislation would strengthen our laws to better protect our communities.” These bills join a number of others he’s authored to prevent senseless gun violence across the commonwealth, including: H.B. 1771 – would establish a statewide gun buyback program; H.B. 657 Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, added his “yes” vote to the state’s $32.7 billion spending plan, noting that the bill addresses key needs in the commonwealth without increasing taxes or fees on residents. “I voted for House Bill 2121 – the General Appropriations bill – because it addresses key priorities like strengthening education and career resources for young Pennsylvanians while also addressing pressing needs such as school safety and the opioid crisis,” Readshaw said. “Most importantly, the bill would do this without increasing the tax burden on citizens, and it would allow the state to put money aside in the Rainy Day Fund to ensure that we’re prepared to meet future needs. “The bill may not be perfect, but it would allocate spending in a practical way that addresses the needs and concerns of Pennsylvania’s working families. That is why the budget received my support.” The bill heads to the Senate for consideration. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., fellow lawmakers and advocates held a news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol to celebrate Juneteenth. Juneteenth originates from the events of June 19, 1865, when African-American Union soldiers from Pennsylvania escorted Gen. Gordon Granger to Galveston, Tex., to read Order No. 3 and free the last slaves in the United States. Brown said, "African-Americans in the United States are still facing challenges to access basic opportunities and services such as education and health. The denial of opportunities only serves to obstruct the progress of a nation. Juneteenth is a time when we remember that we can do better." Also Tuesday, the House adopted a resolution ( H.R. 871 ), introduced by Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., designating the day as Juneteenth Independence Day in Pennsylvania for 2018. In addition, legislation ( H.B. 2488 ) to make the designation permanent advanced out of a House committee Tuesday and is expected to pass the full House next week. That bill is sponsored by Rep. Sue Helm, R-Dauphin/Lebanon, and supported by Brown and several other legislators. Kinsey said, “We’ve been pushing to make Juneteenth a permanent celebration in the commonwealth for several years. I’m thankful for the bipartisan support for this bill during the 2017-18 legislative session.” Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, announced today that he voted in favor of the state’s new $32.7 billion spending plan, citing the bill’s emphasis on strengthening education and workforce development while also addressing school safety needs. “The bill the House passed today would fund educational, career training and workforce development resources while at the same time providing the critical funding needed to enhance school safety in the commonwealth,” Harkins said. “I have been emphasizing the importance of securing our schools for months, and now, with legislation and dollars, we can make that happen. “At the same time, the bill would accomplish key goals without imposing any new taxes or fees on residents, and it would allow us to replenish the state’s Rainy Day Fund so that we’re prepared to address future needs that may arise. “It may not be a perfect bill, but it would address some of the commonwealth’s most pressing needs without imposing the burden of added taxes, and for that reason, I voted for it. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – House Democratic leaders said the 2018-19 state budget passed by the House reflects many of the values Pennsylvanians have been talking about this year. "People across Pennsylvania want good schools in their neighborhoods that are safe for their kids, good jobs that support families, and communities that are healthy and safe to live and work in," Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said. "They want a budget that supports these values and opens opportunities for success for everyone. That's the direction this budget begins to point Pennsylvania." The general appropriation bill passed today makes new investments in lifelong learning, from pre-kindergarten to college, and beyond. Schools will receive a $100 million basic education increase in the ongoing effort to help them recover from the historic cuts made by Republicans in 2011. There are also new investments in special education and early learning. Legislators expect to pass related measures in the coming days that will also provide funding to make schools safer for students and staff. The budget includes a boost for the colleges that many Pennsylvania students attend, including increases for four state-related universities, the 14 state-system universities and 14 community colleges. "We need to start relieving our students and families of some of the highest tuition rates in the nation, and the crushing debt burden that too many young people face as they Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, issued the following statement on his support of the 2018-19 General Fund bill, which passed the House today: “I am pleased to have voted for a budget bill that holds the line on taxes, while making strategic investments in education, career training and services to our most vulnerable citizens. This bipartisan spending bill demonstrates that, working together, we can address our citizens’ most pressing needs, while being mindful of the financial pressures faced by taxpayers.” Longietti pointed to critical investments in education programs for children and training programs for those seeking jobs. “As co-chairman of the House/Senate Early Childhood Education Caucus, I am pleased that the budget includes $25 million in additional funding for early childhood education programs like Pre-K Counts and Head Start. These investments will open the doors to high-quality early learning for thousands of children across the commonwealth, including many right here in Mercer County.” In addition to a 1.7 percent increase in Basic Education Funding for schools, Longietti also highlighted an investment of $30 million in additional funding for career and technical education. “In Mercer County, there are family-sustaining jobs available in trades and advanced manufacturing, but there is a need for qualified workers. The investment in career and technical education will help students Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, said she is pleased that all school districts in the 115 th Legislative District have received funding increases in the recently passed 2018-19 state budget that also contains no new taxes. “While I am pleased that the House passed the state budget with these education increases, I am still hopeful that in the near future all school districts will be funded fair and equitability," Madden said. Madden is co-sponsoring legislation ( H.B. 2501) authored by state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., which would require that 100 percent of state funds are distributed through the fair funding formula effective immediately. Madden said Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts still suffer from the greatest funding disparity in the nation. “Your ZIP code should not determine the school funding in your district. School districts with the greatest student poverty are always hit hardest,” Madden said. The Monroe County lawmaker said the $32.7 billion fiscal plan will help move her district forward by investing in initiatives that benefit families. “Everyone in Pennsylvania deserves access to a quality education, child care, and better resources and services, and this budget does just that,” Madden said. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, voted today in favor of the new $32.7 billion state spending plan, citing the bill’s emphasis on strengthening education and career training in the commonwealth while promoting school safety and attacking the opioid addiction crisis. “Kids deserve good schools and workers need access to training,” Matzie said. “High school graduates should have affordable options. This budget bill does that. “At the same time, the bill addresses funding for school safety and combatting the heroin and opioid addiction crises. House Bill 2121 – the general appropriations bill the House passed today – would increase funding to accomplish these goals without imposing any kind of tax increase. “This budget bill isn’t perfect. No budget bill is. What it does is adequately deliver the core functions of government without increasing taxes.” The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, voted in favor of a new $32.7 billion state spending plan today, citing beneficial increases in state educational funding. House Bill 2121 – the general appropriations bill the House passed today – would provide increases of $100 million for basic education, $25 million for early education funding and $15 million for special education funding. “The spending plan we passed today would directly benefit our state’s most important resource for the future – our children,” Davis said. “I’m especially encouraged that every school district in the 35th Legislative District which I represent would see increases in both basic and special education funding.” Davis noted that the bill would provide the following increases: • Clairton Valley – 2.6 percent for basic education funding and 1.7 percent for special education funding. • Duquesne City – 0.9 percent for basic education funding and 1.3 percent for special education funding. • McKeesport Area – 1.6 percent for basic education funding and 1.8 percent for special education funding. • South Allegheny – 0.6 percent for basic education funding and 2.0 percent for special education funding. • Steel Valley – 2.2 percent for basic education funding and 1.7 percent for special education funding. • West Mifflin Area – 1.6 percent for basic Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery issued the following statement regarding today’s passage of the state budget by the House of Representatives. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, issued the following statement regarding today’s House of Representatives passage of the $32.7 billion state budget. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., issued the following statement concerning President Trump’s immigration policies: “This administration’s immigration policy is shameful and disgraceful. There is no excuse for our nation to be willingly participating in such inhumane treatment of families who have come to our country seeking safety and asylum. “There has been pushback against this policy from both sides of the aisle. I am sure a bipartisan solution can certainly be found without cruelly tearing families apart. “I call the Trump administration to immediately terminate this policy, and for the reunification of all children and parents who have been separated thus far.” A resolution urging President Trump to reverse his zero tolerance family-separation immigration policy will be introduced in the state House in the upcoming days. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, issued the following statement on the passing of H.B. 2121, the General Fund bill that constitutes a state spending plan for fiscal year 2018-19: “I’m happy to announce that today the House of Representatives was successful in passing the general appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018-19. Both Democrats and Republicans were able and willing to work together to get this bill passed on time. It’s my hope that this is the new standard for all state budgets moving forward. “Most importantly, I’d like to note that this bill reflects a balanced budget with no tax increases, which is great news for our region and commonwealth residents as a whole. Even more so, it’s encouraging to see a state budget that includes a full-court press when it comes to continued funding for education and combatting the ongoing opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania. “With the allotted funding, we’ll see a 1.7 percent increase in basic education funding; a 1.4 percent increase in special education funding; and a remarkable 11 percent increase -- $25 million -- for early education funding. This is great news, as it reflects the commonwealth’s commitment to crafting the minds of our youth at a very young age. “While this budget isn’t perfect, it is a step in the right direction. It properly reflects the needs of the folks we represent and puts Pennsylvanians first, which is Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – Continuing investments in education, workforce development, roads and bridges, and fighting the opioid abuse epidemic today won a 'yes' vote from state Rep. Helen Tai, D-Bucks, when House lawmakers considered and passed the 2018-19 General Fund budget. “As with any compromise, there are pluses and minuses to the budget I considered on behalf of the people I represent,” Tai said. “Overall, the budget makes good on my commitment to building an economy that works for everyone, where the path to opportunity is clear and accessible. The budget makes continuing investments in basic, higher, and career and technical education, as well workforce development and job creation. It ensures the funding we need to continue to fix our roads and bridges and it recognizes that Pennsylvania, like many other states, is in the fight of its life to combat the opioid and heroin abuse epidemic plaguing our nation.” According to Tai, the 2018-19 General Fund budget represents a $718.9 million, or 2.2 percent, increase over last year. In addition to a $165 million increase for pre-k through 12 education, an additional $60 million will be available for school and community safety initiatives. Another $40 million will go toward Gov. Tom Wolf’s computer science, STEM and workforce initiative, also known as PA Smart. Pennsylvania state-system universities will see a 3.3 percent increase while community colleges and Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced today that two low-income census tracts in the 38th Legislative District, which he represents, were approved by the U.S. Treasury Department as “Qualified Opportunity Zones.” The census tracts – both located in Glassport Borough – were nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf under a federal program that provides tax incentives to private investors for investing in low-income communities. “Private investment will revitalize these areas by funding development that will create job opportunities, better housing and expanded community resources,” Kortz said. “Hardworking residents of these communities deserve the promise of a better life for themselves and their families.” Under the program – which is administered by the Treasury under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – states may nominate a certain percentage of census tracts as Qualified Opportunity Zones. Private investors receive tax benefits for investing capital gains in these areas. Pennsylvania had 1,197 low-income census tracts eligible for Qualified Opportunity Zone status and was given the opportunity to nominate 25 percent, or 300 tracts. The nominations were announced in April and approved this month. An interactive map of the tracts is available here . Read more
HARRISBURG, June 19 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution (H.R. 871) introduced by Rep. Stephen Kinsey and co-sponsored by Rep. Vanessa Brown, both D-Phila., which recognizes today as Juneteenth Independence Day in Pennsylvania. “Juneteenth celebrates the heritage, family and community spirit of African culture. We commemorate this day to the freedom of the millions of Africans who survived their harrowing journey, and to the continued education and achievement of African-Americans today,” Kinsey said. “It is also an opportunity for everyone – as individuals, as institutions – to recommit to liberty, justice and equality, so we can move our nation forward, providing opportunities and promoting success for all.” On June 19, 1865, troops under the command of Major Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas and, in addition to announcing the end of the Civil War, issued General Order No. 3 proclaiming all slaves to be free, including absolute equality in personal rights. Although President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier on Jan. 1, 1863, the news had not reached Texas and other southwestern states until this day. The celebration kick-started a 140-year-old “Juneteenth” tradition that today recognizes both the freedom of slaves and the endurance of African culture in North America. Juneteenth Independence Day is recognized as the Read more
Contact form was unable to load. If the problem continues, please contact the webmaster.
Please use the form below to sign up for email updates. By completing this form your are acknowledging your request to receive periodic email updates.
Find your representative by address, district, or member's name. Click a button below to start your search.