PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus on Monday was presented with the Outstanding Organization Award by the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia during their annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Each year, the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia present this award to an organization that fights to ensure that minorities and people of color have full access to the rights and privileges guaranteed under the law. State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the caucus, said, “I was honored to accept the Outstanding Organization Award on behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. While we do not work for awards or recognition, it is humbling to see that our efforts to create a more fair and just society are noticed – especially from Governor Wolf, who presented us with the award. I would like to thank the Barristers’ Association for their commitment to fighting injustice and promoting awareness of the law.” State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, also was presented with the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. She said, “I am beyond grateful, humbled and honored to have been awarded the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from my Barristers’ Association family. As a proud member of the Barristers’ Association and a former public defender, my commitment to seeking justice did not end after taking office. We must continue to speak truth to power and Read more
SCRANTON, Jan. 16 – 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, Jan. 24 to provide information on services available to veterans and their families. The American Legion representatives are available to discuss 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
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Paul Costa announced that Action Housing will soon begin construction again at the site of the former Homestead Bakery Building. Empty since 2010, Action Housing took on the redevelopment project in 2016 with the goal of creating 26 units of mixed income housing and commercial space. It was awarded $1 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program money from the state for this development. “The revitalization of this building with a combination of public and private investment is the perfect example of how the state can work with locals to breathe new life into a community,” said Costa, D-Allegheny. “Homestead’s revival should be a model for other boroughs looking to modernize existing buildings and attract new residents.” Homestead once boasted a vibrant business environment, but suffered when U.S. Steel production declined. Many of the buildings from that period remain; however, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “Losing a major industry, like Homestead lost steel production, can be devastating for a community or it can provide the opportunity for incredible real estate projects,” Costa said. “Homestead has turned its loss into a gain by being creative and looking for different investments and partnerships.” At the site of the former steel plant in Homestead now sits The Waterfront, one of the largest redeveloped major retail sites in the Read more
CONSHOHOCKEN , Jan. 16 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley will host a Brownfields Town Hall Meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18. The town hall will take place at Wissahickon High School, 521 Houston Road, Ambler. Representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will join Daley to discuss the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites and take questions from the audience. After the DEP presentation, attendees will have the chance to talk one-on-one with health officials, municipal officials, developers and representatives of the DEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “This is a great opportunity for area residents to learn more about how these sites can be safely cleaned up and redeveloped for good use,” said Daley, D-Montgomery. For more information, those interested can call Daley’s office at 610-832-1679. Read more
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 12 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss quality education in Pennsylvania. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18 at the Hosanna House, 807 Wallace Avenue, Wilkinsburg. Gainey requested the hearing to discuss the latest education trends and how to ensure quality schools for all Pennsylvanians. Policy experts and state legislators, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will be in attendance. The current agenda is: 10 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 10:10 a.m. Panel One: Dr. Anthony Hamlet , superintendent of schools, Pittsburgh Public Schools Ed Donovan , past president, Wilkinsburg Board of School Directors 10:30 a.m. Questions from Committee Members 10:50 a.m. Panel Two: Tiffini Simoneaux , early childhood manager in Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment, Office of Mayor William Peduto Angel Gober , lead organizer, One Pennsylvania 11:10 a.m. Questions from Committee Members 11:30 a.m. Closing Remarks Visit www.planforpa.pahouse.com for additional information about the Plan4PA and www.pahouse.com/policycommittee for Policy Committee materials. Read more
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 11 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee roundtable to discuss small business development and job creation. The roundtable will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16 at the Bellevue Borough Building, Council Chambers, 537 Bayne Ave., Bellevue. Ravenstahl requested the roundtable to further discuss how small business development will help improve the job market in Allegheny County and across the state. Policy experts and state legislators, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will be in attendance. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 2:10 p.m. Discussion with Panelists: Michael McManus, director, Small Business Assistance Network Office of Business Financing; Raymond Vargo, director, Small Business Development Center of the University of Pittsburgh; Ron Borczyk , director of administrative services, Borough of Bellevue; and Thomas Link, director of innovation and entrepreneurship, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. 3:30 p.m. Closing Remarks Visit www.planforpa.pahouse.com for additional information about the Plan4PA and www.pahouse.com/policycommittee for Policy Committee materials. Read more
BRADDOCK, Jan. 11 – State Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, is reminding graduating high school seniors and their families about the availability of the 2018 Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship. The four-year scholarship is awarded to two students preparing to enter post-secondary education. Each award is approximately the value of one semester of tuition at a state-related university. The award for the 2017-18 school year was $4,500. "This is a worthwhile opportunity for any high school senior interested in furthering their education, whether it's at a four-year college, community college or trade school," Costa said. "But, you have to apply, and I encourage students to do so." The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship was the brainchild of Costa several years ago. He created the program, along with two other representatives, and raised the money for the fund, which finances the scholarships. "I'm happy to see my efforts to provide funding opportunities for students are making a difference for those who want to continue their education after high school," Costa said. "It's important to me that these kinds of opportunities exist." The application deadline is March 1, and applicants must be Pennsylvania high school residents who have a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average, plan to attend a state college, university or career school as a full-time student, and demonstrate leadership Read more
ALLENTOWN, Jan. 11 –State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee roundtable discussion on jobs at PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley. Schlossberg was joined by Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, legislators from across the state and local policy experts. “At some point, we have to stop pretending that the jobs of the past few decades will be the jobs of tomorrow. If we want to have a serious conversation about jobs, we have to have a serious conversation about the future. Work is changing; government must change with it,” explained Schlossberg. Sturla added, “While it may seem tempting to put Band-Aids on current employment issues, it is imperative that we take future employment needs into consideration and train a workforce that is prepared for today and tomorrow’s challenges. Representative Schlossberg understands the importance of looking forward and I thank him for hosting today’s roundtable.” Panelists included: Nancy Dischinat, executive director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board; Michelle Griffin Young, executive vice president of Government and External Affairs, Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce; Don Cunningham, president and CEO, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.; Anthony Durante, program manager of Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, Allentown Economic Development Corp.; Diane Lewis, manager of Business Development Services, Read more
NORRISTOWN, Jan. 11 – State Rep. Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery, is hosting an open house for his new permanent district office located at 750 E. Johnson Highway in Norristown on Jan. 20 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Attendees will be able to tour the new office, learn about state programs and available assistance and meet district staff. “I am excited that we will once again have two permanent district offices to serve the people of Montgomery County,” Bradford said. “This is a great opportunity to see our new space, enjoy hot chocolate and light refreshments as we enjoy some New Year comradery and discuss the latest from Harrisburg.” The new office is now open to serve constituents from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To learn more about Bradford and the services offered in his district offices, please visit www.pahouse.com/Bradford or call 610-270-1150 . Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 11 – Rep. Dom Costa has introduced a bill that would protect gratuities earned by employees. The legislation (H.B. 2003) would ensure that tips left by guests are given to the employee it was intended for and not used in other ways. A current regulation change that is under review by the U.S. Department of Labor would allow employers to take control of gratuities and distribute them as they see fit. Under the proposed rule change, pooled tips could be distributed to employees who have no contact with guests, and may be used for non-wage related expenses such as structural improvements to the place of business. In Pennsylvania, the minimum cash hourly wage for tipped employees is $2.83 and the basic combined cash and tip minimum wage rate is $7.25, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. “Tipped wage workers work extremely hard and for long hours to earn their gratuities,” said Costa, D-Allegheny. “Employers should not be allowed to use tips to cover their costs for operation.” Additionally, Costa said the increase in credit card usage will continue to impact the gratuities left to wage workers. He urges the Wage Payment and Collection Law to be revised so that technology is not used as a way to short the gratuity of employees going forward. The measure is part of House Democrats’ Plan for PA, which emphasizes putting people first, good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. Read more
ALLENTOWN, Jan. 10 – State Rep. Pete Schweyer, D-Lehigh, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss health care access in Pennsylvania and House Democrats’ Plan4PA. Schweyer was joined by House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and legislators from across the state, to discuss House Democrats’ Plan4PA and Putting People First, which includes access to affordable, quality health care for all Pennsylvanians. “We need to improve health care access, especially for our most vulnerable citizens. I’m grateful to today’s panelists for explaining their role in making that happen. Healthier Pennsylvanians mean more people who are able to work, provide for their families and keep our local economy strong,” Schweyer said. Sturla added: “As we work on legislation that helps Pennsylvania move forward from the recession that began 10 years ago, it’s important that we continue to work together on legislation that improves the lives of all Pennsylvanians. Improving health care access will have a positive ripple effect on the state and I thank Representative Schweyer for hosting today’s hearing.” The committee heard testimony from: John Kristel, president and CEO, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network; Dr. David Burnmeister, chairman of Department of Emergency and Hospital Medicine, Lehigh Valley Health Network; Alan Jennings, executive director, Community Action Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, released the following statement in support of today’s announcement by Gov. Tom Wolf declaring Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid addiction crisis a statewide disaster emergency: “Today’s declaration appropriately labels Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid epidemic what it is: a disaster. I strongly support the governor’s decision to put people first by declaring this epidemic a statewide disaster emergency. This declaration will speed up and expand access to treatment, and improve tools for families, first responders and others in order to prevent the more than 3,500 deaths statewide from drug overdose each year. “As representatives, we see first-hand the impact this epidemic is having on our communities and know that we need to use every resource available to address this emergency. That is why I advocated for Senate Bill 446, improving the quality of recovery houses, and other legislation to address this crisis. Today’s declaration will reinforce this legislation and the important ongoing work being done throughout the commonwealth by first responders, local governments, health care providers, recovery organizations and others.” The declaration frees up resources and allows Pennsylvania officials to temporarily override any rules or regulations they perceive as hampering the state’s ability to address the epidemic. The declaration Read more
ALLENTOWN, Jan. 10 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s declaration of Pennsylvania’s heroin and opioid addiction crisis as a statewide emergency. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 -- House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and state Rep. Ed Gainey, Democratic co-chairman of the legislative Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education Caucus, released the following statement today on Gov. Wolf's declaration of a state of emergency regarding the heroin and opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania. "Pennsylvania's drug-addiction emergency is impacting individuals, families and communities on just as large a scale as any other natural disaster our state has experienced in our lifetime. Our response now must match our response to those crises," Dermody said. "Republican and Democratic legislators have been instrumental in responding to the heroin and opioid addiction crisis," Gainey said. "Scores of legislators have joined our HOPE Caucus dedicated to leading Pennsylvania from addiction to recovery. The General Assembly worked with the governor to propose and pass new laws to reduce the prescribing and availability of opioids that can lead to addiction, to expand access to treatment and counseling for those trapped by addiction, and to enable the distribution of life-saving medications like naloxone that reverse the effects of heroin and opioid overdoses and save lives.” "The House Democratic Caucus pledges to continue those efforts and do even more to combat this public health emergency and reduce its devastation on our state," Dermody said. "In 2018, House Democrats want to focus on a Plan Read more
Rep. Pam Snyder says the Second Amendment rights of Pennsylvanians lawfully gaining medical cannabis prescriptions or accorded Safe Harbor permission to possess medical cannabis should not be infringed by outdated federal statutes that should be overhauled with responsible, up-to-date guidelines. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 10 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins and state Sen. Christine Tartaglione, both D-Phila., today announced that they secured a $1 million grant from the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The grant will be awarded to Globe Dye Works – a former yarn winding and dyeing factory – to continue its revitalization efforts and foster a versatile workspace for artists, artisans and fabricators. “This grant is exactly what the community needs,” Dawkins said. “It allows Globe Dye Works to create a community hub for residents and business owners alike. We are always excited to invest in projects that put small businesses and the community first. In addition, this economic power will allow community members to have the seat at the table they deserve. Especially when it comes to issues pertaining to development.” Globe Dye Works occupies about a dozen buildings on a 1.7-acre campus at 4500 Worth St. Constructed in the middle and late 19th century, the former textile plant offers 130,000 square feet of leasable office and studio space. Current tenants include painters, photographers, floral designers, a cabinet maker, a potter, boat builders, a metal sculptor, a classic automobile broker, a tattoo artist, a creamery, a guacamole maker, a coffee roaster and a caterer. The RACP grant will support the final phase of Globe Dye's restoration, including the expansion of special events space and the remodeling of office Read more
EBENSBURG, Jan. 9 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is reminding graduating high school seniors and their families about the availability of the 2018 Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship, which awards four-year scholarships to two students preparing to enter post-secondary education. Burns said the application deadline is Thursday, March 1, and applicants must be Pennsylvania high school residents who have a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average, plan to attend a state college, university or career school as a full-time student, and demonstrate leadership and community service. “These scholarships are privately funded by individual and corporate donors, so no tax dollars are involved,” Burns said. “I encourage all interested and eligible 72 nd Legislative District residents to apply.” Burns said the scholarship is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities and the application can be found on its website at www.tfec.org . Applicants can also contact Burns’ Ebensburg office at (814) 472-8021 for help with this or any other state-related matter. Read more
SCRANTON, Jan. 8 – A staff member from state Rep. Marty Flynn's office will provide outreach assistance from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Jan. 17 at the Clarks Green Borough Building, 104 N. Abington Road. The monthly outreach visits on the third Wednesday of every month alternate between Clarks Green and South Abington Township. Next month’s visit will be held Feb. 21 in the South Abington Township Building’s second-floor meeting room, 104 Shady Lane Road, Chinchilla. Flynn's staff can help with LIHEAP winter heating assistance, unemployment compensation, PennDOT paperwork, 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
ERIE, Jan. 8 – State Rep. Ryann Bizzarro, D-Erie, will host a Post-Holiday Open House in his Millcreek office this week. "If you've not yet had the opportunity to visit my Millcreek office, please consider stopping in to learn more about the numerous state-related services that are available and say 'hi,'" Bizzarro said. "And, if you've stopped in before, come on back to say hello and share some refreshments and post-holiday cheer." The event will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 11 in his office at 1101 Peninsula Drive, Suite 209. Bizzarro and his staff will be available to discuss and answer questions about issues affecting you and your family. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information, contact Bizzarro's office at 814-825-2880. "I look forward to seeing you there," Bizzarro said. Read more
ALLENTOWN, Jan. 8 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee roundtable to discuss jobs. The roundtable discussion will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 11 at PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley, PPL Room, 555 Union Blvd., Allentown. Schlossberg requested this meeting to discuss employment trends with local policy experts and state legislators from all over the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 10 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 10:10 a.m. Discussion with Panelists: Nancy Dischinat , executive director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board Michelle Griffin Young , executive vice president of Government and External Affairs, Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Don Cunningham , president and CEO, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. Anthony Durante , program manager of Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, Allentown Economic Development Corp. Diane Lewis , manager of Business Development Services, Manufacturers Resource Center Edward Hozza, Jr. , mayor, Whitehall Township Chris Naylor , legislative and political director, UFCW Local 1776 Noon Closing Remarks Visit http://planforpa.pahouse.com for additional information about the Plan4PA and www.pahouse.com/policycommittee for Policy Committee materials. Read more
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