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.
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., has hired three new staffers for his Center City office to fill vacancies and make sure the people of the 182nd Legislative District are well-served. "I'm proud that my staff and I have been able to increase dramatically the number of constituents served compared to nearly four years ago when I first took office. I know my new team members will help in continuing our excellent record of service to the people of the 182nd District," Sims said. The 182nd District includes part or all of: Rittenhouse, Fitler Square, Logan Square, Midtown/Gayborhood, Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Fairmount, Queen Village, East Passyunk, Spring Garden and Market East. Sims' Philadelphia office is at 21 S. 12th St., Suite 182, and can be reached at 215-246-1501. He has a website at www.pahouse.com/Sims and also offers updates at www.facebook.com/RepBrianSims and www.twitter.com/RepSims . In addition to the new hires, Tim Keller has been promoted to chief of staff in Sims' Philadelphia office. Keller has served on Sims’ staff since the legislator took office and is a proud Temple University alumnus and Philadelphia native. He was involved with the recent passage of the Medical Cannabis Act and previously worked on the House Education Committee staff. The new staffers are: Abby Rambo, community relations director, who previously served as executive director at the South of Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today announced he has introduced legislation that would provide an amnesty program to give individuals who have lost their driver’s license because of the inability to pay fines, fees or penalties the opportunity to have their license reinstated upon payment of those delinquent fines, fees and penalties. Wheatley said according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, over 1 million Pennsylvanians have a suspended driver’s license. “Many license suspensions are due to individuals’ inability to afford fines, fees and penalties associated with traffic tickets,” Wheatley said. “As a result of those suspensions, those individuals are also uninsured so if they get behind the wheel of a car, which is bound to happen, they are putting us all at risk financially.” Wheatley said his bill, H.B. 2362, would get people back on the road and save significant money. The legislation is based on a California program that began in October 2015. Within the first 21 days of the program, Los Angeles alone received almost 40,000 applicants. “This program has worked in California to get drivers back on the road responsibly and it will do the same for Pennsylvania,” Wheatley said. ### Read more
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution (H.R. 972) that designates the week of Sept. 25 through Oct. 1, 2016 as “Direct Support Professionals Week” in Pennsylvania. Kinsey said direct-support professionals and support coordinators assist people every day by helping to improve their lives. “Many of us lawmakers have support workers who live in our districts and we know that their jobs are vital in caring for others,” Kinsey said. Kinsey said these workers generously provide services and support for seniors, people with developmental disabilities, people with mental illness and those with chronic medical conditions. “One day is not enough to properly thank our direct support professionals for the unselfish work they do 365 days a year,” Kinsey said. In addition, Kinsey said the state has set up a My Learning Center online video training program for direct-care workers. The center was made possible through more than $1.2 million in funding from the state Department of Aging. It is hosted by the Pennsylvania Homecare Association website. There is no charge to view the videos but registration is required. There is a wide range of video lessons offered, covering a variety of topics, including Alzheimer’s, seniors and aging, end-of-life, safety, privacy, medication and pain, and infection control. There is also information on bed bug control, assisting people with behavioral issues, ethics and Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced that Armstrong and Indiana counties will receive grant money to address emergency shelter and rapid rehousing efforts for victims of domestic violence and the homeless. Armstrong County will receive $189,472 for the Armstrong County Community Action Agency and Helping All Victims in Need to provide emergency shelter operations and essential services to domestic violence victims, and rental and utility assistance and case management for the homeless and near-homeless families in the community. Indiana County will use its $225,366 for emergency shelter operations and essential services, as well as case management, security deposits and rental and utility assistance to the homeless, with a priority on families with children. "This federal program, with assistance from the state, helps our communities help those who need shelter, whether it's in a crisis, such as with domestic violence situations, or systematic, such as homelessness," Petrarca said. "These individuals and families need help after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness, and these grants are designed to help them get back on their feet and stable in permanent housing." The Emergency Solutions Grant program helps states with outreach, shelter, re-housing assistance and homeless prevention. While the federal funding comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Read more
Citing the tremendous amount of local, state and federal resources that will be available, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, is encouraging constituents of the 161st Legislative District to attend her senior expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Brookhaven Municipal Building, 2 Cambridge Road, Brookhaven, PA 19015. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – As promised, state Rep. Frank Burns has sent a letter to the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asking for his support in bringing Burns’ Blue Lives Matter bill up for a quick vote. Introduced in July, Burns’ H.B. 2261 would add assault of a police, corrections, probation or parole officer to Pennsylvania’s hate crimes statute, with corresponding criminal penalties. Burns said the steady number of purposeful attacks on police officers nationwide since then is a driving force behind his quest for swift committee action. "In light of the recent shootings across the country and now close to home in Philadelphia , I believe we need to act quickly to protect those who are to protect us," Burns wrote to state Rep. Ron Marsico. "House Bill 2261 adds law enforcement officers, including state and county corrections officers, to the protected class of individuals under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes statute." Buttressing his belief that the law is needed, Burns pointed to the 78 percent increase in the number of shooting deaths of law enforcement officers nationwide in the past year, noting that through July, 32 were killed in firearms-related incidents compared to 18 during the same period in 2015. "It’s my hope that the House will take up this bill without delay, so Pennsylvania can send a clear, unified and strong message to would-be attackers that assaulting our law Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – Calling for funding, support and educational efforts to combat Pennsylvania’s growing opioid epidemic, state Rep. Ed Gainey today joined his colleagues from the legislative PA HOPE Caucus, Gov. Tom Wolf, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, administration officials, advocates and families for a “Day of HOPE” rally in the state Capitol Rotunda. Read more
DeLuca reminds Allegheny County restaurants that liquor licenses are available PITTSBURGH, Sept. 19 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, reminds local restaurant owners that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is currently accepting bids for the first liquor license auction in Pennsylvania since the start of Prohibition. DeLuca said that with the passage of Act 39, the PLCB was granted the ability to issue a limited number of new restaurant licenses throughout the commonwealth. The licenses currently available were either not renewed or were revoked through legal channels or are inactive and no longer eligible for safekeeping. Allegheny County has four licenses up for auction out of the 40 that are for sale statewide. “This auction is an exciting new opportunity for local restaurant owners," DeLuca said. "Because of the limited availability, obtaining a liquor license is always a challenge." Bids for the licenses are due Thursday, Oct. 27, and auction winners will be determined the week of Oct. 31. Minimum bids are $25,000 and all bidders must submit a $5,000 surety deposit. High bidders will have two weeks to complete the bid payment and then six months to complete the license application. Following the completion of this auction, PLCB will hold additional auctions to return about 1,200 licenses to local communities over the next months and years. Potential bidders can direct any questions to DeLuca's office Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 19 – At a Capitol rally today, state Rep. Joseph Petrarca joined advocates, organ donors and recipients to call for action on his bill to update the state's outdated organ and tissue donation law. "We pass a lot of laws in Harrisburg, but I don't think many have the same effect on people as this bill would," Petrarca said. "We've lost too many of our friends and relatives who were waiting for an organ transplant, and we have the ability to change that. This bill would save lives." Petrarca's bill (H.B. 30) would establish a comprehensive framework for public education on organ and tissue donations, clarify the methods for making such donations, streamline the process of working with law enforcement in deaths under investigation and update the law to reflect the best clinical practices to support donations for transplantation. The law would be known as the Donate Life PA Act. Pennsylvania's Uniform Anatomical Gift Act was enacted more than 20 years ago, and hasn't been updated since. "Even in this day and age with all of the advances in medicine and technology, the number of people waiting for a transplant continues to grow. This measure will make more organs available for those in need," Petrarca said. Public education would include providing information about organ and tissue donation to high schools, and medical and nursing schools. The bill also would reinforce the priority of Read more
EBENSBURG, Sept. 19 – Cresson Volunteer Fire Co. with $3,900 and Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Co. with $7,036 are two of 142 rural departments in Pennsylvania awarded grants to help guard against fire threats in forests and undeveloped areas, state Rep. Frank Burns announced today. Burns said the grants come through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, with funding supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. The money is awarded to volunteer fire departments in rural areas or communities with fewer than 10,000 residents, and the maximum award is $7,500. “One of the main goals of this program is to help fire departments in areas where forest and brush fires are common,” said Burns, D-Cambria. “That is definitely the case in Jackson Township and Cresson, and I’m glad to have helped firefighters in those areas procure these needed state funds.” Burns said a key objective of the grant program is to better equip and train volunteers to save lives and protect property in unprotected or inadequately protected rural areas. Grant recipients are selected based on vulnerability and adequacy of existing fire protection, he added. Aid is granted on a cost-share basis, with recipients supplying matching funds. The Bureau of Forestry will begin accepting 2017 applications online next spring. Burns said any volunteer fire department interested in applying for the next Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 19 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca announced that two fire departments in Westmoreland County are recipients of grants to help communities guard against forest fires. Derry Township Volunteer Fire Dept. No. 1 in Bradenville and Derry Volunteer Fire Department have been awarded $7,500 and $4,223, respectively. "These grants will come in handy for these two departments," said Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana. "With nearly 3,000 acres of state game lands at their door, it's important they also be prepared to handle forest and brush fires." The grants are used for wildfire-suppression equipment, protective clothing, portable radios, water supply installations, wildfire prevention and mitigation, training and maintenance on vehicles used for fire suppression. Local fire departments in rural area or communities with fewer than 10,000 residents qualify for the program. Grants are provided through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources' Bureau of Forestry, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service. The maximum award is $7,500. Aid is granted on a cost-share basis, with recipients supplying matching funds. The Bureau of Forestry will begin accepting 2017 applications online next spring. Read more
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 19 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, announced today that his "Readshaw’s Raiders" and motorcycle riders from around Pennsylvania are preparing for their annual "Ride to Gettysburg." The trek from Harrisburg to Gettysburg is set to begin near the fountain outside the East Wing of the Capitol with a welcome ceremony at 12:15 p.m. and the ride departing at 1 p.m. Sept. 24. The annual event supports the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project, which Readshaw established in 1997. State Reps. Bryan Barbin and Dan Moul have been appointed ride marshals for this year’s trip. "I am honored that so many riders have made this event an important part of their lives in the past and hopefully in years to come, they can show their children they helped to keep the monuments in a condition that honors the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg, ensuring that future generations will know the pride taken in these soldiers and their memories," Readshaw said. In addition to the ride marshals, state Reps. Bill Kortz, Mark Keller and Jim Marshall, and former state Rep. Teresa Forcier from Crawford County and her Motormaids, are scheduled to participate in the journey. Before the ride commences, the B.S.A. Venture Crew 1861, portraying the 1 st Pennsylvania Reserves Volunteer Fife & Drum Corps, will play The Star-Spangled Banner. The corps will also play at the end location, Battlefield Read more
SCRANTON, Sept. 19 – Area veterans are invited to take part in the monthly support program from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28 at the office of state Rep. Marty Flynn. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 16 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will hold her 57 th Town Hall meeting at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30 in the Wolcoff Auditorium, Roxborough Memorial Hospital, 5800 Ridge Ave. The discussion will center on two of the questions that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot this fall. Slated for the ballot is a proposed amendment to the state constitution that if voted affirmatively will increase the age of mandatory retirement for judges from 70 to 75. The other question asks citizens if they believe that the size of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives should be reduced. “These are two very important issues facing Pennsylvania this fall, and their effects will be far-reaching,” DeLissio said. “Please join me as we have an objective discussion of those effects and possible outcomes.” To amend the state constitution, legislation must pass the House and Senate in two successive sessions. Appropriate notice is then provided to citizens, and the amendment will appear on the ballot for citizens to ultimately decide. There is free parking in the Jamestown Parking Lot on Jamestown Avenue. Read more
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