PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will co-host a weekly radio program from 11 a.m. to noon every Thursday on radio station WTTM, 1680 AM. The program, entitled "Voices from the Inside," will focus on the state's prison system and reducing crime. McClinton will be joined by co-hosts state Rep. Leslie Acosta, D-Phila., Esteban Cabrera and author Hugh Taft-Morales. "I am excited to have this opportunity to discuss our criminal justice system," McClinton said. "This new program will offer a voice to those currently incarcerated and will promote the sharing of ideas between prisoners and us on the outside. Thanks to Rep. Acosta, who developed the idea and invited me to participate in such a meaningful program. "By meeting those currently in prison, I hope that the listeners will understand the need for changes and improvements in our current system. We need to establish more humane methods to house our prisoners and work with them so they can be rehabilitated and can return to society and contribute. We waste so much money incarcerating those who have committed minor offenses and by locking them up for extended periods of time, we make it harder for them to blend back in to society and hold a meaningful job. "Additionally, we will be discussing community programs which may reduce violence and crime." The program will air live at 11 a.m. every Thursday on 1680 AM, and it can also Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 9 – The House Transportation Committee today amended and reported out a bill, authored by state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, to strengthen provisions intended to keep infants safe while traveling in a vehicle.
"On Monday, at a public hearing held by the House Transportation Committee, I was pleased to see wide, bipartisan support for efforts to improve child safety in Pennsylvania," Schlossberg said. "After a productive and frank discussion, it was clear that there was sufficient support to strengthen my bill by amending it to offer even better protections for our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. I fully support that effort."
House Bill 1551, which originally would have required children younger than 1 to be secured in a rear-facing car seat, was amended by the committee to require children to be secured in a rear-facing car seat while in a vehicle until age 2 unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer’s specification of the car seat in use.
Schlossberg noted that this change to his bill follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. During the House Transportation public hearing, Ted Leonard, executive director of the Pennsylvania AAA Federation, voiced AAA’s support for efforts to enhance the requirement to secure children under age 2 in rear-facing car seats or until that child reaches the maximum height and weight for the car seat as noted by the manufacturer.
"As a father of two young children, I find it hard to belie Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 7 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, has introduced H.B 1692, which would make it easier for family members to commit a loved one for drug and/or alcohol treatment.
“Too many families watch their loved ones deal with alcohol or drug abuse problems and can only standby while they spiral into despair, or worse,” Readshaw said. “I have been working with family members, law enforcement, the district attorney, the minor courts and others to ensure that my bill would offer remedies for families seeking help for their loved one.
"I introduced this bill at the request of my friend, a constituent who recently lost his son because of a drug overdose," he added.
Readshaw said that Pennsylvania families are the front lines of the opiate epidemic in this Commonwealth, and this bill is an effort to provide families with another avenue of resources.
House Bill 1692 would provide for involuntary treatment requirements and procedures for individuals suffering from alcohol and other drug abuse; and imposing duties on the Department of Health and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Presuming the person has a reasonable benefit of recovery and the individual presents an imminent danger or imminent threat of danger to self, family or others as a result of alcohol and other drug abuse, or there exists a substantial likelihood of such a threat in the near future, a family member would be able to petition the Court of Common Pleas to initiate proceedings for in Read more
PITTSBURGH, Dec. 2 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny announced the state's heating assistance program, LIHEAP, is accepting applications for the winter.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides federal aid to eligible families to help pay winter heating bills and cover emergency heating equipment needs.
"LIHEAP ensures that qualified households can pay for their heating costs, such as gas, oil or electricity," Readshaw said. "Emergency funds are also available for households without heat or fuel, or those facing cut-off from a supplier.
"My staff can help complete the application."
Household income limits to qualify vary according to family size:
Household Size Maximum Income
The household income level increases by an additional $6,240 for each additional person.
"Since this program is based on federal money, the state budget impasse should not affect the funding for this program," Readshaw said.
Applications also can be completed online at www.compass.state.pa.us, and can be obtained at local county assistance offices, which can be found at www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/CAO-locations.aspx.
HARRISBURG, Nov. 16 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, and state Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery/Phila., announced today that they will host a private advance screening of the film “Spotlight” on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at the Midtown Cinema, 250 Reilly St. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and Turning Point are the event sponsors.
A complimentary reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., prior to the movie. Remarks will be offered by the sponsors and hosts in support of legislation that would modify the Pennsylvania statute of limitations to allow victims to seek civil action against abusers and the institutions that shield them.
“Spotlight” is the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child sexual abuse and cover-up within the local Boston Archdiocese.
More information about the event is available by contacting Rozzi’s Harrisburg office at (717) 783-3290. To reserve tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/private-advance-screening-of-spotlight-tickets-19499631924. Seating is limited.
HARRISBURG, Oct. 28 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, will host a flu shot clinic from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Nov. 5 at Concord Presbyterian Church, 1907 Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh, 15210.
Pneumonia shots also will be available.
"The earlier you can get a flu shot, the longer you are protected through the flu season," Readshaw said. "It is important to remember that flu is not just a nuisance. It can be a serious, even fatal, illness, especially for those young children, elderly and anyone who may have a weaker immune system."
While the flu vaccinations are not free, the costs are covered by all Medicare Part B plans as well as many other medical insurance plans. Vaccination recipients must bring their insurance cards when they get their shots.
Readshaw reminds people who may have the flu to see a doctor as quickly as possible. There are treatments which may lessen the severity of the illness if taken quickly enough.
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 26 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, will host his annual senior fair in the Ross Township Community Center from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29. Seniors are encouraged to come out and get valuable information from numerous agencies about different programs and benefits for which they may qualify. The event is free, with various giveaways and chances to win door prizes. Flu and pneumonia shots will be available with your Medicare Part B or insurance cards. Some of the agencies attending are the Pennsylvania Mobile Veteran Service Van, the state Office of Consumer Advocate, Social Security, the Aging Institute of UPMC, Port Authority, Better Business Bureau, different utility companies, health care agencies, home and assisted-care agencies, and many, many more. "Seniors are invaluable members of our community, and my aim is to see that they are connected to all the programs and initiatives that can help them remain active, engaged and healthy," Costa said. "If you, or someone you know, would benefit from a large showcase of services to improve on your golden years, please come down to this popular event." Residents with questions about the senior fair may call Costa's office at 412-361-2040. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 23 – A free online training program for direct-care workers in Pennsylvania is making a great impression on long-term care professionals, said state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, a member of the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee. DeLissio remarked on how helpful the videos are during a committee meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday. “This is a great public-private partnership that will help improve and elevate the quality of long-term care in Pennsylvania and enhance skills,” DeLissio said of the project, which received public funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. The videos on LearningCenter.PaHomeCare.org cover training on topics such as proper skin care and bathing, detecting and understanding levels of pain and understanding family dynamics. There are currently 59 videos. They are free and may be used as a tool to meet Pennsylvania Department of Health requirements for homecare licensure. The program helps to develop and reinforce the necessary skills that direct-care workers and caregivers use every day. “In the field of long-term care, direct-care workers are critically important and work the closest with the many older and younger folks who rely daily on their support,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. “Direct-care workers handle tasks to ensure comfort and care by providing assistance with bathing and dressing, fixing meals, helping with Read more
UPPER DARBY, Sept. 23 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, is inviting area residents to her sixth annual job and entrepreneurship fair, which will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 at Yeadon Borough Hall, 600 Church Lane, Yeadon. Invited employers at Davidson's job fair include: the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, SEPTA, Community Transit, Philadelphia Police Department, U.S. Postal Service, Goodwill Job Center, Pennsylvania CareerLink, branches of the armed forces and many more. There are expected to be nearly 50 exhibitors at the event. Davidson advised job-seekers, "Please come to the job fair equipped with copies of your resume and dressed for success. Hundreds of top applicants have been employed at our job fairs over the years. One person had the added bonus of also finding a wife, we recently learned. The point is that this is a great opportunity to put your best foot forward and showcase your value to employers who are actively seeking new hires." On-site resources will include mock interviews, interviewing tips and panel presentations on strategies to employment and tips for entrepreneurs. Job seekers and aspiring entrepreneurs interested in attending the fair are asked to register by calling Davidson's office at 610-259-7016 or emailing email@example.com . ### Read more
Flu shots, information on prescription drug plans, Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications and SEPTA Key senior ID cards are just a sampling of the services nearly 200 seniors of the 161st District were able to take part in at state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky’s senior expo today. Read more
EBENSBURG, Sept. 22 – Responding to news that the state has dropped the minimum bid for the remaining former SCI-Cresson property from $730,000 to $500,000, state Rep. Frank Burns is reminding economic planners of his quest to obtain tax-free Keystone Opportunity Zone status for the site. Burns, D-Cambria, said the state Department of General Services’ decision to lower the minimum bid for the 329 acres and related buildings, and to rebid the site for public purchase through Dec. 13, shows that the additional sweetener of KOZ status might be needed to foster redevelopment. "I am writing to respectfully request that any Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) expansion in Cambria County be designated at the former SCI Cresson Prison site located in Cresson Township," Burns wrote in an Aug. 23 letter seeking local support for his proposal. "This parcel of land has never been taxable in the past, therefore no tax revenue would be lost by designating this site as a KOZ. Future development at this former prison faces many challenges and expensive demolition, so offering this land as a KOZ would provide incentive for businesses to tackle such obstacles." Burns’ letter was separately sent to Cresson Borough and Cresson Township officials, the Cambria County commissioners, the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority, and the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce. Read more
AMBRIDGE, Sept. 22 – In an effort to ensure the health and safety of Pennsylvania residents and their communities, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, introduced two bills today that would strengthen protections for basic infrastructure and homeowners.
House Bill 2366 would prohibit the drilling of unconventional gas wells within 4,000 feet of any existing dam or reservoir, such as the Ambridge Reservoir. Additionally, the bill would prohibit the drilling of unconventional gas wells within 2,000 horizontal-feet of any existing water well, surface water intake or water supply extraction point used by a water purveyor without the written consent of the water purveyor.
As a result of a study on the structural integrity of Texas’ Joe Pool Dam, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that the 20-year-old standard of a 3,000-foot exclusion zone surrounding the dam isn't sufficient and should be increased to 4,000 feet to ensure the safety of the dam, the lake, and the health and safety of local residents. Matzie said his legislation would take that recommendation and codify it into Pennsylvania law.
"The safety of our water and our infrastructure is of the utmost importance. I am grateful for the expert analysis of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as it will help us ensure that the proper protections are in place so no unintended harm comes to our citizens or our communities," Matzie said. "If longer setbacks are good enough for Texas, they should be good enough for Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Reps. Ed Neilson and Jason Dawkins, both D-Phila., urged their colleagues in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to amend legislation under consideration today to raise the minimum pay for poll workers on Election Day.
Neilson’s amendment would have increased the minimum compensation for individuals serving as judges or inspectors of election from $75 to $150. Clerks and machine operators would have seen their minimum compensation raise from $70 to $140.
“The hard-working men and women who serve our communities on Election Day are a vital component in preserving our democracy,” Neilson said. “Without them, the integrity and efficacy of our elections would be nonexistent.”
Dawkins’ amendment would have set a fixed rate of pay for judges of election, inspectors of election, clerks and machine operators at a minimum of $10.10 per hour.
"Poll workers have not seen a pay increase in 10 years, while legislators in Harrisburg get one every year," Dawkins said. "This is unfair, and the time has come to provide fair pay to the people who serve our communities and make sure our elections run effectively and efficiently."
Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley said she was disheartened to see efforts to ensure fair wages for hard-working poll workers throughout the state defeated.
“One must consider the rationale of the legislators who voted no. Would they work a 14-hour day and earn $6.78 per hour as an inspector of election, or $7.14 Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., has hired three new staffers for his Center City office to fill vacancies and make sure the people of the 182nd Legislative District are well-served. "I'm proud that my staff and I have been able to increase dramatically the number of constituents served compared to nearly four years ago when I first took office. I know my new team members will help in continuing our excellent record of service to the people of the 182nd District," Sims said. The 182nd District includes part or all of: Rittenhouse, Fitler Square, Logan Square, Midtown/Gayborhood, Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Fairmount, Queen Village, East Passyunk, Spring Garden and Market East. Sims' Philadelphia office is at 21 S. 12th St., Suite 182, and can be reached at 215-246-1501. He has a website at www.pahouse.com/Sims and also offers updates at www.facebook.com/RepBrianSims and www.twitter.com/RepSims . In addition to the new hires, Tim Keller has been promoted to chief of staff in Sims' Philadelphia office. Keller has served on Sims’ staff since the legislator took office and is a proud Temple University alumnus and Philadelphia native. He was involved with the recent passage of the Medical Cannabis Act and previously worked on the House Education Committee staff. The new staffers are: Abby Rambo, community relations director, who previously served as executive director at the South of Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today announced he has introduced legislation that would provide an amnesty program to give individuals who have lost their driver’s license because of the inability to pay fines, fees or penalties the opportunity to have their license reinstated upon payment of those delinquent fines, fees and penalties. Wheatley said according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, over 1 million Pennsylvanians have a suspended driver’s license. “Many license suspensions are due to individuals’ inability to afford fines, fees and penalties associated with traffic tickets,” Wheatley said. “As a result of those suspensions, those individuals are also uninsured so if they get behind the wheel of a car, which is bound to happen, they are putting us all at risk financially.” Wheatley said his bill, H.B. 2362, would get people back on the road and save significant money. The legislation is based on a California program that began in October 2015. Within the first 21 days of the program, Los Angeles alone received almost 40,000 applicants. “This program has worked in California to get drivers back on the road responsibly and it will do the same for Pennsylvania,” Wheatley said. ### Read more
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution (H.R. 972) that designates the week of Sept. 25 through Oct. 1, 2016 as “Direct Support Professionals Week” in Pennsylvania. Kinsey said direct-support professionals and support coordinators assist people every day by helping to improve their lives. “Many of us lawmakers have support workers who live in our districts and we know that their jobs are vital in caring for others,” Kinsey said. Kinsey said these workers generously provide services and support for seniors, people with developmental disabilities, people with mental illness and those with chronic medical conditions. “One day is not enough to properly thank our direct support professionals for the unselfish work they do 365 days a year,” Kinsey said. In addition, Kinsey said the state has set up a My Learning Center online video training program for direct-care workers. The center was made possible through more than $1.2 million in funding from the state Department of Aging. It is hosted by the Pennsylvania Homecare Association website. There is no charge to view the videos but registration is required. There is a wide range of video lessons offered, covering a variety of topics, including Alzheimer’s, seniors and aging, end-of-life, safety, privacy, medication and pain, and infection control. There is also information on bed bug control, assisting people with behavioral issues, ethics and Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced that Armstrong and Indiana counties will receive grant money to address emergency shelter and rapid rehousing efforts for victims of domestic violence and the homeless. Armstrong County will receive $189,472 for the Armstrong County Community Action Agency and Helping All Victims in Need to provide emergency shelter operations and essential services to domestic violence victims, and rental and utility assistance and case management for the homeless and near-homeless families in the community. Indiana County will use its $225,366 for emergency shelter operations and essential services, as well as case management, security deposits and rental and utility assistance to the homeless, with a priority on families with children. "This federal program, with assistance from the state, helps our communities help those who need shelter, whether it's in a crisis, such as with domestic violence situations, or systematic, such as homelessness," Petrarca said. "These individuals and families need help after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness, and these grants are designed to help them get back on their feet and stable in permanent housing." The Emergency Solutions Grant program helps states with outreach, shelter, re-housing assistance and homeless prevention. While the federal funding comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Read more
Citing the tremendous amount of local, state and federal resources that will be available, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, is encouraging constituents of the 161st Legislative District to attend her senior expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Brookhaven Municipal Building, 2 Cambridge Road, Brookhaven, PA 19015. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – As promised, state Rep. Frank Burns has sent a letter to the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asking for his support in bringing Burns’ Blue Lives Matter bill up for a quick vote. Introduced in July, Burns’ H.B. 2261 would add assault of a police, corrections, probation or parole officer to Pennsylvania’s hate crimes statute, with corresponding criminal penalties. Burns said the steady number of purposeful attacks on police officers nationwide since then is a driving force behind his quest for swift committee action. "In light of the recent shootings across the country and now close to home in Philadelphia , I believe we need to act quickly to protect those who are to protect us," Burns wrote to state Rep. Ron Marsico. "House Bill 2261 adds law enforcement officers, including state and county corrections officers, to the protected class of individuals under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes statute." Buttressing his belief that the law is needed, Burns pointed to the 78 percent increase in the number of shooting deaths of law enforcement officers nationwide in the past year, noting that through July, 32 were killed in firearms-related incidents compared to 18 during the same period in 2015. "It’s my hope that the House will take up this bill without delay, so Pennsylvania can send a clear, unified and strong message to would-be attackers that assaulting our law Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, announced today that the Chapman Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 received a $7,500 grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) to help guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas. According to DCNR, more than $604,000 in grant funding was distributed among 142 volunteer fire companies throughout the commonwealth that serve rural areas and communities where forest and brush fires commonly occur. Hanna said this funding is necessary to better prepare and train volunteers to save lives in both unprotected and inadequately protected rural areas. “Thousands of forested acres are located right here in Clinton County, so this funding is essential to ensure the safety of both residents and tourists alike,” Hanna said. Local fire companies that serve less than 10,000 residents qualified for this aid. The purpose of this federal funding is to allow smaller fire departments to concentrate more on public safety and training. Grants are provided through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, with funding supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service through the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1987. Grant recipients were selected based on vulnerability and adequacy of existing fire protection. Aid is granted on a cost-share basis, with recipients supplying matching Read more
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