HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, and members of the House Finance Committee today approved seeking a higher tax on the companies extracting record volumes of natural gas from shale formations deep under Pennsylvania. “Pennsylvania is facing a serious budget crisis and this is one sensible step toward fixing it. We need to start collecting this recurring revenue from companies that can easily afford to pay it,” Wheatley said. Currently, Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the country, but is the only major gas-producing state that does not impose a drilling tax. The bill (H.B. 1401) would impose a severance tax on natural gas extraction based on a well's production volume and the average annual price of natural gas. Drillers would be prohibited from passing the tax onto landowners. Wheatley said the measure could be considered by the full House as early as next week, if Republican leaders permit it to happen. “We’ve already wasted too much precious time arguing about a sensible tax that every other natural gas state already uses,” Wheatley said. “We’ve forfeited millions of dollars in untapped revenue that should have been used to pay for schools, health care and many other things the state is obligated to provide. “I and most members of the House believe we should activate this new revenue stream and make the gas drillers carry their share of the load, Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced he will hold a community meeting to discuss upcoming legislation and critical issues facing the commonwealth and communities. The meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26 at the New Bethel A.M.E. Church of Germantown, 6153 Germantown Ave. Kinsey will lead a discussion about some of the critical issues recently debated or coming up in Harrisburg, including the budget, public safety, education, community initiatives and events, and other state-related issues. “Part of my responsibilities as state representative is to keep people informed,” Kinsey said. “Community meetings provide the perfect setting to allow me to update folks on the legislative process, to let them know what I am working on in Harrisburg, and for me to obtain vital feedback on what issues are important to my constituents.” Kinsey will be joined by city and state officials, as well as representatives from the 14th Police District, Streets Department and PECO, among other agencies. Community members are encouraged to attend the meeting. Residents can contact Kinsey’s office at 215-849-6592 for more information. No reservations are required. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, announced today that sewer upgrades are set for two communities in Cambria County, after both received financial assistance to address sewage runoff issues to protect residents and area waterways. The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority is funding a 30-year, 1-percent interest loan for $856,623 along with a $343,377 grant for West Taylor Township to begin its $1.2 million sanitary sewer rehabilitation and extension project. The project is expected to wrap up next year. It calls for updated pipes and sewer lines, fixing malfunctioning septic systems and adding an additional 35 residential units to the system, among other things, in an effort to cut down on the threat of sewer overflow into Laurel Run. To deal with an aging sewer system, Pennvest also granted Johnstown a 30-year, 1-percent interest loan totaling $10.9 million to cover the entire project of installing new sewer equipment, including lines and manholes, to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows, prevent wet weather sewage from coming into contact with the public and reduce the chances of it seeping into the Conemaugh River. The work is expected to be completed in 2019. “These upgrades are essential in protecting our communities and local waterways from sewage contamination,” Barbin said. ### Read more
YEADON, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, announced that she will host a Property Tax/Rent Rebate session at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Yeadon Public Library, 809 Longacre Blvd. McClinton is hosting the event to assist constituents with completing their 2016 Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications. The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is administered by the state Department of Revenue and funded by proceeds from the Pennsylvania Lottery. Individuals who are 65 or older, at least 50 and widowed, or are permanently disabled and 18 or older are eligible to receive a rebate if their income falls below a certain threshold. The annual household income for property owners must be $35,000 or less, and the annual household income for renters must be $15,000 or less. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but some homeowners can qualify for a $975 rebate. Constituents will need to bring proof of identification, income and paid taxes for 2016. Information on the Yeadon Borough Homestead Exemption program will also be offered. This event is open to the community. ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, hosted a senior Legislative Luncheon for residents in the 191st Legislative District. The luncheon took place Oct. 13 at Presbyterian Homes, Mary Fields Building, 2000 S. 58th St. “Our seniors are our most treasured residents,” McClinton said. “That’s why I was excited to host my senior Legislative Luncheon. The luncheon is only one of my many initiatives to ensure that our wisest neighbors have access to the resources they need.” McClinton said there were more than 75 seniors in attendance. McClinton provided attendees with a legislative update on what has been going on in Harrisburg as well as information on various state-related resources available to seniors. “I would like to thank AARP, Traci’s Bio, the Greater Philadelphia Health Action, Inc., PECO and Penn Medicine for making this event a success. With their help, we were able to provide our seniors with many of the resources they have been searching for,” she said. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., and Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Clearfield/Elk, are pleased that their legislation to help Pennsylvania’s veterans and their families get the support they need was unanimously approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “I want to thank the Committee chairmen and my Senate colleagues for their unanimous support of this important legislation,” Solomon said. “With this bill, Representative Gabler and I hope to ensure that all veterans, their families and support workers know about all the benefits they can avail themselves of, and to ensure that all State agencies work together towards the common goal of providing that vital support.” H.B. 1231 would expand and codify the existing Department of Military and Veterans Affairs registry’s reach by bringing other agencies into the process of identifying veterans who stand to benefit. Currently, the DMVA manages an online registry that lists roughly 7,000 of the more than 894,000 veterans in Pennsylvania. That represents less than 1 percent of veterans in the commonwealth. The bill awaits full Senate consideration. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – Leaders of the legislature's LGBT Equality Caucus said the state senators who voted today to deny health care to transgender young people should be ashamed of themselves. "Shame on every senator who voted to add discrimination against trans young people to what had been a simple, clean, bipartisan renewal of the Children's Health Insurance Program, a commonsense, popular program that covers hundreds of thousands of kids in Pennsylvania," said co-chair Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny. House Bill 1388 passed the House 194-0 in June. Today, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee voted to add an amendment that would deny reimbursement for gender or sex reassignment surgery, transition services, including physician's services, inpatient and outpatient hospital services, prescription drugs or even counseling services. Co-chair Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery/Delaware, said, "You wouldn't deny a child an appendectomy, or a cast for a broken leg, or reconstructive surgery for a cleft palate. Why block some of our most vulnerable kids from getting vital medical care? This amendment is evidence of a profound lack of understanding of transgender children's medical needs." Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., the only out LGBT member of the legislature, said, "This bill picks on some of the most vulnerable children in Pennsylvania. This bill is the opposite of pro-family. This bill would cut off funds for Read more
EBENSBURG, Oct. 18 – Largely because of its heavy reliance on borrowing $1.5 billion against future tobacco settlement funds, state Rep. Frank Burns was a resounding “no” vote on Tuesday night’s revenue bill, which passed the House 102-88. Burns, D-Cambria, was one of 42 Democrats to vote against H.B. 542, citing his belief that large-scale borrowing, which has to be paid back with interest, doesn’t equate to sound fiscal management. “I don’t even own a credit card because I know the dangers in borrowing money to pay debt,” Burns said. “I’m in Harrisburg to represent the 72 nd Legislative District, and my constituents don’t want the state borrowing money that they, their children and their grandchildren will have to repay.” Further, Burns said the revenue bill – technically known as a tax code bill – also contains $85 million in tax hikes in obscure areas, such as fireworks sales and changes to the withholding of rent, royalty and other income paid to non-residents of Pennsylvania. “Even though Republicans handily control the legislature, with 121 votes in the House and 34 in the Senate, due to their own internal disagreements they have for months failed to deliver a plan to fund the budget they moved through the process back in June,” Burns said. “The Senate still needs to agree to what the House approved last night, which means it’s still not a done Read more
EBENSBURG, Oct. 18 – Continuing his trend of securing state funding for vital infrastructure development, state Rep. Frank Burns today announced $10.57 million in low-interest loans for two huge projects in the 72 nd Legislative District. Burns, D-Cambria, said the Ebensburg Municipal Authority is getting $9 million for sanitary sewer improvements, including replacement of 60,500 feet of main line piping, while Reade Township will receive $1.57 million to replace 10,000 feet of water line and 420 residential meters. Burns said the awards were finalized today by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Authority, commonly known as Pennvest. “I thank the Pennvest board for continuing to support projects of this type, because such funding is crucial for these improvements to see the light of day,” Burns said. “The real beneficiaries are going to be the 3,148 people in Ebensburg and 1,746 residents of Reade Township whose sewer and water service, respectively, will be greatly enhanced.” Burns said that addressing his district’s outdated infrastructure has been one of his top priorities since taking office, and the $10.57 million announced today will be added to the long list of projects made possible by state funding during his tenure. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, announced today that Homestead is the recipient of a $1.2 million low-interest loan to address storm runoff around Barrett Elementary School on East 12th Avenue, Homestead. The borough will work with Steel Valley School District and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to install four infiltration trenches with 18,900 cubic feet of storage. "This green infrastructure project around the school is designed to address the potential health hazard of combined sewage overflows into the Monongahela River during wet weather," Costa said. "Its capacity will be enough to handle a worst-case weather scenario -- a 100-year, 24-hour storm." The total project cost is $1.8 million, with $618,525 of that cost being paid for by a state H2O grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development. The rest will be funded by the 30-year low-interest loan, at 1 percent interest from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority. Without this funding, Costa said, residential customers would see their bills increase by 4 percent. About eight jobs are expected to be created by the project. Pennvest serves Pennsylvania communities by funding sewer, storm water and drinking water projects. The projects contribute to improving Pennsylvania’s environment and residents’ health, as well as provide jobs and opportunities for economic growth. Read more
“This proposal helps to balance the bipartisan budget, which increases our commitment to job growth and our community schools. It will also help to maintain tuition breaks for Pennsylvania residents who attend some of our great universities like Penn State, Pitt and Temple. “This is not a perfect plan. We will need to wrestle with a structural deficit going into 2018. We need to enact a tax on gas drillers, close corporate tax loopholes which allow companies doing business in Pennsylvania to avoid paying their fair share and raise the minimum wage with a commitment to use revenue generated from new wages to balance the budget. “That being said, this was a compromise. This allowed us, this year, to finish the job. Real challenges remain, but it came down to the reality that the people of Pennsylvania and the 132 nd District deserve a completed budget,” Schlossberg said. Read more
Rep. Bill Kortz reports that the state House of Representatives has approved bipartisan legislation that would require home inspectors to be licensed and establish statewide standards. “A home is usually a Pennsylvanian’s most important and expensive asset and the investment deserves protections,” said Kortz, who sponsored H.B. 1001 with Rep. Sue Helm, R-Dauphin/Lebanon. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – Legislation that would provide more money for the Department of Agriculture to enforce the state's Dog Law passed the state House of Representatives today. State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, successfully amended the proposal into an existing bill that was before the chamber for a vote. Petrarca said that the money used for Dog Law enforcement comes from individual license fees, kennel license fees and fines from violations. Under current law, the first $250,000 collected goes to dog law enforcement, then the rest goes to the judicial computer system augmentation. "When we enhanced the Dog Law in 2008, enforcement officers were given extra responsibilities," Petrarca said. "Yet, the state continues to take money from the fund to help balance the budget. He said the fund had a balance of $7 million in 2010, but that amount has steadily declined. Since 1998 when the Dog Law was enacted, more than $4 million has been taken from this fund and used to pay for upgrades to the state judicial computer system. "That's $4 million not being used to protect our pets, to reimburse for livestock damage, to investigate dog bite incidents or to maintain the dangerous dog registry," he said. "The problem is that by the next fiscal year the Dog Law Restricted Account will be $1.6 million in the red. "We've made great strides recently with Libre's Law. By changing this and Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – State Reps. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., and Alex Charlton, R-Delaware today announced their bill to establish the Pennsylvania Semiquincentennial Commission was voted out of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee. The unanimous vote comes one day after Solomon and Charlton held a Capitol news conference on their bipartisan effort. “Pennsylvania is truly a state that’s rich in culture and history and as the home of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, what better way to celebrate our nation’s 250th birthday than having our commonwealth host this celebration,” Solomon said. “We want this event to be a means to promote the achievements and contributions of all 67 counties to our nation’s past, present and future.” House Bill 1793 would establish a commission to plan, encourage, develop and coordinate the commemoration of the 250 th anniversary of the founding of the United States. The commission would submit a comprehensive report that includes the specific recommendations of the commission to the governor and the General Assembly by September 2018. “The nation’s semiquincentennial is an opportunity for all Pennsylvanians to recognize the American experiment and how it has been sustained by sacrifice and the willingness to stick to it and see it through,” Charlton said. “We hope this celebration will inspire a new generation of Americans to continue to Read more
Rep. Adam Ravenstahl is inviting local residents to participate in a community presentation on the opioid crisis set for 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at Northgate Middle/Senior High School. Speakers from the FBI, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement will be featured at the event. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – In recognition of their countless efforts and unwavering support for military members and their families, the House adopted state Rep. Harry Readshaw’s H.R. 534 , which honors the United Service Organizations (USO). “Just like we are grateful for the countless sacrifices made by our brave young men and women in uniform, the armed services are equally grateful for the sacrifices that USO members make for them on a daily basis,” said Readshaw, D-Allegheny. USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to their loved ones, home and country through various programs, entertainment and services at more than 200 locations worldwide, including Afghanistan, Kuwait, Germany and the United States. “The tasks assigned to soldiers can be tough at times, and being thousands of miles from home adds unwanted stress,” Readshaw said. “USO understands the importance of family and does what it can to make holidays overseas more bearable and the long, dark nights a little brighter.” The organization helps in times of disaster and, more recently, provided relief for service members responding to victims of Hurricane Maria by delivering bottled water, sports drinks, care packages, snacks and clothing. “I see this as heroes helping heroes, and I strongly believe both deserve to be recognized for their courage and unselfish behavior,” Readshaw said. Read more
EBENSBURG, Oct. 16 – Moved by the case of a 29-year-old patrolman who jumped a fence while chasing three armed robbery suspects, then fell 15 feet and died of a head injury, state Rep. Frank Burns wants to stiffen the penalties for those whose fleeing or attempt to elude law enforcement injures or kills an officer. Burns, D-Cambria, has introduced H.B. 1857 , which would raise the penalty for fleeing a police officer by motor vehicle from a second-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, while creating a new first-degree felony offense for seriously injuring or killing an officer while fleeing. Additionally, because not all suspects flee by vehicle, Burns’ bill would expand the offense of resisting arrest to include fleeing or eluding an officer no matter the mode of transportation – and make it a first-degree felony if doing so causes serious injury or death to the officer. “As a member of the Blue Lives Matter Caucus, I believe we need to do all we can to protect those who serve and protect us,” Burns said. “By increasing the penalties for resisting arrest, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, it is my hope that suspects will think twice before endangering these public servants.” Burns said he took up this cause after being contacted by the mother of John Wilding, the aforementioned patrolman for the Scranton Police Department who fell to his death in 2015 while pursuing suspects on foot after they crashed Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, honored the Newtown American Legion Morrell Smith Post 440 Junior Prep state championship baseball team Monday at the state Capitol. The Newtown team took the state title – the team’s first – with an 8-5 win over the Plumstead team Aug. 2 at Berwyn Paoli Area Little League complex. The team was 32-3 overall with a record of 22-2 in the regular season. The team took first place in the Lower Bucks League. “This team posted several dramatic come-from-behind wins, and they attribute their success to the hard work all 15 members of the team put in,” Warren said. “It’s great to see such wonderful teamwork and spirit, and I’m pleased to be able to recognize them in the House chamber. Congratulations to the team, coaches and those who supported them.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 16 – A bipartisan pair of bills to help Pennsylvania consumers affected by data breaches has advanced out of the House Commerce Committee to the full House of Representatives. The bills are sponsored by Commerce Committee Chairman Brian Ellis, R-Butler, and Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila. Ellis said, "It is my hope that future massive data breaches do not occur, but if they do, the safeguards in these pieces of bipartisan legislation will help protect and assist consumers after a breach happens." Driscoll said: "I believe our bipartisan cooperation bodes well for passing this legislation and making real progress on this issue that affects millions of Pennsylvanians. I am pleased to work with Chairman Ellis and Attorney General Josh Shapiro to move forward on this." Ellis' bill ( H.B. 1846 ) would require notification of a breach from the entity where the breach occurred to the affected consumer. The notification would include the date the breach occurred, the type of information subject to the breach, a toll-free number and the address of credit reporting agencies. This notice would have to be made available within 30 days of the breach of the system. Additionally, an entity with a breach would have to notify the state Attorney General’s Office. The entities also would have to develop policies to safeguard and discard personal consumer information. Driscoll’s bill ( H.B. 1847 ) would waive the current credit Read more
LEVITTOWN, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, will host a free veterans dinner at 6 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Bristol Township Senior Center, 2501 Bath Road, Bristol 19007. The dinner is free for veterans living in the 141st Legislative District, but reservations are required. Veterans should call Davis’s Levittown office at 267-580-2660 by Nov. 6 to make reservations. They also can email RepDavis@pahouse.net . Veterans are welcome to bring a guest. “We live free in the greatest nation on earth thanks to the sacrifice and service of our veterans, and I want to say ‘thank you,’” Davis said. “I look forward to meeting as many veterans as possible – new faces are always welcome.” 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.