HARRISBURG, March 19 – Prospective homebuyers would be told of the state’s mine subsidence insurance program when considering a purchase in an area where mining has taken place, under a bill proposed by state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington. Snyder’s legislation would require that information about the insurance – offered through the state Department of Environmental Protection – be given to those contemplating buying a home in an area where coal or clay mining activities have occurred. This information would be provided either by the seller or the real estate agent. “Imagine buying a new home for you and your family, only to find out that its foundation has cracked and is sinking, due to mine subsidence,” Snyder said. “Currently, no regulations exist in Pennsylvania requiring that homebuyers be made aware that mine subsidence insurance is available, or that it be recommended to them. My bill would ensure this information is provided to allow them to make an informed decision.” Snyder noted her legislation would not place a financial mandate on homebuyers, but only require that the pertinent information be provided to those in the market for a new home. House Bill 27 is currently before the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for consideration. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 18 – Saying it amounts to nothing more than gun control , state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, has come out swinging against a Philadelphia lawmaker’s bill that would charge gun owners a $10-per-year registration fee for each firearm they own. Burns, a member of the legislature’s Second Amendment Caucus, said the gun registry called for by H.B. 768 contains other provisions – such as universal fingerprinting and background checks – that put it squarely at odds with current state law and the Pennsylvania Constitution. “I took an oath as state representative to uphold the state constitution – not destroy it,” Burns said. “I see this bill as an attack on legal firearms ownership, and I will do everything in my power to defeat it.” Burns said the proposal also flies in the face of the U.S. Constitution and the Second Amendment, which clearly codify the right for law-abiding citizens to bear arms. “It is insulting to mandate that responsible, law-abiding Pennsylvanians be forced to register their firearms and pay yearly fees, just to exercise their constitutional right to own a gun,” Burns said. “I will fight this bill tooth-and-nail to ensure we don’t weaken or eliminate people’s ability to defend themselves. "If we want to send a clear message to criminals and those who would do others harm via gunfire, the legal system needs to enforce the laws already on Read more
HARRISBURG, March 18 – A measure designed to create the Pennsylvania Distilled Spirits Industry Promotion Board, responsible for awarding grants to craft distilleries, on Monday was passed by the state House of Representatives, announced state Rep. Dan Deasy, D-Allegheny. Deasy, Democratic chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee, introduced H.B. 325 , which would create a board tasked with awarding $1 million in grants to be used for promotion, marketing and research-based projects to benefit the distilled spirits industry in the commonwealth. “The commonwealth has seen a large influx of distilleries in recent years, which is extremely exciting. However, distillers are still faced with challenges,” Deasy said. “The grants awarded by this board would provide opportunities for the continued growth of the state’s distilling industry, allowing the commonwealth to reach new benchmarks in regard to production. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the political aisle for getting this bill across the finish line.” Deasy said the Pennsylvania Distilled Spirits Industry Promotion Board would be comprised of five appointees designated by Gov. Tom Wolf and leaders in both chambers of the state legislature. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration. Read more
State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, hosted an event in Harrisburg celebrating and promoting minority, women and disadvantaged businesses (MWDBE) in Pennsylvania. Read more
KING OF PRUSSIA, March 18 – State Rep. Tim Briggs introduced legislation to reduce the amount of polystyrene material that pollutes the environment. House Bill 627 would prohibit food establishments from using single-use polystyrene containers (solid or foam) to dispense prepared foods. “We’ve all seen takeout cups and containers littering the sides of our roadways. Polystyrene can take hundreds of years to decompose, and in the meantime it clogs our local waterways and poses a threat to birds and marine life,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “My legislation would mean less of this material ends up in our waterways and in our landfills, and it would help us to reduce our overall impact on the world around us.” Briggs introduced similar legislation last session. In the fall, he joined environmental groups to announce 15,000 signatures were collected on a petition supporting the ban. Microplastics – tiny particles often resulting from the breakdown of larger plastic materials – have been found in birds and fish, and last year, were found in human stool samples for the first time, leading to questions about the impact on human health. “Every day, we are reminded that our disposable society is creating a growing waste problem. It’s time to change the way we live and think,” Briggs said. “We have to do everything we can to keep our air and water clean, and that includes encouraging the use of materials Read more
HARRISBURG, March 18 – Legislation co-sponsored by state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., that would provide more opportunities for entrepreneurship across the commonwealth passed the House today, 192-2. House Bill 324 would permit municipalities with a population of 10,000 people or more to encourage development of micro-enterprises, businesses that employ up to five people. In so doing, such initiatives can reduce the number of people participating in social programs and transition them into the full-time workforce. “With my background as a business author, practitioner and professor teaching entrepreneurship, it led me to help extend the reach of this proposed initiative to a more diverse set of beneficiaries, including worker cooperatives,” Rabb said. “This business assistance program would now be made available to more prospective business owners who would most benefit from it, and prevent others outside of Pennsylvania from taking advantage of opportunities meant for state residents already invested in their local communities.” The legislation also would encourage partnerships with existing authorities and redevelopment authorities to operate a community development authority that would issue loans to micro-enterprises. Funding for the loans would come from money contributed by municipalities through a small portion of fees and fines collected, as well as money through private partnerships. Rabb said that bipartisanship helped to move Read more
HARRISBURG, March 18 – Democratic Leader Frank Dermody responded to a vote taken today by the House Labor and Industry Committee advancing a bill to change how public employee unions would be allowed to serve their members. House Bill 785 was introduced just seven days ago and it did not receive a committee hearing before the vote. “Instead of advancing unnecessary anti-worker bills, I wish my Republican colleagues would direct more attention to raising the minimum wage, ensuring equal pay for equal work, and passing earned sick time for hard-working people in Pennsylvania,” Dermody said. Read more
SCRANTON, March 18 – Area veterans are invited to take part in the monthly support program next week at the office of state Rep. Marty Flynn. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 18 – Ensuring the stability of the state’s fund to promote organ and tissue donation is the goal behind a measure that was unanimously approved by the House Transportation Committee, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced today. Petrarca’s bill would address an oversight in the Senate bill that created Act 90 of 2018, which increased the voluntary contribution amount to the Robert F. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund from $1 to $3. This voluntary checkoff is included on driver’s license and vehicle registration forms. However, Petrarca said the act didn’t take into account recent changes to the state’s Vehicle Code allowing for biennial vehicle registrations. “Pennsylvania has been a leader in promoting organ and tissue donation,” Petrarca said. “Unfortunately, the fund itself has had significant financial challenges in recent years. My legislation would consider biennial registrations and increase the voluntary checkoff contribution for those registrations from $3 to $6 in an effort to stabilize this valuable fund.” In addition to promoting organ and tissue donation, the fund also pays for the funeral expenses of donors and provides grants toward the development and implementation of programs to encourage donation. House Bill 30 will now head to the House for further consideration. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 18 – The state House of Representatives last week passed Rep. Danielle Friel Otten’s bill to allow Marsh Creek State Park to release a parcel of land adjacent to the Turnpike in exchange for land that would expand the park’s trail network and protect local wetlands and wildlife habitat. The land along the turnpike, consisting primarily of rock and road berm, was originally purchased with public Project 70 funds, so it cannot be sold or transferred unless it’s replaced with land of an equal or greater value. H.B. 387 would release that strip of land from Project 70 restrictions but transfer Project 70 protections to the new larger wooded, wetland parcel to be acquired by the park. “Under this plan, we’re showing that development doesn’t have to cost the county’s beautiful and important natural spaces,” said Otten, D-Chester. “This is a win for conservation, Chester County residents, and all Pennsylvanians.” The new parcel is part of a larger, 57-acre land preservation project coordinated among the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Natural Lands Trust, and the Turnpike Commission. The parcel of land released under the bill would allow the Turnpike Commission to widen the road. The bill now awaits consideration in the state Senate. Read more
Springfield Township, March 15 – State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware, today said that some 2,180 residents of the 165 th Legislative District participated in her telephone town hall on Thursday. “This telephone town hall was an opportunity for residents to bring their questions and concerns directly to me,” O’Mara said. “I am looking forward to taking the suggestions and ideas from last night with me to Harrisburg and drafting and supporting meaningful legislation that improves our community.” O’Mara answered questions about property taxes, road improvements, gerrymandering, investing in renewable resources, supporting first responders and more. Participants also had the opportunity to participate in instant polls and ask questions about issues facing the community such as raising the minimum wage, preventing gun violence and legalizing general-adult use cannabis. The results of the polls were: 48% said health care is the biggest issue facing the area. 89% support raising the minimum wage. 64% said banning semi-automatic assault-style rifles is the best way the state can prevent gun violence. 48% support decriminalizing general-adult use cannabis. “I appreciate the time that everyone took to participate in the town hall. I was elected to bring public service back to politics and I look forward to continuing these discussions.” O’Mara encourages anyone that has additional questions to Read more
HARRISBURG, March 15 -- State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission as Pennsylvania prepares for the 2020 census. Gov. Tom Wolf formed the commission to make sure Pennsylvania is taking the appropriate steps to achieve a complete and accurate count of the population. Burgos said that the commission will be making recommendations on methods and policies that will help make the 2020 census more accurate and easier to achieve. “I am looking forward to working with, and facilitating the most complete and accurate census count in 2020. Including implementing strategies to reach hard-to-count populations and hard-to-enumerate areas,” Burgos said. “This is an important appointment as the commonwealth prepares for the census next year. We need all people to be counted, from our biggest cities to our small and rural communities Pennsylvania may suffer deep consequences if the population is miscounted. “From losing seats in Congress to receiving billions of dollars less in federal funds for a variety of services and programs, there is a lot at stake. It is why the work of this commission is so important, and why it is an honor for me to be chosen for this important work,” he said. Some of the organizations joining Burgos on the commission are the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Service Employees International Union and the NAACP. Burgos was appointed Read more
"Our hearts are broken by the horrific attack in New Zealand last night..." Read more
ALLENTOWN, March 15 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, issued the following statement regarding the violent attack in New Zealand. Read more
MONROEVILLE, March 14 – State and local transportation issues were the focus of state Rep. Brandon Markosek’s House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the Monroeville Municipal Building. Markosek requested the hearing to discuss how state and local governments could improve public safety and the economy by investing in transportation improvement projects. He was joined by colleagues from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “Pennsylvanians need structurally sound bridges and roads. Our families and friends should be able to travel safely to and from work, school, activities and home. I’m grateful to Chairman Sturla for bringing the committee to Monroeville to discuss how local transportation officials can worth with PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission to improve roadway safety for all,” Markosek said. Sturla added, “While we work to improve public safety and Pennsylvania’s roads and bridges, we have to remember that there are hundreds of millions of Motor License Fund dollars being used to provide free local police coverage to about 28 percent of the population. If we could spend that money on its intended purpose of road and bridge projects, we could afford to bring more than $3 million additional to every single House and Senate district for road and bridge improvements.” The committee heard testimony from: Cheryl Moon Sirianni, District 11 executive, Pennsylvania Read more
Over the past several years, state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, has hosted a day at the Capitol for entrepreneurs to put faces to the well-established minority, women and disadvantaged business designations. Read more
ERIE, March 14 – State grants totaling nearly $2 million went to help 658 students in the House’s 2 nd Legislative District for the 2018-19 school year, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, announced today. The awards were made under the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, which assists eligible Pennsylvania students who demonstrate financial need in pursuing higher education. “It’s extremely encouraging to see this funding going to help students in our district with the costs of higher education,” Merski said. “There are lots of industrious young Pennsylvanians in our area, but many face an uphill battle when it comes to shouldering the costs of higher education. Helping defray some of those costs is an investment that pays off on so many levels, not just for students but for our region, as graduates find jobs and reinvest back in the economy.” The grants were funded by an appropriation from the General Assembly, which provided the program $273 million. The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency – which administers the program – supplemented that amount by committing $101 million from its reserves. The combined funding set the maximum grant award at $4,123 for about 140,000 full- and part-time, qualifying students. In addition to the state grants, 12 students in the district received nearly $18,000 from the Ready to Succeed Scholarship Program, and 25 students received more than $97,500 from the Pennsylvania Read more
HARRISBURG, March 14 – A $246,400 state grant will fund ongoing efforts by New Castle to revitalize the city’s structural and economic landscape, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced today. Since January 2007, the city – designated a fiscally distressed municipality – has been operating under terms of a recovery plan. “The funding announced today is terrific news for New Castle, whose residents have endured challenges posed by urban blight and aging infrastructure that have impacted the local economy, as well as quality of life,” Sainato said. “Although the city has made great strides on the path to recovery, the grant funding is critical to ensuring ongoing progress. It’s extremely encouraging to see our tax dollars going to fund the kind of vital, nuts-and-bolts projects that will both create jobs and revitalize this community of hardworking families." Sainato noted that the grant will fund the following projects in these amounts: $80,000 to update the city’s comprehensive plan to reflect new development, zoning and land use changes since 2005. $75,000 to develop regional approaches to providing services traditionally handled by individual governments and to study shared service and possibly merger opportunities with one or more of the smaller neighboring municipalities. $65,000 to fund an assessment of facilities used in daily municipal operations so the city can proactively forecast Read more
After reading Hop’s recent opinion piece in the New Pittsburgh Courier, I wanted to give an informed rebuttal to his assertions. Read more
ERIE, March 13 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, will host a “Treasury Hunt” Friday to help residents discover whether the state treasury is holding any of their unclaimed property. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, March 15 at Bizzarro’s Millcreek office at 1101 Peninsula Drive, Suite 209. “The state Treasurer’s Office estimates that it’s holding more than $3 billion in Pennsylvanians’ unclaimed property,” Bizzarro said. “It’s not uncommon for people to lose track of property from sources such as uncashed overtime checks, forgotten utility or security deposits, escrow accounts and closed bank accounts. Events like our ‘Treasury Hunt’ are a great way for residents to find out whether the state is holding any of those lost assets on their behalf.” Bizzarro added that residents who can’t make it to Friday’s event can still search for unclaimed property online by visiting www.patreasury.gov/unclaimed-property . Read more
Contact form was unable to load. If the problem continues, please contact the webmaster.
Please use the form below to sign up for email updates. By completing this form your are acknowledging your request to receive periodic email updates.
Find your representative by address, district, or member's name. Click a button below to start your search.