JOHNSTOWN, April 22 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, announced today the award of nearly $15 million in low-interest state infrastructure investment loans for ongoing sewer improvements in the Johnstown region. The PennVest loans, which are issued at 1 percent interest, will fund improvements in Woodvale, Oakdale and Westmont Borough. Ongoing construction projects in Woodvale and Oakdale will receive loans of $6.7 million and $1.86 million. Ongoing construction projects in Westmont Borough will receive $6.38 million. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 17 – At the request of the participants of the initial Town and Gown meeting held Feb. 19, a second meeting was convened by state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio on Thursday at St. Timothy’s Parish Hall. The goal of the Town and Gown Coalition is to address the needs of the community and the universities regarding responsible drinking by students and to identify ways to encourage students to be responsible citizens on and off campus. In addition to representatives of Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia University, LaSalle and Temple, Councilman Curtis Jones’ office, Liquor Control Enforcement (LCE), and the civic associations in the 194th Legislative District, the second meeting included representatives from the Philadelphia Police Department’s 5th District, City of Philadelphia Licenses and Inspections, a board member of the Manayunk Development Corporation who is also a bar owner, and an Alcohol Education Specialist from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. DeLissio said that in her experience the success rate of meetings such as this one is high because there is a well-rounded group of stakeholders at the table participating in the dialogue. Drew Myers, representing the East Falls Community Council commented, “These Town and Gown meetings with local civics, enforcement agencies and universities are producing a lot of positives, including meeting other civics, learning how every group (police, Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 17 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, was thrilled with the turnout at the PLBC's second regional Know Your Rights Symposium held Thursday, April 16. More than 100 people attended the Philadelphia event, an occasion that provided the local community with an interactive opportunity to constructively discuss the subjects of basic legal rights and community/police relations. In addition to Brown, those who attended included PLBC members and state Reps. Louise Williams Bishop, D-Phila., and Ronald Waters, D-Phila. The centerpiece of the event was the evening’s panel discussion, which was comprised of local representatives from the law enforcement community, community-based organizations and legal/criminal defense fields. They included: • Lt. Beverly Pembrook, 16th Police District; • Nena Carter, Philadelphia Public Defenders Office; • Michael Coard, attorney and activist; • The Rev. Rodney Muhammad, president, Philadelphia NAACP; • Leon Goodman, attorney; • Debra Watson Stokes, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office; • Ronald G. Waters, state representative, 191st Legislative District; and • Joy Soto, Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, executive director of the Philadelphia Youth Commission. "We have all heard the horror stories about violence occurring between police and members of various communities," Read more
HARRISBURG, April 17 – Before it passed the House on Wednesday, House Bill 753 was amended by state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio to ensure that consumers and caregivers are represented on the Pennsylvania Long Term Care Council if the council is established by law. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. "This legislation specifies that the scope of the council shall be to address all areas of long-term care, including institutional care and home and community-based services," said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. "Pennsylvania's aging demographics clearly point to the need for a viable and seamless long-term care infrastructure. This legislation creates an invaluable resource to guide the legislature and other public policymakers on these important issues." House Bill 753 establishes the successor to the Intra-Governmental Council that was statutorily created in 1988 for the purpose of making recommendations to the Department of Human Services regarding personal care homes. DeLissio’s amendment assures increased representation of consumers and caregivers on the council and directs that these representatives have firsthand personal, family-related caregiving experience. She said that this personal caregiving experience will assist the council in developing better policy. DeLissio said that she introduced the amendment because she knows that thousands of hours of care are provided by families directly and that all of Read more
HARRISBURG, April 17 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, has introduced a measure designed to make immunizations more affordable and accessible in the commonwealth. Donatucci’s H.B. 822 would amend state law to require health insurers to cover immunizations administered at a pharmacy by a pharmacist.
HARRISBURG, April 17 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today said that students from the 14 universities of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) visited the Capitol for their annual “Day on the Hill” event on Wednesday. Hanna said that more than 100 students met with members of the General Assembly to discuss the importance of their education and college experience. In addition, students showcased some of PASSHE’s top programs, including drones, robots, a virtual-reality system, music technology and food grown via aquaponics. Collectively, the 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. “Some of the programs were displayed on Wednesday in hopes of demonstrating throughout the day what a good investment our universities are for the Commonwealth,” said PASSHE Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. A recent economic impact study conducted by Baker, Tilly, Virchow, Krause LLP, found that PASSHE generates more than $6.7 billion annually in economic activity in the state as well as employs 12,000 professionals. Brogan said, “For every dollar invested in us by the commonwealth, we return $11 back to the commonwealth. That’s an extraordinary return on investment.” “Public higher education is not only an essential public good in the commonwealth, it is one of the keys to future economic growth and Read more
CARLISLE, April 16 – As an appointed commissioner, state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, attended the first meeting of the Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission held at Kings Gap Environmental Education Center.
Formally established through Act 161 of 2014, the commission replaces the former Military Community Protection Commission, which was established by executive order. It is tasked with examining and advocating for Pennsylvania's military installations and the important roles they play in supporting our state's economy and national security.
Rep. Pam Snyder is alerting businesses, local governments and nonprofits that the state Department of Community and Economic Development has 13 wide-ranging programs that are now accepting applications for funding. Read more
EBENSBURG, April 16– State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, announced that he has opened a satellite office in Patton to provide services to the residents in the relocated 72nd Legislative District. Residents can visit the office between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Tuesday at the Patton Senior Center, 405 Park Ave., 16668. "This office allows me and my staff to better serve the people added in December to the 72nd District as part of the legislative redistricting process," Burns said. "It will provide the same high quality level of service that you can expect in any of my offices." Burns said staff members will be on hand in the Patton office to provide services to constituents. Trudy Thomas is a life-long resident of Patton and worked for 16 years as a legislative assistant for state Rep. Gary Haluska before joining Burns’ team. Beth Thomas is one of the representative’s newest employees. She graduated from Conemaugh Township High School in 2010 as a member of the National Honor Society. "Beth is a very talented young woman with a lot of potential while Trudy’s experience and knowledge of the district is very valuable. Both of them are great assets to our team," Burns said. Burns also invites residents to visit either his Ebensburg office, 119 S. Center St., phone 814-472-8021; or his Portage office, 112-A Munster Road, phone 814-736-7339. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 16 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, has released the following statement in response to the state Senate’s passage of S.B. 333, which would invalidate Philadelphia’s mandatory paid sick leave law: “It saddens me to think that Philadelphia workers would be further subjected to working through their own illnesses, or a family illness – instead of getting the rest and care they need to be even more effective employees. Getting rid of this well-intentioned law would hurt many low-income workers, in particular, who are forced to work while sick in order to keep their jobs and support their families.
HARRISBURG, April 15 – In his continued effort to protect residents from consumer fraud and identity theft, state Rep. Dan Deasy, D-Allegheny, is partnering with state Sen. Wayne Fontana to host two free document-shredding events.
HARRISBURG, April 15 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, commended Penn Hills mayor, deputy mayor and council members for their recent actions to keep rental properties safe and free from code violations. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 15 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, has joined Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, in reintroducing legislation that would establish veterans’ treatment courts across the commonwealth. The first veterans’ court started in Lackawanna County in 2009 under Judge Michael Barrasse. Since that time, the veterans’ court has shown to be a proven winner in positive results - both financially for the state and personally for veterans, according to Flynn. “The veterans’ experiences and injuries, both visible and invisible, have created undue stress on their families. Combine that with the poor job market and economic challenges and you have compounded crime, homelessness, family difficulties, and a high suicide rate among veterans. “This specialized court provides supervised treatment for veterans by veterans' advocates who understand the unique underlying problems that have resulted in their running afoul of the law,” Flynn said. The program is a problem-solving court that allows for rehabilitation instead of prison for veterans who have developed substance abuse or mental health issues. In addition to the main premise of establishing veterans’ courts in counties that don’t have one, the legislation ( H.B. 887 ) would allow president judges from different counties’ courts of common pleas to establish joint veterans’ courts, which would be particularly helpful in counties with smaller Read more
HARRISBURG, April 15 – After a strong showing of support from legislators, advocates and victims, state Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, called today’s lobby day in support of reforms to statute of limitations reform in cases of child sexual abuse a success. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 15 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, and state Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin/Perry, today held a joint news conference at the state Capitol to reintroduce their legislation that would establish veterans’ courts statewide.
HARRISBURG, April 15 – House Urban Affairs Committee Democratic Chairman Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, said the committee unanimously approved the following measures this week, sending them to the full House of Representatives for a vote: House Bill 613 would establish the Tax Exemption and Mixed-Use Incentive Program. It is designed to provide tax exemption incentives to developers and property owners in order to encourage new construction in deteriorated areas of depressed communities and improvements to certain deteriorated commercial, commercial and industrial property. A primary focus of the legislation is to encourage mixed-use development. Such development would include projects that incorporate residential, commercial, industrial, cultural or institutional uses. However, under the bill, all development would be required to be in accordance with local zoning ordinances. "This bill would set the guidelines for a plan that stands to have a real impact on economic development," Caltagirone said. "Bringing blighted properties down and pulling the values of homes and businesses up is a direction we need to keep moving in." House Bill 792 would provide an additional source of funding for the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund. Caltagirone said the legislation would provide a dedicated funding source for the fund, utilizing any increase realized in Realty Transfer Tax revenue collected by the Read more
HARRISBURG, April 15 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today said that the National Association of Social Workers, PA Chapter (NASW-PA) held its annual legislative advocacy day yesterday. Hanna said that more than 700 social work students and professionals visited nearly 200 members of the General Assembly to discuss legislation impacting the social work profession and social service delivery. Immediately following legislative visits, the NASW-PA held a rally on the steps of the Capitol rotunda. Currently in Pennsylvania, a doctor is required to obtain a professional license to provide medical services. However, mental health providers, such as social workers, are allowed to practice in the state without a license. Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that allows for unlicensed social workers. “Nearly a dozen students from Lock Haven University sat down with my staff yesterday to discuss potential legislation that is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks in both the House and the Senate,” Hanna said. “It is encouraging to see young individuals and professionals push for change in an industry that impacts so many Pennsylvanians.” According to NASW-PA, the creation of practice protection for licensed social workers, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists and professional counselors would ensure that providers meet competency standards and adhere to ethical practice. NASW is the largest Read more
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives this week unanimously adopted H.R. 163, introduced by state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny.
The resolution recognizes April 2015 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Pennsylvania.
"Our children are our future," Readshaw said. "It is imperative that we protect our children and give them a safe, secure and loving environment.
"There is no 'face' of child abuse. Any child may be a victim, regardless of race, economic background or community of residence. It is our duty as parents, relatives, friends and community members to protect our children.
HARRISBURG, April 14 – As virtual currencies like Bitcoin become more common in the physical world, House Democratic Commerce Committee Chairman W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., is urging his colleagues to hold further hearings to guarantee that those currencies are being properly regulated in Pennsylvania and that sufficient consumer protections have been established.
"These virtual currencies have appeared and have been adopted rapidly, but the government hasn't reacted to the unique nature of these funds and how they interact with the rest of our financial system," Thomas said. "As the Democratic chairman of the Commerce Committee, I feel that it's vital for the General Assembly to hold intensive hearings on this subject to ensure members have a thorough understanding of virtual currencies and that the appropriate consumer protections are in place throughout the state."
HARRISBURG, April 15 – A bill introduced by state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, that would name a bridge in Conyngham Township in honor of a local corrections officer killed in the line of duty was unanimously approved by the House Transportation Committee today. House Bill 629, which can now be considered by the full House of Representatives, would name the bridge on S.R. 3005 over the outlet of Lily Lake as the Senior Officer Eric J. Williams Memorial Bridge. A corrections officer at the U.S. Penitentiary, Canaan, Williams was killed during an unprovoked attack by an inmate in February 2013. He was 34 years old. “Officer Williams was a dedicated public servant who put his life on the line for his commonwealth and his country," Mullery said. “During his time off, he enjoyed spending time at his cottage at Lily Lake. Naming a bridge at the lake would be a fitting tribute to him and ensure his sacrifice is always remembered.” Williams was a 1996 graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School, and graduated from King's College with a criminal justice degree. Before he began serving as a federal corrections officer on Sept. 11, 2011, he spent years working as a police officer. Read more
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