Pa. Legislative Latino Caucus highlights contributions of Dominican community in commonwealth

(6 hours ago)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 27 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus today released the following statement on the occasion of the 180 th anniversary of Dominican independence: “As members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus, we stand in unity with our Dominican brothers and sisters, acknowledging their invaluable contribution to our commonwealth’s social, cultural and economic vitality. “We are proud to say that Pennsylvania is home to over 140,000 Dominicans with most hailing from Allentown, Reading and Philadelphia. “We want to use this opportunity to reflect on the triumphs and struggles that our community has faced and honor the efforts and impact of our contributions not only to the state, but to the entire nation. “We promise a renewed commitment to continue fighting for a better future and justice for all families across the state. We also want to ensure that generations to come in the commonwealth will learn about their heritage and culture. Happy Dominican Independence Day! The Latino Caucus stands for diversity, equity and inclusion.” The Dominican Independence Day is celebrated annually on Feb. 27, marking the island’s autonomy from Haiti. Read more

 

Matzie to introduce legislation that would add lawmakers, education secretary as permanent voting members of PIAA executive board

(7 hours ago)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 27 – In response to growing concerns over decisions and policies by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association and their impact on student safety, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today that he will be introducing legislation to make lawmakers on the Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee and the state secretary of education permanent voting members of the PIAA executive board. Matzie, who is vice chairman and longest-serving member of the oversight committee, said the move is justified because of PIAA’s status as a public agency – and necessary given the association’s lack of adequate response to questions and concerns raised by the oversight committee. “The PIAA is a governmental entity,” Matzie said. “That was settled by the PA Supreme Court last week. It’s appropriate and necessary to bring accountability. Elected members of the legislature are tasked by the state Constitution to answer to and speak on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania. That includes, perhaps most importantly, our children and our schools and – by extension – those participating in junior and senior high sports. “This legislation has been in the works for some time, but I felt the time was now – based on recent correspondence the PIAA sent on the premise of defending their indefensible competition formula. In reality, the Read more

 

State lawmakers highlight need to alleviate medical debt

(10 hours ago)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 27 – Today, state Reps. Tarik Khan, D-Phila., and Bridget Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna, held a news conference at the State Capitol to discuss the importance of alleviating medical debt for Pennsylvanians who need it most. Last spring, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed legislation ( H.B. 78 ) that would establish the Pennsylvania Medical Debt Repayment Program, which would target the medical debt of low-income Pennsylvanians drowning in it and in need of relief. The legislation is currently sitting in the PA Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Medical debt relief is also a top priority for Gov. Josh Shapiro who, in his state budget address for the 2024-25 fiscal year, proposed investing $4 million to wipe it out for thousands of Pennsylvanians. State officials estimate that roughly 1 million Pennsylvanians carry some amount of medical debt. As of Dec. 2020, Pennsylvanians collectively share more than $1.8 billion in medical debt in a collections stage. “The toll of medical debt is staggering, with some reports showing that nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have gone into debt due to healthcare costs,” Khan said. “Medical debt makes us sicker because it prevents people from seeking preventative care and in some cases skipping healthcare services all together. It’s time the legislature addresses this issue that plagues countless Pennsylvanians.” Read more

 

Committee highlights House steps to address public safety

(10 hours ago)

“The Safe Communities Grant Program is another tool in our toolbox to improve public safety and keep our children and young people safe by directly addressing crime and gun violence in our communities,” Green said. “I am grateful the House supported and passed my bill in July, because this program could help all communities by ensuring public spaces are safe spaces.” Read more

 

Pa. lawmakers extend emergency declaration to keep fixing where I-95 collapsed

(12 hours ago)

News story about Rep. Bellmon's concurrent resolution extending the emergency declaration to keep fixing the overpass in Northeast Philadelphia that collapsed in June 2023. Read more

 

Powell signs on as primary sponsor of legislation to decrease displacement & gentrification through tax increment financing

(1 day ago)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 26 – State Rep. Lindsay Powell, D-Allegheny, has signed on as the sponsor of a bill that would utilize tax increment financing dollars for keeping individuals and families in their homes in TIF-designated districts. The legislation, H.B. 1064 , would update the Tax Increment Financing Act and allow designated districts to fund affordable housing, foreclosure and rental assistance, and workforce programs with TIF dollars. The bill would also increase the lifespan of TIF districts from 20 to 25 years and convert more of such collected monies into projects aimed at the measures outlined above. “TIFs have been an integral component of revitalizing economically distressed areas. Funding for anti-displacement activities, however, have never been allowable costs under prior TIF guidelines,” Powell said. “While we’ve seen areas rebound as a result of this program, long-time neighborhood residents have lost their homes because of resulting increases in property values and taxes. My amendment aims to prevent those consequences in future TIF districts. “These are commonsense changes to the program that should garner bipartisan support,” Powell continued. “From speaking with residents, community organizations and partners in the public and private sectors, we all want to see our region thrive. This legislation would make TIF districts more effective and equitable.” House Bill 1064 was originally Read more

 

Testifiers highlight need to protect consumers from misleading contracts

(1 day ago)

The House Majority Policy Committee met Monday morning to gather testimony on what can be done to better protect Pennsylvanians from entering misleading, confusing contracts. Read more

 

Ciresi introduces legislation to reform educational tax credit programs

(Feb 23, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 23 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today introduced House Bill 2063 which would reform the commonwealth’s educational tax credit programs, the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit, to ensure they are better serving those who need them. According to Ciresi, although funding for Pennsylvania’s educational tax credit programs has increased significantly over the past few decades, there has been little oversight to determine their effectiveness or how the money is spent, which has resulted in those in need not getting necessary assistance. “The state has awarded billions of dollars in state tax credits for private and religious school vouchers, but because of how the programs have been set up, it’s been difficult to determine their success and whether the money has been spent properly,” Ciresi said. “My legislation would reform our educational tax credit programs and ensure this money is serving its intended purpose by refocusing the programs on those truly in need of assistance, freeing up more money for scholarships, closing loopholes that have diverted money from students, and expanding data collection.” Ciresi’s legislation would seek to implement multiple recommendations that the Independent Fiscal Office made in 2022 after reviewing the programs’ operations. First, the IFO found that statutory limits on the programs’ data available Read more

 

Munroe to introduce bill to combat elder financial exploitation

(Feb 23, 2024)

WARMINSTER, Feb. 23 – State Rep. Brian Munroe introduced a bill today that would equip financial institutions and fiduciaries with the necessary tools to identify, report and prevent the financial exploitation of older adults and care dependent individuals. Munroe said the legislation is personal to him because his mother was recently defrauded even though her bank was fully aware of the transaction. “If this could happen to my mother, it can happen to anyone’s loved ones,” Munroe said. “Prior to this happening to my mother, I saw similar crimes committed countless times during my tenure as a Radnor Township police officer.” Financial exploitation is one of the most prevalent forms of elder abuse in the nation; yet it remains grossly underreported. Left unchecked, elder people remain vulnerable to the continued misuse of powers of attorney, unauthorized cash withdrawals, financial scams and check and credit card fraud. These losses are often unrecoverable, frequently resulting in the elder being forced to rely on public assistance for their most basic needs. Munroe said legal clarity will be included in the legislation to assist these financial institutions in reporting and preventing financial exploitation, as will the authority to share information with state investigators, law enforcement and other older adult protective services. Together, Read more

 

FAFSA changes focus of latest House Majority Policy hearing

(Feb 21, 2024)

Changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and its impact on students was the subject of Wednesday’s House Majority Policy Committee hearing, hosted by Rep. Melissa Cerrato (D-Montgomery). Read more

 

State lawmakers offer support for Pennsylvania’s Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange during their service

(Feb 21, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 21 – Today, state lawmakers introduced legislation that would create a task force on Agent Orange -- a blend of herbicides used during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was banned when evidence of the harmful and sometimes deadly results of exposure to it began to emerge. Those who were exposed to Agent Orange are at risk of developing cancers, neurological and psychological conditions, and other long-term effects to the skin and heart. Exposure to Agent Orange can also cause reproductive health problems and birth defects in the children of veterans, including spina bifida, hip dysplasia, and congenital heart disease. The task force would comprise several members of military organizations and members of the PA House and PA Senate to investigate and form recommendations on how best to communicate with veterans affected by Agent Orange concerning the treatment options available to them. This bipartisan legislation was introduced by state Reps. Paul Takac, D-Centre; Mike Cabell, R-Luzerne; Brian Munroe, D-Bucks; Dane Watro, R-Schuylkill/Luzerne; Tarik Khan, D-Phila.; Zachary Mako, R-Northampton/Lehigh; Chris Pielli, D-Chester; and Abby Major, R-Armstrong/Westmoreland. “We owe all those who have served our country, especially those who have been harmed as a result of their service, not only our profound respect and gratitude but an enduring commitment to serve and support them and their families. That, Read more

 

Pa. House Housing & Community Development Committee approves Bullock, Cephas homeowner-protections legislation

(Feb 20, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 20 – During a voting meeting today, the Pennsylvania House Housing & Community Development Committee approved legislation, H.B. 657 , co-sponsored by state Reps. Donna Bullock and Morgan Cephas, which would provide consumer protection against unfair realty agreements for homeowners in the commonwealth by establishing prohibitions and requirements for these agreements. “All too often, I hear the horror stories of unscrupulous realty companies preying on unsuspecting homeowners and vulnerable neighborhoods by trapping them in questionable realty agreement contracts and then suing them should they try to cancel the agreement,” Bullock said. “It’s our hope with this legislation that we can ensure that homeowners are no longer subjected to these unsavory and underhanded practices.” Unlawful agreements that include certain forbidden content would be deemed unenforceable and in violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act, should this legislation become law. “Companies seeking to swindle home equity from Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable homeowners must be stopped,” Cephas said. “Pennsylvanians deserve protections from such unsavory realty companies, and should they fall victim to such companies then they deserve to have the damages recovered.” The legislation will now go to the full House, where Read more

 

Committee hearing focuses on improving public transportation

(Feb 20, 2024)

“Public transportation is a critical lifeline for residents in my district, it is the one thing that connects us as a community,” said Rep. Waxman, who requested and hosted the hearing. “What makes my district in Philadelphia unique is we have more residents that rely on public transit to get to work and their daily needs like doctor appointments, but we also have one of the most active districts for visitors traveling into our district through public transportation.” Read more

 

Guzman welcomes state funding for local fire, EMS companies

(Feb 16, 2024)

READING, Feb. 16 – State Rep. Manuel Guzman, D-Berks, today announced $63,325 in state funding to improve services of fire and EMS agencies in the 127 th Legislative District that he serves. The grants come from the Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program, administered by the Office of State Fire Commissioner. “The safety and peace of mind of our community relies on local first responders. Funding these agencies is crucial and this is certainly one of my priorities,” Guzman said. “I will continue advocating to ensure that local fire companies and EMS providers are efficiently funded.” The grants were awarded to: Kenhorst Volunteer Fire Company No 1. - $14,423. Keystone Fire Co No 1 of Shillington - $16,951. City of Reading Dept of Fire and Rescue Services / Fire - $16,951. City of Reading Dept of Fire and Rescue Services/ EMS - $15,000. Act 91 of 2020 authorized the Fire Company and Medical Services Grant Program until June 30. Recently, Gov. Josh Shapiro proposed increasing the program’s funding to $60 million. Read more

 

PA House, Senate Dem Policy Committees convene joint hearing on eviction sealing

(Feb 15, 2024)

The Pennsylvania House and Senate Democratic Policy Committees teamed up for a joint hearing Thursday morning to gather testimony on the need for eviction sealing in Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation praises expanded state Child and Dependent Care Enhancement Tax Credit

(Feb 15, 2024)

Today, members of the Philadelphia House Delegation held a news conference at the Early Learning Literacy Academy highlighting the expansion of the state Child and Dependent Care Enhancement Tax Credit. Read more

 

House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee hears testimony on community solar bill

(Feb 15, 2024)

“Having an all-energy portfolio that isn’t reliant on a single source is important for PA’s energy independence and for ensuring that we continue to export energy now and in the decades to come," Matzie said. "But, as with all legislation we review, our committee is going to act deliberately and carefully, getting a dialogue moving and ensuring that any legislation we advance is crafted to protect PA consumers.” Read more

 

The choice for is clear for educating our children, we need to go big

(Feb 14, 2024)

Please know we are not seeking more money for our schools just for the sake of getting more money. What we are doing is fulfilling the obligation in the Pennsylvania Constitution for all children to receive a quality education. Read more

 

Lawmakers discuss future of artificial intelligence during House Majority Policy hearing

(Feb 13, 2024)

Artificial intelligence was the topic of vast discussion at a House Majority Policy Committee hearing Tuesday morning, including how it’s already impacting everyday life and what comes next. Read more

 

Health Committee OKs Kosierowski medical test results measure

(Feb 12, 2024)

The state House Health Committee recently approved a bill written by Rep. Bridget M. Kosierowski that would balance a patient’s right to access their health information with the important role that medical professionals provide in helping patients understand their test results. Read more

 

Pa. Legislative Latino Caucus highlights contributions of Dominican community in commonwealth
6 hours ago

Matzie to introduce legislation that would add lawmakers, education secretary as permanent voting members of PIAA executive board
7 hours ago

State lawmakers highlight need to alleviate medical debt
10 hours ago

Committee highlights House steps to address public safety
10 hours ago

Pa. lawmakers extend emergency declaration to keep fixing where I-95 collapsed
12 hours ago

Powell signs on as primary sponsor of legislation to decrease displacement & gentrification through tax increment financing
1 day ago

Testifiers highlight need to protect consumers from misleading contracts
1 day ago

Ciresi introduces legislation to reform educational tax credit programs
Feb 23, 2024

Munroe to introduce bill to combat elder financial exploitation
Feb 23, 2024

FAFSA changes focus of latest House Majority Policy hearing
Feb 21, 2024

State lawmakers offer support for Pennsylvania’s Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange during their service
Feb 21, 2024

Pa. House Housing & Community Development Committee approves Bullock, Cephas homeowner-protections legislation
Feb 20, 2024

Committee hearing focuses on improving public transportation
Feb 20, 2024

Guzman welcomes state funding for local fire, EMS companies
Feb 16, 2024

PA House, Senate Dem Policy Committees convene joint hearing on eviction sealing
Feb 15, 2024

Philadelphia House Delegation praises expanded state Child and Dependent Care Enhancement Tax Credit
Feb 15, 2024

House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee hears testimony on community solar bill
Feb 15, 2024

The choice for is clear for educating our children, we need to go big
Feb 14, 2024

Lawmakers discuss future of artificial intelligence during House Majority Policy hearing
Feb 13, 2024

Health Committee OKs Kosierowski medical test results measure
Feb 12, 2024