Rep. Brandon Neuman introduces two bills designed to provide greater protections for domestic abuse victims, their families and the first responders responding to domestic disturbances. Read more
EBENSBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, who has made economic development in the 72 nd Legislative District a top priority, hailed today’s announcement that 251 full-time jobs are coming to Lower Yoder Township starting this summer. Burns said the decision by Convergys Corp., a global customer management service provider, to invest $2.7 million and lease a nearly 27,000-square-foot facility, falls in line with the goals laid out at the House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on economic development he hosted in Ebensburg in October. “I chose economic development to focus on for a reason – and that reason was to bring new jobs to our area,” Burns said. “This is the second major jobs-related announcement we’ve had in the past two months, so we’re obviously on the move and getting attention from outside employers. Let’s hope that trend continues.” In February, Burns announced a $1.9 million state grant to help create a Business Aviation Management Degree Program at Saint Francis University, in a cooperative venture with John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport. “I welcome Convergys Corp. to Lower Yoder Township and am confident they’ll find an eager, qualified work force that will justify the firm’s multi-million-dollar investment,” Burns said. Read more
Rep. Brandon Neuman is sponsoring a free community shredding event on Saturday, May 6, for the safe disposal of unwanted confidential documents. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced that his bill that would legalize sports betting in Pennsylvania's casinos and their licensed facilities was unanimously voted out of the House Gaming Oversight Committee this morning. House Bill 519 would clear a legal path to allow sports betting in all of Pennsylvania's licensed casinos as soon as it is permitted under federal law. Current law only permits sports betting in Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana. New Jersey has been pursuing a legal challenge to the sports betting limitations. In January, as part of an appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court invited the U.S. Solicitor General to file a brief on a legal challenge to the sports betting limitation that was raised by New Jersey. Matzie said the Solicitor General recently met with both sides and it is believed that the Supreme Court will follow the advice of the Solicitor General as to whether the case should proceed to the Supreme Court. "Sports betting in the United States totals an estimated $400 billion per year with only one percent taking place in legal form," Matzie told the committee. "Major sports leagues that have traditionally opposed the legalization of sports betting – the NBA and MLB specifically – have expressed a willingness to take a fresh look at the issue. The NFL’s Raiders are moving to Las Vegas and the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights Read more
HARRISBURG, April 25 – Members of the House Climate Change Caucus today announced their opposition to an overreaching and environmentally hazardous bill that would prevent Pennsylvania communities from protecting land and water from pollution caused by plastic bags. House Bill 1071 would permanently prohibit municipalities and other local authorities from banning or applying any surcharge or tax on the use of plastic grocery bags. York, Erie, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia represent just a few of the city councils across Pennsylvania that have voiced opposition to H.B. 1071. “This bill hamstrings local governments from protecting their land and water from ecologically hazardous and unsightly garbage,” said state Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery . “Proponents of this bill try to make the case that recycling numbers are up but leave out the fact that proliferation is the real cause for the increase in those numbers. Widespread and growing use is also to blame for the drastic increase in wayward and littered bags, too.” Currently, 165 municipalities across the country have adopted some form of single-use plastic bag fee legislation or bag regulation to positive results. Following implementation of a citywide bag fee in 2010, the presence of bags in Washington, D.C., decreased by 67 percent, saving waste collection services there both time and money. If H.B. 1071 is enacted, constituents would not have the opportunity to press their case for Read more
HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said he is becoming increasingly frustrated by the Republican majority’s double standard when it comes to legislation that will have a dramatic effect on Pennsylvania’s budget and financial outlook. Wheatley, who is Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee, said committee members today were forced to vote on a package of tax-related bills introduced by House Republicans that would add $137.5 million to Pennsylvania’s spending, or budget deficit, without offering a way to pay for it. “The majority party continues to introduce and pass out of the Finance Committee legislation that would increase Pennsylvania’s already massive budget deficit and not offer the way to pay for it,” Wheatley said. “When we give away money to one sector, we are cutting money in our budget.” Wheatley said while the GOP bills have the laudable goal of leveling the playing field for mom and pop shops and small businesses, the methods used by House Republicans at the committee level are disingenuous and not in the best interest of taxpayers. “I commend the work and the effort toward helping our small businesses succeed and our economy thrive, for it is a shared goal of House Democrats,” Wheatley said. “I was even pleased to hear the Republican sponsor of this package admit that big business has a more favorable tax environment Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 25 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, recently hosted local families for a visit to the Philadelphia Zoo. Built on last year’s success, McClinton extended an invitation to the residents of the 191 st Legislative District again for this year. Families were able to receive information on a number of Pennsylvania Game Commission issues involving wildlife, conservation and wetlands. “I want to thank the Philadelphia Zoo, Principal Gaddy of W.C. Bryant Promise Academy Achievability and Bartram Village Resident Council for helping to make this visit possible,” McClinton said. “We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to see what their local zoo has to offer in education and attractions,” she said. "It’s also a great chance to enjoy a family friendly outlet within the community.” The Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, both rare and endangered. Seeing more than 1.2 million visitors per year, its mission is to leverage its platform as “America’s First Zoo” and serve as a model for children’s zoos nationwide. The 191 st District includes parts of west and southwest Philadelphia, as well as the boroughs of Darby and Yeadon. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 25 – Members of the House PA SAFE Caucus today expressed opposition to firearm pre-emption legislation that would make it easier for gun groups such as the NRA to sue Pennsylvania municipalities at taxpayers’ expense. House Bill 671 would permit individuals to sue municipalities they feel have “adversely affected” their firearm rights. The bill would put municipalities on the hook for legal expenses if the individual is successful, but would not require those taking legal action to cover expenses if the municipality prevails. The bill would also extend to outside organizations those individuals are members of, meaning organizations like the NRA could file suits. “This legislation would dangerously inflate Pennsylvania’s firearm pre-emption laws, giving extraordinary power to groups that could file frivolous lawsuits for their own gain. And our taxpayers would be the ones stuck with the bill, no matter the outcome,” said state Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery , who co-chairs the PA SAFE Caucus. “We shouldn’t open our municipalities up to this kind of threat, nor should we take control from municipalities to provide for the safety of their residents.” Members of the SAFE Caucus said there are better ways for the legislature to be looking at the issue of firearms. “Instead of going out of our way to make it easier for the gun lobbyists to sue local municipalities that seek to Read more
HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, received the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s “Distinguished Advocacy Award” today for her work to prevent the repeal of the electronic cigarette tax last year. The award was presented during ACS CAN’s Day at the Capitol event. “It is a privilege to receive an advocacy award from such a distinguished organization,” Daley said. “ACS CAN is an important partner in the push for smart policies to treat and prevent cancer. I thank them for recognizing the importance of minimizing the use of electronic cigarettes by ensuring they are taxed the same as other tobacco products.” ACS CAN’s “Distinguished Advocacy Award” is presented to select officials who have demonstrated leadership and commitment in the area of cancer-related public policy advocacy. “It was an honor to award Representative Mary Jo Daley the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Distinguished Advocacy Award,” said Diane Phillips, director of government relations for ACS CAN in Pennsylvania. “Representative Daley was awarded for her work last year to prevent the rollback of the recently implemented electronic cigarette tax.” Because of Daley’s leadership, ACS CAN said the effort to roll back the tax did not make it through the House before the end of last session and it remains difficult for this issue to gain Read more
HARRISBURG, April 25 – Hunters who forget their license when they go into the woods would face a reduced penalty under legislation introduced by state Rep. Gerald Mullery. “While it is important for hunters to have their license on them while in the woods, sometimes human nature gets the best of them and they just forget and leave it either at home or in their vehicle,” said Mullery, D-Luzerne. “My legislation would make the punishment less harsh for forgetfulness, which occasionally happens to people.” House Bill 1291 would reduce to $50 the penalty for people who have a hunting license but simply forget to bring it with them. Currently, state law treats hunting without buying a license and hunting but forgetting to bring a license as the same, with a fine of no less than $250 and no more than $500. “Hunting illegally without first purchasing a license is quite different than an individual forgetting to carry a valid license with them into the field. Although forgetting one’s license may be negligent, it is far different than knowingly and willfully breaking the law by engaging in illegal hunting and therefore should be treated differently,” Mullery said. The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Trappers Association have supported Mullery’s introduction of the measure in past legislative sessions. The bill is expected to be referred to the House Game and Fisheries Committee, of which Mullery is a Read more
Rep. Ryan Bizzarro was honored with the Humane Legislator of the Year award by The Humane Society of the United States. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 24 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila, is hosting a Senior Chat ‘N’ Chew from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, located at 5732 Race St., Philadelphia. “The event is free and will provide assorted medical screenings at no charge, as well as access to information from local and state agencies that will help our seniors remain healthy and safe within their communities,” Cephas said. “Plus, the interaction enables me and my staff to better serve constituents.” The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has the third highest percentage of elderly residents in the United States with nearly 2 million residents over the age of 65. “The fastest growing segment of Pennsylvania's elderly population are those who are 85 years of age or older. Given these statistics, I will provide an update on the policies and budget recommendations that will have an impact on the everyday lives of our loved ones,” she added. Cephas and her staff will provide seniors help with programs and services, such as applying for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program and the SEPTA Key ID. Registration is not required. Residents with questions may call Cephas’ office at (215) 879-6625. ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 24 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila., is hosting two free events in the Cobbs Creek community this May. A shredding event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at the Cobbs Creek Shopping Center; 5740 Baltimore Ave. Constituents are encouraged to bring unneeded paper items to be shredded for disposal, including old bills, health records and financial items, as well as any other paper items of a personal nature. “With the identity theft rate increasing every year, it’s our responsibility to educate people about this issue,” McClinton said. “Improper disposal of old documents is a leading cause of identity theft and we’re bringing the constituents the best defense against becoming a victim of this of crime by organizing shredding events.” McClinton is also inviting citizens to join her from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 2017’s Community Day on Saturday, May 20 at Add B. Anderson Elementary School, 1034 S. 60th St. According to McClinton, the event will feature a parade for peace, free health screenings, health and wellness information, children’s activities and main stage entertainment. “This is a wonderful opportunity for me meet with constituents face to face and outline for them the services they may not know they can utilize through my district office,” she said. “It also gives me a chance to discuss with them one-on-one the issues and problems that concern Read more
HARRISBURG, April 24 – The Bucks County Association of Township Officials pledged its support recently for H.B. 355, sponsored by state Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, which would establish a certification process for recovery residences and treatment protocols for the administration of Narcan. “The Bucks County Association of Township Officials pledges its support to House Bill 355,” Dan Rattigan, BCATO president said in a letter to Davis. “This bill will help to provide recovery facilities that will provide a higher success rate of achieving long-lasting sobriety …” Davis’ legislation would establish the State Board of Recovery Residences within the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. The board would develop and administer a voluntary certification program and code of ethics for recovery residences. A residence applying for certification would be inspected and monitored by the board. The bill also would require recovery homes to implement training and treatment protocols for the administration of Narcan. “The townships BCATO works to support on a daily basis see firsthand how unsafe, unhealthy and non-conducive to sobriety some of these recovery homes can be,” Davis said. “I am honored and encouraged to have BCATO’s support for my bill to strengthen the recovery system while our community addresses the ongoing heroin and opioid addiction epidemic.” Created in 1907, BCATO’s mission Read more
Rep. Rob Matzie reports that Norfolk Southern has been awarded a $20 million grant to rehabilitate 14 bridges and lower tracks to accommodate double stack rail cars. Read more
Rep. Adam Ravenstahl reports that a $1 million state grant has been awarded to the Allegheny County Valley Railroad Co. to rehabilitate the 36th Street Trestle to eliminate weight restrictions and increase capacity. Read more
PATTON, April 24 – The Volunteer Recruitment Service Scholarship Act proposed by state Rep. Frank Burns to help boost sagging membership in the unpaid emergency services field took center stage during a noon news conference yesterday at the Cambria County Fire School. Before suiting up to engage in scheduled afternoon training sessions with firefighters, Burns, D-Cambria, outlined the merits of his H.B. 48 , which would provide state scholarships to fire company, ambulance service and rescue squad volunteers. Burns said he drafted the bill with a two-fold mission: as a means to allow emergency services to attract and retain volunteers, and as a way to help young people defray the cost of higher education while introducing them to important community service. “We are all aware of the serious manpower shortages facing, in particular, the volunteer fire departments that have served our communities so well for so long,” Burns said. “The situation is reaching crisis proportions, and I believe that offering Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency scholarships to volunteers is one way to think outside the box to solve this problem.” Under Burns’ bill, recipients would be required to be a member of a volunteer organization for at least six months and maintain active volunteer status, have graduated from high school or have received a high school equivalency diploma. They would also have to enroll in a degree-producing curriculum Read more
CHESTER, April 24 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland, D-Delaware, will host a free Career Counselling and Resume Building Workshop from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, May 5 at the Chester Salvation Army, 151 W. 15 th St., 19013. The workshop will provide attendees assistance with drafting a resume, interviewing techniques and career counseling. One-on-one support will be provided with assistance from the Delaware County Phi Beta Sigma Chapter and Pennsylvania CareerLink. “Helping constituents achieve gainful employment is one of my top priorities,” Kirkland said. “I am excited to be able to help ensure people have the resources and skills they need to find work and be a part of building a thriving local economy.” To attend, guests must bring a copy of a current resume and RSVP by calling Kirkland’s office at 610-876-6420 or emailing Malcolm Yates at firstname.lastname@example.org . Read more
NANTICOKE, April 24 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, announced he will host a free shredding event from 10 a.m. to noon May 6 in the parking lot of Greater Nanticoke Area High School off of Kosciuszko Street. Read more
Rep. Dan Deasy reports that a Port Authority of Allegheny County Ticket Vending Machine is now available outside of his office at 436 S. Main St. in the West End. Read more
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