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.
AMBRIDGE, May 10 – The state House of Representatives unanimously adopted H.R. 835, authored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, which designates May 14 as National Train Day in Pennsylvania.
The resolution, which was adopted last week, seeks to highlight the role trains and railroads have held throughout history and the modern advantages of rail travel.
"As Democratic chairman of the House Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Railroads, I feel it is important to offer this resolution to highlight the important role trains have played in this commonwealth’s past and present,” Matzie said. "Trains and railroads are the backbone of America's economic vitality and growth, and are crucial in bringing American goods to market both nationally and internationally.”
National Train Day, which was started in 2008 by Amtrak, is a national awareness campaign dedicated to educating the public about the rich history of trains and its intersection with American history. National Train Day is held annually on the Saturday closest to May 10, the anniversary of the pounding of the Golden Spike in Promontory, Utah, which marked the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States.
“Rail travel is an essential part of our transportation infrastructure, helping to reduce congestion on the roads and in the sky, connecting cities and rural communities, and providing a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation that contributes to our energy security,” Matzie said Read more
STRATH HAVEN, May 9 – Joined by the House Democratic Policy Committee and Republican legislators, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, hosted the first legislative hearing on H.B. 1010 , which would enact commonsense firearm reforms. “Today we heard from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Upper Darby Police Department, victims of gun violence and national advocates, and the overwhelming theme that was repeated is that Pennsylvania needs the commonsense gun safety reforms House Bill 1010 would give us,” Krueger-Braneky said. “As legislators, we must not be paralyzed with the fear of what the NRA will say if we support his legislation. Our constituents support it and that should take priority over anything else.” Krueger-Braneky is a co-sponsor of H.B. 1010, which would require all purchasers of firearms – including the private sale of long guns – to first undergo a background check. It would also permit the issuance of a single background check approval that would remain valid for 48 hours for use at gun shows across Pennsylvania. "I commend Representative Krueger-Braneky for requesting this necessary hearing to bring attention to House Bill 1010," said Rep. Mike Sturla, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. "This is a major milestone in both community safety and convenience for those looking to lawfully purchase guns. I'm proud to be a co-sponsor of this commonsense legislation and Read more
SCRANTON, May 9 – A staff member from state Rep. Marty Flynn's office will provide outreach assistance next week in Clarks Green. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 9 – In an effort to strengthen its fiscal capacity, the city of Wilkes-Barre will receive a $60,000 grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Early Intervention Program, said state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne. The purpose of the Early Intervention Program is to establish short-term and long-term financial and managerial objectives pertaining to revenue and expenditure trends and policies to build a strong fiscal capacity. The grant will be used for city leaders to develop and implement a five-year financial management plan and operational strategy to address fiscal difficulties in a timely and planned manner. "Wilkes-Barre and city officials have worked hard over the years to improve the fiscal stability of our city," Pashinski said. "I am pleased Wilkes-Barre is the recipient of this valuable grant which will provide the new administration the opportunity to strengthen the financial status of our city. "With proper planning, they will have the opportunity to design a financial plan that will be fiscally prudent and productive for the citizens of Wilkes-Barre for many years to come." As part of the plan, city leaders must hire a consultant, create and adopt a multi-year plan that identifies the city’s top three to five priorities, details the actions to be achieved and gets public input, and must evaluate and adjust the plan based on a master schedule that Read more
PATTON, May 9 – Patton residents upset with a rotten egg smell and other water quality issues can address state Department of Environmental Protection Safe Drinking Water staff at the 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12 borough meeting, said state Rep. Frank Burns. Burns, D-Cambria, said borough water customers began complaining to his office a few months ago, after the water source switched from Chest Creek to three wells drilled at the behest of DEP, which said the creek as an open water source carried a threat of contamination and could no longer be used. “The main issue is the smell and despite attempts to adjust chemicals in the water treatment process, many people remain upset,” Burns said. “Anyone with questions or comments on this problem should attend the meeting to address the DEP experts.” Burns said despite DEP assurances that the water is not detrimental to health, residents are unhappy with the taste and smell of their water since the DEP-mandated switch. “Responsive government is all about listening to the people, which is why I commend Patton Borough officials for hosting this meeting and urge anyone who has this problem to attend,” Burns said. The meeting will be held in the Patton Borough Building, 800 Fourth Ave. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 6 – State Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila., will sponsor a free shredding event for residents of Northeast Philadelphia from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 14, at the Linden Avenue Boat Launch, located at Linden Avenue and the river.
"Shredding is a great way to get rid of sensitive documents in an environmentally friendly way and also protect your identity from fraud," Driscoll said. "This is a great opportunity to dispose of sensitive papers following the tax season."
Residents are encouraged to bring any unneeded documents that contain personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card statements and applications, medical records, banking statements, canceled checks, income tax information, insurance records and retirement or pension fund information.
To ensure all attendees have the opportunity to shred their documents, attendees are asked to limit what they bring to three boxes per person.
"The event is free for district residents, and documents will be shredded on site for recycling," Driscoll said. "We are requesting personal documents only – no businesses, please."
More information is available by calling Driscoll’s office at (215) 281-3414.
HARRISBURG, May 6 – The week of May 8 through 14, 2016 marks “National Nursing Home Week” in Pennsylvania, thanks to a resolution authored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, and recently adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “There are more than 81,000 Pennsylvanians residing in some 700 nursing homes across the state,” Donatucci said. “These men and women are a living testament to our history and have greatly contributed to our communities. Many of these residents have fought in our wars, worked in our factories, and built our neighborhoods from the ground up. We owe them our appreciation not just during this special week, but every day.” Donatucci’s H.R. 794 noted this year’s national theme for “National Nursing Home Week” is “It’s a Small World, with a Big Heart.” The theme highlights the bond between staff and older adults and others who receive therapies or who have developmental disabilities. “The staff members who work at our nursing homes should also be commended for their compassion and dedication,” Donatucci said. “They keep our nursing home residents healthy and happy, and we are all appreciative of their efforts.” Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 5 – State Reps. James Roebuck, Stephen Kinsey, and Jordan Harris, all D-Phila., today announced they will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on Cheyney University's state funding. The hearing will be held 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 10 at PASSHE’s Mellon Independence Center, 701 Market St., Room 312, Philadelphia. Testifiers will include: Michael Coard, founder, Heeding Cheyney’s Call Robert Wright Sr., school board director, William Penn School District Nyrie Watson, student, Cheyney University Nicole Smith, student, Cheyney University The hearing is open to the public and media coverage is invited . Read more
HARRISBURG, May 5 – Leery of saddling taxpayers with additional massive debt, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, voted this week against a bill authorizing an extra $1.29 billion in state spending for capital projects in the current fiscal year. "We just can’t afford such gargantuan new spending," said Burns, one of two House Democrats to oppose the measure. "All we heard about during the recent budget impasse is how Pennsylvania has a huge structural budget deficit. I don’t think adding a billion-plus dollars to the debt side of the equation helps solve that problem." Burns said that as a fiscally conservative Democrat who is well aware that his constituents detest tax increases, he had to oppose S.B. 811 , even though it passed the Republican-dominated House 181-18 and garnered unanimous approval in the Republican-controlled Senate. "Sooner or later, somebody’s going to have to repay that $1.29 billion – and that somebody will be the taxpayers of the 72nd Legislative District and across Pennsylvania," Burns said. "The need to repay this money will be used as further justification for why we must have higher taxes." Burns said his vote was consistent with a position he staked out in 2014, when he voted for a bill that would limit state government spending by placing limits on debt. That bill, H.B. 2420 , sought to reduce the commonwealth’s $3.45 billion debt ceiling on the Redevelopment Read more
HARRISBURG, May 4 – After several years of hearings and meetings, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today voted for bipartisan legislation at a House Consumer Affairs Committee meeting that would regulate transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, and allow them to operate in Philadelphia.
Senate Bill 984, which was reported out of the committee with a 23-2 vote, would give companies like Uber and Lyft the authority to operate permanently within the state. Currently, transportation network companies operating in the state have been doing so under temporary authority granted by the Public Utility Commission.
Matzie initially had concerns about background check and insurance requirements for the ride-sharing companies, both of which were addressed at the hearing.
“In order to protect consumers, sufficient insurance requirements are vital. No one in Pennsylvania should have to worry about what could happen if a vehicle they are riding in as a passenger has an accident, regardless if it is a Lyft, Uber or traditional cab,” Matzie said.
While the background check issue has been resolved, Matzie said he still remains concerned that the bill’s insurance requirements for ride-sharing companies doesn’t extend to those operating in Philadelphia.
“Companies like Uber and Lyft use technology to revolutionize the market, but that doesn’t exempt them from the need to protect drivers. While I remain concerned about the insurance issue, especially in Philade Read more
Please attend my 4th annual senior health fair Friday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the York House, 5325 Old York Road in Philadelphia. Come learn about the latest state programs and services that promote healthy living for our senior population. There will be health screenings, chair messages, giveaways, prizes and refreshments. I hope to see you this Friday! The event is free and open to the public. Read more
CRESSON, May 4 – Hundreds of construction jobs will result from today’s announcement that an energy production facility will utilize 93 acres of the former SCI-Cresson property, said state Rep. Frank Burns, who pledged to seek tax-free Keystone Opportunity Zone status to further develop the site. Burns, D-Cambria, said the 93 acres are being sold to the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority, which in turn intends to lease the parcel to a company that will construct a power plant that will convert natural gas to electricity. “This is great news, in that it puts to use a big chunk of a 425-acre property that became dormant when the state announced the closing of SCI-Cresson in January 2013,” said Burns, who spoke at this morning’s press conference at the site. “But we still have about 330 acres to develop, and I intend to push for KOZ status to make the entire tract more appealing to potential developers.” Burns said the state Department of General Services will launch a solicitation for the sale of the remainder of the property on Pennsylvania’s eMarketplace website on June 1. Burns also said he will lead the charge in the House for passage of state Sen. John Wozniak’s S.B. 1192, which would provide a 3.3-acre right-of-way for construction of a public road to the new facility. Read more
ASTON, May 4 – Joined by Catholic and Christian leaders, health professionals, advocacy groups and mothers from across Pennsylvania, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, called on the General Assembly to put the health of pregnant women and their babies ahead of the will of the oil and gas industry and support revisions to Chapter 78 and take action to cut air pollution from oil and gas operations. “These regulations are necessary to help protect our environment and most importantly, the health of some of our most vulnerable citizens,” Krueger-Braneky said. “These regulations were approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission after an unprecedented amount of public participation, and now some in the General Assembly are trying to undo years of progress in 12 days, siding with the oil and gas industry without regard to what Pennsylvanians want and need.” On Tuesday, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee reported out a resolution that would disprove the regulations imposed by IRRC. Following that action, the Senate and House have 30 calendar days or 10 voting session days, whichever is longer, from the date the resolution was reported out, to adopt the resolution and present it to the governor. The governor can either sign or veto the resolution. His veto could be overridden by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and House. If no action is taken by the legislature or the resolution fails, the Read more
SCRANTON, May 4 – State Rep. Marty Flynn encourages area residents to donate disposable diapers and wipes during his first Diaper Drive throughout May. Read more
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