PHILADELPHIA, June 8 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, has announced the nine student recipients of the 2018 Jim Roebuck Leadership Awards. The students all live in and attended school in the 188th Legislative District. All school principals were sent a letter and nomination form and asked that they and their faculty select a student for the honor. Each student received a certificate and a cash award. "The award is designed to recognize students who have displayed outstanding leadership abilities and who might not otherwise be recognized for their achievements," Roebuck said. "I aim to maintain a good working relationship with the schools in my legislative district and it is my hope that all students will continue to do their best." The 2018 recipients are: Alyxandra Jackson-Hall, Avery D. Harrington Elementary School Stephen Walicki, Penn Alexander School Alexander Morrow, The Workshop School Tahir Naseem Hennie, Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School Tiguida Kaba, Henry C. Lea Elementary School Dahmere Town, Paul Robeson High School Zoie Jackson-Lawrence, Jubilee School Gregory James Viola, Home of the Merciful Savior for Children with Cerebral Palsy Rebecca Brima, Mastery Charter School – Harrity Elementary Roebuck noted the students were presented with their award during their respective graduation ceremonies. ### Read more
State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, stood alongside Gov. Tom Wolf as he signed an executive order Wednesday in the Capitol to address gender pay inequities within the commonwealth. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, June 8 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., is inviting constituents to a free shredding event from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 16 at the Germantown Christian Assembly, 610 E. Mount Pleasant Ave., to provide vital information and help prevent identity theft. “It’s so important to promote awareness on the dangers of identity theft. These events give people the opportunity to get rid of documents and electronics they no longer need, ensuring that the items are disposed of in a secure manner,” Rabb said. Residents are encouraged to bring any documents that contain personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card statements and applications, medical records, banking statements, canceled checks, income tax information, insurance records and retirement or pension fund information. There is a limit of two boxes or large trash bags per person. Papers must be loose. Binders or paper clips cannot be accepted. Documents will be shredded on site. More information is available by calling Rabb’s office at 215-242-7300. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 7 – A bill that would require Pennsylvania schools to test students on their competency in civics, government and U.S. history is heading to the governor’s desk after the House yesterday passed a final version, according to the bill’s co-prime sponsor, Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny. “The test that schools would administer would be the same or similar to the test immigrants must take to become U.S. citizens,” Kortz said. “If we’re requiring new citizens to learn fundamental concepts about how our democracy works, then our students should have the same basic knowledge upon graduation. “The ultimate goal of the bill is to ensure that our graduating students have a basic knowledge of our constitutional democracy so that they can become engaged citizens in our great nation. We can’t expect kids to grow into informed, responsible citizens and leaders if we don’t teach them about how our government works.” House Bill 564 would require schools to administer either a locally developed civics assessment – or they can use the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services test or parts thereof – at least once to all students between grades seven and 12. Ultimately, the local school districts would decide the final version of the test. Students who obtain a perfect grade would receive a certificate of recognition from the state Department of Education. The certificate would not be a Read more
EBENSBURG, June 7 – Noting that the program has resulted in almost 500 arrests since its inception four years ago, state Rep. Frank Burns is offering free “Push out the Pusher” yard signs at each of his district offices. Burns, D-Cambria, said the campaign to eradicate illegal drugs – notably heroin and other opioids – is driven by the ability to remain anonymous by calling a toll-free tip line and the possibility of a reward of up to $8,000. “If you’re fed up with drug dealers pushing their poison on kids, then get involved in the fight by displaying a yard sign and reporting what you see to police,” said Burns of the program that also involves Cambria County Crime Stoppers. “We need the public’s help to combat this opioid crisis, so let’s all band together, fight back and let these drug dealers know the 72 nd Legislative District is not an easy place to set up shop.” Burns, who has stood with law enforcement agency representatives and the Cambria County district attorney at prior “Push out the Pusher” events, said the actual reward amounts are determined by police and the county’s drug task force. Burns said citizens can report illegal drug activity by calling 1-800-548-7500, or by calling their local police department. “"The program’s been effective in helping get heroin and other dangerous illegal drugs off our streets,” Burns said, noting that at Read more
HARRISBURG, June 7 – In response to a Republican committee chairman who openly admitted to blocking bills sponsored by House Democrats, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, today introduced legislation geared toward releasing stalled bills from House committees. If adopted, H.R. 955 would make bills eligible for discharge from House committees after 15 calendar days instead of 15 legislative days. This measure, also known as a discharge resolution, is used to force a stalled bill out of a House committee. DeLuca said if two-thirds of the House members wish to move a bill out of a committee and sign the resolution, the bill would be put on the calendar and then considered on the next scheduled legislative day. “As you probably know, some chairmen openly refuse to move bills, regardless of their merit and importance, simply because they’re sponsored by a member of the opposing party,” DeLuca said. “This is the epitome of what’s wrong with politics in Harrisburg. Committees are designed to consider and improve bills so they can be openly debated among the full House. When chairmen make the decision to bottle up good bills that benefit the people, they betray the trust of all Pennsylvanians.” The resolution comes on the heels of DeLuca’s package of “good government” bills aimed at increasing political transparency and expanding voter rights throughout the commonwealth. They include: H.B. 945 , which Read more
HARRISBURG, June 7 – Marywood University was awarded a $318,651 Adult Basic Education Direct Service grant, announced state Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 7 – The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee approved a House bill Wednesday that would permit workers licensed under the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs who are subject to a continuing education requirement to carry over excess CE credits they earn to their next license renewal period, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny. Readshaw, who is Democratic chairman of the House Professional Licensure Committee, said that by amending the current law to permit carryover of excess credits, H.B. 1343 would lend some flexibility to the continuing education process. “Carryover would allow licensees to create a cushion in the continuing education requirement by accumulating additional credits,” Readshaw said. “It would also permit them to choose classes without fear of paying for unused credits, which would give them the freedom to choose courses based on content, not on the number of credits provided.” Readshaw added that carryover credits would be valid for one biennial renewal term only. Currently, 23 of the state’s 29 licensing boards require some amount of continuing education for license renewal. Of those boards with a continuing education requirement, only one – psychology – currently allows carryover of excess credits. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, June 7 – Area residents interested in learning more about Pennsylvania’s pardons process are invited to attend a meeting Wednesday, June 13 hosted by Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., and Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack. The Pathways to Pardons meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Northeast Frankford Boys and Girls Club, 1709 Kinsey St., 19124. Dawkins said those in attendance can learn how the pardon process works in Pennsylvania and work toward a pardon for past convictions. “With this event we hope to become a resource for those in need of a second chance and a positive path in life. We can no longer deny opportunities for citizens to better themselves and support their families because of a minor conviction,” Dawkins said. The program will be interactive and questions from the audience will be welcome. For more information, contact Dawkins’ office at (215) 744-7901. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 7 – As part of his ongoing constituent and community outreach service dubbed “One.19,” state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, visited Larksville. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 6 – The House today unanimously adopted a resolution commemorating the 74th anniversary of D-Day, according to the resolution’s sponsor, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny. “More than 160,000 U.S. and allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy on that day in 1944,” Kortz said. “It was the crucial turning point in World War II because on that day, America and her allies started the campaign that was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. “D-Day represented so much for our nation. It showed us the power of our strength and resolve as Americans. Perhaps most importantly, the victory reassured us that the nearly 10,000 lives lost were not lost in vain. The “greatest generation” answered the call and rose up to scale the Normandy beaches and cliffs that day en route to defeat the Axis powers who were focused on world domination. “My father, while not part of the Normandy invasion, fought in the European theater during World War II, and I am forever grateful for his service and all the soldiers who sacrificed so much to win this terrible war. “I want to thank my colleagues for unanimously adopting this resolution so that we can keep alive the memory of those who began the campaign to liberate the world that day.” Read more
PHILADELPHIA, June 6 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today called for immediate action from the School District of Philadelphia on a report of a severe asbestos hazard at Olney Elementary School, and he wants the school closed until the hazard is addressed. In a letter to Superintendent Dr. William Hite, Dawkins said: "It is simply unacceptable for students and staff to be exposed to asbestos fibers at more than 100 times the minimum level required to raise alarm. We cannot have our youngest and most vulnerable children exposed to these hazards and threats." Dawkins' letter continued: "I demand to know why I, along with other elected officials throughout the city, have not been briefed on these conditions. Moving forward, the School District of Philadelphia must ensure that we are informed and armed with the information we need to keep our constituents safe and healthy – a full, districtwide report detailing hazardous conditions, such as lead, asbestos, and other toxic substances, found in the city’s schools is long overdue. "It is clear that action is needed immediately in the case of Olney Elementary. We must work now to schedule action this summer, so that we may address this issue. In the meantime, this school building cannot remain open to students and staff. It is unacceptable to require students or district staff to sacrifice their health and well-being for a moment longer in this building." Dawkins said it Read more
HARRISBURG, June 6 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans released the following statement today after Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order to help close the gender wage gap in Pennsylvania: “I was proud to stand with Governor Wolf as he put pen to paper to steer Pennsylvania in the right direction. I’m glad he shares our passion and is joining in our fight to ensure women are paid the same as men for doing the same job. “Women have fought far too hard and far too long to fall back into outdated stereotypes. Many are the sole providers for their family and need a sustainable paycheck to support their loved ones. “Today is a milestone for Pennsylvania. I will continue to work alongside my colleagues until we close this wage gap for good and women are respected as equals in the workplace.” ### Read more
HARRISBURG, June 6 – The House today unanimously adopted a resolution commemorating the 50 th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, according to the resolution’s sponsor, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny. Matzie said he introduced H.R. 951 to keep alive the memory of one of our nation’s most passionate voices in the fight for social justice. “Bobby Kennedy was a fierce advocate for social justice and civil rights at a time when our nation was struggling to find its public conscience,” Matzie said. “Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. were calling for peaceful change in turbulent times, and Bobby answered the call by saying, ‘You’re not alone. We’re with you.’ “Why a resolution to commemorate his assassination? Because it challenges us to ask: ‘How are we doing today? Have we moved closer to his vision of a just, equal society?’ To be sure, we have a long road ahead. But our way is clearer thanks to Bobby and those like him. He reminded us that without social justice and equality, the other victories are meaningless.” Read more
READING, June 6 – The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced a $751,695 Adult Basic Education Direct Service grant to Reading Area Community College, state Rep. Tom Caltagirone said today. The grant will help the college provide adult education and literacy services. “These are the kinds of public-private partnerships that net results in our community,” said Caltagirone, D-Berks. “Literacy and continuing-education classes are good for families looking to succeed and contribute to the economy. Reading Area Community College is an outstanding resource and ally for those goals, and I’m pleased that the state saw fit to invest in their mission. “I look forward to providing more opportunities for funding in our community.” Eligible applicants for these grants include school districts, libraries, volunteer literacy organizations, public housing authorities, community colleges and public and private nonprofit agencies. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 6 – Allegheny and Beaver county residents will benefit from a $2 million grant to boost adult literacy, state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, announced today. The recipient of the state Department of Education grant – Literacy Pittsburgh – is the largest provider of adult basic education in Allegheny County. “For adults, literacy is the gateway to education, to employment, to self-sufficiency – and even to the best possible parenting,” Davis said. “This grant will help so many of our local residents realize their potential, benefiting themselves, their families, their communities and the economy in the process.” Davis noted that Adult Basic Education Direct Service grants permit federal, state and local entities to partner together to provide adult education and literacy. The goal is to assist adults in: Obtaining secondary-school diplomas and transitioning to postsecondary education and training; Obtaining the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and economic self-sufficiency; Becoming full partners in their children’s educational development; and Understanding the language, for those who are immigrants or learning English as a second language, so they can understand our government and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. “I’m so excited about this grant,” Davis said. “In addition to helping hundreds of local residents become more productive, Read more
HARRISBURG, June 6 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, today announced the awarding of more than $1 million through an Adult Basic Education grant to an educational service agency located in the 3 rd Legislative District. Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5 was awarded a $1,028,818 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The organization also services Crawford and Warren counties. “I’m happy to announce the awarding of this grant to Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5,” Bizzarro said. “This funding will allow the organization to continue to provide cost-effective programs for adult education across the Erie region.” According to the Department of Education, this grant will enable IU5 to do the following: Assist adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and economic self-sufficiency. Assist adults who are parents or family members to obtain the education and skills that are necessary to becoming full partners in the educational development of their children and lead to sustainable improvements in the economic opportunities for their family. Assist adults in attaining a secondary school diploma and in the transition to postsecondary education and training, including through career pathways. Assist immigrants and other people who are English language learners in improving their reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension skills in English, improving their Read more
HARRISBURG – June 6, 2018 – State Reps. James Roebuck and Jordan Harris, both D-Phila., joined Sen. Vincent J. Hughes, D-Phila./Montgomery, to introduce legislation for the Pennsylvania Promise initiative, a program that would make college free and affordable to many students across the state. The legislators were joined by guests from the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) President Ken Mash, dozens of APSCUF members, a student and other members of the House and Senate announcing Senate Bill 1111 and House Bill 2444. “Helping our students should be priority number one,” Senator Hughes said. “I’ve heard from far too many college students who are struggling to make ends meet. They’re starving and some can’t maintain stable housing throughout the school year. They need something like PA Promise to make college reality.” The bills would: Cover up to four years of tuition and fees for any recent high school graduate enrolled full-time at one of the Commonwealth’s 14 public community colleges. Cover up to four years of tuition and fees for any recent high school graduate with a family income less than or equal to $110,000 per year at one of the 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education or a state-related university. Cover room and board for any recent high school graduate with a family income less than or equal to $48,000 per year at a Read more
HARRISBURG, June 6 – State Rep. Perry Warren recognized the significant impact of community theatre organizations throughout Pennsylvania and welcomed several local community theatre representatives to the Capitol on Wednesday. House Resolution 916, introduced by Warren and adopted unanimously by the House of Representatives, recognizes June 3-9, 2018, as “Community Theatre Week” in Pennsylvania. “Community theatre organizations bring the arts to life for audiences of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds,” said Warren, D-Bucks. “The passionate individuals who make up these organizations introduce us to new worlds and help us understand the human experience.” On Wednesday, Warren recognized the following local community theatre representatives in the House chamber. From Newtown Arts Company, in Newtown: Marcia Wittmann, president of the board of directors and an actor and producer and Lisa Reiser, vice president of the board and a producer, costumer and social media chairwoman. From ActorsNET, in Morrisville: Maryalice Rubins-Topoleski, president of the board of directors, and an actor, director, choreographer and producer and Hayley Rubins-Topoleski, board of directors and director of marketing, actor, producer and director. “We appreciate the efforts of everyone, from the actors on stage to the behind-the-scenes crew, who put together community programs that educate and enrich our lives. I’m pleased Read more
HARRISBURG – June 6, 2018 – State Reps. Jordan Harris and James Roebuck, both D-Phila., joined Sen. Vincent J. Hughes, D-Phila./Montgomery, to introduce legislation for the Pennsylvania Promise initiative, a program that would make college free and affordable to many students across the state. The legislators were joined by guests from the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) President Ken Mash, dozens of APSCUF members, a student and other members of the House and Senate announcing Senate Bill 1111 and House Bill 2444. “Helping our students should be priority number one,” Senator Hughes said. “I’ve heard from far too many college students who are struggling to make ends meet. They’re starving and some can’t maintain stable housing throughout the school year. They need something like PA Promise to make college reality.” The bills would: Cover up to four years of tuition and fees for any recent high school graduate enrolled full-time at one of the Commonwealth’s 14 public community colleges. Cover up to four years of tuition and fees for any recent high school graduate with a family income less than or equal to $110,000 per year at one of the 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education or a state-related university. Cover room and board for any recent high school graduate with a family income less than or equal to $48,000 per year at a Read more
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