BETHLEHEM, July 24 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from human services leaders at a hearing requested by state Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh. The hearing focused on the importance of state and local services in helping people with physical and intellectual disabilities. “Quality human services programs are a vital necessity for the disabled so that they can effectivity function on a day-to-day basis,” McNeill said. “I wanted to discuss the options that are available to them and if needed, formulate a better plan across the state.” McNeill co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as Democratic House Policy Committee chairman. “I commend Representative McNeill for taking up this important issue that affects many citizens across Pennsylvania,” Sturla said. “My hope is that the issue of creating better programs for the disabled will be at the forefront of our discussion in the General Assembly when we return to session.” Those testifying at the hearing included: Sheila Theodorou, director of Bureau of Supports for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; Dr. Ed Norris, Department of Psychiatry chairman, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Shane Adams, supports coordinator supervisor, Service Access and Management. Also speaking on behalf of the Lehigh County Human Services Department were Josh Bridges, administrator of Read more
The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from human services leaders at a hearing requested by state Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh. The hearing focused on the importance of state and local services in helping people with physical and intellectual disabilities. “Quality human services programs are a vital necessity for the disabled so that they can effectivity function on a day-to-day basis,” McNeill said. “I wanted to discuss the options that are available to them and if needed, formulate a better plan across the state.” McNeill co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as Democratic House Policy Committee chairman. “I commend Representative McNeill for taking up this important issue that affects many citizens across Pennsylvania,” Sturla said. “My hope is that the issue of creating better programs for the disabled will be at the forefront of our discussion in the General Assembly when we return to session.” Those testifying at the hearing included: Sheila Theodorou, director of Bureau of Supports for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; Dr. Ed Norris, Department of Psychiatry chairman, Lehigh Valley Health Network and Shane Adams, supports coordinator supervisor, Service Access and Management. Also speaking on behalf of the Lehigh County Human Services Department were Josh Bridges, administrator of mental health and intellectual Read more
EBENSBURG, July 24 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is urging 72 nd Legislative District entities to apply for grant funding available to farmers and small businesses for pollution prevention, energy efficiency and natural resource protection projects through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Small Business Advantage program. “Everyone who thinks they may be eligible should consider applying, and should contact my offices for help or clarification if they need it,” Burns said. “Brittany Blackham in my office is able to act as an on-staff grant writer for those who need assistance.” Examples of eligible projects are HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery and waste recycling systems, and auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks. Last year, 150 small businesses were awarded more than $953,000 in grants for these types of projects. Pennsylvania-based small-business owners with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible. Projects must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25 percent annually in energy consumption or pollution-related expenses. Businesses can apply for 50-percent matching funds of up to $9,500 to adopt or acquire energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. Only costs incurred between July 20, 2018 and June 30, 2019 are eligible. Applications will be considered on a first-come basis, and will be accepted until Read more
ERIE, July 24 – With the help of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, the lights of the state Capitol dome will shine red, white and blue tonight in memory of state Rep. Flo Fabrizio, D-Erie, who died earlier today at 73 after a battle with cancer, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced. “Flo was an incredible friend, father, husband, advocate and colleague,” Bizzarro said. “He embodied everything a representative should be: passionate about his work, dedicated to his constituents and compassionate toward those in need. He had a huge heart, and he put all of his heart into everything he did. “The Erie community – and the entire commonwealth – lost a unique and tireless advocate today. Flo’s legacy lives on in the countless people whose lives he touched. Those of us who were lucky enough to know and work with him personally are forever changed by his influence. The best way I can think of for us to honor Flo is to keep fighting the good fight – something he did his entire life.” Read more
CHESTER, July 24 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland, D-Delaware, will host an Across-Colors Cultural Festival from noon to 8 p.m. Aug. 4 in Chester Park, Edgemont and Elkington Avenue. Families and residents are welcome to enjoy musical entertainment, games for all ages, a moon bounce, swimming and more. The festival will include gospel, jazz, and rhythm and blues acts, cultural dances, and a host of other performances. Kirkland’s legislative staff also will be on hand to provide assistance with constituent services. “Come enjoy a day of music and fun with your neighbors and local elected officials as we celebrate the music and cultures in our area,” Kirkland said. “I’m happy to be able to bring fun events like this one to our community, while also making sure our constituent services are more accessible and convenient.” For more information, those interested can call Kirkland’s office at (610) 876-6420 . Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 24 – State Rep. Kevin J. Boyle announced he will host a National Night Out event for residents of the 172nd Legislative District. It will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7 in the Fox Chase Elementary School parking lot, 500 Rhawn St., 19111. Boyle said there will be games, prizes and giveaways, music entertainment, food, information about state and local resources, and chances to meet with local police and emergency personnel. National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs; strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 24 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins has announced that he will host his annual Frankford Community Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Gambrel Playground, 1900 Wakeling St., 19124. “I am excited to host my annual community day in Frankford,” Dawkins said. “For the past three years, I have been able to bring my community together and provide them with various resources to meet their needs. Once again, I look forward to this year’s event, meeting my neighbors face-to-face, and addressing any issues they have.” Dawkins said the free event will feature food, live music and entertainment, and local vendors. Representatives from local and state agencies also will be available to provide information about a variety of social services. For more information, contact Dawkins’ constituent service office at 215-744-7901. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 24 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, released the following statement today in response to the passing of longtime state Rep. Flo Fabrizio, D-Erie, who died this morning after a yearlong battle with cancer. “Our hearts are with the Fabrizio family as we mourn the loss of a loving husband, a devoted father and a dedicated state representative. “A true political pioneer, I strive to have his never-give-up attitude and persistent work ethic that made him such a successful leader in the legislature. His passion and vigor to do what’s best for Erie earned him respect and is why so many in his community adored him. “While he may be gone, I’m blessed to have called him a colleague, a role model and a friend. He will be greatly missed,” Hill-Evans said. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, July 24 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody reflected on the life of Rep. Flo Fabrizio who died earlier today. “The loss of a good friend like Flo is terrible news to absorb. He was truly one of the most enjoyable people I’ve known. He spoke with intelligence and authority, dressed like a gentleman, and was always warm and friendly to other lawmakers, staff and Capitol visitors. “Flo’s personal touch endeared him to people of all backgrounds and political leanings. He was a class act all around. “Flo was a proud son of Erie who shared his love of his hometown with all of us, often meeting House colleagues when we came to Erie and making sure that we enjoyed the very best the city has to offer,” Dermody said. “I want to extend my deepest sympathy to Victoria, Flo’s wife of 30 years, his daughter Jill and stepsons Anthony and Matthew, his grandchildren, and to his staff people in Erie and Harrisburg. We are sharing the pain of their great loss.” Florindo “Flo” Fabrizio, 73, was first elected to the House in 2002 and since 2013 he served as the Democratic chairman of the Health Committee. Dermody noted that despite getting a serious health diagnosis in 2017, Fabrizio continued attending session in Harrisburg for months. Fabrizio even sponsored legislation updating state rules for ambulatory surgery centers and guided it through the Health Committee and the House. The bill was Read more
HARRISBURG, July 23 – The state Department of Environmental Protection is offering $1 million in Small Business Advantage grants for projects that reduce energy use, cut pollution and conserve natural resources, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced. “By funding projects that improve energy efficiency, these grants can be extremely valuable in helping small businesses cut operating costs and boost productivity,” Longietti said. “It’s a win-win for business and the environment.” Longietti noted that for the first time, the program will include farmers and ranchers, who may seek funding for projects that conserve and protect working lands. He added that because the grants are non-competitive and awarded on a first-come basis, it’s important for anyone interested to submit an application as soon as possible. Applications will be accepted until fiscal year 2018-19 funds are exhausted or April 12, 2019, whichever occurs first. Pennsylvania small business owners with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible. Projects must save the business a minimum of $500 and 25 percent annually in energy consumption or pollution-related expenses. Examples of eligible projects include HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery and waste recycling systems, and auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks. Businesses can apply for 50 percent matching funds of up to $9,500 to adopt or Read more
BELLEFONTE, July 23 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on retirement security for Pennsylvanians at the Bald Eagle Area High School. Hanna was joined by Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and state legislators from across the commonwealth. The committee discussed the importance of helping Pennsylvanians save for retirement. Hanna said that there are over 2 million workers in the state without access to a retirement savings account, which is unacceptable. "Retirement security is a serious issue and we as legislators have a responsibility to do what is in the best interest of all Pennsylvanians," Hanna said. "Ignoring this issue would have devastating effects on both future retirees and the financial well-being of the state." At the hearing, Hanna's legislation ( H.B. 465 ) was discussed; it would create the Keystone Retirement Security Program. Under the plan, employers with five or more employees that don't already offer a retirement plan would be required to offer their employees enrollment in the plan. Workers could decline if they choose; otherwise, a small portion of their pay would be automatically deducted and deposited into an account with the state Treasurer's Office. Treasury would manage the accounts similar to the way it currently manages the PA529 college savings accounts. This legislation would offer portable retirement savings accounts Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 23 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., today announced that following talks with Midwood Investment and Development and the Philadelphia Mural Arts program, an agreement has been reached to save the mural of Gloria Casarez that adorns the former 12th Street Gym in his legislative district. Midwood purchased the property at 204 S. 12th St. several months ago, which includes the mural of Gloria Casarez. She was Philadelphia’s first director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT affairs and passed away in 2014 after battling breast cancer. Sims stated Midwood had not solidified the future development plans for the property. “Midwood has continuously supported and invested in Philadelphia’s arts and local communities for more than 20 years. We’re committed to helping ensure that the costs needed for the mural’s relocation are provided,” said John Usdan, CEO of Midwood. Sims said, “I greatly appreciate Mr. Usdan’s commitment to ensuring the mural lives on in honor of the life and legacy of Gloria Casarez. Midwood has consistently demonstrated it is a valued partner in Philadelphia. “Gloria worked tirelessly for not only the LGBT community, but also the city of Philadelphia as a whole. It is important to memorialize the steadfast work Gloria dedicated to establishing our city's policies that made us one of the most LGBT inclusive cities in the nation,” Sims added. Read more
DARBY, July 23 – In her continued effort to protect constituents and their identities, state Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will cohost a free shredding event with Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, in partnership with Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4 at Mercy Fitzgerald East Campus, 1515 Lansdowne Ave. in Darby. 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 threat of identity theft everywhere, especially online, I want to make sure people are educated about this issue,” said McClinton. “Improper disposal of old documents is a leading cause of identity theft, and we’re bringing constituents the best defense against becoming a victim of this of crime by organizing shredding events.” Staff members from the offices of McClinton and Williams also will provide help with state issues such as applying for PennDOT materials, Medicaid and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 20 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, released the following statement in response to Judge Norman Krumenacker’s ruling today that some redacted briefs filed in the Fortieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury be made public. “The legal maneuverings that the Catholic Church is going through to prevent the release of the statewide grand jury report is nothing short of reprehensible. “First, the bishops of the six dioceses under investigation were provided the entire 884 pages of the report, not just the portions relative to unindicted named persons. Why this concession and what did they do with it? “Next thing, scores of petitioners, represented by high-powered attorneys, filed motions with the state Supreme Court to stay the release of the report based on of all things: that reputations might be harmed. One can only imagine how the victims felt or feel about those motions. “Then, the cleric petitioners were granted the opportunity to challenge statements of sworn testifiers and make appeals for whole pages of redactions to the report, citing due process. If they want due process, that’s fine: give the victims their day in court and the predators and those who are in charge of them can go to town protecting their reputations. “There are really only two ways that victims’ voices can be heard and get to the truth: through the court room or grand jury investigations. Read more
WHITEHALL, July 20 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill toured the Coplay Aggregates Quarry Thursday afternoon and met with the owners who explained the processes used at the Whitehall Township facility. Read more
Schweyer to host public hearing on his protecting pre-existing conditions bill Wednesday in Allentown ALLENTOWN, JULY 20 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, is hosting a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on his legislation ( H.B. 2552 ) that would prohibit health insurers from denying or excluding coverage based on a pre-existing condition in Pennsylvania. The hearing will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 25 at Lehigh County Government Center, Public Hearing Room 111, South 7 th St., Allentown. Schweyer requested the hearing to discuss how to protect Pennsylvanians with pre-existing medical conditions and ensure that they can still acquire health insurance despite the various ACA repeals by the federal government. He will be joined by legislators from across 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. – Allison Beam 10:40 a.m. – Ken Bertka Luke’s Care Network 11:00 a.m. – Doug Furness Blue Cross 11:20 a.m. – Alvaro Castillo Access Network 11:40 a.m. – Closing Remarks The meeting is one in a series being held across the state on the House Democrats’ Plan4PA ( www.plan4pa.com ), which includes putting people first, good jobs, quality Read more
ERIE, July 19 – A shared interest in animal rights drew community members, elected officials and animal rights workers to an event today celebrating the one-year anniversary of the signing of Libre’s Law, according to the law’s author, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie. Bizzarro, who co-hosted the event with local and national representatives of the Humane Society and the ANNA Shelter of Erie, said he was thrilled by the turnout. “It’s so encouraging to know that so many people in our community came out to show their support for animal rights and the new anti-cruelty legislation,” Bizzarro said. “Animals bring so much joy into our lives. It’s unfortunate that we need laws like this to protect them, but it’s heartening to know they have so much support.” Guest speakers included Erie Mayor John Schember; Braddock Mayor John Fetterman; and Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania director of the Humane Society. Bizzarro worked hard to ensure passage of the state’s tougher animal cruelty law, which was named for Libre, the Boston terrier pup rescued from a Lancaster County farm in 2016 after suffering severe neglect. The new law, which ensures that animal abusers face tougher punishments, was signed by Gov. Wolf last summer. Read more
BETHLEHEM, July 19 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, is hosting a House Democratic Policy public hearing on human services for the disabled community next week. The public hearing will occur 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 24 at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg, Educational Conference Center, Room B, 2545 Schoenersville Road. McNeill requested the hearing to discuss the importance of state and local services in helping those with the physical and intellectual disabilities. She will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. – Welcome and opening remarks 2:10 p.m. – Sheila Theodorou Intellectual Disabilities, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services 2:40 p.m. – anel of Providers: Dr. Ed Norris , Department of Psychiatry chairman, Lehigh Valley Health Network Shane Adams , supports coordinator supervisor, Service Access and Management 3:10 p.m. – Panel from Lehigh County Human Services Department Josh Bridges , administrator of mental health and intellectual disabilities Mike Paulvik , deputy administrator for mental health 3:40 p.m. – Panel from Pennsylvania Waiting List Campaign: Ned Whitehouse , advisor Tom Caraiti , advisor 4 p.m. – Panel of Parents Read more
BELLEFONTE, July 18 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on retirement security. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, July 23 at Bald Eagle Area High School, 751 S. Eagle Valley Road. Hanna requested the hearing to discuss the necessity of helping Pennsylvanians with saving for retirement. The discussion will include Hanna's legislation ( H.B. 465 ), which would provide private sector employees without access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan the opportunity to save for retirement through automatic payroll deduction. Hanna will be joined by legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. – Welcome and opening remarks 2:10 p.m. – Keith Welks , deputy treasurer, Pennsylvania Treasurer's Office 2:40 p.m. – Wendy Young Carter , vice president and D.C. practice director, public sector, The Segal Group 3:10 p.m. – Ray Landis , government relations manager, AARP Pennsylvania 3:40 p.m. – Closing remarks The meeting is one in a series being held throughout Pennsylvania on the House Democrats’ Plan4PA ( www.plan4pa.com ) that includes putting people first, good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. Visit www.pahouse.com/policycommittee for Policy Committee materials. The Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 18 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, and Sayre Health Center will host an information session for seniors about the new shingles vaccine. The session will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 25 at Christian Compassion CDC, 6150 Cedar Ave., Philadelphia, 19143. "Older adults and people with a weakened immune system are at greatest risk for developing shingles. As part of my ongoing effort to promote better health in our communities, I want to make sure those at highest risk know how to protect themselves," McClinton said. Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. It's caused by reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox. Staff from McClinton’s office will be on hand at the July 25 event to provide senior literature and to answer questions about state issues and programs. For more information, contact McClinton’s office at (215) 748-6712. ### Read more
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