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. Tina Davis is sponsoring a free community shredding event Saturday, April 23, for the safe disposal of unwanted, confidential documents. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon April 23 at the Ben Franklin Middle School, 6403 Mill Creek Road, Levittown.
HARRISBURG, April 14 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, has introduced a bill (H.B. 1989) designed to increase the number of available substitute teachers in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania. "I'm pleased my bill already has bipartisan support. This legislation would allow retired teachers to return to the classroom to serve as day-to-day or long-term substitutes for up to 90 days without interruption of their state retirement benefit. This legislation would mirror current law that allows retired state employees to return to service for a certain period of time without affecting their state retirement benefits," Roebuck said. "Substitute teachers play a vital role in maintaining momentum and continuity in the classroom. When students’ regularly assigned teachers are unavailable due to illness, hiring shortages, or professional development needs, substitute teachers help fill in the gaps so student learning is not interrupted. "When substitutes are not available, many schools rely on other teachers to fill in during their prep periods – time that should be dedicated to thoughtful planning, professional collaboration or other academic preparation. When neither substitutes nor a teacher on a prep period are available, students must do without a teacher in their classroom for a day, a week or even longer. Without a pool of consistently available, qualified substitutes, Read more
HARRISBURG, April 14 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, said she was pleased that a bill that would reform the statute of limitations regarding child sexual abuse cases passed the House on Tuesday. Davidson has been a supporter and co-sponsor of legislation since its creation in all of its evolutions, as she stood with her colleagues, Reps. Mark Rozzi and Louise Bishop, at press conferences where they detailed the abuse they endured as children. “It was painful to hear my friends and colleagues discuss their personal stories of abuse, while I admired their courage, and I thought of the tens of thousands of victims of child sex abuse in Pennsylvania and the time it takes, for Rep. Bishop over 40 years, for them to muster the resolve to speak publically. This made me all the more determined to stand with Reps. Bishop and Rozzi and children to bring some shred of justice to victims of abuse,” Davidson said. “We can only hope and pray that this legislation can bring some comfort for the victims that their voices have been heard.” Davidson said H.B.1947 would abolish the criminal statute of limitations for future criminal prosecutions for serious child sexual abuse crimes relating to human trafficking, sexual servitude, rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, institutional sexual assault, aggravated indecent sexual assault and incest. The bill also would Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today supported the final passage of a bill to legalize medical marijuana, sending the legislation to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.
"I am glad that patients in this state are one step closer to being able to legally acquire the medicine they need," Matzie said. "Patients and their advocates have fought long and hard to accomplish this feat and I am glad the General Assembly was willing to listen to the will of the people."
Matzie said legalizing medical marijuana will help people who are suffering in their daily lives, including children who are experiencing daily seizures, veterans enduring post-traumatic stress disorder and many others who need this medication to relieve their pain.
"Today’s historic vote is bound to help Pennsylvanians from every corner of the commonwealth, including Leah and Olivia McGurk of Beaver County," Matzie said. "The McGurk family fought for the passage of this bill and are true inspiration that I will never forget."
Under the bill, authorized doctors would be only be able to prescribe medical marijuana for the following conditions: intractable seizures, cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington's disease, Crohn's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, autism and neuropathic pain and certain spinal cord injuries.
A bipartisan task force met last year to craft an effective bill that would be supported by a House majority. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today supported the final passage of a bill to legalize medical marijuana, sending the legislation to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives concurred in Senate amendments to S.B. 3 , which would allow patients with serious medical conditions, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia and post-traumatic stress disorder, to use medical marijuana. “Today is a historic day for Pennsylvania, as we begin to grant medical relief to those who need it most,” Bizzarro said. “It may have taken years of debate, advocacy and soul-searching, but the legalization of medical marijuana will soon be a reality in our state. We must especially give credit to the parents of ill children who would benefit from the drug’s legalization, who’ve spent countless hours knocking on legislators’ doors and telling their stories. They put real faces to this very human issue and helped to get this important work done.” Recent polls show a majority of Pennsylvanians support the legalization of medical marijuana. The governor has indicated he will sign S.B. 3 into law, which would make Pennsylvania the 24 th state to legalize the drug for medical purposes. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, issued the following statement about his House concurrence vote for legislation (S.B. 3) that was sent to the governor’s desk which would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – In a vote to ensure that Cambria County school districts get nearly $600,000 due them under budget legislation passed in March , state Rep. Frank Burns sided with the majority in today’s passage of H.B. 1589 by 149-45. Burns said he supported the fiscal code do-over so that schools in his 72 nd Legislative District and across Pennsylvania get the money that was siphoned off from them when Gov. Tom Wolf redirected funds to urban school districts in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Chester-Upland. With Wolf’s action, those three school districts received the lion’s share, $101 million, of the extra $200 million included for public education in the 2015-16 state budget. “It’s untenable that public school districts are receiving less than called for in the budget bill that I and a majority of legislators supported,” said Burns, D-Cambria. “I will fight for proper dispersal of these funds, for however long it takes. It’s just not right.” The percentage losses of new money to Cambria County schools mostly fell in the 20- to 30-percent range, but ran as high as 71 percent in Richland School District and 91 percent in Westmont Hilltop School District. “We need to make sure that all school districts in Pennsylvania are treated as called for in duly-approved legislation – not at a level based on one person’s whim,” Burns said. “My vote today was, once again, a vote Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Ed Gainey said today’s House concurrence on legislation that would legalize medical marijuana nears the end of a long struggle for family advocates who have fought tirelessly to help ease their loved ones’ pain. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, voted today to legalize the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. “I was proud to vote for this legislation that will help to alleviate suffering for so many Pennsylvanians. We’ve seen so many stories of how medical marijuana will help patients with severe medical conditions and it is past time we give them a new option under the direct care of their doctor,” Sturla explained. Patients with serious medical conditions, a total of 17 qualified diagnosed conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder would be permitted to use medical marijuana under authorization from their physician. Under the bill, the commonwealth would license up to 25 growers and as many as 50 dispensaries. Each dispensary would be authorized to operate three locations. Medical marijuana would be dispensed as a pill, oil, topical form or in a form appropriate for vaporization or nebulization. The legislation would impose a 5 percent tax on gross receipts that a grower or processor gets from the sale of medical marijuana to another grower or processor. The taxes would establish the Medical Marijuana Program Fund. The Pennsylvania Department of Health would use 40 percent of the money for operations and outreach; 30 percent would be used for medical treatment research; 15 percent would go to help medical marijuana patients and caregivers with the costs of background checks or Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., today supported the final passage of a bill to legalize medical marijuana, sending the legislation to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.
“Patients shouldn’t be forced to decide between the medicine they need and breaking the law, and when this bill is signed into law they won’t have to,” Neilson said.
Neilson said legalizing medical marijuana will help people who are suffering in their daily lives, including children who are experiencing daily seizures, veterans enduring post-traumatic stress disorder and many others who need this medication to relieve their pain.
“Today is a good day. The commonwealth will finally allow some of our most vulnerable patients to use this urgently needed medicine,” Neilson said. “Today is a victory for commonsense and compassion.”
Under the bill, authorized doctors would be only be able to prescribe medical marijuana for the following conditions: intractable seizures, cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntingdon's disease, Crohn's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, autism and neuropathic pain and certain spinal cord injuries.
The governor has indicated he will sign such legislation.
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today voted for legislation ( S.B. 3 ) that was sent to the governor’s desk which would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. Wheatley said legalizing medical marijuana will help people who are suffering in their daily lives, including children who are experiencing daily seizures, veterans enduring post-traumatic stress disorder and many others who need this medication to relieve their pain. "Medical marijuana will enable people to relieve their pain without seeking other narcotics, which will lessen the growing number of people addicted to opioid drugs," Wheatley said. He also said he was pleased to see the Senate did not remove an amendment he sponsored ensuring that no dispensary could be located within 1,000 feet of a public, private or parochial school or a day-care center. Under the bill, medical marijuana would be dispensed through licensed distributors and available to those who have been certified by their physicians to benefit from the drug. The bill also would regulate the growing, processing and dispensing of the product. Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated he will sign the bill. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer said House concurrence of legislation ( S.B. 3 ) that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, would provide another treatment option for veterans, children and many other long-suffering Pennsylvanians. “Many parents and advocates have fought long and hard to make the legalization of medical marijuana a reality here in the commonwealth,” Schweyer said. “We are closer than ever for Pennsylvanians who are struggling to cope with a variety of debilitating illnesses to finally get this critical treatment option when nothing else will do. “The work that it took to get us to this point shows that Democrats and Republicans can work together to craft meaningful legislation that works for Pennsylvania. The final version of Senate Bill 3 is an excellent compromise that would ultimately allow patients and their doctors to make the best decisions about their health and well-being. "Since medical marijuana would not be covered by insurance, Senate Bill 3 includes a provision that would help those who have financial hardships to have access to this treatment,” Schweyer said. “This treatment would not be exclusively for people with means, but would be accessible to folks of all income levels based on need.” Last year, Schweyer was the only Lehigh Valley member to sit on a bipartisan task force that studied the issue and recommended changes to the Read more
State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., today joined a bipartisan group of legislators including Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, and Sens. Scott Wagner, R-York, and Anthony Williams, D-Phila., district attorneys, and advocates to introduce first-of-its-kind clean slate legislation that would allow automatic sealing of criminal records in certain cases in Pennsylvania. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today approved a resolution authored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, designating May 2016 as “Rainforest Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. “Our rainforests are slowly but surely disappearing, and it’s largely manmade reasons that are causing them to suffer,” Donatucci said. “We contribute to climate change, chop down trees, mine for precious metals, and drill for oil, and all of these habits are hurting our rainforests. We must take responsibility for our actions and help to reverse their devastating effects.” The Rainforest Foundation US recognizes May as “Rainforest Awareness Month” each year to help publicize the importance of this ecosystem and the growing destruction of it. RFUS reports rainforests once covered 12 percent of the Earth’s surface, but now make up only 6 percent. The organization estimates land the size of one football field is destroyed every second, leading to a loss of 32 million acres of rainforest annually. “Our rainforests help absorb carbon monoxide into the atmosphere and play a key role in controlling flooding, erosion and siltation by absorbing large amounts of rainfall and later releasing it as a constant supply of clean water, overall making our world a better place,” Donatucci said. “We can’t forget about them simply because they’re thousands of miles away. Read more
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