Surrounded by colleagues in the Pa. House, state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown thanks the chamber for their approval of her resolution designating the week of December 26, 2017, through January 1, 2018, as "Kwanzaa Week" in Pennsylvania, in recognition of the cultural significance of this holiday for African people throughout the world. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 12 – A resolution ( H.B. 626 ) sponsored by state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., designating Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, 2017 as “Kwanzaa Week” in Pennsylvania was unanimously adopted in the House of Representatives. Created in 1966, Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday that celebrates African heritage throughout the world. “Thank you to my colleagues in the House for recognizing the cultural significance Kwanzaa holds for people of African descent throughout the world,” Brown said. “Kwanzaa reflects the resilience of the African-American spirit. It allows us to pinpoint and reconnect with our long lost culture.” To commemorate the holiday, Brown is hosting a Kwanzaa celebration event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30 at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch St. The event will feature cultural presentations and performances by local artists to tell African history through storytelling and song. Brown’s staff will be available to answer state-related questions on programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. This family-friendly event will be free and open to the community. Attendees must RSVP and receive a ticket to attend by contacting Brown’s constituent service office at 215-879-6615. ### Read more
Pa. state Rep. Margo Davidson talks about the importance of getting guns off the streets in the wake of federal efforts to allow concealed firearms cross state lines. Davidson spoke at a press conference calling for action on reducing gun violence across Pennsylvania. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Joanna McClinton held a press conference to call for attention to the gun epidemic and encourage efforts at getting guns off the streets of not only Philadelphia and surrounding neighborhoods, but across Pennsylvania. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 6 – State Reps. Jordan Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and James Roebuck, both D-Phila., and Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today announced that they are hosting a joint town hall meeting to address the unique concerns affecting residents of southwest Philadelphia. The town hall meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14 at the Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School, 5151 Warren St. Harris, Roebuck and McClinton will inform residents of legislative developments in Harrisburg that impact their respective districts. There will also be a “Get to know your rep.” breakout session where residents will be able to ask their representative questions one-on-one. The meeting is open to the community, and constituents with questions should contact Harris’ district office at 215-952-3378, Roebuck’s office at 215-724-2227, or McClinton’s office at 215-748-6712. “We have debated this bill every year that I have been here, and it’s obvious that we have not been listening. Senate Bill 3 seeks to take away a decision between a woman and her doctor. Neither the House Health Committee, nor the Pennsylvania Legislature, have the right to pass legislation that clearly puts women at risk. This is true for men in particular. It’s time to listen for a change to people who are actually experts in the field.” ### Read more
Pa. state Rep. Joanna McClinton testifies in front of Philadelphia City Council on her efforts to reform bail and criminal justice issues in Pennsylvania. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 29 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today hosted his first House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on bold budget innovations for the betterment of all Pennsylvanians. Held at Chestnut Hill College, Rabb was joined by Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and several lawmakers from across the state. “We’re looking for innovative budget proposals that can help us improve economic security for all, better leverage taxpayer dollars for environmental stewardship, and ease the burdens on Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system. I am grateful to my colleagues for joining me at this forum to discuss these concepts and see where they may fit into our efforts to improve public policy,” Rabb explained. Chairman Sturla added, “Representative Rabb is an innovator and today’s discussion brought great insight into universal basic income, the municipal job guarantee, the carbon fee and various criminal justice reform proposals. Spending tax dollars in the most efficient way possible is the best approach and as we look for ways to close a budget deficit while still meeting the needs of all Pennsylvanians. I thank Representative Rabb for igniting this discussion.” Testifiers included Ioana Marinescu, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice; Darrick Hamilton, Ph.D., associate professor of economics and urban policy, The New School; Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 29 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today spoke at a news conference hosted by Moms Clean Air Force and Defend Our Future to discuss how toxins from the oil and gas industry disproportionately impact African-American families throughout Pennsylvania. According to a November 2017 report co-authored by the Clean Air Task Force and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, African-Americans are exposed to 38 percent more polluted air than their white counterparts and are 75 percent more likely than the average American to live in a fence-line community. Fence-line communities are communities that neighbor a company, industrial or service facility, and are directly impacted by the facility’s operation, which includes noise, door traffic, odor and chemical emissions. “The recent report authored by the Clean Air Task Force and the NAACP only confirms what we already know: the oil and gas industry is making profits at the expense of the health and well-being of historically marginalized communities,” Bullock said. “Many fence-line communities consist of low-income residents who have faced a history of discrimination on the bases of race, gender, class and disability. These companies are able burden vulnerable communities, many which have low rates of health insurance, with the deadly consequences from air pollution.” The report shows Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 28 – Several members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today spoke out against the gun violence epidemic impacting communities of color across Pennsylvania. State Rep, Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said, “Gun violence in Pennsylvania is a public health crisis and an epidemic, particularly for communities of color. It’s past time we start raising the level of attention on this tragic issue and demand more action. When children are being impacted, it’s time to call a state of emergency. “At this time, I’m not calling for new gun laws, but for a coordinated effort and stronger enforcements of the laws we already have in place. By providing the resources necessary, we can finally address the issue of gun violence that has traumatized our communities for far too long.” In 2016 alone, there were more than 10,000 incidents involving firearms across Pennsylvania, with nearly 5,000 of them taking place in Philadelphia. While one Pennsylvanian is murdered with a gun every 17 hours, communities of color are disproportionately impacted. African Americans and Hispanics represent nearly 79 percent of all gun homicides in Pennsylvania. From 2005 to 2014, Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for the rate of gun homicides of African Americans. Although African Americans make up about 12 percent of Pennsylvania’s population, they account for more than 69 Read more
Pa. state Rep. Joanna McClinton stood with her women colleagues in the House of Representatives to call for the elimination of sexual violence against women. McClinton sponsored a House Resolution designating November 25, 2017, as "Elimination of Violence Against Women Day" in Pennsylvania to coincide with the United Nations' "International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women." Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., announced that she will host a Women of Color in Business event from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Five Points Coffee, 5 Long Lane, Upper Darby . Cephas is the chairwoman of the PLBC Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color. The event aims to bridge the gap between women of color and entrepreneurship. Women of color entrepreneurs will be able to hear directly from other women of color who have successfully launched businesses and learn more about the resources available to do the same. The Women of Color in Business event marks the second installment of a five part listening tour hosted by the PLBC. ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 20 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, has released the following statement after hearing that the Middle States Commission on Higher Education granted Cheyney University another year of accreditation: “I would like to congratulate Cheyney University for receiving another year of accreditation on its probationary status. This victory reflects the hard work of the board of governors, Council of Trustees, President Aaron Walton, faculty, staff, alumni and countless supporters. This also reflects the vision and commitment of Governor Tom Wolf. Thank you Governor Wolf for taking the steps necessary to protect the legacy of our nation’s oldest Historically Black College. “As a member of the Cheyney University task force, I have been an outspoken advocate of saving Cheyney University’s accreditation and worked on the task force’s report of recommendations for reinventing Cheyney University into a 21st-century historically black college. While this is a major victory, there is still more work to be done. We must now work towards removing Cheney University from this probationary status and ensure that it not only survives, but that it may thrive. We must build upon the legacy that started back in 1837 and has continued for the last 180 years.” ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 17 – State Reps. Jordan Harris and Morgan Cephas, both D-Phila., on behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today hosted a joint policy committee hearing and tour with the House Democratic Policy Committee, various stakeholders, and incarcerated women. The tour and policy hearing was held at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy. This is the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ and House Democratic Policy Committee’s first tour and policy hearing at a state prison facility. Advocacy and community-based organizations joined state legislators to discuss policy initiatives aimed at reducing incarceration rates, ending the school-to-prison pipeline for young girls, and improving conditions for incarcerated women. Panelists for the policy hearing included: Chloe Bohm, House Democratic Appropriations Committee, budget analyst; Joanna Visser Adjoian, Esq., Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project, co-founder and co-director; John Hargreaves, Pennsylvania Prison Society, director of volunteers; Melissa Robbins, Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization of Women, delegate; Sameerah Shabazz, Ardella’s House, director of policy and advocacy; Farida E. Boyer, MS, Family Centered Outpatient Therapeutic Services, CEO; Peggy Sims, Sisters Returning Home, founder and executive director; and Rev. Michelle Anne Simmons, Why Not Prosper, founder and CEO. Cephas, chairwoman of the PLBC Subcommittee on Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 15 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., announced that the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will kick off a five-part listening tour to better address the needs of women and girls of color across Pennsylvania. This listening tour will be spearheaded by the caucus’ Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color. The listening tour will address such issues as criminal and juvenile justice, economic opportunity, health and wellness, education and workforce development, and overall empowerment. Cephas, chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color said, “Last March, I was appointed chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color. It is an honor to finally launch this initiative. This listening tour will allow us to hear directly from our most vulnerable constituency and find ways to tackle many of the issues women of color have been facing for generations.” The PLBC’s Subcommittee on Women and Girls of Color was created in March with the goal of identifying key areas where black women and women of color face the largest disparities. The listening tour will last until the celebration of Women’s History Month in March 2018. In March 2018, the subcommittee will host a keynote event to announce a legislative and policy agenda that best reflects the needs of women of color in Pennsylvania. The kickoff event is a policy committee meeting and tour set for Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 1 – State Reps. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., and Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, today joined Gov. Tom Wolf, members of the state Liquor Control Board, and state and local Philadelphia legislators for the signing of a bill that increases the state’s ability to better deal with “stop and go” nuisance establishments in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. The new authority is included in a Fiscal Code bill (H.B. 674), which the House passed last week. Under the legislation, if the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board finds that a licensed establishment does not meet the seating, square footage, food or health requirements under the state Liquor Code, the LCB can suspend the license immediately. The new law also gives local government entities the power to make recommendations to the LCB to investigate establishments believed to be failing to meet code requirements. Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, who sponsored earlier legislation to address "stop and gos," said, “In June, we began to work on legislation to increase the ability of local law enforcement agencies to stop the unscrupulous business practices of local ‘stop and go’ establishments. Today, we are able to begin the process of removing this nuisance from our community. Although this is just one of many steps needed to ensure the safety and serenity of our neighborhoods, the political will and courage displayed by Read more
Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins rallied a large crowd at the State Capitol in support of legislation that would institute reforms in the criminal justice system, including parole reforms and an end to mass incarceration. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Margo Davidson argues against a bill that would expand gaming in Pennsylvania as a way to balance the state budget. Davidson decries the corporate welfare and special carve outs in the bill while not helping small businesses and regular Pennsylvanians. Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 25 – State Reps. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., and Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, today hosted a news conference in the state Capitol, celebrating passage of a bill that would increase the state's authority to deal with "stop-and-go" nuisance businesses in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. The new authority is included in a Fiscal Code bill (H.B. 674), which the House passed Tuesday. The Senate passed the bill Monday. Under the bill, if the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board finds that a licensee does not meet a requirement under the Liquor Code for seating, square footage, food or health, it could suspend the license immediately. The bill also would give local government entities the power to make recommendations to the LCB to investigate establishments believed to be failing to meet code requirements. “While stop-and-go enforcements have always been a popular idea, it took a great amount of courage and political will to get it done,” said Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. “There were a lot of sacrifices made to ensure these enforcements were put in place. None of this would be possible without the bipartisan and bicameral collaboration that we saw take place.” In September, Harris hosted state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks, for a tour of stop-and-go establishments in Philadelphia. Harris also sponsored earlier legislation to address the issue of stop-and-gos. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Joanna McClinton celebrated with her colleagues after legislation was sent to the governor that aims to put a stop to stop and go nuisance establishments, which have been plaguing Philadelphia and Delaware County communities. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock celebrated a win against stop and gos after legislation was sent to the governor that would help crackdown on the nuisance establishments. Read more
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