PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will co-host a weekly radio program from 11 a.m. to noon every Thursday on radio station WTTM, 1680 AM. The program, entitled "Voices from the Inside," will focus on the state's prison system and reducing crime. McClinton will be joined by co-hosts state Rep. Leslie Acosta, D-Phila., Esteban Cabrera and author Hugh Taft-Morales. "I am excited to have this opportunity to discuss our criminal justice system," McClinton said. "This new program will offer a voice to those currently incarcerated and will promote the sharing of ideas between prisoners and us on the outside. Thanks to Rep. Acosta, who developed the idea and invited me to participate in such a meaningful program. "By meeting those currently in prison, I hope that the listeners will understand the need for changes and improvements in our current system. We need to establish more humane methods to house our prisoners and work with them so they can be rehabilitated and can return to society and contribute. We waste so much money incarcerating those who have committed minor offenses and by locking them up for extended periods of time, we make it harder for them to blend back in to society and hold a meaningful job. "Additionally, we will be discussing community programs which may reduce violence and crime." The program will air live at 11 a.m. every Thursday on 1680 AM, and it can also Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 9 – The House Transportation Committee today amended and reported out a bill, authored by state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, to strengthen provisions intended to keep infants safe while traveling in a vehicle.
"On Monday, at a public hearing held by the House Transportation Committee, I was pleased to see wide, bipartisan support for efforts to improve child safety in Pennsylvania," Schlossberg said. "After a productive and frank discussion, it was clear that there was sufficient support to strengthen my bill by amending it to offer even better protections for our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. I fully support that effort."
House Bill 1551, which originally would have required children younger than 1 to be secured in a rear-facing car seat, was amended by the committee to require children to be secured in a rear-facing car seat while in a vehicle until age 2 unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer’s specification of the car seat in use.
Schlossberg noted that this change to his bill follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. During the House Transportation public hearing, Ted Leonard, executive director of the Pennsylvania AAA Federation, voiced AAA’s support for efforts to enhance the requirement to secure children under age 2 in rear-facing car seats or until that child reaches the maximum height and weight for the car seat as noted by the manufacturer.
"As a father of two young children, I find it hard to belie Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 7 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, has introduced H.B 1692, which would make it easier for family members to commit a loved one for drug and/or alcohol treatment.
“Too many families watch their loved ones deal with alcohol or drug abuse problems and can only standby while they spiral into despair, or worse,” Readshaw said. “I have been working with family members, law enforcement, the district attorney, the minor courts and others to ensure that my bill would offer remedies for families seeking help for their loved one.
"I introduced this bill at the request of my friend, a constituent who recently lost his son because of a drug overdose," he added.
Readshaw said that Pennsylvania families are the front lines of the opiate epidemic in this Commonwealth, and this bill is an effort to provide families with another avenue of resources.
House Bill 1692 would provide for involuntary treatment requirements and procedures for individuals suffering from alcohol and other drug abuse; and imposing duties on the Department of Health and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Presuming the person has a reasonable benefit of recovery and the individual presents an imminent danger or imminent threat of danger to self, family or others as a result of alcohol and other drug abuse, or there exists a substantial likelihood of such a threat in the near future, a family member would be able to petition the Court of Common Pleas to initiate proceedings for in Read more
PITTSBURGH, Dec. 2 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny announced the state's heating assistance program, LIHEAP, is accepting applications for the winter.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides federal aid to eligible families to help pay winter heating bills and cover emergency heating equipment needs.
"LIHEAP ensures that qualified households can pay for their heating costs, such as gas, oil or electricity," Readshaw said. "Emergency funds are also available for households without heat or fuel, or those facing cut-off from a supplier.
"My staff can help complete the application."
Household income limits to qualify vary according to family size:
Household Size Maximum Income
The household income level increases by an additional $6,240 for each additional person.
"Since this program is based on federal money, the state budget impasse should not affect the funding for this program," Readshaw said.
Applications also can be completed online at www.compass.state.pa.us, and can be obtained at local county assistance offices, which can be found at www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/CAO-locations.aspx.
HARRISBURG, Nov. 16 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, and state Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery/Phila., announced today that they will host a private advance screening of the film “Spotlight” on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at the Midtown Cinema, 250 Reilly St. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and Turning Point are the event sponsors.
A complimentary reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., prior to the movie. Remarks will be offered by the sponsors and hosts in support of legislation that would modify the Pennsylvania statute of limitations to allow victims to seek civil action against abusers and the institutions that shield them.
“Spotlight” is the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child sexual abuse and cover-up within the local Boston Archdiocese.
More information about the event is available by contacting Rozzi’s Harrisburg office at (717) 783-3290. To reserve tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/private-advance-screening-of-spotlight-tickets-19499631924. Seating is limited.
HARRISBURG, Oct. 28 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, will host a flu shot clinic from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Nov. 5 at Concord Presbyterian Church, 1907 Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh, 15210.
Pneumonia shots also will be available.
"The earlier you can get a flu shot, the longer you are protected through the flu season," Readshaw said. "It is important to remember that flu is not just a nuisance. It can be a serious, even fatal, illness, especially for those young children, elderly and anyone who may have a weaker immune system."
While the flu vaccinations are not free, the costs are covered by all Medicare Part B plans as well as many other medical insurance plans. Vaccination recipients must bring their insurance cards when they get their shots.
Readshaw reminds people who may have the flu to see a doctor as quickly as possible. There are treatments which may lessen the severity of the illness if taken quickly enough.
EBENSBURG, Sept. 19 – Cresson Volunteer Fire Co. with $3,900 and Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Co. with $7,036 are two of 142 rural departments in Pennsylvania awarded grants to help guard against fire threats in forests and undeveloped areas, state Rep. Frank Burns announced today. Burns said the grants come through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, with funding supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. The money is awarded to volunteer fire departments in rural areas or communities with fewer than 10,000 residents, and the maximum award is $7,500. “One of the main goals of this program is to help fire departments in areas where forest and brush fires are common,” said Burns, D-Cambria. “That is definitely the case in Jackson Township and Cresson, and I’m glad to have helped firefighters in those areas procure these needed state funds.” Burns said a key objective of the grant program is to better equip and train volunteers to save lives and protect property in unprotected or inadequately protected rural areas. Grant recipients are selected based on vulnerability and adequacy of existing fire protection, he added. Aid is granted on a cost-share basis, with recipients supplying matching funds. The Bureau of Forestry will begin accepting 2017 applications online next spring. Burns said any volunteer fire department interested in applying for the next Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 19 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced that two fire departments in Westmoreland County are recipients of grants to help communities guard against forest fires. Derry Township Volunteer Fire Dept. No. 1 in Bradenville and Derry Volunteer Fire Department have been awarded $7,500 and $4,223, respectively. "These grants will come in handy for these two departments," said Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana. "With nearly 3,000 acres of state game lands at their door, it's important they also be prepared to handle forest and brush fires." The grants are used for wildfire-suppression equipment, protective clothing, portable radios, water supply installations, wildfire prevention and mitigation, training and maintenance on vehicles used for fire suppression. Local fire departments in rural area or communities with fewer than 10,000 residents qualify for the program. Grants are provided through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Bureau of Forestry, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. The maximum award is $7,500. Aid is granted on a cost-share basis, with recipients supplying matching funds. The Bureau of Forestry will begin accepting 2017 applications online next spring. Read more
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 19 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, announced today that his "Readshaw’s Raiders" and motorcycle riders from around Pennsylvania are preparing for their annual "Ride to Gettysburg." The trek from Harrisburg to Gettysburg is set to begin near the fountain outside the East Wing of the Capitol with a welcome ceremony at 12:15 p.m. and the ride departing at 1 p.m. Sept. 24. The annual event supports the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project, which Readshaw established in 1997. State Reps. Bryan Barbin and Dan Moul have been appointed ride marshals for this year’s trip. "I am honored that so many riders have made this event an important part of their lives in the past and hopefully in years to come, they can show their children they helped to keep the monuments in a condition that honors the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg, ensuring that future generations will know the pride taken in these soldiers and their memories," Readshaw said. In addition to the ride marshals, state Reps. Bill Kortz, Mark Keller and Jim Marshall, and former state Rep. Teresa Forcier from Crawford County and her Motormaids, are scheduled to participate in the journey. Before the ride commences, the B.S.A. Venture Crew 1861, portraying the 1 st Pennsylvania Reserves Volunteer Fife & Drum Corps, will play The Star-Spangled Banner. The corps will also play at the end location, Battlefield Read more
SCRANTON, Sept. 19 – Area veterans are invited to take part in the monthly support program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 at the office of state Rep. Marty Flynn. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 16 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will hold her 57 th Town Hall meeting at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30 in the Wolcoff Auditorium, Roxborough Memorial Hospital, 5800 Ridge Ave. The discussion will center on two of the questions that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot this fall. Slated for the ballot is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that if voted affirmatively will increase the age of mandatory retirement for judges from 70 to 75. The other question asks citizens if they believe that the size of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives should be reduced. “These are two very important issues facing Pennsylvania this fall, and their effects will be far-reaching,” DeLissio said. “Please join me as we have an objective discussion of those effects and possible outcomes.” To amend the state constitution, legislation must pass the House and Senate in two successive sessions. Appropriate notice is then provided to citizens, and the amendment will appear on the ballot for citizens to ultimately decide. There is free parking in the Jamestown Parking Lot on Jamestown Avenue. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 16 – The tax on electronic cigarette products included in the recently enacted state budget would be repealed under a proposal offered by state Rep. Joseph Petrarca. “Many constituents have contacted my office to express concern that the soon-to-be enacted 40 percent tax on electronic cigarette, or ‘vaping’ products, will not only make these items more costly, but it will also deter friends and family members from being able to purchase these products to end their tobacco addiction,” said Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, who voted against the tax . “I’m also concerned about the many small businesses that won’t be able to afford to pay this large tax increase on their inventory and will be forced to close their doors, putting hundreds of people out of work across Pennsylvania,” he said. The use of electronic cigarettes enables tobacco smokers to otherwise ingest nicotine without the harmful effects of inhaling carcinogens and other hazardous products of tobacco combustion. As such, it has become invaluable in helping thousands of Pennsylvanians quit smoking, thereby reducing their risk of contracting certain forms of cancer. “While this 40 percent tax on electronic cigarette products will dramatically increase the price of these products for consumers, the estimated annual revenue generated from this tax for the state -- $13 million -- is negligible compared to the nearly $500 Read more
EBENSBURG, Sept. 15 – Cambria County will receive $120,775 in federal funds to provide short-term shelter for domestic abuse victims and housing/utility assistance for eligible homeless people, state Rep. Frank Burns and state Sen. John Wozniak announced today. Administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the funds will help the Cambria County Emergency Solutions Grant program with its emergency shelter and rapid re-housing activities. “With the recent loss of the Salvation Army and its 24 beds, it is more necessary and vital than ever to provide emergency shelter and homelessness funding,” said Burns, D-Cambria. Wozniak, D-Cambria/Bedford/Clearfield, said, “These monies will be used for operations and essential services at the Women's Help Center, a domestic violence shelter with 24 beds and four cribs, and for the 14-bed Martha & Mary House Homeless Shelter, which is the county emergency homeless shelter located in Dale.” The Community Action Partnership of Cambria County will continue to operate the rapid re-housing component activities, as that agency has in the past. That component of the program will provide rental assistance, case management, utility payments, and security deposits for eligible homeless individuals and families, as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Burns and Wozniak said all proposed activities will be supplemented by various Read more
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, is informing students who plan to attend college in the 2017-18 school year that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid can be filed as of Oct. 1. "This is an important date change for almost every college student," DeLuca said. "The FAFSA form is a requirement for almost any application for student aid, whether through the school, the state or federal government or for private scholarships. The new application opening is three months earlier than previous years, and also, just as importantly, the new date means that the previous year's tax information will be used for the application." Under previous rules, applications were not available until Jan. 1 of the school term's calendar year and families were required to provide the tax information for the just-ended calendar year, which was not due to be filed until April. "Allowing the earlier application date, and the acceptance of the previous year's tax information will allow students to apply at their convenience and also reduce the stress of trying to prepare the necessary tax returns before all information is available," DeLuca said. DeLuca reminds all college-bound students that the FAFSA form must be filled out to be considered for any federal grants, student loans or work-study programs or any Pennsylvania state grants offered through PHEAA. The FAFSA form can be Read more
State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at Curtis Hall to discuss national and statewide infrastructure issues, including water and sewer infrastructure needs in Montgomery County. Read more
ALLENTOWN, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, is urging college-bound students and their parents to start looking now at the application process for financial assistance for higher education. According to Schweyer, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid will be available to applicants beginning Oct. 1, three months earlier than in previous years. The change was made to better align the student borrowing process with actual college admissions timelines, as well as to give families the chance to use more accurate financial data when completing the form. “This is an important date change for almost every college student,” Schweyer said. “With the ever-increasing cost of higher education, students and their families should apply at their earliest convenience so they receive the most financial assistance available to them to help pay for college.” The FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for state and federal aid programs such as the Pennsylvania State Grant and work-study employment, Pell grants, Perkins loans and Stafford loans. Many colleges also use the FAFSA to determine eligibility for school-based aid such as private grants and need-based scholarships. Beginning the application process earlier in the school year will allow students and families to meet the various deadlines set by colleges and universities. Schweyer noted there are other resources available to students as they prepare for college. The Read more
State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D- Erie, and state Sen. Michele Brooks, R- Erie, are co-hosting a free Senior Fair and Older Living Expo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16 at Our Lady of the Lake Church, 128 Sunset Drive, Edinboro. “It’s always nice to talk with my constituents who visit the Senior Fair and Older Living Expo,” Bizzarro said. “I am encouraging everyone to spend some time with us and while they’re there, they can obtain a lot of information about state programs and services and seniors can even get flu shots and health screenings.” Bizzarro said more than 65 local and state organizations will provide information on the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, PACE and PACENET, veterans’ benefits information among other items of interest. There will be light refreshments and door prizes available. “My staff will be on hand to answer any questions people may have about how my office can serve constituents,” Bizzarro said Bizzarro said no RSVP is required. For more information, contact Bizzarro’s office at (814) 835-2880 or visit 1101 Peninsula Drive, Suite 209 in the Peninsula Plaza in Erie. Read more
EBENSBURG, Sept. 14 – In the face of intensified attacks on police officers nationwide, state Rep. Frank Burns plans to push for a quick vote on his Blue Lives Matter bill when the legislature reconvenes Monday. Burns said Tuesday’s incident in Phoenix , where a driver purposely barreled his vehicle into three police officers, seriously injuring two of them, is the latest in a growing line of incidents where law enforcement is being targeted for harm. “More than ever, we need to send a clear message that this type of behavior will be dealt with harshly in Pennsylvania,” Burns said. “I intend to lobby my fellow representatives and write a letter to the House Judiciary Committee chairman, with the goal of swiftly moving my bill through the process.” Burns’ H.B. 2261 , introduced in July, would make such attacks a hate crime in Pennsylvania, with a commensurate stiffer penalty. The legislation has attracted 22 co-sponsors and is backed by the 40,000-member Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police. As crafted by Burns, the bill would make employment as a law enforcement officer a covered class under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law, on par with race, color, religion and national origin. It would stiffen by one degree the penalty for assaulting a police, corrections, probation or parole officer. “With the bipartisan support for this bill, it needs to move through the process and not languish in committee,” Burns Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 14 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, today announced the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development allocated more than $1.2 million in Emergency Shelter Grants to Lawrence County. The Lawrence County Regional Veterans Services received $729,951 to provide permanent housing for 122 identified homeless veterans. The Lawrence County Crisis Center received $543,326 for emergency housing, street outreach and kitchen renovations. The center will reach out to victims of domestic violence, chronic homelessness, veterans, youth and homeless people and families. “These organizations are just two of the many wonderful resources located in the county that provide assistance to the homeless and victims of domestic violence,” Sainato said. “I applaud DCED in securing the funding to help these organizations continue their good work in our community.” Sainato said DCED was able to distribute the funding through Continuum of Care, a federal program designed to promote communitywide commitment with the goal of ending homelessness. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 14 – Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, participated in a news conference this afternoon rallying support for H.B. 1082, which Harkins introduced last year. House Bill 1082, the Jake Schwab Worker's Safety Bill, was introduced in memory of Erie resident Jake Schwab, a mechanic with the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority, who lost his life due to a workplace incident in November 2014. As a public transit authority, EMTA is exempted from Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, so the details regarding the incident and any safety concerns that would have been raised through an OSHA review have been hard to track. Harkins' bill would provide on-the-job safety protection to public employees by establishing OSHA-equivalent safety rules for public employers, including the commonwealth, all legal political subdivisions, public schools, transit systems and any nonprofit organizations currently exempt from OSHA standards. "What cost do you put on life," Harkins asked. "Going forward, there will be many opportunities for others to weigh in and make this a perfect bill. But I don't want to forget Jake Schwab. He was the impetus for this bill." The news conference followed a public hearing in Harrisburg of more than two hours, which was held by the House Labor and Industry Committee. The bill is currently under consideration in the committee. ### Read more
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