As part of his effort to stamp out bullying, state Rep. Frank Burns and Penn Cambria School District will discuss a one-year pilot program using free software supplied by a Johnstown-based firm, at a 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19 news conference at the Penn Cambria High School library, 401 Linden Ave., Cresson. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 14 – State Reps. Jason Dawkins and Malcolm Kenyatta, both D-Phila., tonight are reacting to the ongoing office involved shooting in North Philadelphia. Dawkins is chairman of the House Philadelphia Delegation while Kenyatta is vice chairman. “First and foremost my prayers are with the officers injured in today’s incident,” Kenyatta said. “I’m fervently praying for a speedy end to this situation. I urge folks in the area to stay indoors and follow police instructions. When our law enforcement agents put on their uniforms and go into the field every one of their families prays to not see headlines like we’re seeing today. There are far too many guns on our streets, and today’s incident is one more sober reminder of it.” Dawkins agreed. “As 80 children waited in place at a nearby daycare and Temple University went on lockdown, I not only thought of these young people and their families, I thought of all the lawmakers in Harrisburg and across the nation who for years have turned a blind eye to this anguish and devastation. While I pray for the injured officers and their families, and all of those affected by this ongoing standoff, I also strengthen my resolve to hold this state and our nation accountable for any more lives lost to senseless gun violence.” Dawkins, Kenyatta and a number of their colleagues recently called for an emergency session of the General Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., is inviting residents to a family-fun communitywide event he is holding Friday. Kinsey’s Unity in the Northwest Community will be held from 5 p.m.- 9 p.m. Friday, Aug.16 on the grounds of Germantown High School, along the 5900 block of Germantown Ave.,19144. “Unity in the Northwest Community is a community engagement affair which will bring local law enforcement, businesses, churches, local organizations, local elected officials, and the community together in a positive unified environment,” Kinsey said. “I look forward to a great event to promote community cohesion and to provide positive interactions between police and the northwest community!” Attendees will enjoy live music from local performers including Philadelphia’s own Breakwater Funk Band, Expressions of Soul, Alexi Paraschos, and many other performers. There will be scooter demonstrations by Verve S, a Silent Philly party, various vendors, and delicious food from food trucks. Unity in the Northwest Community is free and open to the public. Read more
In Montgomery County, and across the state, it’s crucial that our communities are interconnected. People need access to good jobs and health services, and this begins with investment in transportation infrastructure. Read more
EBENSBURG, Aug. 14 – As the lead public figure in the 2017 fight to keep Ebensburg State Center from closure amid a huge public outcry, state Rep. Frank Burns is urging continued vigilance upon learning that the Wolf administration plans to shutter similar centers in Luzerne and Venango counties. Burns, D-Cambria, said after the effort two years ago to close the Ebensburg center – which was providing specialized care for nearly 225 severely mentally and physically disabled adults, along with 700 jobs – Gov. Tom Wolf gave assurances that he wouldn’t close the facility through the 2018-19 fiscal year, which has now expired. “My radar screen has lit up like a pinball machine now that the plan to close Polk State Center in Venango County and White Haven State Center in Luzerne County has been revealed,” Burns said. “It’s an early warning system for those of us who were – and would again be – deeply disturbed at the prospect of losing the Ebensburg State Center forever.” Burns said closing such a vital facility would make no sense, given the upheaval it would cause in the lives of patients, families and employees. He also questioned why it would be necessary, given that the state just closed the books on a 2018-19 fiscal year with hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus. “If the state just got done stashing away $800 million in June, it doesn’t make sense to Read more
The public is invited to join Lee and local organizations to learn about local and global environmental concerns and how they can impact policy-making at the local and state level. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, provided the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s call yesterday to overhaul the state’s charter school law: “I applaud and support the governor’s decision to take executive action to address the lack of fiscal and management accountability of charter and cyber charter schools in the commonwealth,” Kortz said. “I agree with him: the state’s charter school law in Pennsylvania is – indeed – one of the most fiscally irresponsible laws in the country. “The financial strain that has been placed on the schools in my district to support these charter schools is outrageous, and their operational costs are way out of alignment. One of the reasons why I voted ‘no’ on the 2019-2020 budget is because it did not include any remedies to address these concerns related to charter schools. These costs are draining vital funds away from our public schools and leading to steep hikes in property taxes for homeowners in my district. That is beyond unacceptable. “At a minimum, these schools must be made fiscally responsible and accountable to students, parents, and taxpayers, and these schools must also be audited on a regular basis to stay and remain in compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. “I support Governor Wolf’s efforts and look forward to working with him and my colleagues in Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery is opposed to the closure of the White Haven Center, as announced today by the state Department of Human Services. Read more
ERIE, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, will hold a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on Pennsylvania’s technology workforce. The hearing will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19 at Mercyhurst University, Walker Recital Hall, 501 E. 38 th St. The media and public are invited to attend. Merski requested the hearing to discuss how the state can best support technological innovations and cybersecurity education initiatives that grow the commonwealth’s technology workforce. He will be joined by legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. Testifiers will include Duncan McGill, Ph.D., dean of Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences, Mercyhurst University; Steven Mauro, vice president of academic administration, Gannon University; and Karl Sanchak, president and CEO, Erie Innovation District. The hearing is one of a series being held across the state on the House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. More information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com , and hearing materials are at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., held a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today at Lutheran Settlement House to discuss environmental justice. Kenyatta requested the hearing in his legislative district, the 181 st , to discuss environmental justice and health issues affecting Pennsylvanians, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. He was joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “In Philadelphia, many of our residents send their children to school buildings where lead paint poses a serious health risk, many of our residents are dealing with health issues related to air quality, and many of our residents are seeing daily the impact of pollution,” Kenyatta said. Sturla added, “People in our urban centers, especially those people in disadvantaged communities, are being put at risk by the environmental factors around them. Today’s hearing provided an opportunity for experts in the field to explore those risk factors and possible solutions.” Testifiers included Justin Dula, eastern regional coordinator for the Office of Environmental Justice, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Dr. Marilyn Howarth, director of community outreach and engagement, University of Pennsylvania’s Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology; Ebony Griffin, staff attorney for Environmental Justice, The Public Interest Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, applauded the executive action Gov. Tom Wolf announced today to reform Pennsylvania’s charter school law, and echoed his call for comprehensive charter school reform legislation. “Charter school costs have been growing at an unsustainable rate at the expense of PA taxpayers, and it’s time we got better results,” Ciresi said. “The outdated charter school law written in 1997 doesn’t fit the new reality of cyber charter education, and too many charter schools statewide underperform without any accountability to their students and our taxpayers. “The additional oversight Governor Wolf announced today, including holding charter schools to the same transparency and ethical standards as school districts, limiting enrollment at under-performing charter schools, providing more oversight of for-profit charter operators, and preventing charter schools from overcharging taxpayers are all commonsense measures that will give us greater confidence that taxpayer funds are being spent responsibly. “I have been actively working towards charter school reform in the legislature, including pushing for cyber charter funding reform, returning local control over charter funding to school districts, and ensuring accountability over how taxpayer money – $9.7 million just from my district – is spent through elected school board oversight. I am pleased to see the governor Read more
ALLENTOWN, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, said she supports the charter school reform proposals announced today by Gov. Tom Wolf. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, offered the following remarks at today’s news conference hosted by Gov. Tom Wolf as he announced plans to reform charter schools in Pennsylvania by addressing accountability, cost, transparency, fairness and quality. Read more
ALLENTOWN, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D- Lehigh, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement today of his charter school reform strategy: "Governor Wolf's strong executive action will ensure that, for the first time, in a long time, the Allentown School District has a chance at long-term financial sustainability. “Payments to charter schools cost taxpayers in the Allentown School District $3 million in 1998-1999. That cost is now north of $62 million: a 20-fold increase in 20 years. How 1 out of every 6 dollars paid for by Allentown School District taxpayers is spent is completely out of the hands of the people elected as stewards of our resources. “Based upon estimates from the administration, this stands to save the taxpayers of the Allentown School District $10 million. While I have very proudly worked with Representative Peter Schweyer to secure additional funding for the Allentown School District, this action goes a step further by altering the circumstances which require that additional funding. ASD students should not have their futures determined by the political skill of those who represent them in the legislature. Rather than find emergency funding, I would rather reform the system which required emergency funding in the first place. Governor Wolf’s actions today will allow us to do just that. “I cannot understate the importance of these moves. As a result of what the Read more
YORK, Aug. 12 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, today announced that she will join with the Parks Department of York City for York’s 2nd annual Resource Fair to assist and expand on items to be distributed. “This partnership is a great way for students and families to get this school year off to a good start by providing the supplies and necessities students need to succeed,” Hill-Evans said. “If we want our students to succeed, and expect the best results, we need to make sure they are prepared in every way.” The Resource Fair will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17 at Penn Park, 100 W. College Ave., 17401. Fair organizers will distribute book bags filled with school supplies for students. Personal care items, uniforms, shoes and other essentials will be distributed by Hill-Evans' office at the event. Donations were made by many organizations, businesses and individuals throughout York, the 95th Legislative District and beyond. All families with school age children across the legislative district are invited to attend. Last year’s Resource Fair assisted 1,500 students. For more information, call Hill-Evans' office at 717-848-9595 . ### ATTENTION EDITORS : Media coverage of this event is invited. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 12 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, state Sen. Bob Mensch, R-Montgomery, the NAACP Pottstown Chapter, and the Pottstown YMCA are pleased to invite members of the media and public to attend a commemoration ceremony Thursday for Mr. James Frymoyer. The ceremony is being held in recognition of Frymoyer’s 40 years of community service. The event will take place at 1 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Pottstown YMCA, located at 724 N. Adams St., Pottstown. ### Read more
Williams requested the hearing to discuss ways to improve the allocation of educating funds for school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 12 – Following mass shootings in the U.S. reportedly involving large capacity ammunition magazines, state Rep. Kevin Boyle announced he is seeking co-sponsors for his legislation that would prohibit this type of magazine in Pennsylvania. The legislation would ban the sale, offering and exposing for sale, use, purchase, possession and control of a large capacity ammunition magazine – which is defined as an automatic ammunition feeding device capable of accepting more than 15 rounds of ammunition or five shotgun shells. “In some cases, large capacity ammunition magazines can hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition and can be used in any semi-automatic firearm that accepts a detachable magazine. Because of this, many automatic and semi-automatic firearms could increasingly become lethal,” Boyle said. “While this type of magazine is illegal to use for hunting in the commonwealth, it is not illegal to use for other purposes. I don’t see the need for allowing it in Pennsylvania.” Under this legislation, Pennsylvania would join nine states and the District of Columbia in prohibiting this type of magazine. Boyle noted that large capacity ammunition magazines were used in the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Shortly after those shootings, Boyle and some fellow colleagues held a news conference to urge Gov. Tom Wolf to convene a special session of the House and Senate to address gun violence in the Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 12 – In a sweeping response to the negligence displayed before and after the Clairton Coke Works fire in December 2018, state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, on Monday introduced legislation that would enact larger fines for industrial sites that exceed pollution thresholds and require facilities to create a municipal warning system. Davis, whose district houses the Clairton Coke Works site and suffered firsthand from the sulphur dioxide emissions following the December 2018 fire, said the mishap in his district and the recent incident at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery complex drove home the importance of introducing this bill before legislators return to session on Tuesday, Sept. 17. “These were two incidents that were not only unfortunate but detrimental to the environment and the residents residing in the general vicinity of both sites. Laws and regulations currently exist to make sure we have clean air and to also monitor industrial sites so that the public is protected from excessive emissions,” Davis said. “However, these incidents are still happening – exceedance thresholds are happening daily, and it’s the public that suffers. The time to act is now, which is why I’ve introduced legislation that will increase fines and put some teeth into preventing air pollution in the first place. It’s my hope that my colleagues will consider this legislation in the House chamber when we return to Read more
LANSDALE, Aug. 12 – State Rep. Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery, announced she will be hosting a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on reducing the Home- and Community-Based Services Waiver Waitlist. Hanbidge requested the hearing in order to address constituents’ concerns about the length of the HCBS waitlist since there are currently over 13,000 Pennsylvanians with disabilities waiting to receive essential support services. She will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The hearing will be held on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. at the Towamencin Township Building, 1090 Troxel Road, Lansdale, PA 19446. The media and public are invited to attend. The current agenda is: 10:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 10:10 a.m. Jeremy Yale , Director of Bureau Policy and Quality Management, Office of Development Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services 10:40 a.m. Panel of Advocates: Sheila Stasko , Director, PA Waiting List Campaign Paul Stengle , Chief Executive Officer, The Arc Alliance Celia Feinstein , Executive Director, Temple Institute of Disabilities 11:30 a.m. Closing Remarks For more information, call Hanbidge’s district office at 610-277-3230. This hearing is among a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, Read more
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