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.
State Rep. Neal P. Goodman and Gov. Tom Wolf announced that Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill will receive a $2 million state grant that will allow it to continue providing quality health care and preserve family-sustaining jobs. Read more
EBENSBURG, Sept. 30 – Shocked over a state audit finding that 2,324 dead people received $693,161 in ACCESS card benefits during a 12-month period, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is renewing his call to place photo IDs on the cards, among other welfare reforms. Burns said the report released by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale was an eye-opener, uncovering an instance of $800 in ACCESS card purchases seven months after that cardholder’s death, post-death ACCESS card spending of between $601 and $1,945 in nine of 30 cases examined more closely, and aggregate ACCESS card spending of $14 million in Florida and $6 million in North Carolina. “Clearly, our welfare system is being abused, which isn’t fair to the hardworking taxpayers of Pennsylvania,” Burns said. “I have long supported placing a photo ID on ACCESS cards as a means to cut down on fraud. Hopefully, with facts like those documented by Auditor General DePasquale, a majority of the legislature will start to feel the same.” Burns has favored adding photo IDs to welfare benefits cards as a means of cracking down on fraud as far back as 2011, when he was a co-sponsor of H.B. 487 , one of several bills that has sought the change, none of which had garnered enough legislative support over the years to become law. Burns has also sponsored or supported welfare reform bills that would require drug testing to receive public assistance, enhance income eligibility Read more
State Reps. Tina Davis and John Galloway applaud state grants totaling almost $2 million to help the St. Mary Medical Center build a primary and urgent care center in Levittown and to extend water and sewer lines to vacant and underutilized industrial properties in the Route 13 Industrial Area. The Bucks County Democrats thanked Gov. Tom Wolf for approving the RACP grants of $900,000 for St. Mary and $1 million for the Route 13 line extensions in Bristol Twp.
Rep. Pam Snyder reports that the fifth annual Greene County Senior Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, at the Greene County Fairgrounds near Waynesburg. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 30 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said that he's holding several events next week to help area residents fight identity theft and learn more about programs and services available to senior citizens. Petrarca's shredding event will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3 at the Derry Township Municipal Building, 5321 Route 982, Derry. "One of the ways to protect yourself from identity theft is to destroy personal and financial documents that you no longer need or want," Petrarca said. "That includes documents with account numbers, credit card numbers and Social Security numbers. "This event will help you get rid of the documents safely and securely. All documents will be shredded on site." Attendees are asked to limit their materials for shredding to three boxes of average size. Also, the shredder cannot accept phone books, spiral notebooks, binders, floppy discs, CD/DVDs, bound books or magazines, steel binder clips, fasteners or other hard metal or plastic materials. Petrarca's Senior Fairs will be held Thursday, Oct. 6 in School House Hall, Oklahoma, and Friday, Oct. 7 , in Huber Hall, Latrobe. The fairs will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on both days. Doors will not open until 9 a.m. "The senior fairs will provide valuable information about state programs and services available to senior citizens, as well as programs, products and services from utility Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 30 – As an appointed commissioner, state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, attended the meeting of the Pennsylvania Military Community Enhancement Commission held this week in Harrisburg. The meeting focused on the future, with a discussion of the mission statement and a three-year plan and an upcoming study of the bases with the University of Pittsburgh. Following lunch, the commissioners toured the 193 rd Special Operations Wing, based out of Harrisburg international Airport in Middletown. "This week's meeting was a solid step forward for the new commission," Readshaw said. "Commissioners are charged with ensuring our commonwealth, our communities and the Armed Forces in general receive the maximum benefit from our bases. As a veteran of our Armed Forces, I have a deep appreciation for the invaluable role that military communities play in increasing the quality of life in a region. Our military installations continue to serve as critical components to national security and early response efforts. "As the co-chairman of the Military Installations and Base Development Caucus, I have been working on this issue for the last few years, so I am eager to continue the work of strengthening our military bases and utilizing the infrastructure, manpower and equipment they can provide." Readshaw said this commission is planning a study to determine the optimal use of the 12 major bases in Pennsylvania, including the 911th Read more
State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, has changed the topic for his House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to issues surrounding personal assistance service providers. The hearing still will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3 at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, 301 Peninsular Drive. House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will co-chair the hearing. “Personal assistance service providers deliver home and community-based care services that allow people to stay in their homes instead of entering nursing facilities,” Bizzarro said. “Keeping people at home not only increases their quality of life, but it also keeps down the high costs the state absorbs from placement in a nursing facility. However, these providers are having a difficult time keeping quality staff due to the low reimbursement rate that is well below a living wage.” Bizzarro noted that many staff are leaving for higher pay at nursing facilities or elsewhere. This high turnover severely limits the providers’ ability to service consumers in need and forces Pennsylvanians into nursing homes earlier than necessary. The hearing agenda is as follows: 4 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 4:10 p.m. Panel of providers: Carl Berry , Finance Committee chair, PA Providers Coalition Association Chi Bon , social services manager, Helpmates Inc. Deborah Pavlek , director, Family to Family Home Healthcare 5:10 p.m. Panel Read more
WHITEHALL, Sept. 30 – State Rep. Daniel McNeill, D-Lehigh, will host his next town hall meeting on the heroin and opioid addiction epidemic at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12 in the auditorium at Salisbury High School, 500 E. Montgomery St., Allentown. McNeill noted that to date, there have been close to 100 suspected drug overdose deaths in Lehigh County alone. S peakers scheduled to appear are: Joe Stauffer – chief deputy district attorney of Lehigh County and supervisor of the Narcotics Unit ; Joe Marellucci, Lehigh County assistant administrator for Drug and Alcohol; Bill Stauffer – executive director, Pennsylvania Recovery Organization–Alliance (PRO-A); and Donna Jacobsen – leader, Lehigh Valley Parent Group. “We are making some progress in this battle, but every week we are still losing people to this epidemic,” McNeill said. “We are going to keep having these discussions to reach as many adults as we can in every part of my district. If you don’t think that it is in your community, on your block, or in your family, you are wrong. It’s everywhere.” The meeting, the fourth McNeill has hosted, will focus on how and why adults, teens and children become involved with drug use, where and how to seek treatment for those who are addicted, how to identify the signs of drug abuse, and what the community can do to fight back and prevent the use and abuse of such addictive narcotics. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, hosted his 16 th Annual “Ride to Gettysburg” on Sept. 24, with an estimated 400 riders participating in the motorcycle ride from the fountain on Commonwealth Avenue in Harrisburg to Gettysburg. Readshaw and his riders, called “Readshaw’s Raiders,” make the annual trek to support the need to restore and maintain the Pennsylvania Civil War unit monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield. The riders were led to Gettysburg by the God Bless America Motorcycle Color Guard. "This year's ride was special for several reasons," Readshaw said. "Last year’s Journey of Hope participant, Paula Bowman Cummings, a central Pennsylvania resident, was able to ride with us again. Journey of Hope is a Make-A-Wish organization for adults. And Colt Romberger, whose father, a U.S. veteran, died last year of Agent Orange exposure, announced his ‘Ride for Veterans’ which will be a horseback ride across the country next summer to raise money for veterans who are suffering from diseases related to the dreaded herbicide." Among those who joined the ride this year were ride marshals state Reps. Bryan Barbin, Cambria and Somerset counties; and Dan Moul, Adams County. Former state Rep. Teresa Forcier, Crawford County, brought 22 members of the “Motor Maids” from around the state, as well as four from New York, along with some Read more
AMBRIDGE, Sept. 29 – State Reps. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, and Tedd Nesbit, R-Mercer/Butler, introduced legislation today in an effort to control the ever rising cost of education in Pennsylvania.
House Bill 2388 would require any school entity in the state to use a Department of Education-approved, prototypical design in the construction of new school facilities. The legislation would direct the department to establish a prototypical school design clearinghouse, which could be accessed and used by any school entity in Pennsylvania.
“This legislation is designed to save taxpayers money by simplifying the process for school districts to design and construct new facilities,” Nesbit said. “For school districts, one of the largest capital expenses they face is the design and construction of new facilities. Allowing districts to choose from a variety of architectural designs from a statewide database not only saves on costs, but gives school officials many more options to consider.”
The legislation would also require the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study, after the clearinghouse has been in use for five years, to determine the savings incurred by school entities that used the system.
A second bill, H.B. 2389, would require publishers of post-secondary textbooks to offer an identical digital equivalent for any college textbook sold within the state. Publishers would have two years from the date of publication to make the digital version availab Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., is inviting area residents to her "Increase Your Financial IQ" workshop with Philadelphia City Councilmen Bill Greenlee and Allan Domb, as well as Michael Calafati from New York Life. The workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 8 in the Philadelphia Art Museum’s Perelman Building, 2525 Pennsylvania Ave., Philadelphia, 19130. The workshop aims to help broaden financial horizons with a panel of dedicated experts who specialize in public and private financial matters, including ones concerning insurance, taxes, real estate, savings and more. Small-business finance will be discussed as well. The event coincides with Bullock’s Financial Planning Week resolution. Each year, the House of Representatives affirms the value of financial literacy, consumer education and professional outreach by representatives of the financial services industry. There is no need to RSVP, but for more information, those interested can call Bullock’s office at 215-684-3738. Read more
ALLENTOWN, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, is partnering with the Allentown Health Bureau for a free child car seat safety check event. It will be held 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 in the parking lot between St. Luke’s Neighborhood Center and St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church at 417 N. 7th St., Allentown. Schweyer said technicians from the health bureau will make sure children’s car seats are properly installed. “In June, a new law went into effect requiring all children under age 2 to be in rear-facing child car seats. It’s more important than ever for parents to make sure they know the correct way to secure their child’s car seat,” Schweyer said. “This event is a great opportunity to help parents keep their children safe on the road.” Schweyer said no appointments are necessary. For more information, call Schweyer’s district office at 610-791-6270. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 28 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, said about 750 people joined her for her "60 th Street Health and Wellness Community Summer Jam" held last month in Southwest Philadelphia. This community festival was held along 60 th Street between Chestnut and Arch streets and extended from 59 th to 61 st streets, as well. This huge block party was the first of its nature ever held on the 60 th Street corridor! There were a number of fun activities for children, including face painting, bounce houses, waterslides and games. Adults were offered a number of health screenings, including blood pressure, glucose and HIV tests, and the Penn Mobile Mammography truck also was available. "I was thrilled with the turnout for the 60 th Street neighborhood," McClinton said. "Thank you to all of the local organizations that offered information, fun and entertainment for local residents of all ages. Children and adults enjoyed fun games and live musical entertainment at the mainstage. I also wanted to give a special recognition to all neighbors and volunteers who braved the excessive heat." McClinton was joined by her partners for the event, District Attorney Seth Williams, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and ACHIEVEability. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney joined this community celebration as well! A variety of food items were provided by event Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 28 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, praised today's state Supreme Court decision striking down the "gag rule" portion of a law that many doctors feared would limit their ability to discuss with their patients the chemicals involved in natural gas fracking. "The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has protected patients and doctors by striking down the gag rule in Act 13 of 2012," said Frankel, the prime sponsor of a bill to repeal that portion of the law . "Patients trust that their doctor is telling them the truth, the whole truth, and that their health is the doctor’s primary concern. We should protect that trust. Patients shouldn’t worry that they are on the receiving end of a political agenda when they go to the doctor," Frankel said. "And doctors and nurses shouldn’t have to choose between caring for their patients, or following a law that would have forced them to practice bad medicine." Frankel also introduced a broader bill aimed at keeping politics out of the provider-patient relationship. House Bill 1105 , known as the Patient Trust Act, would prohibit government entities from requiring providers to care for patients in a way that is not considered medically appropriate or forcing providers to tell patients anything that is not medically accurate. ### Read more
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