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.
HARRISBURG, June 1 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, was awarded the 2016 Allies in Action State Award this week by advocates from the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Schlossberg was honored by the AFSP for "his great support and advocacy work for people living with mental health conditions and for removing barriers to treatment."
“Speaking out about your own lived experience with mental illness is truly breaking down stigma and removing barriers to mental health,” said Dr. Peter Langman, president of the Greater Lehigh Valley AFSP.
"Too often, people live in fear and embarrassment about their mental health struggles, which only results in wasted lives and needless pain. That is why I tell my story,” said Schlossberg. “I am deeply honored to receive this award in recognition of my work trying to uproot the stigma associated with mental illness. I will continue to speak out and fight to raise awareness about this issue."
The Allies in Action Award is presented annually to members of Congress, state legislators and advocates who have done exemplary work in preventing suicide, which is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States for all ages.
"Mike Schlossberg has proven himself as a leader on mental health issues and has repeatedly been able to provide a unique context to matters being discussed in the House," said Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. "He is a tireless advocate for the mental health comm Read more
State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, announced today that she has been appointed to the Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction Advisory Committee, also known as the PlanCon Committee, to work in a bipartisan way to review and make recommendations for a new PlanCon program. Read more
PITTSBURGH, May 31 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, will speak on an Allegheny County Bar Association panel about transgender issues along with Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. June 9 at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Frankel is prime House sponsor of the proposed Pennsylvania Fairness Act , which would make it illegal statewide to fire someone or deny them housing or business services due to sexual orientation or gender identity. Levine is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Penn State College of Medicine and the highest-ranking out transgender person ever to serve in Pennsylvania government. They will be joined by Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. To RSVP by the Saturday deadline or for more information, please contact Alysia Keating at email@example.com or 412-402-6658. Those interested should note that there is a fee for non-ACBA members to attend. ### Read more
CONSHOHOCKEN, May 31 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, announced she will host her fourth annual Senior Fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, June 17 at Colonial Elementary School, 230 Flourtown Road, Plymouth Meeting 19462. Daley said there will be information on health care, the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, prescription drug plans, finding unclaimed property and more. There also will be free health care screenings and refreshments, giveaways and door prizes. “The Senior Fair provides a one-stop shop for seniors to access helpful resources in their community,” Daley said. “This is one of the best-attended events that my office hosts and I always look forward to speaking with the seniors who attend.” Registration is not necessary to attend, but Daley said constituents with any questions should contact her office at (610) 832-1679. Read more
ERIE, May 27 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, is inviting residents interested in learning more about their health insurance options to a free pair of health insurance forums his office is hosting Wednesday, June 1. The first event will be held at 3 p.m. at the Edinboro Municipal Building, 124 Meadville St., Edinboro. The second forum will take place at 6 p.m. at the Millcreek Municipal Building, 3608 W. 26 th St., Erie. No RSVP is required. “So many people have questions about what health insurance plan is right for them,” Bizzarro said. “These forums will be led by a trained health care navigator who can help residents determine if they qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, or a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace. While the navigator will not be enrolling attendees in plans on site, they will answer any questions that come up and give them the tools to make more empowered health care decisions.” Bizzarro added anyone who is unable to attend the forums should note that a new program starting in his Millcreek office next month will allow people to sit down one-on-one with a health care navigator and receive help applying for health insurance. A health insurance navigator will visit Bizzarro’s office at 1101 Peninsula Drive, Suite 209 in Millcreek from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month, beginning June 9. While walk-ins are welcomed, appointments are recommended. Anyone interested in scheduling an Read more
HARRISBURG, May 27 – Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law a measure authored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, designed to better protect the identity of victims, witnesses and other people placing 911 calls. “This measure will help give peace of mind to anyone who may be hesitant to call 911 for fear of retribution,” Donatucci said. “The law now protects the privacy of victims and witnesses, in addition to the caller, so that private information that should not be available for public consumption is able to remain confidential.” Under H.B. 1310 , now Act 30 of 2016, in response to a request under the state’s Right-to-Know Law, a public safety access point is prohibited from releasing the name, telephone number and home address of victims, witnesses or people calling 911. The only case in which this information would be made available is if the 911 center or a court determines it is in the public’s best interest to have such information. The location of the incident would still be public information, unless the location is the home address of the caller, victim or witness, or the disclosure of the location would compromise the identity of the caller, victim or witness. The street block identifier, cross street or mile marker nearest the incident location would also still be made public. “My colleagues and I crafted the bill in such a way that it would still provide the public the opportunity to assess the Read more
AMBRIDGE, May 26 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said he is looking forward to a frank and productive discussion at next week’s Center for Rural Pennsylvania public hearing on Confronting the Heroin/Opioid Epidemic in Pennsylvania.
“Addiction is an issue that every part of this state is currently in the midst of battling,” Matzie said. “But rural Pennsylvanian communities face very different challenges than communities in Philadelphia or even Pittsburgh. Discussions like this one allow us to understand those differences better so that any intervention effort can be made more effective.”
The public hearing will start at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday June 2 at the Fez, 2312 Brodhead Road, Aliquippa, 15001.
“Personally, my childhood friend Amy Scherfel-Watkins’ son, Brooks, was a victim of a heroin overdose in Washington County last year. Since then, Amy, her husband and her family have been telling the story about the devastation their family has endured hoping to capture the attention of anybody and everybody,” Matzie said. “As she told me, if they can help even one person than their son’s purpose here on earth will be fulfilled. I echo those statements and believe as a parent and a policy maker it is my duty to do all that I can to end this epidemic that is affecting families across Pennsylvania and our nation.”
Matzie will join state Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of the General Assembly’s Center for Rural Pennsylvania, and Beaver County state Sens. Elder Vogel and Came Read more
HARRISBURG, May 26 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, today introduced legislation to significantly lessen the penalty for hunters who forget their license when they go into the woods. House Bill 2110 would reduce to $50 the penalty for people who have a hunting license but simply forget to bring it with them. Currently, the code treats hunting without buying a license and hunting but forgetting to bring a license as the same, with a fine of no less than $250 and no more than $500. “While it is important for a hunter to have their license on them while in the woods, sometimes human nature gets the best of them and they just forget and leave it either at home or in their vehicle,” Mullery said. “My legislation would make the punishment less harsh for forgetfulness, which occasionally happens to people.” Read more
HARRISBURG, May 26 -- State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., has been appointed to serve on the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council within the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. The Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council was established by Act 64 of 2015 to replace the Intra-Governmental Council of Long-Term Care, created in 1988. This Long-Term Care Council will broaden the previous scope and address topics ranging from facility based care to home and community-based services. "I am pleased to play a role on this new council," DeLissio said. "Our state ranks fourth in the country with the percentage of citizens 65 or older and citizens 85 or older are the most rapidly growing segment of seniors in the commonwealth. Our current system is difficult for consumers and caregivers to navigate and one of my goals as a member of the council will be to ensure that the continuum of housing and services is as seamless as possible." The council will consist of 35 members, and focus on six different areas of concentration: regulatory review and access to quality care; community access and public education; long-term care service models and delivery; work force; housing; and behavioral health issues of seniors 60 or older. When the law was under consideration in the House last year, DeLissio amended it to ensure consumers and caregivers were adequately represented on the council so the state could benefit from their first-hand Read more
EBENSBURG, May 26 – Ebensburg Borough will receive $26,920 to install pedestrian crossing signals to allow the borough to extend new sidewalks at the intersection of Route 1036 (Rowena Drive) and Route 1001 (Manor Drive), according to state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria. Burns said the state funding is allocated through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s “Green Light-Go” program, which allows municipalities to request up to half of the funding needed for their traffic signal projects. “It’s great to see these state funds coming to Ebensburg, to make this important intersection safer for pedestrians,” Burns said. “These type of investments improve the quality of life for residents of the 72 nd Legislative District.” For the current fiscal year, grants may be used for installing light-emitting diode, or LED, technology; performing operations such as retiming, developing special events plans and monitoring traffic signals; and upgrading traffic signals to the latest technologies. A total of 109 municipalities statewide are sharing in $12 million of state grants under the program. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 25 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, voted today for legislation containing the new Student-Weighted Basic Education Funding Formula, which is now on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk to await his signature.
House Bill 1552 was amended in the Senate to include the formula, which was recommended by the Basic Education Funding Commission in 2015.
"This formula will help ensure that the quality of our students’ education isn’t determined by their zip code," Matzie said. "I have long supported a truly equitable funding formula and we are now able to ensure that our students will have a fair chance to achieve."
The new funding formula, which would take effect next school year, was designed to distribute education funds across the state in a more equitable manner while factoring variables including poverty rate, local effort and capacity and issues facing rural and small districts.
Matzie reached across the aisle to implement a Fiscal Code bill earlier this year that contained a temporary formula and said he was glad to support the effort to make it permanent.
"Governor Wolf has rightly pledged to sign this bill into law without delay so that schools across this commonwealth will be better able to, once again, start meeting the constitutional mandate of providing every child with a quality education," Matzie said.
KING OF PRUSSIA, May 24 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, announced today that he intends to introduce legislation shortly that would direct the Pennsylvania Department of Education to conduct a study on the effects of implementing a later start time for secondary schools in the state.
Briggs legislation would require the Department of Education to consider the recent recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics as it studies the issues, benefits and options related to instituting a later start time to the school day for high schools throughout the state.
"My legislation would study the issue of delaying the start time of the school day for high schools in Pennsylvania, not because it is what teenagers want but because it is most likely what is good for them," Briggs said. "Emerging science has proven what many of us have known for years, teenagers need more sleep than they are getting. The consequences of failing to do so are serious, so this idea is worthy of consideration and study."
According to the AAP, adolescents who do not get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from physical and mental health problems, are at an increased risk of being involved in an automobile accident, and are more likely to decline in academic performance.
Briggs said he was grateful to a concerned group of parents of Lower Merion School District students, who have been encouraging the Lower Merion Board of School Directors to consider moving high school start times to Read more
NANTICOKE, May 24 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, announced he will offer constituent outreach in June at various locations throughout the 119th Legislative District. "This is a great opportunity for my constituents to ask questions and get the assistance they may need on state services," Mullery said. "I look forward to meeting with residents in these communities and helping them with any issue they may have." Residents can receive help on a variety of state matters, including the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, the PACE/PACENET prescription drug program for seniors, unemployment compensation, hunting and fishing licenses, the Children's Health Insurance Program, consumer protection, and many more. The schedule is as follows: 10 a.m. to noon June 1 and 15, White Haven Borough Building, 312 Main St., White Haven. 10 a.m. to noon June 2, Plymouth Active Adult Center, Dan Flood Towers, 160 E. Main St., Plymouth. 10 a.m. to noon June 9, Mountain Top Active Adult Center, Wright Manor Apts., 460 S. Main Road, Mountain Top. 10 a.m. to noon June 14 and 28, Rose Tucker Active Adult Center, 145 E. Green St., Nanticoke. Mullery said constituents may visit his district office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at 156 S. Market St., Nanticoke. The number is 570-740-7031. Residents can also stop by his Freeland office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 Read more
HARRISBURG, May 24 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today is encouraging any area businesses, municipalities, or other eligible organization to consider applying for a grant from the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program.
Matzie said that any organization currently contemplating projects that involve the development, rehabilitation or improvement of a public park, recreation area, greenway, or trail should consider apply for a GTRP grant.
"Making smart investments in our parks, trails and other green areas is a wise move that is bound to lead to further economic development and an increased quality of life for the region," Matzie said. "I encourage any eligible group to consider applying for a GTRP grant."
The goal of the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program, which is overseen by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, is to promote the preservation and use of greenways, recreational trails, open space, parks and river conservation.
The application deadline for project consideration at a September 2016 CFA meeting is Thursday, June 30.
Grants from the GTRP program are limited to $250,000 for any project. A 15 percent match of the total project cost is also required.
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