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Relief to restaurants, bars & clubs to help workers a top priority in House Democratic legislative package

Kenyatta condemns hate targeting transgendered Pennsylvanians

(Jul 23, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 23 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta condemned the Bloomsburg Fair mocking state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and pointed out that the transphobic remarks relay to ongoing violence against trans people. “Dr. Levine is an exemplary public servant as she continues to lead our commonwealth through these uncertain times in a dignified manner. Those pivoting to transphobic slandering to undermine her leadership, which has proven to save lives, reveal a deep seeded and ugly hatred against the trans community. “These so-called jokes at the expense of trans identities invalidates the humanity of trans people and greenlights depraving violence against them. That violence has been often been directed at trans women, and even more often, specifically Black transwomen. Transphobia coupled with misogynoir has resulted in the brutal slaughtering of six Black transwomen nationwide in the span of a few months -- one of which happened right here in our commonwealth in my hometown of Philadelphia. “These latest murders are why we must actively condemn transphobia in every form, including ‘jokes’ at fairs. We must also hold perpetrators of hatred accountable to convey the message that Pennsylvania will not tolerate hatred!” Kenyatta, D-Phila., is the first openly gay man of color in Pennsylvania history serve in the General Assembly. He has been a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and Read more

 

Wheatley: Legislation would address systemic racism, address poorer health conditions, economic outcomes among people of color in Pa.

(Jul 21, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, July 21 – Calling it a dire public health crisis, state Rep. Jake Wheatley has announced his intent to introduce a bill to address racial inequities among Black, Brown and Indigenous communities in Pennsylvania. “Study after study continues to show definitive links between higher rates of chronic health conditions, like high blood pressure and diabetes, among our Black, Latino and Native American residents,” said Wheatley, D-Allegheny. “Racism is truly a public health problem, leading to higher levels of stress and significantly reduced access to medical and social services, among other impacts, resulting in increased levels of disease, disability, and death. As we continue to demand changes to address systemic racism in Pennsylvania and across the nation, we must also respond to this public health crisis – because lives are truly at stake.” Wheatley’s legislation would create a racial equity task force within the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. This task force would oversee the review of policies and provide recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly on efforts focused on reducing the disparities between people of color and white residents statewide. More information on the bill can be found at the following link: Read more

 

Hazard pay grants now available to support frontline workers

(Jul 17, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 17 – Workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic could see hazard pay through funding advocated for by the Pennsylvania House Democrats. Eligible employers can now apply for $50 million in available grants to offer hazard pay to frontline workers in life-sustaining industries. Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus has fought to support frontline workers and worked to ensure federal CARES Act dollars were allocated as part of the state budget package. Businesses in the following industries are eligible to apply for the grant funding: Health care and social assistance Food manufacturing Food retail facilities Public transit and ground passenger transportation Security services Janitorial services to buildings and dwellings More information on the grants is available here . Since the very beginning of the pandemic, and during 2020-21 budget negotiations, House Democrats have advocated for fair compensation and protections for frontline workers. Democratic state representatives from across Pennsylvania lauded the opening of the new grant program. Northeast Region Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe : "I am a strong advocate for better wages and conditions for all workers. During times of financial uncertainty, hazard pay is crucial for all frontline workers facing increased exposure to the COVID-19 Read more

 

Rep. Kenyatta celebrates $50 million in hazard pay grant funding for Pa. frontline workers

(Jul 17, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 17 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said his fight to guarantee Pennsylvanians working on the frontlines during the fatal COVID-19 pandemic are afforded increased wages has finally been accomplished with Gov. Tom Wolf recently announcing the availability of $50 million in grant funding to help employers provide hazard pay to employees in life-sustaining occupations. Kenyatta, D-Phila., called the program a sincere expression of appreciation for the sacrifices of frontline employees, and an overall win for workers’ rights. “I am proud of Governor Wolf’s support in our demands to prioritize Pennsylvania frontline workers in any mitigation efforts during this crisis,” Kenyatta said. “It is their labor that has sustained countless communities across our commonwealth throughout the pandemic. Providing this funding for hazard pay transcends the hollow ‘thank you,’ and explicitly demonstrates our appreciation for their service by guaranteeing that they are properly compensated.” From the start of this crisis, Kenyatta boasts a solid track record of championing protections for the rights and safety of Pennsylvania’s essential workers. In May, the lawmaker stood in solidarity with Temple health care workers on the picket line in his district. Last month, in a video that has since gone viral , Kenyatta challenged booing Republicans in the House chamber about Read more

 

Ciresi calls for investigation into PA charter schools receiving PPP payments

(Jul 16, 2020)

“Pennsylvania taxpayers deserve to know that their tax dollars are spent responsibly and that the funding of a government program is used for its intended purpose. It is therefore important to determine how charter schools were able to justify and obtain these forgivable loans, and whether taxpayer funds from all sources are being used for their legally intended purposes by recipient charter schools and management organizations.” Read more

 

Rep. Bizzarro bill would give school districts flexibility with required instructional days in cases of disaster, emergency declarations

(Jul 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 15 -- In an effort to gives schools the flexibility to prioritize student and faculty safety during disaster and emergency declarations, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro introduced legislation that would give school districts the authority needed to adjust the 180-day instruction requirement. In the case of disaster or emergency declaration by the governor, House Bill 2704 would authorize individual school districts to request an exemption from the 180-day requirement. The bill would permit brick and mortar schools to include virtual education days in meeting the 180-day requirement. “Pennsylvania’s school districts need flexibility to quickly respond to emergent situations. Student safety and quality learning opportunities should remain at the forefront of decision making. My bill would allow schools to include online learning days as part of the 180-day requirement,” explained Bizzarro. “If necessary, they would also have the ability to reduce the number of required instructional days.” If enacted, a school district would submit an exemption request to the Pa. Department of Education for consideration. The Pa. Secretary of Education would then decide if the school district made bona fide effort to provide a reasonable number of instruction days. “A statewide response is not always reasonable and can put more children at a disadvantage. For example, each region of the state has Read more

 

House Democratic leaders urge U.S. senators to support HEROES Act

(Jul 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 15 – Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, Democratic Whip Jordan Harris and Democratic Appropriations Chairman Matt Bradford, on behalf of the entire Pa. House Democratic Caucus, today sent a letter to U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., urging them to support the HEROES Act. The U.S. House of Representatives in May passed the HEROES Act to provide much-needed continued relief to Americans through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the U.S. Senate has failed to take action. The full letter is as follows: Dear Senator Casey and Senator Toomey: It has been nearly two months since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act to support Americans as they weather the unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the Senate has failed to take action on this important legislation. With cases rising across the country and again in Pennsylvania -- creating an even more serious strain on our health care systems and testing capacity as we move toward fall -- federal leadership is desperately needed to help Pennsylvanians get the care they need and the protections they deserve. In May, the Pennsylvania General Assembly worked with Governor Tom Wolf to pass an interim, partial budget, but the fate of many essential services depends on your actions to provide additional support to states. The budgetary challenge caused by the coronavirus pandemic is Read more

 

Schlossberg mental health bill to help first responders heads to governor

(Jul 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 15 -- Bipartisan legislation introduced by state Reps. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, and Frank Farry, R-Bucks, that would establish an emergency responder mental wellness and stress management program in Pennsylvania is headed to the governor’s desk. Read more

 

Williams’ police reform bill signed into law

(Jul 14, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 14 – A police reform bill sponsored by State Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, that would bring about the most significant changes to Pennsylvania policing in at least 40 years was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf today as Act 59 of 2020. Williams’ H.B. 1910 will update police training in several areas, including recognizing and reporting child abuse; de-escalation and harm reduction techniques; interacting with individuals of diverse racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds; and appropriate use of force. House Bill 1910 is one of 19 bills that members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus urged be considered by the House. The bill was recently passed unanimously by the House and the Senate, along with H.B. 1841 , which would require employers to disclose employment information to a law enforcement agency that is conducting a background investigation of an applicant. H.B.1841 was also signed into law by the governor. “A resounding cry for justice for all citizens has risen up throughout our commonwealth and our nation,” Williams said. “The General Assembly has responded to this impassioned demand to protect the vulnerable by passing these two police reform bills unanimously and by the governor by signing them into law. “I’m proud that my bill will enhance the training the police receive so they can better serve the public and expand the reporting system to Read more

 

Ciresi condemns House blocking debate, amendments on constitutional amendment

(Jul 13, 2020)

“This extraordinary decision was a shameful abuse of legislative power,” Ciresi said. “While all bills deserve to be properly debated and discussed, and potentially improved through amendments, this is especially true for amendments to the constitution itself. To push through a bill of this magnitude without a public hearing or discussion, while refusing to even consider amendments that my colleagues worked hard to draft, is unacceptable.” Read more

 

Youngblood’s resolution honoring 200th anniversary of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf adopted by full House

(Jul 13, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 13 – State Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, Democratic House secretary, today applauded adoption by the PA House of a resolution she introduced that honors the 200 th anniversary of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. “The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf has a longstanding and honorable history of educating children across our commonwealth living with hearing impairments,” Youngblood, D-Phila, said. “The school’s distinguished success proves that all children possess the affinity to learn and thrive when they’re provided the support they need, which is why I’m proud to etch the recognition of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in or state’s history.” The PSD, Youngblood said, has roots in her home city. In 1820 businessman David Seixas, after becoming concerned with the welfare of deaf children he encountered on the city streets, began educating them in his home on Market Street in Philadelphia. His altruistic deeds spurred the 200-year tradition of continued excellence in deaf education. House Resolution 792 recognizes the PSD and its bicentennial commitment to educating and empowering children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Continuing its distinct tradition of excellence, the teachers at PSD are devoted to their students and strive to prepare and encourage them to be confident in knowing that every individual has the aptitude to contribute great things to Read more

 

Freeman introduces bill to help quiet fireworks

(Jul 09, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 9 – Responding to concerns from residents about the proliferation of fireworks being discharged beyond the Independence Day holiday, state Rep. Robert Freeman introduced legislation this week that would give municipalities more authority to regulate the use of fireworks and would increase penalties for violating those regulations. Read more

 

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts

(Jul 09, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 9 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., said his efforts to ensure the Black community is represented in Pennsylvania’s efforts to continue to understand COVID-19 came to fruition on Tuesday as the House passed legislation to begin the epidemiological study of the deadly virus. Adopted as an amendment to a bill (H.B. 2450) that would establish an independent COVID-19 State Epidemiology Advisory Council tasked with making policy recommendations under the direction of epidemiologists appointed by deans of select accredited state universities, Kenyatta’s legislation would require that the council’s policy recommendations and final report also be focused on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on specific racial and ethnic groups, particularly Black and brown communities. “This is a win and significant step toward effectively mitigating the pandemic here in Pennsylvania, especially in our Black and brown communities,” Kenyatta said. “We know that race and ethnicity are playing a key role in the spread of this deadly disease and that Black and brown communities are disproportionately affected. “In seeking solutions, it is crucial for this council of epidemiologist to be deliberate in the approach to understanding how this virus spreads, with a keen focus on critical demographics. I am proud my legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support, an acknowledgement that we Read more

 

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts

(Jul 09, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 9 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., said his efforts to ensure the Black community is represented in Pennsylvania’s efforts to continue to understand COVID-19 came to fruition on Tuesday as the House passed legislation to begin the epidemiological study of the deadly virus. Adopted as an amendment to a bill (H.B. 2450) that would establish an independent COVID-19 State Epidemiology Advisory Council tasked with making policy recommendations under the direction of epidemiologists appointed by deans of select accredited state universities, Kenyatta’s legislation would require that the council’s policy recommendations and final report also be focused on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on specific racial and ethnic groups, particularly Black and brown communities. “This is a win and significant step toward effectively mitigating the pandemic here in Pennsylvania, especially in our Black and brown communities,” Kenyatta said. “We know that race and ethnicity are playing a key role in the spread of this deadly disease and that Black and brown communities are disproportionately affected. “In seeking solutions, it is crucial for this council of epidemiologist to be deliberate in the approach to understanding how this virus spreads, with a keen focus on critical demographics. I am proud my legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support, an acknowledgement that we Read more

 

Women’s Health Caucus reacts to SCOTUS ruling on contraceptive coverage

(Jul 08, 2020)

“This ruling essentially applies to all nongovernmental workplaces, from very large to very small. And employers have a choice about the workaround that ameliorated some of the harm of a total exemption. Women also have choices as potential employees, students and consumers. If someone else’s religious freedom limits your reproductive freedom, choose wisely.” Read more

 

Petrarca reminds pet owners to keep their pets safe during hot weather

(Jul 01, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, July 1 – With summer officially here, it’s important that pet owners take proper precautions to keep their furry friends safe. State Rep. Joe Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said when the temperatures and humidity begin to rise, it can also adversely affect our pets, especially if they don’t have adequate shelter or water while they’re outside. “Many of us know to not leave our pets alone in a parked vehicle, but unfortunately, we still hear of pets who are neglected and left outdoors who end up becoming ill or worse,” Petrarca said. “If we’re uncomfortable during the hot, humid days of summer, imagine what it’s like for your pet – that’s why it’s so important to follow these tips to keep your pet healthy, comfortable and safe.” Petrarca, who has supported several efforts to protect pets in Pennsylvania, including Libre’s Law , recommends these tips to keep your pet healthy, comfortable and safe during the summer: Never leave your pet in a parked vehicle, even for a minute or even with the air conditioner running. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach over 100 degrees within 10 minutes. In 30 minutes, temperatures can rise to 120 degrees, which can cause your pet to suffer irreversible organ damage or die. Watch the humidity – if humidity is too high, it’s more Read more

 

Ciresi, O’Neal call for investigation into unemployment system failures

(Jun 30, 2020)

“Week after week, year after year, most workers contributed to the Unemployment Trust Fund through payroll deductions,” Ciresi said. “Yet the failures of this system have left too many without income during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when they need these benefits more than ever.” Read more

 

Freeman bill would allow additional local regulation of fireworks, increase penalties

(Jun 29, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 29 – Municipalities would have more authority to regulate the use of fireworks and penalties would be increased for violating those regulations under legislation proposed by state Rep. Robert Freeman. Read more

 

Women’s Health Caucus applauds SCOTUS decision to strike down Louisiana law severely restricting abortions

(Jun 29, 2020)

The 5-4 decision in June Medical Services, LLC vs. Russo invalidates the Louisiana law that required a physician performing abortion services to have admitting privileges in a hospital within 30 miles. Read more

 

Kenyatta announces Environmental Education Grant for The U School

(Jun 26, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 26 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today announced that a $2,998 Environmental Education Grant has been awarded to The U School in his 181 st Legislative District. The grant, Kenyatta said, is funded by the state Department of Environmental Protection and will assist in the development of an “Urban Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources” club to introduce 10 th and 11 th graders to career paths in environmental sustainability. “The fight for justice includes environmental justice and equity. It’s a fight that can only be won by empowering communities that have been systemically barred from being stakeholders of their food, water, land and air quality,” Kenyatta said. “Fostering and instilling an interest in environmental sustainability careers among our local youth is a step toward progress, which is why I am thrilled that The U School has been awarded this grant.” The Environmental Education Grants Program engages youth and adults in environmental justice, climate change, and/or water quality improvement, expanding their understanding of these issues in Pennsylvania and providing skills to take responsible action to protect their environment The program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates setting aside 5% of the pollution fines and penalties DEP collects annually for environmental education Read more

 

Kenyatta condemns hate targeting transgendered Pennsylvanians
Jul 23, 2020

Wheatley: Legislation would address systemic racism, address poorer health conditions, economic outcomes among people of color in Pa.
Jul 21, 2020

Hazard pay grants now available to support frontline workers
Jul 17, 2020

Rep. Kenyatta celebrates $50 million in hazard pay grant funding for Pa. frontline workers
Jul 17, 2020

Ciresi calls for investigation into PA charter schools receiving PPP payments
Jul 16, 2020

Rep. Bizzarro bill would give school districts flexibility with required instructional days in cases of disaster, emergency declarations
Jul 15, 2020

House Democratic leaders urge U.S. senators to support HEROES Act
Jul 15, 2020

Schlossberg mental health bill to help first responders heads to governor
Jul 15, 2020

Williams’ police reform bill signed into law
Jul 14, 2020

Ciresi condemns House blocking debate, amendments on constitutional amendment
Jul 13, 2020

Youngblood’s resolution honoring 200th anniversary of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf adopted by full House
Jul 13, 2020

Freeman introduces bill to help quiet fireworks
Jul 09, 2020

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts
Jul 09, 2020

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts
Jul 09, 2020

Women’s Health Caucus reacts to SCOTUS ruling on contraceptive coverage
Jul 08, 2020

Petrarca reminds pet owners to keep their pets safe during hot weather
Jul 01, 2020

Ciresi, O’Neal call for investigation into unemployment system failures
Jun 30, 2020

Freeman bill would allow additional local regulation of fireworks, increase penalties
Jun 29, 2020

Women’s Health Caucus applauds SCOTUS decision to strike down Louisiana law severely restricting abortions
Jun 29, 2020

Kenyatta announces Environmental Education Grant for The U School
Jun 26, 2020