HARRISBURG, May 7 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today announced that he would be co-sponsoring legislation referred to as “Phillip’s Law,” which would provide for a study on school mental health professionals. “It is with a deeply saddened heart that I ask for support from my colleagues,” Kenyatta said. “An 11-year-old student from my district named Phillip committed suicide after enduring prolonged bullying from his peers. This tragedy has brought to light the fact that our school mental health professionals are not always available due to budget constraints and, in fact, there is no mandate for schools to retain mental health staff. We need to take an honest look at the number of mental health professionals in our schools and how we can provide the best access to our students to prevent tragedies like this in the future.” Kenyatta’s bill would require the Department of Education to investigate and report on the number of mental health professionals in schools in order to make recommendations on how to increase the number of school mental health professionals to meet nationally accepted ratios. Phillip’s family said that Phillip had tried to get the attention of the support staff at his school but was told that he had to wait. Afraid to miss the bus, and worried about his younger brother, Phillip left school and later that day took his own life. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Read more
HARRISBURG, May 7 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., has been selected to participate on a subcommittee of The Council of State Governments’ national Future of Work Task Force. “The CSG Future of Work Task Force will bring together a diverse group of state officials to explore how states can best navigate the challenges and opportunities of the new economy,” CSG Executive Director David Adkins said. “The task force will examine how technology creates new jobs and eliminates existing jobs, and it will share success stories and best practices and provide guidance on how states can best embrace the innovative and ever-evolving opportunities in the new economy.” Bullock will serve as a member of the Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee. The subcommittee will explore how states can promote and encourage equity and inclusion in the new economy by examining and addressing issues and barriers that underserved communities face. “I’m beyond excited to take the reins and get to work on just how we support inclusive and diverse job and career growth,” Bullock said. “Ever since I came to the legislature, I have been working to ensure that everyone, no matter their race, gender or economic standing, has the same opportunities to succeed, and this Task Force will only give me more tools to advance these policies.” Bullock serves as vice chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and secretary of the Read more
HARRISBURG, May 3 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., said that a $40,800 Senior Community Center Grant has been awarded to the Center in the Park senior center in Philadelphia. “I’m grateful that this grant has been awarded to make improvements and modernize these facilities,” Kinsey said. “I want to thank Governor Tom Wolf for the ongoing commitment in investing in the future of Philadelphia. With proper funding, this center ensures that our older population ages with grace.” Center in the Park has a wide variety of offerings that include nutritious meal programs, educational opportunities, transportation services, financial and insurance counseling, exercise programs, and more. The Pennsylvania Lottery is responsible for funding this project with a total of $2 million being distributed to 49 senior centers throughout the commonwealth. This announcement takes place during Older Americans Month – a time for the nation to pay tribute to older adults and their contributions to the country and their communities. For more information on senior community centers, visit aging.pa.gov/SCC . ### Read more
HARRISBURG, May 3 – Today, Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., alongside other House Democrats, unveiled a package of eight charter school reform bills designed to treat all Pennsylvania public schools – both traditional and charter – and their students equally under law. "I believe we can get bipartisan support for these bills and improve accountability in the charter school system,” Roebuck said. “Our goal is to treat these schools equally under the law, so that we can make sure tax dollars are being used efficiently.” Roebuck, Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, introduced H.B. 1330 that would end conflicts of interest in tax-funded payments for charter school leases. The seven other bills in the package are: H.B. 1329, introduced by Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne, would bring charter schools in line with school districts by imposing limits on the surpluses that charter schools may accumulate. H.B. 1332, introduced by Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, would limit charter school management organization fees to no more than 5 percent of tuition charged per student enrolled. Besides limiting overhead, Longietti said his bill would require much more disclosure of financial documentation from for-profit and nonprofit school management organizations. H.B. 1331, introduced by Rep. Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, would phase in a final recommendation of the Special Education Funding Commission to fix how Pennsylvania Read more
Gov. Wolf Joins Legislative Black Caucus, Community Members at Clean Slate Event Read more
HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said the PLBC recently held a meeting at SCI Phoenix in conjunction with the Grey Panthers to discuss medical parole and the early release of elderly inmates, as it relates to H.B. 642 that he introduced. “Ultimately, we are working together to find a humane alternative to incarceration for non-violent elderly inmates,” Kinsey said. “The results would end in reducing the costs of our prison systems, while simultaneously lessening the burden on our correctional facilities and their workers. For inmates over the age of 50, and especially 65, research shows lower recidivism rates, higher costs due to health care and special needs. We can do better for them and their families.” Kinsey’s bill would permit elderly inmates to petition the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole for medical parole and early release. Individuals convicted of violent crimes would not be eligible, and all decisions to approve or reject petitions would be up to the discretion of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. The number of state and federal prisoners older than 55 in the U.S. is predicted to grow rapidly, surpassing 400,000 by the year 2030. On average, it costs almost $70,000 per year to incarcerate an individual 50 or older. This is nearly double the cost for the overall average prisoner. Recent studies show that Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 23 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today announced that the PLBC hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on re-entry initiatives featuring Pennsylvanians who’ve overcome past transgressions and made storied contributions to the state. Kinsey requested the hearing, held at Temple University, to further explore criminal justice reform initiatives that will help prepare individuals who paid their debt to society to transition back into the workforce and reduce recidivism rates. The Chairman was joined by legislators from the across the state including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “Those who testified in front of the Democratic Policy Committee and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus this evening, served as the proverbial shining light that will hopefully guide us to more empathetic lawmaking in regard to re-entry initiatives,” Kinsey said. “I chose re-entry as the topic of discussion because it correlates with so many other issues that Pennsylvanians are already facing. Empowered by the knowledge and experiences that have been shared here today, we can educate law makers and the public on how together, we can collaborate to reduce recidivism, and provide pathways to success for citizens re-entering society. We must work together to eliminate the barriers of discrimination, prejudice and stigma that often come with making a Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 18 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., today announced that the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will be hosting a public policy hearing in conjunction with the House Democratic Policy Committee on re-entry initiatives and the transition from incarceration to civilian life. “It is critical that we work together to ensure that those who have paid their debts to society within the criminal justice system are given a chance to re-enter society once again,” Kinsey said. “I’m eager to hear from experts and the public on how we can improve these people’s lives and educate the public on how giving these folks a second chance helps to reduce recidivism.” The public policy hearing will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23 at Temple University’s Shusterman Hall, 1834 N. Park Ave. in Philadelphia. State legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will attend the hearing. Special guests include: Bernard Hopkins, boxing champion; PA Board of Probation and Parole; The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office; The Defender Association of Philadelphia; Philadelphia OIC; Freddy Nole, former juvenile lifer; Romanus Miles, former inmate and tradesman; Dawn Chamberlain-Hunter, former inmate and entrepreneur; Asya Richardson, former inmate and entrepreneur; Bill DeWeese, former Speaker of the House; and more. For more information, contact Read more
“Over the past several months and last few years, there has been a heightened conversation around the fact that our maternal mortality rate is getting worse,” said state Rep. Morgan Cephas. Read more
State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and PLBC members were joined by a coalition of legislators from around the state for a press conference to unveil a package of legislation aimed at streamlining police procedures and improving police-community relations at noon today in the Capitol Media Center. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock spoke at panel about her experiences in becoming an advocate for effective climate change solutions. The panel was developed for marking UN Earth Day 2019. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 12 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., responded to President Donald Trump’s fully implemented transgender military ban which went into effect on Friday, April 12th. “I am deeply disappointed in this transgender military ban,” Kenyatta said. “Anyone who is brave and selfless enough to want to serve this country in uniform should be allowed to serve. The President and our Supreme Court have made a serious mistake in allowing this hateful policy decision to move forward. The simple truth is that the Trump administration wants to encourage discrimination against trans people every chance it has to do so. I want to make it clear; I oppose these efforts to erase and target trans people and will do what I can to fight back.” The policy officially blocks people who have been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving with limited exceptions. It also specifies that those without the condition can serve, but must do so according to the sex they were assigned at birth. LGBTQ groups and activists have called the ban cruel and irrational. The American Medical Association has said repeatedly that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service. For those not grandfathered in under the 2016 policy, the new rules require that soldiers meet the military’s prescribed expectations of their birth sex — including uniforms, haircuts, and physical Read more
HARRISBURG, April 10 – State Rep. Chris Rabb today joined other lawmakers and PennEnvironment to announce a package of bills aimed at addressing single-use plastics, pervasive issues of litter and the various environmental harms caused by a "throwaway" society. Legislation in the “Zero Waste PA” package works to address issues created by a disposable society including single-use plastics such as straws, plastic bags and Styrofoam takeout food containers, electronic waste, funding Pennsylvania’s recycling programs and more. "Cigarette litter is among the most toxic of all commonly littered items, containing a multitude of chemicals that leach into our soil and water and are harmful to all living things," said Rabb, D-Phila. "A well-planned deposit program would create a system where enterprises with proven capacity could upcycle them for safe and innovative use. This simple action would have a profound effect on our environment and leave our planet in better condition for future generations." “Every day, unwitting Pennsylvanians are barraged with products that we’re expected to purchase and use, and then throw away. Only, there is no ‘away,’” said PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. “Instead, it ends up in landfills where it can cause water pollution, in incinerators that cause air pollution, or blowing around in our neighborhoods in the form of litter. Nothing we use Read more
In 1821, Thomas L. Jennings became the first person of color to receive a U.S. patent. It was for 'dry scouring', an early form of dry cleaning. Read more
At a public hearing of the Pa. House Consumer Affairs Committee, Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock questioned a representative from AARP as to how their members feel about alternative energies not only for rate relief, but also in terms of health effects. Read more
As a crime victim herself, Pa. state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell spoke in favor of strengthening Pennsylvania's crime victims protections, notifications, and involving them more directly in the process. Read more
Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Stephen Kinsey joined the Lt. Governor and colleagues to announce the new secretary of pardons. He explains why Brandon Flood is the perfect person for the job. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Patty Kim joined the Lt. Governor and colleagues to announce the new secretary of pardons. She explains why Brandon Flood is the best choice for the position. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock joined advocates in Harrisburg to continue her fight for equal pay across the commonwealth. She explains why she’s confident women will finally make the same as men for doing the same job. Read more
Pa. state Representative and chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Stephen Kinsey held a House Democratic Policy Hearing about addressing bullying to find ways to protect children and stop the pain. Read more
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