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College affordability: Tips to help you get a higher education

House clears Neilson measure to recognize International Holocaust Remembrance Day in PA on Jan. 27

(Jan 22, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 22 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today adopted a resolution introduced by Rep. Ed Neilson to recognize Jan. 27, 2020 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Pennsylvania. “ Between 1933 and 1945, nearly 17 million people were tragically murdered in the horrifying, state-sponsored genocide known as the Holocaust,” Neilson said. “It is critical to our humanity and to the memory of the millions of people who were murdered during the Holocaust that we commemorate Jan. 27 – 75 years to the day of the liberation of the largest and deadliest concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau – as International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Pennsylvania.” The Holocaust was a human rights crisis of epic proportions. While Jews were the priority target of Nazi racism, other groups within Germany were persecuted for racial reasons. Studies have shown that a growing number of Americans lack a basic knowledge of the Holocaust and the events that led up to it. Commemorating the day is one way to try to educate the public, Neilson said. It is also about more than just remembering history and honoring the victims, Neilson added. “ This is a day to remember and mourn, and a day to stand up against hate and violence,” Neilson said. “We have seen recent violent acts inspired by hate perpetrated against people throughout our country, including the Read more


Neilson calls on Congress to fix Pa.’s infrastructure crisis, create National Infrastructure Bank

(Dec 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Dec.10 – Pennsylvania is in the midst of an infrastructure crisis, said state Rep. Ed Neilson on Wednesday, as he introduced a resolution calling on Congress to establish a National Infrastructure Bank. “Our infrastructure, from the school buildings we send our children off to each day, to the roads and bridges we navigate daily, is crumbling,” Neilson said. “To fix this problem, I’m calling on Congress to establish a National Infrastructure Bank to finance the improvements we need.” In 2018, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Pennsylvania a cumulative “C-” infrastructure grade across 18 categories that included a “D+” grade for roads, a “D” grade for drinking water, and a “D-” grade for wastewater treatment, Neilson said. Additionally, the report noted that traffic congestion in Pennsylvania results in more than $3.7 billion in lost time and wasted fuel annually. Neilson said the concept of a National Infrastructure Bank has been used by past presidents, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Investments from a National Infrastructure Bank would restart various industries, Neilson said, and create millions of new jobs and supply the needed financing to repair Pennsylvania’s crumbling infrastructure. ### Read more


PDAC members, parishioners spruce up local church

(Nov 20, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 20 – Thanks to a grant from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, members of the 8th Police District Advisory Council, the 8th Police District, parishioners and community volunteers recently gave the Bethany African Methodist Episcopal church in northeast Philadelphia a fresh coat of paint, said state Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila. Neilson said his office assisted the 8th PDAC with applying for the Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania grant. “By partnering with 8th PDAC, it was a great opportunity to bring a sense of community to this important project,” Neilson said. “It was great to see high school students and community members working alongside our police officers to bring new life into the historical Bethany African Methodist Episcopal Church.” Neilson added Patricia Rosati, the 8th Police District community relations officer, headed up the project, applied for the grant and organized the paint days. Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania is a program designed to provide community groups with paint and supplies to enable them to renew a community structure in need. A list of the 2019 grant winners and projects can be found here . Read more


College affordability: Tips to help you get a higher education

(Aug 27, 2019)

Pennsylvania ranks 48th, or third worst, in the United States at funding colleges, technical schools and universities. So how can someone who wants a higher education afford to get it? My staff and I are happy to help. Here’s some information to get you started. Planning for college If you’re thinking about college and looking for ways to pay for your education, you will want to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA . FAFSA is what determines someone’s eligibility for federal student aid, like federal grants, work-study and loans. It typically takes about 30 minutes to complete the application, which can be done online at www.fafsa.ed.gov , and it’s totally free. You must complete a FAFSA each school year. If you have completed a FAFSA in the past, most of your information will roll-over automatically. You should fill out your FAFSA as soon as possible. You can apply as early as Oct. 1 the year before you start college . The deadline is June 30 the year after for when you are applying. But the sooner you apply, the better to meet your school deadlines and receive aid for the start of the school year. Many states and colleges have earlier deadlines for applying for state and institutional financial aid. You can find your state’s deadline at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa#deadlines . Items you may need in order to complete your FAFSA: Federal Student Aid ID Social Security Read more


Neilson to host 2020 Census Job Fair

(Jun 27, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, June 27 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., will hold a job fair for interested residents looking for opportunities to help with the 2020 Census. The job fair will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Friday, July 12 at Neilson’s district office, 16 Old Ashton Road, 19152. Neilson said there are temporary positions available, including census takers, recruiting assistants and supervisory staff. “The Philadelphia region hopes to employ more than 3,000 people to ensure a complete and accurate count of everyone during the 2020 Census,” Neilson said. “These open positions will pay up to $35.50 an hour and offer weekly paychecks, flexible hours and paid training.” For more information or to reserve a spot at the job fair, constituents should call Neilson’s office at 215-330-3714. Read more


Deadline extended for Pa. Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

(Jun 10, 2019)

I'm happy to announce that the deadline for the 2018 Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program has been extended to Dec. 31, 2019. 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. You can get your application at www.revenue.pa.gov or by calling 1-888-222-9190. My office also can help you, so don’t hesitate to contact me. Read more


Training workers of the future focus of Neilson’s Policy Committee hearing

(Apr 25, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, April 25 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on workforce development at the UA Steamfitters Local 420 Hall. Neilson requested the hearing to discuss efforts to recruit and train a workforce prepared for quality-wage jobs. Legislators from across the state including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, joined Neilson for the policy discussion. “I’m glad to have the opportunity to bring my colleagues to talk about how we can help train Pennsylvania’s future workforce. We have an obligation to educate the future electricians, builders, and plumbers. These are jobs that fuel our economy and communities, and can’t be outsourced,” explained Neilson. “It’s also imperative that moving forward, we are following the latest safety measures and taking code enforcement seriously. Workers take uninhabitable places and make them homes and businesses for generations to come. Let’s make sure we’re educating the public about the opportunities available for building a better future for Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.” Sturla added: “As we work on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, we’re working hard to learn more how we can equip businesses with a well-trained workforce prepared to carry out the needs of the future. When we create quality educational opportunities for the trades, we create family-sustaining careers that Read more


Neilson to host Policy Committee hearing on workforce development Thursday in Philadelphia

(Apr 22, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA. April 22 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Philadelphia, is hosting a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on workforce development. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 25 at the UA Steamfitters Local 420 Hall, 14420 Townsend Rd., Philadelphia. The media and public are invited to attend. Neilson requested the hearing to bring stakeholders and his legislative colleagues from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, together to discuss efforts to recruit and train a workforce prepared for quality-wage jobs. A panel of local union officials will testify including Ryan Boyer, President of Philadelphia Building Trades; Pete Klein, Director of Training, Steamfitters Local Union 420; Don Sweeten, Training Coordinator/Financial Secretary, Sprinkler Fitters Local 692; and Brian Murphy, Assistant Coordinator/Director of Apprentice & Training, IUOE 542 JATC. The meeting is one in a series held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools, and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com . For more information about the Policy Committee, go to www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more


Neilson introduces legislation to protect Pennsylvanians’ personal information

(Apr 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 1 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would protect consumers across the commonwealth by requiring the opportunity to opt out of having their personal information sold to third parties. “Everyone deserves the right to know what personal information is being collected and sold,” Neilson said. “Businesses are profiting on selling a customer’s information to third parties and most Pennsylvanians are getting tired of the robocalls and unwanted solicitations from these third parties trying to sell them something they never wanted.” Specifically, H.B. 1049 would allow customers to opt out of having their information sold or even have the information deleted. “In today’s electronic world in which we live, we read about security breaches in the paper every day. Just because you purchased goods or services does not mean we need to be in their system and others forever, nor should we have to be certain that their technology is updated on a regular basis,” Neilson said. “The people of Pennsylvania deserve better and this legislation would be a step in the right direction.” Neilson said his proposal is already gaining bipartisan traction, with House Democrats and Republicans signing on as co-sponsors even before the legislation was formally introduced. Read more


Neilson bill would help crack down on trespassers

(Feb 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 15 – Legislation introduced this week by state Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., would help police across the commonwealth remove illegal trespassers from residential properties. House Bill 546 would help address situations where people illegally move into a home or an apartment but claim to live there legally when police arrive. Law enforcement would have the authority to remove someone from a home if they have probable cause to believe the person is trespassing. Under the bill, the accused would be granted adequate opportunity to prove they live there legally before police can remove them. “There are cases when it’s one person’s word against another’s, so police often hesitate to remove the trespasser because the property owner could be attempting to evict rightful tenants illegally,” Neilson said. “There are certain situations when an owner may have to take legal eviction action, which could be expensive and time-consuming. My legislation would help eliminate that potential step for the property owner.” The bill would not affect landlord-tenant disputes, and a property owner making a false statement could be held criminally and civilly liable. Read more


Neilson bill would protect enforcement officers from assault

(Feb 14, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would provide protection to local code enforcement officers if they are assaulted while on the job. House Bill 545 would include these public employees to a protected class in the event of an assault. The legislation would increase the penalty – from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a felony of the second degree – for an assault on a local code enforcement officer when they are on duty and they are injured. “These public servants are performing thankless jobs every day by enforcing the law. They face unexpected and, many times, unnecessary problems with citizens that could result in injury,” Neilson said. “Our local code enforcement officers deserve the same protections as those in similar jobs where telling people what they don’t always want to hear may lead them to become hostile.” Pennsylvania law currently provides such protection to constables, teachers, parking enforcement officers and public utility employees. 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


Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program deadline is Dec. 31

(Dec 17, 2018)

The deadline to file a state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program application is Dec. 31. The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers age 50 or older, and people with disabilities age 18 or older. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates can boost it to $975. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, but please don’t assume you are not eligible. Half of Social Security income is discounted, and people are not disqualified from rebates solely because of Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. Applications for rebates for 2018 rent or property taxes will be available in early February 2019. Please share this information with anyone you think may benefit. Read more


Heating aid via LIHEAP now open

(Nov 02, 2018)

The 2018-2019 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP – is accepting applications for heating assistance grants. LIHEAP offers cash grants of $200 to $1,000 that are sent directly to the utility company to defray heating costs for eligible households, and crisis benefits of up to $600 for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Remember: These are grants and do not have to be repaid. This season’s income guidelines for both LIHEAP cash and crisis grants are $18,210 for an individual, $24,690 for couples and increases for each additional person in the household. Please click here for more LIHEAP information. Please consider visiting my office if you need help filing a LIHEAP application. Besides my office, LIHEAP information is available by: Contacting local County Assistance offices by phone or in person. Calling the LIHEAP Client Helpline at 1-866-857-7095 or PA Relay at 711 for the hearing impaired. Applying online at https://www.compass.state.pa.us . Read more


Senior prescription program expanded to help more people

(Oct 23, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 23 – Thousands of additional Pennsylvania seniors will be able to receive help paying for their prescription medicines thanks to a new state law. Act 87, signed into law today, increases seniors’ access to the state’s prescription drug assistance program (PACENET) by raising the program’s income limits to keep pace with rising costs. The law increases the maximum income limit for PACENET to $27,500 for individuals and $35,500 for married couples. In addition, the new law allows pharmacists to fill partial prescriptions so PACE/PACENET participants’ refills can be synchronized for the same day. It’s estimated this expansion will allow for an additional 17,000 seniors to be eligible for PACENET statewide. The new law supports the priority of putting people first in the House Democrats’ Plan for Pennsylvania , which focuses on working together to build a stronger Pennsylvania through good jobs, affordable health care, quality schools and a fair economy. Read more


Pennsylvania receives extension for REAL ID

(Oct 11, 2018)

Pennsylvania has been granted a REAL ID enforcement extension by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through August 1, 2019. This extension means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities or boarding domestic commercial aircraft through at least that date. REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards will be available from PennDOT at the customer’s option beginning March 2019. PennDOT is encouraging customers to pre-verify for REAL ID the required documentation as soon as possible, giving them ample time to prepare. More information about what documents will be required is available on PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website . More information about REAL ID, including frequently asked questions , can be found at www.dmv.pa.gov . Read more


Neilson raises awareness about dyslexia, early interventions

(Sep 26, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., joined in a rally today with the Pennsylvania Dyslexia Literacy Coalition to highlight dyslexia and thank his colleagues in the state House of Representatives for unanimously adopting H.R. 1044 designating October 2018 as “Dyslexia Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. Dyslexia is a neurological condition caused by a different wiring of the brain that affects people of all backgrounds and intellectual levels. There is no known cure for this condition, and individuals diagnosed must learn coping strategies. Research indicates that dyslexia has no relationship to intelligence, however it can make reading and comprehension more difficult. “My youngest son got lucky that someone identified and diagnosed him with dyslexia early. We need to encourage our children to tell their teachers and parents if they’re having trouble reading,” Neilson said. “It is our job as legislators to raise awareness about this learning condition, and the importance of early detection and interventions that we know have been effective.” People with dyslexia, or developmental reading disorder, experience problems confusing letters or learning what sounds go with certain letters; have trouble learning how to speak or determining the meaning of a simple sentence; and may include difficulty in correctly performing math operations or memorizing number facts. Symptoms include slow or inaccurate reading, Read more


Bridge to happiness

(Sep 12, 2018)

A news conference took place on Sept. 7 in the park, followed by a ribbon cutting on the road. Driscoll was joined by state Sen. John Sabatina Jr.; state Rep. Ed Neilson; City Councilman Bobby Henon; PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards; city Departments of Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams; and representatives of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, state Sen. Tina Tartaglione and U.S. Rep. Bob Brady. Read more


Neilson lauds reopening of the Frankford Avenue Bridge

(Sep 07, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 7 – After five months of construction, state Rep. Ed Neilson applauded the reopening of the Frankford Avenue Bridge that crosses the Pennypack Creek. Neilson attended the ribbon cutting for the reopening, which was officiated by PennDOT and the city of Philadelphia. “Many people have been anticipating the reopening of this bridge, myself included, and it is great to see that happen, ahead of schedule too,” Neilson said. “In the past two years, the state has invested nearly $1.8 billion in my district and surrounding areas for construction and improvement projects. The work done on this bridge is yet another great investment for the people of Northeast Philadelphia and the surrounding communities.” During the five-month closure, crews repaired part of the stone arch, reconstructed damaged stone masonry walls, rebuilt sidewalks and replaced the bridge barrier with a new crashworthy bridge barrier. Built in 1697 and reconstructed in 1893, the U.S. 13 (Frankford Avenue) bridge is a three-span stone masonry and concrete closed spandrel arch structure. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge is 73 feet long, 50 feet wide and carries about 14,745 vehicles a day, including SEPTA’s Route 66 trolley. Read more


Neilson to host shredding and e-recycling event on April 28

(Apr 18, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, April 18 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., will host a free community shredding and e-recycling event from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28 at St. Jerome’s Parish, 3031 Stamford St., 19136. Unwanted items that should be shredded include credit card statements, credit card applications, bank statements, canceled checks, income tax information, insurance records and retirement or pension fund information. Documents will be shredded on site, and all material collected will be recycled. There is a limit of three bags or boxes per person. Residents are also encouraged to bring old televisions, computer monitors or other electronic equipment to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. More information can be obtained calling Neilson’s office at 215-330-3714. Read more