FILADELFIA, Junio 23 – El Representante Estatal Emilio Vázquez, D-Fila., ofrecerá gratuitamente una Feria de Salud y Bienestar el sábado, 15 de julio de 11 a.m. a 3 p.m. en el Parque Fairhill, localizado en la esquina de la Avenida Lehigh y la Calle 4. Vázquez indicó que el evento está diseñado para promover la prevención de la violencia doméstica y los hábitos saludables entre las personas. “Con este evento quiero ayudar a romper y prevenir el ciclo de violencia que enfrentan niños, jóvenes y adultos”, dijo Vázquez. “Es parte de mi responsabilidad como representante estatal conectar a las víctimas con los servicios para que obtengan seguridad, justicia y construyan vidas fuera del ciclo de violencia”. El evento incluye actividades para niños, comida y refrigerios, exámenes de salud, demostraciones de ejercicios, asistencia en asuntos de nutrición, recursos estatales y locales para educar al público sobre la prevención de la violencia doméstica y hábitos saludables. Vázquez indicó que habrá más de 60 exhibidores, incluyendo el Departamento Estatal de Asuntos Militares y de Veteranos, así como la policía y bomberos de Filadelfia. Personal de la oficina distrital del representante estará presente para contestar preguntas relacionadas con el Read more
PHILADELPHIA, June 23 – State Rep. Emilio Vázquez, D-Phila., invites residents to his free community health and wellness fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 15 at Fairhill Park, located at the corner of West Lehigh Avenue and North Fourth Street. Vázquez said the event aims to promote healthy habits and raise awareness about domestic violence and prevention. “With this event I want to help break and prevent the cycle of violence for children, teens and adults,” Vázquez said. “It is part of my responsibility as a state representative to connect the chain of services and support with victims so they can find safety, obtain justice and build new lives free of abuse.” The event will feature activities for children, food and refreshments, health screenings, exercise demonstrations, nutritional resources, and local and state agencies to help educate the public about domestic violence and healthy habits. Vázquez said more than 60 vendors will be in attendance, including the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, in addition to representatives from Philadelphia’s Fire, Police, Streets, Water and controller’s departments. His staff will be available on site to answer questions constituents may have about state programs and services. Assistance will be provided in English and Spanish. “I am very excited to have an opportunity to meet with residents in my district. As legislators Read more
HARRISBURG, June 21 – The state Senate today passed a bill (S.B. 446) that includes language identical to an amendment by Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., designed to address the "Air Bridge" issue. "Both the House and Senate have now passed bills containing my language to address the Air Bridge problem. Now we just need to have one bill pass both the House and Senate. After these two votes, I am optimistic we can get this reform to the governor's desk and signed into law," Cruz said. On June 7, the House of Representatives passed a bill ( H.B. 119 ) that includes Cruz's amendment. Cruz’s proposal would ban the owners, administrators and employees of recovery houses from requiring residents to sign over their public assistance benefits. It would also ensure that all drug and alcohol recovery houses throughout Pennsylvania not in compliance with federal, state or local law be referred to the appropriate agency for further investigation. "My amendment is important in making sure that the Air Bridge issue is resolved," Cruz said. "Families sent their relatives from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia to get treatment for drug addiction, but quality treatment options were not provided. Instead, they were prisoners of unregulated recovery homes that stole their money, food stamps and other government assistance in return for their stay. This is a big step to resolving the issue, but we can do more." Air Bridge is a network Read more
HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Reps. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, and Hal English, R-Allegheny, today reported that their legislation aimed at not penalizing honest, ethical hunters for a mistaken harvest unanimously passed the House. Specifically, the bill would remove the threat of a license suspension for those truthful hunters who make an honest mistake and then self-report the mistaken harvest by contacting the Pennsylvania Game Commission, turning in the animal and pleading guilty to the offense. "Given the facts that borders of Wildlife Management Units and the special areas within them can be easily confused, and that the commission is now using staggered dates around the state for some big-game seasons, hunters can think they are legally hunting when in fact they aren’t," Kortz said. "For hunters who make an inadvertent mistake, due to a few yards or recently changed dates, to face the same revocations as a common poacher who is hunting out of season or at night isn’t fair. “Current law can create havoc for bear and elk hunters. With different hunting dates for different Wildlife Management Units, the difference of a few yards in the woods can mean the difference between a legal or illegal harvest." Kortz added, “Mistakes while out in the woods can easily happen. This bill would eliminate the unfair, excessive punishment for an honest mistake. While the hunter must claim responsibility and pay a small administrative Read more
Rep. Pam Snyder reports that an attack mailer claiming she supported “big gambling interests” over senior citizens is patently false and laughably ridiculous. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., today was awarded for his efforts on moving Pennsylvania towards enforcement of the federal Real ID Act requirements. The award comes as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, this week granted Pennsylvania a Real ID enforcement extension through Oct. 10, 2017, which means Pennsylvanians will not face access issues when entering federal facilities through that date. Neilson said PennDOT estimates Real ID-compliant driver's licenses and identification cards will be available at the customer’s option in 2019. This will allow ample time for people who want a Real ID product to obtain one before the final DHS effective date of Oct. 1, 2020. “The General Assembly made real strides in May to get Pennsylvania in compliance with the federal law and as a result, the Department of Homeland Security granted us with yet another extension to work towards that compliance,” Neilson said. “I am proud to receive the Recognition Award for Homeland Security Leadership and Public Engagement and to have been part of the movement to assure Pennsylvanians would not need to get passports to board a plane or to have access to federal facilities.” Neilson said he had been working since the 2015-2016 session to get legislation passed that would repeal the 2012 state law and require the Department of Transportation and other state agencies to comply with the 2005 Real ID Act. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, June 21 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., said he is pleased with the Real ID extension granted to Pennsylvania by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “This extension helps us ensure people won’t face difficulty using their IDs and driver's licenses for air travel or visits to federal facilities. Now thousands of Philadelphians, Latinos, Asians and residents of other races will continue to be able to visit their families back in their home countries,” Cruz said. “In the meantime, PennDOT is working tirelessly to start issuing Real ID compliant forms of identification.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Friday that Pennsylvania has been granted a Real ID enforcement extension through Oct. 10, 2017, which means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities through that date. DHS had previously granted Pennsylvania an enforcement grace period through July 10, 2017, while PennDOT's request for an extension was pending final review. “Preliminary work on Real ID has begun, and PennDOT estimates Real ID-compliant driver's licenses and identification cards will be available at the customer’s option in 2019. This will allow ample time for customers who want a Real ID product to obtain one before the final DHS effective date of October 1, 2020,” Cruz said. The federal Real ID Act of 2005 was established by Congress and Read more
Filadelfia, Junio 21 – El representante estatal Ángel Cruz, D-Fila., dijo que está complacido con la extensión de la Ley de Identificación Verdadera –conocida como Real ID Act– otorgada a Pensilvania por el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los Estados Unidos. "Esta extensión nos ayuda a asegurar que la gente no tenga dificultades para usar sus identificaciones y licencias de conducir para viajes aéreos domésticos o visitas a instalaciones federales. Ahora miles de residentes de Filadelfia –latinos, asiáticos y de otras razas– podrán continuar visitando a sus familias en sus países de origen", dijo Cruz. "Mientras tanto, PennDOT está trabajando sin descanso para comenzar a emitir identificaciones y licencias de conducir en cumplimiento con el Real ID Act”. El Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los Estados Unidos (DHS, por sus siglas en inglés) anunció el viernes que otorgó una extensión de la Ley de Identificación Verdadera a Pensilvania hasta el 10 de octubre de 2017, lo que significa que los residentes del estado no tendrán problemas de acceso a instalaciones federales hasta esa fecha. Previamente, el DHS había concedido a Pensilvania un período de gracia hasta el 10 de julio de 2017, mientras que la petición de PennDOT estaba pendiente de revisión final. "El Read more
EBENSBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is advising 72 nd Legislative District entities that the state Department of Environmental Protection is accepting grant applications for innovative, advanced fuel and vehicle technology projects that produce cleaner advanced alternative transportation within the state. The Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program can assist school districts, municipal authorities, nonprofits, corporations, LLCs, and partnerships registered to do business in Pennsylvania by offsetting the costs of implementing alternative fuel-using transportation projects. DEP is offering AFIG grants in the following categories: Vehicle Retrofit or Purchase – To offset the incremental cost of purchasing alternative fuel vehicles or retrofitting existing vehicles to operate on alternative fuels; Alternative Fuel Refueling Infrastructure – To assist in the costs to purchase and install refueling equipment for fleet and workplace, home or intermediary refueling; and Innovative Technology – To support research, training, development, and demonstration of new alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles. DEP will accept AFIG applications throughout 2017, but the first submission period deadline is 4 p.m. Friday, July 14, and the second submission deadline is 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15. AFIG guidelines and application instructions are available at Read more
HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., released the following statement regarding two bills that passed Tuesday in the House of Representatives: “I am highly concerned by two bills that passed the House of Representatives yesterday. The first is H.B. 646. This legislation would make it a second degree felony to assault a health care practitioner while they are on duty. This includes doctors, nurses, interns, social workers, and even massage therapists. Under no circumstance is violence against health care workers acceptable. However, this bill does not serve as a deterrent, but instead promotes over-incarceration. Moreover, it does nothing to make our health care workers on the front lines any safer. “The second bill that concerns me is S.B. 560. This bill would enable police officers to use body cameras, particularly when officers enter private residences as well as to record interviews with suspects or witnesses. The bill claims to ensure the integrity of criminal convictions. However, the non-conviction of Officer Jeronimo Yanez – the police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile – proves otherwise. Castile’s death was recorded and broadcasted over Facebook and members of the jury failed to convict Yanez. Technology alone will not make us safer – only justice will. Without real transparency and accountability, advocating for body cameras will only create more heat than light.” Read more
Rep. Ryan Bizzarro reports that the Senate has passed H.B. 1238, a sweeping overhaul of Pennsylvania’s animal abuse laws. “I join the governor in looking forward to his signing the measure into law," Bizzarro said. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – A medical marijuana greenhouse operation near Carmichaels is one of 12 such facilities granted licenses today by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, state Rep. Pam Snyder announced. Snyder said AGRiMED Industries LLC will grow and cultivate medical cannabis on 61 acres off Thomas Road in Cumberland Township, as part of a $25 million investment. Snyder said this is good news for those suffering from a variety of illnesses and the local economy. “I favored allowing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania because it will alleviate the pain of those who suffer from a variety of medical conditions,” Snyder said. “Tightly regulated and secure growing and processing facilities were going to be sanctioned in the commonwealth as an inevitable result. “I’m glad to see that one of them was chosen for placement in the 50 th Legislative District, because we’re looking at 40 jobs right off the bat and 100 workers within five years, according to news reports.” Snyder said medical marijuana cannot be distributed in any form that can be smoked, and thus is limited to pill, oil, liquid or topical ointment form. “I’m pleased to have worked with Cumberland Township, Greene County and state officials on bringing the facility to our area,” Snyder said. “But in reality, this is an offshoot of the larger purpose of the law, which brings relief to those afflicted with 17 medical conditions that can Read more
SCRANTON, June 20 – 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., Scranton -- from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 28 to provide information on services available to veterans and their families. The American Legion representatives are available to discuss pensions and other compensation, 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
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today said the state Department of Health announced Clinton County was awarded one of 12 permits to grow and process medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. Terrapin Investment Funds 1 LLC, was one of the successful applicants. Terrapin Investment Funds 1 LLC intends to locate the Terrapin Care Station in a former modular home site along Henry Street in South Avis, Pine Creek Township. According to the Department of Health, two permits were issued per region throughout the state. A total of 177 prospective grower/processor applications and 280 dispensary applications were received. Owner and founder of Terrapin Care Station Christopher Woods, although originally from Pennsylvania, is an entrepreneur from Colorado. Prior to today’s announcement, the national company had been awarded six other licenses and has five retail location in four cities. Hanna said an estimated 30 to 50 jobs will be created with an average pay of $40,000 with benefits. “These are family-sustaining jobs,” Hanna said. “It is encouraging to see large companies come to our region with the intent of providing livable wages to many residents.” Growers/processors will have six months to become operational at which time they will begin to grow marijuana plants and process them into pills, liquids, oil or topical forms. Doctors will be allowed to prescribe the Read more
HARRISBURG, June 19 – The House today unanimously adopted H.R. 327 , a resolution by state Rep. Jake Wheatley calling for creation of a select subcommittee to thoroughly examine Pennsylvania’s tax collection system and suggest improvements. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, previously gained approval for the measure from the House Finance Committee, where he serves as Democratic chairman. As envisioned by Wheatley, the Select Subcommittee on Tax Modernization and Reform would be tasked with making a thorough review of the process, rates and methods by which the commonwealth collects revenue – and the collective impact on taxpayers. “I am pleased that this resolution garnered bipartisan support in the full House, just as it did earlier in the Finance Committee,” Wheatley said. “This subcommittee will perform important work, giving us ideas on how we can modernize our tax collection system and methods to ensure that government services are sustained at needed levels.” Wheatley said he wants the subcommittee to delve into deeper issues than just taxing and spending, and look into the realms of what the commonwealth is seeking to create or achieve in its budgeting process. A review of Pennsylvania’s various revenue-generating mechanisms – including whether they are sustainable and in need of changes – should be central to the subcommittee’s work, said Wheatley. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 19 – Area veterans are invited to take part in the monthly support program June 26 at the office of state Rep. Kevin Haggerty. Jeff Saunders of the American Legion will be in Haggerty's Dunmore office -- located at the Dunmore Community Center, 1414 Monroe Ave. -- from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 26 to provide information on services available to veterans and their families, including retirement, benefits and more. Legion membership is not required to take advantage of the help, but anyone interested is recommended to schedule an appointment through Haggerty’s office at 570-342-2710. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 19 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution (H.R. 375) introduced by Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Vanessa Brown, D-Phila., which recognizes the third Saturday in June as Juneteenth National Freedom Day in Pennsylvania. Juneteenth celebrates the heritage, family and community spirit of African culture. The celebrations originated in 1865, when 13,000 black Union soldiers from Pennsylvania escorted Gen. Gordon Granger to Galveston, Texas, to read Order No. 3 and free the last slaves in the United States, kick-starting a 140-year-old “Juneteenth” tradition that today recognizes both the freedom of slaves and the endurance of African culture in North America. "It is hard to imagine today, in our world of instant communication, that it took almost three years for the freedoms granted in Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to be expressed to the slaves in Texas," Brown said. “This celebration represents a triumph of the human spirit over slavery. It’s a salute to the soldiers who carried the message to Galveston, to every last slave who was freed after the Civil War, and to the African culture that endured even the most stringent oppression,” Brown said. "Diversity and inclusion are critical components of our country’s development and success. If a group of people are not allowed to participate culturally, we fail to understand and appreciate our differences and Read more
HARRISBURG, June 19 – House Resolution 387 declaring June 19 through 25 as Pollinator Week in Pennsylvania, sponsored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, was unanimously adopted by the House today. “Specifically, this resolution recognizes the importance of bees and other pollinators, as well as beekeepers, in the production of many of the foods produced in the commonwealth,” Matzie said. “Pollinators are often critical to an ecosystem. Their work ensures full harvests of crops and contributes to healthy plants. An estimated one-third of all foods and beverages are delivered by pollinators.” Matzie said that according to the Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems, pollinators provide important services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1,200 crops, adding $217 billion to the global economy. He noted that honey bees alone account for $1.2 billion to $5.4 billion in agricultural productivity in the United States. Additionally, his resolution noted that pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, provide protection from severe weather and support wildlife. Matzie’s resolution also recognized the Pennsylvania Beekeepers Association, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension and Delaware Valley College – Read more
HARRISBURG, June 19 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, today said the state House of Representatives has unanimously adopted his resolution designating September 2017 as “Light the Night Month” in Pennsylvania. “House Resolution 399 recognizes the history of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and their main fundraising program, the Light the Night Walk, which they hold annually in over 200 locations around the country,” Bizzarro said. “Pennsylvania communities will host at least 10 events, including the September 21 walk at UPMC Park in Erie.” Bizzarro said Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has raised over $1 billion for research and patient services since its founding in 1949. “Participating in, or even just observing the walk, is a moving experience,” Bizzarro said. “Survivors carry lanterns and they are joined on the walk by friends and family members. Others walk in memory of loved ones who have battled the disease in the past.” In addition to Erie, other communities planning walks this fall include: Center Valley, Doylestown, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Wayne and Wrightsville. ### Read more
CENTRE COUNTY, June 19 – Separate resolutions honoring eight Penn State teams that earned Big Ten championships, introduced by state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, unanimously passed the House last week. Conklin said the resolutions coincided with “B1G Champs on the Hill” day, where Penn State coaches and athletes from the championship teams were recognized in Harrisburg for their accomplishments. “The 2016-17 academic year was one of great success for Penn State athletics, with eight teams winning Big Ten Conference championships,” Conklin said. “With much pride and rooting interest, I am proud to sponsor these resolutions honoring their achievements.” The football, wrestling, men’s ice hockey, field hockey, women’s soccer, women’s indoor track and field, men’s outdoor track and field, and men’s volleyball teams are those recognized by Conklin’s resolutions. “The Big Ten is one of the nation’s most respected and competitive sports conferences, so having this many champions in a single year is quite impressive,” Conklin said. “It is my hope that we have even more reasons to celebrate Penn State’s academic and athletic excellence in the years to come.” Read more
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