HARRISBURG, Jan. 20 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., issued a statement today following the inauguration of Gov. Tom Wolf: “Pennsylvania is at a crossroads right now. The past few years have not been kind to our school districts, our local economies or our citizens. We are facing an estimated $2.3 billion deficit heading into our next budget, and that number could increase. “With that in mind, I believe Tom Wolf is the person we need to lead us away from the devastating funding cuts we’ve seen under the previous administration. As Governor Wolf said today, his administration will be about 'jobs that pay, schools that teach and government that works.' All of these are issues that plague Pennsylvania currently and I believe that we can work together to fix them. “We need to put families back to work and allow people back into the employment pipeline. This means following through with legislation I’ve introduced before and will introduce again to reform our criminal record expungement laws and give Pennsylvanians the best possible chance to succeed. “With all that in mind, I would like to congratulate Governor Wolf and his family on this momentous occasion. I look forward to working with him and his staff over the next four years, along with my fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle, as we work to improve our state and grow our economy. Elections are partisan, but governing must be a partnership, and Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 20 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced he has been appointed to serve on five standing committees in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives during the 2015-16 legislative session. "I am eager to take on these responsibilities," Dawkins said. "The committee process is an integral part of how a bill becomes a law." Dawkins was named to the Commerce, Health, Human Services, Urban Affairs, and Aging and Older Adult Services committees. "These committee appointments will allow me to address key issues that are facing my district, such as strengthening our commercial corridors and improving services and protections for our senior population," Dawkins said, "I also look forward to bringing my experiences working with Philadelphia’s City Council to the Urban Affairs Committee, where I will not only be an advocate for the City of Philadelphia, but seek to address the challenges facing urban areas throughout our commonwealth. I look forward to getting to work, and being a voice on the wide range of issues, such as health care and development, that impact our neighborhoods." ### Read more
State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, today announced that he has been appointed to five House of Representatives committees for the 2015-16 legislative session. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 20 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, released the following statement today on the swearing-in of Pennsylvania's 47th governor, Tom Wolf: "House Democrats are excited to work with Governor Wolf in the upcoming session. Pennsylvania is a very diverse state, but we can only move forward as one family, not a collection of special interests. Governor Wolf understands that and I believe his approach to governing Pennsylvania will reflect that. "There is no shortage of challenges facing our state, foremost among them a budget deficit that tops $2.3 billion. House Democrats are ready to work with the governor and our Republican colleagues in the House and Senate to address those challenges. "We need to build a strong, sustainable middle class, and grow decent jobs in industries that support family-sustaining wages. We need to begin restoring the funding to our schools the previous administration cut, and we need to develop a fair funding formula that ensures every child in Pennsylvania receives a quality education and every public school in Pennsylvania can provide one. "We need to honor the workers who drive the engine of our economy by making sure they earn a fair wage, enjoy a safe workplace and job and retirement security, and are free from discrimination. And we need to develop our natural resources in a responsible way that protects our environmental legacy and benefits all Pennsylvanians. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 20 – State Rep. Ed Gainey has been appointed to five state House of Representatives committees for the 2015-16 legislative session. Chief among them, Gainey will begin serving on the Appropriations Committee. "This year marks the first of my involvement with the House Appropriations Committee, and while all committee assignments are important, I am particularly pleased to be working on this committee that is responsible for crafting the state's budget," Gainey said. "Pennsylvania is facing some serious fiscal challenges and it's important that we all work together to resolve them." His other new appointments include the House Gaming Oversight and Local Government committees. "Gaming is a relatively new industry in the commonwealth, and the Gaming Oversight Committee works with the state Gaming Control Board to evaluate legislation that affects gaming in the state and how the proceeds are used," he said. The Local Government Committee reviews legislation that affects counties, cities, boroughs and townships, including statewide zoning regulations and municipal pensions. In addition, Gainey will continue to serve on the House Insurance and Transportation committees. "The state has just begun to address the federal Affordable Care Act with respect to Pennsylvania, and with a new governor on board, that discussion is sure to continue. We must make sure that health care is Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, today announced that she has been named to several important standing committees in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 2015-16 legislative session. Read more
State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, released the following statement today after Tom Wolf was inaugurated as governor of Pennsylvania: Read more
Rep. Pam Snyder’s appointment to four key committees in the state House provides a strategic opportunity to implement policies advantageous to Greene, Fayette and Washington counties. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 16 – About $500,000 remains in a fund that provides a small stipend to veterans from Pennsylvania who served in the Persian Gulf, and state Rep. Neal P. Goodman wants to ensure those eligible to benefit from it receive their share. Goodman, D-Schuylkill, has introduced H.B. 175 to extend the deadline to apply to the state’s Persian Gulf Veterans' Bonus Program to Aug. 31, 2018. The program is scheduled to end Aug. 31 this year. “The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs receives about 60 new applications to the program every month,” said Goodman, who is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “I do not want to risk denying these benefits to eligible veterans when we can simply extend the deadline. This is a small thank you to the brave men and women who have risked their lives serving our country in the Persian Gulf War.” Goodman wrote the law that led to a November 2006 referendum asking Pennsylvania if the state should create the program. The referendum was overwhelmingly approved. “I will do all I can to ensure the money in the program is used as Pennsylvanians intended – to help as many Persian Gulf War veterans as possible,” Goodman said. The maximum bonus is $525 under the program. Since the enactment of the law, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has processed nearly 11,000 claims totaling more than $3.5 million. The Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation executive for District 6, the length of Ridge Avenue from the county line at Northwestern to Dauphin is slated to be repaved when the weather breaks for spring, state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio announced today. “With great anticipation, drivers and riders have been looking forward to the resurfacing of Ridge Avenue, which has been a rough ride for some time,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. “After the damage caused by last year’s harsh winter, this spring cannot get here soon enough.” All travel lanes will be open between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. There will be one travel lane in each direction open during all other times. All milling and paving work will be performed between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., and Philadelphia police will provide assistance for safety and traffic control. Travel-lane restrictions or any work that might impede traffic will not be permitted over the Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day weekends. DeLissio said that constituents’ patience has been appreciated as the Philadelphia Gas Works and the Philadelphia Water Department first needed to address underground infrastructure that required repair along the seven-mile stretch prior to PennDOT tackling the resurfacing of the roadway. She explained that the Ridge Avenue resurfacing project commenced in the fall of 2014 with some base repair at Read more
AMBRIDGE, March 21 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today announced that Beemac Trucking has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – The Portage Area Sewer Authority received approval for $8.1 million of Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority funding to help improve the sewer system, said state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria. The authority will construct 50,000 linear feet of new sewers to provide a public sewage collection system in the Martindale area of Portage Township, as well as rehabilitate the sewage collection system in a section of Portage Borough. “The project will help upgrade parts of the sewer system that are malfunctioning and it will also rehabilitate 75-year-old pipelines,” Burns said. “This is just another example of the state recognizing the need for investments in infrastructure in our region.” The Pennvest funding package includes a $5 million low-interest loan. Twenty jobs are expected to be created by the improvements. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, said today that students may now apply for the Pennsylvania House Scholarship Program. The program provides four-year scholarships to two high school seniors each year. Each scholarship consists of the value of one semester of tuition at a State System of Higher Education school, automatically renewable for up to four years, provided the recipient maintains his or her eligibility. Although the value is based on a SSHE school, the scholarship may be used at any Pennsylvania college. “We’re getting to the time of year when high school seniors and their families are beginning to finalize college decisions, and one of the biggest decisions is how they will pay for tuition and books,” Schweyer said. "With many families struggling to pay for college, this scholarship could be a huge help to a student in need of financial assistance." To be eligible, a graduating high school senior must: Be a legal resident of Pennsylvania; Attend a Pennsylvania college, university or career school as a full-time student; Have a minimum 3.0 cumulative high school grade-point average; Be committed to their community and have leadership qualities; Participate in extracurricular activities; and Have financial need. More information and the application for this program are available online at http://is.gd/HofRscholarships or on Schweyer’s webpage, Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – Johnstown and Westmont Borough today received approval for Pennvest loans to improve sewers, said state Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset. Johnstown received a $10.9 million low-interest loan for the sixth phase of sewer improvements in the Moxham area of the city, and Westmont received a $9.3 million low-interest loan to rehabilitate sewer lining, manholes and lateral inspection ports in the first phase of a two-phase project. “The project will help reduce wet-weather sewage overflows from the city and Westmont that flow into Stony Creek and rehabilitate 80- to 90-year-old pipelines,” Barbin said. “The improvements are much needed and will benefit the area for generations to come.” User rates in Johnstown will not be affected by the loan, while user rates in Westmont are expected to rise. Barbin said the low-interest rate offered by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority helps minimize the rate increase. Forty jobs are expected to be created by the improvements. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today said that four watershed-protection projects in Clinton and Centre counties have been awarded grants totaling more than $1.7 million.“The grants will help protect and maintain the region’s tremendous water resources,” Hanna said. “Water gives life to communities and cannot be overvalued.”The state Department of Environmental Protection awarded more than $23.2 million to 109 watershed-protection projects across the commonwealth, drawing on funding from the state’s Environmental Stewardship Fund and Growing Greener, as well as federal mining and nonpoint source pollution-management programs.The local project awardees and their funding are:Clinton County Conservation District, $198,313 for agricultural best-management practices in the Fishing Creek watershed;Centre County Conservation District, $500,732 for an agricultural BMP implementation project;Penns Valley Conservation Association, $42,860 for education and community outreach concerning Upper Penns Creek; andThe Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, $1 million for a watershed construction project affecting Contrary Run. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today began his second term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he will continue to represent the 3rd Legislative District in the 2015-16 legislative session. Read more
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, today commended Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto for standing by the city's gun-safety laws in the face of a lawsuit from the National Rifle Association. Frankel strongly opposed the new state law that allows the NRA and other groups to sue Pennsylvania communities that have local ordinances requiring the reporting of lost or stolen guns. Some smaller communities have begun to repeal their ordinances rather than face legal bills from lawsuits by the NRA or other groups. "I commend Mayor Peduto for standing up for gun safety and common sense to protect Pittsburgh residents and visitors, and I hope he and the city council will continue to do so. I believe there is a good chance the new state law can be overturned in court as unconstitutional, and then an attempt at reviving it would have to get past Governor-elect Wolf instead of being rubber-stamped as Governor Corbett did last year," Frankel said. "The new legislature also needs to focus on top priorities, such as closing the $2 billion deficit Governor Corbett is leaving behind, restoring school funding and raising Pennsylvania from our dead-last rank in job creation. Wasting more time on special-interest legislation like what I call the ‘NRA Lawyer Employment Act’ would not help with any of those dire needs," Frankel added. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., is continuing his push for commonsense priorities as he begins his second term representing Philadelphia's 182nd Legislative District. Sims said, "In addition to seeking to restore vital school funding, addressing the $2 billion deficit Governor Corbett is leaving and reversing the drastic decline in Pennsylvania's job-creation record, I will continue working with allies from both parties to reintroduce legislation on other important issues," such as:LGBT equality, including equal protections in the workplace and a ban on harmful "conversion therapy" for minors;sustainable development and manufacturing;merit selection of judges;fair compensation for people harmed by a local government's action or inaction – like Philadelphians who only got 19 cents on the dollar for electrical and water damage done to their homes by a 4-foot-wide water main break in 2012; andproactive women's health initiatives. Constituents who want to learn more about the legislation Sims has worked on and plans to reintroduce will have the opportunity to ask him during his first town hall meeting of 2015, which will be held Feb. 12 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Bonnell Large Auditorium, Community College of Philadelphia, 1700 Spring Garden St. The auditorium is located on 16th Street between Callowhill and Spring Garden streets. The legislature's term began in December, and the state Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 13 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced several Erie County watershed protection projects will receive a total of more than $1.3 million in state funding. The $1,328,573 in grants comes from the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener Program, which is awarding more than $17.3 million in grants statewide."Clean water is fundamental to the health of our environment and our communities," Bizzarro said. "I am pleased to see that so many deserving projects are receiving funding to help reduce water pollution and improve quality of life in our area."Environment Erie will receive a total of $682,802 for five projects: $41,585 for BeginANEW residential stormwater education and vacant lot beautification; $190,850 for Cascade Creek restoration phase 7; $110,188 for Scott Run watershed protection and restoration; $366,640 for septic system improvements; and $33,539 for service learning projects. Erie County Conservation District will receive $443,880 for its 2014 AG BMP cost share program, and Pennsylvania State University will obtain $141,891 for its Sevenmile Creek stream corridor restoration.The Growing Greener Program is funded by the Environmental Stewardship Fund. The program’s primary goals are investing in initiatives protecting watersheds from impairment and restoring those already impaired.More information about the Growing Greener Program can be found online at Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 13 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, invites west Philadelphia residents to join him at a Dr. Martin Luther King Day event Monday morning at West Philadelphia High School, 49th and Chestnut streets. The "Day of Consciousness Raising: Going Beyond 'the Dream'" program will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, after a coffee reception from 9:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. The event is sponsored by the West Philadelphia High School student government and the 188th Legislative District Education Committee. The event will feature a panel discussion with students and alumni of the school and guests, including Roebuck and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. It will also include performances by students. "I invite everyone to come and hear students and community members share their views on how to move our neighborhood forward," Roebuck said. For more information, please call Roebuck's office at 215-724-2227. ### Read more
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