HARRISBURG, Oct. 6 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., joined House members and the PA Breast Cancer Coalition to kick-off Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Monday by turning the Capitol fountain pink for the month of October to remind women of the importance of mammograms and early detection. “Our goal clearly needs to be prevention and, short of that, early detection and access to treatment are imperative,” DeLissio said. “I am very grateful for the work of the PA Breast Cancer Coalition to educate women throughout the commonwealth and to ensure that short of prevention, people are getting their mammograms for the earliest possible detection and have access to care and treatment.” During the event, DeLissio announced that after 16 months she completed treatment for breast cancer at the end of August and is cancer free. “This journey was only possible with the love, support and prayers of my family, friends, staff and colleagues who were with me every step of the way. I am eternally grateful for all of that support.” In addition to Monday’s kick-off, on Tuesday the House adopted H.R. 435, recognizing October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Oct. 20, 2017, as National Mammography day in Pennsylvania. Specifically, the resolution encourages all women and men in the commonwealth to have discussions with their doctors about breast cancer and the value of being Read more
On Tuesday, in the Capitol of the state home to the most famous unstoppable mine fire in the world, 17 House Republicans proposed cutting coal-mine and industrial site clean-up funds to avoid taxing drillers and energy companies. The irony only pales to the absurdity and recklessness of the entire plan. Also filed under heartless, mindless and gutless: Proposed cuts to the Compulsive and Problem Gambling Treatment Fund while attempting to expand gambling across the state; Cuts to the Job Training Fund, Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, Industrial Development Fund and Manufacturing Fund as the rust belt creeps farther across the state; A suggested raid on the Motor License Fund – which is made up of money drivers already paid to fix roads and bridges that are in historic disrepair. Republican budgeting has become little more than a bonfire of tea party schemes that will consume Pennsylvania, its resources, air, water, health and economy before it burns out. Soon in Pennsylvania, it won’t take an actual fire to destroy a community. It will just take not learning from one. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 18 - Following the events in Charlottesville, Va., the members of the Southeast Delegation released the following statement: “We, the members of the Southeast Delegation of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus, watched in horror the open display of hate and bigotry from neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia this past Saturday, August 12 th . A display that quickly turned violent and deadly. “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Heather Heyer, who was killed in an act of hate-fueled terror, to the family and friends of the officers who died in the line of duty – Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke Bates – and to the many others injured and traumatized that day. “In the aftermath, we are standing together with our families, our communities, and colleagues for support and strength in the face of this inhumane, racist moment. And we rightly look to our leaders, of any party and stripe, to clearly and full-throatedly denounce hate — and to reaffirm our country’s founding principle that all are created equal. “That moral authority that we search for was grotesquely missing in our president. Instead, President Trump displays sympathy for fanaticism; blame for violence on both the purveyors and victims; and an unashamed ignorance. At a time when our country needs a leader who will unite us, this president, again, pushes us apart. “Sadly, this past weekend’s Read more
August 2017 is Pennsylvania Produce Month. I was proud to vote for the resolution recognizing the commonwealth’s vegetable growers, who continue to serve as national leaders in the production and processing of fruits and vegetables that feed families across the country. Family farms across the state produce nearly 300,000 tons of vegetables a year from approximately 50,000 acres. Late summer is a great time to find tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, cabbage and more. More than 4,300 family farms are currently operating in Pennsylvania. With produce ranging from the mushrooms grown in Chester County to the potatoes in Erie and Potter counties, Pennsylvania growers offer a variety of locally grown food items. I hope you will consider visiting a farmers’ market in our region. When you buy local, fresh produce, you’re fueling our local economy and keeping our farmers in business. I encourage you to check out Chester Market each year July to October from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. It’s located at 3117 W. Ninth St., behind the Fare and Square parking lot. The Commonwealth has several programs in place to make sure as many residents as possible have access to fresh produce grown in their communities, regardless of income. The Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides qualified participants with vouchers to purchase Pennsylvania-grown produce at more than 1,130 farmers' markets and farm stands. More than 160,000 Read more
HARRISBURG, July 10 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, urged Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf today to veto S.B. 624, which would reduce protections to streams where coal companies seek to mine underneath them and would interfere with pending litigation. The bill passed the Senate today and is expected to be on the governor’s desk soon. “I urge you to veto this bill,” Vitali wrote in the letter . “The legislation is both unconstitutional and bad public policy.” Vitali said S.B. 624 violates Article III, Section 32 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which prohibits special legislation. Senate Bill 624 is directed at one particular coal company, CONSUL in one particular location, Ryerson Station State Park, he said. Introduced by Sen. Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, the bill would directly affect a pending case before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB Docket No. 2014-072-B) relating to CONSOL Energy’s longwall mining activity in and near this Greene County state park. Vitali said the bill also violates Article I section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution (the Environmental Rights Amendment), as recently interpreted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Longwall mining activity by CONSOL energy under Ryerson Station State Park has already caused permanent damage to the park. In 2005, mining by CONSOL permanently damaged Duke Lake in the park. “In addition to Ryerson Station State Park, the bill Read more
President Donald Trump’s reckless decision to withdraw our country from the historic Paris Climate Agreement has put the health, safety and economy of Pennsylvania and the United States in peril. Climate change affects all things, from industries such as agriculture and tourism to the health and mortality of infants and children. It is the No. 1 most pressing challenge affecting every nation on the planet. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, today announced the House unanimously passed his bill to require the Department of Transportation to provide a check-off box on driver’s license and vehicle registration forms for people to contribute to the first-ever pediatric cancer research fund in Pennsylvania. Caltagirone's legislation, H.B. 407, would provide Pennsylvanians the opportunity to donate money to the fund when they apply for a driver’s license or vehicle registration. The funds raised by the legislation would be distributed to eligible institutions in Pennsylvania that conduct pediatric cancer research, including The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Cancer Center; Penn State Hershey Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Abramson Cancer Center, the University of Pennsylvania; and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. "This is another historic step in our efforts to fund better treatments and hopefully a cure for pediatric cancer,” Caltagirone said. “The House action shows we have wide bipartisan support among state decision-makers. As we speak, children are fighting for their lives in Reading and Berks County, across Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. Pennsylvania has an opportunity to lead the way in pediatric cancer research. “This bill would create an easy way for Pennsylvania residents to contribute to childhood cancer research directly in a manner that could save Read more
What is REAL ID? Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting, for official purposes, licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. What is Pennsylvania doing about REAL ID? On May 26, 2017, Governor Wolf signed Act 3 of 2017 (SB133) into law, which did the following: Repeals Act 38 of 2012, which prohibited any state agency from complying with REAL ID. Creates a an Opt-in system, where Pennsylvanians can choose to get a standard-issued driver’s license or photo ID that DOES NOT comply with REAL ID, or a new driver’s license or photo ID that DOES comply with REAL ID. Prohibits the Commonwealth from mandating REAL ID for any reason. With the enactment of Act 3 of 2017, the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is currently in the process of working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement REAL ID. How will REAL ID affect me? A standard-issued PA driver’s license and photo ID does not currently comply with REAL ID. As a result of Act 3 of 2017, PennDOT applied for an extension for compliance until October 2020. DHS has recently granted Pennsylvania and six other states a grace period through July 10, 2017. Meaning, a PA driver’s license or photo ID WILL BE accepted to access Federal facilities, military installations Read more
HARRISBURG, June 8 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, introduced a resolution today urging action to lead Pennsylvania into the U.S. Climate Alliance in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Members of the U.S. Climate Alliance are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the goals of the federal Clean Power Plan. “President Trump put the future of our communities, commonwealth, country and planet at risk when he decided to not honor the United States’ commitment to fighting climate change and withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” Krueger-Braneky said. “It is now up to local and state governments to step up to slow and mitigate the consequences of climate change, which include rising sea levels, more intense weather events and increased risk of draught and famine.” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has come forward in support of upholding the alliance. “Pittsburgh is the example of why the Paris Agreement is good for economic development: such work is good for business too,” he said. “We’ve rebuilt our economy on the future and our people, not the past.” In response to the United States’ withdrawal, the U.S. Climate Alliance was formed by the states of California, New York, and Washington to uphold the Paris Agreement. Members of the Climate Alliance include Connecticut, Delaware, Read more
HARRISBURG, June 6 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, Pennsylvania Physician General Rachel Levine and members of the National Eating Disorders Association spotlighted Warren’s bill to bring awareness to eating disorders during a Capitol news conference today. House Bill 531, which has received bipartisan support, would require schools to annually provide information regarding eating disorders to parents with children in grades 5 through 12. Its companion in the Senate, S.B. 730, was introduced by state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks, and also has bipartisan support. Additionally, both bills would create guidelines for local school boards to pursue the optional development of an eating-disorder screening program, specify training requirements for personnel and volunteers, and provide the framework for parental notification procedures in the event of a positive indication of an eating disorder. “People, especially children, who struggle with eating disorders, need to seek, or be provided with, professional help,” Warren said. “The earlier a person with an eating disorder seeks treatment, the greater the likelihood of physical and emotional recovery.” “Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder are serious conditions that can lead to significant, even life threatening, medical complications,” Levine said. “Treatment involves a multi-disciplinary team, and the Read more
HAVERTOWN, June 2 – The natural gas industry spent $1.4 million lobbying the Pennsylvania General Assembly during the first quarter this year, state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, announced today. Chesapeake Energy led in lobbying expenditures with $211,602. The latest figures, based on quarterly lobbying reports from 43 gas companies in Pennsylvania, bring the total in natural-gas lobbying spent since 2007 to more than $64 million. “Regrettably the citizens of Pennsylvania pay the price for the undue influence of the gas industry on the legislature,” Vitali said. Pennsylvania is the only major gas producing state in the country without a severance tax. According to the state Department of Revenue, Pennsylvania will lose $153.4 million in fiscal year 2016-17 by not having a severance tax. Additionally, Vitali said, commonsense conventional drilling regulations that protect public health and the environment have been derailed due to natural-gas industry influence. “Conventional drilling regulations have been blocked by the legislature for years despite overwhelming public support and a finding by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission that these rules are ‘in the public interest,’” Vitali said. “The Wolf administration’s methane-reduction strategy also continues to be delayed in the face of industry pressure. This important step in reducing greenhouse gas is particularly important in light of Read more
READING, June 1 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi today announced a $40,030 Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission grant for The Foundation for the Reading Public Museum. The Reading Public Museum has displays featuring science and civilizations, a planetarium and a 25-acre arboretum. It also offers educational programs for families, adults and children. The money will augment its operations. “Congratulations to all of the hard workers and volunteers at the Reading Public Museum,” said Rozzi, D-Berks. “They do an outstanding job of preserving and telling the story of our regional history and culture, and their work brings great credit upon everyone who calls Reading home.” The PHMC awarded almost $2 million in grants to 141 eligible museums and official county historical societies from 57 Pennsylvania counties that met the following criteria: Museums located in Pennsylvania with annual operating budgets exceeding $100,000 (excluding capital and in-kind services) and at least one full-time professional staff person. Official County Historical Societies designated as the official historical society for the county. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is the state’s official history agency. Read more
READING, May 31 – State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, announced today that a $195,000 Strategic Innovation program grant was awarded to the Berks County Workforce Development Board, as well as a $10,476 Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission grant for the Historical Society of Berks County Museum and Library. The Strategic Innovation grant, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, will go toward teaching entry- and intermediate-level skills to adult job seekers and underemployed workers with certain barriers to employment. The project will enable regional employers to more quickly fill existing and future openings for skilled candidates with industry recognized qualifications with a special focus in the food processing and manufacturing industries. “Congratulations to the Berks County Workforce Development Board for its award in this competitive grant program,” Caltagirone said. “The state recognized a great opportunity for investment and growth here, and it’s always encouraging to see people connected with life-transformative jobs.” The goal of the PHMC program is to strengthen Pennsylvania’s museum community by supporting the general operations of museums around Pennsylvania. “The Berks County Museum and Library does a phenomenal job telling the rich history of Berks County and preserving its culture for all to see,” Caltagirone said. “Congratulations to all the Read more
YARDLEY, May 30 – The following statement is attributable to state Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, in response to the report that Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has returned Elcon Recycling Services, LLC’s Phase II application for a commercial hazardous waste treatment and storage facility proposed for Falls Township as administratively incomplete. “I’d like to thank Secretary McDonnell and the DEP staff for its administrative review of Elcon Recycling Service’s request to operate a commercial hazardous waste treatment and storage facility in Falls Township. Today after taking the full 90-day review period, the DEP sent back Elcon’s request for further clarification. “Although it is unknown whether Elcon will reapply with the deficiencies addressed, this illuminates the fact that the DEP is deeply involved in every step of the process. “Back in January I requested that the DEP hold public hearings on ELCON and I am pleased that Secretary McDonnell and the DEP responded to that request. If Elcon were to reapply and have its administrative review accepted, the 10-month technical review stage would begin and that’s when public hearings would be scheduled. “I will continue to monitor Elcon’s applications to ensure that all of the correct procedures are followed and that everyone’s voice is heard.” Read more
Decades of research have shown the significant ways a child’s brain develops in the early years – long before kindergarten. A child’s brain capacity is said to be 90 percent developed before the child turns 5. Read more
KING OF PRUSSIA, May 18 – State Rep. Tim Briggs today announced the approval of a $50,000 Keystone Communities grant to continue improving building façades in the Ardmore Business District. The project will help complete at least 10 façades. “Congratulations to Ardmore Initiative for this deserving grant award,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “Small-business development is a team effort, beginning with the entrepreneurs who pour their lives’ work into their trades, but also for the benefit of the community at large. “Small businesses comprise a huge economic driver not just for our region, but across the state. Ardmore’s accomplishments reflect highly on our community.” Administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Keystone Communities program is designed to encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors in the community, supporting local initiatives that grow and stabilize neighborhoods and communities; ensure social and economic diversity; and enhance the overall quality of life for residents. Read more
LEVITTOWN, May 18 – State Rep. John Galloway today announced the approval of a $50,000 Keystone Communities grant for the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority to implement a façade improvement program along the Mill Street Business District in Bristol Borough. “I’d like to congratulate Bristol Borough on this substantial award in a competitive grant process,” said Galloway, D-Bucks. “On the heels of its win in the second season of Small Business Revolution, Bristol Borough is quickly making a name for itself as a place for transformative investment and small business development. “It’s a pleasure to watch a deserving community grow and develop into a regional destination.” Administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the Keystone Communities program is designed to encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors in the community, supporting local initiatives that grow and stabilize neighborhoods and communities; ensure social and economic diversity; and enhance the overall quality of life for residents. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 11 – The state House of Representatives this week significantly altered a Senate bill meant to bring Pennsylvania IDs in line with federal security requirements. To comply with the Federal Real ID Act of 2005, Pennsylvania must repeal its Real ID Non-Participation Act, which passed in 2012. Senate Bill 133, which contained many of the required changes, was amended Monday in the House State Government Committee to rename the 2012 act without repealing it. The amendment was approved along party lines. State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., said that the Senate version, pre-amendment, would comply with the federal requirements, which include permitting citizens to access federal buildings, including military installations, by eventually using an updated driver’s license (Real ID) to be issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. “Pennsylvania needs to demonstrate its willingness to comply with the federal requirements by June 6 of 2017,” DeLissio said. “The federal Department of Homeland Security will then further extend our compliance deadline to ensure that folks can fly commercially as of January 2018 without a passport.” The bill awaits a final vote in the House. If it passes the House, it will need to go back to the Senate for concurrence on changes. “We’ve had ample time to get in line with federal requirements; we are running the risk of impacting Read more
HARRISBURG, May 11 – A bill that would require pharmacy technicians to register with the State Board of Pharmacy passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this week, said state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, who voted for the bill. Under H.B. 454, in order to register with the board, pharmacy technicians would have to meet certain requirements such as having a high school diploma, submitting to a criminal-history background check, and completing a board-approved training program. There currently are no state-required training or minimal education requirements for pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy technicians are unlicensed, unregistered employees who are supervised by licensed pharmacists and help fill prescription orders. “When it comes to state oversight on health-care workers, we must act judiciously and in this case, I think House Bill 454 accomplishes that goal,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. “These individuals are tasked with working with medications, including controlled substances, and are charged with helping ensure that citizens receive the correct medications and in correct amounts.” The bill passed the House 176-16. It now is with the Senate for consideration. “This legislation has been introduced in each session since 2007 and did pass the House last session, but was not considered in the Senate,” DeLissio said. “Hopefully, the Senate will take up this legislation this session.” Read more
HARRISBURG, May 10 – State Rep. Tom Caltagirone today in the Capitol discussed DIPG, a rare but aggressive form of childhood brain cancer, highlighting lives lost to Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. Caltagirone hosted the Spriggs, Kohler and Dunion families, all who have lost loved ones to the cancer, during a news conference following the unanimous passage of his H.R. 44, recognizing National DIPG Awareness Day on May 17. “My hope is that this resolution encourages all Pennsylvanians to become more informed about DIPG and other pediatric cancers and the challenges we face in finding sufficient resources to fight them,” said Caltagirone, D-Berks. According to research, DIPG affects children almost exclusively. Approximately 200 to 400 children in the United States are diagnosed with DIPG each year. These children are typically between the ages of 4 and 11. DIPG accounts for roughly 10 to 15 percent of all brain tumors in children. “The families with us today know all too well the stark realities a DIPG diagnosis brings,” Caltagirone said. “DIPG is almost always fatal, and patients – in these cases children – usually have about nine months to live. “The scientists, doctors and advocacy groups working to fight this and other forms of cancer – many of whom call Pennsylvania home – deserve our attention and support. Their work is nothing less than the work of miracles for families facing these Read more
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