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.
NEW CASTLE, June 22 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, today announced that New Castle was approved for a state grant to prepare a storm water management plan. The city will receive $123,600 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The grant was approved under the provisions of the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act (Act 47). “This grant will provide a tremendous opportunity for New Castle to incorporate plans for needed improvements without putting a burden on taxpayers,” Sainato said. “I congratulate Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo and everyone for their efforts in obtaining this funding.” Read more
State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, issued the following statement today lambasting passage of H.B. 1948, legislation that would give Pennsylvania the most restrictive abortion law in the country:
“This attack on female reproductive health is not only an embarrassment to the entire state of Pennsylvania but, more importantly, it puts the health of our pregnant women at significant risk with no input from doctors and the medical community.
HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, today released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would be the most restrictive abortion law in the country if it were to be signed into statute:
"I stand in opposition to House Bill 1948, but I do so with great respect. I know my colleagues on the other side of this issue are sincere in their beliefs, and I think that this is something which sometimes gets lost during particularly controversial debates such as these.
"Now, that does not mean we agree on legislation such as this. In fact, on this matter, we disagree on the effects this bill will have. My opposition to this legislation is largely based on this one medical truth: The dilation and evacuation procedure which would be banned by this legislation is the safest used in terminating a pregnancy after the first trimester.
"In outlawing this procedure, patients and doctors will be forced to seek alternatives, alternatives which are less safe. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alternative procedures are shown to have 3-4 times greater risk for complications. Thus, the impact of this legislation is clear: It will put the lives of women at risk.
"More than 40 years ago, the Supreme Court recognized 14th Amendment protections for a woman’s right to decide whether to continue or end a pregnancy. More than 20 years ago, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the basic holding of Roe Read more
HARRISBURG, June 21 -- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, which would look at options for dealing with heroin and other opioid addiction. The resolution ( H.R. 893 ) directs the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study and publish a report on the benefits, costs and drawbacks of alternative opioid dependence treatment programs that utilize Federal Drug Administration-approved medications. The study will also look at the feasibility of re-opening state hospitals for detox, rehabilitation and re-entry facilities. “The state hospitals are already in place,” Readshaw said. “This would be a way to offer treatment opportunities for individuals who are looking to get off heroin and other opiates while utilizing facilities already owned by the commonwealth. It also will provide family-sustaining jobs throughout the state. "The families who are on the front lines dealing with heroin addiction know that this is a serious problem today. We need to stop talking about the epidemic and begin providing real solutions for our families and friends." The report is due to the legislature in nine months. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 21 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has passed a bill that would prohibit discrimination of any potential organ transplant recipient on the basis of a physical or mental disability. Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, an advocate for organ donation, took up the bill after its prime sponsor, former state Rep. John Sabatina, became a state senator. "Although there is a national set of standards for transplant candidates, some institutions consider other criteria -- subjective criteria -- such as mental, developmental and physical disabilities," Petrarca said. "Using these measures can prevent those with disabilities from being considered equally for obtaining a life-saving organ donation. It's unfortunate that legislation like this is needed in this day and age." The bill (H.B. 585) would prevent an individual with a disability from being deemed ineligible for a transplant simply because of his or her disability, unless a doctor determines the disability is medically significant to receiving the organ donation. However, as long as the individual has the necessary support system to help ensure he or she can comply with post-transplant recovery, his or her inability to independently comply would not be deemed medically significant. Once law, it would be known as Paul’s Law, named after Paul Corby of Pottsville. Corby was diagnosed with a rare, congenital heart condition called left Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – Bills naming separate Cambria County bridges after a World War II soldier killed in action and a state trooper who died in the line of duty became law today, said state Rep. Frank Burns, their prime sponsor. Burns, D-Cambria, had introduced H.B. 1260 to rename a bridge on a portion of Cooney Road spanning Route 22 in Munster Township as the PFC Thomas A. Cooney Memorial Bridge. He also had introduced H.B. 1371 to rename a bridge spanning U.S. 219 on Tower Road in Croyle Township as the Trooper Herbert A. Wirfel Memorial Bridge, to honor a Pennsylvania state trooper who lost his life Feb. 7, 1982 while on duty. Burns said the House bills were amended into a Senate bill (S.B. 1153) – a relatively common procedural occurrence – and was signed into law as Act 46 of 2016. "It’s gratifying to see that these two Cambria County heroes will be forever recognized for their selfless and heroic acts," Burns said. "We can do no better than to honor those who died so we can remain free and safe." Cooney was born April 28, 1917, and he and his three brothers were raised on a farm outside Lilly. While serving in the European Theater of Operation on Oct. 20, 1944, Thomas Cooney volunteered for a mine removal mission and continued in the face of enemy observation and direct hostile fire. He and his fellow engineers encountered heavy sniper and machine gun fire as they cleared mines along a strategically important Read more
PHILADELPHIA, June 20 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., will host a free open house from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 23 at her constituent services office, 2835 Girard Ave. She will update constituents on legislation in Harrisburg as well as cover the services that her office provides for constituents, including help with unemployment, disability and workers’ compensation issues, birth and death certificates, navigating the departments of Health and Human Services, voter registration and solving complaints or problems with insurance and utility companies. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, constituents can call Bullock’s office at 215-684-3738. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, is warning area residents to beware of a telephone scam currently operating in which taxpayers receive unsolicited calls from people claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service and demanding payment. "My office has received several phone calls from residents who have been a target of these unsolicited phone calls from individuals trying to scam them out of money," Petrarca said. "They were wary about the caller who was aggressively demanding money, and rightly so. "The IRS never initiates contact with a telephone call. It always sends official correspondence through the mail as its first contact. "It's important to be wary of any phone call that demands money, or credit card or Social Security numbers," Petrarca said. Additionally, it is important to know that the IRS: Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone. Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations. Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies. Other characteristics of these scams include: Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to Read more
PHILADELPHIA, June 17 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., on Thursday was awarded the LeadingAge PA Legislator of Distinction Award for 2016. LeadingAge PA is a trade association representing Pennsylvania nonprofit organizations that provide housing, health care and community services primarily to the elderly. DeLissio was recognized for her passion, advocacy and support for legislation that addresses the delivery of quality services to those in need regardless of income. DeLissio was recognized for being a strong partner for grassroots advocacy groups and in providing strategies on how long-term care providers can engage and participate in the advocacy process. At its annual conference in Hershey on Thursday, Ron Barth, president and CEO of Leading Age PA said: “Pam has had a tremendous impact in our field of providing long-term care to seniors. One of a number of heavy lifts Pam assisted us with took place a year ago, when Pam stepped up to assist in stopping the Department of Human Services proposed changes to the Budget Adjustment Factor for Medical Assistance rates for nursing facilities. This gained the support of many other legislators, however, Pam more than any other got involved with the issue, supported nonprofit providers and was instrumental in making sure that the BAF change – which would have resulted in the transfer of $3.59 million in MA funding from many LeadingAge PA providers to out-of-state for-profit Read more
HARRISBURG, June 17 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., marked Elder Abuse Awareness Day this week at the Capitol, voting for a House resolution Wednesday. Across Pennsylvania this week, officials and senior care workers joined in sending a message that elder abuse is a preventable crime that requires public officials and private health care providers to work together and make each day better than the last for seniors. “As a devoted advocate for good long-term care policy and a former professional in the field of senior housing and services, I know how important it is to be vigilant and to educate the citizens about the many forms of elder abuse, and how to recognize potential abuse as we interact with our neighbors and fellow church members or those residing in care facilities,” DeLissio said. “It takes a knowledgeable voice and adequate funding to address the problem, and I am proud to continually stand with great advocates of abuse awareness in the Capitol, as well as here in the 194 th Legislative District.” Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical, sexual or emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, abandonment and self-neglect. Signs of abuse can include unexplained bruises, burns or broken bones, lack of basic hygiene, access to adequate food, clean or appropriate clothing, unexplained weight loss, social isolation, changes in banking habits or giving away possessions without reason. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 17 – Derry's new bridge, that's currently being built, has officially been named the Derry Veterans Memorial Bridge, thanks to a law just signed by Gov. Tom Wolf. State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, introduced the measure earlier this year, which was then amended into the omnibus bill the governor signed today. "Naming the bridge in honor of the community's hometown heroes is a way for the borough and state to recognize the men and women, past, present and future, for their service to our country," Petrarca said. I am happy to have spearheaded this measure through the legislative process on their behalf." The act designates the bridge that carries state Route 217 over the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks and Second Street in Derry Borough. Petrarca said the bridge naming request was made by Derry Borough Council, Chestnut Ridge Post 444 VFW and the Derry Area Revitalization Corp. who wished to honor the area's veterans for their service to the United States and fellow man. Construction of the bridge is expected to be completed this fall. The $9.9 million project includes the bridge replacement, as well as the reconstruction of the approaching road and the various signals, lighting, guide rails and pavement markings needed. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 15 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, is co-sponsoring a free community shredding event with state Sen. Anthony H. Williams this Saturday, June 18. The shredding event will be held from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Cobbs Creek Shopping Center, 58 th and Baltimore streets, Philadelphia . The shredder will be set up next to AutoZone. Local residents are encouraged to bring old financial, tax and medical records, as well as other sensitive papers, for proper disposal. Those taking advantage of the shredding opportunity are asked to please remove all paper clips and binders before dropping the papers off. "I am so excited to bring a much-needed service to my neighbors," McClinton said. "Whether it is junk mail, credit card offers or paperwork you no longer need, we all can benefit by properly disposing of these papers." In addition to the shredding opportunity, McClinton's staff will be available to assist with applying for various state programs, such as CHIP, the health insurance program for children; Medicaid; or the state's Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, June 15 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, today urged Gov. Tom Wolf to veto two bills that would damage the state’s environment and adversely impact public health. The first bill, S.B. 279 , would cancel a portion of Chapter 78 regulations related to conventional oil and gas drilling. The regulations are designed to make both conventional and unconventional drilling safer in Pennsylvania Vitali said these commonsense regulations were recently approved by the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission, and should apply to conventional drillers because they are a significant part of the problem. “Cancelling any portion of these regulations would be very bad for Pennsylvania,” Vitali said. The second bill, S.B. 1195 , would allow the legislature to delay implementation of the state’s Clean Power Plan as long as possible without a federal plan being imposed on it. The federal Clean Power Plan, which was recently stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court, requires Pennsylvania to develop a state climate change implementation plan to reduce greenhouse gases. Under Environmental Protection Agency regulations, Pennsylvania is required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 33 percent by 2030. “This is an enormous challenge and every day we delay makes this task harder,” Vitali said. “Climate change is too serious a problem to delay.” Read more
HARRISBURG, June 15 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, voted in favor of a pension reform bill that maintains benefits for current public employees and retirees while changing the pension structure for most future state and school employees. “Pennsylvanians have been demanding the General Assembly address the state’s public pension challenges and I feel this bill is a step forward,” Mullery said. “This bill will save nearly $6 billion in future pension costs. “I believe this bipartisan compromise is a vast improvement on the approach of previous years. While this action is not linked to the budget, it moves us closer to being able to focus on crafting a balanced state budget that invests properly in education and begins to fix our deficit.” The bill (S.B. 1071), which was amended in the House, would shift some financial risk away from taxpayers and reduce future pension costs while protecting retirement security for current employees and those who are already retired. Read more
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