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.
HARRISBURG, Feb. 11 – Pennsylvania state legislators are making a bid to assist hundreds of workers idled by Allegheny Technologies Inc.’s six-month lockout who are about to see their unemployment benefits expire. Reps. Frank Dermody and Joe Petrarca this week teamed up to introduce a bill that would provide financial help to workers who were locked out of their jobs and have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. "Workers and their families are in severe financial distress after being locked out of their jobs for half a year," Dermody said. “These workers helped make ATI what it is today. They take pride in the work they do and they want to get back to doing it. Until that happens, we need to help them weather the crisis.” The bill (H.B. 1857) introduced by Dermody and Petrarca would provide temporary unemployment benefits to any Pennsylvania workers who see regular unemployment benefits expire after being locked out of their jobs. Only unemployed workers affected by a lockout would be eligible and the state Department of Labor and Industry reports the locked-out ATI employees are the only ones in Pennsylvania currently affected. “Hundreds of people would rather be working, but instead they are about to lose unemployment benefits through no fault of their own,” Petrarca said. “Their families are suffering along with them, as well as all the local businesses that depend on the daily spending generated by Read more
HARRISBURG, March 16 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has unanimously adopted a measure authored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, recognizing March 2016 as “National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. “Experts suggest up to 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented if people age 50 and older were regularly screened and appropriately treated for this disease,” Donatucci said. “As uncomfortable as some people may be discussing colorectal cancer, it’s important to raise awareness about the illness so that people don’t live in fear.” The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, killing 49,700 Americans in 2015. Donatucci noted she understands the devastating toll the disease can have on families if left undetected. “I lost my father to colon cancer in 1998,” Donatucci said. “I want to make sure other families don’t have to go through what my family and I did, especially so many cases of this disease are preventable.” Donatucci’s H.R. 709 noted colorectal cancer often begins as a polyp, which is a growth that forms on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. In addition to polyps, risk factors for colorectal cancer can include age, family history, certain genetic mutations, excessive alcohol use, obesity, Read more
The Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, which a grand jury determined shielded priests who sexually abused children for decades, should make amends by supporting legislation to lengthen the statute of limitations for such crimes, state Rep. Frank Burns said at a news conference today.
Burns, D-Cambria, organized the noon event at the Cambria County Courthouse to showcase his and others’ support for changing Pennsylvania laws so adult victims of child sexual abuse, currently time-barred by the statute of limitations, will have a limited, two-year opportunity to bring a civil suit. They also support complete elimination of civil and criminal statutes of limitations for future victims of child sex abuse.
Saying it confirms the suspicions that cemented his support for abolishing the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, state Rep. Frank Burns said criminal charges announced today against three Franciscan friars stemmed from a teacher’s assaults on students reported at his former Johnstown high school.
The charges filed by the state attorney general center on the molestation of over 80 children by the late Brother Stephen Baker at Bishop McCort High School and elsewhere between 1992 and 2010. Burns, who graduated from McCort in 1994, was never victimized by Baker, but knew him and is certain his friends and classmates were.
State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., invites west Philadelphia residents to three events he will host this fall, starting with his "Report to the People" meeting about the state budget, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the Kingsessing Recreation Center, 5100 Chester Ave.
"I hope you'll bring your neighbors and your questions, too," Roebuck said.
PITTSBURGH, March 4 – State Reps. Jake Wheatley, and Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, announced the creation of a new annual scholarship fund for needy students in Allegheny County on Thursday night. The new scholarship will be the Speaker K. Leroy Irvis Scholarship Fund, named after the former Speaker of the Pennsylvania House and Representatives, and the first African American Speaker of the House in the United States. Wheatley and Gainey will each donate $2,500 to fund the scholarship, which will be housed within and administered by NEED, the oldest community-based, nonprofit, minority, higher education assistance program in Pennsylvania. NEED’s vision is to unlock the power of education by helping youth meet their highest potential and enhance their quality of life, thereby strengthening the Pittsburgh regional economy. “Former Speaker Irvis left a tremendous legacy of fighting for social justice and civil rights,” Wheatley said. “He dedicated his life and talents to improving the lives of the people of the commonwealth. I am hopeful a scholarship in his name will help fund the education of future African American leaders to follow in his footsteps.” ### Read more
WHITEHALL, Feb. 24 – State Rep. Daniel McNeill, D-Lehigh, today hosted government officials, medical experts and concerned citizens from across the Lehigh Valley at a town hall meeting on the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing the area. McNeill was joined by Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin; Lehigh County Sheriff Joe Hannah; Lehigh County Administrator for Drug and Alcohol Layne Turner; Lehigh County Chief Deputy Coroner Andrew Kehm; Toxicologist in Emergency Medicine for Lehigh Valley Health Network Dr. Matthew Cook; Devin Reaves from Young People in Recovery; Mary Ellen Jackson from HOPE (Heroin and Opioid Prevention Education); Denise Continenza from Communities That Care/Penn State Extension; Denise Jacobsen, a parent leader of the Lehigh Valley Parent and Family Support Group; and Nicholas Labar, a recovering addict and advocate for clean and sober living. “Families across the Lehigh Valley are facing a battle every day to save the lives of their loved ones who are addicted to heroin or other opioids,” McNeill said. “I hope this meeting starts what will be the first of many steps toward ridding our neighborhoods of heroin, and I look forward to working with all concerned parties to begin solving these problems.” McNeill said he was moved to take action on this issue after seeing how widespread this epidemic has become. According to data from the Pennsylvania Coroners Association, over the past five years, heroin and opioid Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today announced the award of $7 million in state tax credits to aid construction of a new $29 million shopping center at Harbison Avenue and Tulip Street. Known as Shoppes at Wissinoming, the 110,000-square-foot project will include a Shoprite Supermarket as the anchor tenant, plus space for retail stores and restaurants. “This is great news for our area,” Dawkins said. “I am committed to providing the 179 th District with the resources it needs to support healthy food options and family-sustaining jobs. Shoprite will bring fresh food and produce to our area, which we have been lacking for a long time. The project and new businesses will also create hundreds of jobs, and help move our community forward.” Shoppes at Wissinoming is expected to support 250 full-time jobs during 18 months of construction and create 300 permanent, full-time jobs once completed and fully occupied. Shoprite is expected to employ more than 200 full- and part-time workers who will be offered benefits, job training and career advancement opportunities. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, March 18 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, joined with a majority of her House colleagues to pass legislation that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. Davidson said she voted for the bill (S.B. 3) because it would help people avoid relieving their pain by seeking out other narcotics and becoming addicted to drugs such as heroin. The bill includes language drafted by Davidson that would include sickle cell anemia as a qualified medical condition to use medical marijuana. "People suffering from sickle cell are usually prescribed opiates to fight the pain of the disease," Davidson said. "Medical marijuana has been proven to alleviate chronic pain and help reduce reliance on opiates." According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 23 states and the District of Columbia permit some form of medical marijuana and prescription drug deaths have dropped by 25 percent in states that permit medical marijuana. The bill also includes Davidson’s language that requires the involvement of minority , women and disadvantaged businesses in the cannabis industry in Pennsylvania. "If we are going to create a new industry in Pennsylvania to support medical marijuana, I want to ensure that every business has an opportunity to benefit," Davidson said. The bill now returns to the state Senate for consideration of House amendments before moving to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk. The Read more
State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio is holding two free shredding events in April for constituents to safely dispose of confidential, unwanted documents.
The events are:
• 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 9 at the Roxborough Municipal Lot, at 514 Dupont St. Philadelphia.
• 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 16 at the Old “Anne Sez” parking lot next to Staples, 925 Montgomery Ave., Narberth.
HARRISBURG, March 17 – State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Joanna McClinton, D-Phila, plan to introduce a resolution recognizing and honoring Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Kinsey said Tuesday, March 22 is the AKA legislative day at the Pennsylvania state Capitol. “I am looking forward to honoring these women before the legislature for their dedication and commitment to improve social and economic conditions through community service programs,” Kinsey said. “The sorority works with communities on such initiatives as progressive programs relating to education, family, health and business.” The sorority was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C. by a group of 20 students, led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle. Now the organization has a membership of approximately 283,000 members. The distinguished women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. have never wavered from doing the supreme service for all of humanity. “The sorority joined in the battles for racial equality through education since its inception,” McClinton said. “They continue to use their strength in numbers to fight for opportunities for those in need, both in America and around the globe.” McClinton said the organization has more than a dozen chapters and 1,000 members in Pennsylvania. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 17 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today released the following statement after the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed H.B. 1801, which he said would help wrap up the long-overdue 2015-16 state budget: “Until we can come up with a compromise budget that mathematically works and addresses the real fiscal issues we face in Pennsylvania, this plan is the only option. Time is not on our side. I don’t want to see our schools close, and I don’t want to see massive layoffs. I don’t want to see our nonprofits fold, and I don’t want to see Pennsylvanians denied the crucial services they need. I don’t want the divisiveness of this impasse to loom over this great commonwealth and the people we serve. “This is no way to govern or lead, but it’s the unfortunate reality of the situation we’re in, given the lack of ability to compromise, and lack of political will to address the real issues at hand. We are over nine months into the fiscal year, and we need to make sure our schools are not disrupted by the mass dysfunction in Harrisburg. We have many challenges ahead of us and we cannot overcome them without bipartisan support. “Choosing to support this budget proposal wasn’t an easy decision, but I believe that we as a legislative body, and especially its leaders, should have done better because Pennsylvanians deserve better. But at the end of the day, this job requires you Read more
HARRISBURG, March 17 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, supported legislation this week that would end the nine-month budget standoff and help ensure community organizations and schools do not have to close their doors. The House passed a supplemental budget bill and several budget-related bills Wednesday evening, including bills to fund Penn State, which included its agricultural and cooperative extension services, and the University of Pittsburgh, and were sent to the governor. "It was important for me to support these proposals, that while not perfect, would help bring an end to the uncertainty of whether our communities' most vulnerable residents will continue to receive needed services. Families will receive financial assistance to help send their students to college, students will be able to attend school without threat of closure before the end of the school year, and seniors will continue to have access to state programs," Petrarca said. "Also, important to me is that this budget would not require any new state taxes." The governor signed a scaled-down budget bill in December, which authorized the flow of emergency funding to schools, counties and human service providers, but it was not a complete budget and left many areas and services unfunded. "I am hopeful that Wednesday's votes will bring an end to Pennsylvania's budget impasse so that we can wholly concentrate on crafting a budget Read more
HARRISBURG, March 16 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today approved legislation that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, supported S.B. 3 and helped steer the measure through the House during three days of debate before the final vote. This was the first time the House passed such a bill despite the Senate overwhelmingly approving similar proposals in the past two legislative sessions. The House-amended version of the bill would strictly regulate the use of medical marijuana. Petrarca was part of a bipartisan task force that met last summer and fall to craft an effective medical marijuana bill that could be supported by a House majority. The legislation passed today contains changes suggested by that task force. "The task force debated the issue and looked at what was done in other states," said Petrarca, Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "We saw things that worked and things that didn't work. We looked at medical marijuana as a tool for doctors to help people. "Parents want to help their children, and doctors want to help their patients, and medical marijuana can do that. I'm pleased we were able to draft legislation that would give Pennsylvanians another option in palliative care -- one that doesn't result in overdose and death -- while at the same time tailoring its use to ensure it is used only for specific Read more
HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer praised today’s House passage of legislation that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. The House passed an amended version of S.B. 3, which originally passed the Senate in May 2015. The amended bill would require a prescribing doctor to be registered with the Department of Health before they would be authorized to prescribe the use of cannabis for the following conditions: intractable seizures, cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntingdon's disease, Crohn's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, autism and neuropathic pain for which traditional therapies are contraindicated as well as other neuropathies and certain spinal cord injuries. The main amendment of the bill was the result of a bipartisan task force, of which Schweyer was the only Lehigh Valley member, which worked together for months to craft a bill that would be acceptable to a majority of legislators. "It’s a great day in Pennsylvania and while it took a long time, we are closer than ever to finally seeing the legalization of medical marijuana," Schweyer said. "I’m proud to have been a part of a working group of legislators from both sides of the aisle who put politics aside and placed the health and well-being of people at the forefront. "There is a real need for this critical treatment Read more
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