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Wheatley introduces bill to protect public school districts from lawsuits due to COVID-19 related operational changes

(Mar 31, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, March 31 – Public school districts statewide have had to make significant adjustments in how they educate students during the current COVID-19 pandemic, and state Rep. Jake Wheatley said his measure would help protect districts from frivolous lawsuits. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said that House Bill 2375 would prevent legal actions against districts for operational changes that they have had to make due to the coronavirus pandemic in the current 2019-20 school year. “A school district’s primary job is to educate students – and many districts have had to be flexible in implementing ways to continue to teach, due to the restrictions that many families face,” Wheatley said. “My goal is to ensure that these districts can continue to operate as best as they can without fearing legal action due to a situation completely out of their control.” Wheatley added that his effort isn’t an attempt to restrict parents’ rights, but to help protect the state’s public school districts during a vulnerable time. Read more

 

Pennsylvanians’ reproductive rights under attack amid pandemic

(Mar 30, 2020)

Lawmaker urges Wolf to defend families’ rights from cynical attacks Read more

 

Snyder: Bill would create new volunteer fire, EMS crisis grants

(Mar 28, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 28 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Fayette/Greene/Washington, today officially introduced a measure to provide immediate financial assistance to volunteer fire and emergency management service companies. Snyder said House Bill 2374 would establish a one-time program to provide automatic crisis grants to each fire and EMS company in Pennsylvania, once approved by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. These grants would be funded by a one-time transfer of $30 million from the Volunteer Companies Loan Fund, which has been used to balance the state budgets in 2014 and 2016, she added. “Every day, our brave men and women are putting their lives on the line to help us stay safe and assist those in need, especially now during these uncertain times with the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Snyder said. “They aren’t able to conduct their normal fundraising activities, and that’s why this grant program is so vital to help them stay afloat and answer the call.” Snyder added her bill has more than 30 co-sponsors and she anticipates the House will move quickly to consider it. For statewide and regional resources and information on COVID-19, residents can visit the following link: https://www.pahouse.net/snyder/News/?id=113189 . Read more

 

Burns supports $30 million in emergency grants for fire, EMS companies during coronavirus crisis

(Mar 27, 2020)

Bill would provide one-time grants to support their efforts Read more

 

Snyder plans to introduce bill to create one-time crisis grant program to assist volunteer fire, EMS companies

(Mar 27, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 27 – Recognizing their need for support during the current COVID-19 pandemic, state Rep. Pam Snyder today announced upcoming legislation to provide immediate financial assistance to volunteer fire and emergency management service companies. Snyder, D-Fayette/Greene/Washington, said her bill would establish the creation of a one-time grant program, approved by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Office of the State Fire Commissioner, that would provide automatic crisis grants to each fire and EMS company. These grants would be funded by a one-time transfer of $30 million from the Volunteer Companies Loan Fund, a fund Snyder said has been used to balance the state budgets in 2014 and 2016. “These men and women put their lives on the line each and every day, especially now with the coronavirus pandemic affecting our state,” Snyder said. “At the same time, these same companies are unable to conduct regular fundraising efforts to stay active. My bill would provide this one-time vital assistance to help these first responders keep answering the call for help.” For more information, including resources and additional information on state and regional COVID-19 resources, please visit the following link: https://www.pahouse.net/snyder/News/?id=113189 Read more

 

Kim reminds Pennsylvanians that hate and discrimination will not be tolerated during the COVID-19 public health crisis

(Mar 26, 2020)

HARRISBURG, MARCH 26 – State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, today said she is joining with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to push back on hate crimes and advocate for tolerance during the coronavirus, COVID-19 global pandemic. “I want to thank the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and its executive director, Chad Lassiter, for standing behind our Asian-American community," Kim said. "We want to remind Pennsylvanians that it is unacceptable to tolerate racial slurs, xenophobic attacks and harassment, especially during this global pandemic. It’s wrong to shift blame or accuse Asian-Americans for this crisis. Pathogens do not discriminate. I stand ready to help and protect anyone who is being discriminated against during the COVID-19 crisis. Moving forward, do not hesitate to contact my office for direct assistance and to report these instances of abuse and harassment. We stand united together in our fight against hate.” “In response to the many calls received by both the PHRC and the office of Representative Kim, we want you to know that we are taking those communications and responding as quickly as possible,” said Lassiter. “We are setting up a rapid response system that will allow us to address acts of discrimination in this emergency that are initiated based on the COVID-19 pandemic. PHRC is pleased to be working with Representative Kim and other partners to address unacceptable Read more

 

Matzie: House unanimously passes COVID-19 response bills

(Mar 25, 2020)

AMBRIDGE, March 25 – The House today unanimously passed several COVID-19 response bills, including measures that would temporarily remove the 180-day instruction requirement for all schools and push back Pennsylvania’s primary election to June 2, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced. “This is new ground for all of us,” said Matzie, who supported both bills. “There are certain actions the governor can take by himself, but others that need legislative authority. We’re doing our best to address those in a safe, timely, bipartisan manner.” Matzie said the amended S.B. 751 – which authorizes the secretary of Education to close all schools until the COVID-19 epidemic is over and increase the number of allowable flexible instruction days , among other emergency school code changes – provides much-needed flexibility for school administrators until things return to normal. “This will not be a lost school year. Seniors will graduate, kids will learn, employees will be paid and normalcy will return when it’s safe. We’ve given our districts the flexibility they need to navigate through this crisis. The changes will help give clarity to students, faculty, support staff and administration. “From a policy perspective, it’s the right thing to do. But as a parent of a graduating senior, I fully understand and Read more

 

Burns: State loans now available for small businesses

(Mar 25, 2020)

Loans up to $100,000 carry zero-percent interest for three years Read more

 

Schweyer responds to governor and Health secretary’s Stay At Home Order for Lehigh County

(Mar 25, 2020)

ALLENTOWN, March 25 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, today issued the following response to Gov. Tom Wolf and PA Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine’s Stay At Home order issued to Lehigh County. “This was a difficult but necessary decision and I support both Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Levine’s action,” Schweyer said. “As more cases are being reported in more counties, everyone needs to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is very important that residents stay calm, stay home and stay safe.” The Stay At Home order now includes 10 counties: Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia. The amended order for Lehigh and Northampton counties takes effect at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 and will continue until April 6. Schweyer said that all county residents should be aware of what is deemed essential for leaving one’s home. The full Stay At Home Order is available to view here . Schweyer also said to be sure to follow his social media pages on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

 

Kenyatta, Shusterman demand protections for gig economy workers in final federal COVID-19 recovery bill

(Mar 25, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 25 – As a historic $2 trillion COVID-19 financial response legislation package struck a deal in Congress early Wednesday morning, state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Melissa Shusterman today introduced a resolution urging federal lawmakers to ensure unemployment compensation for the nation’s 57 million independent contractors and “gig” economy workers (or app based independent contractors) is included in the final financial aid legislation aimed at helping workers during the coronavirus crisis. “These employees comprise over a third of the country’s working population and remain among the most critically under-protected workers, with many not qualifying for unemployment benefits. During this pandemic, they were left with the terrible ultimatum of continuing to work to make ends meet or do their part in reducing spreading the virus by staying home. Many have chosen the latter, resulting in loss of income at alarming rates and the prospect of recouping those losses is uncertain,” Kenyatta, D-Phila., said. “We’re demanding that all independent contractors are protected in any final package.” Shusterman, D-Chester, concurred with Kenyatta’s assertion saying, “It is important that we help this sector of our work population navigate this crisis with immediate relief and action.” Kenyatta said that a copy of the resolution would also be sent to President Donald Trump and Vice Read more

 

Bullock announces $25K safety grant for Metropolitan Baptist Church

(Mar 23, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, March 23 – State Rep. Donna Bullock announced today that the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency awarded a $25,000 state grant to Metropolitan Baptist Church for safety and security measures. “While it’s difficult to think that safety and security measures are necessary to protect people in the places they gather to worship, it is an unfortunate reality, and I am grateful that this grant fund exists and that Metropolitan Baptist Church has received this funding,” Bullock said. “That said, my hope is that while Metropolitan Baptist Church uses this grant funding to improve safety at its facilities, our communities can continue to work to promote love and equity, and to diminish hate and ignorance.” The grant awarded to Metropolitan Baptist Church is one of 113 totaling more than $5 million that the commission approved this month. Metropolitan Baptist Church’s application for the grant funding was one of 805 applications submitted through the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program, which was created after House Bill 859, which established the fund, was signed into law in November. The fund is specifically for nonprofit organizations that serve people, groups or institutions that are included within a bias-motivation category for single-bias hate crime incidents, as identified by the FBI’s 2017 Hate Crime Statistics publication. The grant awards may be used for security Read more

 

Democratic legislators applaud state Supreme Court decision to halt evictions

(Mar 18, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 18 – Following the announcement that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would be halting all eviction notices, multiple House Democrats, who earlier in the day requested this halt, issued the following statement: “We’re extremely appreciative to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for showing judicious leadership in halting all evictions statewide through at least April 3 and possibly beyond depending on the COVID-19 pandemic. “As we continually urge Pennsylvanians to stay home out of great concern for their personal health as well as the health of their community, it’s unconscionable that they could still be evicted and thrown into a world of instability when stability is what they need most. This halting of evictions doesn’t only help the homeowner or lessee, it helps the entire community. “Far too many people are living paycheck to paycheck and now face the real situation of being out of work for an extended period of time. Ensuring they have a roof over their heads for the foreseeable future isn’t simply the right thing to do, it’s the moral thing to do.” The following House Democratic legislators signed on to a letter, which can be viewed here, requesting the Pennsylvania Supreme Court halt all eviction proceedings: Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, D-Phila. State Rep. Mary Isaacson, D-Phila. State Read more

 

COVID-19 Helpful Resources

(Mar 18, 2020)

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic affecting Pennsylvania, we wanted to provide you with the following resources and information to help you and your family in the days ahead. Please note that this webpage will be updated as needed with additional information and resources. State Services and Resources The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has created a COVID-19 guide to assist everyone. It includes information on social distancing, mental health resources, unemployment, food assistance, changes from PennDOT and resources for small business: https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/ For individuals : https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#ForIndividuals For families : https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#ForFamilies For businesses : https://dced.pa.gov/resources COVID Support for PA Businesses : The following provides information and and links to federal, state, local and private resources. https://www.pahouse.com/News/?id=113388 **Self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers: Apply here for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits .** https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#ForBusinessesUtilities Information from the PA Dept. of Labor and Industry on the federal CARES Act: https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/CARES-Act/Pages/default.aspx The following link provides you with Read more

 

Isaacson, Lee to introduce legislation to stop evictions during pandemic

(Mar 17, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 17 — As Pennsylvania mobilizes to confront the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, state Reps. Mary Isaacson and Summer Lee are moving to introduce legislation that would halt eviction proceedings across the commonwealth, giving families one measure of security in the rapidly evolving crisis. “Vulnerable workers need our protection now. During a state of disaster emergency due to an epidemic or pandemic, being unemployed, losing a job or being unable to search for a job is stressful enough,” Isaacson said. “Workers so affected should not have the added burden of fearing for the loss of their home. “It is our responsibility as representatives to protect our workers, especially under the extraordinary circumstances arising when a state of disaster emergency is declared in the commonwealth.” The duo’s legislation would provide an exemption from eviction for workers who are unemployed, separated from their employment or unable to find employment when an epidemic or pandemic requires the Governor to declare a state of disaster emergency. Landlords in violation will face penalties. “We can’t close schools but discourage paid family leave. And we cannot encourage businesses to close and folks to lose a paycheck if their homes will be taken from them. That’s why as part of our shared response to the coronavirus we’re calling for a halt to eviction Read more

 

Davis: Offices closing to walk-ins; staff available via email, phone

(Mar 16, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, on Monday announced that his district offices in Clairton, McKeesport and Munhall will be closed to walk-ins until further notice. Davis’ announcement is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the nation and countries worldwide. " We’re in the midst of a situation that calls for drastic measures,” Davis said. “While I will continue to provide updates, talk with constituents and uphold my oath of office to keep the best interests of our community in mind, I’m going to be closing my office to walk-ins to protect the health and safety of residents and staff." Davis said residents can still reach his office through phone or email at RepADavis@pahouse.net. Davis’ McKeesport office can be reached at 412-664-0035 ; Clairton at 412-233-2505 ; and Munhall at 412-476-3046 . Read more

 

PUC, Utility and Internet Companies Actions to Assist Consumers During Covid-19 Pandemic

(Mar 14, 2020)

Most recent information and updates from companies and providers that are enacting extraordinary measures to ensure continuity of service delivery for customers. Read more

 

Bizzarro lauds Wolf’s closure of Pa. Schools

(Mar 13, 2020)

ERIE, March 13 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, released the following statement commending Gov. Tom Wolf for closing Pennsylvania’s K-12 schools: “Each school district across the state faces a different level of threat and challenges. I applaud Governor Wolf for recognizing the threat that COVID-19 poses to public health and safety and for taking action that prioritizes Pennsylvania’s children, teachers and school staff. “Earlier today, I circulated a co-sponsorship memo for legislation that would allow school districts to request a waiver for the 180 days of school mandate. Hearing the governor include in his announcement today that school districts will not be penalized for not meeting the requirement is a sigh of relief for all Pennsylvania districts. “I still plan to pursue support for my legislation calling for districts to work in concert with the Department of Education so that requests to adjust the mandated school days can be handled quickly. Enacting this legislation will ensure that this pandemic and any future disruptions do not tie the hands of our educators and impact Pennsylvania children’s educational experience.” Read more

 

Kenyatta to introduce legislation halting student loan repayments in response to COVID-19

(Mar 13, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, March 13 – With Pennsylvanians impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak , state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., is currently drafting legislation that would defer student loan repayments to PHEAA for up to 60 days. “ With all the workplace closures happening in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, many commonwealth residents are grappling to pay their necessary bills because of the sudden loss of income,” Kenyatta said. “Borrowers, especially, are unable to make payments on their student loans.” Kenyatta, who represents the 181 st Legislative District, said Pennsylvania bears the second highest average debt per student at $35,759 per student. A total of $53.7 billion collectively looms over the state’s borrowers. “We’re in the midst of an incredibly stressful time and the legislation I’m drafting aims to provide some financial relief during this pandemic,” he said. Read more

 

Reps. Rozzi, Bullock cancel ‘Homeless Youth’ rally out of concern for COVID-19 pandemic

(Mar 12, 2020)

State Reps. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, and Donna Bullock, D-Philadelphia, have canceled their rally and press conference scheduled for Monday. The purpose of the rally and press conference was to raise awareness and call for action to help Pennsylvania’s rising number of homeless youth. “Representative Rozzi and I decided to cancel Monday’s event out of an overabundance of caution,” Bullock said. “Individuals from around the region and state were expected to travel to Harrisburg to attend the event. We hope to reschedule this event when the risk of spreading this contagious virus has been lowered.” Bullock and Rozzi are directing all residents to monitor the Pennsylvania Department of Health for the latest updates. Rozzi added: “This event was to focus attention on the growing crisis of youth homelessness in our hometowns all across the state. Now, more than ever -- with schools, churches and public places closing their doors – homeless youth are at risk. Many have no access to meet basic needs like food, shelter and health care, and they depend on these institutions to provide services.” “Our offices are asking all residents, when you stock up on needed items at the store, like nonperishable goods or hygiene and cleaning supplies, to please remember the less fortunate people that are struggling in all of our communities,” Rozzi said. Bullock Read more

 

Burns secures $250,000 grant for Westmont Hilltop High School

(Mar 12, 2020)

Money will help fund recreational opportunities, save taxpayer dollars Read more

 

Wheatley introduces bill to protect public school districts from lawsuits due to COVID-19 related operational changes
Mar 31, 2020

Pennsylvanians’ reproductive rights under attack amid pandemic
Mar 30, 2020

Snyder: Bill would create new volunteer fire, EMS crisis grants
Mar 28, 2020

Burns supports $30 million in emergency grants for fire, EMS companies during coronavirus crisis
Mar 27, 2020

Snyder plans to introduce bill to create one-time crisis grant program to assist volunteer fire, EMS companies
Mar 27, 2020

Kim reminds Pennsylvanians that hate and discrimination will not be tolerated during the COVID-19 public health crisis
Mar 26, 2020

Matzie: House unanimously passes COVID-19 response bills
Mar 25, 2020

Burns: State loans now available for small businesses
Mar 25, 2020

Schweyer responds to governor and Health secretary’s Stay At Home Order for Lehigh County
Mar 25, 2020

Kenyatta, Shusterman demand protections for gig economy workers in final federal COVID-19 recovery bill
Mar 25, 2020

Bullock announces $25K safety grant for Metropolitan Baptist Church
Mar 23, 2020

Democratic legislators applaud state Supreme Court decision to halt evictions
Mar 18, 2020

COVID-19 Helpful Resources
Mar 18, 2020

Isaacson, Lee to introduce legislation to stop evictions during pandemic
Mar 17, 2020

Davis: Offices closing to walk-ins; staff available via email, phone
Mar 16, 2020

PUC, Utility and Internet Companies Actions to Assist Consumers During Covid-19 Pandemic
Mar 14, 2020

Bizzarro lauds Wolf’s closure of Pa. Schools
Mar 13, 2020

Kenyatta to introduce legislation halting student loan repayments in response to COVID-19
Mar 13, 2020

Reps. Rozzi, Bullock cancel ‘Homeless Youth’ rally out of concern for COVID-19 pandemic
Mar 12, 2020

Burns secures $250,000 grant for Westmont Hilltop High School
Mar 12, 2020