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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

 

Ravenstahl: House approves coronavirus education bill

(Mar 25, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 25 – As the state continues to respond to the evolving coronavirus crisis, the Pennsylvania House today voted to approve an education bill that would allow the Pennsylvania Department of Education to adapt to the crisis. Included in the bill was an idea proposed by state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, last week, which would lift the existing five-day cap on flexible instruction days for the duration of the emergency. “As we adjust to this new reality, it is clear that it could be a question of if, not when, in-classroom education recommences in Pennsylvania,” Ravenstahl said. “Thankfully, last year Act 64 allowed the state Department of Education to initiate a limited flexible instruction day program prior to this crisis. “I want to thank my fellow lawmakers for including this language in today’s legislation,” Ravenstahl said. “The sooner we can open this program up, the sooner that educators, schools and the state Department of Education can start responding to this ongoing situation and work together to find a system that benefits the students of Pennsylvania.” In addition to lifting the cap on flexible instruction days, the bill would ensure that school funding remain level and give PDE the option of canceling public school, waiving the 180-days-of-school requirement, and applying for waivers of federal testing requirements and other measures. 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

 

House Democratic leaders support Gov. Wolf’s response to state health crisis

(Mar 20, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 20 – House Democratic leaders said criticism of Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to use emergency powers to shut down non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania is off-base in light of the most up-to-date medical guidance for dealing with COVID-19. “This unprecedented national public health emergency demands leadership from all levels of government. This is a matter of life and death, without hyperbole. That’s a reality we all need to confront. In conjunction with top medical professionals, the governor is leading our state and working to make the best decisions based on medical evidence. Every hour we see more of that evidence in front of us. “Now is the time to reduce people’s contact in order to lessen the impact of this crisis and reduce its duration. Simply put, the action taken by the governor, which is strongly supported by Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, will save lives. Taking swift action sooner rather than later will lessen the long-term impact on businesses and help our employers and employees return to normal as soon as possible. “The governor is facing impossible choices and is making decisions based on the advice of medical experts. We will continue to work and offer help and guidance to all affected employees and employers. We thank all the business owners who have led the way in this effort and helped prevent the spread of the virus, as well as the medical Read more

 

Reps. Cephas, Roebuck propose legislation to waive interest for student loan and home loan borrowers amid COVID-19 pandemic

(Mar 20, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, March 20 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas is introducing legislation with Rep. James Roebuck that would give Pennsylvanians who are paying off their student loans and home loans a break on interest during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Cephas said the goal of her legislation is to protect people i n need during the crisis -- especially those who struggled to buy their first home or go to college. “In the span of three months, COVID-19 has infected more than 207,000 people worldwide and counting. In Pennsylvania alone, there are 185 confirmed cases – and that number will most likely continue to grow in the coming weeks,” said Cephas, D-Phila. “Not only does this virus heavily impact our day-to-day lives, it also affects our futures. Hardworking Pennsylvanians and their families are finding themselves out of a job, or with fewer hours. With limited access to income, they are unable to pay their rent, bills, loans, and many other expenses accrued over time. We must do all we can to give working people a break during this unexpected time which proves to be more and more challenging.” Cephas said student loans and home loans take large amounts from a person’s paycheck, which is why she is focusing on those borrowers. She is introducing two bills, one that would waive interest on student loans through the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and one that would waive interest on loans issued by the 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

 

Pennsylvanians are sending a message; House Democrats’ Plan4PA responds

(Mar 17, 2020)

By the PA House Democratic leadership team When we return to Harrisburg after spending time in our legislative districts, we always bring back with us a pretty simple and clear message from the people we represent. The families, local business owners and community leaders we speak with at home want a Pennsylvania where public officials are fighting for them, not just the special interests and politically connected who lobby at the state Capitol every day. Working families are tired of struggling day after day to get by while big corporations and special interests get all the breaks. Our neighbors tell us it’s time for Harrisburg to stop putting politics ahead of the people, and it’s time to for us to stand together for a Pennsylvania that works for all of us. That’s why PA House Democrats have made the priorities we share with the people we represent the engine that drives our Plan4PA policy agenda. We want to grow our economy and create Good Jobs everywhere. That’s why our Plan4PA calls for jobs that pay real wages and support families. Our plan protects workers, gives them a voice in the workplace and a chance to retire. It supports careers and financial stability, not just a temporary job and the constant fear of insecurity. We want people to have access to Affordable Health Care so they can visit the doctor when they are sick. That’s why our Plan4PA Read more

 

Dermody comments on House rule change

(Mar 16, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 16 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said temporary rules adopted today by the House in response to COVID-19 concerns will make it possible for lawmakers’ votes to be recorded even if they cannot attend session in person. “In light of the declared world pandemic and our Commonwealth’s methodical response, this is a good short-term approach to get work done in Harrisburg,” Dermody said. “Once we had a chance to explain our concerns to Republican leaders we were able to reach agreement,” Dermody said. “They also agreed with us there’s no value in quickly throwing together incomplete legislation in the crisis. The governor already has necessary emergency powers under the law to guide the state’s response. “In my view, we need to evaluate the scope of the pandemic and that will take some time,” Dermody said. “We need to be planning much more thoughtful actions that will help the state’s response, not some quick and haphazard actions that haven’t been adequately considered.” Dermody said some areas that may see eventual legislation include: paid sick leave for workers. unemployment compensation for workers dislocated by the health crisis. enhanced food security programs. changes to school attendance requirements. help for small businesses suffering the economic fallout of the crisis, as Read more

 

Six vacant/abandoned properties to be redeveloped

(Mar 16, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, March 16 – A project to redevelop six vacant or abandoned properties in Lawrenceville has been selected to receive $400,000 in state assistance, state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl announced today. The development by ACTION-Housing Inc. will consist of two new buildings with a combined 35 apartments – eight of which are designated for individuals with disabilities – and 1,051 square-feet of commercial space. “Today we continued to address one of the challenges of our region – making sure that affordable housing is developed alongside new construction,” Ravenstahl said. “As our communities develop, we need to make sure that housing is available for everyone, regardless of income bracket, and this investment by the state is one step toward making that happen." The investment was funded through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s Community Revitalization Fund Program, which is designed to provide financing for the construction or rehabilitation of critical projects providing affordable housing in commercial corridors in the Commonwealth. This program creates the funding mechanism to help bridge the gap that exists between traditional housing programs and commercial lending sources for these mixed-use projects, fostering sustainable partnerships to leverage public and private resources. 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

 

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

Ravenstahl: House approves coronavirus education bill
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

House Democratic leaders support Gov. Wolf’s response to state health crisis
Mar 20, 2020

Reps. Cephas, Roebuck propose legislation to waive interest for student loan and home loan borrowers amid COVID-19 pandemic
Mar 20, 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

Pennsylvanians are sending a message; House Democrats’ Plan4PA responds
Mar 17, 2020

Dermody comments on House rule change
Mar 16, 2020

Six vacant/abandoned properties to be redeveloped
Mar 16, 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