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Johnson-Harrell, Policy Committee meet to discuss gun violence as a public health epidemic

Cruz, House Human Services Committee discuss Puerto Rican Air Bridge

(Apr 12, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, April 12 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., hosted a House Human Services Committee hearing at Philadelphia City Hall to examine the pipeline that sends Puerto Rican drug addicts to Philadelphia -- known as Air Bridge -- and the effectiveness of the treatment users receive in recovery homes. “The Air Bridge is a money-making problem, and the people coming from Puerto Rico are the victims,” Cruz said. “Their families pay money for them to come to Philadelphia to get treatment, but when they arrive, options for treatment don’t exist. Instead, they’re prisoners of unregulated recovery homes that collect money, food stamps and other government assistance as payment for their stay.” Cruz, who represents the 180th Legislative District which also houses “the tracks” – a Conrail train trench -- where users live and seek drugs, is planning to introduce legislation intended to curb the exploitation of addicts, establishing standards that recovery homes would need to comply with in order to get state or federal money. Puerto Rican Sen. Carmelo Rios described the drug crisis in the island and attributed its inability to take appropriate actions to the insufficiency of funds due to Congressional budget cuts under the Affordable Care Act. The island’s Senate adopted a bipartisan effort to contribute with Pennsylvania’s lawmakers and develop a solution for both. Testifiers included Jose Benitez, Read more

 

McClinton, Policy Committee discuss pretrial and bail procedure reform

(Apr 12, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 12 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the Southwest Leadership Academy to explore pretrial and bail procedure reform. “I am excited the House Democratic Policy Committee came to discuss how we can potentially reform the bail process. There may be better options for those who are not a flight risk and not accused of serious, dangerous crimes. Implementing a new bail process gives these people the option to continue to work and provide for their families. I look forward to further House consideration of my legislation,” McClinton said. McClinton has introduced House Bill 1092 that would reform Pennsylvania’s pretrial and bail procedures to provide a fairer, effective and less costly criminal justice system. The bill would encourage and incentivize counties to establish pretrial service programs that utilize standards proven to reduce the monetary and human cost of corrections. “Representative McClinton’s hearing placed a spotlight on a reasonable effort that could ultimately save the taxpayers money. The reality is, the state is facing a $2 billion budget deficit and this is an innovative way to save while improving efficiency,” said state Rep. Mike Sturla, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. Testifiers included: Keir Bradford-Grey, chief public defender, Defender Association of Philadelphia; Judge Benjamin Lerner (Ret.), Read more

 

Mullery announces grants for West Hazleton, Freeland schools to provide healthier meals

(Apr 12, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 12 – Students at two local schools will be eating healthier thanks to food service equipment grants, according to state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne. Read more

 

Roebuck hosting free document shredding event April 22

(Apr 12, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, April 12 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., invites west Philadelphia residents to a free document shredding event from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 22 at his district office, 4712 Baltimore Ave. "This will help people to protect themselves from identity theft by safely disposing of unneeded documents that contain personal information, such as Social Security numbers, bank or credit card account numbers, credit card applications, canceled or unused checks, insurance and income tax records and pension information," Roebuck said. "Please don't bring digital or electronic media, such as computer discs, CDs or DVDs," Roebuck added. For more information, please call Roebuck's office at 215-724-2227. ### Read more

 

Schlossberg to unveil internet privacy legislation in Allentown tomorrow

(Apr 12, 2017)

State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, is holding a news conference 2 p.m. Thursday at the Lehigh County Courthouse, 503 Hamilton St. in Allentown. Schlossberg will explain his proposed legislation that would require internet service providers to notify customers about what types of information they collect, how and for what purposes the ISP shares the information, and with whom. Schlossberg’s legislation is part of a package of bills designed by House Democrats that mirror the rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission but recently stripped away by Congress and President Trump. The package includes commonsense privacy and consumer protections for Pennsylvania residents. EDITOR’S NOTE: Media coverage is encouraged. Read more

 

Rabb's proposed VOTE Act would make voting much easier in Pa.

(Apr 11, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, April 11 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., will introduce a bill to make it much easier to vote in Pennsylvania. "With the April 17 deadline to register to vote in the Pennsylvania primary just days away, I'm encouraging everyone who qualifies to make sure they register. You can even register online at votespa.com . And I'm also looking ahead to ways the legislature can make it easier to use your constitutional right to vote. Many of these are things that other states already allow, and Pennsylvanians deserve the same ease of voting," Rabb said. "Our commonwealth is only as strong as the democracy we bolster through our state laws. In an era of record low turnout and deep public cynicism, it's more important than ever to create new avenues of expression and engagement for citizens and to expand and empower our electorate toward liberty and justice for all." Rabb's proposed Voting Opportunities Toward Empowerment (VOTE) Act would: Provide for no-excuse-needed absentee voting and create the option for a permanent absentee voter status for those who are disabled or otherwise unable to travel to the polls. Establish early voting beginning 15 days before Election Day and ending at 6 p.m. on the Sunday before the election. Voting sites would be open at or after 7 a.m. and close by 8 p.m. each day, with at least 10 hours for voting each weekday and at least eight hours for voting on each Saturday and Sunday. Read more

 

Policy Committee listens to concerns for people with intellectual disabilities

(Apr 11, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, April 11 – State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Isabella Fitzgerald, both D-Phila., hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today at SpArc Philadelphia to discuss concerns for people with intellectual disabilities. "This hearing is an opportunity to hear from those on the front lines,” said Kinsey, a longtime advocate for individuals living with disabilities. “At the end of the day, it is incumbent upon us as a lawmaking body to help the thousands of disabled Pennsylvanians who are disadvantaged get the support and services they need and deserve. I look forward to continuing this conversation by working with my colleagues and finding ways to ensure that we are providing the necessary means to support the needs of our most vulnerable citizens here in the commonwealth." “It’s our responsibility to help each individual, regardless of disability, to reach their maximum level of achievement and independence, given their specific circumstances,” Fitzgerald, cohost of today’s hearing, said. “We’re here to empower people with disabilities and provide them equal access to opportunities. They need to be treated fairly because they certainly have a lot to teach us and a lot to offer to society.” “As policy makers, we need to work together with all stakeholders to pinpoint where the greatest needs lie. From there, we can establish ways to ensure those in need receive the care and support Read more

 

DeLuca calls on State Government Committee chairman to consider his election reforms legislation

(Apr 11, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 11 – In an effort to create a more open and equitable election process in Pennsylvania government, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, sent a letter to state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, majority chairman of the House State Government Committee, urging him to move a number of election process and financial pieces of legislation. In the letter, DeLuca called on Metcalfe, R-Butler, to consider H.B. 945, which would allow for same-day voter registration; H.B. 946, which would allow early voting starting 15 days before Election Day; H.B. 947, which would require elected officials to resign from their current position before running for a different elected office; and H.B. 951, which would require campaigners to move back 35 feet from a polling place. “In last year’s presidential election, less than 62 percent of all eligible Pennsylvanians voted,” DeLuca said. “While that number is slightly higher than the national rate of 58.1 percent, it is nothing to be proud of. Two out of every five voters did not let their voice be heard. “This group of bills all have the goal of making voting easier and more convenient for all Pennsylvanians. Why would Chairman Metcalfe not want to consider legislation that would make voting a more representative process for our commonwealth?” DeLuca’s letter also asks Metcalfe to consider H.B. 948, which would limit salary that legislators receive for services Read more

 

Petrarca announces food service equipment grants for Kiski, Latrobe schools to provide healthier meals

(Apr 11, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 11 – Students at two schools in the 55 th Legislative District will be eating healthier thanks to food service equipment grants announced today by state Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana. Petrarca said Latrobe Elementary School is receiving $15,213 for the purchase and installation of a combination oven, while Kiski Area East Primary School will get a $7,875.00 grant award for purchase and installation of a hot food serving counter. “Combined, this is more than $23,000 coming into two of our area’s schools to help provide healthier food for our children,” Petrarca said. “These grants will help make sure that they are getting good, nutritious and safer meals.” The grants come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, and are distributed through the state Department of Education using a competitive selection process. Priority is given to high-need schools where 50 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Petrarca said 44 Pennsylvania schools received a total $844,776 in 2016 funding under the program, which seeks to improve food safety, expand student access to food and help purchase equipment to prepare better offerings that meet updated meal patterns. Criteria also taken into account includes schools in underserved areas and the age of existing food service equipment, he said. Read more

 

Policy Committee examines Davis’ certified recovery residence bill

(Apr 10, 2017)

LEVITTOWN, APRIL 10 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the Ben Franklin Middle School on her House Bill 355 that would establish certification for recovery residences. “I’m glad parents, local officials and recovery houses were represented at today’s Policy Committee hearing. We collected great information to help communities managing recovery residences and more detail about how my bill can help strengthen the recovery system,” explained Davis. Davis’ legislation would establish the State Board of Recovery Residences within the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs. The Board would develop and administer a voluntary certification program and code of ethics for recovery residences. A residence applying for certification would be inspected and monitored by the Board. The bill would also require recovery homes to implement training and treatment protocols for the administration of Narcan. Testifiers included parents Jessica Scheiber Blackburn, Angelina Mundy, and Leonard Spearing; Diane Rosati, executive director, Bucks County Drug & Alcohol Commission; Bryan Kennedy, owner, Independence Lodge Sober Living; Micki Kaisinger, owner, Emilie House; Howard Allen, councilman, Bristol Township; Tom Tosti, supervisor, Middletown Township. Hearing materials are available at www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee . Read more

 

Pashinski announces grant for Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School

(Apr 10, 2017)

State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, Democratic chairman of the House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, announced today a $20,130 Food Service Equipment Grant has been approved for the Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School to help the school upgrade kitchen equipment and infrastructure in an effort to serve more nutritious meals. Read more

 

South Abington outreach April 19

(Apr 10, 2017)

SCRANTON, April 10 – A staffer from state Rep. Marty Flynn's office will provide outreach assistance next week in South Abington Township. Read more

 

Daley to host Policy Committee hearing on Why Investing in Early Childhood Development Programs Matters

(Apr 10, 2017)

MERION STATION April 10 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D- Montgomery, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss the importance of investment in early childhood development programs in Pennsylvania. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 13 at Saint Joseph’s University, Cardinal John P. Foley Campus Center, 390 N. Latches Lane. The current agenda is: 10 a.m. Welcome and opening remarks 10:10 a.m. Panel One: Ailene Keys, MSW, LSW , maternal child health supervisor, Montgomery County Health Department Nadine Miller, program improvement administrator, Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth Maggy Saad , parent Cathleen Palm , founder, Center for Children’s Justice 10:50 a.m. Panel Two: Shaun Elliott , president and chief executive officer, Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA Zakiyyah Boone , vice president of child care, Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA Bruce Clash , Pennsylvania state director, FIGHT CRIME: INVEST IN KIDS 11:30 a.m. Closing remarks Read more

 

Roebuck bill would end conflicts of interest in charter school lease payments, recover money for educating kids

(Apr 10, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 10 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, plans to introduce a bill that would end conflicts of interest in tax-funded payments for charter school leases. "To ensure financial accountability for all public schools and protect Pennsylvania taxpayers, I will introduce legislation that would ban anyone who serves as a school director, founder, member of a board of trustees or administrator of any public school entity -- including a school district, charter school or cyber charter school -- from receiving reimbursements on lease payments for buildings or facilities used for charter school. The ban would also include executives or employees of charter school management companies," Roebuck said. "We need to prevent these conflicts of interest up front and also recover taxpayers' money to benefit students when there has been an inappropriate payment for one of these leases," Roebuck said. "Every dollar that goes to an inappropriate lease is a dollar that doesn't go to educate our kids." Roebuck said charter schools and traditional public schools should be treated equally under law since both receive tax dollars and both are considered public schools under Pennsylvania law. This legislation was first introduced last session in response to concerns raised about lease overpayments to charter schools. Since December 2012, the Office of the Auditor General has found Read more

 

Rep. Madden to introduce bill for timely transfer of students’ school records

(Apr 10, 2017)

State Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, said she plans to introduce legislation in the near future that would require schools to provide a timely transfer of students’ records to another school. "My legislation would protect students and their families regardless of their choice of school," Madden said. Madden said the legislation would include students who transfer to another public school, including charter schools, or a nonpublic school. "It is necessary that a student be provided with the continuity of their education program and my bill would ensure that a student's records are transferred within 10 days from the school’s request for those records," Madden said. The Monroe County lawmaker said the school would also need to evaluate students’ needs and place them in the appropriate academic programs, and provide a complete and accurate record of their academic and attendance records. "Record keeping is vital to an education system’s information cycle and school records are an important means of accountability because they provide proof and they also provide data that reveal students' learning performances," Madden said. Madden said school records help administrators and teachers make decisions about their students. Madden represents the 115 th Legislative District. Read more

 

Longietti seeks contractor transparency, financial accountability for school management organizations

(Apr 10, 2017)

HERMITAGE, April 10 – Seeking to protect students and taxpayers, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, plans to introduce legislation that would limit charter school management organization fees to no more than 5 percent of tuition charged per student enrolled. Besides limiting overhead, Longietti said his forthcoming bill would require much more disclosure of financial documentation from for-profit and nonprofit school management organizations. “Currently, Pennsylvania law is deficient on placing limits paid – and revealing contracts made – with management companies, which can result in profit-making with public education dollars,” Longietti said. “Moreover, management company fees increase a school’s administrative costs and result in less money being available to educate the students.” Longietti added that it is difficult for authorizers, oversight bodies and taxpayers to see how their money is spent by these private companies unless such transparency is required by law. His legislation would apply to for-profit management companies that provide management, educational or administrative services to public school entities, including school districts, charter and cyber charter schools. Generally, a private organization or firm that manages public schools, including district and charter public schools, is referred to as an education management organization or a charter management organization. Longietti said research Read more

 

Miller to introduce legislation regarding law enforcement concussion protocol

(Apr 10, 2017)

MT. LEBANON, April 10 – State Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, announced that he will introduce a bill that would require the Pennsylvania State Police, in coordination with other interested groups, to establish a concussion protocol to be used for all law enforcement officers. Once introduced, the bill will become H.B. 1176. Miller is partnering with state Reps. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, and Barry Jozwiak, R-Berks, as main sponsors of the bill. He is currently inviting other representatives to sign on as co-sponsors. The bill would direct the Pennsylvania State Police, in consultation with the Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Association, union representatives of law enforcement officers, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, and appropriate state agencies that have expertise in the area of traumatic brain injury, to develop a concussion protocol which will be used by all police departments to protect a law enforcement officer who suffers or who may have suffered a head impact or head injury while on the job. “This legislation recognizes the physical risks inherent with a career in law enforcement,” Miller said. “Injuries, assaults and crashes are just part of the job and concussion symptoms can be easily missed. Officers protect the public every day, and we have to be sure to cover them and their families when injuries like these occur. Documentation is key.” When the bill is introduced, it will be assigned to a House committee for Read more

 

DeLissio hosts public meeting over nuisance bars and Stop N Go establishments

(Apr 07, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, April 7 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., co-hosted on Thursday a meeting on the issues relating to nuisance establishments that sell alcohol and how they impact surrounding blocks and neighborhoods. Both state and local government agencies were gathered to share their respective roles in combatting this issue. “This is an issue that has plagued Philadelphia neighborhoods for decades, and despite concerted community efforts it has been difficult, if not impossible, to get liquor licenses suspended or revoked,” DeLissio said. “The members of the Philadelphia Delegation of the PA House are conducting a series of these meetings across the city over the next few weeks. Delegation members will then compile and share all of the information and work to identify a meaningful pathway forward with the goal to ensure that liquor licenses are suspended or revoked timely when warranted.” DeLissio hosted a similar meeting in November 2015 on the topic, which, like Thursday's, included a broad array of city and state agencies that interact with establishments holding liquor licenses. This time, she said, there is a broader group of colleagues similarly engaged in the dialogue and she is hopeful that, at the very least, state and local agencies will work more cooperatively together, and if need be, local and state policy can be proposed to help ameliorate this plague. Among the testifiers were officers from Read more

 

DeLissio announces April 12, May 15 ‘Policy Pow-Wow’ topics

(Apr 07, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, April 7 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will host a “Policy Pow-Wow” from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 in her district office, 6511 Ridge Avenue, 19128. The Pow-Wow format is a deeper look at policy issues and includes a balanced look at the issues to be discussed. “When we did a series of three Pow-Wows in August, they were well received and constituents found them to be informative,” DeLissio said. The informal roundtable discussion will include S.B. 3, which is a legislative proposal to restrict abortion, and S.B. 10, which is legislation to address the issue of sanctuary cities in Pennsylvania. Space is limited, so RSVPs are requested, which can be made by calling 215-482-8726. DeLissio will host another Policy Pow-Wow at 7 p.m. Monday, May 15 to discuss the elimination of statute of limitations for sexual abuse of children and to talk about gun control. RSVP is requested and the location of discussion will be in her district office. “As I endeavor to continue my commitment to dialogue with constituents of the 194th Legislative District, I hope residents will find this format inviting and casual,” DeLissio said. “It is a pleasure sharing information with constituents, as well as learning from attendees.” The Policy Pow-Wows are BYOB - alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Light refreshments will be provided. Read more

 

DeLissio observes Equal Pay Day at Capitol, expresses need for legislation

(Apr 07, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, April 7 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., stood up against the injustice of gender pay disparity on Equal Pay Day in the Capitol this week. Tuesday, April 4 was the symbolic day when a woman’s average salary catches up to a man’s average salary from the previous year. In Pennsylvania, women are paid on average 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, according to Census data. “It has reached the point in this country, that a woman who graduated from college in 2009 can expect to work three more years than her male counterpart to repay her student loans,” DeLissio said. “That is a shame, and we can do something about it.” DeLissio told WBCB 1490 AM news this week that she and her colleagues are working hard to advance core pieces of legislation that would set a course toward pay equality in the work place: House Bill 931 -- Would allow employees to inquire about wages and disclose information about wages by prohibiting retaliatory actions against workers who discuss or file a complaint regarding pay inequities. House Bill 830 -- Would increase fines for employers who are convicted of willfully violating law, falsifying records, or interfering with an investigation under this act from the current amount of $50 to $200 per day of violation to an updated amount of not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000 per day of violation. Secondly, this legislation would increase the time Read more

 

Cruz, House Human Services Committee discuss Puerto Rican Air Bridge
Apr 12, 2017

McClinton, Policy Committee discuss pretrial and bail procedure reform
Apr 12, 2017

Mullery announces grants for West Hazleton, Freeland schools to provide healthier meals
Apr 12, 2017

Roebuck hosting free document shredding event April 22
Apr 12, 2017

Schlossberg to unveil internet privacy legislation in Allentown tomorrow
Apr 12, 2017

Rabb's proposed VOTE Act would make voting much easier in Pa.
Apr 11, 2017

Policy Committee listens to concerns for people with intellectual disabilities
Apr 11, 2017

DeLuca calls on State Government Committee chairman to consider his election reforms legislation
Apr 11, 2017

Petrarca announces food service equipment grants for Kiski, Latrobe schools to provide healthier meals
Apr 11, 2017

Policy Committee examines Davis’ certified recovery residence bill
Apr 10, 2017

Pashinski announces grant for Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School
Apr 10, 2017

South Abington outreach April 19
Apr 10, 2017

Daley to host Policy Committee hearing on Why Investing in Early Childhood Development Programs Matters
Apr 10, 2017

Roebuck bill would end conflicts of interest in charter school lease payments, recover money for educating kids
Apr 10, 2017

Rep. Madden to introduce bill for timely transfer of students’ school records
Apr 10, 2017

Longietti seeks contractor transparency, financial accountability for school management organizations
Apr 10, 2017

Miller to introduce legislation regarding law enforcement concussion protocol
Apr 10, 2017

DeLissio hosts public meeting over nuisance bars and Stop N Go establishments
Apr 07, 2017

DeLissio announces April 12, May 15 ‘Policy Pow-Wow’ topics
Apr 07, 2017

DeLissio observes Equal Pay Day at Capitol, expresses need for legislation
Apr 07, 2017