Freeman touts Wolf support of Main/Elm street programs in proposed budget

(Mar 11, 2015)

HARRISBURG, March 11 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, applauded Gov. Wolf's efforts to sustain the Main and Elm street programs within the state Department of Community and Economic Development in his proposed 2015-16 budget. The governor has proposed to restore $15 million to the Keystone Communities program, which includes the Main and Elm street programs. Former Gov. Corbett had cut $21 million from the Keystone programs. "It is encouraging to see how the administration values these programs," Freeman said. "In the last four years, the Keystone programs suffered devastating budget cuts, leaving insufficient funding to help rebuild communities. "DCED Acting Secretary Dennis Davin today touted these programs during his participation in the House Appropriations Committee budget hearings and said it was important for Pennsylvania to rebuild these programs to allow businesses and communities to work together to help communities thrive. "As Secretary Davin noted, these targeted investments can spur economic development and job creation," he said. Freeman has been a supporter of the Main Street program, a program that provides grants to help revitalize downtown commercial districts, and is the author of the corresponding Elm Street program, which focuses on revitalizing older, neighboring residential areas adjacent to downtowns. He also is Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee. "It's Read more


Freeman introduces bill to encourage student success through peer tutoring

(Mar 04, 2015)

HARRISBURG, March 4 – State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, has introduced legislation to create a tutoring program where 11th- and 12th-graders could tutor elementary school-aged children for academic credit. "This proposal could be a valuable resource for every one of Pennsylvania's school districts, not only because it is designed to boost student achievement at little-to-no cost to taxpayers, but also because it would get students to succeed by helping each other," Freeman said. "The one-on-one tutoring can help both sets of students. High school students serve as positive role models for the younger students who receive help with their studies. While the older students receive academic credit for helping the young students to achieve, they also hone their own understanding of academic subjects by taking on the responsibilities of being a tutor." Freeman's plan also includes a provision that would encourage 11th- and 12th-grade students who are not meeting their academic potential to participate as tutors. He said that students who become tutors improve their own academic performance because they begin to take their own studies more seriously in order to help the young students they are tutoring. "Helping someone by sharing your expertise, can, in turn, bring out the best in yourself. That's a wonderful gift to share with others," Freeman said. The bill (H.B. 723) is expected to be referred to the House Read more


Freeman introduces bills to expand participation in Main Street, CRIZ programs

(Feb 26, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 26 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton has introduced two bills to help small towns. The first bill (H.B. 659) would let communities extend their participation in the Main Street Program for up to five years. The second bill (H.B. 660) would make more small cities eligible for the state's City Revitalization and Improvement Zone program. "Our small towns and cities face many of the same challenges of larger, urban areas, but sometimes they get overlooked," Freeman said. "My legislation would help ensure their success by assisting them with downtown revitalization and stimulating economic development and job creation." The state's Main Street Program provides grants to help revitalize downtown districts and pay for a full-time Main Street manager who works with local officials and merchants to implement a downtown revitalization plan. Current involvement in the program is limited to five years. Freeman's bill would provide administrative support funding for up to an additional five years with approval by the Department of Community and Economic Development, which funds the program. "Unfortunately, we have seen in numerous cases that the current five-year time frame to turn around a traditional downtown is too short. A community just begins to see the progress brought on by Main Street initiatives only to see the plug pulled prematurely, often causing the downtown's success to suffer," Freeman Read more


Freeman sworn in for 2015-16 legislative session

(Jan 07, 2015)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, began his 15th term representing the 136th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives Tuesday after taking the oath of office. The swearing-in ceremony at the state Capitol marked the beginning of the 199th session of the General Assembly. The oath of office was administered by Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Judith Ference Olson. "I'm pleased to once again be able to serve the needs and interests of the people of my district," Freeman said. Freeman is the longest-serving member in the current Lehigh Valley delegation. He served as a state representative from 1982 to 1994, and was re-elected again in 1998 and has served since. He was reappointed Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee Monday. "This is a committee that is important to my district as it deals with land use planning, development and urban revitalization efforts, all issues impacting the Lehigh Valley," Freeman said. "Government at the local level is closest to the people. The committee can be instrumental in assisting local governments to fulfill their responsibilities to the community."  Freeman's district includes the city of Easton, parts of the townships of Lower Saucon, Palmer and all of Williams, and the boroughs of Freemansburg, Glendon, Hellertown, West Easton and Wilson. Read more


Hope for Hannah legislation becomes law

(Dec 28, 2014)

Pennsylvania's children have a new protection thanks to Hannah's Law, named after Hannah Ginion of Bristol Township, who suffered from the rare genetic disorder called Krabbe disease. Hannah passed away on Dec. 28, 2014. Read more


Online Constituent Services request form

(Dec 18, 2014)

Need information on state programs or services, but can’t make it into my office? Fill out this online form and I’ll send the information to you! Read more


Beware IRS phone scams

(Nov 29, 2014)

Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed. Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed. Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you. Read more


HEROIN: What you need to know about Pennsylvania’s Good Samaritan Law

(Nov 24, 2014)

Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote. The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses. Read more


In the News: Dept. of Human Services name change better reflects mission

(Nov 24, 2014)

House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session. According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission. Read more


Do you need help paying heating bills?

(Nov 24, 2014)

As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more


Apply for health insurance by Feb. 16

(Nov 23, 2014)

The open enrollment period for health care coverage is now underway. If you or someone you know is in need of health insurance, please consider visiting the federal Marketplace at Applicants have until Feb. 16, 2015 to enroll. Everyone, no matter what age, needs health insurance. A random accident or unexpected illness could put you in danger of losing not only your good health but also your financial future. Read more


Sign up for the Do-Not-Call list

(Nov 22, 2014)

To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. Read more


Weatherizing your home saves you money on energy bills

(Nov 20, 2014)

Last year’s bitterly cold winter left many people struggling to pay higher-than-normal home energy bills. As we head toward the coldest months of the year, there are ways you can winterize your home to keep heat in, cold air out, and money in your pocket. Many businesses offer professional home energy audits, but you can perform your own by inspecting areas where heat escapes and cold air leaks in. Read more


Check out charities before making holiday donations

(Nov 20, 2014)

While it may be the season for charitable giving, scammers don't take a holiday. The Pennsylvania Department of State offers a simple way to ensure a charity is legitimate and that your donation will be used properly. Read more