HARRISBURG, Jan. 9 – State Reps. Jim Cox, R-Berks and Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, plan to reintroduce legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. The legislation would allow Pennsylvania doctors to recommend medicinal cannabis to patients who would medically benefit from such a treatment. There are 21 states and the District of Columbia with similar laws.Both legislators introduced similar bills in the 2013-14 legislative session with bipartisan support. The current measure is identical to legislation that passed the Senate 43-7 in September, but which never received a vote by the House."The Senate-passed bill represented months of hearings, discussions, changes, and compromises with one goal in mind: helping those with medical challenges – especially children with seizure disorders – to benefit from a medicinal strain of cannabis," Cox said. "Some children suffer hundreds of seizures a day, making normal childhood development impossible and forcing parents to helplessly watch their children suffer."He said prescribed narcotic cocktails of highly addictive and dangerous drugs have little effect on these disorders and often provide only a few weeks or months of pause in the decline of a child’s health."It is cruel and irrational to deny people medicine to alleviate their suffering – especially when we routinely prescribe far more addictive, powerful, and toxic medications for the same Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 8 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced that two local libraries will receive state grants totaling nearly $83,000. The Community Library of the Shenango Valley will receive $53,150 and the Stey-Nevant Public Library in Farrell will receive $27,656. The Community Library of the Shenango Valley plans to make the front entrance and restrooms handicapped accessible, Longietti said. Stey-Nevant Library, Longietti said, will use the grant to replace old light fixtures, which use bulbs that are no longer being manufactured, with modern, energy-efficient lighting and replace back doors, which have become worn and are difficult to latch securely. "These libraries are important community resources, and I’m pleased that the state will be providing much needed assistance to make these upgrades," said Longietti, who wrote a letter of support for the libraries’ grant applications. Stey-Nevant Librarian Margaret Orchard and Frank Gargiulo, board president for the Community Library of the Shenango Valley, welcomed the news. "This is the answer to my prayers," Orchard said. "It will certainly make a difference in the look of the library." "Our board and staff thank the state for viewing the project worthy of funding," Gargiulo said. "We appreciate the work and support of all those who contributed to this effort." The grants were awarded through the Keystone Fund Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., was sworn in to the House of Representatives Tuesday, beginning her third term as a legislator. Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony marked the beginning of the 2015-16 legislative session, the 199th term of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. “I continue to be honored to represent and serve the 194th Legislative District and Pennsylvania, and I look forward to building on the successes of my first four years in office," DeLissio said. “During my first two terms I focused on building relationships within my caucus and across the aisle to promote respectful dialogue and foster an atmosphere where policy for the greater good would trump politics.“This session, I will continue these efforts to work on policy that is important to my constituents. My commitment to ongoing dialogue will also continue via my ‘Voices of the Community’ budget hearings, town hall meetings, and outreach in the community. My policy priorities include a fair and equitable funding formula for basic education, and investigating and advocating for additional revenue dollars to ensure that the state budget going forward is sustainable.”Noting her passionate interest in strong policy that leaves its footprint on the greater good of the commonwealth’s underserved, DeLissio said that she promises once again to ardently represent her community and looks to strengthen the Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Mark Longietti announced that Greenville has received a $500,000 state grant to expand and renovate the Greenville Area Public Library. “During the past five years, the Greenville Area Public Library has had a 120 percent increase in attendance,” said Longietti, who wrote a letter in support of the library’s grant application. “The library needs improvements to properly serve the community, and this grant is critical to the borough’s plan.” “We are delighted that the commonwealth is investing in the Greenville Public Library,” said John Hauser, president of the Greenville Area Public Library Board of Directors. ”We have a dynamic program and this will help us move to the next level.” Hauser thanked Longietti, former state Sen. Bob Robbins and current state Sen. Michele Brooks for supporting the grant application. The $1.4 million project includes additions to the west side and front of the library to add 1,535 square feet of space, moving the children’s library to the lower level so it has more room to accommodate the growing children’s program, and installing an elevator and making the entire building handicapped accessible. The work also includes adding a new meeting/reading room, renovating work room areas to improve efficiency, and installing LED light fixtures. This is the first renovation to the building since it opened in Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, was sworn in Tuesday to his seventh term representing Pittsburgh's 19th Legislative District and will begin serving in the key post of minority chairman of the House Finance Committee. Wheatley was appointed to the chairmanship, his first, by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. The Finance Committee reviews legislation related to finance and taxation and its jurisdiction includes the Department of Revenue. "I thank Leader Dermody for entrusting me with the important Finance Committee chairmanship. In November, Pennsylvanians voted by nearly a 10-point margin to change direction with Governor-elect Tom Wolf, and I look forward to working with him and legislators from both parties to address the challenges facing our state, including the $2 billion deficit, the need to restore massive school funding cuts and our rank of 50th in job creation," Wheatley said. "I also plan to continue working on priorities such as including minority- and women-owned businesses in state contracts, providing teachers with a tax credit for school supplies they buy with their own money and providing first-time drug offenders the same opportunity that first-time DUI offenders have to get to and from work, school and medical treatments." Wheatley was first elected in 2002 to represent the 19th Legislative District, which includes historic Pittsburgh neighborhoods such as Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7– State Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, was sworn in Tuesday to represent the people of the 34th Legislative District for the 2015-16 legislative session.“I am honored and privileged to again represent the 34th District,” Costa said. “I look forward to working with Governor-elect Tom Wolf on the issues that matter most to everyone in Pennsylvania.”Costa has served as the Democratic chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee and he will continue to serve in that position this legislative session.The boundaries of the 34th Legislative District shifted in December due to the legislative redistricting process. Joining the district are Homestead, West Homestead and portions of the city of Pittsburgh. East McKeesport, North Versailles Township and Wilmerding became part of the 25th Legislative District.Costa invites residents to visit his redesigned website, www.pahouse.com/Costa for information about constituent services. Residents also can visit his district office, located at 501 Braddock Ave., Braddock. The number is 412-273-3400.The swearing-in ceremony in the House chamber marked the beginning of the 199th legislative session. The state constitution mandates that the legislature convene at noon on the first Tuesday of January. Read more
JANUARY Stay Warm Energy Fair – Thursday, January 22 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, 500 Midvale Road, Upper Darby . Learn about how to save money on your energy bill and conserve energy. Government and non-profit agencies will be on-hand to provide information about energy assistance, weatherization, and energy conservation. For more information contact 610-259-7016 or email@example.com FEBRUARY Financial Fitness Part 1- FREE TAX PREP – (Several Dates by Appointment) @ Rep. Davidson’s District Office @ mobile office locations . Call or visit my office to schedule an appointment for free income tax preparation. Appointments are available throughout February and March. Income must not exceed $51,000 to qualify. Must call or email to schedule an appointment. For more information contact 610-259-7016 or firstname.lastname@example.org Immigration Conference – Thursday, February 19 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 65 Penn Blvd., East Lansdowne . My office will be partnering with Congressman Robert Brady’s office to provide assistance with state and federal programs for immigrants. For more information contact 610-259-7016 or email@example.com MARCH Financial Fitness Part 2 – Financial Fitness Forum – Thursday, March 19 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Philadelphia International Alliance Church, 6839 Chestnut Street, Upper Darby. Visit my Financial Fitness Expo to learn about personal Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 5 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., will host a town hall meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29 at Second Baptist Church, 1801 Meadow St.Dawkins said he will inform constituents about services available through his office and he will seek input and feedback from constituents on issues facing the Frankford neighborhood.There is no need to RSVP for this event. For more information, please call Dawkins’s district office at 215-744-7901 or visit the office at 4915 Frankford Avenue.The event is open to the public and media coverage is invited.### Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, was sworn in to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday, beginning her third term as a legislator. Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony marked the beginning of the 2015-16 legislative session and the 199th of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. "With 2015 here and all eyes on a fresh start, the Pennsylvania legislature and Governor-elect Tom Wolf will need to find sustainable ways to fund important issues such as education and transportation going forward," Dean said. "The session will bring new challenges but with them amazing opportunities to work with a new administration and a renewed spirit." Dean said she will continue the work started last year toward an adequate severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas. She is reintroducing House Bill 2020 from the 2013-14 session, which would collect a 4 percent severance tax on the extraction of natural gas in Pennsylvania, in addition to the current impact fee."Adequately taxing our natural resource would benefit all people and bring much-needed dollars to fund education and environmental protections, steering the commonwealth to a more balanced budget for years to come," she said.A lifelong resident of the area, Dean said she is most proud to represent the communities and people of the 153rd District."I will continue to focus on what is important to my constituents in Abington and Upper Dublin Township," Dean Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Michael Driscoll, D-Phila., announced his constituent services office is open and ready to assist residents of the 173rd Legislative District in Philadelphia. "My staff and I are ready to help the people of this district with any question or concern they may have related to state government or other key issues," Driscoll said. Driscoll’s office, located at 3294 Red Lion Road in Philadelphia, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 215-281-3414. Driscoll will also provide updates online at www.pahouse.com/Driscoll and www.facebook.com/RepDriscoll. The 173rd Legislative District includes the Torresdale, Holmesburg and Tacony neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – History was made Tuesday during swearing-in ceremonies at the state Capitol when two Schuylkill County legislators formally began serving in their leadership roles for the 2015-16 legislative session in the General Assembly.State Sen. David G. Argall, R-Schuylkill/Berks, and state Rep. Neal P. Goodman, D-Schuylkill, will serve in leadership roles for the two-year session in their respective chambers, marking the first time a Schuylkill County senator and representative will hold leadership roles at the same time in over 100 years.Argall, who became the first senator from the county since the 1860s to serve in a leadership role, will lead the Senate Majority Policy Committee, while Goodman will serve a second term as caucus administrator for the House Democratic Caucus. Goodman is the first House Democrat from Schuylkill County to hold a leadership position in the caucus since his uncle, James Goodman, served as chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee from 1977 to 1980.“I'm thankful that my colleagues have again put their trust in me,” Goodman said. “I'm looking forward to continuing to carry out my responsibilities as caucus administrator, and continuing to represent the interests of the people of the 123rd Legislative District.”“I’m honored to serve as majority policy chairman for the new legislative session,” Argall said. “I’m looking forward to shedding light on issues Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, began his 15th term representing the 136th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives Tuesday after taking the oath of office. The swearing-in ceremony at the state Capitol marked the beginning of the 199th session of the General Assembly. The oath of office was administered by Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Judith Ference Olson. "I'm pleased to once again be able to serve the needs and interests of the people of my district," Freeman said. Freeman is the longest-serving member in the current Lehigh Valley delegation. He served as a state representative from 1982 to 1994, and was re-elected again in 1998 and has served since. He was reappointed Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee Monday. "This is a committee that is important to my district as it deals with land use planning, development and urban revitalization efforts, all issues impacting the Lehigh Valley," Freeman said. "Government at the local level is closest to the people. The committee can be instrumental in assisting local governments to fulfill their responsibilities to the community." Freeman's district includes the city of Easton, parts of the townships of Lower Saucon, Palmer and all of Williams, and the boroughs of Freemansburg, Glendon, Hellertown, West Easton and Wilson. Read more
State Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila., was sworn into office today for his first term as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives serving the 173rd Legislative District. Read more
State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, was sworn in for a third term representing the 185th Legislative District during a ceremony at the state Capitol. The 185th District consists of portions of the city of Philadelphia, as well as Colwyn Borough, Sharon Hill Borough and part of Darby Township in Delaware County. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6– State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, was sworn in today to represent the 121st House District for the 2015-2016 legislative session. Pashinski said some of his legislative priorities are continuing to work toward making health care affordable for all Pennsylvanians, appropriate funding for education, enacting a tax on Marcellus Shale drilling and reducing property taxes.“I am honored and privileged to once again represent the people of the 121st District, and I thank everyone who took the time to vote,” Pashinski said. “Since we will have a Democratic governor, we now have a seat at the table to balance the power between the executive branch and the Republican-controlled House and Senate. “2015 will certainly prove to be very challenging but it is our responsibility to get the job done for the people of Pennsylvania.”Pashinski invites all Luzerne County residents to visit his newly designed web page, www.pahouse.com/Pashinski for information about constituent services. Residents also may follow Pashinski via his legislative Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RepPashinski and legislative Twitter account, twitter.com/RepPashinski.Constituents also can visit his district office located at 152 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Wilkes-Barre or get help by phoning 570-825-5934.The swearing-in ceremony in the House chamber marked the beginning of the 199th Legislative Session. The state constitution mandates that the Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, today took his oath to represent residents of the 149th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for a fourth term. Briggs took part in the official swearing-in ceremony at the state Capitol that marked the start of the 2015-16 legislative session. The state constitution mandates the legislature convene at noon on the first Tuesday of January every year. "It is an honor to be sworn in to another session to serve as the voice for the people of the 149th Legislative District," Briggs said. "Between the multibillion-dollar budget deficit, and the previous administration's lack of investment in public education – there is a lot to get done. But I am ready to work with Governor-elect Tom Wolf and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put Pennsylvania on a path of prosperity for all." In particular, Briggs said he wants to focus on the establishment of a fair funding formula to better evenly distribute education funds. Briggs said his office will continue to provide top-notch service to constituents and he will continue the creative outreach programs begun in earlier terms, including the "There Ought to be a Law" essay contest for fifth-grade students, the office's student art show series, as well as his “Breakfast with Briggs” constituent meetings. Briggs' constituent service office, which is open Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria, was sworn in to the House of Representatives today, beginning his fourth term as a legislator. Today’s swearing-in ceremony marks the beginning of the 2015-16 legislative session and the 199th of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. "The Johnstown area needs strong, experienced leadership in Harrisburg. In the face of another tough budget year and the challenges that come with it, I will remain committed to finding solutions to problems such as crime, drug addiction and dwindling education resources while advancing sound ideas and real projects that create jobs and encourage economic growth for the region," Barbin said.In his last term, Barbin helped shepherd millions in state resources to improve sewer infrastructure, clean area waterways, fund commerce improvements, and support natural gas, among others. Residents are encouraged to sign up for periodic e-mail updates from Barbin on state issues by visiting his website, www.pahouse.com/Barbin, and clicking on the "Contact" tab. He also provides updates online at www.facebook.com/RepBryanBarbin. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, officially began his 17th term as state representative after being sworn in during a special ceremony at the state Capitol today. The swearing-in ceremony marked the beginning of the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s 199th Legislative Session. The legislature is mandated by the state constitution to convene at noon on the first Tuesday of January following an election.DeLuca will retain his post as Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee. "I am honored to continue to serve the people of the 32nd Legislative District. As Insurance Committee chairman, I’ve fought hard for their access to quality and affordable health care at our region’s best medical facilities. I will continue to help residents navigate the health insurance climate in western Pennsylvania,” DeLuca said.“I also look forward to working with Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s administration to improve the quality of education for children throughout the commonwealth, better protect consumers and strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy.”Residents can sign up for periodic email updates from DeLuca on state issues and services by visiting his legislative website, www.pahouse.com/DeLuca, and clicking on the “Sign up for emails” link under the “Contact” button on the page. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, was sworn in today for a new term representing west Philadelphia's 188th Legislative District. "As we begin a new session, I look forward to working to improve education in Pennsylvania, and that has to include restoring more of the school funding that has been cut during Governor Corbett's four years,” Roebuck said. “Philadelphia has been especially hard-hit by those cuts, but the impact has been statewide. Governor-elect Tom Wolf begins his term Jan. 20, and school funding has to be a top priority along with dealing with the $2 billion deficit Governor Corbett is leaving behind. We already know there are common-sense ways to generate funding, such as a reasonable tax on gas drilling and closing corporate tax loopholes." ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, was sworn in today for his fourth term serving 21st Legislative District residents in the Pennsylvania House of RepresentativesToday’s ceremony marks the beginning of the 2015-2016 legislative session, the 199th of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The state House returns to voting session Jan. 20.“Serving the 21st Legislative District is a great honor, and I plan to continue to work hard to reflect their needs and interests in the district and Harrisburg,” Costa said.Costa said he will continue to fight for legislation regarding animal rights, first responders, public safety, and consumer protection and insurance issues.Residents may visit Costa’s constituent service office located at 6808 Greenwood St., Suite 2, Pittsburgh or call 412-361-2040 for free assistance with state-related services, including driver and vehicle assistance and Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications. Costa encourages residents to sign up for periodic email updates from him on state issues and services by visiting his legislative website, www.pahouse.com/DCosta, and clicking on the "Sign Up for Emails" link under the contact tab. He also encourages residents to visit his social media sites at www.facebook.com/RepDomCosta and http://twitter.com/RepDomCosta. Read more
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