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 6 – At a Capitol news conference today, state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced he is introducing House Bill 2114, known as the Pennsylvania Water Resource Act. The Pennsylvania Water Resource Act would enact a water resource fee on 4.4 billion gallons of daily water withdrawals in Pennsylvania that has the potential to generate $245 million annually, based on current usage rates. The bill would exempt the 1.5 billion gallons of daily water withdrawals for agricultural and municipal water usages. “The Pennsylvania Constitution makes it clear that Pennsylvania’s public natural resources belong to the people of the commonwealth. This bill ensures that entities that are currently using our water for free would pay a nominal fee that will be used to fund water-related programs and projects while freeing up money for the General Assembly to close structural deficits in the state budget,” Sturla said. Water withdrawn from commonwealth waterways in excess of 10,000 gallons a day is already required to be reported to the Department of Environmental Protection. House Bill 2114 would result in a charge of 1/100th of a cent per gallon if water is withdrawn for use and eventually returned to the source. Water withdrawn and not returned beyond 10,000 gallons a day would be charged 1/10th of a cent per gallon. Revenue generated from H.B. 2144 would be used to fund water-related programs and general governmental operations in the Read more
AMBRIDGE, June 6 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today said that the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31.
Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older qualify for the benefits under the program. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income and any COLAs are excluded.
"Rebates for this program still will be distributed beginning on July 1," Matzie said. "I encourage residents to find out if they’re eligible as soon as possible so they don’t miss out on these helpful rebates."
Constituents can also obtain applications and get help filling them out by visiting Matzie’s district office at 1240 Merchant St., Ambridge or by calling 724-266-7774.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is one of five programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since the program’s 1971 inception, older and disabled adults have received more than $5.6 billion in property tax and rent relief. The expanded portion of the rebate program is paid for with revenue from slots gaming.
For more information about the program, go to www.revenue.pa.gov.
AMBRIDGE, June 3 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today announced that the Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation and various other projects across the state have been awarded grants from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The Beaver County Historical Research and Landmarks Foundation has been awarded a PHMC Cultural and Historical Support grant of $4,000. In total, 137 organization from 56 counties applied for and are receiving $1,997,605 worth of Cultural and Historical Support grants. Grant recipients were required to meet organizational requirements to be eligible for the grants, which are based on a calculation that uses the recipient’s operating budget.
PHMC also awarded 30 organizations today with $1,233,114 in Keystone Historic Preservation grants. The program is used to fund the preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of historic sites that are eligible for or listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
“Pennsylvania’s legacy is rooted in important historical moments and breathtaking cultural offerings, and preserving the institutions that protect and promote these historic sites is important to both our state’s economy and its heritage,” Matzie said. “These funds will allow future generations to experience our state’s rich history.”
In total, PHMC awarded $3.23 million today to historical projects across the state through both grant programs.
Matzie has served on the Pennsylvania Historical and Mu Read more
Rep. Pam Snyder's House Bill 2123 would provide fairer reimbursements to localities maintaining roadways once part of the state highway system. The reimbursement rate, which hasn’t been increased in 10 years, would increase the maintenance payment from the state Transportation Department to $6,000 a mile from $4,000. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 2 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, along with a coalition of legislators and environmental and other interest groups, will hold a Capitol news conference Monday to urge Governor Wolf to support proposed natural gas drilling regulations (Chapter 78 surface regulations), and to express disapproval of the forced resignation of DEP Secretary John Quigley. These drilling regulations have been strongly opposed by the conventional drilling industry and Quigley was a strong advocate for the regulations. The news conference will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, June 6 in the Capitol Media Center. Media coverage is invited. The news conference will be streamed live at www.pahouse.com/live . The stream will start shortly before the news conference begins. ### Read more
EBENSBURG, June 2 – Municipalities in the 72 nd Legislative District are reminded by state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, to apply by June 30 to be eligible for 2016 Automated Red Light Enforcement grants for traffic safety projects. Burns said fines from red light violations in Philadelphia supply the funding, which an eight-member committee then distributes statewide for relatively low-cost projects that improve safety, enhance mobility and reduce congestion. “These can be improvements to traffic signals, roadways at intersections with traffic signals, or school zones – or such things as guiderails or roadside safety enhancements,” Burns said. “I want to make sure our municipalities are aware of this grant opportunity, and offer them application assistance by contacting any of my constituent service offices.” However, it’s a competitive selection process, with Burns noting $5.5 million was awarded to 18 municipalities for 23 projects in the last round of funding, which garnered 194 applications seeking $41.5 million. More information is available by visiting the traffic signals page under “Travel In PA” at www.penndot.gov , or emailing RA-PDSIGNALFUNDING@pa.gov Online applications can be filled out at: https://www.dot34.state.pa.us/ARLE/Module/PADOT/BOMO_Default.aspx Read more
UPPER DARBY, June 2 – Area veterans will have the opportunity to learn more about benefits and services available to them at a free veterans fair hosted by state Rep. Margo Davidson. The event will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, June 9 at the East Lansdowne Borough Hall, 155 Lexington Ave., East Lansdowne. "A lot of veterans and their families face real challenges, when they return from serving our country," said Davidson, D-Delaware. "Numerous federal, state and local benefit organizations will be available, including financial, housing and health organizations to assist veterans. In many cases, our local heroes may be able to apply for these services and benefits right at the event. This fair will provide our brave servicemen and women access to numerous federal state and local organizations all under one roof. We want to make it as easy as possible for our vets and their families to get the benefits they have so well earned." Davidson said the offerings include real estate tax exemptions for veterans with disabilities, emergency financial assistance for veterans and their families, a tuition gratuity for veterans and their family members seeking higher education, bonus programs for veterans of the first Persian Gulf War and more. In addition, free notary service and help with birth certificates, property tax/rent rebates and other state services will be available. For more information, please call Andrew Brazington at Read more
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
HARRISBURG, June 1 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that he will host a news conference to discuss his House Bill 2114 that could generate $245 million annually from a water resource fee for major water withdrawals in Pennsylvania. Weather permitting, the event will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 6 on the front steps of the Main Capitol Building . In the event of inclement weather, the event will be held in the Main Capitol Rotunda. Over 5.9 billion gallons of water are reported as used every day in the Commonwealth. Under the state constitution, Pennsylvanians own this water that is currently being used free of charge. Sturla’s legislation would use this revenue to fund state water-related programs, major watersheds, and an optional $3 billion Growing Greener bond. Cosponsors and stakeholders that helped to craft the legislation will attend. Media coverage is invited and encouraged. 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
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