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Harris applauds passage of bipartisan occupational licensure reform

PLBC to PIAA: scrap head garb waiver rule

(Feb 27, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 27 – State Rep. Jordan Harris and state Sen. Sharif Street, both D-Phila., met with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s executive director Monday to discuss changing the PIAA’s rules requiring a signed waiver for student-athletes who wear religious head garb. The meeting was a result of 16-year-old Nasihah Thompson-King being excluded from participating in a basketball game because she refused to remove her hijab. Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said while the meeting was productive, it is up to the PIAA’s board to do the right thing and make the rule change. Harris said, “Our meeting with Dr. Robert A. Lombardi, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, seemed productive. We urged the PIAA to remove the rule requiring a signed waiver for student-athletes to wear religious head garb. Dr. Lombardi agreed to bring our request to the PIAA board during their March meeting. We look forward to their decision to scrap the rule or we will be forced to look into further actions that will require them to comply with state and federal civil rights laws.” Street said, “After meeting with the PIAA, we stressed the importance of religious headgear being included as acceptable equipment, not listed as an exception, or requiring any documentation to be shown. We are encouraged that the rules committee of the PIAA will soon advance these Read more

 

PLBC troubled by waiver requirement for student athletes, calls on PIAA to abandon waiver requirement

(Feb 21, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 21 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said that he and other caucus members were deeply troubled by 16-year-old Nasihah Thompson-King and other student athletes being excluded from participating in sports activities simply because of their religion. Members are calling on the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association to abandon the waiver requirement because it unjustly profiles students based on their religion. Harris said, “Requiring students to sign off on a waiver to prove their religion is unacceptable and completely unnecessary. We are calling on the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association to abolish this discriminatory rule. We must ensure that Pennsylvania students never have to endure the humiliation and mistreatment that Nasihah Thompson-King faced because she chose to wear her hijab.” The PLBC vice chairwoman, Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., said student athletes should not be forced to choose between their religion and participating in sports. Bullock said, “The PIAA waiver put in place singles out young people for no other reason than their religious beliefs. Women of color have far too many obstacles to overcome as it is. Nasihah’s head garb in no way impedes upon her ability to play basketball or any other sport. It’s time for the PIAA to correct this wrong and update their policies regarding the place of religion in sports Read more

 

Harris: Put Our Children First, Increase School Funding

(Feb 08, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris reacts to Gov. Tom Wolf's budget address by applauding his efforts to invest in education and workforce development. Harris also says gun violence is a serious issue across the state, particularly in Philadelphia, and is happy to work with the Governor to find a solution. Read more

 

Harris: Pa.'s Promise of a College Education

(Jan 23, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris spoke about the release of a report recommending the investment of $1 billion to ensure "Pennsylvania's Promise" of affordable college tuition for qualifying students. Read more

 

PLBC honored by Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia on MLK Day

(Jan 16, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus on Monday was presented with the Outstanding Organization Award by the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia during their annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Each year, the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia present this award to an organization that fights to ensure that minorities and people of color have full access to the rights and privileges guaranteed under the law. State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the caucus, said, “I was honored to accept the Outstanding Organization Award on behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. While we do not work for awards or recognition, it is humbling to see that our efforts to create a more fair and just society are noticed – especially from Governor Wolf, who presented us with the award. I would like to thank the Barristers’ Association for their commitment to fighting injustice and promoting awareness of the law.” State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, also was presented with the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. She said, “I am beyond grateful, humbled and honored to have been awarded the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from my Barristers’ Association family. As a proud member of the Barristers’ Association and a former public defender, my commitment to seeking justice did not end after taking office. We must continue to speak truth to power and Read more

 

Southwest Philadelphia area state representatives to host joint town hall

(Dec 06, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 6 – State Reps. Jordan Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and James Roebuck, both D-Phila., and Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today announced that they are hosting a joint town hall meeting to address the unique concerns affecting residents of southwest Philadelphia. The town hall meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14 at the Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School, 5151 Warren St. Harris, Roebuck and McClinton will inform residents of legislative developments in Harrisburg that impact their respective districts. There will also be a “Get to know your rep.” breakout session where residents will be able to ask their representative questions one-on-one. The meeting is open to the community, and constituents with questions should contact Harris’ district office at 215-952-3378, Roebuck’s office at 215-724-2227, or McClinton’s office at 215-748-6712. “We have debated this bill every year that I have been here, and it’s obvious that we have not been listening. Senate Bill 3 seeks to take away a decision between a woman and her doctor. Neither the House Health Committee, nor the Pennsylvania Legislature, have the right to pass legislation that clearly puts women at risk. This is true for men in particular. It’s time to listen for a change to people who are actually experts in the field.” ### Read more

 

PLBC calls Pa. gun violence a public health crisis like opioids, demands action

(Nov 28, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 28 – Several members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today spoke out against the gun violence epidemic impacting communities of color across Pennsylvania. State Rep, Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said, “Gun violence in Pennsylvania is a public health crisis and an epidemic, particularly for communities of color. It’s past time we start raising the level of attention on this tragic issue and demand more action. When children are being impacted, it’s time to call a state of emergency. “At this time, I’m not calling for new gun laws, but for a coordinated effort and stronger enforcements of the laws we already have in place. By providing the resources necessary, we can finally address the issue of gun violence that has traumatized our communities for far too long.” In 2016 alone, there were more than 10,000 incidents involving firearms across Pennsylvania, with nearly 5,000 of them taking place in Philadelphia. While one Pennsylvanian is murdered with a gun every 17 hours, communities of color are disproportionately impacted. African Americans and Hispanics represent nearly 79 percent of all gun homicides in Pennsylvania. From 2005 to 2014, Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for the rate of gun homicides of African Americans. Although African Americans make up about 12 percent of Pennsylvania’s population, they account for more than 69 Read more

 

Harris congratulates Cheyney University on extended accreditation

(Nov 20, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 20 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, has released the following statement after hearing that the Middle States Commission on Higher Education granted Cheyney University another year of accreditation: “I would like to congratulate Cheyney University for receiving another year of accreditation on its probationary status. This victory reflects the hard work of the board of governors, Council of Trustees, President Aaron Walton, faculty, staff, alumni and countless supporters. This also reflects the vision and commitment of Governor Tom Wolf. Thank you Governor Wolf for taking the steps necessary to protect the legacy of our nation’s oldest Historically Black College. “As a member of the Cheyney University task force, I have been an outspoken advocate of saving Cheyney University’s accreditation and worked on the task force’s report of recommendations for reinventing Cheyney University into a 21st-century historically black college. While this is a major victory, there is still more work to be done. We must now work towards removing Cheney University from this probationary status and ensure that it not only survives, but that it may thrive. We must build upon the legacy that started back in 1837 and has continued for the last 180 years.” ### Read more

 

PLBC hosts policy hearing, tour at SCI Muncy

(Nov 17, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 17 – State Reps. Jordan Harris and Morgan Cephas, both D-Phila., on behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today hosted a joint policy committee hearing and tour with the House Democratic Policy Committee, various stakeholders, and incarcerated women. The tour and policy hearing was held at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy. This is the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ and House Democratic Policy Committee’s first tour and policy hearing at a state prison facility. Advocacy and community-based organizations joined state legislators to discuss policy initiatives aimed at reducing incarceration rates, ending the school-to-prison pipeline for young girls, and improving conditions for incarcerated women. Panelists for the policy hearing included: Chloe Bohm, House Democratic Appropriations Committee, budget analyst; Joanna Visser Adjoian, Esq., Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project, co-founder and co-director; John Hargreaves, Pennsylvania Prison Society, director of volunteers; Melissa Robbins, Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization of Women, delegate; Sameerah Shabazz, Ardella’s House, director of policy and advocacy; Farida E. Boyer, MS, Family Centered Outpatient Therapeutic Services, CEO; Peggy Sims, Sisters Returning Home, founder and executive director; and Rev. Michelle Anne Simmons, Why Not Prosper, founder and CEO. Cephas, chairwoman of the PLBC Subcommittee on Read more

 

House Democrats join Gov. Wolf for signing of ‘stop and go’ law

(Nov 01, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 1 – State Reps. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., and Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, today joined Gov. Tom Wolf, members of the state Liquor Control Board, and state and local Philadelphia legislators for the signing of a bill that increases the state’s ability to better deal with “stop and go” nuisance establishments in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. The new authority is included in a Fiscal Code bill (H.B. 674), which the House passed last week. Under the legislation, if the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board finds that a licensed establishment does not meet the seating, square footage, food or health requirements under the state Liquor Code, the LCB can suspend the license immediately. The new law also gives local government entities the power to make recommendations to the LCB to investigate establishments believed to be failing to meet code requirements. Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, who sponsored earlier legislation to address "stop and gos," said, “In June, we began to work on legislation to increase the ability of local law enforcement agencies to stop the unscrupulous business practices of local ‘stop and go’ establishments. Today, we are able to begin the process of removing this nuisance from our community. Although this is just one of many steps needed to ensure the safety and serenity of our neighborhoods, the political will and courage displayed by Read more

 

PLBC, Philadelphia Delegation hail passage of new authority to deal with 'stop-and-go' nuisances

(Oct 25, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 25 – State Reps. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., and Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, today hosted a news conference in the state Capitol, celebrating passage of a bill that would increase the state's authority to deal with "stop-and-go" nuisance businesses in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. The new authority is included in a Fiscal Code bill (H.B. 674), which the House passed Tuesday. The Senate passed the bill Monday. Under the bill, if the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board finds that a licensee does not meet a requirement under the Liquor Code for seating, square footage, food or health, it could suspend the license immediately. The bill also would give local government entities the power to make recommendations to the LCB to investigate establishments believed to be failing to meet code requirements. “While stop-and-go enforcements have always been a popular idea, it took a great amount of courage and political will to get it done,” said Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. “There were a lot of sacrifices made to ensure these enforcements were put in place. None of this would be possible without the bipartisan and bicameral collaboration that we saw take place.” In September, Harris hosted state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks, for a tour of stop-and-go establishments in Philadelphia. Harris also sponsored earlier legislation to address the issue of stop-and-gos. Read more

 

Harris Ending Stop and Go Nuisances

(Oct 25, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris commends the teamwork and dedication that produced legislation awaiting the governor’s signature that would help crackdown on stop and go nuisance establishments and keep communities safer. Read more

 

Harris Gets Support from Trio of Eagles for Clean Slate Legislation

(Oct 24, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris is getting support from a few members the Philadelphia Eagles for his clean slate legislation, House Bill 1419, which would implement automatic sealing of records after a period of time with no action required by the person. Read more

 

PLBC hosts meet and greet luncheon with Philadelphia Eagles

(Oct 24, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 24 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today hosted a meet and greet luncheon with players from the Philadelphia Eagles. During the luncheon, PLBC members and Philadelphia Eagles players discussed criminal justice reform efforts taking place in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia Eagles players in attendance included: Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith and Chris Long. Chairman Jordan Harris, D-Phila., applauded the players for using their platform to uplift Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents. “Beyond being stellar athletes, they have been a vital part of the conversation around criminal justice reform in our nation,” Harris said. “It’s time to remove the scarlet letter that prevents many Pennsylvanians from being able to receive gainful employment, adequate housing and loans to pursue a post-secondary education. If passed, our clean slate bill would be the first of its kind anywhere in the country.” Harris and Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, have introduced H.B. 1419 which would implement automatic sealing of records with no action required by the person. Harris said he believes clean slate legislation can get passed this session, but only if both parties reach a compromise to improve outcomes for all Pennsylvanians. State Reps. Donna Bullock and Joanna McClinton, both D-Phila., discussed their experience today. Bullock is the vice chairwoman of the PLBC. “I admire athletes who use their Read more

 

McClinton, Harris to host Fall Festival on Oct. 31

(Oct 24, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 24 – In an effort to provide young people with a safe environment for Halloween, state Reps. Joanna McClinton and Jordan Harris, both D-Phila., will host a Fall Festival. The event will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31 in the Common Place parking lot, 5736 Chester Ave., 19143. Both McClinton and Harris said this event is a great opportunity for children in both of their districts to have a fun and safe space to go for Halloween. “Halloween is a very popular time for young people, so we want to make sure they are able to celebrate it with their families in the best way possible,” McClinton said. The event will offer treats and refreshments, activities for families as well as information on health and state-related programs. “While we wanted to make the event fun for the young people, we decided to provide something for everyone so it could be a good and informative time for all families,” Harris said. For more information, constituents can call McClinton’s office at (215) 748-6712 or Harris’ office at (215) 952-3378. Read more

 

Harris joins Center for American Progress for national discussion on criminal justice reform

(Oct 24, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 24 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, joined the Center for American Progress, the National Employment Law Project, and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia to discuss criminal justice reform in Pennsylvania and across the nation. Harris joined the discussion Monday via video conference. Harris was joined by state Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., to discuss the efforts of clean slate legislation. Harris championed Act 5 of 2016 which seals non-violent misdemeanor convictions for people who have been crime-free for 10 years. Harris and Delozier have introduced H.B. 1419 which would implement automatic sealing of records with no action required by the person. “This is not a Democratic or Republican issue – it’s about providing better service to people in our communities,” Harris said. “Moreover, it’s about dollars and cents. Too often, criminal records are dooming people to a life of poverty through the creation of a social and financial underclass.” Harris calls the clean slate movement the next long-range plan on criminal justice reform. “Bills like these disrupt the cyclical nature of incarceration,” Harris said. “If we are serious about rehabilitating and reintegrating residents back into society, then we need to do something sooner rather than later. We can no longer look Read more

 

Harris to host senior wills clinic

(Oct 19, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 19 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced that his office will host a free senior wills clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Wharton Square Park, 2300 Wharton St., Philadelphia. Residents 55 and older in the 186th Legislative District will have the opportunity to speak with legal professionals about the creation of a living will, power of attorney and health-care directives. Constituents can have a will drafted and printed on site. Limited spots are available, and attendees are required to RSVP to Harris’ office by calling (215) 952-3378. ### Read more

 

Harris urges Amtrak to honor legacy of Congressman Gray

(Sep 29, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today joined Sen. Bob Casey and members of the Gray Coalition to urge Amtrak to rename its 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.” Harris was also joined by Reps. W. Curtis Thomas and Donna Bullock, both D-Phila. “We are standing on the shoulders of giants and Congressman Gray was one of those giants who paved the way for many of us today,” Harris said. “He dedicated his life to making Philadelphia a better place. In fact, without his help, Amtrak would have never received the funds necessary to complete the restoration project for 30th Street Station.” In 2014, the United States Congress unanimously passed H.R. 4838 to rename 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station. In August 2014, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 4838 into law. Since then, Amtrak has failed to rename the station after the late Congressman Gray. To urge Amtrak to immediately change the name of the station, Harris co-sponsored H.R. 419 , which was unanimously adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “It’s time to fully honor Congressman Gray’s legacy by renaming 30th Street Station,” Harris said. “Amtrak must comply with H.R. 4838, as unanimously passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. It’s the right and honorable thing to Read more

 

Harris, Ortitay react to fire chief’s comments

(Sep 27, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 27 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and state Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-Washington/Allegheny, released the following statement in response to a written comment by Cecil Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 then-Chief Paul Smith: “There is no place in society for racism and hate, and the language used by Mr. Smith should be eliminated from everyone’s vocabulary,” Ortitay said. “That is a derogatory and hurtful term and should never be used. I strongly condemn this type of language. It is my understanding that Mr. Smith resigned Tuesday afternoon. “Those in positions of authority and leaders in the community need to be careful about the language they use. Words matter. Others, especially children, take note of the language used by those in positions of influence and the attitudes promoted by such language. We need to set a better example of respect and compassion for each other.” "Chief Smith's behavior was out of step with the values of the average Pennsylvanian," Harris said. "Unlike athletes, celebrities, or even other citizens, he is a public servant who has held the trust of the general public in the capacity in which he serves them. That capacity came under question, due to his behavior, and he did the right thing by resigning. “He could no longer be trusted to serve the general public in his current capacity as the very Read more

 

Harris announces $250,000 DCED grant to revitalize communities

(Sep 25, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 25 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today hosted a news conference to announce a $250,000 Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development grant he helped secure. The grant will be used in Harris’ district in the following neighborhoods: Point Breeze, Grays Ferry, Graduate Hospital, and Kingsessing. “Thank you to the state Department of Community and Economic Development for continuing to invest in communities that need it most,” Harris said. “Many older residents living on fixed incomes cannot afford tree trimming and removal services. This grant will help revitalize our community and address a pressing quality-of-life issue.” The grant will be used to remove overgrown and unwanted vegetation and debris from community common spaces, alleyways and commercial corridors. The funds will also go toward training to provide returning citizens with tree trimming and removal skills. Harris was joined by representatives from Ready, Willing and Able, NSA Education Network, and Surge Recovery. “These grant dollars serve a dual purpose: they allow us to work with our community partners and assist returning citizens by providing them with valuable skills,” Harris said. “These individuals will be able to work under the guidance of trained professionals to develop a skill set that will be a tremendous asset to our community. Once Read more

 

PLBC to PIAA: scrap head garb waiver rule
Feb 27, 2018

PLBC troubled by waiver requirement for student athletes, calls on PIAA to abandon waiver requirement
Feb 21, 2018

Harris: Put Our Children First, Increase School Funding
Feb 08, 2018

Harris: Pa.'s Promise of a College Education
Jan 23, 2018

PLBC honored by Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia on MLK Day
Jan 16, 2018

Southwest Philadelphia area state representatives to host joint town hall
Dec 06, 2017

PLBC calls Pa. gun violence a public health crisis like opioids, demands action
Nov 28, 2017

Harris congratulates Cheyney University on extended accreditation
Nov 20, 2017

PLBC hosts policy hearing, tour at SCI Muncy
Nov 17, 2017

House Democrats join Gov. Wolf for signing of ‘stop and go’ law
Nov 01, 2017

PLBC, Philadelphia Delegation hail passage of new authority to deal with 'stop-and-go' nuisances
Oct 25, 2017

Harris Ending Stop and Go Nuisances
Oct 25, 2017

Harris Gets Support from Trio of Eagles for Clean Slate Legislation
Oct 24, 2017

PLBC hosts meet and greet luncheon with Philadelphia Eagles
Oct 24, 2017

McClinton, Harris to host Fall Festival on Oct. 31
Oct 24, 2017

Harris joins Center for American Progress for national discussion on criminal justice reform
Oct 24, 2017

Harris to host senior wills clinic
Oct 19, 2017

Harris urges Amtrak to honor legacy of Congressman Gray
Sep 29, 2017

Harris, Ortitay react to fire chief’s comments
Sep 27, 2017

Harris announces $250,000 DCED grant to revitalize communities
Sep 25, 2017