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.
EBENSBURG, Sept. 14 – In the face of intensified attacks on police officers nationwide, state Rep. Frank Burns plans to push for a quick vote on his Blue Lives Matter bill when the legislature reconvenes Monday. Burns said Tuesday’s incident in Phoenix , where a driver purposely barreled his vehicle into three police officers, seriously injuring two of them, is the latest in a growing line of incidents where law enforcement is being targeted for harm. “More than ever, we need to send a clear message that this type of behavior will be dealt with harshly in Pennsylvania,” Burns said. “I intend to lobby my fellow representatives and write a letter to the House Judiciary Committee chairman, with the goal of swiftly moving my bill through the process.” Burns’ H.B. 2261 , introduced in July, would make such attacks a hate crime in Pennsylvania, with a commensurate stiffer penalty. The legislation has attracted 22 co-sponsors and is backed by the 40,000-member Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police. As crafted by Burns, the bill would make employment as a law enforcement officer a covered class under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law, on par with race, color, religion and national origin. It would stiffen by one degree the penalty for assaulting a police, corrections, probation or parole officer. “With the bipartisan support for this bill, it needs to move through the process and not languish in committee,” Burns Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 14 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, today announced the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development allocated more than $1.2 million in Emergency Shelter Grants to Lawrence County. The Lawrence County Regional Veterans Services received $729,951 to provide permanent housing for 122 identified homeless veterans. The Lawrence County Crisis Center received $543,326 for emergency housing, street outreach and kitchen renovations. The center will reach out to victims of domestic violence, chronic homelessness, veterans, youth and homeless people and families. “These organizations are just two of the many wonderful resources located in the county that provide assistance to the homeless and victims of domestic violence,” Sainato said. “I applaud DCED in securing the funding to help these organizations continue their good work in our community.” Sainato said DCED was able to distribute the funding through Continuum of Care, a federal program designed to promote communitywide commitment with the goal of ending homelessness. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 14 – Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, participated in a news conference this afternoon rallying support for H.B. 1082, which Harkins introduced last year. House Bill 1082, the Jake Schwab Worker's Safety Bill, was introduced in memory of Erie resident Jake Schwab, a mechanic with the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority, who lost his life due to a workplace incident in November 2014. As a public transit authority, EMTA is exempted from Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, so the details regarding the incident and any safety concerns that would have been raised through an OSHA review have been hard to track. Harkins' bill would provide on-the-job safety protection to public employees by establishing OSHA-equivalent safety rules for public employers, including the commonwealth, all legal political subdivisions, public schools, transit systems and any nonprofit organizations currently exempt from OSHA standards. "What cost do you put on life," Harkins asked. "Going forward, there will be many opportunities for others to weigh in and make this a perfect bill. But I don't want to forget Jake Schwab. He was the impetus for this bill." The news conference followed a public hearing in Harrisburg of more than two hours, which was held by the House Labor and Industry Committee. The bill is currently under consideration in the committee. ### Read more
State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Jason Dawkins, both D-Phila., co-chaired a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on legislation, H.B. 2135 , introduced by Dawkins, which would abolish life without parole in Pennsylvania and extend parole eligibility to people sentenced to life imprisonment. Kinsey said the bill would allow the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole to consider the circumstances of each inmate serving a life sentence. “So many people could be impacted by House Bill 2135 that I think it is important for us, as legislators, to hear from our constituents on this very important matter,” Kinsey said. “Today’s hearing highlights the need for prison sentencing reform. A continuum review of profiling, mandatory minimum sentences, prison overcrowding, halfway houses, drug and alcohol treatment, and life sentences need to be a part of this discussion. Representatives Kinsey and Dawkins are strong advocates of reform and I thank them for hosting today’s hearing,” said committee Chairman Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. "Those sentenced to life in Pennsylvania have no chance of release, even if their age or health make it extremely unlikely that they will ever reoffend," Dawkins said. "Not only is this an injustice to those who are incarcerated and have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation, it also is fiscally irresponsible to require taxpayers to foot the bill for Read more
State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Jason Dawkins, both D-Phila.,co-chaired a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on legislation, H.B. 2135 , introduced by Dawkins, which would abolish life without parole in Pennsylvania and extend parole eligibility to people sentenced to life imprisonment. Kinsey said the bill would allow the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole to consider the circumstances of each inmate serving a life sentence. “So many people could be impacted by House Bill 2135 that I think it is important for us, as legislators, to hear from our constituents on this very important matter,” Kinsey said. “Today’s hearing highlights the need for prison sentencing reform. A continuum review of profiling, mandatory minimum sentences, prison overcrowding, halfway houses, drug and alcohol treatment, and life sentences need to be a part of this discussion. Representatives Kinsey and Dawkins are strong advocates of reform and I thank them for hosting today’s hearing,” said committee Chairman Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. "Those sentenced to life in Pennsylvania have no chance of release, even if their age or health make it extremely unlikely that they will ever reoffend," Dawkins said. "Not only is this an injustice to those who are incarcerated and have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation, it also is fiscally irresponsible to require taxpayers to foot the bill for sentences that are longer than Read more
State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss the future of high stakes testing and graduation requirements in Pennsylvania. Read more
SCRANTON, Sept. 12 – A staff member from state Rep. Marty Flynn's office will provide outreach assistance next week in Clarks Green. The visit will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Sept. 21 at the Clarks Green Borough Building, 104 N. Abington Road. The monthly outreach visits alternate on the third Wednesday of every month between Clarks Green and South Abington Township.
HARRISBURG, Sept. 9 – Nearly 3,200 people discussed issues of local and statewide concern Thursday evening during a Telephone Town Hall hosted by state Rep. Joseph Petrarca. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 9 – Electronics manufacturers would be required to recycle more of their devices, under legislation recently introduced by state Rep. Marty Flynn. Read more
State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., reminds constituents that certificates of appreciation for the brave men and women who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom are available from his office. Read more
ALLENTOWN, Sept. 8 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, today said his Tele-Town Hall meeting Wednesday night showed many of the residents in his legislative district desire to have their voices heard on various state and local issues. During the hour-long meeting, the 1,534 participants were asked to weigh in on poll questions. Of those who responded, 88 percent support raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, 32 percent said the legislature should invest more money in treatment and rehabilitation programs in the planned special session on opioid abuse this fall, 32 percent responded jobs and crime and drug abuse are the biggest issues facing the area. In addition, 68 percent of responders like at least one, if not all, components of the modernized state store system, including the longer hours and Sunday hours at Fine Wine and Good Spirits Shops, ability to buy six-packs of beer at convenience stores and wine in grocery stores, and direct shipment of wine to their homes with the state’s new modernized alcohol laws. "It’s always great to hear from my constituents about what’s important to them, and this event is a convenient way for us to collectively share feedback on just some of the issues," Schweyer said. "Following my recent Policy Committee hearing on the minimum wage, I was pleased to hear participants in my Tele-Town Hall support raising it in Pennsylvania. "When I return to Harrisburg in a few weeks, I Read more
LEVITTOWN, Sept. 8 – State Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, is hosting his 10th annual Senior Expo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at Westaby Hall, 425 Hood Blvd., Fairless Hills. A number of free health and wellness opportunities will be offered, including blood pressure and pulse oximetry. Representatives from a number of government and nonprofit agencies and local businesses will also participate. Veterans can apply for ID discount cards if they bring their DD-214. Additionally, attendees can sign up for a free SEPTA Key pass. Door prizes, giveaways and light refreshments will be available during the event. For more information, contact Galloway's constituent services office at (215) 943-7206 . ### Read more
NANTICOKE, Sept. 8 – The need for jobs and how to create them in Pennsylvania were the topics of state Rep. Gerald Mullery’s House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today in Nanticoke. "We are seeing many small businesses popping up throughout our region that are providing some employment opportunities, but it’s not enough," Mullery said. "We must find ways to attract larger businesses that will employ a large amount of people at one time." Testifiers included Scott Dunkleberger, deputy secretary for business financing, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; Thomas Leary, president, Luzerne County Community College; Kenneth Okrepkie, regional manager, Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Joseph Boylan, vice chairman of economic development, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce; Mary Malone, president, Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce; and W. Kevin O’Donnell, president, Greater Hazleton Can Do, Inc. Mullery noted that as of July 2016, the unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in the Wyoming Valley. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent compared to 4.9 percent nationwide. Read more
KING OF PRUSSIA, Sept. 8 – As the new school year gets under way, state Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, is urging his colleagues in the General Assembly to seriously consider his legislation that would study the effects of a later start time to the school day for high school students in Pennsylvania.
"Teens don’t get as much sleep as they should. While this is nothing new, and in fact science suggests their changing bodies are at least partly responsible, we should be doing everything in our power to allow them to get the 8½ - 9½ hours of sleep they need to be properly rested," Briggs said.
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