PHILADELPHIA, March 22 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, welcomed a new poll out today that shows strong, bipartisan support among Pennsylvanians for criminal justice reform. "People make mistakes, but everyone deserves the right to demonstrate that they’ve learned from that mistake and are willing to change their ways," Harris said. "That’s one of the reasons why over 88 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans in the state agree that it doesn’t matter how long people are in jail, it matters that they don’t commit a crime when they return back to their communities. We need to take action and work on legislation that will improve public safety and put people back to work." Harris also welcomed the news that more than half the state Senate is co-sponsoring "Clean Slate" legislation being introduced by Sens. Scott Wagner, R-York, and Anthony Hardy Williams, D-Phila./Delaware. Harris and Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, are seeking House co-sponsors for the legislation, which would automatically seal the records for certain nonviolent offenses if the person hasn't committed another crime. Harris was instrumental in passing Act 5 of 2016, which provides a process for sealing low-level, non-violent misdemeanors. Harris said the new legislation he's advocating would improve on Act 5, which requires former offenders to petition the court. Read more
In a Pa. House Judiciary Committee meeting, state Rep. Joanna McClinton speaks out against legislation that would reintroduce mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug-related offenses. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 21 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, hosted an entrepreneurial inclusion summit Monday in the Capitol complex . The event recognized Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Day in Harrisburg. Wheatley addressed the participants and highlighted the quest for equality in bidding for state contracts, which began in the 1980s with a select committee that was established by then-state Rep. Gordon Linton of Philadelphia. "Has the state progressed?" Wheatley asked. "Yes, but we still have real work to do." Wheatley concluded his remarks with the acknowledgement that minority business owners are, "not looking for a handout, but actually looking for people to get out of their way." Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Jordan Harris, D-Phila., pointed out that minority business owners are equal to any others. "When the playing field is level, we will excel," he said. Women's Caucus Chairwoman Margo Davidson, D-Phila., recognized the growth in the number of woman-owned businesses, from 8 million to 10 million over the last decade. Following the remarks, minority business owners from Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, shared in a networking luncheon with a number of state agencies and then were recognized in the House chamber before visiting individual legislators. State agencies that participated in the networking luncheon included: the departments of Community Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 20 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said the PLBC is disappointed at the return of the police secrecy bill the House passed today and is calling for Gov. Tom Wolf to veto it again. Similar to a bill Wolf vetoed at the end of last session, H.B. 27 would block the release of the name of a police officer who discharges his or her firearm or uses force that results in death or serious injury until the completion of an official investigation that is not defined and that could take up to 30 days after the incident. "This bill would further erode the trust between citizens, specifically people of color, and our police forces at a time when police-community relations are too often strained," Harris said. "Hiding the name of a police officer involved in a potentially deadly encounter is not the way to improve trust between law enforcement and communities that have historically been marginalized by those in power. "We need more trust between police and the people they serve, not less." Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chairwoman of the PLBC, said, "Transparency is a goal we strive for at all levels of government. Police departments perform a highly skilled and dangerous job for the people, but they also should remain accountable to the people. I believe those ideas are not mutually exclusive and that acknowledging this will help build better relations among Read more
Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock speaks on her resolution recognizing the week of March 6 through 10, 2017, as "National School Breakfast Week" in Pennsylvania. Read more
PITTSBURGH, March 17 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, is hosting an entrepreneurial inclusion summit at 11:15 a.m. in the Capitol Media Center, Harrisburg. Sen. Vincent Hughes, the Women's Caucus and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus also are participating in the event. They will be joined by Stephen Bradley, chairman, Philadelphia African American Chamber of Commerce, and Shariah Brown, chairman, African American Chamber of Commerce of central Pennsylvania. Minority business owners from Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia are expected to participate in the event. The MWDBE program is designed to encourage minority, women and other disadvantaged business owners to bid for and compete in state and local government bidding opportunities. In addition to the media event, the attendees will join in a networking luncheon with a number of state agencies and then be recognized in the House chamber before visiting individual legislators in Harrisburg. State agencies expected to participate in the networking luncheon include: the departments of Community and Economic Development, Conservation and Natural Resources, Corrections, General Services, Military and Veterans Affairs, and Transportation; the Game Commission; Gaming Control Board; Liquor Control Board; Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and the Turnpike Commission. ### Read more
Pa. state Rep. Morgan Cephas talks about the needs of her "middle neighborhoods" in West Philadelphia, including growing the local economy, improving social services for working families and those with disabilities. Cephas also talks about the importance of early education programs and the need to fund them properly. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Ed Gainey takes with the Pa. Secretary of Education about guiding high school curriculum for technical and occupational education for CTEs and higher education institutions to better prepare our students to compete in a global economy. Read more
Following a rash of house fires in her district, Pa. state Rep. Morgan Cephas hosted a public meeting with the Philadelphia Fire Department and other local groups to help people learn about fire safety and how to keep their families safe. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey discusses some of the insight he gained from the second week of Appropriations Committee hearings on the state budget proposal, including Liquor Control on closing "stop-and-go's," the public Utilities Commission on the proposed rate hike by PGW, Dept. of Corrections and increasing tourism in Northwest Philadelphia. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock talks about some of things she took out of the second week of Appropriations Committee hearings on the Pa. state budget proposal, including how the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act would affect Pennsylvania. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock talks to the Pa. Dept. of Health about their reaction to the state's opioid epidemic and how the department is serving special populations in the community. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 28 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said today, "The members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus condemn the hate crimes that are on the rise lately, including the disgusting vandalism at a Philadelphia Jewish cemetery, the threats to several Jewish community centers in Pennsylvania and the horrific shooting of two Indians in Kansas and another man who came to their aid. "We stand with our Jewish and Indian brothers and sisters, and all who have been victimized by these acts of hate. An attack on one is an attack on all, and those responsible for these acts must be brought to justice." ### Read more
Treasurer of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus, state Rep. Chris Rabb hosted a community forum titled "Where We Go From Here." The meeting gave an opportunity for community members to network with each other and generate ideas on how to improve neighborhoods, communities, the city, the state and the nation. Over 200 people attended the forum, held at the Masjidullah Center for Human Excellence. Read more
Citing the Dr. Seuss character, The Lorax, as inspiration, Vice Chairwoman of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus state Rep. Donna Bullock talks with the Acting Secretary of the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection about the mission and work of the Office of Environmental Justice. Read more
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey continues to fight for social services funding that serve the most vulnerable, and a quality education for all Pennsylvania students. Read more
During hearings on the state budget, Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock continues to investigate with state agencies and departments their hiring practices and the diversity of their workforce. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey talks about what he's gathered from the first week of hearings on Pennsylvania's 2017-18 state budget proposal. Read more
Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Vice-Chairwoman Rep. Donna Bullock wraps up a busy first week of hearings on the proposed state budget for 2017-18. Bullock continues to work for Pennsylvania's working families and most vulnerable people int he budget process. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey discusses strengthening enrollment at Pa. State Schools of Higher Education campuses during an Appropriations Committee hearing on the 2017-18 state budget proposal. Kinsey also asks about leadership at Cheyney University and the future of the state's only historically Black University. Read more
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