Calling it a dangerous proposition that hasn’t been properly vetted, state Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, was joined today by House and Senate Democrats, as well as officials from Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration, to call on Pennsylvania’s congressional Republicans to reject the Trumpcare plan that would devastate Pennsylvania by increasing the deficit and most importantly, leaving millions without access to adequate health care. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, today urged members of the House Appropriations Committee to include in its ongoing state budget negotiations a strong funding plan to address the consequences of natural-gas drilling on the environment and public safety. Comitta made those remarks before members of the House Appropriations Committee, which today concluded three weeks of public hearings on Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 state budget. Comitta said while there are myriad concerns to address in the annual state budget, including adequate investments in schools and job training initiatives, a great concern in her Chester County legislative district is the natural-gas pipeline infrastructure and its effect on environmental and public safety. She encouraged the committee to ensure adequate funding for the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and for the legislature to remain focused on it. “Right now, pipelines are coming through our state, passing by our homes, our businesses and our schools,” Comitta told the committee. “It is essential that we have oversight of construction, inspection and maintenance of these pipelines, and that we have highly trained professionals working on the installation and maintenance of these pipelines. It is essential that our municipalities and emergency responders plan and train for accidents, and take into Read more
MT. LEBANON, March 9 – State Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, announced today he will host his fourth annual Children and Youth Disability and Mental Health Summit in Pittsburgh on March 22, 23 and 24 at Beth El Congregation, 1900 Cochran Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15220. Due to the event’s overwhelming popularity, the summit has expanded from two to three days. The Support Services Resource fair will be open on March 22 and 23, and the Employment & Transition Resource Fair on March 24. Additionally, the summit will offer more than 30 hours of informative workshops and breakout sessions. "We will again be combining the traditional resource fair event with seminars over all three days on a variety of current and critical topics in the fields of disability and mental health that can provide important information and open discussions on topics that will benefit parents, young adults, and professionals alike," Miller said. "Continuing education credits will be offered for professionals including lawyers, teachers and social workers." Miller is partnering with The PEAL Center and its 11th annual Inclusion Conference on Wednesday. Keynote speaker Sue Swenson, the president-elect of Inclusion International, served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. Ted Dallas, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, will open Thursday's program at 9 a.m. with his keynote address. Thursday's program concludes with the third Read more
EBENSBURG, March 9 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, announced that the state Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Abandoned Mines Reclamation will build a plant in Cresson to process and clean acid mine drainage. "This plant will create between 40 and 50 construction jobs, plus several permanent plant operator positions upon its completion," said Burns, who has made economic development a top priority. “The plant will help restore 20 miles of streams, while also repurposing a coal refuse pile in Cresson Township, which takes advantage of otherwise useless land." The plant will process underground mine pools from three abandoned mines, Cresson No. 9, Gallitzin Shaft and Argyle Stone Bridge. The three mine pools drain into Trapp Run, Bradley Run and Sugar Run. When operational, the plant will be able to process more than 6 million gallons of acid water per day, and will discharge the cleaned water into Trapp Run, which feeds Clearfield Creek. DEP is accepting bids on the project through April 6 and construction is expected to take about 18 months to complete. Read more
Marriage before the age of 18, which is legal in Pennsylvania, can result in short- and long-term harm to a child, and would be outlawed under a bill introduced this week by state Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks. Read more
ERIE, March 8 – The importance and benefits of biodiesel fuels, wind power and solar power in the state’s renewable energy portfolio was a key feature of today’s House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at SB3, requested by state Rep. Patrick Harkins. Harkins, D-Erie, asked for the hearing as a means for the public and legislators to gather insight on how to smoothly manage integration of renewables into the energy mix, while maximizing the burgeoning industry’s job-creation potential. “One thing that’s certain regarding our energy future is that demand is going to continue growing, which means there’s room at the power-generation table for long-established sources, as well as relatively new ones,” Harkins said. “We must make sure that the Erie area, as well as the state, does not miss out on any opportunity that could have a positive economic impact.” State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, the Policy Committee chairman who co-chaired the public hearing with Harkins, said the gathered testimony will be valuable in crafting meaningful state legislation. “Representative Harkins hosted a great hearing on how we can better utilize renewable energy sources,” Sturla said. “Renewable energy sources have the potential to create jobs and are less of a burden on our environment. Hearing from industry experts provided a greater understanding of how we can move forward to support these efforts.” Read more
HARRISBURG, March 8 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, is asking area sportsmen to voice their opinions about Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) deer management practices by submitting comments to the PGC before they finalize the 2017-18 season and bag limits at their March 27-28 meetings. During their January board meetings, the PGC gave preliminary approval to hunting regulations for the 2017-18 hunting and trapping seasons. Hanna said despite the commission’s belief that they are making improvements to deer management practices by offering split firearm seasons in various Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), their preliminary plan only offers more of the same for hunters in the region. “The 2G region has been utilizing split seasons year after year,” Hanna said. “Yet hunters in north-central Pa. continue to see fewer deer in the woods.” The PGC also plans to retain Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) permits on public land despite yearly complaints that sportsmen are not seeing any deer. Hanna said he believes current PGC policies are decimating the deer heard, damaging the sport of hunting and ruining rural economies that rely on hunting-related tourism. “The fact remains that the PGC refuses to listen to the sportsmen that hunt throughout our region,” Hanna said. “That is why I encourage area hunters to join me in voicing your opinions.” Read more
HARRISBURG, March 7 – State Rep. Marty Flynn today took part in a ceremony kicking off Irish-American Heritage Month at the state Capitol. Read more
State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, and members of the House Democratic Policy committee held a meeting in Erie to discuss policies that would enhance innovation and spur new business development with the goal of employing more people and keeping human capital in Pennsylvania. Bizzarro held the meeting with the objective of bringing together the public, practitioners in business, leaders in technology and the legislators for a discussion on policy changes that would advance job creation in the region. Bizzarro co-chaired the hearing with House Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “The Erie region and Pennsylvania are facing tough economic challenges to not only create more jobs but keep them here in the Erie Region and across the state,” Bizzarro said. “I brought elected officials from all across the state here to Erie to see what we are up against in our battle to attain good-paying jobs.” “Pennsylvania has to keep up with the times to grow our economy and create family-sustaining jobs,” Sturla said. “We need to keep Pennsylvania residents here and give people a reason to relocate here. Representative Bizzarro’s hearing brought together a lot of great testifiers to help get an understanding of how we can improve the job market in Erie and across the state.” Panelists included Brian Slawin, Ben Franklin Partnership NW regional director and portfolio manager; Dr. Valerica Vlad, professor of Read more
HARRISBURG, March 7 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, Democratic chairman of the House Human Services Committee, announced the committee will host a public hearing on the Air Bridge crisis in Philadelphia. It will take place 11 a.m. Thursday, March 16 at the social services organization Concilio, 141 E. Hunting Park Ave., Philadelphia, 19124. Cruz said the Air Bridge program is where cities in Puerto Rico are sending heroin addicts to American cities, including Philadelphia, without any consideration of living conditions or effective treatment options. “Unfortunately, these people end up in unregulated treatment centers or wherever there is space and do not receive the services they need,” Cruz said. “As a result of mistreatment, these people end up running away from the facility and becoming homeless with a serious drug problem.” Cruz said he will be introducing legislation in an attempt to address Air Bridge. Read more
PITTSBURGH, March 7 – In conjunction with the national “A Day Without a Woman” event called for by organizers of the recent Women’s March on Washington, D.C., state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, is giving all female employees of his Pittsburgh and Harrisburg offices Wednesday off with pay. Wheatley, who recently arranged for 200 high school girls to see the inspirational movie “Hidden Figures” and who supports measures to reduce gender inequality – including pay inequity, said his decision was made to show solidarity with all women in the 19 th Legislative District whose voices deserve to be heard. Wheatley said women in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, and especially that region’s African-American women, are some of the most impoverished in the country. “Women make invaluable contributions in the workplace, yet they continue to lag behind their male peers in terms of pay and promotion,” Wheatley said. “Giving my female employees the day off is one way to add more voices to the growing chorus that’s demanding policy changes to help women achieve parity, in the workplace and elsewhere. “We need to recognize their voices and do something to improve their lives. What I am doing Wednesday is just a small part, but I recognize that much more is needed.” Wheatley said the day without women also seeks to recognize women’s vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment and Read more
SCRANTON, March 6 – A staff member from state Rep. Marty Flynn's office will provide outreach assistance from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, March 15 at the Clarks Green Borough Building, 104 N. Abington Road. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 6 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack will host a "Pathways to Pardon" town hall meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 in Stein Auditorium, Room 111 of Drexel University's Nesbitt Hall, 3215 Market St. "Is your criminal record preventing you from getting a job? Do you need a second chance? Or do you want to help change the pardon process? Then this meeting is for you," Brown said. "This is a special opportunity because Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor, who chairs the state Board of Pardons, will be at this event," Brown emphasized. To reserve a seat or for more information, please call Brown's office at 215-879-6615. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, March 6– State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., invites her constituents to come and celebrate minority women in business during the Minority/Women/Disadvantaged Businesses Enterprise Lobby Day in Harrisburg. The “Entrepreneurial Inclusion Summit and Business Mixer” will take place 11:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, March 20 at the State Capitol. The agenda is as follows: 11:15 a.m. – Gather in Capitol Media Center. 11:30 a.m. -11:50 a.m. – Press conference. Noon -1 p.m. – Networking session (include lunch) for attendees to talk with purchasing directors from various state departments. 1 p.m. – Guests can proceed to House Chamber to be recognized by the Speaker as being present for the business summit. 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m. – Guests will break into groups to meet with House/Senate leadership and State Government Committee chairmen. Brown said the event will focus on creating a fair and open environment for businesses owned by minority women across the commonwealth. “These strong, powerful women are equally a part of the very fabric of our business community and they should have a seat at the table when it comes to every aspect of entrepreneurship in Pennsylvania,” Brown said. “This event also will look at opportunities to improve practices for businesses owned by women, minorities and people of color, the disadvantaged and veterans throughout the commonwealth. “I encourage Read more
HARRISBURG, March 6 – In an effort to help people recover lost revenue and property, state Rep. Maureen Madden’s offices will hold a two-day unclaimed property event next week. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 6 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., voiced his strong opposition to District Attorney Seth Williams’ decision to seek life without parole sentences in at least three cases with juvenile defendants. “Last year, District Attorney Williams did what was right, and announced that he would no longer pursue life without parole for those under 18 years old,” Dawkins said. “It is disheartening to see him go back on his word, and I condemn in the strongest terms his decision to revive a punishment the Supreme Court has called cruel and unusual.” In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory sentences of life without parole for juvenile offenders violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The court later held in Montgomery v. Louisiana that its decision in Miller applied retroactively. Dawkins said as the courts began resentencing hearings, Williams announced that his office “will not be asking for cases going forward for life without the possibility of parole for people under the age of 18” in order “to give all of these individuals some light at the end of the tunnel.” “I hope that the district attorney returns to his original position, and provides these individuals – whose decades in prison began in their teenage years – what he once called ‘some light at the end of the tunnel,’” Dawkins said. Read more
SCRANTON, March 6 – Older residents with questions about Medicare or health insurance coverage should visit state Rep. Marty Flynn’s office during his monthly outreach next week. Read more
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