HARRISBURG, Oct. 10 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said he applauds the House’s passage today of a bill he believes would re-establish Pennsylvania as a leader in organ and tissue donation awareness and transplantation. Senate Bill 180 – which now heads to the governor’s desk – would help ensure more patients in need have access to lifesaving organs and would further educate the public about the need for donors. Petrarca, who has worked on organ donation legislation for several years and introduced a similar measure last year, said the bill is a long-overdue update to Pennsylvania’s original organ donation law. “I’m delighted that the House voted unanimously to pass an amended version of this bill,” said Petrarca, who has served by gubernatorial appointment on the state’s organ donation advisory committee since its inception in 1995. “Someone in Pennsylvania dies every 18 hours waiting for an organ that never arrives. With statistics like that, we can’t afford to delay any longer. This is about giving the gift of life to more than 8,000 people statewide on the waiting list for organ donations. Today’s vote moves us one step closer to that.” In addition to helping patients and educating the public, Petrarca noted that the bill would improve communications between county coroners or medical examiners and organ procurement organizations and help ensure Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 10 – State Rep. Perry Warren today in the Capitol honored local members of the Destination Imagination group Team et cetera for their showing in competitions held this year. “The students came together and excelled, which reflects on their hard work, teachers and parents who supported them,” said Warren, D-Bucks. “It was an honor bringing these future leaders to the Capitol.” Five Pennsbury students and one Council Rock student joined together to form the Destination Imagination team, which competed in a global competition at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, in May. Four Pennsbury High School juniors - Nick Franchi, Tommy Kraeck, Leah Stoogenke and Regan Stump - joined Council Rock South sophomore Fran Miller, and Maya Stoogenke from Pennsbury’s William Penn Middle School, to form Team et cetera, coached by Scott Stoogenke. The team chose the Service Learning challenge and created both an eight-minute musical presentation and wrote, illustrated and published a children's book for their project. The book, titled "Maggie's Box," is about a girl who discovers by thinking outside the box, she can do anything, according to the team. At state finals in April, they placed first in their category and won the coveted Renaissance Award for the creativity of their project across all categories and levels. At Globals, they placed 12th out of 70 teams overall in the Service Learning Read more
FOLSOM, Oct. 10 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky will host a lunch for veterans and their family members from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 25. The annual lunch will be held at American Legion Hall, Post 926, 3220 Concord Road, in Aston. “We can never truly repay our veterans for all they have sacrificed for us,” said Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware. “But we can do our part to make sure they have easy access to the assistance and services they deserve. I’m happy to host this event to show our gratitude to veterans and help connect them with the resources they need.” The event includes a light lunch at 11:30 a.m. Information on state and local resources for veterans will be offered. The Pennsylvania Mobile Veterans Outreach Van will also be on hand to help accredited veterans and their families connect with needed benefits such as disability, health care, pension, education, career assistance and more. RSVP is requested. Anyone interested should call 610-534-6880 or email RepKrueger-Braneky@pahouse.net . Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 10 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, today announced that two local school districts were awarded $77,999 in state funding last week from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s competitive Safe Schools Targeted Grant program. Geared toward creating a safer environment for students, the funding will be used for numerous initiatives, including programs to prevent and reduce violent incidents; purchasing security/safety-related equipment; training and compensation for school resource officers; and training and compensation for school police officers directly employed by school districts. “I’m happy to announce this funding for the two local districts,” Conklin said. “We live in a time where schools are no longer safe, and this funding looks to rectify that problem. By implementing this funding, we’re putting the safety of our students first, which is a top priority for parents and legislators alike.” The school districts that received funding are: State College Area School District received $39,999 for the training and compensation of school police officers directly employed by the school. Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District was awarded $38,000 for the training and compensation of school police officers. These officers are also directly employed by the school. This PDE program is separate from the new $60 million School Safety and Security Grant program created this year and Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 10 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, today announced that Reliance Volunteer Fire Co., located in Philipsburg, was awarded $3,248 in state grants to help fund training and equipment related to fighting brush and forest fires. “I’m happy to announce this funding because it will play a large role in helping these men and women better combat fires in our district,” Conklin said. “These firefighters are volunteers – they don’t have to be here. But they choose to answer the call every day to protect our residents and region. I’m glad to see they’re receiving credit and funding where it’s due.” The grant program, offered through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is for training and equipment purchases directly related to fighting brush and forest fires. Grants may be used for purchasing mobile or portable radios; installing water supply equipment; wildfire prevention and mitigation work; training wildfire fighters; or converting and maintaining federal excess vehicles. Aid is granted on a cost-share basis, with recipients supplying matching funds. Grants for any project during a fiscal year cannot exceed 50 percent of the actual expenditures of local, public and private nonprofit organizations in the agreement. The maximum grant awarded any fire company in 2018 was $10,000. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 10 – The House today unanimously adopted two resolutions introduced by state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny. House Resolution 1062 designates the week of Oct. 21-27, 2018, as “National Respiratory Care Week” in Pennsylvania, while H.R. 1063 designates the same week as “National Massage Therapy Awareness Week” in the state. Readshaw said H.R. 1062 recognizes the state’s respiratory therapists for the essential services they provide. “Respiratory therapists often stand between patients and life-threatening conditions,” Readshaw said. “They provide acute care for patients on ventilators and administer oxygen and breathing treatments. They also assist physicians with diagnoses, conduct pulmonary therapy and teach home care to patients and family members. In every aspect of care, these professionals strive to meet the highest standards. Their dedication benefits patients throughout the commonwealth.” Readshaw said he introduced H.R. 1063 to recognize the contributions of a second group of health care workers – the commonwealth’s more than 7,900 licensed massaged therapists. “A growing body of research shows massage therapy can help alleviate a wide range of health problems, from headaches, stress and high blood pressure to fibromyalgia, arthritis and muscle injuries,” Readshaw said. “By displaying strength, stamina and empathy, these talented therapists play a Read more
Here's the latest information on the REAL ID rollout. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 10 – The House today unanimously adopted a resolution designating the week of Oct. 14-20 as Credit Union Week in Pennsylvania, according to the resolution’s prime sponsor, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny. House Resolution 1128 recognizes the contributions made by Pennsylvania’s more than 390 credit unions, which serve the needs of about 4 million members statewide. “Credit unions are a unique breed,” Matzie said. “These not-for-profit organizations fulfill the same traditional functions as banks but are owned by their individual member account holders. That means that their main priority is serving members’ financial needs, as opposed to maximizing profits for shareholders. Any profits made generally go back to members in the form of lower fees, lower interest rates or higher yield savings accounts.” Matzie said because credit unions are controlled and operated by their membership, they act as financial democracies, affording a vote to each and every member. “These organizations are a perfect example of how common interests can unite to produce the best possible results,” Matzie said. “Because members share a common connection, they can work together to adapt to the needs of specific communities. This, together with their support for members’ charitable work, gives them the local, community-oriented feel their members love.” Read more
EBENSBURG, Oct. 10 – Noting that the collective voice of upset senior riders has been heard, state Rep. Frank Burns and the Cambria County Transit Authority announced Wednesday that CamTran will restore shared-ride bus service to parts of Bedford and Somerset counties beginning Oct. 15. The service restoration is the result of a meeting among Burns, D-Cambria, and officials from CamTran and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation held at Burns’ Harrisburg office Sept. 27. “I was proud to stand with our senior citizens whose relentless passion drove this compromise,” Burns said. “We can never underestimate the determination of our seniors to fight for what they deserve.” CamTran agreed to restore its Reserve-a-Ride shared-ride service for riders to again travel to the most popular destinations in Bedford and Somerset counties, including the Mountain Playhouse, Flight 93 National Memorial, Coal Miners’ Café, Fisher’s Country Store, and Ridge Top and Boyer orchards. “As a result of listening to our riders, we took another look at the more popular out-of-county destinations,” said Rose Lucey-Noll, executive director of CamTran. “I was very pleased that we were able to work together to reach a resolution for limited expansion back to the top Reserve-a-Ride out-of-county destinations.” Earlier this year, CamTran eliminated shared-ride service in all but Read more
READING, Oct. 10 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi congratulated the City of Reading on being awarded $300,000 in state funding to rehabilitate Baer Park and the Sixth and Amity Streets Playground. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources awarded the grant, made available through the Keystone Fund, on Tuesday. Work at Baer Park will include renovation of a basketball court, construction of a spray pad water feature and new walkways. At the Sixth and Amity Streets Playground, work will include new playground equipment, as well as renovation of a basketball court, construction of a spray pad, and walkways. “These parks are immensely important to our neighborhoods, offering space for recreational activity and serving as community gathering places. This funding is an investment in improving the quality of life for residents of Reading,” said Rozzi, D-Berks. “I’m pleased that Governor Wolf and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources saw the value of improving these parks.” DCNR’s Keystone Fund is celebrating 25 years of supporting thousands of community improvements in Pennsylvania. Learn more by visiting www.dcnr.pa.gov and clicking on “grants.” Read more
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, today announced five grants totaling $68,650 were awarded to companies in the 121st Legislative District from the Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 9 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, said she is pleased that the House of Representatives adopted her resolution ( H.R.1092 ) that designates October 2018 as the month to raise awareness to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. McNeill said Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, commonly known as POTS, is a type of dysautonomia, a malfunction of the nervous system that controls the autonomic functions of the body such as heart rate and blood pressure. “My daughter as well as between one and three million people in the United States suffers from POTS, and the ailments can be so debilitating that it can interfere with performing normal daily activities,” McNeill said. McNeill said the majority of people affected are women 15 to 50 years old. Treatments can vary on an individual basis but can include changes in diet and exercise, medicinal options, or both. The Lehigh County legislator said adolescents can have an especially difficult time in dealing with POTS as it can cause depression, anxiety, school absence and decreased academic performance. Read more
State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, said legislation that supports suicide prevention and mental health services at institutions of higher education in Pennsylvania today passed the House of Representatives. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 9 – The House today unanimously adopted H.R. 1127, designating November 2018 as “Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania, according to the resolution’s sponsor, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny. “Pancreatic cancer is currently the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States,” Matzie said. “By 2020, it’s expected to become the second-leading cause. We have to find a way to reverse that trend. “I’ve always said that this fight is personal to me because my mother is a pancreatic cancer survivor,” Matzie said. “Earlier this year, the fight became personal for all of us here in the Capitol when it claimed the life of our beloved colleague, state Representative Flo Fabrizio. Flo never gave up in the face of difficult odds, and neither will we. I plan to keep raising public awareness about this disease and keep fighting for greater funding for medical research so that one day, we’ll find a cure for this insidious killer. In the meantime, we can hope to save lives by increasing public awareness about the importance of early detection.” Matzie said the disease is difficult to diagnose early because tumors can’t be seen or felt during routine exams. Additionally, patients may not experience symptoms until the cancer has already spread to their lymph nodes or other organs. At that point, surgery often is not possible, which accounts for Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 9 – The House today unanimously adopted two resolutions introduced by state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny. H.R. 1060 honors the importance of the state’s archives and the staff who preserve them. H.R. 1061 recognizes the medical contributions made by the state’s more than 700 licensed acupuncturists. Readshaw said he introduced H.R. 1060 to highlight the important role the state archives play in preserving the commonwealth’s heritage. “This resolution emphasizes the importance of our state archives and honors the people who serve as guardians of those documents,” Readshaw said. “The commonwealth has an incredibly rich history, and it’s essential to preserve the records that document that history so they can be passed to future generations. These documents tell our story, as Pennsylvanians.” Readshaw noted that the House of Representatives Archives has served as the official archive for records of elected members, committees and administrative agencies for nearly 40 years. He urged state residents to visit their local archives and libraries to learn more about the commonwealth’s rich heritage. A second Readshaw resolution recognizes the many contributions made by acupuncture and other traditional Oriental medicine and honors the commonwealth’s licensed acupuncturists. “I introduced H.R. 1061 to highlight the many ways in which the commonwealth’s licensed Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 9 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., issued the following statement concerning the Senate passage of the domestic abuser gun violence prevention bill ( H.B. 2060 ): “The passage of H.B. 2060 is a landmark in the lives of all Pennsylvanians. I’m glad to see the legislature understands the importance of protecting victims of domestic violence by limiting their abuser’s ability to possess and procure firearms. “This legislation will prevent those individuals who have hurt others from putting even more people in danger. Shortening the time an abuser has to relinquish weapons and mandating to turn them over to the proper authorities rather than family or friends will save countless lives. “I want to give special thanks to my colleague Representative Petrarca for offering an amendment that will make a person who was convicted of a domestic violence offense in another jurisdiction ineligible for an order to seal the record from the public. That will expand the scope of the new statute and help law enforcement authorities identify potential abusers. “I’m looking forward to the governor’s signature to make this commonsense and needed reform law, and to continue the work on legislation that will strengthen public safety in Philadelphia and across the commonwealth.” Read more
SCRANTON, Oct. 9 – A staffer from state Rep. Marty Flynn's office will provide outreach assistance next week in South Abington Township. The visit will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the South Abington Township Building, 2nd floor meeting room, 104 Shady Lane Road, Chinchilla. The Abington area outreach visits occur on the third Wednesday of every other month. Flynn's staff can help with Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program applications, PennDOT paperwork, unemployment compensation, workers' compensation, PACE/PACENET prescription-drug coverage, unclaimed property searches and any other state-related matter. His main office – in Jay's Commons, 409 N. Main Ave. – is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 570-342-4348. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 9 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., held a news conference today to discuss his legislation that would require members of the House and Senate to be tested for illegal drugs. Cruz introduced his legislation as House Bill 620 and as an amendment to Senate Bill 6, which would make changes to the government assistance system in Pennsylvania, including a requirement to drug test individuals who receive those benefits. Cruz stated that he believes members of the General Assembly should be drug tested because they are paid with taxpayer money, as well. “I’ve introduced this legislation in three legislative sessions and I will continue to introduce it in future sessions, if necessary,” Cruz said. “If we are going to say that recipients of taxpayer money should be drug tested, then that should extend to us as well.” House Bill 620, and the corresponding amendment to Senate Bill 6, would require members to receive drug testing within three months of taking the oath of office. Under the proposal, any members who fail a drug test, refuse to take one or show evidence of tampering with a test would be subject to an ethics investigation. Testing would occur again for members during each subsequent term in office. Read more
State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, reminds area residents that he will host a free document shredding event Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Avalon Community Park, 708 New Brighton Road. Read more
HARRISBURG , Oct. 9 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, has announced the award of $10,500 in state grants to help fund two community volunteer fire companies in Fayette County. Snyder said the Brownsville Fire Company No. 1 received $7,500 and the Hiller Volunteer Fire Company was awarded $3,000 to purchase equipment, train wildfire fighters, conduct wildfire prevention and mitigation work, or convert and maintain federal vehicles. “Volunteer firefighters play a crucial and significant part in protecting our communities, particularly in rural areas,” Snyder said. “These types of grants are necessary in order to assist the brave men and women who selflessly offer their services to save lives and safeguard properties.” The grants were made possible through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and paid by federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Funding is intended to help rural community volunteer fire companies. Snyder is appreciative of volunteer firefighters and their sacrifices, however, she is also well aware of the decline in the number of those who are volunteering. In order to help combat the drop in firefighting volunteer participation, Snyder will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss the issue at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Richeyville Volunteer Fire Company Hall, 14 Firehall Road in Richeyville. The panel includes volunteer Read more
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