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
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 21 – State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald, D-Phila., announced she will host an open house at her district office for constituents of the 203rd Legislative District. The free event will take place 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7178 Ogontz Ave., Philadelphia, 19138. “I’m thrilled to take this opportunity to have my constituents stop by the office, meet me and my staff and learn how we can assist them with any state-related program and service,” Fitzgerald said. Refreshments will be served. Fitzgerald added people can visit her website – www.pahouse.com/Fitzgerald – which has links to information on state services and includes a form that enables constituents to email her. Fitzgerald also maintains a legislative Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RepIzzy and Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/RepIzzy . Read more
State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, invites residents of his district to a free document shredding event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 11 at his constituent service office, 4933 Kutztown Road. Read more
READING, Feb. 20 - State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, today released the following statement on the conclusion of THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, which raised $10,045,478.44 in the last year to fight pediatric cancers. The Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) hosted more than 16,500 student volunteers at the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend during its annual 46-hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon to fight childhood cancer. The fundraising total is calculated at the culmination of the dance marathon. "What these student-philanthropists accomplish each year is nothing less than a miracle for the thousands of children fighting cancer," Caltagirone said. "The students, donors and organizers serve as inspiration to us all. "I've walked the halls of kids fighting cancer in Pennsylvania's specialized cancer hospitals and was forever changed. Once you pick up this fight, it never leaves you. The kids up in State College, and all over Pennsylvania, recognize that as well. Their work has arguably put Pennsylvania at the nation's forefront for cancer-research awareness, and I'm proud to do what I can to add to that legacy." Caltagirone this month introduced a package of legislation to help fund pediatric cancer research. The package comprises: H.B. 46 , which would establish a check-off box on Pennsylvania's state income tax form where a taxpayer could voluntarily contribute no less than $5 for Read more
State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, released the following statement today about the Bucks County Solebury School Grand Jury Report released earlier this month and his introduction of H.B. 612. The report summarized decades-long widespread sexual abuse of dozens of students at the elite private school, but no charges could be brought against perpetrators because of the expired statute of limitations. House Bill 612, known as the Real Deal, would eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual assault claims and allow for a revival of the civil window. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 17 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., will host a community meeting Feb. 25 on fire safety and prevention following a recent rash of house fires in west Philadelphia. "Even one preventable house fire is one too many. In at least one case, I'm told someone worried about heating costs tried to use the oven to heat the home, so we'll also have information on how to get help with your heating bills," Cephas said. The community meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 25 at Freedom Christian Bible Fellowship, 6100 W. Columbia Ave. In addition to Cephas, participants will include the Philadelphia Fire Department (Fire Prevention Division, Fire Administration, fire house and Engine 54), the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross and block captains. RSVPs to Cephas' office are encouraged but not required. To RSVP or for more information, residents may contact Donna at 215-879-6625. Cephas represents the 192nd Legislative District in west Philadelphia, which is home to more than 60,000 residents from the Wynnefield, Overbrook Farms, Morris Park, Overbrook Park, Overbrook, Haddington, Hestonville and Carroll Park areas. ### Read more
Rep. Petrarca reports that his offices in Vandergrift, Derry and Latrobe have federal and state income tax forms and applications for the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program available for constituents. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 16 – State Rep Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery, announced that $250,000 in state funding through the Keystone Communities program will support a community revitalization effort in Norristown. “Investment in our communities is an investment in our future,” Bradford said. “When we are able to aid our communities in ways that encourage revitalization, we are planting seeds for a prosperous future that will contribute to the overall benefit of the commonwealth.” Bradford explained that Genesis Housing Corp. is one of nine community revitalization projects across Pennsylvania slated to receive a total of $1.4 million in funding. The amount allotted to Montgomery County will be used to ensure completion of 34 affordably priced townhouse units in a distressed, transitional area of Norristown. “This project replaces a blighted property and will provide opportunities for first-time homeowners,” Bradford said. “It is important that we recognize the value this program and these partnerships have as a means of addressing housing needs and making Pennsylvania an encouraging option for job expansion and retention.” For more information about the Keystone Communities program, visit www.dced.pa.gov . Read more
State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, announced today that West Reading has received a $246,512 grant from the Keystone Communities program to go toward community revitalization. Read more
WEST CHESTER, Feb. 16 – The state Department of Community and Economic Development awarded $200,000 to the Borough of West Chester to help further transition the National Guard Armory here into a performing arts center, state Rep. Carolyn Comitta announced today. The money, which comes from DCED’s Keystone Communities program, will go toward specialized lighting, visual and audio equipment, and theater seating in the Knauer Theater for the Performing Arts. "This project is the fantastic result of neighbors bringing together a patchwork of community-improvement opportunities, residents and their passions to make something that the entire state has now recognized as an economic driver and sound investment in our region," said Comitta, D-Chester. "I could not be more proud of the project’s champions. Kudos to them." The theater is part of UPTOWN! Entertainment Alliance, a non-profit organization promoting cultural, economic and civic life experiences in the community through live theater, music, dance, film and other local events in the heart of West Chester's historic district. The West Chester National Guard Armory building was built in 1916 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It housed the National Guard’s Bravo Co., 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry and 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which traces its lineage directly to Benjamin Franklin, who formed the unit in 1747 to protect the colonies in the Read more
State Reps. Ryan Bizzarro and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, have co-sponsored legislation ( H.B. 34 ), that would restore the full $57.5 million to reopen unemployment call centers and bring back all furloughed jobs. “People need their unemployment benefits to pay the mortgage, buy food and just to survive,” Bizzarro said. “Every day I am hearing from frustrated constituents who are spending upwards of six weeks, calling hundreds of times trying to get through to the call centers. The call center situation needs to be fixed fast because these people need their money.” "This has been a devastating problem for the entire state, affecting people in Erie and everywhere ,” Harkins said. “Our unemployed, who need the financial assistance to get by, are struggling to get their claims processed in a timely manner. We need to fix this immediately.” Bizzarro said House Labor and Industry and Appropriations committee hearings are scheduled. “How long can the state continue to operate under these circumstances by literally stringing along claimants?” Bizzarro said. Bizzarro said the legislation has bipartisan support in the House. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 15 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., announced that she is launching a liquor control task force to address growing concerns and issues that stem from nuisance establishments negatively impacting Philadelphia neighborhoods and commercial corridors. Cephas said the task force will be designed to bring together local and state agencies, business owners and area residents that are immediately impacted by the operation of these establishments. "With the loosening of laws regarding liquor sales, businesses have greater opportunities to expand commerce and product lines, however, we are experiencing some unintended consequences of changing the laws," Cephas said. "It remains critical for local and state agencies to keep a watchful eye on nuisance establishments that are taking advantage of loopholes. "West Philadelphia residents are speaking out with significant concerns and this a step in answering their call. This task force is a way to allow all stakeholders to be part of the solution. Throughout this process, I am prepared to go block by block to leave no stone unturned and no call unanswered to ensure our community assets stay as such." Members of the task force will be tasked with reporting and resolving complaints from residents, tracking and examining new license requests and transfers, and making long-term legislative and policy recommendations. In addition, Cephas, a member of the House Liquor Control Read more
The Erie News NOW story here http://www.erienewsnow.com/story/34506554/bizzarro-harkins-push-for-funding-to-reopen-pa-unemployment-offices?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter_ENNMattKnoedler Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., will host a community forum titled "Where We Go from Here" from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Masjidullah Center for Human Excellence, 7401 Limekiln Pike. "There's a lot of understandable anxiety about what the new president and his team have done and what they may do next. I want to give people an opportunity to come together, ask questions, be heard, and draw on the collective wisdom of the community," Rabb said. Rabb said the main goal of the forum is to determine next steps on a local level for a nation in transition by: Strengthening local communities' future through conversations that matter; Engaging with local and state government officials; and Enabling networking between citizens committed to action. "I specifically chose a mosque as the location because I want to show that Philadelphians stand with our Muslim neighbors, and that we consider our diversity to be a strength," Rabb said. Rabb's staff will also have information at the event about state services. Residents of the 200th Legislative District in northwest Philadelphia can reserve seats by calling Rabb's office at 215-242-7300, emailing RepRabb@pahouse.net or visiting https://is.gd/RabbFeb25Forum . ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today introduced legislation that would legalize sports betting in Pennsylvania's casinos and their licensed facilities. House Bill 519 would clear a legal path to allow sports betting in all of Pennsylvania's licensed casinos as soon as it is permitted under federal law. Current law only permits sports betting in Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana. "Sports betting is a $400 billion business in the United States," Matzie said. "Most of that betting takes place illegally, through bookies and off-shore wagering companies. This bill would position Pennsylvania's casinos to be among the leaders in sports betting as soon as the legal hurdles are removed." Most recently, New Jersey has tried to legalize sports betting. Although their initial attempts were denied, New Jersey’s final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was postponed as the Court announced that it would wait until the new U.S. Solicitor General was confirmed to weigh in on the issue. “This is encouraging, given that President Trump has addressed his stance on the sports betting industry – and his support for legalization – on at least two occasions.” There are currently 12 licensed casinos in Pennsylvania, including four in Western Pennsylvania: Rivers Casino in Allegheny County; The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County; Lady Luck Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 13 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, has announced the PLBC’s annual scholarship competition is open for the 2017-18 school year. The scholarships are available for high school seniors and first-year college students who will be enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year Pennsylvania college or university. Harris said the students applying for the scholarship must be a minority student, have a minimum grade-point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, and demonstrate leadership qualities. A 250-word essay on the student’s academic plans and career goals must be submitted. Only the first 250 applications submitted will be considered. The PLBC plans to award at least 10 scholarships this year. Each scholarship will be $1,000. To obtain an application and more details about the program, students can visit www.pahouse.com/plbc and click on the Scholarships tab. If they have any additional questions about the PLBC Scholarship Program, applicants can contact Harris’ office at (717) 772-6955. The deadline to submit an application is Saturday, April 22. Read more
State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, will participate in the Humane Society of the United States and Erie Leadership “Advocate We Love’ award to Erie animal advocate Jessica Carlson. The event is 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the ANNA Shelter, 1555 E. 10 th St., Erie, Pa. The Humane Society of the United States’ Puppy Mills Campaign will present one of their 14 annual ‘Advocates We Love Awards’ to Carlson for her work with numerous local advocacy groups including the Erie Puppy Mill Awareness Group. Bizzarro will present information on legislation, H.B. 13, formerly H.B. 869, which includes animal protection, known as “Libre’s Law.” Additional presenters include: Ruth Thompson, Founder and Director at the Anna Shelter; Bob Merski, Erie city councilman; Jay Breneman, chairman, Erie city council; Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania State Director at the HSUS; and Jessica Carlson, award recipient. Media coverage is invited. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 13 – State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, introduced a legislative package to bring the fight against pediatric cancer to the foreground in Pennsylvania. Caltagirone said that he will build from the momentum gained last session when the House unanimously passed the first part of the package, a bill that would establish a check-off box on Pennsylvania's state income tax form where a taxpayer could voluntarily contribute no less than $5 for pediatric cancer research within the commonwealth. This session, that bill is H.B. 46 . The other bills in the package are: H.B. 404 , which would establish a Pediatric Cancer Research registration license plate that would be made available through the state Department of Transportation; H.B. 407 , which would allow Pennsylvanians to donate to pediatric cancer research on their vehicle registrations and driver’s license renewals; and H.B. 408 , which would establish tax credits for businesses that are researching and pursuing a cure for pediatric cancers. The bills to establish avenues for donations would go toward Pennsylvania leaders in the fight against childhood cancers, including: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Cancer Center; Penn State Hershey Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Abramson Cancer Center, the University of Pennsylvania; and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. House Bill 408 would allocate $10 million in tax credits per year over the Read more
I had the pleasure of speaking with Junior Girl Scout Troop #41889 at Hillsdale Elementary School for their "Inside Government" badge. It's an honor be able to help these young girls further their understanding of government and how it works! Read more
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