PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 5 – State Reps. Donna Bullock and Emilio Vazquez, both D-Phila., today announced that they will host the Golden Life Senior Fair 2017 at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20 at Temple University’s Mitten Hall, 1913 N. Broad St. The event will be held in collaboration with Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke. Residents in the 195th and 197th Legislative Districts will be able to receive various city and state-related services, access to senior service providers and more. Free food will also be served. The event is open to the community, and transportation to and from senior centers will be provided. ### Read more
YARDLEY, Oct. 4 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, released the following statement on gun safety legislation in light of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. “Long before the mass murder in Las Vegas, I fully supported meaningful gun safety legislation in Pennsylvania (and nationally). I write today to share some of my legislative initiatives that respect the Second Amendment while promoting sensible gun safety. “I am a vice-chair of the House PA SAFE Caucus and am the sponsor of House Bill 528 , the ‘no fly, no buy’ bill, which would ban gun sales to suspected terrorists on the ‘no-fly’ list. “Moreover, I am a co-sponsor of House Bill 1400 , the universal background check bill. That bill was first introduced several years ago by former Rep. Santarsiero. This year a bipartisan and geographically diverse group consisting of a Republican representative, a former Pittsburgh chief of police and the chair of the PA SAFE Caucus joined together as the prime sponsors of the reintroduced bill. Their sponsorship of the bill increased its exposure and its likelihood of moving forward, and I became the first co-sponsor.” “In addition, I have supported other gun safety bills, including gun violence restraining order legislation and legislation proposing background checks on individuals attempting to purchase ammunition, even when the purchase of a firearm is not involved. “Further, I voted and argued Read more
ERIE, Oct. 4 – To thank and honor Vietnam War-era veterans, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro and the office of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey are serving as hosts of a commemorative pin ceremony at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Millcreek American Legion Post 773, 4109 W. 12th St. "This is a continuation of the event we held in June," Bizzarro said. "The initial response was so overwhelming that we decided to hold a second event to make sure we were able to properly honor everyone we could not accommodate at the summer ceremony. "Senator Toomey and I are humbled by the response and are gratified to be able to have this opportunity to honor area men and women who served and sacrificed so much for all of us and for our great nation. The commemorative pins to be awarded are a token of the respect and admiration they truly deserve now and have always deserved." The recipients of the Oct. 12 ceremony will be those who originally registered in June but were unable to be recognized due to capacity restraints of the venue. They are living U.S. veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time between Nov. 1, 1955, and May 15, 1975, regardless of service location. Bizzarro will serve as master of ceremonies and Robert DeSousa, who serves as Toomey’s state director and as a colonel in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, will attend on the senator’s behalf. Sign-ins for the event will begin at 4:45 p.m., with the ceremony Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 – The life and achievements of Pittsburgh Steelers patriarch Dan Rooney, a western Pennsylvania sports legend who died in April, were celebrated by a condolence resolution put forth by state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, and approved by the House today. Matzie’s H.R. 499 recognized Rooney, a key figure in the Steelers’ rise to NFL prominence starting in the 1970s, for contributions that went beyond his notable success in the sports world. “The late Dan Rooney was a philanthropist, businessman, pioneer of equality, architect of the modern NFL and U.S. ambassador to Ireland,” Matzie said. “Few Pennsylvania natives have been as admired or beloved as he was.” Matzie said that Rooney, who started running the team in the 1960s, helped turn a perennial also-ran into a championship-caliber operation that won four Super Bowls in a six-year span in the 1970s. Matzie added that the winning imprimatur stamped on the franchise by Rooney, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000, resulting in the Steelers winning two more NFL championship trophies in that decade. “Dan Rooney was, quite simply, a legend whose influence extended far beyond Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania,” Matzie said. “It is my privilege to honor him in this way.” Rooney, who held the title of team chairman, died at age 84 on April 13. EDITORS/ASSIGNMENT DESKS : An audio clip of Rep. Matzie Read more
Rep. Brandon Neuman reports that the state Senate unanimously approved his measure dedicating a Washington County bridge to honor slain Canonsburg police officer Scott Bashioum. H.B. 103 awaits the governor's signature into law. Read more
EBENSBURG, Oct. 4 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, reminds landowners that the state is making $1 million in grant money available for planting trees along streams to improve water quality, while another $250,000 is being expended for snowmobile/ATV trails and projects. Burns said applications are being taken now through Dec. 20 for these Community Conservation Partnership Program grants through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. He urged anyone who needs help applying to contact his Ebensburg office at (814) 472-8021. “Pennsylvania has a goal of planting nearly 100,000 acres of streamside buffers by 2025, to improve water quality, slow down runoff and reduce sedimentation and fertilizer pollution,” Burns said. “Eligible snowmobile/ATV trail projects include acquisition, planning, development, rehabilitation or maintenance of designated routes on land for motorized recreation activities – including the purchase of related equipment.” Burns said individual landowners, businesses, nonprofit organizations, local governments and educational institutions are all eligible for the buffer grants, but must be prequalified. Information about how to prequalify is available online on the DCNR grant portal, available at https://www.grants.dcnr.state.pa.us/Dashboard/Grants . Funding for snowmobile/ATV projects is through the ATV Management Restricted Account and the Snowmobile Management Restricted Account, both Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 3 – Members of the House PA SAFE Caucus released the following statement in response to Sunday’s shooting in Las Vegas: “We, the members of the PA SAFE Caucus, are deeply saddened by Sunday night’s horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas. Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and the thousands of concert attendees who witnessed the atrocity. With 59 people murdered, and over 500 others injured, the effects of this tragedy ripple throughout the nation. “While details about the shooter, and the weapons used continue to become available, what we know is that the shooter was, at the time, in possession of up to 23 weapons—including some with modifications to assist in rapid-firing. “But as we learn more about the shooting, the words of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords , come to mind: ‘The truth is, for those who have the power to act and to save lives, thoughts and prayers are not nearly enough.’ “In Pennsylvania, the PA SAFE Caucus is actively working to advance measures that protect our communities from violence, including gun violence. We are eager to create an open dialogue with colleagues, advocates, and citizens on all sides of the gun rights and gun safety issue. “We are dedicated to passing meaningful legislation that promotes gun safety and keeps deadly weapons out of the hands of those who should not possess them—whether by closing background check loopholes, Read more
EBENSBURG, Oct. 3 – In conjunction with the month-long food drive being held at his constituent service offices, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, will sponsor a food collection event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Ebensburg Walmart, 300 Walmart Drive. Burns and his staff will be collecting nonperishable food donations, which will be added to items collected throughout October at his four offices, located at: 535 Fairfield Ave., Johnstown (Lower Yoder Township). 119 S. Center St., Ebensburg. 112-A Munster Road, Portage. 405 Park Ave., Patton. "This is an opportunity for folks in the 72 nd Legislative District to help their neighbors who aren’t as fortunate,” Burns said. “All donations will be forwarded to an outreach center located at St. Francis University that is dedicated to serving local families who are in need.” Please call the Ebensburg office at (814) 472-8021 for more information. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 3 – A resolution designating October as “Wine, Wineries and Grape Month” in Pennsylvania, sponsored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, was approved by the House today. Matzie said H.R. 507 acknowledges the economic importance of the state’s 200 licensed wineries and 280 wine grape growers, an industry that adds $2.35 billion to the economy and attracts 1.2 million visitors a year. “Pennsylvania is the fourth-largest producer of wine grapes in the nation, with an impressive 14,000 acres devoted to growing grapes,” Matzie said. “This resolution recognizes the significant and invaluable contributions made by the grape and wine industries to this commonwealth's history, economy and quality of life.” Matzie said the industry directly creates more than 8,600 jobs with a total payroll in excess of $400 million, and is responsible for an estimated $222 million in tourism-related spending. “Numbers like these prove how valuable Pennsylvania wines, wineries and grapes are to the state's economy,” Matzie said. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 3 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., today announced that the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Educational Grants Program has awarded a $42,562 grant to the Overbrook Youth Environmental Stewardship Program. O’YES is a program created by the Juveniles Active in Science and Technology Development Services Inc. Cephas, a champion of environmental justice, helped JASTECH secure the grant. “I am excited to partner with JASTECH to encourage youth in the 192nd District to take an active role in protecting our environment,” Cephas said. “The center has been leading the charge on exposing our youth to becoming environmental stewards in their community. This grant will allow us to connect young stewards to community leaders who play a significant role in keeping Philadelphia’s air, water and land safe.” O’YES is a two-year environmental education camp that teaches high school science, technology, engineering and math students the best management practices to protect the environment. The O’YES program was developed through the Overbrook Education Center and operated by JASTECH Development Services Inc. Established as a non-profit, 501c3 entity in 1998, JASTECH continues to contribute to the improvement of the environment, education and public health. “This will be a great opportunity to create and expand career pathways for career technical education students by Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 2 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., released the following statement regarding the unanimous adoption of H.R. 525 today in the House: “Today, I joined my colleagues and took a stand against domestic violence by voting for House Resolution 525, which designates the month of October 2017 as ‘Domestic Violence Month’ in Pennsylvania. It is reported than an estimated one in three women are expected to experience physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. Often times, domestic violence is used to exert control over an intimate partner and can cause extensive emotional harm. “Although both men and women can experience domestic violence, 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women. In 2014, nearly 2,500 Pennsylvanians were served by state domestic violence programs. In 2015, an estimated 2,000 women visited a Philadelphia emergency room after being assaulted by a spouse, ex-spouse, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. More shocking is that 17.3 percent of Philadelphia students were physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend – this is nearly twice the national average. “While this resolution is a great first step, we must do more. This goes beyond just teaching our sons to respect women; men in particular must step up and renounce misogyny, rape culture and toxic masculinity – all of which allow for domestic violence to persist in a state where spousal rape has only been a crime Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 2 – A bill authored by state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., to rename a bridge after a Philadelphia police officer killed in the line of duty passed the House today. The legislation ( H.B. 1778 ) would designate the bridge on a portion of state Route 1005, also known as Castor Avenue, that goes over Frankford Creek, as the Officer Gary Frank Skerski Memorial Bridge. The 16-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 6, 2006, while responding to a reported armed robbery at a café near the intersection of Arrott and Adams avenues in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. “Officer Skerski was the definition of a true hero and heroes deserve to be honored,” Dawkins said. “The bridge is a way to pay tribute and never forget the ultimate sacrifice he made to keep this city safe.” Skerski was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, the League of Sacred Heart of Jesus, and a parishioner of St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church in Port Richmond. Reps. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., and John Taylor, R-Phila., are co-sponsors of the bill. The legislation now heads to the Senate. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 2 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced he will host his Harvest Resource Festival and Children’s Fright Night at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31 at Wissinoming Park, 5773-5945 Frankford Ave . The event will be held in collaboration with state Sen. Christine Tartaglione. Residents in the 179th Legislative District will be able receive information on how to prepare for the winter months with information on various utility assistance programs, how to properly weatherize their homes, and other state-related services. Dawkins’ office will have free games and candy available for children. The meeting is open to the community and costumes are encouraged. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 2 – October will be “Agent Orange Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania, per a resolution from state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, that gained unanimous House approval today. Matzie said his H.R. 508 serves as a reminder that approximately 19 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides were used during the Vietnam War, saddling thousands of veterans with exposure-related cancers, other health disorders and death. “Veterans with Agent Orange-related health problems live with the knowledge that genetic damage resulting from their exposure may be handed down through generations,” Matzie said. “In fact, federal law provides for the presumption that certain diseases are a direct result of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War.” Matzie said approximately 498,000 men and women from Pennsylvania served during the Vietnam War era, with an estimated 172,000 of them directly participating in the war. “At the time, this was the longest conflict in American history, and American servicepersons displayed heroic courage and determination under some of the most difficult circumstances ever encountered by the U.S. military,” Matzie said. “Years after the conflict officially ended, many of them found out that they were also fighting a previously unseen enemy in the after-effects of Agent Orange.” Matzie said his resolution also honors those who bravely Read more
SCRANTON, Oct. 2 – Due to the Columbus Day holiday, this month’s Medicare outreach at the office of state Rep. Marty Flynn will be held Tuesday, Oct. 10. Flynn said an APPRISE counselor will be available from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Oct. 10 at his office – 409 N. Main Ave. in Jay's Commons – to help answer questions about Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap plans, Medicare drug plans, PACE/PACENET prescription-drug coverage and various low-income assistance programs, such as the Medicare Savings Program and Extra Help. Appointments are suggested by calling Flynn's office at 570-342-4348. The local APPRISE program is sponsored by the Voluntary Action Center and is funded by the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 2 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., is inviting residents of the 179th Legislative District and neighbors from across Philadelphia to attend the 5th Annual Olney Youth Arts Festival from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 in the 500 block of West Chew Avenue at North 5th Street, Philadelphia. “This is a great opportunity for our neighbors to witness the transforming power of the arts and the multi-cultural talent of our city’s children and youth,” Dawkins said. “By getting involved in arts, they open a pathway to access their deepest and most authentic selves. This provides them with a creative outlet for expression and reflection, both fundamental aspects for their lives as adults.” Dawkins and his staff will provide assistance on any state-related issue constituents may have. The rain location is St. Paul's Lutheran Church at 5918 N. 5th St., Philadelphia. More information about the event is available by calling Dawkins’ office at (215) 744-7901 or visiting www.pahouse.com/Dawkins . Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Reps. Ángel Cruz and Emilio Vázquez, both D-Phila., today announced that they plan to introduce a resolution urging Congress and President Donald Trump to allocate resources to help Puerto Rico and its residents recover from Hurricane Maria. “Yesterday, President Donald Trump waived the Jones Act restrictions for Puerto Rico for 10 days. That’s an enormous step, but in order for the island to move forward and rebuild, 10 days is not enough,” Vázquez said. “We need Congress to go further and waive the Jones Act permanently. We also need a relief and funding package to help the 3.5 million Americans living in Puerto Rico, allowing authorities to appropriately respond to the damage caused by María.” The Jones Act is a law that requires all goods transported between U.S. ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by Americans. This often makes the goods transported between the ports much more expensive. Cruz said, “A week after the event, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is still doing rescue operations and the supply deliveries just started around Monday. By this point in response to Hurricane Katrina, Lieutenant General Honore notes that we had 20,000 troops, 20 ships and 40,000 National Guard on the ground on the Gulf Coast. The federal response is just too slow. We ask that the president request an immediate allocation to FEMA for Puerto Rico, and Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Reps. Emilio Vázquez and Ángel Cruz, both D-Phila., today announced that they plan to introduce a resolution urging Congress and President Donald Trump to allocate resources to help Puerto Rico and its residents recover from Hurricane Maria. “Yesterday, President Donald Trump waived the Jones Act restrictions for Puerto Rico for 10 days. That’s an enormous step, but in order for the island to move forward and rebuild, 10 days is not enough,” Vázquez said. “We need Congress to go further and waive the Jones Act permanently. We also need a relief and funding package to help the 3.5 million Americans living in Puerto Rico, allowing authorities to appropriately respond to the damage caused by María.” The Jones Act is a law that requires all goods transported between U.S. ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by Americans. This often makes the goods transported between the ports much more expensive. Cruz said, “A week after the event, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is still doing rescue operations and the supply deliveries just started around Monday. By this point in response to Hurricane Katrina, Lieutenant General Honore notes that we had 20,000 troops, 20 ships and 40,000 National Guard on the ground on the Gulf Coast. The federal response is just too slow. We ask that the president request an immediate allocation to FEMA for Puerto Rico, and Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today joined Sen. Bob Casey and members of the Gray Coalition to urge Amtrak to rename its 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.” Harris was also joined by Reps. W. Curtis Thomas and Donna Bullock, both D-Phila. “We are standing on the shoulders of giants and Congressman Gray was one of those giants who paved the way for many of us today,” Harris said. “He dedicated his life to making Philadelphia a better place. In fact, without his help, Amtrak would have never received the funds necessary to complete the restoration project for 30th Street Station.” In 2014, the United States Congress unanimously passed H.R. 4838 to rename 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station. In August 2014, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 4838 into law. Since then, Amtrak has failed to rename the station after the late Congressman Gray. To urge Amtrak to immediately change the name of the station, Harris co-sponsored H.R. 419 , which was unanimously adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “It’s time to fully honor Congressman Gray’s legacy by renaming 30th Street Station,” Harris said. “Amtrak must comply with H.R. 4838, as unanimously passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. It’s the right and honorable thing to Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., on behalf of the urgency of the Now Gray coalition, today joined U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and broad leadership in urging Amtrak in renaming the 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.” Thomas was joined by state Reps. Donna Bullock and Jordan Harris, both D-Phila.; a diverse group of leaders from the faith community (African Methodist Episcopal churches, the United Methodist Churches, the Baptist, Jewish, and Muslim community, the United House of Prayer, Bright Hope Baptist Church and the Church of God and Christ); and the legatees of the late Congressman William H. Gray III in urging Amtrak to avoid delay or defer in compliance with H.R. 4838 of 2014 by renaming the 30th Street Station. House Resolution 4838 has been subsequently supported and endorsed by the Pennsylvania House of Representative in H.R. 419 and Philadelphia City Council. After the news conference, Thomas released the following statement: “In 2014, the United States Congress and the President took steps to institutionalize the stellar legacy and history of Congressman Gray by directing Amtrak in changing the name of the station. This action was taken as a direct result of the many years that Congressman Gray restored Amtrak’s funding after it had been zeroed out of the national budget, and especially in playing an instrumental role in providing 30th Street Station with its Read more
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