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, May 19 – A measure adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and authored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, designates May 2016 as Sleep Apnea Awareness Month in the commonwealth. “Having lost my husband to complications from sleep apnea, I know the devastating toll this condition can take on families,” Donatucci said. “I encourage anyone who suspects they or a loved one might be living with this disorder to discuss their symptoms with their doctor.” Donatucci’s H.R. 884 noted sleep apnea is a common chronic disorder affecting more than 18 million adults, and up to three percent of children, in the United States. People who suffer from sleep apnea experience shallow breaths or pauses in breathing while sleeping, which can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Symptoms include loud snoring, obesity, persistent daytime sleepiness, awakening out of breath during the night and waking up in the morning with a dry mouth or headache. Experts say those who suffer from sleep apnea can help reduce the severity of the disorder by losing weight, avoiding alcohol and quitting smoking. Sleep apnea treatments can include the use of a continuous positive airway pressure device, dental appliances, repositioning the lower jaw and tongue, and upper airway surgery to remove tissue in the airway. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression and other Read more
PATTON, May 19 – Responding to continued concerns from Patton Borough residents over drinking water quality, state Rep. Frank Burns will conduct a combination open house/game plan update from 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. Thursday, May 26 at the Patton Senior Center, 405 Park Ave. The 45-minute update portion will begin at 6:30 p.m., immediately after a 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. open house at Burns’ Patton office, located in the same building. Burns has been peppered with constituent complaints ever since residents began getting water from three newly drilled wells mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection. To help allay those fears, Burns has written a letter to DEP Secretary John Quigley, asking for confirmation in writing that the drinking water is safe. He will discuss that letter, as well as a recent meeting between Patton Borough officials and DEP safe drinking water experts, at next Thursday’s meeting. A copy of Rep. Burns’ letter to Secretary Quigley is available HERE . Read more
HARRISBURG, May 18 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today announced several local environmental projects will receive more than $440,000 in state grants to help improve area water sources. "Clean, healthy water is a basic necessity of life, but sometimes we take this for granted," Bizzarro said. "I am grateful to the area organizations doing such important work to better our water quality and reduce water pollution, and I am pleased to see that the state is recognizing these efforts." The $443,945 in grants are funded through the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener Program, which is awarding more than $25 million to 114 projects statewide. Under the program, Erie County Conservation District will obtain $364,610 for its VinNES Sustainable Outreach and BMP Program. In addition, Environment Erie will receive $48,285 for its BeginANEW Stormwater Education and Management Program and $31,050 for its service learning projects. The initiative awards funds to projects designed to enhance watersheds, mitigate acid mine drainage, and support water pollution cleanup programs. It encourages partnerships among counties, municipalities, county conservation districts, and watershed organizations to help protect the environment. More information about the program can be found online at www.dep.pa.gov . Read more
HARRISBURG, May 18 – The week of May 15 through 21, 2016 in Pennsylvania is National Prevention Week, thanks to a resolution authored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, and recently adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “The goal of National Prevention Week is to raise awareness about substance abuse and mental health issues, especially among students this time of year,” Donatucci said. “The spring and summer seasons provide so many exciting activities, such as prom, graduation parties and weddings. While many young people will celebrate responsibly, these events still serve as a breeding ground for dangerous behaviors, like substance use and abuse. That’s why we want to ensure students understand how to make responsible decisions while still enjoying these milestones.” Donatucci’s H.R. 885 noted National Prevention Week is sponsored annually by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This year’s theme is “Strong as One. Stronger Together.” Each day during the week is designated a specific theme, including the prevention of tobacco use, underage drinking and alcohol misuse, prescription and opioid drug misuse, illicit drug use and youth marijuana use, and suicide; and the promotion of mental health and wellness. Participating community organizations across the country host health fairs, block parties, educational assemblies, town hall meetings, memorial Read more
HARRISBURG, May 18 – Following up on his commitment to better protect children from sexual abuse in the wake of the grand jury report that implicated the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in a massive cover-up, state Rep. Frank Burns today attended an afternoon panel discussion on reforming Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations law. Burns, D-Cambria, wanted to learn more about the severity of the issue, in Pennsylvania and nationwide. His knowledge became broader after hearing from Phil Saviano, the whistleblower who exposed the Boston clergy’s child sex abuse scandal and whose story was part of the Academy Award-winning “Spotlight” movie, and others with intimate knowledge of the issue. “We learned a great deal about what enables these types of institutional cover-ups to occur over decades, including how intricate webs of pedophile protection are woven within institutions by those with secrets to keep,” Burns said. “It was highly enlightening – and I hope it spurs the state Senate to pass the statute of limitations reform bill for child sex abuse that’s already cleared the House.” The panel discussion, held in a Senate hearing room, also featured insights from: George Foster, the Altoona businessman who helped expose decades of child sex abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese; moderator Marci Hamilton, a statute of limitations reform expert; Patty Dailey Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation Read more
HARRISBURG, May 18 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, said today that he was glad the state auditor general did a thorough audit of the Penn Hills School District, but had grave concerns about the findings. "The main focus of the Penn Hills School District, in fact all school districts, should be educating our children, but this audit proves that former Penn Hills district employees took considerable advantage of the public trust and the school board let it happen," DeLuca said. Last spring, DeLuca asked Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to conduct an audit of the school district's budget and spending practices after he grew concerned about reports of poor accounting practices, lack of oversight of daily operations and the overcommitment of funds for construction and building projects. DePasquale released his audit today, and the findings show that a long-term lack of oversight permitted financial mismanagement and illogical business decisions resulting in a $167 million outstanding debt and possible multiple criminal investigations. "The reports indicated that there was financial mismanagement taking place in the school district, but today's audit report is completely astounding," he said. "I thank Auditor General DePasquale for his efforts in helping to bring this information to light, and for forwarding his findings to the proper authorities for further investigation. With this comprehensive review, hopefully, the Read more
Please join state Rep Rostia Youngblood and I as we present a conversation with Pennsylvania Human Services Director Ted Dallas Thursday, May 26th - 10 a.m. to noon at the Horizon House, 3275 Stikley Street in Philadelphia. We will discuss the state Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), long-term living/home and community based services, child and adult care food program and much more. You will have the opportunity to participate in the discussion with a Q & A. For more information contact my district office at (215) 849-6592. Read more
I am holding my 4th annual Salute to Veterans this Saturday, May 21 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 5800 Germantown Avenue (Vernon) Park in Philadelphia. Please join me and elected officials from the Northwest as we host a memorial ceremony at Vernon Park. The event will include POW/MIA ceremony, Martin Luther King High School ROTC, Veterans Resources, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder information, health screenings, movie screening, food and beverages. Please call my office at 215-849-6592 for more information. Read more
State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced the city of Philadelphia has received $391,000 through the Keystone Communities program for community revitalization. Kinsey said the city of Philadelphia will receive $241,000 for 40 housing modifications as part of the city’s Adaptive Modification Program. Another $150,000 will be used to revitalize at least 20 commercial facades within several Philadelphia neighborhood commercial corridors. “I commend Governor Tom Wolf for supporting revitalization projects in Philadelphia and across the state,” Kinsey said. “The program allows the public and private sector to work together to make neighborhoods and businesses areas economically strong.” The program is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The Keystone Communities program is designed to bring community-based organizations, public agencies, business leaders, private developers, financial institutions and private citizens to work in partnership with local government to develop a plan for community development and housing needs. "We must clean up, maintain and revitalize the deteriorating commercial buildings that are in many of our cities, boroughs and townships so that we can attract new businesses to these areas," Kinsey said. Wolf’s 2016-17 budget supports an increase of $8.65 million for the Keystone Communities program to encourage further revitalization throughout Read more
HARRISBURG, May 18 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said that the Latrobe Community Revitalization Program is the recipient of $50,000 in state funding from the Keystone Communities program. The money will be used to complete 10 façade rehabilitation projects in the downtown district. "While these projects might not seem like much individually, one's appearance helps make a first impression," Petrarca said. "These projects will help downtown Latrobe make a beautiful first impression, which will encourage increased business, job expansion and development. “This grant is important to Latrobe, and I was happy to intervene on behalf of the Latrobe Community Revitalization Program and help get this grant funded." The projects are designed to improve the exterior appearance, functionality and efficiency of the buildings. Such improvements may include cleaning, sealing or painting, and the addition, improvement or replacement of doors, windows, trim, signage and awnings for the buildings. Each of the Latrobe Community Revitalization Program's projects will be funded by $5,000 of the grant, with the owner of the property to provide matching funds. Administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Keystone Communities program is designed to encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors in the community that jointly support local initiatives Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 18 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will co-host a community shredding event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 18 at the Cobbs Creek Shopping Center, 58th Street and Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia. The shredder will be set up next to AutoZone. State Sen. Anthony H. Williams is co-hosting the event. Local residents are invited to bring unneeded paper items to be shredded for disposal, including old bills, health records and financial records, as well as any other paper items of a personal nature. Staples can be shredded, but paper clips must be removed. "Identity theft becomes a bigger problem every year," McClinton said. "Proper disposal of sensitive material is your best defense against becoming a victim of this type of crime. "Identity theft has also been leading to an increase in tax fraud. Criminals are stealing tax information and claiming refunds before legitimate filers submit their tax returns. "In addition to protecting your identity, you are protecting the environment, as the shredded paper will be recycled." Constituents can learn more about identity theft at the Pennsylvania Treasurer's website, www.patreasury.gov/learn/idtheft/ . The event is open to the public, but only personal papers will be shredded. Business papers will not be accepted at this event. In addition to the shredding service, McClinton's staff will be Read more
Rep Kinsey is inviting you to a Community Schools Town Hall meeting on Thursday, May 26th at 6 p.m. at the Theodore RooseveltElementary School, 430 E. Washington Lane in Philadelphia. City Councilman Cindy Bass, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Rep Kinsey invite you to hear a presentation fro the Mayor's Office of Education about the city's proposed plan to expand "community schools" in Philadelphia. Community schools align programs and services to meet the needs of students and their families. Lend your voice to the future of Philly education by participating in a town hall discussion. Questions? Call (215) 686-0333 Read more
HARRISBURG, May 17 – The House Judiciary Committee today reported out a bill introduced by state Rep. Joseph Petrarca that is designed to improve the state's outdated organ and tissue donation law. The bill would establish a comprehensive framework for public education on organ and tissue donations, clarify the methods for making such donations, streamline the process of working with law enforcement in deaths under investigation and update the law to reflect the best clinical practices to support donations for transplantation. The law would be known as the Donate Life PA Act. "Pennsylvania's Uniform Anatomical Gift Act was once a law that other states modeled for their own laws, but the law is becoming antiquated because it hasn't been updated since its enactment more than 20 years ago," Petrarca said. "Even in this day and age with all of the advances in medicine and technology, the number of people waiting for a transplant continues to grow. This measure will make more organs available for those in need." Public education would include providing information about organ and tissue donation to high schools, and medical and nursing schools. The bill also would reinforce the priority of transplantation in the law and affirm that anatomical donations must be initially referred to a federally designated organ procurement agency, so that donations are subject to regulatory oversight. Pennsylvania's current law was crafted in 1994 Read more
HARRISBURG, May 17 – A measure authored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, that would better protect the identity of victims, witnesses and other people placing 911 calls is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously voted to concur in Senate amendments of Donatucci’s H.B. 1310 . “The passage of this bill demonstrates that the legislature is taking the right to privacy very seriously,” Donatucci said. “No one should feel hesitant to call 911 because they fear retribution or are concerned their private information will be made public. Think about a domestic violence victim who flees to a friend’s house and calls 911. Their abuser shouldn’t be able to find out where they are calling from and harm them even further. This legislation would give people peace of mind when they find themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to call 911.” Under H.B. 1310, 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. “We know that a person who calls 911 is likely a victim or witness, but that’s not always the Read more
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