HARRISBURG, March 19 – Due to inclement weather, tomorrow’s Youth in Government Forum scheduled at Keystone College in La Plume has been cancelled, according to state Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-Lackawanna. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 19 – State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, has introduced legislation designed to protect Pennsylvania homeowners from government seizure of their homes. Under H.B. 688 , the commonwealth or a local government entity would be prohibited from taking a primary residence from a homeowner because he or she cannot afford to pay property taxes on it. "Property taxes in this commonwealth have risen to the point where many citizens can no longer afford to stay in their homes. Many of these people have paid off 30-year mortgages but simply can’t afford the property taxes," said Caltagirone. "There are far too many homes being sold at tax sales, leaving our most vulnerable citizens literally out in the cold. The burden of these taxes fall particularly hard on poor, sick and older citizens. These people are constantly fighting to keep their homes and the American dream of homeownership is a job layoff, illness or death of a spouse away from being torn from their grasp." The bill would require passage in the state House of Representatives and state Senate in two consecutive legislative sessions. After that, it would be put before the voters of the state to decide if they want to amendment the Pennsylvania Constitution. "Until the legislature gets the courage to take on the entrenched interests fighting property tax elimination, I am proposing this solution to protect the most vulnerable citizens from an overbearing Read more
ALLENTOWN, March 19 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from leaders in the business, labor and job-training industries, along with state officials, concerning Pennsylvania’s economy at a hearing requested by state Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh. The meeting focused on creating a competitive job market, specifically with regard to the manufacturing sector. “House Democrats are leading the way in developing policies that will help create family-sustaining, private-sector jobs,” Schweyer said. “Today’s conversation with leaders in business and labor was incredibly informative and will prove to be most helpful in the coming months.” The hearing was held at Allentown Economic Development Corp., located in the 22 nd Legislative District represented by Schweyer and based in a former Mack Trucks assembly plant transformed into a manufacturing-focused business incubator. "We are happy that Representative Schweyer asked AEDC to host the committee hearing at Bridgeworks Enterprise Center and that he is taking a deep interest in the creation of manufacturing jobs in Allentown,” said R. Scott Unger, AEDC executive director. “These types of jobs provide livable wages to Allentown families that are typically higher than service-sector wages in the city." Schweyer co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as Democratic House Policy Committee chairman. “I commend Read more
Rep. Snyder is launching a veterans outreach featuring American Legion service specialists on the fourth Thursday of every month at her constituent-service office at 104 S. Market St., Carmichaels. Read more
ALLENTOWN, March 18 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from education experts and school superintendents about the need to properly invest in community schools in the region and across the state, at a meeting convened at the request of state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh.
"The last four years of failed policy has led to the loss of more than 400 teachers from our community schools, it has caused property taxes in Allentown to increase more than 20 percent, and in the end, our children suffer from a lack of opportunities," Schlossberg said. "We need to ensure our teachers have the tools to educate our children to prepare them for a modern workforce and a knowledge-based economy. As we heard here today, the only way to do that is by properly investing in our community schools."
Held at the Community Services for Children, the meeting participants included: David Volkman, acting deputy secretary of Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education; Jane Ervin, executive director, Community Services for Children; Richard Sniscak, superintendent, Parkland School District; C. Russell Mayo, superintendent, Allentown School District; Sandi Gackenbach, president, Parkland Education Association; and Deb Tretter, president, Allentown Education Association.
HARRISBURG, March 18 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, today participated in several budget hearings with the House Appropriations Committee. "As Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I wanted to learn directly from the source, what the state police, Department of Corrections, Board of Probation and Parole, and judiciary branch are requesting for their budgets for 2015-16," Petrarca said. "The best way to do that was to participate in the day's budget hearings to listen and learn, just as I did last week during the hearing for the Attorney General's Office. "The hearings are an opportunity to ask questions about the governor's proposed budget and get answers to issues we're concerned about." Concerned with the corrections budget that seems to increase each year, Petrarca asked Corrections Department Secretary John Wetzel about it and what steps were being taken to keep the budget in check. Wetzel acknowledged the prison population had increased in the last four years, but said because of changes made due to recently enacted legislation, inmate population growth has flattened out and the state has about 1,000 fewer inmates. Petrarca also asked Acting Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown whether the cadet complement he asked for was sufficient. Brown said the request for 350 cadets is what the state police need, which would push the number of troopers to more Read more
Harrisburg, March 18 – At a House Transportation Committee informational meeting earlier this week, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver, expressed his support for progress made on important infrastructure developments in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
At the meeting, Matzie directed multiple questions to testifier Ellen McLean, chief executive officer for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, about the current and future use of CNG vehicles in their fleet, and continued public transportation access to the Golden Triangle. McLean told Matzie that the port authority intends to maintain a diversified fleet composed of both traditional and CNG buses for the foreseeable future.
Matzie also expressed his concern over the possibility of new charges for passengers traveling from the stadiums to the Golden Triangle and was told that despite pending contract negotiations, the expectation is to continue the traditionally free rides.
Matzie also asked McLean about the future of Bus Rapid Transit, specifically as it related to the Golden Triangle-to-Oakland route. McLean informed him that one of the major hurdles to that initiative is implementing bus-dedicated lanes throughout the area, although progress continues with the project.
State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, will host his 12th annual Gettysburg Preservation Ball from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 21 in the state Capitol Rotunda.
The ball supports the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project founded in 1997 by Readshaw. He began the crusade after reading a newspaper report about the toll of time, weather and vandalism on the monuments at Gettysburg and the lack of federal funds for proper repairs and maintenance for the park's well-over 1,000 monuments, regimental markers and artillery displays. This event supports the Pennsylvania unit monuments honoring and erected by Pennsylvanians, including the monument for the Pittsburgh Division.
State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, today announced the agenda for the House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on education funding in Pennsylvania. The hearing will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, March 23 at the Barber National Institute, 100 Barber Place (136 East Ave.), Erie.
HARRISBURG, March 17 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today reminded his fellow veterans of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm that they qualify for a special one-time payment in honor of their service. To qualify for the bonus, veterans must have served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations between Aug. 2, 1990 and Aug. 31, 1991. “This bonus is intended to honor those who volunteered and fought in the first Gulf War to liberate Kuwait and force Saddam Hussein’s troops back to Iraq,” said Wheatley, a U.S. Marine combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm who received the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal. “I urge my fellow veterans who served in these operations to apply today so they don’t miss out on this 'thank you' for their service.” The program pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525 maximum. The deadline to apply is Aug. 31. For personnel whose death was related to illness or injury received in the line of duty in operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, there is an additional $5,000 available to the surviving family. Service members who were declared prisoners of war may also be eligible for an additional $5,000. So far, more than 11,000 Persian Gulf veterans have applied for the bonus program since its start in 2008. Pennsylvania’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is Read more
State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., has announced a series of upcoming events she will be hosting over the next three weeks. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 16 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., will soon hold his second town hall meeting of 2015 for residents of the 182nd Legislative District. The meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 25 at the Trinity Center for Urban Life, 22nd and Spruce streets, in partnership with the Center City Residents' Association. Sims will give a legislative update, talk about this session’s priorities, and take questions from the audience. "This is another opportunity to ask me about issues that matter to you so I can better represent you in Harrisburg," Sims said. Residents who plan to attend the town hall meeting can RSVP to Sims' office at 215-246-1501, on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1E12aAe or by email to RepSims@pahouse.net . The 182nd District includes Rittenhouse, Fitler and Logan squares, the Gayborhood and parts of Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Graduate Hospital and Queen Village. Sims said, "New Governor Tom Wolf has proposed a bold plan to tackle the challenges former Governor Corbett left, including the need to restore vital school funding that was cut, a deficit of about $2 billion, and a drastic decline in Pennsylvania's job-creation record. The Wolf plan will and should be subject to public debate, and deserves full and fair consideration in Harrisburg. In addition, I will continue working with allies from both parties to reintroduce and co-sponsor legislation on Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – Centre County state Rep. Scott Conklin has been appointed to serve as the Democratic chairman of the Children and Youth Committee in the House of Representatives. “I’m honored and very excited to take on this job and contribute to the success of Governor Tom Wolf’s ambitious agenda to improve the lives of children,” Conklin said. Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said Conklin was a natural choice to lead the committee’s Democrats. “With his background as a former county commissioner, Representative Conklin is very familiar with how children and youth services are delivered through county agencies,” Dermody said. “Scott also was part of the concentrated and successful effort to improve Pennsylvania’s child protection laws in the last three years.” Conklin will work with the committee’s majority chairperson, Rep. Katharine Watson of Bucks County. “This House committee is known for the ability of members to put partisan differences aside and work productively for the protection and benefit of children,” Conklin said. “I look forward to continuing that tradition.” Conklin was first elected to the House in 2006 and currently is serving his fifth term. Read more
PITTSBURGH, March 13 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, announced he will hold his annual job fair to help connect residents with local employers.
The 2015 Job Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 27 at the Ross Community Center, 1000 Ross Municipal Drive.
HARRISBURG, March 13 –A resolution sponsored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, marks today as “K9 Veterans and Services Day” in Pennsylvania. Read more
State Rep. Rob Matzie joined state Rep. Dan Miller at his second annual Children and Youth Disability and Mental Health Summit. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus announced the PLBC will sponsor a Know Your Rights Symposium from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 31 at the Hamilton Health Center, 110 S. 17th St., Harrisburg. State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, a PLBC member who represents Harrisburg, is expected to join Brown at the event. "We have all heard the horror stories about violence occurring between police and members of various communities," Brown said. "The goal of this event is to inform citizens what their rights are and how to interact with police officers so that we don't have those incidents in Pennsylvania." The symposium will bring together representatives from the law enforcement community, including representatives from the Dauphin County District Attorney's office, and members of the legal/criminal defense field, including staff from the Dauphin County Public Defender's office. "The symposium participants will discuss what rights citizens have, how law enforcement interprets those rights and how both sides can work toward a positive interaction," Brown said. "The discussion will be highlighted with some role-playing activities to help those in attendance understand both their rights and their responsibilities when dealing with police officers." Light refreshments will be provided during the symposium. ### Read more
State Rep. Gerald Mullery announced that he will host a meeting to discuss local fishing and boating from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 26 at the Luzerne County Community College Educational Conference Center, 1333 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke.
HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, was sworn in Wednesday as a member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency for the 2015-16 legislative session. Petrarca was appointed to the commission by Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. "As Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I welcome this appointment," Petrarca said. "It will give me another perspective on the Commonwealth's justice system and augment my decision-making on legislation before the committee." PCCD's mission is to enhance the quality and coordination of criminal and juvenile justice systems, to facilitate the delivery of services to crime victims and to increase the safety of communities. The commission also is responsible for overseeing the expenditure of the monetary penalty imposed on Penn State by the NCAA to aid the victims of child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania, according to Act 1 of 2013. "Working with the PCCD will let me explore different approaches to improving public safety. As a father, that goal is particularly important to me," he said. By law, the commission is comprised of representatives from all aspects of criminal justice, including Pennsylvania’s attorney general, state police commissioner, the state secretaries of Corrections and Human Services, members of the General Assembly, the governor’s victim advocate, law enforcement representatives, Read more
Thanking state, county and local agencies who participated in panel discussions and a resource fair, state Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, called the first day of his two-day Children and Youth Disability and Mental Health Summit a tremendous success. Read more
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