Rep. Pam Snyder reports that the sixth annual Greene County Senior Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, at the Greene County Fairgrounds near Waynesburg. “The Senior Fair provides a one-stop shop for seniors to access helpful resources in their community,” Snyder said. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – The work of Veterans Courts currently operating in 20 counties was recognized yesterday as the House approved a resolution put forth by state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny. The resolution was presented to Supreme Court Justice Debra McCloskey Todd by Readshaw and Lt. Gov. Michael Stack today in Stack’s office. Readshaw’s H.R. 498 noted that Veterans Courts, which started in Lackawanna County in 2009, provide a problem-solving alternative for Pennsylvania’s 1 million veterans, offering comprehensive treatment, resources and support – with the goals of encouraging rehabilitation and reducing recidivism. “These courts take into account the special needs of veterans who come in contact with the criminal justice system, and they’ve proven effective in addressing veterans’ unique issues,” Readshaw said. “By taking into account addiction, mental illness or co-occurring disorders, these courts are able to direct veterans to services, benefits and programs that help them to again become productive, law-abiding citizens.” A key feature of these courts, said Readshaw, is guidance from veteran mentors who are supervised by specialized probation officers, along with the availability of treatment from the Veterans Administration to address underlying problems related to post-traumatic stress disorder. Readshaw’s resolution also acknowledged the key roles Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., and Thomas Mehaffie, R-Dauphin, today announced they introduced legislation to bring clarity to parents in the process of choosing where to send their children for child care. “Parents normally make decisions on child care based on cost and convenience, but they need to add quality to the mix,” said Solomon. “Our legislation requires that all centers post on their public-facing window – and website, if they have one – how many Keystone Stars their center has out of four. This legislation provides much-needed information that increases and improves parent choice, protects our children, and allows the free market to thrive in the economy for child care.” Keystone STARS is one of the largest and most mature quality rating and improvement systems in the nation. It is an initiative of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning to improve, support, and recognize the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania. The performance standards are grouped into four levels. Each level builds on the previous and it utilizes research-based best practices to promote quality early learning environments and positive child outcomes. The standards address staff qualifications and professional development, the early learning program, partnerships with family and community, and leadership and management. Mehaffie said, “Deciding which child Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 26 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., will attend a news conference hosted by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and representatives from the Gray Coalition at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at Amtrak’s 30th Street Station to urge Amtrak to comply with a congressional resolution to rename the 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.” “Congressman Gray not only represented Pennsylvania’s second congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, but he did so with dignity while never forgetting his history in Philadelphia,” Thomas said. “He was a strong advocate for funding infrastructure and public services. In fact, he was key in preventing the elimination of funding for Amtrak and managed to secure the largest investment for restoration of the 30 th Street Station for the 20 th Century. “His stewardship extended to, among other things, securing funding for New Freedom Theatre, the new North Philadelphia Train Station, the William B. Moore Sr. apartments, and other support for social services and economic development in Philadelphia. “Even after he resigned from Congress in 1991, it was so that he could take on a new role with the United Negro College Fund. He was responsible for securing the first $1 million investment from the Gates Foundation to help disadvantaged students receive quality educations.” In the summer of 2014, the U.S. Congress, in Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 25 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today hosted a news conference to announce a $250,000 Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development grant he helped secure. The grant will be used in Harris’ district in the following neighborhoods: Point Breeze, Grays Ferry, Graduate Hospital, and Kingsessing. “Thank you to the state Department of Community and Economic Development for continuing to invest in communities that need it most,” Harris said. “Many older residents living on fixed incomes cannot afford tree trimming and removal services. This grant will help revitalize our community and address a pressing quality-of-life issue.” The grant will be used to remove overgrown and unwanted vegetation and debris from community common spaces, alleyways and commercial corridors. The funds will also go toward training to provide returning citizens with tree trimming and removal skills. Harris was joined by representatives from Ready, Willing and Able, NSA Education Network, and Surge Recovery. “These grant dollars serve a dual purpose: they allow us to work with our community partners and assist returning citizens by providing them with valuable skills,” Harris said. “These individuals will be able to work under the guidance of trained professionals to develop a skill set that will be a tremendous asset to our community. Once Read more
State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, said he is pleased that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives has unanimously approved his resolution ( H.R. 489 ) designating September 2017 as “Military Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. Schweyer said his legislation focuses on the suicide rate of veterans returning from recent deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. “My resolution brings attention to the need for additional suicide prevention efforts and awareness in Pennsylvania,” Schweyer said. “Our veterans fight for our freedom and protect us every day and now we can help to provide them with mental health programs when they return home.” According to Schweyer, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs study found that nearly 8,000 veterans committed suicide in 2010, an average of 22 veterans per day. That particular suicide rate is nearly 50 percent higher than the suicide rate among civilians of similar demographics. Schweyer said the Lehigh Valley has a number of fabulous organizations such as One Fight Foundation, Hope for Veterans and Treatment Trends that provide guidance to our returning men and women. In 2012, an Austin Texas newspaper, The American-Statesmen, investigated the deaths of 266 veterans in Texas who served during either the Iraq or Afghanistan war. The study found that 45 of the 266 veterans committed suicide, making it the fourth-leading cause of death behind blindness, accidents and drug–related Read more
LEVITTOWN, Sept. 25 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, will hold a free document shredding event from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, across the street from her district office at 4530 New Falls Road. There is a limit of five bags or boxes, and paper clips must be removed. All paperwork will be shredded on-site and recycled. Those with questions may call her office at 267-580-2660. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 25 – State Reps. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., and Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, along with state Sen. John Blake, D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe, have partnered together for the Fourth Annual Diaper Need Awareness Week Capitol Diaper Drive, a two-week event held in the East Wing Rotunda of the state Capitol building. Members of the General Assembly, flanked by advocates and nonprofit organizations working to reduce the diaper gap in Pennsylvania, will host a news conference at noon Tuesday, Sept. 26, in the East Wing Rotunda , recognizing “Diaper Need Awareness Week” and promoting the Fourth Annual Capitol Diaper Drive. Donations of unopened diapers, wipes and other products, including incontinent products and disposable adult undergarments, for the diaper drive will be collected in the East Wing Rotunda from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day for two weeks, from Sept. 25 to Oct. 6 . The diaper drive is being held in conjunction with Hill-Evans’ and Youngblood’s H.R. 506 , a resolution recognizing “Diaper Need Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania, which is scheduled for a House vote on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Last year, more than 5,000 diapers were collected during this bipartisan event to raise awareness of Pennsylvania’s growing diaper need. Labeled donation bins will also be placed in locations around the Capitol. For more information, contact Youngblood's office at 717-772-9920, or Blake’s office at Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 25 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today announced that legislation that would designate a bridge on a portion of State Route 1005, also known as Castor Avenue, as the Officer Gary Frank Skerski Memorial Bridge was unanimously approved by the Transportation Committee. Skerski 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. “This man was a hero in the truest sense of the word,” Dawkins said. “He devoted and gave his life to protect our people. We will always remember his sacrifice and we will work to keep his legacy alive.” Skerski had served with the Philadelphia Police Department for 16 years and was assigned to the 15th District. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, the League of Sacred Heart of Jesus, and was a parishioner of St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church in Port Richmond. Reps. Angel Cruz and John Taylor are co-sponsors of the bill. The legislation ( H.B. 1778 ) now awaits full House consideration. Read more
Federal, state and local officials today joined family members of Spc. Dale J. Kridlo to dedicate the bridge that carries Route 11 over the Susquehanna River between Pittston and West Pittston. Kridlo, a member of the 27 th Engineer Battalion, 20 th Engineer Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C., was killed in Afghanistan on Nov. 7, 2010. “As a native of Greater Pittston, this dedication memorializes Dale’s sacrifice and service to the United States and will serve as a perpetual reminder of his unselfish commitment to all who cross this bridge,” Carroll stated. Kridlo, 33, was killed in action in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, during a route clearing mission near the Pakistan border when his unit was attacked. Kridlo was awarded both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, among an array of medals and ribbons for his service to our country. “Corporal Kridlo was a bridge fortified with courage, built with passion and purpose. His life, like the bridge we dedicate in his honor today, will span the ages and forever stand as a testament to the contribution he has made to his family and country,” said Sen. John Yudichak, D-Luzerne/Carbon. “The dedicated men and women of our country’s Armed Forces risk their lives across the globe every day to protect our freedoms. As we are reminded by Specialist Kridlo, these risks are often extraordinary and can be Read more
YORK, Sept. 22 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans will collect donated diapers in her district office from Monday to Oct. 6, as she joins other state legislators in an effort to raise awareness of what is known as the “diaper gap.” Hill-Evans, D-York, joined state Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Phila., to introduce a resolution marking Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 as “Diaper Need Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania. One in three mothers find it difficult to provide diapers for their children, which might cause babies or toddlers to wear one diaper for a day or longer, which poses health risks. Incontinent adults also can have difficulty affording disposable undergarments, which can cause them to face serious medical issues. “It’s heartbreaking to think that a mom or dad might have to make a choice between paying the bills or buying diapers for a child,” Hill-Evans said. “Many community organizations are working to try to fill the ‘diaper gap,’ and I hope we can help by raising awareness of the need that exists.” The fourth annual Diaper Need Awareness Week Diaper Drive will be held Monday to Oct. 6 at the state Capitol. Donations also will be accepted at Hill-Evans’ district office, 53 E. North St., Suite 3, York. The disposable diapers and wipes packages must be sealed. Donated diapers will be given to a Pennsylvania diaper bank registered with the National Diaper Bank Network. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., said Pennsylvania's rules for notary publics are undergoing major changes beginning Oct. 26. The changes are identified in Act 67 of 2013, known as the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, or RULONA. The changes affect everything from educational requirements to permitted duties of a notary to eligibility, journals and approved methods of identification and even the official notary stamp. Roebuck said detailed information is available by visiting the Pennsylvania Department of State's website at www.dos.pa.gov/OtherServices/Notaries/ and clicking "What to Know About RULONA." The department's RULONA page has a summary of all the changes and a list of RULONA-compliant education courses. Roebuck said the biggest changes include: Education: All applicants, including current notaries up for reappointment, must complete a course within the six months immediately preceding the application and provide proof of certification, including those who were previously grandfathered in to avoid the requirement. Examination: All applicants without a current, valid commission must take an exam administered by Pearson VUE. This includes those who previously held a commission but is no longer valid. Eligibility: Must be at least age 18 and a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident; have completed the three hours of approved notary education; and pass an examination if the applicant does Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., has introduced legislation ( H.B. 1799 ) that would make solar energy more accessible to low-income and disadvantaged Pennsylvanians. Bullock announced the introduction of this bill today at a joint news conference with PECO. “Many families in Philadelphia are forced to choose between heating their homes and what’s for dinner,” Bullock said. “While there are other, more energy-efficient alternatives, these options are simply out of reach for many of our residents. Instead of thinking about alternative energy, they may be struggling to repair a leaky roof or are fighting to keep the lights on.” House Bill 1799 would allow utility companies like PECO to own and operate Pennsylvania-based solar sites and provide solar energy to low-income residents at a discounted rate. Under Act 213 of 2004, Pennsylvania electric distribution companies and electric generation suppliers are required to produce 18 percent of electricity through alternative resources by the year 2021. “House Bill 1799 would make solar energy more accessible to all Pennsylvanians – no matter how much they make or what their credit score is,” Bullock said. “Investing in solar energy has the potential to transform our lives, improve our neighborhoods and energize our economy. It can also remove the perception that solar energy is only reserved for the wealthy.” The average cost for Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Joran Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, visited Cheyney University this week to celebrate National Historically Black College and University week. Harris and several members of the PLBC were joined by Congressman Dwight Evans to discuss the importance of HBCUs in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. “It was a pleasure to join my colleagues and speak with Cheyney University students about the role that HBCUs play in our nation,” Harris said. “Cheyney University is much more than a place we send our students to learn. For 180 years, Cheyney has prepared students of color to successfully take on the world. We must ensure that it continues to do so.” Established in 1837, Cheyney University is the nation’s first historically black college. Harris and other members of the PLBC serve on the Cheyney University task force. In May, the task force urged the State System of Higher Education to forgive the university of more than $30 million in loans. “Our visit to Cheyney University was productive and gave us an opportunity to speak with students and get their perspective on what is happening at the university,” said Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee. “As Democratic chairman, I believe these conversations are important and help us make thoughtful decisions in Harrisburg. This encourages me to intensify my Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, has introduced H.B. 1808 , which would extend the statute of limitations on the crime of drug delivery that leads to a death. A person who provides a drug to a victim that ultimately dies from the use of that drug currently must be charged within a two-year window. This bill would expand that window under the statute of limitations to five years. “Too many families watch their loved ones die due to opioid overdoses,” Readshaw said. “The number of overdose deaths has been rising dramatically each year yet one of our best defenses in the drug battle is to remove dealers and distributors from the equation. “Keeping that potential window open for a much longer timeframe gives police investigators and prosecutors more time to complete a thorough investigation to ensure the perpetrators are convicted and removed from the streets. “The statute of limitations was previously five years but a change to another law inadvertently affected this specific situation and my bill aims to correct it.” Readshaw said that Pennsylvania families are the front lines of the opiate epidemic in this Commonwealth, and this bill is an effort to again provide families with a longer opportunity for justice for their loved ones. ### Read more
SCRANTON, Sept. 21 – Area veterans are invited to take part in the monthly support program next week at the office of state Rep. Marty Flynn. A representative from the American Legion Service Office Outreach program will be in Flynn's office -- Jay's Commons, 409 N. Main Ave. -- from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27 to provide information on services available to veterans and their families. The American Legion representatives are available to discuss pensions and other compensation, education, health care and death benefits. Legion membership is not required to take advantage of the help, but anyone interested in speaking to the advisers is recommended to schedule an appointment through Flynn’s office at 570-342-4348. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – The House Consumer Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Monday on state Rep. Tina Davis’s H.B. 798, which would place municipal water and sewer authorities under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission. Under current law, the PUC does not generally have jurisdiction over municipal authorities. To remedy this, her bill would amend the definition of a public utility under Title 66 to include municipal corporations that provide water and sewer services. “At the end of the day, water and sewer services are essential utilities and deal heavily in the matters of safety, reliability and money,” said Davis, D-Bucks. “And where we can consolidate, we can save, use best practices and offer better oversight.” Davis said that her bill also would give customers a larger resource to address problems with their services and continue to receive reliable service at reasonable rates. Additional state oversight also could help foster new technologies and competitive markets and protect public resources, she added. “House Bill 798 has bipartisan support, and I’m looking forward to substantial progress on the bill as a result of this hearing,” she said. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said today’s announcement from Standard and Poor’s of a lower credit rating for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a direct result of the failure of House Republican leaders to honestly deal with the state’s budget situation. “We were warned multiple times that this could happen, yet a few House Republican leaders in position to do something productive about it chose to do nothing instead,” Dermody said. “After every House Republican leader voted for a budget spending $32 billion on June 30, that same leadership group proved incapable of finding an honest and realistic revenue plan to pay for it. “The plan that House Republicans finally passed last week was a bad joke. It cuts vital services and doesn’t add up. They employed almost every gimmick that the credit rating agencies specifically warned against. The result of that irresponsibility is no joke. Every Pennsylvania taxpayer will pay a price for the House Republican leadership’s obstruction. So will every county, city, borough and township,” Dermody said. “It didn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Today’s news is a blow to our state’s fiscal standing. It’s also an opportunity for everyone, including House Republicans, to take stock of the situation and get back to work on a real budget solution that includes recurring revenue.” Read more
EBENSBURG, Sept. 20 – Saying more than 700 jobs and specialized care for nearly 225 mentally and physically disabled adults are at stake, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is vowing to lead the fight against a bill that would close the Ebensburg State Center . Burns said H.B. 1650, authored by Republican state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff of Centre County, would mandate closure of all five of Pennsylvania’s remaining intermediate care facilities by 2023 – including the one in Ebensburg. Burns said that while he understands the desire to cut costs by moving these residents to home- and community-based settings, he has a deep desire to make sure that the voices of family members are heard before any systemic change is made. “As someone who has visited the Ebensburg facility, I have witnessed the care needs of its residents and heard from many grateful family members,” Burns said. “The current staff does an excellent job dealing with adults who have very serious mental and physical disabilities – and for whom ‘round-the-clock care’ is not just a phrase, but a reality. “Before we go changing a system that has literally kept people alive, sometimes beyond medical expectation, there should be a full vetting and support from all stakeholders – starting with those who have loved ones in the Ebensburg State Center.” Burns said while the bill’s passage does not appear to be imminent – it Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, released the following statement honoring the life and legacy of Lenora M. Smith, Esquire: “Ms. Lenora M. Smith was truly the embodiment of what is means to be a public servant. A South Philadelphia native, she was a civil rights attorney best known for defending Harrisburg’s most vulnerable residents. She often took on the cases of those who needed her help the most – giving a voice to the voiceless and hope to those who had lost it. She was a force to be reckoned with and that is why we honor her. “Ms. Smith was also a trailblazer who knocked down barriers impacting both women and African Americans. She used her role as vice president of Harrisburg City Council to put the needs of the people first. Even after leaving office, she continued to fight for those who were unable to fight for themselves. Her legacy will serve as a constant reminder of how much we have accomplished, but also how much we have left to do.” ### Read more
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