Kenyatta: Hahnemann University Hospital closure is unacceptable

(Jul 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 2 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., has issued a statement in response to news that Hahnemann University Hospital will be following through with its plans to close after filing for bankruptcy Sunday night. “By closing its doors, Hahnemann University Hospital is going to leave 2,500 employees without jobs and force patients to look elsewhere for timely treatment,” Kenyatta said. “This is the beginning of a public health crisis.” Kenyatta said he stands in agreement with Dr. Rachel Levine, the Pennsylvania Department of Health secretary, who issued a cease and desist letter to the owner of Hahnemann to prohibit the site’s closure until a state approved plan is established to ensure a safe transition for patients. It also prevents the hospital from closing its emergency room center as planned. “It’s unacceptable to shut down the emergency room center at this hospital just days before the Fourth of July holiday weekend, especially as Philadelphia is experiencing an increase in gun violence,” Kenyatta added. “That is why I’m also calling on Mayor Kenney to refuse sale to the buyers who wish to convert Hahnemann University Hospital into luxury apartments. Buyers should only be considered if they will continue to operate the site as a hospital.” Hahnemann, a level 1 trauma center, serves around 40,000 emergency room patients each year. Read more

 

Philly lawmakers continue fight to save general assistance, fight poverty in GOP-controlled legislature

(Jun 26, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, June 26 – State Reps. Jason Dawkins, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Elizabeth Fiedler, all D-Phila. and leaders of the House Philadelphia Delegation, today said they will continue their fight to save the General Assistance program and help people living in poverty, despite the many roadblocks being put up by Republican leaders in this month’s state budget debate. Last week the House passed legislation (H.B. 33) that would eliminate Pennsylvania’s General Assistance program, which provides about $200 per month to people who are temporarily or permanently unable to work because of disability or other hardship and costs the state about $50 million per year. Every Democrat but one voted against the measure. It passed the Senate today also along party lines, 26-24. “House Democrats put up nearly 30 amendments last week to save this lifeline for the more than 10,000 Pennsylvanians who rely on it to afford the most basic of necessities,” said Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation. “But our efforts to save it and help the most vulnerable among us continue to be met with indifference and derision by the Republican-led majority.” Kenyatta, vice chairman of the delegation, praised his Senate colleagues for attempting to offer the same amendments to save the program as House Democrats and denounced GOP tactics in both chambers. He said Senate President pro tempore Joe Scarnati today ruled Senate Read more

 

Kenyatta working to keep Hahnemann open

(Jun 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 26 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today expressed his dismay with the announcement that Hahnemann University Hospital plans to close its doors . “As a former program coordinator at Hahnemann University Hospital, this is personal for me,” Kenyatta said. “I know a great number of people who work at Hahnemann, who will be among the roughly 3,000 people to lose their job if the hospital closes. “This historic hospital serves a low-income patient population, and is a teaching hospital, training doctors and nurses. Its closure would put more stress on other Philadelphia-area hospitals that are already experiencing emergency room wait times that are far and above the state and national averages. To close it would be devastating to residents who rely on it for accessible health care, to Drexel University and to our economy alike.” The day Hahnemann officials announced it would close, Kenyatta and other members of the Philadelphia delegation wrote to Gov. Tom Wolf, asking that he use every available power to keep Hahnemann open. The letter is available here . Kenyatta said he would continue to work with fellow lawmakers, the governor, the city and Hahnemann officials to find a way to keep the hospital open and serving the city. Read more

 

Kenyatta seeks passage of 'Phillip’s Law'

(Jun 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 12 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today announced the formal introduction of bipartisan legislation aimed at ensuring adequate mental health resources for students in public schools. Known as “Phillip’s Law,” the bill ( H.B. 1622 ) would require the Department of Education to investigate the number of school mental health professionals available to students, as well as make recommendations on how to increase their numbers to meet nationally accepted levels. It was introduced by Kenyatta and state Reps. Wendi Thomas, R-Bucks, and Joanna McClinton, D-Phila. Kenyatta suggested the legislation following the death of an 11-year-old student from his district, Phillip, who committed suicide after school. The child’s family said he urgently tried to get the attention of support staff but was unable to connect. “When an 11-year-old takes his life, everyone must take stock of how and why children can get that far in their despair,” Kenyatta said. “The tragedy of Phillip’s passing sheds light on the fact that school mental health professionals are not always available or equipped to identify and intervene when a child is suffering. In fact, there is no mandate for schools to retain mental health staff, and there certainly is not enough funding provided for it. But there should be.” Kenyatta recently created an action item on his website, www.pahouse.com/Kenyatta , to give Pennsylvanians the Read more

 

Kenyatta introduces House resolution to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots

(Jun 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 6 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., introduced a House resolution this week to commemorate the 50 th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the legacy of the transgender women of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. “As we celebrate Pride month in June and recognize the achievements of the LGBTQI community, it’s important to remember that one of the most influential moments in our history began with a brick,” Kenyatta said. “The Stonewall riots inspired a movement of LGBTQI liberation and countless other protests across the world and led to the formation of many of the important LGBTQI organizations that lead the fight for equality today.” Kenyatta added that this resolution serves as a reminder of the work that lies ahead in ensuring LGBTQ I equality in Pennsylvania. He has also been an avid supporter of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act, which would extend protection against housing and job discrimination to LGBTQ I Pennsylvanians. Read more

 

Kenyatta bill to ensure permanence of ‘Stop and Go’ enforcement clears committee

(Jun 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 4 – Legislation authored by state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., to make Pennsylvania’s law that better deals with “stop and go” nuisance establishments ironclad, today was approved by the House Liquor Control Committee. Kenyatta’s bill (H.B. 1434) would move the language that cracks down on nuisance establishments, which was originally included in the state Fiscal Code (Act 44 of 2017), to the state Liquor Code. He said the Liquor Code is the correct place for this important law. “They key to holding ‘stop and go’ businesses accountable is to ensure the law is solid and enforceable,” Kenyatta said. “Since this landmark law passed in October 2017, we have seen an increase in investigations by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and, ultimately, stricter compliance. However, the language of the law was placed in a state code that deals with financial matters of state government. It’s no place for liquor enforcement, and I am glad the members of the Liquor Control Committee agree.” Under the 2017 law, 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, it can suspend the license immediately. The law also gives local governments the power to recommend that the LCB investigate establishments believed to be failing to meet code requirements. “I am Read more

 

Kenyatta appointed to Suicide Prevention Task Force

(May 30, 2019)

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila, responds to statewide Suicide Prevention Task Force appointment: Thank you to Governor Wolf for this appointment to the unprecedented Suicide Prevention Task Force. As public servants, we are obligated to ensure our residents are physically, emotionally and mentally well. I look forward to working with the governor and my colleagues to help Pennsylvanians in crisis know that they are valued and to develop long-term solutions to curb this depressingly increasing trend. Suicide is the 10 th national leading cause of death, according to a 2018 report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This tragedy hit home when I received a phone call from the grandmother of 11-year-old Phillip, a child from my district, informing me he died as a result of suicide, as a result of being constantly bullied. He sought help from the few mental health professionals at his school, but he was told to wait. He later went home and took his own life. For me, this was the worst day since being elected, but I made the choice to mourn with a mission. In Phillip’s memory and to prevent the loss of another young life to this tragedy, I introduced legislation-Phillip’s Law- to ensure mental health help is available when students need it most. If you or someone you love is in crisis or you are considering harming yourself, free help is available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Read more

 

Kenyatta slams Trump administration rollback of transgender protections

(May 24, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, May 24 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today released a statement criticizing the Trump administration for their proposal to eliminate “gender identity” as a factor in the nation’s healthcare system. “The cruelty of this administration seems to know no bounds. Time and time again, we continue to see the rights of the LGBTQ community chipped away by this administration that feeds off the hatred and fear of its base,” Kenyatta said. “I continue to do everything in my power to highlight these injustices and push for meaningful civil rights legislation at the state level to protect all of our citizens, regardless of how they identify, or on any basis of sex or gender. This political move directly threatens to undermine nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people that were provided under the Affordable Care Act. This puts LGBTQ people at a higher risk of being denied the health care they need, solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a direct attack on civil rights, and quite simply wrong.” LGBTQ and Transgender rights activist groups are alarmed at the rollback of protections. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published its proposed regulation on Friday, which would eliminate a 2016 regulation inserted by the Obama administration that redefined discrimination “on the basis of sex” to include gender identity. This provision of the Affordable Read more

 

Kenyatta introduces “Phillip’s Law”

(May 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 7 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today announced that he would be co-sponsoring legislation referred to as “Phillip’s Law,” which would provide for a study on school mental health professionals. “It is with a deeply saddened heart that I ask for support from my colleagues,” Kenyatta said. “An 11-year-old student from my district named Phillip committed suicide after enduring prolonged bullying from his peers. This tragedy has brought to light the fact that our school mental health professionals are not always available due to budget constraints and, in fact, there is no mandate for schools to retain mental health staff. We need to take an honest look at the number of mental health professionals in our schools and how we can provide the best access to our students to prevent tragedies like this in the future.” Kenyatta’s bill would require the Department of Education to investigate and report on the number of mental health professionals in schools in order to make recommendations on how to increase the number of school mental health professionals to meet nationally accepted ratios. Phillip’s family said that Phillip had tried to get the attention of the support staff at his school but was told that he had to wait. Afraid to miss the bus, and worried about his younger brother, Phillip left school and later that day took his own life. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Read more

 

Kenyatta signs brief supporting AG lawsuit against UPMC

(Apr 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., signed a legal brief filed this week by the House Democratic Caucus supporting the state Attorney General’s lawsuit against UPMC. The lawsuit seeks to modify and indefinitely extend the UPMC-Highmark Health consent decrees that expire June 30. “Families in our community face the prospect of losing critically important access to their chosen health care providers, including many with whom they share longstanding relationships,” Kenyatta said. “Letting the consent decrees expire will do more than jeopardize patient choice. It will negatively impact patient care by ending network access to providers who know and understand their patients’ histories. That’s why we’re urging the court to step in and force UPMC to do the right thing.” Shapiro originally filed the lawsuit to modify the consent decrees in February, arguing that as a charitable organization, UPMC has an obligation to protect patients’ access to affordable care and to facilities that patients have funded through their own tax dollars. In early April, Shapiro filed an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court asking it to either expedite review of the consent decrees before the June 30 expiration date or issue an order to keep the decrees in place while the lawsuit is decided. The House Democratic Caucus amicus curiae brief provides additional support for the lawsuit. On Wednesday, a Read more

 

Kenyatta continues denounces Transgender military ban

(Apr 12, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, April 12 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., responded to President Donald Trump’s fully implemented transgender military ban which went into effect on Friday, April 12th. “I am deeply disappointed in this transgender military ban,” Kenyatta said. “Anyone who is brave and selfless enough to want to serve this country in uniform should be allowed to serve. The President and our Supreme Court have made a serious mistake in allowing this hateful policy decision to move forward. The simple truth is that the Trump administration wants to encourage discrimination against trans people every chance it has to do so. I want to make it clear; I oppose these efforts to erase and target trans people and will do what I can to fight back.” The policy officially blocks people who have been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving with limited exceptions. It also specifies that those without the condition can serve, but must do so according to the sex they were assigned at birth. LGBTQ groups and activists have called the ban cruel and irrational. The American Medical Association has said repeatedly that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service. For those not grandfathered in under the 2016 policy, the new rules require that soldiers meet the military’s prescribed expectations of their birth sex — including uniforms, haircuts, and physical Read more

 

Kenyatta supports the closing of Glen Mills Schools

(Apr 08, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, April 8 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today released the following statement on the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ decision to revoke the license of Glen Mills Schools in Delaware County and to close the facilities: "One of the most important responsibilities I have as a state legislator is to fight for the safety of our kids,” Kenyatta said. “I am happy to have led on this issue in Harrisburg and demanded immediate responses from the Department of Human Services, attorney general, and state auditor. I am grateful for the support of my colleagues in Harrisburg and in local government, who stood with me to demand full accountability. It is up to us to hold these parties accountable and ensure that the youth at Glen Mills, and all other facilities like it, are safe. “The results of the investigation found gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct. The mistreatment and abuse of children is never acceptable. And I repeat my call that anyone who has violated criminal statute be held accountable to the full extent of the law," Kenyatta said. ### Read more

 

Kenyatta Pushes Probation & Parole Reforms

(Apr 04, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta joined advocates and a bi-partisan group of legislators to lay out a bill that would bring probation and parole reforms to Pennsylvania's criminal justice system. Read more

 

Kenyatta Studying Maternal Mortality

(Apr 04, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta attended a public hearing concerning the crisis of maternal deaths in Pennsylvania. Kenyatta left with some shocking statistics and stories, and a greater understanding of the urgency to find solutions. Read more

 

Kenyatta gives staunch defense of General Assistance

(Mar 28, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 28 – In an impassioned floor speech, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., spoke against Republican attacks on the “least of these” and forcefully denounced H.B. 33 which would re-enact the elimination of the general assistance cash benefit program. “We cannot allow a constant attack on our citizens who are already working to get out of poverty,” Kenyatta said. “This kind of legislation encourages the cycle of poverty, and will always get a ‘no’ vote from me. I introduced over a dozen amendments to save this program for particularly vulnerable constituencies. I will continue to fight for those less fortunate. If you’re on general assistance, you shouldn’t have to worry if a source of income will be taken away from you.” Kenyatta said the general assistance program costs about $57 million dollars, just .006 percent of the total General Fund budget. He said legislation to eliminate general assistance was introduced this year because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned a 2012 law (Act 80) that stripped money from about 60,000 general assistance recipients and eliminated the program. Following that court decision, the Department of Human Services began operating the program again. General assistance provides approximately $200 a month to low-income and disabled Pennsylvanians in emergency situations who do not Read more

 

Kenyatta receives subcommittee appointments for 2019-20 legislative session

(Mar 27, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Mar. 27 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today announced he has been appointed to serve in leadership positions on several House subcommittees in order to better serve and provide for his constituents for the 2019-20 legislative session. The freshmen legislator has been appointed to take on more significant leadership positions as Democratic chair of the subcommittee on Automation and Technology on the Commerce Committee; Democratic chair of the subcommittee on Licensing on the Liquor Control Committee; Democratic secretary of the State Government Committee; and Democratic chair of the subcommittee on Travel Promotion, History and Heritage on the Tourism and Recreational Development Committee. “I can’t wait to get started in my leadership positions within these committees,” Kenyatta said. “I am truly grateful to leadership for entrusting me and excited to chair the newly created Automation and Technology Subcommittee after pushing for its creation. We will need to learn new ways to invest in good-paying jobs and an educated workforce that embraces these advancements. We have many steps we can take, and I’m ready to hit the ground running.” Kenyatta encourages residents to stay up to date on his work by signing up for his periodic e-mail updates through his website, www.pahouse.com/Kenyatta . ### CONTACT: Daniel Bixler House Democratic Communications Office Phone: 717-787-7895 ext. 6221 Read more

 

PLBC condemns divisive invocation given in the House Chamber

(Mar 26, 2019)

Members from Philadelphia and of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today condemned a divisive opening prayer delivered Monday in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Here’s a selection of quotes. Rep. Stephen Kinsey, PLBC chairman: “On a day that should have been celebrated, we found ourselves confused and mortified. The swearing-in of Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell as the first Muslim woman to ever serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives was overshadowed by the outrageous remarks made by the Republican member. This is disgusting behavior. I choose to celebrate the diversity of our caucus, and welcome Representative Johnson-Harrell with open, loving arms. I believe our Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said it best, ‘It was beneath the dignity of the House.’ There is no room for hate.” Rep. Donna Bullock, PLBC vice chairwoman: “It is unfortunate that prayer was used to intimidate and divide. As our state legislature becomes more diverse, as we elect more women, more people of color, and people of different faiths and experiences, our ability to work together for all Pennsylvanians will be tested. I pray that my colleagues come to understand that Pennsylvania's diversity is our strength, not the enemy.” Rep. Summer Lee, PLBC treasurer who represents a portion of Allegheny County: ”We want to foremost, recognize and celebrate the historic victory and swearing-in of Read more

 

Kenyatta, Lewis unveil Fighting Chance Act legislation

(Mar 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 26 -- Working to cut government red tape and reform the criminal justice system, freshmen state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin, today unveiled their Fighting Chance Act legislation at a state Capitol press conference. The bill would require state agencies overseeing occupational licensure and the Board of Probation and Parole to reduce red tape by 25 percent over the next three years, with the intent to eliminate unnecessary barriers for people trying to get into these important, licensed occupations. “Pennsylvania has the potential to be the top state in the nation for jobs and opportunity, but we won’t achieve that goal without significant government reform,” Lewis said. “For example, our state has thousands of outdated regulations governing occupational licensure that are keeping good people out of the workforce and hindering our small businesses growth. We believe we can change that through the Fighting Chance Act.” The bill also aims to reform the criminal justice system by calling for the removal of barriers to employment for people who have paid their debt to society. “People who are incarcerated have to perform all types of work in the institutions in which they’re being held,” Kenyatta said. “If you have the training and expertise to do the work of an electrician, plumber, or barber, you should be able to get back to work when you have paid your debt. Read more

 

Kenyatta applauds order to remove Glen Mills School students from site

(Mar 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 25 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today said he supports the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ order for the emergency removal of all children currently remaining at the Glen Mills School in Delaware County. “I’ve said from Day One, that if there are any violations of criminal law regarding the care of youth at Glen Mills, that those who are responsible need to be held accountable,” Kenyatta said. “I’m happy to see the state take action to remove all children from Glen Mills and hope that it is done in a safe and expeditious manner. I also look forward to the results of all investigations that are pending. Today is a good day for the safety of our kids, a good day for the advocates and elected leaders at the state and local level who have fought for the protection of youth. I am happy to have been able to lend my voice toward elevating the need to examine tragic situations such as those alleged to have occurred at Glen Mills, or other places that dare to abuse the trust we put in them to care for our children.” Under the DHS order, all children residing at the school will be removed and relocated as soon as it can be safely accomplished. DHS’ Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF) delivered the order to the Glen Mills School today. Prior to this, counties, states, and judicial systems with children at Glen Mills were notified that the emergency removal order would be Read more

 

Kenyatta: Statement on Temple University mumps outbreak

(Mar 22, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, March 22 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today addressed concerns about the outbreak of mumps at Temple University. “I’ve been in consistent communication with Temple University concerning the recent mumps outbreak,” Kenyatta said. “And I’ve been assured that they are taking this issue extremely seriously. I’m heartened by the free walk-in clinics that they’ve set up as an additional step to address the continued spread. If you or anyone you know is showing symptoms, act swiftly. Please visit the free emergency clinic, contact Temple Health Services or your primary care physician immediately. Ensuring we have up-to-date vaccinations is the most important step we can take and I encourage you to do so.” Next week, Temple Student and Employee Health Services will offer walk-in clinics at which the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine will be available at no charge. No appointments are necessary. Upon presentation of a current OWLcard, all Temple students, faculty and staff are eligible for the MMR vaccine. The clinics, offered in conjunction with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 27 and Friday, March 29 in Mitten Hall’s Great Court. The mumps outbreak in Philadelphia has grown every day this week; the number of cases rising to 59 probable cases, with 15 additional cases confirmed. These numbers are much higher than in Read more