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House Democrats stand with union workers for manufacturing jobs

(Oct 21, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 21 − House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said members today welcomed United Auto Workers Local 677, currently striking for job security, benefits and wages at Mack Trucks manufacturing plants, to speak about the ongoing battle to rebuild the middle class. “We couldn’t be prouder to stand in solidarity with these hard-working Pennsylvanians as they fight to make sure the economy helps everyone, not just the corporate executives down in North Carolina,” Dermody said. “You can’t sustain the middle class without these workers on the job, and we’re ready to do what we can to support them.” Dermody said the workers were invited by Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, home of the United Auto Workers Local 677, whose members work at Mack Trucks facilities throughout Pennsylvania. “There’s nothing more American than a Mack truck, unless you’re talking about a union job that pays a wage you can raise a family on, offers benefits to support that family, and makes sure every worker has a chance to retire and let a new worker join the team,” Schweyer said. “These men and women want to get back to work, the local managers want these hard-working professionals back on the lines, and the greater Allentown area needs these people shopping and supporting local businesses. I have their backs 100 percent.” “It’s been nearly 40 years since a Read more


House Democratic Leader Applauds Governor’s Action on Climate Crisis

(Oct 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 − House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s Executive Order directing Pennsylvania to begin the process to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. RGGI is a market-based collaboration among nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change while generating economic growth. “The governor is demonstrating the leadership Pennsylvanians are looking for from their elected officials to address the climate crisis,” Dermody said. “ A long-range plan to reduce carbon emissions will also significantly reduce other toxic air pollutants that cause asthma and disproportionately impact the health of children the elderly and the poor. The House Democratic Caucus will continue to work with Governor Wolf to ensure our air is clean and electricity prices remain affordable.” Read more


Dermody: We CAN move beyond words to bipartisan action on gun safety

(Aug 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 5 – PA House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody released the following statement today in response to the mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio: “As we mourn another weekend of gun violence across the nation and here in Pennsylvania, we need to identify action we can and should take to make our communities safer. “We need a stronger and more comprehensive system of background checks at the national and state level to make sure we preserve the rights of lawful gun owners while getting rid of the loopholes that put weapons in the hands of the people who are prohibited from having them legally or because they pose a clear danger to themselves and others. “And, we must address the sickness of hate in our society. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue, but one that all reasonable people and public officials agree on and can act on; the strong bipartisan response our legislature took to the Tree of Life shooting earlier this session demonstrates that. House Democrats are ready to work at the state level with national and local officials to move beyond words and toward meaningful action that brings about real change for the safety and well-being of our families and communities.” Read more


Dermody applauds Gov. Wolf’s focus on election security in PA

(Jul 09, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 9 -- PA House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, released the following statement today in response to the announcement by Gov. Tom Wolf that the state will fund up to $90 million to reimburse counties for a portion of their costs of replacing voting systems and improving the security of elections in the state: “I applaud Governor Wolf on this step to help counties ensure the accuracy and security of our elections here in Pennsylvania. Protecting everyone’s vote is a commitment Governor Wolf, the legislature and our state’s 67 counties have made together, and we need to make sure that effort continues and is not interrupted. “Everyone’s vote must count in our democracy; that depends on our election systems and results being reliable and verifiable. The funding being made available by the governor through PEDFA will help counties complete their voting machine upgrades in a timely manner – ensuring the security of our elections while saving local taxpayers money. “Pennsylvania has made election security a priority. In the legislature, we need to couple that with efforts to make voting more accessible and convenient for all voters, no matter where they live or how they vote. For now, safeguarding election security and giving voters peace of mind that their vote counts and their voice is being heard must be our priority.” Read more


Dermody says new law will lower insurance costs for thousands

(Jul 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 2 – Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and his Republican counterpart Bryan Cutler today joined Gov. Tom Wolf as he signed their legislation to establish a state-based health insurance exchange for Pennsylvania consumers. “This new law’s going to help more than 400,000 people who struggle to afford good health insurance for themselves and their families. The work to get this finished was a fantastic example of bipartisan action to do something good for people who can use it,” Dermody said. Consumers who now purchase individual or family health insurance on the federal health exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act will be able to buy the same product from an exchange based in Pennsylvania. The state Insurance Department will be able to manage the marketplace more efficiently than the federal exchange, with the savings invested into an innovative reinsurance program for high-risk patients. “This is going to result in lower health insurance premiums for thousands of state residents,” Dermody said. He noted that because the new state entity will be a full partnership with the federal government, it requires no new taxes or assessments. Dermody praised the bipartisan effort which led to Wolf signing the new law today and thanked Republican Leader Cutler for teaming with Dermody to push the bill through quickly in June. He said Reps. Tony DeLuca and Tina Pickett, the chairs of the House Insurance Committee, also Read more


Dermody praises Wolf and Shapiro for successful resolution of health insurance dispute

(Jun 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 24 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody is crediting Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro with overcoming stiff resistance to get agreement by UPMC and Highmark to extend their current contractual relationship for an additional 10 years. “There was nothing easy about this but the governor and attorney general wouldn’t quit. Because of their persistence, health consumers across Pennsylvania can breathe a little easier,” Dermody said. Dermody, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, noted that House lawmakers held hearings on the issue and introduced legislation, including Dermody’s own bill (H.B. 734) to require a charitable, nonprofit healthcare provider to accept payment by any willing insurer. “Today’s announcement is great news and it’s proof that strong political leadership can make a positive difference in people’s lives,” Dermody said. Read more


Dermody lauds House action on major health care legislation

(Jun 11, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 11 – Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said the Pennsylvania House of Representatives took a major step toward better health care for state residents by voting today to establish a state-run health insurance exchange. “We have the opportunity to help 400,000 people struggling to afford good health insurance for themselves and their families,” Dermody said. “Currently these consumers have to buy their health insurance on the federal exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act. But the ACA also gives states the option to set up a state-specific exchange to connect insurance sellers with customers,” Dermody said. “By setting up a state-based exchange and leveraging federal funds to set up a re-insurance program to better manage risk in the individual market, we can better control premium increases in Pennsylvania.” Dermody noted that because the new state entity would be a full partnership with the federal government, it does not require new taxes or assessments. In fact Pennsylvania will be able to operate its exchange at a lower cost than the federal exchange and use those savings to provide additional insurance to Pennsylvania residents. He praised the bipartisan effort which led to today’s vote and thanked Republican Leader Bryan Cutler, as well as Reps. Tina Pickett and Tony DeLuca, the Republican and Democratic chairs of the House Insurance Committee. “We also got great support and suggestions Read more


House Democrats preparing to compel action on Restore PA

(Jun 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 10 – House Democratic leaders indicated that if vital legislation implementing Gov. Wolf’s plan to meet infrastructure needs throughout the state does not move quickly, they are prepared to take steps to force the issue. Speaker Mike Turzai referred the Restore Pennsylvania bill (H.B. 1585, sponsored by Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny) to the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee last week. The panel’s chairman is a Republican who often brags of his refusal to advance any legislation sponsored by Democrats. The Restore Pennsylvania bill has 99 House co-sponsors from both parties. Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said several of his colleagues are preparing a discharge resolution to get Wheatley’s bill out of the committee and brought to the full House for consideration. “The people of Pennsylvania need the benefits that Restore Pennsylvania will deliver,” Dermody said. “From flood control to blight remediation to increased broadband deployment across the state, the state has many unmet infrastructure needs for which no other realistic funding source has been identified.” Democratic Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, who co-chaired a House-Senate policy hearing today on the RestorePA proposal, announced at the meeting’s conclusion that he’s ready to file the discharge resolution as soon as possible. “We heard a lot today about the benefits of this broad-ranging proposal,” Read more


Republican Dirty Dozen Threaten Public Safety

(Apr 25, 2019)

Imagine a world where you could commit any crime – even killing another person – but as long as you were the one who called the police and reported yourself, you’d walk away scot-free. That’s the world some corporate special interests are asking extremist Republicans to build for them – a regulatory Wild West where profits come before public safety and state regulators are told to stand down. We’ve seen too often what happens when corporations police themselves. The Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. The Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal. The willful misrepresentation by drug makers about opioid drug safety. The Boeing 737 Max. Although most corporations prioritize public safety and long-term success, it only takes one bad actor to cut the wrong corner in the name of quick profits to cause a tragedy. Despite the danger, some Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg are pushing their very own “Dirty Dozen” – five bills containing 12 proposals to let corporate special interests have almost anything they want even when public safety is put at risk. These bills would do things like: Let corporations escape penalties when their negligence leads to permanent harm or even death if the corporation is the one reporting the accident to the state. Put the burden of accidents and pollution cleanup solely on the taxpayers and let the corporation off the hook. Allow politicians in the legislature to eliminate any Read more


Dermody comments on anti-union vote by House committee

(Mar 18, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 18 – Democratic Leader Frank Dermody responded to a vote taken today by the House Labor and Industry Committee advancing a bill to change how public employee unions would be allowed to serve their members. House Bill 785 was introduced just seven days ago and it did not receive a committee hearing before the vote. “Instead of advancing unnecessary anti-worker bills, I wish my Republican colleagues would direct more attention to raising the minimum wage, ensuring equal pay for equal work, and passing earned sick time for hard-working people in Pennsylvania,” Dermody said. Read more


Dermody Fights To Connect PA With Good Jobs

(Feb 19, 2019)

As Democratic leader of the House, Pa. state Rep. Frank Dermody joined Gov. Tom Wolf as he signed an executive order to launch the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center. He explains why this program is so critical for Pennsylvanians. Read more


Dermody seeks constitutional fix to health care crisis

(Feb 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 7 – As Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro pursues a legal remedy to the years-long struggle between UPMC and its customers who have Highmark insurance, House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody will seek a legislative solution. Dermody is proposing a state constitutional amendment requiring tax-exempt hospital systems to accept reasonable reimbursement payments from uninsured patients and patients covered by other health insurance plans. “Imagine riding in an ambulance with lights flashing and sirens blaring as your spouse or child is rushed to the nearest emergency room. Then imagine being handed a large bill because that hospital has its own health insurance plan and won’t accept your insurance,” Dermody said. “This is not hypothetical. It’s happening to people every day. “We are lucky to have these world-class institutions in Pennsylvania and, with generous support from taxpayers, they provide some of the best care and treatment available anywhere in the world,” he said. “It’s time to make sure tax-exempt hospital systems live up to their charitable missions, and that includes UPMC. These giants of health care provide life-saving care,” Dermody said, “and we are blessed to have them. But these entities must learn to get along with each other and put their patients first. For too long they have not. “We need to make sure that nobody faces bankruptcy because an Read more


House Democratic leadership statement on Wolf budget plan

(Feb 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – House Democratic leaders responded to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019-20 budget proposal presented today. “We support the governor’s plan to make Pennsylvania a national leader in education and workforce development without raising taxes on working people. He is beginning this year’s budget talks with a responsible framework for the budget hearings and bipartisan discussions yet to come. “House Democrats have a Plan For Pennsylvania that closely tracks many of Governor Wolf’s priorities. It’s about having quality schools, good jobs for workers, affordable health care and fairer treatment of all Pennsylvanians in their daily lives. We are fighting for families all across the state. “We are especially pleased that the governor continues to address the need to fix our criminal justice system. His vocal support for fairer justice means a lot. “House Democrats share many of the governor’s ideas and look forward to working with him and with our Republican colleagues to deliver a balanced budget that will continue the substantial progress Pennsylvania has made in recent years.” Read more


Why are PA House Democrats focusing on economic security for working families?

(Feb 04, 2019)

Many Americans have become discouraged with today’s politics of personal destruction and the influence of big money in campaigns. They are looking for something different. People want to vote for candidates up and down the ballot who will stand up for their ideals and fight for their interests. In 2018, more than 120 candidates for the General Assembly embraced the We The People – Pennsylvania policy agenda. Inspired by public meetings with everyday Pennsylvanians from across the state and drawing on the best policy research, We The People – PA created a policy agenda that should serve as a roadmap for legislators like my colleagues and me. Pennsylvania House Democrats are proud to support the We The People campaign – and in doing so we join a national effort this week led by the State Innovation Exchange to fight for working families across the country. By talking with voters, the We The People – PA campaign learned that, regardless of where we come from, what we look like, how we call our family or how we work to make ends meet, we have a common vision of what a state government that works for us would look like. We deserve a government that offers a path to prosperity that will work for all of us, not just the wealthiest 1 percent. Prosperity for all comes from raising wages and benefits so that working people and the middle class can afford to buy more from our businesses. It comes from making sure families can secure the basic Read more


Get free assistance with your Property Tax/Rent Rebate

(Jan 24, 2019)

Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2018 tax year are available – and my office staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2018 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The rebates normally are distributed by the Department of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more


Pa. House Democrats want to make sure Your Vote Counts

(Jan 14, 2019)

HARRISBURG Jan. 14 – More than a dozen House Democrats today began seeking support for bills to increase voter turnout, make it easier for citizens to register to vote and to cast a ballot, and restore peoples’ faith in their elections. “American democracy started here in 1776, but in 2019 special interests have too much power that should belong to the voters,” House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said. “We have a plan to take Pennsylvania from one of the toughest states in which to vote to one of the easiest for a voter to get registered, get informed and get heard.” Your Vote Counts includes bills to make it easier to cast a ballot, including: Election Day Starts NOW – four separate bills sponsored by Reps. Pam Snyder, Eddie Day Pashinski, Tony DeLuca and Jennifer O’Mara – ends the 19 th century practice of having Election Day on one Tuesday and allow people to vote up to a month in advance of the scheduled Election Day at designated locations. This is already is happening in 40 other states. Say goodbye to long lines, overburdened poll workers and overwhelmed, obsolete voting machines. Your Mailbox is Your Ballot Box – sponsored by Rep. Rob Matzie – helps every voter, but especially police officers, firefighters, medical personnel and other voters who can’t find time to cast a ballot, by allowing everyone to submit their ballot by mail. It’s secure, safe Read more


Democratic committee chairmen named

(Jan 07, 2019)

Democratic committee chairmen named HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody today named the Democratic minority chairmen of the standing committees which are assigned to consider legislation before it advances to the full House. Rep. Matt Bradford of Montgomery County was chosen separately by a November vote of all the Democratic members to be chairman of the Appropriations Committee. The House Democratic chairmen for the 2019-20 session are: Aging and Older Adult Services: Rep. Steve Samuelson, 135th Legislative District, Northampton County. Agriculture and Rural Affairs: Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, 121st Legislative District, Luzerne County. Children and Youth: Rep. Joseph Petrarca, 55th Legislative District, Westmoreland, Armstrong and Indiana counties. Commerce: Rep. John Galloway, 140th Legislative District, Bucks County. Consumer Affairs: Rep. Rob Matzie, 16th Legislative District, Beaver and Allegheny counties. Education: Rep. James Roebuck, 188th Legislative District, Philadelphia County. Environmental Resources and Energy: Rep. Greg Vitali, 166th Legislative District, Delaware and Montgomery counties. Finance: Rep. Jake Wheatley, 19th Legislative District, Allegheny County. Game and Fisheries: Rep. William Kortz, 38th Legislative District, Allegheny County. Gaming Oversight: Rep. Scott Conklin, 77th Legislative District, Centre County. Health: Rep. Dan Frankel, 23rd Legislative Read more


House Democrats Welcome Pension Commission’s Report

(Dec 20, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 20 – The special panel charged with finding new ways to save money for Pennsylvania’s two pension systems issued its final report today and House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said he is pleased it acknowledges the State Employees’ Retirement System’s and the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System’s efforts to save money and streamline services as they continue to pursue diverse investment strategies. The Public Pension Management & Asset Investment Review Commission voted to approve its final report today after holding public meetings and engaging with respected public pension experts throughout the fall. The panel was established by a 2017 law and tasked with doing this report. “What we heard during the public meetings is PSERS and SERS have been working to save money on investment fees,” Dermody said. “Remember, they have already saved billions of dollars. “But the commission identified new ways in which PSERS and SERS could save even more, and I am sure each retirement system’s board of trustees will thoroughly and seriously consider those recommendations.” Dermody said House Democrats generally support the commission report’s emphasis on transparency, stress testing, the consolidation of investment activities, and making sure the systems are getting the best value for each dollar invested. “While we agree with many of the principles outlined in Read more


Democratic leaders will serve on Redistricting Reform Commission

(Dec 03, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 3 – The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate will both serve on the bipartisan Pennsylvania Redistricting Reform Commission formed by Gov. Tom Wolf and they intend to participate fully in the panel’s work. Sen. Jay Costa and Rep. Frank Dermody look forward to helping in a comprehensive review of Pennsylvania’s redistricting process and offering recommendations later in 2019 to improve its integrity and fairness. “The commission has no authority to change state law and will simply be offering ideas for the governor and legislature to consider using during the redistricting process,” Dermody said. “That’s a worthy purpose and we’re proud to join Governor Wolf’s appointees in undertaking a serious effort that will offer needed perspective.” “A key part of the group’s effort will be getting citizens to engage in our work. For too long they have felt shut out of a meaningful role in redistricting,” Costa said. “The upcoming work of the commission will prioritize hearing what the public has to say.” Wolf established the commission with an executive order last week and appointed 11 of the 15 members. The remaining four slots are for legislators chosen by the respective leaders of the four legislative caucuses. Wolf also named David Thornburgh of the Committee of Seventy in Philadelphia to lead the commission and gave the group nine months to do its work and Read more


Fighting hunger this holiday season

(Nov 20, 2018)

With the holidays upon us, I want to remind everyone that the commonwealth offers some excellent resources to help families who may be struggling with food insecurity. Check out these links to: a list of food banks by county ; an interactive map of food pantries ; a list of state food programs ; a list of Allegheny County programs and services to help meet basic needs ; a program through which hunters can share extra venison ; and ideas for fighting hunger in your community . If you don’t need help but want to volunteer your time or resources, you’ll find plenty of opportunities in the links above. This holiday season, let’s work together to make sure everyone has blessings to count. Read more