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, Feb. 11 – Pennsylvania state legislators are making a bid to assist hundreds of workers idled by Allegheny Technologies Inc.’s six-month lockout who are about to see their unemployment benefits expire. Reps. Frank Dermody and Joe Petrarca this week teamed up to introduce a bill that would provide financial help to workers who were locked out of their jobs and have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits. "Workers and their families are in severe financial distress after being locked out of their jobs for half a year," Dermody said. “These workers helped make ATI what it is today. They take pride in the work they do and they want to get back to doing it. Until that happens, we need to help them weather the crisis.” The bill (H.B. 1857) introduced by Dermody and Petrarca would provide temporary unemployment benefits to any Pennsylvania workers who see regular unemployment benefits expire after being locked out of their jobs. Only unemployed workers affected by a lockout would be eligible and the state Department of Labor and Industry reports the locked-out ATI employees are the only ones in Pennsylvania currently affected. “Hundreds of people would rather be working, but instead they are about to lose unemployment benefits through no fault of their own,” Petrarca said. “Their families are suffering along with them, as well as all the local businesses that depend on the daily spending generated by Read more
HARRISBURG, March 24 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced that nearly 11 acres of abandoned surface and deep mine land in Loyalhanna and Bell townships will be remediated. The state Department of Environmental Protection has awarded a no-cost, government-financed construction contract to David L. Patterson Jr. for removal and reclamation of an abandoned coal refuse pile west of Saltsburg, north of Ridge Road and west of Steele Road. "Efforts like this can help us take unusable and unhealthy land and make it usable again," Petrarca said. "That's a win-win situation for Pennsylvania and its residents." The project will reclaim 9.2 acres of abandoned mine land and a related subsidence-prone area, and eliminate 2,200 linear feet of highwall, which will result in the property becoming a productive parcel of land. The estimated value of the reclamation is approximately $122,100. The contract will expire in January 2017. A no-cost GFCC is a contract that has no cost to the commonwealth and is between the contractor and DEP to reclaim abandoned mine lands. Any coal removal that is necessary for the reclamation and incidental is permitted under the contract. Other examples of projects eligible for a no-cost GFCC include water pollution abatement, tipple reclamation, crop coal removal, subsidence reclamation, sealing abandoned underground mine openings and stabilization of slides. Read more
ERIE, March 24 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, will host a free Social Security workshop for area residents approaching retirement age at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31 at the Millcreek Township Building, 3608 W. 26 th St. The event is designed to educate residents about how to navigate the Social Security System, apply for benefits, decide when to start receiving benefits and prepare for retirement, among other things. Bizzarro will be joined by a financial representative from a local insurance company to help answer attendees’ questions. “My office has heard from so many people who find themselves unsure of how to apply for Social Security benefits when the time comes,” Bizzarro said. “I want to open the conversation up to area residents so that they can get their questions answered from a trained professional. We want to make sure that those who’ve earned these benefits receive them.” No registration is required. For more information, please call Bizzarro’s office at (814) 835-2880 or visit 1101 Peninsula Drive, Suite 209 in the Peninsula Plaza. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 16 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has unanimously adopted a measure authored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, recognizing March 2016 as “National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. “Experts suggest up to 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented if people age 50 and older were regularly screened and appropriately treated for this disease,” Donatucci said. “As uncomfortable as some people may be discussing colorectal cancer, it’s important to raise awareness about the illness so that people don’t live in fear.” The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, killing 49,700 Americans in 2015. Donatucci noted she understands the devastating toll the disease can have on families if left undetected. “I lost my father to colon cancer in 1998,” Donatucci said. “I want to make sure other families don’t have to go through what my family and I did, especially so many cases of this disease are preventable.” Donatucci’s H.R. 709 noted colorectal cancer often begins as a polyp, which is a growth that forms on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. In addition to polyps, risk factors for colorectal cancer can include age, family history, certain genetic mutations, excessive alcohol use, obesity, Read more
HARRISBURG, March 23 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca said he believes Gov. Tom Wolf made the right decision in choosing to let the reminder of Pennsylvania's 2015-16 budget become law without his signature. "I think the governor did the right thing," said Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana. "The final budget does not address a number of issues facing Pennsylvania, but it ensures that schools, our counties and state-related universities receive their funding so they don't have to shut down their programs. And, it does not require any tax increase. "Now that the current budget has been resolved, the biggest issue before us is to craft a complete 2016-17 budget and we can begin doing that in earnest." Without the governor's signature, the spending plan will become law at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 23 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, today issued the following statement after Gov. Tom Wolf announced he will allow H.B. 1801 , the GOP-crafted state budget for 2015-16, to become law without his signature: “The governor has brought an end to the budget impasse, but I still believe there are important issues that need to be addressed in order to balance the upcoming 2016-17 budget and do what’s right for Pennsylvania. “Harrisburg is broken, and has become more and more like Washington with each passing week. The commonwealth still faces a massive structural deficit that will remain if we don’t raise the necessary revenues to pay our bills. Our schools will continue to be underfunded and our human service providers will be forced to contemplate closing their doors if we don’t fix the way we budget. The state could truly be headed for disaster if we let the budgeting gimmicks of the prior administration continue to stand. “As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I’m committed to doubling down with my colleagues and working to prevent another budget stalemate like the one we’ve all just had to live through. It’s time to stop putting politics before our children, seniors and most vulnerable residents. Let’s get to work on fixing Pennsylvania’s fiscal house, and ensure our 2016-17 budget is a much more sustainable, responsible one than the plan that’s Read more
HARRISBURG, March 23 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, issued the following statement regarding the governor's announcement that he would allow the state budget to become law without his signature: "I agree with Governor Wolf for recognizing that it was time to end the battle over the 2015-16 budget," Flynn said. "House Bill 1801, which finally completes the 2015-16 budget that was due last June 30, was sent to the governor last week. The governor had several options: to again veto the Republican budget entirely as he did last July, to veto specific line items as he did with the Republican budget in December, to sign the budget or to allow the budget to become law without his signature. "Today, the governor recognized the need for closure and to ensure our schools get the funds they need, while recognizing that the final budget is not a great deal for Pennsylvanians. "However, we in Harrisburg can now begin to work toward a budget for next year that can address some of the structural deficits that the governor was fighting to correct this year. "Sometimes a bad budget is better than no budget – and after nine months, it is time to move forward and address the looming deficit for 2016-17." ### Read more
EBENSBURG, March 23 – Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement today that he will let the final piece of 2015-16 state budget legislation become law prompted the following response from state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria: “It’s a relief to us all that instead of closing their doors, our public schools will get a total $200 million more in state subsidy – and that they, our human service providers and county governments won’t have to continue borrowing money to perform core functions. “While this spending plan might not be perfect, it delivers 5 percent more for state-subsidized universities and increases spending 3 percent overall, while not raising taxes. Now we can put this protracted impasse behind us, focusing our full energies on developing the consensus needed to pass the 2016-17 state budget by the June 30 deadline.” Burns was one of 13 House Democrats who voted March 16 in favor of this latest attempt to wrap up the 2015-16 budget, which was nine months overdue. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 23 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, released this statement following Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement that he will allow the most recent budget proposal to become law without his signature: “Governor Wolf has made extensive efforts to work with legislators on both of sides of the aisle to craft a budget that provides for the needs of all Pennsylvanians, pays down the structural budget deficit and improves our fiscal outlook. Unfortunately, Republican majorities repeatedly sent unbalanced budgets that protect special interests and continue to increase the structural deficit to the governor’s desk. After three separate attempts by the governor at compromise over nearly 10 months, a change in direction had to happen. “By simply allowing this budget to stand without his signature, the governor forces the Republican majorities to own their failed policies in this budget. Time is already telling by the multiple credit downgrades from independent credit rating agencies. We’ve seen increased school property taxes, teacher and school staff layoffs, increased class sizes and plummeting test scores in our school districts. Pennsylvania cannot afford to go down this same path, but that is the only path that Republicans will allow for now. “In the interest of moving forward and focusing efforts on the 2016-17 budget, I stand with the governor and hope we can focus on finding sustainable revenue sources that produce Read more
HARRISBURG , March 23 – As Gov. Tom Wolf announced today that he will permit the final piece of the 2015-16 state budget to become law Monday, ending a nine-month stalemate, state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, issued the following statement: “Last week, I was one of 13 House Democrats who voted for this latest budget bill , which pushes to $200 million the additional state subsidy for basic education – and does so without raising taxes. It addition to ensuring our schools don’t close, it also provides funding for human services and 4-H programs that are vital in much of our state. “I am glad the governor has decided not to veto this bill. Now we can close the books on the tumultuous current fiscal year and devote our full energies to completing – on time, hopefully – the 2016-17 state budget due June 30.” Read more
HARRISBURG, March 23 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has unanimously adopted a measure authored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, recognizing March 2016 as “National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. “Experts suggest up to 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented if people 50 or older were regularly screened and appropriately treated for this disease,” Donatucci said. “As uncomfortable as some people may be discussing colorectal cancer, it’s important to raise awareness about the illness so that people don’t live in fear.” The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, killing 49,700 Americans in 2015. Donatucci noted she understands the devastating toll the disease can have on families if left undetected. “I lost my father to colon cancer in 1998,” Donatucci said. “I want to make sure other families don’t have to go through what my family and I did, especially since so many cases of this disease are preventable.” Donatucci’s H.R. 709 noted that colorectal cancer often begins as a polyp, which is a growth that forms on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. In addition to polyps, risk factors for colorectal cancer can include age, family history, certain genetic mutations, excessive alcohol use, Read more
HARRISBURG, March 23 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody believes Gov. Tom Wolf made the right decision in choosing to let the remainder of Pennsylvania’s 2015-16 budget become law without his signature. “Harrisburg is broken and because of that Pennsylvania faces a budget emergency. The governor is taking steps to buy us all some time,” Dermody said. “In talking with Republican leaders during the last week it’s heartening that they acknowledged the state’s large budget deficit. The problem is identified. Now we must continue working to fix it,” Dermody said. Dermody said the spending plan that will become law at 12:01 a.m. Monday doesn’t adequately meet current needs and it fails to solve the state’s continuing budget imbalance. But the measure will allow delayed payments to flow to school districts, service providers and other entities after months of unpaid bills. “Although this marks the end of the 2015-16 budget impasse, it’s really more of a stopgap measure. It will quickly become clear that we have not yet raised the necessary revenue to pay for the things the state’s obligated by law to do,” Dermody said. “The problem remains, we lack the resources to pay our bills. A majority of legislators in both parties agree on this. After five years of deficit spending it’s time to face economic reality. “This can never Read more
HARRISBURG, March 23 – The House Professional Licensure Committee recently held a hearing on state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski’s bill that would establish a state Board of Professional Music Therapy Licensure in Pennsylvania. “There’s a major difference between a music therapist and someone who either teaches or performs music,” Pashinski said. “A music therapist takes that art and uses it with a patient to stimulate their mind, help them physically, suppress certain emotion, ignite certain parts of their brain, and help them overcome their disability.” Those who testified on H.B. 1438 include officials from the American Music Therapy Association, Pennsylvania State Task Force for Music Therapy and Autism Society Greater Harrisburg, as well as parents of children who benefit from music therapy. One advocate said while Pennsylvania has 10 music therapy schools, which is the highest number in the U.S., 30 percent of graduates said they had difficulty obtaining employment as a music therapist in the commonwealth. “Many music therapy graduates are having to leave Pennsylvania in order to obtain full-time employment,” said Nicole Hahna, assistant professor of music therapy, Slippery Rock University. “Additionally, lack of licensure in Pennsylvania has meant that graduates are often not able to apply for music therapy positions that require licensure.” Pashinski said in addition to creating a state Read more
HARRISBURG, March 22 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., today was appointed Democratic chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and Welfare, ascending to the position two months after her February assignment to the larger committee. House Appropriations Committee Democratic Chairman Joe Markosek made the appointment. “Representative Bullock’s professionalism and experience with a wide range of service providers make her a perfect fit to chair the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Welfare,” Markosek said. “Her compassion and work for families and the vulnerable will help her vet critical pieces of legislation for this influential committee.” “It’s an honor to take on this new responsibility, and I look forward to learning more about the inner workings of the Appropriations Committee through this new lens,” Bullock said. “Health and welfare are two areas I’ve remained passionate about throughout my career in Philadelphia, and now in Harrisburg.” The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Welfare is responsible for any bill, resolution or other matter related to those subject areas. Members of the subcommittee return their work to the full Appropriations Committee with recommendations. Bullock's public service precedes her work in government. She has volunteered and served on several boards, task forces and coalitions, including Read more
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