HARRISBURG, March 18 – Legislation co-sponsored by state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., that would provide more opportunities for entrepreneurship across the commonwealth passed the House today, 192-2. House Bill 324 would permit municipalities with a population of 10,000 people or more to encourage development of micro-enterprises, businesses that employ up to five people. In so doing, such initiatives can reduce the number of people participating in social programs and transition them into the full-time workforce. “With my background as a business author, practitioner and professor teaching entrepreneurship, it led me to help extend the reach of this proposed initiative to a more diverse set of beneficiaries, including worker cooperatives,” Rabb said. “This business assistance program would now be made available to more prospective business owners who would most benefit from it, and prevent others outside of Pennsylvania from taking advantage of opportunities meant for state residents already invested in their local communities.” The legislation also would encourage partnerships with existing authorities and redevelopment authorities to operate a community development authority that would issue loans to micro-enterprises. Funding for the loans would come from money contributed by municipalities through a small portion of fees and fines collected, as well as money through private partnerships. Rabb said that bipartisanship helped to move Read more
Crystal Bird Fauset became the first black woman in the U.S. to be elected to a state general assembly. She was elected to serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1938. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that he plans to re-introduce legislation to reform the special election nomination process for the Pennsylvania legislature. “Far too often, special elections across the commonwealth fail to honor our participatory democracy, where the people, not a political party, are supposed to be in charge of choosing a candidate,” Rabb explained. “My bill aims to prevent nominees from being hand-picked, putting the responsibility solely in the hands of voters, and restore public faith in the special election process for senators and representatives in the General Assembly.” Under Rabb's bill , people interested in running in a special election would be required to: File their candidacy with the political party in each county of the legislative district. Pay a modest filing fee. Prepare, or publicly opt out of preparing, a short video announcing their candidacy, which would be posted on the Department of State's website and made available to the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Rabb's bill also would require political parties to advertise and hold a public meeting to consider each person who seeks nomination as a candidate in a special election. “The whole point of an election is to choose the best person fit to serve, period,” Rabb said. “Instead, current special election rules favor a process that deters a wide variety of candidates from Read more
Established in 1837, Cheyney University in Pennsylvania was the first of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs). In the 1930s when Jewish academics, facing persecution in Europe, started arriving in the U.S, they found an accepting environment in the HCBUs. At the time, African-Americans and Jews were united in their common goal of attaining equality. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 4 – With the ongoing attempts of cyberattacks targeting Pennsylvanians, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., has introduced legislation that would help protect the commonwealth’s cyber infrastructure. “From email and phone scams to personal data breaches, it is unconscionable the number of attempted cyberattacks occurring in Pennsylvania. With everyone constantly connected on their phones, computers and other electronic devices, the amount of potential attacks will only increase,” Kenyatta said. “We have to protect Pennsylvanians’ personal information and the creation of the Cybersecurity Innovation Commission would do just that.” House Bill 225 would create a Cybersecurity Innovation Commission to safeguard Pennsylvania’s data by conducting cybersecurity audits, improving security and privacy standards and analyzing the protocols. The commission also would work with businesses to make sure they are up-to-date on the newest technology. During recent House Appropriations Committee budget hearings, officials with the Governor’s Office of Administration testified that while they follow national federal guidelines and best practices to defend the commonwealth against cyberattacks, they still have seen an increase in the number of threats, with 18 billion in 2018. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Pennsylvania ranks 18th in the nation for the amount of identity theft cases. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 1 – State Rep. Chris Rabb is calling on his constituents to nominate a woman from the 200th Legislative District who is making in a difference in the community, home or at work. Rabb will honor these women during a luncheon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 15 at the Pleasant Recreation Center, 6757 Chew Ave., Philadelphia. The media is invited to attend. The luncheon also will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about state-related programs that could benefit them and their families. Rabb said constituents can nominate a phenomenal woman by visiting his website at www.pahouse.com/Rabb , or by calling his office at 215-242-7300. The deadline for nominations is March 11. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 1 – A national nonprofit organization situated in West Mifflin is receiving a $45,000 state grant to help fund the group’s initiative of providing welcome home kits to at-risk veterans, announced state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny. Davis said Operation Troop Appreciation, located at 1200 Lebanon Road, has been selected by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to get the grant through the Veterans Trust Fund, which is replenished by generous Pennsylvanians who make a voluntary $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or photo ID, or renewing a vehicle registration. “Since becoming a nonprofit organization in July 2004, Operation Troop Appreciation – which we’re proud to have located in our district – has been a source of hope and appreciation for veterans abroad and for those returning home,” Davis said. “This selfless organization, which is completely run by volunteers, works tirelessly to make sure veterans have what they need while overseas and ensures veterans don’t end up on the streets once they return home. It’s with great appreciation and gratitude that I announce this grant for Operation Troop Appreciation.” Aside from grant money, funding for OTA comes by way of donations. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 1 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas announced today that St. Joseph’s University is receiving $11,836 to help fund its efforts to assist veterans. The grant money is part of the Veterans Trust Fund and will be used to support the school’s podcasts that highlight business topics of interest to women veterans and military spouses. “The commitment, dedication and sacrifice of our veterans has opened the door to freedoms that too many in this country take for granted. While we can never fully repay them for their service, this money is critical in supporting programs aimed at helping our nation’s heroes here at home,” Cephas said. “I commend Governor Tom Wolf for awarding these funds, and I share in his passion to putting veterans and their families first.” St. Joseph’s University was one of three organizations in Philadelphia that received VTF funding: Military Assistance Project: $49,600 to provide free legal services to veterans Veterans Multi-Service Center: $25,000 for its women veterans program A complete list of recipients can be found here . The VTF is funded by generous Pennsylvanians who voluntarily make a $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license, photo ID, or a motor vehicle registration. The VTF also receives proceeds that come from the sale of the Honoring Our Veterans license plate and private donations. Since the grant program began in 2013, more than Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 26 – House Democratic Caucus Chair Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today announced the appointment of four legislators to serve in the newly-created role of deputy caucus chair for the 2019-2020 legislative session. The newly appointed deputy caucus chairs are: State Rep. Morgan Cephas, Philadelphia County State Rep. Ed Gainey, Allegheny County State Rep. Frank Burns, Cambria County State Rep. Michael Schlossberg, Lehigh County “As the first woman and the first African-American to serve as the House Democratic Caucus chair, I am committed to ensuring that our new members have the information and mentorship they need to best serve their communities. I also know it is equally important to work hand-in-hand with our experienced members to better meet the needs of all of our constituents. For those reasons, I’m grateful to be joined in this effort by four deputy caucus chairs who represent a cross-section of our caucus in terms of gender, race and geographic location,” McClinton said. In their new roles, the deputy caucus chairs will work closely with the 24 new members of the House Democratic Caucus to provide peer mentoring in areas such as messaging, legislative goals, district office outreach and constituent services. The deputy caucus chairs will also work with McClinton to prepare special informational presentations for legislators and to encourage all members to routinely attend daily caucus meetings Read more
I’m inviting you to learn about your rights by attending my Housing: Know Your Rights event on Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Berean Presbyterian Church, 2101 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, 19122. Renters and homeowners can receive information on their rights as well as on a number of state-related programs, such as help to heat your home and assistance with rent or property taxes. Read more
During a House Budget Hearing in Harrisburg, Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock questioned the lack of diversity in the Pennsylvania State Police. She discussed why it’s critical to have troopers of all different backgrounds. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 25 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, announced that the state House of Representatives last week voted to pass a bill that she supported to give first-time homebuyers a tax deduction for money saved toward the purchase of a home. “I was a prime supporter of this bill because we have to make it easier for ordinary Pennsylvanians to own their own home,” she said. “Last week’s vote showed overwhelming bipartisan support for this legislation, which would make homeownership more accessible. I hope the Senate will hear the resounding roar of support for this bill and move it forward to the governor’s desk.” The First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Act would allow Pennsylvanians to open special savings accounts and take state tax deductions for eligible expenses such as a down payment and closing costs. Account holders would be permitted to claim deductions for a total of $50,000 over a 10-year period. Annual contributions would be capped at $5,000 for single taxpayers and $10,000 for those filing a joint return. The bill would apply to first-time homebuyers and those who have not owned or purchased a home within the three years leading up to the purchase. Allowing Pennsylvanians to establish first-time homebuyer savings accounts could result in an annual increase of up to 4,000 home purchases within the state, with the projected impact from economic activity, job creation and earnings reaching as high as Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 23 - State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus hosted a Black History Month program to celebrate the Tuskegee Airmen and women. "The Tuskegee Airmen and women proved everyone who doubted the leadership skills of black Americans wrong,” Kinsey said. “Before the civil rights movement began to form, these heroes helped open doors for black Americans in the military and beyond.” The event featured a panel discussion with Tuskegee Airmen and women from the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., including Nathan O. Thomas, Dr. Eugene Richardson, and Alma Bailey. The panel was hosted by Junious R. Stanton. There were also performances by the Kappa Concert Choir and dance selections from Sanaa Sewell, a fifth grader from the Mathematics Science and Civics Charter School. Read more
As the first Dominican elected to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Pa. state Rep. Danilo Burgos gave the keynote address in Harrisburg to honor 175 years of independence for the Dominican Republic. He explains the legislation he’s working on to help people of all backgrounds achieve the American Dream. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 19 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, today announced his support for a bipartisan package of legislation that would enhance the quality of career and technical education programs throughout Pennsylvania. This four-bill package aligns with the House Democrats’ Plan4PA to give students throughout the commonwealth a quality education that would jumpstart their careers in vocational and technical job fields. “As Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, I am committed more than ever to improving the delivery of Career and Technical Education programs to those who need them the most,” Roebuck said. “These past few years, numbers have risen to more than 67,000 Pennsylvania high school students being able to participate in CTE programs. This bipartisan package of bills – especially my two bills – would build upon the success we have already seen, while also giving stakeholders a voice to make much-needed changes.” In 2015, the House unanimously adopted H.R. 102 to establish the Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness. The subcommittee, co-chaired by state Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, made several recommendations that resulted in this package of legislation, including calling for a central database of resources. “Young Pennsylvanians contemplating career paths have access to a wealth of resources from Read more
At a Capitol news conference, Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock promotes legislation enabling community solar projects in Pennsylvania. In community solar, participants can subscribe to a portion of an offsite solar project and receive credit on their electricity bill for the power produced, just as if the panels were on their roof. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 15 – In his continued effort to connect with young people in his district, state Rep. Chris Rabb announced he will host his third annual millennial brunch from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 at Mt. Airy Nexus, 520 Carpenter Lane, 19119. Rabb said the brunch is a great opportunity for residents, students, activists and leaders between the ages of 18 and 35 to gather for food and networking and to get information about what they can do to improve their schools, help fight crime and improve their neighborhood. Residents interested in attending are urged to call Rabb’s office at 215-242-7300. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced that the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will host a Black History Month program to celebrate the Tuskegee Airmen. The ceremony will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Feb. 23 at New Covenant Church of Philadelphia, 7500 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19119. "The Tuskegee Airmen’s excellent combat record served as an example to all who doubted the leadership skills of black Americans'” Kinsey said. “Even before the civil rights movement took shape, these heroes helped open doors for black Americans in the military and beyond.” The event will feature a panel discussion with members of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen hosted by Junious R. Stanton. Speakers include Tuskegee Airmen and women Nathan O. Thomas, Dr. Eugene Richardson, Bertram Levy and Alma Bailey. Read more
Cathay Williams was the first and only known female Buffalo Soldier during the Civil War. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, is demanding answers after an apparent racial incident occurred in Brushton in Pittsburgh on Thursday. Gainey, who is in Harrisburg attending budget hearings, said he was contacted by a neighborhood resident about what appeared to be a doll that had been hung by the neck from a utility pole. Gainey in turn contacted city officials, who quickly had the doll removed. The incident remains under investigation. “I am disturbed and sickened by this incident,” Gainey said. “I find it appalling, but sadly not surprising that in 2019 we are still confronted with these public displays of hate in our communities. “Whether it is a racially motivated incident like this or an attack on a religious group, we cannot allow hate to fester and take hold in our communities. While we cannot allow events like this to define who we are, neither can we allow them to pass unremarked,” Gainey said. “We are better than this, Pittsburgh is better than this. “I want to thank the people in the community who brought this to my attention and also thank the city for its quick response in removing it. I also hope – and will continue to seek -- that those who perpetrated this wanton act are brought to justice.” Read more
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