HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, announced today that Homestead is the recipient of a $1.2 million low-interest loan to address storm runoff around Barrett Elementary School on East 12th Avenue, Homestead. The borough will work with Steel Valley School District and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to install four infiltration trenches with 18,900 cubic feet of storage. "This green infrastructure project around the school is designed to address the potential health hazard of combined sewage overflows into the Monongahela River during wet weather," Costa said. "Its capacity will be enough to handle a worst-case weather scenario -- a 100-year, 24-hour storm." The total project cost is $1.8 million, with $618,525 of that cost being paid for by a state H2O grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development. The rest will be funded by the 30-year low-interest loan, at 1 percent interest from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority. Without this funding, Costa said, residential customers would see their bills increase by 4 percent. About eight jobs are expected to be created by the project. Pennvest serves Pennsylvania communities by funding sewer, storm water and drinking water projects. The projects contribute to improving Pennsylvania’s environment and residents’ health, as well as provide jobs and opportunities for economic growth. Read more
“This proposal helps to balance the bipartisan budget, which increases our commitment to job growth and our community schools. It will also help to maintain tuition breaks for Pennsylvania residents who attend some of our great universities like Penn State, Pitt and Temple. “This is not a perfect plan. We will need to wrestle with a structural deficit going into 2018. We need to enact a tax on gas drillers, close corporate tax loopholes which allow companies doing business in Pennsylvania to avoid paying their fair share and raise the minimum wage with a commitment to use revenue generated from new wages to balance the budget. “That being said, this was a compromise. This allowed us, this year, to finish the job. Real challenges remain, but it came down to the reality that the people of Pennsylvania and the 132 nd District deserve a completed budget,” Schlossberg said. Read more
Rep. Bill Kortz reports that the state House of Representatives has approved bipartisan legislation that would require home inspectors to be licensed and establish statewide standards. “A home is usually a Pennsylvanian’s most important and expensive asset and the investment deserves protections,” said Kortz, who sponsored H.B. 1001 with Rep. Sue Helm, R-Dauphin/Lebanon. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – Legislation that would provide more money for the Department of Agriculture to enforce the state's Dog Law passed the state House of Representatives today. State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, successfully amended the proposal into an existing bill that was before the chamber for a vote. Petrarca said that the money used for Dog Law enforcement comes from individual license fees, kennel license fees and fines from violations. Under current law, the first $250,000 collected goes to dog law enforcement, then the rest goes to the judicial computer system augmentation. "When we enhanced the Dog Law in 2008, enforcement officers were given extra responsibilities," Petrarca said. "Yet, the state continues to take money from the fund to help balance the budget. He said the fund had a balance of $7 million in 2010, but that amount has steadily declined. Since 1998 when the Dog Law was enacted, more than $4 million has been taken from this fund and used to pay for upgrades to the state judicial computer system. "That's $4 million not being used to protect our pets, to reimburse for livestock damage, to investigate dog bite incidents or to maintain the dangerous dog registry," he said. "The problem is that by the next fiscal year the Dog Law Restricted Account will be $1.6 million in the red. "We've made great strides recently with Libre's Law. By changing this and Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – State Reps. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., and Alex Charlton, R-Delaware today announced their bill to establish the Pennsylvania Semiquincentennial Commission was voted out of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee. The unanimous vote comes one day after Solomon and Charlton held a Capitol news conference on their bipartisan effort. “Pennsylvania is truly a state that’s rich in culture and history and as the home of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, what better way to celebrate our nation’s 250th birthday than having our commonwealth host this celebration,” Solomon said. “We want this event to be a means to promote the achievements and contributions of all 67 counties to our nation’s past, present and future.” House Bill 1793 would establish a commission to plan, encourage, develop and coordinate the commemoration of the 250 th anniversary of the founding of the United States. The commission would submit a comprehensive report that includes the specific recommendations of the commission to the governor and the General Assembly by September 2018. “The nation’s semiquincentennial is an opportunity for all Pennsylvanians to recognize the American experiment and how it has been sustained by sacrifice and the willingness to stick to it and see it through,” Charlton said. “We hope this celebration will inspire a new generation of Americans to continue to Read more
Rep. Adam Ravenstahl is inviting local residents to participate in a community presentation on the opioid crisis set for 6 p.m. Nov. 8 at Northgate Middle/Senior High School. Speakers from the FBI, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement will be featured at the event. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – In recognition of their countless efforts and unwavering support for military members and their families, the House adopted state Rep. Harry Readshaw’s H.R. 534 , which honors the United Service Organizations (USO). “Just like we are grateful for the countless sacrifices made by our brave young men and women in uniform, the armed services are equally grateful for the sacrifices that USO members make for them on a daily basis,” said Readshaw, D-Allegheny. USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to their loved ones, home and country through various programs, entertainment and services at more than 200 locations worldwide, including Afghanistan, Kuwait, Germany and the United States. “The tasks assigned to soldiers can be tough at times, and being thousands of miles from home adds unwanted stress,” Readshaw said. “USO understands the importance of family and does what it can to make holidays overseas more bearable and the long, dark nights a little brighter.” The organization helps in times of disaster and, more recently, provided relief for service members responding to victims of Hurricane Maria by delivering bottled water, sports drinks, care packages, snacks and clothing. “I see this as heroes helping heroes, and I strongly believe both deserve to be recognized for their courage and unselfish behavior,” Readshaw said. Read more
EBENSBURG, Oct. 16 – Moved by the case of a 29-year-old patrolman who jumped a fence while chasing three armed robbery suspects, then fell 15 feet and died of a head injury, state Rep. Frank Burns wants to stiffen the penalties for those whose fleeing or attempt to elude law enforcement injures or kills an officer. Burns, D-Cambria, has introduced H.B. 1857 , which would raise the penalty for fleeing a police officer by motor vehicle from a second-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, while creating a new first-degree felony offense for seriously injuring or killing an officer while fleeing. Additionally, because not all suspects flee by vehicle, Burns’ bill would expand the offense of resisting arrest to include fleeing or eluding an officer no matter the mode of transportation – and make it a first-degree felony if doing so causes serious injury or death to the officer. “As a member of the Blue Lives Matter Caucus, I believe we need to do all we can to protect those who serve and protect us,” Burns said. “By increasing the penalties for resisting arrest, fleeing or attempting to elude law enforcement, it is my hope that suspects will think twice before endangering these public servants.” Burns said he took up this cause after being contacted by the mother of John Wilding, the aforementioned patrolman for the Scranton Police Department who fell to his death in 2015 while pursuing suspects on foot after they crashed Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, honored the Newtown American Legion Morrell Smith Post 440 Junior Prep state championship baseball team Monday at the state Capitol. The Newtown team took the state title – the team’s first – with an 8-5 win over the Plumstead team Aug. 2 at Berwyn Paoli Area Little League complex. The team was 32-3 overall with a record of 22-2 in the regular season. The team took first place in the Lower Bucks League. “This team posted several dramatic come-from-behind wins, and they attribute their success to the hard work all 15 members of the team put in,” Warren said. “It’s great to see such wonderful teamwork and spirit, and I’m pleased to be able to recognize them in the House chamber. Congratulations to the team, coaches and those who supported them.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 16 – A bipartisan pair of bills to help Pennsylvania consumers affected by data breaches has advanced out of the House Commerce Committee to the full House of Representatives. The bills are sponsored by Commerce Committee Chairman Brian Ellis, R-Butler, and Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila. Ellis said, "It is my hope that future massive data breaches do not occur, but if they do, the safeguards in these pieces of bipartisan legislation will help protect and assist consumers after a breach happens." Driscoll said: "I believe our bipartisan cooperation bodes well for passing this legislation and making real progress on this issue that affects millions of Pennsylvanians. I am pleased to work with Chairman Ellis and Attorney General Josh Shapiro to move forward on this." Ellis' bill ( H.B. 1846 ) would require notification of a breach from the entity where the breach occurred to the affected consumer. The notification would include the date the breach occurred, the type of information subject to the breach, a toll-free number and the address of credit reporting agencies. This notice would have to be made available within 30 days of the breach of the system. Additionally, an entity with a breach would have to notify the state Attorney General’s Office. The entities also would have to develop policies to safeguard and discard personal consumer information. Driscoll’s bill ( H.B. 1847 ) would waive the current credit Read more
LEVITTOWN, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, will host a free veterans dinner at 6 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Bristol Township Senior Center, 2501 Bath Road, Bristol 19007. The dinner is free for veterans living in the 141st Legislative District, but reservations are required. Veterans should call Davis’s Levittown office at 267-580-2660 by Nov. 6 to make reservations. They also can email RepDavis@pahouse.net . Veterans are welcome to bring a guest. “We live free in the greatest nation on earth thanks to the sacrifice and service of our veterans, and I want to say ‘thank you,’” Davis said. “I look forward to meeting as many veterans as possible – new faces are always welcome.” Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald, D-Phila., announced she will host a housing conference and job fair for constituents of the 203rd Legislative District. The events will take place from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 at the West Oak Lane Charter School, 7115 Stenton Ave., 19138. Fitzgerald said constituents can attend workshops on various aspects of home buying and ownership, including how to obtain good credit, tangled titles and reverse mortgages and more. “Everyone should have the opportunity to become a home owner, so it’s crucial they get as much information as possible,” Fitzgerald said. “This event will provide some great tools for those people thinking about buying a home in order to help them make informed discussions.” Fitzgerald added there will also be a job fair with dozens of employers looking to hire. “I encourage everyone to bring copies of their resume and dress to impress,” Fitzgerald said. For more information, constituents can call Fitzgerald’s office at (215) 549-0220. Read more
With less than 10 years until America celebrates the nation’s 250 th birthday in July 2026, a bipartisan team in the Pennsylvania House has introduced House Bill 1793, establishing the Pennsylvania Semiquincentennial Commission. This effort, led by state Reps. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., and Alex Charlton, R-Springfield, envisions the commission to plan, encourage, develop and coordinate the commemoration of the 250 th anniversary of the founding of the United States. “Our country’s semiquincentennial is a moment for all Americans and Pennsylvanians to engage in a shared undertaking of national unity, remembering what unites us American citizens while aiming toward a better tomorrow as individuals, families and communities,” said Charlton. In the legislation, the commission is expected to submit a comprehensive report that includes the specific recommendations of the commission to the governor and General Assembly by next September. “This is exceptional for our Commonwealth, as we led and became the first state in the nation to begin the very important planning of welcoming in the 250 th birthday of America,” said Solomon. The commission will coordinate planning with all federal, state and local agencies on infrastructure improvements and projects to welcome regional, national and international tourists. “For Pennsylvanians, it is both a privilege and responsibility to host the nation and the world on the anniversary of Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., will host a free Housing Seminar from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at Wynne Senior Residences, 2001 North 54th St., to help constituents who may be in danger of losing their homes. “So many people aspire to own a home someday,” Cephas said. “However, they may lack access to the resources that can make their dreams a reality. A lot of them are finally able to become homeowners, but then life circumstances change and place them in danger of losing their homes after making enormous sacrifices. The event will feature agencies from Pennsylvania offering workshops on mortgage foreclosure, energy assistance, zoning, and landlord and tenant issues. “Panelists who represent various legal and public-housing agencies and have institutional knowledge and expertise will be on hand to help constituents,” Cephas said. “I encourage anyone with questions about how to protect home ownership to attend this important event. “Many of my constituents’ homes are aging and in need of resources to help stabilize them. As a legislator, it is incumbent upon me to fight for people with low incomes, to fight for working families and for the middle class. My goal is to move those living within middle neighborhoods along the economic spectrum. One way to achieve this is to help stabilize the housing market through home ownership and home preservation programs.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 16 – Pennsylvania’s more than 400 credit unions and their 3.8 million members are being recognized per a resolution from state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, unanimously approved by the House today. Matzie said his H.R. 557, which designates Oct. 16-20 as “Credit Union Week” in the Keystone State, is designed to acknowledge their different approach they take to doing business. “Rather than focusing on turning a profit for shareholders, like traditional banks, credit unions concentrate their efforts on providing valuable financial services to their members,” Matzie said. “They combine their member’s personal resources with the leadership abilities of the board of directors, forming a cooperative that benefits all.” Matzie said that because credit unions are controlled and operated by their membership, they act as financial democracies, affording a vote to each and every member. He said they also offer lower-than-average bank card rates and low-interest loans, in addition to providing financial education. “These institutions also support and sponsor members’ charitable work, spurning involvement in local communities,” Matzie said. “They exist to unite like-minded individuals, working for a better financial and economic future, with a philosophy of ‘not for profit, not for charity, but for service’ to their members.” Read more
PITTSBURGH, Oct. 13 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, today said President Trump's latest actions to undermine the Affordable Care Act's protections are sabotage. "President Trump is responsible for the mess he is creating. It's the Pottery Barn rule: 'you break it, you own it,'" Frankel said. "The president's actions at the end of this week are a one-two punch aimed at dismantling health care access for millions. First, he signed an order allowing for plans that don’t provide essential health benefits and now we know that he will withhold crucial cost-sharing payments, which is likely to throw the health care marketplace into turmoil. "The requirement for essential health benefits matters because Pennsylvanians have been confident that if they buy health insurance, it will allow them to access the care they need, including maternity care, mental health services and emergency room coverage. "Most importantly, the requirement ensured that children can go to the dentist and the eye doctor, to make sure that any problems get caught early so they can grow and thrive. These types of basic care are essential to health coverage. "Now, the Trump administration is destroying that promise by allowing junk plans to count as 'insurance' again. So we'll go back to the bad old days of people often not finding out about holes in their coverage until it's too late. Read more
READING, Oct. 13 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, will host a free document shredding event from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21 in the Temple Fire Company parking lot behind his office at 4933 Kutztown Road, Temple. Personal documents will be safely shredded on site and recycled. Rozzi asks that all documents be removed from grocery or trash bags in advance to help him and his team assist constituents faster. “This is an excellent opportunity to remove sensitive papers from your home, help the environment and help keep your identity safe,” Rozzi said. “I look forward to seeing as many people there as possible.” Those seeking more information can call Rozzi’s office at 610-921-8921. Read more
Citing his years of working on the topic, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, will speak at the 11th annual Grandparents Raising Grandchildren conference at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at the Best Western Plus Genetti Hotel and Conference Center, 77 E. Market St. in Wilkes-Barre. Read more
YORK, Oct. 13 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans honored a local pharmacist today in recognition of American Pharmacists and Pharmacy Month in Pennsylvania. Hill-Evans introduced H.R. 464, a resolution that designated October to recognize pharmacists. On Friday, she presented a copy of the resolution to Lynford King, pharmacist and owner at the Medicine Shoppe on South Queen Street. “Lynford King and other pharmacists play a key role in keeping our communities healthy,” said Hill-Evans, D-York. “Our pharmacists have to get to know us and our medical histories, so that we understand our prescription medication properly.” “The opioid crisis has magnified the important role that pharmacists play. They are at the forefront of this fight as we work to stop prescription drug abuse and educate patients on the risks,” Hill-Evans said. “I’m pleased to be able to recognize one of our local pharmacists for doing great work in the community.” Pennsylvania has 22,606 licensed pharmacists. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 13 – With October declared as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., said he will provide resources for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse during an upcoming town hall meeting. The meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26 at the Olney Elementary School, 5301 N. Water St., 19120. Dawkins said an expert who deals with domestic violence and sex abuse issues will attend the meeting to offer information and help for victims and people who may know victims. “Often times, victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse are scared and confused and not sure where to go,” Dawkins said. “I want to help be the light at the end of the tunnel for victims to get the assistance they need to try to heal and move on with their lives.” Dawkins added he will provide attendees an update on his work in the community and in Harrisburg. His staff will be on hand to answer any questions and provide assistance on any state-related issues. For more information, call Dawkins’ office at (215) 744-7901. Read more
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