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.
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, said the new state budget is far from perfect but does contain some positive items. "The new budget does include $250 million more for K-12 education, including a $200 million increase in the basic education subsidy, although this still leaves state classroom funding for schools below the level of six years ago. We are still digging out from four years of Corbett-Republican cuts that hit lower-income districts like Philadelphia the hardest," Roebuck said. Roebuck also welcomed the new budget's 2.5 percent increase in funding for higher education, including two historically black universities in Pennsylvania, Cheyney and Lincoln universities, both located in the Philadelphia suburbs. The new budget package also includes larger increases for two scholarship programs. It provides a $163,000 increase, or 30 percent more, for the Bond-Hill scholarship program, which helps students at Cheyney and Lincoln, and a $288,000 increase, or nearly 19 percent more, for Cheyney's Keystone Honors Academy. ### Read more
State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, will vote tonight to pass S.B. 1073, the general appropriations bill for Pennsylvania’s fiscal year that begins tomorrow.
“This budget represents a true compromise between Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, and Governor Wolf’s office,” Longietti said. “It provides a solid investment in our education system, including basic, special and higher education, without a broad-based tax increase that hits our working families hardest.”
EBENSBURG, June 30 – In a July 8 ceremony organized by state Rep. Frank Burns, the family of a state police trooper killed in the line of duty in February 1982 will be recognized at a dedication for the Trooper Herbert A. Wirfel Memorial Bridge, which spans U.S. Route 219 on Tower Road in Croyle Township. The ceremony will take place 11 a.m. Friday, July 8 at New Germany Grove Hall, 1635 New Germany Road, Summerhill. Burns’ H.B. 1371, signed into law in June, was responsible for naming the bridge in honor of Wirfel, who was patrolling U.S. Route 22 in Cambria County when an unidentified vehicle ran through the radar zone at 72 mph. During a pursuit waged in unfavorable weather and road conditions, Wirfel’s vehicle struck a snow drift partially covering the passing lane and skidded off the highway into a frozen snow bank. The 20-year state police veteran was pronounced dead at the scene at age 45, leaving a wife and seven children. The national anthem will be sung by Bridget Anne Wirfel; speakers will include Allan Wirfel, state Sen. John Wozniak and state police Trooper Scott Urban; and a musical tribute will be performed by retired U.S. Navy musician Matthew Wirfel. The Pennsylvania State Police Ceremonial Unit will be on hand to present colors. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, said the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31. Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older qualify for the benefits under the program. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income and any COLAs are excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates can boost the amount up to $975. "This vital program benefits thousands of Pennsylvania seniors, and my office welcomes anyone who needs help completing an application or finding out if they’re eligible,” Dawkins said. Dawkins’s office is located at 4915 Frankford Avenue. Constituents can also contact the office at (215) 744-7901 . The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is one of five programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since the program’s 1971 inception, older and disabled adults have received more than $5.6 billion in property tax and rent relief. The expanded portion of the rebate program is paid for with revenue from slots gaming. For more information about the program, go to www.revenue.pa.gov . Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 – A bill to extend a grant program for volunteer fire companies and EMS providers is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature, said state Rep. Chris Sainato, Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. House Bill 1877, which unanimously passed the House of Representatives on concurrence with the Senate, will extend the Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program until June 30, 2020. It was set to expire today. “Many of our local volunteer fire companies and EMS providers heavily rely on these grants in addition to fundraising events they hold to pay for necessary equipment and training,” Sainato said. “With extension of this program, these grants will help them continue to provide invaluable services to our communities.” Sainato said the annual mandated funding amount for the program is $30 million. The program is funded by gaming revenue. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 29 – The state House of Representatives today adopted a resolution sponsored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, that urges the federal government to lift the ban on sports betting.
“Just last week, the National Hockey League announced the awarding of a franchise to the City of Las Vegas,” Matzie said. “This shows just how drastically public opinion and policy has shifted over time and should deliver the killing blow to the notion that professional athletics cannot coexist with legal sports wagering.”
House Resolution 619, which was adopted by a vote of 140-59, urges Congress to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 which prohibits sports betting in every state except Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware.
“Pennsylvania responsibly oversees and regulates various forms of gaming throughout the state including the lottery, slot machines and horse racing. But an arbitrary law, which hasn’t been revisited by the federal government in more than two decades, prevents us from seriously considering sports betting,” Matzie said. “While discussions would be needed about how sports betting would work in the Pennsylvania, I think it verges on ridiculous that the federal government would prevent us from even exploring the option.”
If the federal government lifts the ban, any state with authorized, license and regulated casino gaming would have the authority to legalize sports betting at its licensed facilities.
“I would f Read more
HARRISBURG, June 29 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, today applauded the House vote against a bill that would promote commercial development such as amusement parks and office buildings in state parks, but he urges vigilance as the bill could be brought up for a vote again. Vitali, Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, noted that H.B. 2013 was defeated in the House by a vote of 123-77 with opposition from both parties. However, a reconsideration vote was immediately filed by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler, and House Majority Whip Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster. The reconsideration means that the bill can be voted on again this session, maybe as soon as this afternoon. “Passage of this bill would lead to improper development on state lands without any public input,” Vitali said. “People who care about state parks need to stay vigilant and urge their members to vote against it again.” Although the bill was amended to make it less harmful, it still contains language that considers the development of amusement parks, office buildings, hotels, inns, restaurants, water parks, sports facilities and golf courses in state parks, Vitali said. “State parks were created to preserve areas of the commonwealth with unique scenic, historic or geological characteristics,” Vitali said. “These types of developments are inconsistent with the mission of state Read more
HARRISBURG, June 28 – State Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila., today supported the passage of a state budget that would increase education funding and expand efforts to fight the commonwealth’s growing opioid addiction crisis.
“This spending plan is far from perfect, but it is a step in the right direction to ensuring our schools have the funding they need to properly prepare our next generation,” Driscoll said. “While I am not happy with everything in this plan, I am glad we were able to find new funds for education without any broad-based tax increases and without a protracted impasse.”
Senate Bill 1073 includes a $250 million increase for pre-K through 12 education funding, including $200 million for K-12, $30 million for pre-K and Head Start, and a $20 million increase for special education.
The bill also would provide a $452 million increase for the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and dedicate $15 million to combat heroin and opioid addiction, including funds for emergency addiction treatment and behavioral health services.
“The new funds dedicated to combating the heroin and opioid epidemic facing our communities is crucial for so many families. I am glad the House was able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to support a critical resource needed by so many families throughout the state,” Driscoll said. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to act quickly so that we can send the budget to the governor and give Pennsylvania the on-time budget it deserves.”
HARRISBURG, June 28 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, today supported House passage of a state budget that would increase education funding and expand efforts to fight the commonwealth’s growing opioid addiction crisis.
“To be frank, this budget bill isn’t ideal. But this isn’t the time to let perfection stand in the way of progress,” Schlossberg said. “If this spending plan is signed into law, Allentown School District would see an increase of $6 million while Parkland School District would receive more than $580,000 in new funds. After years of neglect, this budget would allow our community schools to better focus on their mission of educating our next generation.”
The $31.55 billion spending plan includes a $250 million increase for pre-K through 12 education funding, including $200 million for K-12, $30 million for pre-K and Head Start, and a $20 million increase for special education. Since Schlossberg has been in the House, Allentown School District has received $9.8 million in new basic education funding and Parkland School District has received over $900,000.
“The budget would also make additional resources available to help combat the opioid crisis gripping our state. These increased funds would make a tremendous difference in the lives of many who are currently struggling with addiction and their loved ones,” said Schlossberg.
Senate Bill 1073 would dedicate $15 million to combat heroin and opioid addiction, including funds for emergency addiction Read more
HARRISBURG, June 28 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today supported the passage of a state budget that would increase education funding and expand efforts to fight the commonwealth’s growing opioid addiction crisis. “By no means is this a perfect fiscal plan, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction,” Bizzarro said. “At this time, there are no broad-based tax increases on our hardworking citizens, and we’re avoiding another lengthy budget impasse that would further hurt our schools and human service organizations.” Senate Bill 1073 would allocate $250 million more than the previous fiscal year to Pennsylvania’s schools, including a $200 million increase for basic education. The bill also would dedicate $15 million to combat heroin and opioid addiction, including funds for emergency addiction treatment and behavioral health services. “This year’s state budget is a reminder of the benefits of bipartisan compromise,” Bizzarro said. “Recently, members on opposite sides of the aisle have come together to support liquor modernization and expanded consumer convenience, medical marijuana, and serious pension reform. I am hopeful that this spirit of compromise will continue throughout the state budget proceedings so we can deliver an on-time budget to the residents of this commonwealth.” The legislation returns to the Senate to consider House amendments. Read more
State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, issued the following statement before House consideration of Senate Bill 1073, the general appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016-17:
"While not perfect, this budget represents a compromise between House Democrats and Republicans that makes a solid investment in the education of our young people. I have long been a proponent of working across the aisle to achieve a reasonable budget in a timely fashion and one that prioritizes investments in our children’s future, and this budget accomplishes those goals.
HARRISBURG, June 28 – A 3.3-acre right-of-way needed to spur development of 425 acres of dormant SCI-Cresson property unanimously cleared the state House Monday, prompting state Rep. Frank Burns to urge quick signage into law by the governor. Senate Bill 1182, sponsored by state Sen. John Wozniak with Burns’ full support, would most immediately aid development of 93 acres to accommodate a natural gas-fueled power plant. It would also help transform the remaining 325 acres, which Burns wants to bestow with Keystone Opportunity Zone status to make more attractive. "With yesterday’s House vote, Senator Wozniak and I have done our parts to position the property for meaningful repurposing," Burns said. "Now it’s up to private developers, working with the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority, to carry the ball across the finish line." Burns was at the closed SCI-Cresson site back in May, when the state Department of General Services transferred 93 acres to the redevelopment authority for $1 to aid the electricity generation project developer. "I said at that time that this was the first step toward restoring the 500 good-paying jobs lost when the Corbett administration unceremoniously and without warning closed the prison in 2013," Burns said. "Since then, we’ve taken several more necessary steps to put this project on the path to fruition." With swift Senate and House approvals, the right-of-way Read more
HARRISBURG, June 27 – Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, today urged the state Senate to take action on H.B. 60 so that Pennsylvanians suffering from cancer can have access to the most appropriate treatment for their care. House Bill 60 would require health insurance providers that cover intravenous cancer chemotherapy to equally cover oral chemotherapy treatment, thereby giving patients the opportunity to choose their best treatment option. The bill passed the House in February 2015, but has yet to receive final passage from the Senate. "Partisanship and petty politics are something we face as lawmakers," DeLuca said. "However, this is not a partisan issue. It is a people issue and one that could affect all of us. Let's move past politics. I implore the Senate to bring up House Bill 60 for consideration.” DeLuca wrote to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman in April, urging movement on this legislation. He said today that it appears the legislation only now finally has been jarred loose in the Senate, but the legislation will have to return to the House of Representatives for a concurrence vote on Senate changes. “I’m happy to see this legislation is finally being considered by the Senate. I will ask Speaker Mike Turzai and Leader Dave Reed to quickly bring up House Bill 60 for a concurrence vote. "House Bill 60 would dramatically improve the quality of life for countless cancer patients in the commonwealth. The stress of Read more
HARRISBURG, June 27 – Two co-chairs of the legislature's Women's Health Caucus praised today's U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Texas abortion law that caused all but a few clinics there to close. The number of clinics in Pennsylvania also dropped after a more limited version of the stricken law was enacted here in 2011. State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, said: "Today’s 5-3 decision by the Supreme Court clearly exposes the sham arguments made by abortion opponents that restricting access to safe, legal abortion is somehow in the best interest of women and their health. "The motivation for these draconian legislative proposals – requiring hospital admitting privileges for abortion providers and requiring expensive construction overhauls of abortion facilities – has been clear to many of us for a long time," said Frankel, the WHC House Democratic chair. This should also put the brakes on Pennsylvania efforts to pass additional abortion restrictions . It’s great to see the United States Supreme Court strike down the terrible law in Texas." Sen. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, said: "Today's ruling is an important victory for a woman's constitutional right to make her reproductive decisions. It reinforces very clearly that government cannot burden this right simply by claiming it is protecting women's health. "Those who want to restrict reproductive rights now know for sure that they Read more
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