Frankel, Sims condemn Trump administration move to narrow civil rights protections for transgender people

(Oct 24, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 24 – State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Brian K. Sims, D-Philadelphia, today jointly condemned efforts by the Trump administration to roll back federal civil rights protections for transgender people. Their actions were prompted by news that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is attempting to impose a restrictive definition of gender as a biological, immutable condition determined at birth and limited to “male” or “female.” Doing so would remove protections available to transgender people under current civil rights laws such as Title IX, which bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government assistance. “This administration is attempting to legislate transgender men and women out of existence. But it doesn’t work that way. People won’t feel differently about their own bodies and lives just because Trump tells them to ,” said Frankel, who is co-chairman of the House LGBT Equality Caucus. Sims said, “The Trump administration’s proposal is designed to erase the legal identities of transgender Americans by destroying decades of American jurisprudence and precedent that unquestionably recognizes the scientific and medical reality of transgender existence. This is an abhorrent and dehumanizing attack on the transgender community that will undoubtedly cause millions of Americans to suffer. The federal government’s planned assault on Read more

 

Thanks for attending!; Legislative Highlights from Session Week; Gov. Wolf approves PWSA Drinking Water Project

(Oct 23, 2018)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I was happy to support education and screening efforts at an event in District 23. Read more

 

Frankel: House votes to increase protections for victims of domestic violence

(Sep 26, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – A bill requiring people found guilty of domestic violence to relinquish their firearms within 24 hours and preventing them from turning those firearms over to friends and family members passed the House today, announced House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny. House Bill 2060 would strengthen the Protection from Abuse (PFA) Act by mandating that firearms be forfeited on all final PFA orders, requiring law enforcement to serve PFAs, and ensuring that guns are turned over to licensed dealers, commercial armories, or law enforcement. Additionally, convicted domestic abusers would be required to turn over weapons within 24 hours rather than 60 days exclusively to law enforcement, an authorized gun dealer or commercial armory, or an attorney, instead of friends or family members as the law now permits. “We all know that guns in the wrong hands can have dire consequences, but guns in the hands of abusive men or women can prove deadly” said Frankel. “Sadly, we’ve seen time and time again that there is a tragic overlap between people who abuse those nearest to them and people who commit acts of mass murder in our communities.” Frankel noted that among Pennsylvania’s 117 domestic violence deaths in 2017, 78 of the victims were killed by a firearm from either a current or intimate partner, according to a report compiled by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Violence . Read more

 

Frankel lauds the passage of bill lifting statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases

(Sep 25, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 25 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, today lauded House passage of a bill that would remove the criminal statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse moving forward – and provide a two-year window for them to file civil suits if their statute of limitations has expired. Frankel said passage of S.B. 261 was long overdue, especially following the release of Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s grand jury report that investigated the sexual abuse by Catholic priests in six dioceses throughout the commonwealth. “While we can never take back what happened to victims of childhood sexual abuse, this bill is a win in eliminating the statute of limitations in criminal and civil cases for anyone who may be a future victim,” Frankel said. “For too long we have ignored the responsibility placed on us to ensure that people who are victims of crimes have the availability to hold their perpetrators accountable.” The bill passed with a 173-21 vote and now heads to the Senate for consideration. “The House is sending a clear message that sexual abuse of any nature will not be tolerated and predators will be brought to justice for acts done in the past and in the future,” Frankel said. “It is my sincere hope that our colleagues in the Senate will follow suit in making the same decision that is both right for victims and advocates.” Read more

 

Frankel: Nearly $600,000 in grants to fund community revitalization, arts and recreation

(Sep 18, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 18 – Nearly $600,000 in grants will help fund a gateway revitalization project and boost arts and recreation for Pittsburgh area residents, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, announced today. The grants include $75,000 to the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition for improvements to “O’Connor’s Corner” on the Murray Avenue business corridor, $300,000 to the Pittsburgh Opera to fund its operations during the 2018-19 season and $194,125 to The First Tee of Pittsburgh for construction work on a new clubhouse building/learning center at the Bob O’Connor Golf Course. Frankel said the grant for the Squirrel Hill project – approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority – will help fund a revitalization project that will add streetscape amenities, storm water enhancements, a green bus shelter and directional signage to Squirrel Hill’s “O’Connor’s Corner,” an area named as a tribute to the former Pittsburgh mayor. “It’s hard to overemphasize the impact of this grant, which is going to help transform Squirrel Hill’s gateway into a vibrant community meeting place where residents can walk, shop and socialize,” Frankel said. “The gateway’s new face will also draw businesses and stimulate tourism. It’s a tremendous step forward for a place that’s deeply significant to residents.” Frankel said the grant to the opera Read more

 

'All Pa. workers have a right to breathe free'

(Sep 11, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 11 – On the 10th anniversary of the start of Pennsylvania's Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA), elected officials joined with advocates to celebrate the health benefits of a decade of the law and to call for extending those same benefits to all employees in Pennsylvania. The law took effect on Sept. 11, 2008, creating standardized rules requiring most Pennsylvania businesses to go smoke-free. Since then, the vast majority of businesses in the commonwealth have gone smoke-free. However, due to broad exemptions for bars and casinos, thousands of employees at more than 1,700 businesses are still exposed to tobacco smoke in their workplace. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, said, “This is a simple matter of fairness. If you work in most businesses in Pennsylvania, your lungs are protected. But if your job is one of the more than 1,700 that have asked to be exempt from the law, you’re not. It’s been a decade. We know the law works. Let’s make it work for everyone. All Pennsylvania workers have a right to breathe free.” Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said, “It’s simply unacceptable to improve working conditions for most Pennsylvanians, but selectively choose some workers to be exposed to the known dangers of second-hand smoke. Ten years is already too long. We should pass legislation to improve the health conditions of all workplaces.” Allegheny County passed its Read more

 

Equality Caucus welcomes Pa. accepting LGBT discrimination complaints

(Aug 16, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 16 – Members of the legislature's LGBT Equality Caucus today welcomed a state agency's decision to interpret existing law on sex discrimination to protect LGBT people from discrimination, as several courts and agencies have already done. Members of the caucus provided public comment last year in support of the change. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission , which enforces state non-discrimination law, has updated how it interprets the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. That law bans discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on several categories, including sex. The commission also made a similar update to how it interprets the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act. State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus, said, "While I still believe we need the bipartisan Pennsylvania Fairness Act passed and signed into law to avoid any ambiguity, I fully support interpreting existing laws to include anti-LGBT discrimination. As Equality PA noted in its public comment, a federal appeals court stated, 'Any discomfort, disapproval, or job decision based on the fact that the complainant -- woman or man -- dresses differently, speaks differently, or dates or marries a same-sex partner, is a reaction purely and simply based on sex ... It would require considerable calisthenics to remove the 'sex' from 'sexual orientation.'" The bipartisan Fairness Read more

 

Frankel commends Wolf for creating LGBTQ affairs commission

(Aug 06, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 6 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, today commended Gov. Tom Wolf for creating the Pennsylvania Commission on LGBTQ Affairs. "Governor Wolf is showing leadership by his historic creation of the only commission of this kind in the United States. It shows once again that he values all Pennsylvanians, and I'm honored he appointed me to serve on the commission," said Frankel, co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus in the legislature. "This is a good step forward to determine needs for LGBT residents. But some things we already know: The legislature should pass the Pennsylvania Fairness Act . This bipartisan bill would include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the types of discrimination banned statewide in the workplace, housing and public accommodations. It's still legal in much of Pennsylvania for people to be denied a job or a place to live just because of who they are, and that's wrong," Frankel said. "The Fairness Act has had consistent 70 percent support in Pennsylvania polls for eight years. It's time for hearings and votes on this bipartisan, common-sense legislation. Governor Wolf would sign the Fairness Act into law – let's send it to his desk." ### Read more

 

Frankel: 'Junk' insurance products are latest Trump attack on the Affordable Care Act

(Aug 02, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 2 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, today issued the following statement on the federal government’s final rule on the expansion of short-term, limited duration health plans: “I am dismayed and deeply troubled by the Trump administration’s latest attack on consumers and the Affordable Care Act. The president’s plan to expand the availability of short-term, limited duration junk health plans which fall far short of the insurance protections currently required under the ACA, is both dangerous and extremely short-sighted. “These plans, which had previously only been available for up to three months, would now be available for a full 12 months with the option to renew for additional years. We know that such plans are not required to cover essential health benefits, prescription drugs or preventative care, and are unlikely to cover a consumer’s pre-existing conditions. “It cannot be stated loudly enough: short-term, limited duration plans that don't cover essentials are not a meaningful substitute for major medical health-care coverage and should not be marketed as a realistic alternative. “I look forward to working closely with the Wolf administration and Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman, as well as my colleagues in the General Assembly, to do whatever is in our power to educate consumers about these dangerous short-term plans and mitigate any damage they may Read more

 

Frankel, Sims: Supreme Court ruling shows need for Pa. Fairness Act

(Jun 04, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 4 – Leading pro-LGBT legislators in Harrisburg say today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a discrimination case shows the need to pass the Pennsylvania Fairness Act. The bipartisan legislation ( H.B. 1410 / S.B. 613 ) would include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the types of discrimination banned statewide in the workplace, housing and public accommodations. "This is about much more than cake – this is about people being denied a job or a place to live just because of who they are. That's still legal in much of Pennsylvania, it's wrong and it's time to fix it," said state Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus in the legislature. Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., the first out LGBT person elected to the legislature, said, "The U.S. Supreme Court decision appears to be narrow, based in large part on comments made by some Colorado officials. The door is still wide open for states to protect their LGBT residents and visitors, and Pennsylvania should act. The people are ahead of the legislature: Polls have shown consistent 70-percent support for this in Pennsylvania for eight years. The Fairness Act has bipartisan support in the legislature, and there should be hearings and votes on it." Frankel, lead House sponsor of the bill, said, "Many Pennsylvanians are stunned when they learn state or federal law doesn't already protect LGBT people in the Read more

 

Frankel slams Metcalfe’s outrageous Facebook post

(Apr 20, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, April 20 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, released the following statement in regard to a Facebook post from Republican House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe: “I am deeply disturbed and angry at inflammatory comments made today by Representative Metcalfe. “At the conclusion of an unhinged Facebook rant wherein he called one of my close House Democratic colleagues a ‘lying homosexual,’ Metcalfe admitted that he ‘blocks all substantive Democrat legislation’ sent to his committee. “He’s right. Not a single Democratic bill has come out of the State Government Committee this Session. That includes my House Bill 1410 – the PA Fairness Act – which would once and for all prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community. My bill has been repeatedly referred to Chairman Metcalfe’s committee by House Speaker Mike Turzai where it has failed to ever receive a vote or even a fair hearing. This legislation is supported by 72 percent of Pennsylvanians and is currently cosponsored by 75 bipartisan members in the House. The PA Fairness Act has the support of countless advocates, local leaders and the business community across the state. “Last week, Metcalfe gutted a very popular proposal that would have created an independent redistricting commission (House Bill 722). These partisan games have to end. For years, Chairman Metcalfe and Speaker Turzai Read more

 

Frankel announces up to $1.67 million in funding for Riverview Towers rehab

(Apr 19, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, April 19 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, has announced the awarding of up to $1.67 million in tax credits for the rehabilitation of the Riverview Towers senior housing complex, 52 Garetta St. "I was proud to support funding for this very worthwhile project. Riverview Towers provides affordable housing and dinner every day to seniors and enables them to age with dignity," Frankel said. The Low Income Housing Tax Credits, awarded through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, will help fund the rehabilitation of the two nine-story buildings, which have a total of 191 units for people 62 or older. They include 42 fully accessible units; 99 units with Section 8 project-based assistance. The buildings have four elevators and include 76 efficiency, 108 one-bedroom, and seven two-bedroom units. ### Read more

 

Pa. legislators call for action on Equal Pay Day

(Apr 10, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 10 – State legislators and advocates held a rally in the Capitol today to call for action on strengthening Pennsylvania's outdated, ineffective equal-pay law. Today is Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day when women’s average earnings catch up to men’s from the previous year. "Our state ranks 29th in the United States for pay equity. Women in Pennsylvania on average make 79 percent of what men make. It takes women an additional four months and four days to get paid the same as their male counterparts. This is despite the fact that we are just as qualified and have the same amount of experience," said state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, chairwoman of the Philadelphia County Delegation. "I am fighting for change with my legislation, House Bill 830 . It would ensure equal pay for equal work. The bill currently sits in the House Labor and Industry Committee, where it has remained for more than a year. The facts have remained the same for far too long: women make far less than men here in Pennsylvania and that is unfair and economically self-defeating." Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chairman of the Women's Health Caucus, said, "Mother's Day is coming up next month. Instead of nice words, it's time to deliver something that working mothers and all Pennsylvania working women deserve: equal pay for equal work! I have been hearing from so many women who are angry about what's been going Read more

 

Frankel welcomes Wolf call for Fairness Act, other Pa. non-discrimination updates

(Apr 05, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 5 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, is welcoming Gov. Tom Wolf's renewed call to strengthen Pennsylvania's non-discrimination law. Frankel is the lead House sponsor of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act ( H.B. 1410 ), which would include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the types of discrimination banned statewide in the workplace, housing and public accommodations. "I appreciate Governor Wolf's continued strong support for including LGBT Pennsylvanians in the protections of our state law,” Frankel said. “Many Pennsylvanians are stunned when they learn state or federal law doesn't already protect LGBT people in in the workplace, in housing and public accommodations such as being able to eat in a restaurant or to get a hotel room like everyone else. “Polls have shown consistent 70 percent support for this in Pennsylvania for eight years, and it's the right thing to do. It has bipartisan support in the legislature, and there should be hearings and votes on it." Wolf also gave his support today to several other bills that would improve the state's non-discrimination law, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. The proposals include: updating the law to require postings by employers that refer specifically to sexual harassment, to be introduced by state Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny; expanding the law to cover all employers and to include domestic workers Read more

 

Frankel Recognizes Pitt Public Health

(Mar 22, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Dan Frankel recognized Pitt Public Health with a House citation recognizing their achievements and contributions to public health at their 70th anniversary celebration. Read more

 

Frankel: Time to move forward with fair maps

(Mar 19, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, March 19 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, commented today on the recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania regarding the state's congressional redistricting maps: “I applaud today’s court decisions to allow us to move forward with fair Congressional maps for the 2018 elections. Pennsylvanians have been crystal clear – they want the opportunity to have their voices heard by voting in districts that aren’t gerrymandered for political gain. The court decisions today will allow for just that,” Frankel said. “I hope the unanimous rulings from Republican and Democratic judges today will encourage the Republican leadership in Harrisburg to cease any further challenges, whether it be more frivolous lawsuits that only serve to confuse voters, or any misguided and short-sighted attempts to impeach members of the judicial branch in Pennsylvania. Any legislation of that kind will be met with fierce opposition from Democrats and, I believe, the public.” Read more

 

Winter 2018 Newsletter

(Mar 14, 2018)

Working to protect women’s health and the environment - Fighting sexual harassment and sexual assault - Help with heating and water bills Read more

 

PA SAFE Caucus calls for gun safety reforms needed in Pennsylvania

(Mar 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, March 14 – PA SAFE Caucus members today outlined their legislative goals related to gun safety reform during a Capitol news conference, one month following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and coinciding with a national student walkout calling for immediate changes to gun laws across the country. Lawmakers spoke about their frustrations with trying to pass commonsense legislation as well as specific House bills that they would like to see move from committee. “The time is now to finally say enough is enough — to listen to the students whose wisdom and bravery is inspirational,” said PA SAFE Co-chair Madeleine Dean , D-Montgomery. “We can and must do something to combat this gun violence epidemic, not just to prevent mass shootings like in Parkland, but to combat the everyday violence that claims 33,000 lives a year in this country, and injures 80,000 others in the crossfire.” Members expressed their expectations ahead of a special set of hearings on gun laws scheduled for the week of April 9. "We are pleased to see that the House Judiciary Committee will give members a chance to speak about important gun safety proposals,” said PA SAFE Co-chair Dan Frankel , D-Allegheny. “But we also know that a hearing is not enough – we expect the chance to vet some of these bills on the House floor in the very near future.” “Family and close friends are often the first to notice early Read more

 

Frankel: Teamwork brought restoration of Pittsburgh local control

(Feb 12, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 12 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, commended the teamwork that led to today's restoration of local control over Pittsburgh's city finances. "This is good news for our city and reflects the optimism felt locally for the future of the region. This restoration of local control is the result of the hard work of responsible leadership, not only by Mayor Bill Peduto but also City Council. I thank Governor Tom Wolf for working with the city and with Pittsburgh's representatives and senators in Harrisburg to make this happen," Frankel said. ### Read more

 

Frankel welcomes Wolf's proposed increases for education, opioid treatment

(Feb 06, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 6 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, is welcoming the proposed funding increases for education and opioid treatment in the budget plan Gov. Tom Wolf fully unveiled today, as well as his renewed call for a severance tax on natural-gas drilling. Frankel said: "We've made so much progress in Governor Wolf's three years in restoring the Corbett-Republican education cuts to K-12 education and our state-owned and state-related universities, including Pitt. But there's more to do. And I'm glad to see the governor will be calling for tens of millions of dollars in new funding to build on the work we've already done to tackle the heroin and opioid crisis – we can't count on the Trump administration to deliver anything more than words on that front. Some of the counties hit hardest by the heroin and opioid crisis are in southwestern Pennsylvania, and Governor Wolf continues to recognize how important addressing it is to our region. "Governor Wolf is also right to call again for passing a commonsense severance tax on natural-gas drilling to help meet our needs such as education and balancing our budget. All other major natural-gas states – including neighboring Ohio and West Virginia – have such a tax. It's only right for Pennsylvania families to have the same measure of fairness, by having these companies pay their fair share of taxes here." ### Read more

 

Frankel, Sims condemn Trump administration move to narrow civil rights protections for transgender people
Oct 24, 2018

Thanks for attending!; Legislative Highlights from Session Week; Gov. Wolf approves PWSA Drinking Water Project
Oct 23, 2018

Frankel: House votes to increase protections for victims of domestic violence
Sep 26, 2018

Frankel lauds the passage of bill lifting statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases
Sep 25, 2018

Frankel: Nearly $600,000 in grants to fund community revitalization, arts and recreation
Sep 18, 2018

'All Pa. workers have a right to breathe free'
Sep 11, 2018

Equality Caucus welcomes Pa. accepting LGBT discrimination complaints
Aug 16, 2018

Frankel commends Wolf for creating LGBTQ affairs commission
Aug 06, 2018

Frankel: 'Junk' insurance products are latest Trump attack on the Affordable Care Act
Aug 02, 2018

Frankel, Sims: Supreme Court ruling shows need for Pa. Fairness Act
Jun 04, 2018

Frankel slams Metcalfe’s outrageous Facebook post
Apr 20, 2018

Frankel announces up to $1.67 million in funding for Riverview Towers rehab
Apr 19, 2018

Pa. legislators call for action on Equal Pay Day
Apr 10, 2018

Frankel welcomes Wolf call for Fairness Act, other Pa. non-discrimination updates
Apr 05, 2018

Frankel Recognizes Pitt Public Health
Mar 22, 2018

Frankel: Time to move forward with fair maps
Mar 19, 2018

Winter 2018 Newsletter
Mar 14, 2018

PA SAFE Caucus calls for gun safety reforms needed in Pennsylvania
Mar 14, 2018

Frankel: Teamwork brought restoration of Pittsburgh local control
Feb 12, 2018

Frankel welcomes Wolf's proposed increases for education, opioid treatment
Feb 06, 2018