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, March 20 – State Rep. Robert Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced the adoption of H.R. 136 today, designating the week of March 12-18, 2017, as “Sunshine Week” in Pennsylvania, highlighting the importance of open and accessible government. Established by the American Society of News Editors in 2005, Sunshine Week is celebrated by journalists, civic groups, educators, citizens and elected officials by discussing the importance of access to public information. The PA NewsMedia Association is responsible for organizing many of the Sunshine Week activities in Pennsylvania. House Resolution 136 also stresses the necessity to protect our constitutional principles, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the pursuit of a free and transparent government. “Each year Sunshine Week coincides with James Madison’s birthday, widely considered the father of the U.S. Constitution and an architect of the Bill of Rights,” Matzie said. “Madison reminded us that knowledge and information are required for a free society to govern itself. The press is an indispensable tool for informing the public and as a legislator I support making government information more open and accessible when possible.” At a time when public trust in government is extremely low, Sunshine Week emphasizes the need for government officials to ensure decision making processes are as public and accessible as possible. Sunshine Week highlights Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 17 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will host an event to provide helpful tools for current local business owners or for people aspiring to open their own small business. The Entrepreneurship Seminar will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 at the Ezekiel Baptist Church, 5701 Grays Ave. Attendees will learn what it takes to establish a business and secure the necessary finances to make it happen, how to effectively establish a business by promoting a brand in all forms of media, and hear experiences in effectively establishing a business and the paths taken to achieve inspiration. “Small businesses are the backbone to our community, so we must assist them with tools to help them grow and remain successful. If small businesses thrive in our neighborhoods, then job opportunities are available to more neighbors,” McClinton said. “I encourage everyone – business owners or those looking to take on a different pathway and own a business – to come be inspired and informed.” McClinton noted seminar participants include the Enterprise Center, the U.S. Department of Small Business Administration, City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Office of Business Services, City of Philadelphia Department of Procurement, Southwest Community Development Corporation, Citizens Bank, African Cultural Alliance of North American, INC. and local entrepreneurs. For more information, constituents Read more
HARRISBURG, March 17 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., announced that the Belmont Hills Library has been awarded a $500,000 state grant from the Department of Education. The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund award was granted to help renovate and expand the library, including adding ADA restrooms and parking, fixing the main entrance automatic doors, making the heating, ventilation and air conditioning more efficient, installing LED lighting, and purchasing furniture, shelving and fixtures. "Libraries today are more than just buildings with books in them," DeLissio said. "While books are still a very important part of modern libraries, libraries also make a wealth of media available to the public, including movies, periodicals and newspapers. They provide access to technology and the internet, and they serve as a community gathering place. Our libraries educate, open minds and inspire people of all ages. This grant helps Belmont Hill continue to do that in our community." The grant was one of 27 awarded throughout the state, totaling $5.9 million. The funding is allocated to pay up to 50 percent of eligible costs in planning, acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of public libraries, and is funded by a portion of the realty transfer tax. Read more
PITTSBURGH, March 17 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, is hosting an entrepreneurial inclusion summit at 11:15 a.m. in the Capitol Media Center, Harrisburg. Sen. Vincent Hughes, the Women's Caucus and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus also are participating in the event. They will be joined by Stephen Bradley, chairman, Philadelphia African American Chamber of Commerce, and Shariah Brown, chairman, African American Chamber of Commerce of central Pennsylvania. Minority business owners from Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia are expected to participate in the event. The MWDBE program is designed to encourage minority, women and other disadvantaged business owners to bid for and compete in state and local government bidding opportunities. In addition to the media event, the attendees will join in a networking luncheon with a number of state agencies and then be recognized in the House chamber before visiting individual legislators in Harrisburg. State agencies expected to participate in the networking luncheon include: the departments of Community and Economic Development, Conservation and Natural Resources, Corrections, General Services, Military and Veterans Affairs, and Transportation; the Game Commission; Gaming Control Board; Liquor Control Board; Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the Turnpike Commission. ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 17 – The House Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing today at Philadelphia City Hall to explore implementing a fee for municipalities to cover the cost of the Pennsylvania State Police providing local police coverage, according to Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “For too long, many municipalities throughout Pennsylvania have relied on the State Police to serve as their local police instead of participating in a regional police force or creating their own department while the rest of the state pays for their own local police,” Sturla said. “Last session, the General Assembly and Governor Wolf put a cap on money coming from the Motor License Fund to the State Police because these communities need to start paying their fair share for local police coverage. We also need to make sure the State Police has the dedicated funds needed to perform its public safety duties. In Pennsylvania, 22 percent of the state’s population live in municipalities with no local, full-time police coverage and 6 percent live in municipalities that have only a part-time police force. The remaining 72 percent pay for their own local full-time police coverage, essentially subsidizing “ free” police protection for the rest of the population. State agency panelists included: Leslie Richards, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; Rick Vilello, Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs, Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 15 – State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald, D-Phila., announced she will host a town hall meeting to discuss quality-of-life issues impacting residents in the 203rd Legislative District. The meeting will take place 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 23 at Simons Recreation Center, 7200 Woolston Ave., Philadelphia, 19138. Fitzgerald said government officials and community organizations that provide quality-of-life services in area neighborhoods will be on hand, including law enforcement and public safety, neighborhood beautification, public health, youth advocacy and senior services. “The purpose of this event is to provide a platform for our residents to learn about the services available to them in our community,” Fitzgerald said. “I encourage everyone to come out and become engaged in this informative event.” For more information, constituents can call Fitzgerald’s district office at (215)-549-0220. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 15 – Philadelphia state Reps. Isabella Fitzgerald and Stephen Kinsey will host a public meeting on the issues relating to stop-and-go convenience stores that sell alcohol and how they impact surrounding communities. It will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 23 at the Oak Lane Library, 6614 N. 12 th St., 19126. Along with the representatives, personnel from the Liquor Control Board and Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement will be on hand to address concerns and discuss potential solutions. For more information, constituents can call Fitzgerald’s district office at (215) 549-0220 or Kinsey's district office at (215) 849-6592. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 15 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing to discuss fee schedules for municipalities that do not have local police forces and currently receive free coverage from the Pennsylvania State Police. Chaired by Sturla, the hearing will be held 10 a.m. Friday, March 17 at Philadelphia City Hall, City Council Chambers, Room 400, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19107. The current hearing agenda is: 10 a.m. - Welcome and Opening Remarks 10:10 a.m. - Panel One: Leslie Richards , Secretary, Pa. Department of Transportation Richard Vilello , Deputy Secretary of Community Affairs, Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development Ronald Stern , Local Government Policy Specialist, Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development Lt. Col. Stephen Bucar , Deputy Commissioner of Staff, Pa. State Police Major Patrick Brinkley , Director of the Bureau of Research and Development, Pa. State Police 10:50 a.m. - Panel Two: Ernie McNeely , Township Manager, Lower Merion Township Roman Pronczak , Township Manager, Whitpain Township 11:20 a.m. - Panel Three: Bob Latham , Executive Vice President, Associated Pennsylvania Constructors Abe Amoros , PA Legislative Director, Laborers’ International Union of North America – Mid-Atlantic Region 11:50 a.m. - Closing Remarks MEDIA COVERAGE IS ENCOURAGED. Read more
Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, is sponsoring a Treasury Hunt from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, March 16, at his Peninsula Plaza constituent-service office to help constituents reclaim unclaimed property being held by the state Treasury Department. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., plans to introduce a "sanctuary commonwealth" bill to keep families together and maintain trust between Pennsylvania police and the communities they serve. Rabb's legislation would bar Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies from using agency or department funds, facilities, property, equipment or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes. "Some in Harrisburg are busy attacking sanctuary cities again, even though sanctuary cities create safer communities. Our communities are more stable when families are stable -- separating family members destabilizes our communities. Attacking sanctuary cities will not make us safer, as immigrants, both documented and not, are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the U.S.," Rabb said. "Pennsylvania and America are at our best when we live up to our founding principles and reject the outrageous rhetoric being spouted by too many in Harrisburg and Washington," he said. Rabb said his bill would take the burden and cost of enforcing federal immigration law off local and state police in Pennsylvania. "Instead of getting 'bad dudes' off our streets, the Trump administration's stepped-up raids are often rounding up people for relatively minor offenses or civil immigration law infractions and breaking up families,” Rabb said. "My sanctuary Read more
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, was elected Northeast Delegation vice chairman for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Democratic Caucus. Mullery will serve in the post for the 2017-18 legislative session. “I look forward to continuing to work on the issues that affect citizens throughout northeastern Pennsylvania,” Mullery said. Just recently, members of the delegation were instrumental in keeping two state prisons open in Luzerne and Schuylkill counties. They had been on the list of five state prisons that were being considered for closure by Gov. Tom Wolf. Members composed an online signature writing campaign, held hearings and conducted local meetings in their districts about the prison situation. “Members of the delegation showed solidarity and made a strong case to keep both prisons open at a Senate policy hearing held in Harrisburg,” Mullery said. Mullery said members of the delegation work well together and he remains committed to fight for his constituents’ needs and concerns. The Northeast Democratic Delegation consists of House members from Berks, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill counties. Read more
State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, today said the House adopted his resolution (H.R. 102) to designate March as Brain Injury Awareness Month in the commonwealth. “ Brain injuries greatly impact the lives of individuals who have experienced them, as well as their families and loved ones in ways that are nearly impossible to quantify. Bringing attention to these injuries, along with the measures people can take to avoid them, is very important,” Schweyer said. The Brain Inquiry Association of Pennsylvania reports that 245,621 people are living with a brain injury, with 25,975 Pennsylvania children having a brain injury each year. Additionally, 8,612 residents across the commonwealth sustain long-term or life-long disabilities from a brain injury. Additionally, the association reports that 49,505 people are seen in the emergency room each year following a brain injury, with an estimated 2,223 dying from their injury. “Pennsylvania is fortunate to have a number of first-class hospitals and rehabilitation centers that offer treatment and therapy to those who have suffered from traumatic brain injuries. This resolution is also meant to recognize the miraculous work that those professionals do every day,” Schweyer said. “We must continue ongoing research in brain injuries, as well as treatment and support for patients in recovery,” Schweyer said. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – A bipartisan group of legislators from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today rallied to prevent individuals with disabilities from being forced to sit in the community and leave day programs and sheltered workshops where they are comfortable. Following the rally, the House Human Services Committee conducted a hearing on the topic to gather more information. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) proposed changing how it administers its home- and community-based waivers. To be eligible, individuals with disabilities would be forced to spend time in the community away from sheltered workshops and day programs where they currently go. The initial proposal would have required individuals to spend 75 percent of their time in the community, rather than being segregated at day programs or sheltered workshops. This requirement left many day programs and sheltered workshops wondering how they would continue to operate if individuals can only participate essentially one day out of five. While an alternate proposal to have individuals spend 25 percent of their time in the community has been advanced, some unanswered questions remain. “All Americans deserve the right to work and should have the liberty to keep a job they love,” said Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland). “We need more people working, not less. Clelian Heights and the Blind Association in my legislative district meet the needs of individuals with Read more
SCRANTON, March 13 – Area veterans are invited to take part in the monthly support program next week at the office of state Rep. Marty Flynn. A representative from the American Legion Service Office Outreach program will be in Flynn's office -- Jay's Commons, 409 N. Main Ave., Scranton -- from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 22 to provide information on services available to veterans and their families. The American Legion representatives are available to discuss pensions and other compensation, education, health care and death benefits. Legion membership is not required to take advantage of the help, but anyone interested in speaking to the advisers is recommended to schedule an appointment through Flynn’s office at 570-342-4348 . Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – State Rep. Michael Driscoll, D-Phila., announced he has introduced H.R. 143, designating March 2017 as “Irish-American Heritage Month” in Pennsylvania. The resolution’s co-sponsors include Reps. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, Kevin Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, and Tim Hennessey, R-Chester/Montgomery. “Irish Americans have made immeasurable contributions to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our nation as a whole,” Driscoll said. “They have been and continue to be political, religious, cultural and artistic leaders. In American history, soldiers who were born in Ireland or of Irish descent were major contributors the Continental Army under George Washington’s command during the American Revolution, while an Irish immigrant, John Barry, is credited as the Father of the American Navy for his service as captain of the Continental Navy.” Celebration of Irish heritage is a long-standing tradition in the commonwealth, which hosts among the largest and oldest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country each year. Irish heritage parades will be celebrated from Philadelphia, where their parade has taken place since 1791, to Scranton, which hosts the second-largest St. Patrick’s parade in the country. “As a proud Irish-American myself, it is an honor to co-sponsor a resolution recognizing the impact Irish-Americans have been making since before our country’s founding. Thank you to my Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 10 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will hold her 62nd town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 23, in the Mifflin Elementary School Auditorium, 3624 Conrad St., Philadelphia. “We will discuss the legislative process, how and why legislation moves or stalls, and the channels a bill must take in order to become law,” DeLissio said. “The legislative process in Pennsylvania has many steps and discussing how decisions are made in the capitol is a topic that I want to share with constituents. “I look forward to this town hall as an opportunity to dialogue with my constituents about current legislative priorities. “Understanding the legislative process and where to go to get legislative updates on bills that are important to you is integral to knowing how to advocate and help advance legislation. DeLissio said that this town hall is perfect timing for those seeking to become actively engaged in governmental issues, or those seeking to learn more about current Pennsylvania legislative priorities. Best practices for being proactive and involved will be shared. Street parking is available. If traveling by bus, the school is on routes 9 and 32. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 10 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., testified today before Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on the Disabled and Persons with Special Needs about Pennsylvania’s Health Choices program. At the hearing, Dawkins spoke about the state Department of Human Services procurement process for managed-care organizations. "Between the initial RFP and today, the process has been plagued by litigation, cancelled awards, scoring errors and lack of transparency," Dawkins said. "I have two primary concerns with these developments. First, that they run counter to some of the early lessons we’ve learned through the roll-out of the Medicaid expansion. And second, that this saga demonstrates the urgent need for reform to the way our state conducts procurement." Dawkins expressed concern that the process could impact health outcomes for patients, and increase costs for taxpayers. He also called for reforms to the procurement process. "The opaque nature of the department's requirements and scoring process has been cause for significant concern. It has resulted in the process being interrupted and contested by numerous parties at multiple stages. And even at this late date, the awards are being questioned," Dawkins said. "I am also troubled by the role the Commonwealth’s policy towards small and diverse business enterprises played in this process. This was reportedly one of the metrics that Read more
Calling it a disservice to the constituents they both share, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, urged Congressmen Pat Meehan to vote against the TrumpCare plan being rushed through Congress. Read more
State Rep. Carolyn Comitta will host an open house event at her district constituent service office, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 24. Her district office, which is open now, is located at 21 W. Washington St., Suite A. The 156 th Legislative District includes West Chester Borough, West Goshen, East Goshen, Westtown, Birmingham and Thornbury/Chester County. This open house event is an opportunity to meet Comitta and her staff and to learn about the services they provide locally. All are invited to this free event. Light refreshments will be served and no RSVP is required. Parking is also available. “I’m excited to welcome residents of the 156 th and for them to know we are here for them,” Comitta said. “We can assist with all state-related business, and refer out when necessary, so we encourage constituents to come in or contact us anytime.” Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Read more
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