State Rep. Rob Matzie is reintroducing his Protecting Commonwealth Data legislation that would require state employees conducting state business to use encryption to protect personal, online information from being viewed or modified by a third party. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, announced today a proposal to protect Pennsylvanian’s online privacy by restoring part of the privacy protections recently stripped by congress and President Donald Trump. Briggs’ legislation is part of a package of commonsense privacy and consumer protection bills designed by House Democrats to mirror the recently repealed Federal Communications Commission internet privacy protection rules. “Republicans in Washington recently voted to sell your private information to the highest bidder and it’s up to Pennsylvania to restore those protections,” Briggs said. “My proposal, and others proposed by my colleagues, would prevent big companies from exploiting your personal information and online activity for private profit while requiring them to notify you should a breach occur.” Briggs’ proposal would require internet service providers and telecommunications companies to notify their customers when a data breach of customer personal data occurs and to establish, implement and maintain safeguards reasonably designed to ensure the security of personal data of its customers. “Online users have a right to know when their sensitive information has been compromised. This bill helps to fix Washington’s failure to protect consumers by holding service providers accountable for securing sensitive data and requiring them to notify you in a timely manner if Read more
HAVERTOWN, April 13 – State Rep. Greg Vitali will deliver a presentation entitled “Marcellus Money and the Pennsylvania Legislature: An Analysis of the Most Recent Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Reports, Lobbying Reports and Ethics Statements Relating to Natural Gas Drilling” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20 in Lynnewood School Auditorium, 1400 Lawrence Road. The presentation, sponsored by the Haverford Township, Radnor and Lower Merion-Narberth League of Women Voters, includes a PowerPoint slide show and outlines the natural gas industry’s campaign contributors to the legislature, the legislative recipients of these contributions and the large amounts of money spent on lobbying. There also will be a discussion of the shortcomings of the current Pennsylvania campaign finance and lobbying laws. The public is invited. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 12 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York County, will host “Shredding for Literacy,” an event to help constituents safely dispose of personal documents and put books in the hands of local children, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 22. The free community shredding event will be held at Lafayette Plaza, North Pershing Avenue and West Philadelphia Street, York. Community members can bring personal financial documents that are no longer needed and any other papers that contain confidential information for shredding. Examples include documents that contain Social security, credit card or bank account numbers, credit card applications, canceled or unused checks and bank statements. Those attending can bring as many documents as they can fit in their vehicles. Hill-Evans asks that for every box of shredding material, attendees donate a lightly used book to be given to local students. “This event is not only a great way to help protect yourself from identity theft, but a chance to help children in our community as well,” Hill-Evans said. Documents will be shredded on site, and all of the shredded paper will be recycled. Read more
ALLENTOWN, April 13 – Area veterans are invited to take part in a support program next week at the office of state Rep. Peter Schweyer. Read more
Rep. Brandon Neuman is preparing legislation that would require internet service providers to obtain consumers’ permission before they can store, share or sell sensitive personal information. Read more
PITTSBURGH, April 12 – State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, today announced that Avalon Borough will receive a $55,800 state grant to develop a five-year financial management plan and operational strategy. Ravenstahl said the grant, awarded by the Department of Community and Economic Development through its Early Intervention Program, will enable Avalon to deliver services more efficiently and effectively, as well as promote growth. "The goals of this type of funding mesh well with Governor Tom Wolf’s vision of revitalizing and growing communities across the commonwealth," Ravenstahl said. "I am pleased to see Avalon getting this type of attention and help from the DCED, because the end result is community improvements that benefit everyone." The Early Intervention Program provides matching grant funds to assist municipalities experiencing fiscal difficulties to develop comprehensive multi-year financial plans and establish short- and long-term financial objectives. Ravenstahl said applicants must provide a 50-percent match and the maximum grant is $200,000. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 12 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., hosted a House Human Services Committee hearing at Philadelphia City Hall to examine the pipeline that sends Puerto Rican drug addicts to Philadelphia -- known as Air Bridge -- and the effectiveness of the treatment users receive in recovery homes. “The Air Bridge is a money-making problem, and the people coming from Puerto Rico are the victims,” Cruz said. “Their families pay money for them to come to Philadelphia to get treatment, but when they arrive, options for treatment don’t exist. Instead, they’re prisoners of unregulated recovery homes that collect money, food stamps and other government assistance as payment for their stay.” Cruz, who represents the 180th Legislative District which also houses “the tracks” – a Conrail train trench -- where users live and seek drugs, is planning to introduce legislation intended to curb the exploitation of addicts, establishing standards that recovery homes would need to comply with in order to get state or federal money. Puerto Rican Sen. Carmelo Rios described the drug crisis in the island and attributed its inability to take appropriate actions to the insufficiency of funds due to Congressional budget cuts under the Affordable Care Act. The island’s Senate adopted a bipartisan effort to contribute with Pennsylvania’s lawmakers and develop a solution for both. Testifiers included Jose Benitez, Read more
PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 12 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the Southwest Leadership Academy to explore pretrial and bail procedure reform. “I am excited the House Democratic Policy Committee came to discuss how we can potentially reform the bail process. There may be better options for those who are not a flight risk and not accused of serious, dangerous crimes. Implementing a new bail process gives these people the option to continue to work and provide for their families. I look forward to further House consideration of my legislation,” McClinton said. McClinton has introduced House Bill 1092 that would reform Pennsylvania’s pretrial and bail procedures to provide a fairer, effective and less costly criminal justice system. The bill would encourage and incentivize counties to establish pretrial service programs that utilize standards proven to reduce the monetary and human cost of corrections. “Representative McClinton’s hearing placed a spotlight on a reasonable effort that could ultimately save the taxpayers money. The reality is, the state is facing a $2 billion budget deficit and this is an innovative way to save while improving efficiency,” said state Rep. Mike Sturla, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. Testifiers included: Keir Bradford-Grey, chief public defender, Defender Association of Philadelphia; Judge Benjamin Lerner (Ret.), Read more
HARRISBURG, April 12 – Students at two local schools will be eating healthier thanks to food service equipment grants, according to state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 12 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., invites west Philadelphia residents to a free document shredding event from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 22 at his district office, 4712 Baltimore Ave. "This will help people to protect themselves from identity theft by safely disposing of unneeded documents that contain personal information, such as Social Security numbers, bank or credit card account numbers, credit card applications, canceled or unused checks, insurance and income tax records and pension information," Roebuck said. "Please don't bring digital or electronic media, such as computer discs, CDs or DVDs," Roebuck added. For more information, please call Roebuck's office at 215-724-2227. ### Read more
State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, is holding a news conference 2 p.m. Thursday at the Lehigh County Courthouse, 503 Hamilton St. in Allentown. Schlossberg will explain his proposed legislation that would require internet service providers to notify customers about what types of information they collect, how and for what purposes the ISP shares the information, and with whom. Schlossberg’s legislation is part of a package of bills designed by House Democrats that mirror the rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission but recently stripped away by Congress and President Trump. The package includes commonsense privacy and consumer protections for Pennsylvania residents. EDITOR’S NOTE: Media coverage is encouraged. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 11 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., will introduce a bill to make it much easier to vote in Pennsylvania. "With the April 17 deadline to register to vote in the Pennsylvania primary just days away, I'm encouraging everyone who qualifies to make sure they register. You can even register online at votespa.com . And I'm also looking ahead to ways the legislature can make it easier to use your constitutional right to vote. Many of these are things that other states already allow, and Pennsylvanians deserve the same ease of voting," Rabb said. "Our commonwealth is only as strong as the democracy we bolster through our state laws. In an era of record low turnout and deep public cynicism, it's more important than ever to create new avenues of expression and engagement for citizens and to expand and empower our electorate toward liberty and justice for all." Rabb's proposed Voting Opportunities Toward Empowerment (VOTE) Act would: Provide for no-excuse-needed absentee voting and create the option for a permanent absentee voter status for those who are disabled or otherwise unable to travel to the polls. Establish early voting beginning 15 days before Election Day and ending at 6 p.m. on the Sunday before the election. Voting sites would be open at or after 7 a.m. and close by 8 p.m. each day, with at least 10 hours for voting each weekday and at least eight hours for voting on each Saturday and Sunday. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 11 – State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Isabella Fitzgerald, both D-Phila., hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today at SpArc Philadelphia to discuss concerns for people with intellectual disabilities. "This hearing is an opportunity to hear from those on the front lines,” said Kinsey, a longtime advocate for individuals living with disabilities. “At the end of the day, it is incumbent upon us as a lawmaking body to help the thousands of disabled Pennsylvanians who are disadvantaged get the support and services they need and deserve. I look forward to continuing this conversation by working with my colleagues and finding ways to ensure that we are providing the necessary means to support the needs of our most vulnerable citizens here in the commonwealth." “It’s our responsibility to help each individual, regardless of disability, to reach their maximum level of achievement and independence, given their specific circumstances,” Fitzgerald, cohost of today’s hearing, said. “We’re here to empower people with disabilities and provide them equal access to opportunities. They need to be treated fairly because they certainly have a lot to teach us and a lot to offer to society.” “As policy makers, we need to work together with all stakeholders to pinpoint where the greatest needs lie. From there, we can establish ways to ensure those in need receive the care and support Read more
HARRISBURG, April 11 – In an effort to create a more open and equitable election process in Pennsylvania government, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, sent a letter to state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, majority chairman of the House State Government Committee, urging him to move a number of election process and financial pieces of legislation. In the letter, DeLuca called on Metcalfe, R-Butler, to consider H.B. 945, which would allow for same-day voter registration; H.B. 946, which would allow early voting starting 15 days before Election Day; H.B. 947, which would require elected officials to resign from their current position before running for a different elected office; and H.B. 951, which would require campaigners to move back 35 feet from a polling place. “In last year’s presidential election, less than 62 percent of all eligible Pennsylvanians voted,” DeLuca said. “While that number is slightly higher than the national rate of 58.1 percent, it is nothing to be proud of. Two out of every five voters did not let their voice be heard. “This group of bills all have the goal of making voting easier and more convenient for all Pennsylvanians. Why would Chairman Metcalfe not want to consider legislation that would make voting a more representative process for our commonwealth?” DeLuca’s letter also asks Metcalfe to consider H.B. 948, which would limit salary that legislators receive for services Read more
ABINGTON, April 11 – State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, will host two town hall meetings this month focusing on the state budget and legislation advancing in the General Assembly. The first meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. April 20 in the Upper Dublin Library, 805 Loch Alsh Ave. The second meeting will take place at 10 a.m. April 22 in the Starbucks Café in the Roslyn Giant store at 2350 Susquehanna Road. Dean, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, will focus on details of Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed state budget, a Republican-backed budget bill that passed the House on April 4, as well as pieces of important legislation that are advancing in the state House and Senate. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 11 – Students at two schools in the 55 th Legislative District will be eating healthier thanks to food service equipment grants announced today by state Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana. Petrarca said Latrobe Elementary School is receiving $15,213 for the purchase and installation of a combination oven, while Kiski Area East Primary School will get a $7,875.00 grant award for purchase and installation of a hot food serving counter. “Combined, this is more than $23,000 coming into two of our area’s schools to help provide healthier food for our children,” Petrarca said. “These grants will help make sure that they are getting good, nutritious and safer meals.” The grants come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, and are distributed through the state Department of Education using a competitive selection process. Priority is given to high-need schools where 50 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Petrarca said 44 Pennsylvania schools received a total $844,776 in 2016 funding under the program, which seeks to improve food safety, expand student access to food and help purchase equipment to prepare better offerings that meet updated meal patterns. Criteria also taken into account includes schools in underserved areas and the age of existing food service equipment, he said. Read more
LEVITTOWN, APRIL 10 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the Ben Franklin Middle School on her House Bill 355 that would establish certification for recovery residences. “I’m glad parents, local officials and recovery houses were represented at today’s Policy Committee hearing. We collected great information to help communities managing recovery residences and more detail about how my bill can help strengthen the recovery system,” explained Davis. 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 would also require recovery homes to implement training and treatment protocols for the administration of Narcan. Testifiers included parents Jessica Scheiber Blackburn, Angelina Mundy, and Leonard Spearing; Diane Rosati, executive director, Bucks County Drug & Alcohol Commission; Bryan Kennedy, owner, Independence Lodge Sober Living; Micki Kaisinger, owner, Emilie House; Howard Allen, councilman, Bristol Township; Tom Tosti, supervisor, Middletown Township. Hearing materials are available at www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee . Read more
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, Democratic chairman of the House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, announced today a $20,130 Food Service Equipment Grant has been approved for the Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School to help the school upgrade kitchen equipment and infrastructure in an effort to serve more nutritious meals. Read more
SCRANTON, April 10 – A staffer from state Rep. Marty Flynn's office will provide outreach assistance next week in South Abington Township. Read more
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