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Protecting workers, protecting businesses, protecting YOU from getting sick

Donatucci measure would expand state program for more cancer screenings

(Jun 16, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 16 – Legislation recently reintroduced by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, would increase eligibility for breast and cervical cancer screenings through the state Department of Health’s HealthyWoman Program. Donatucci’s H.B. 1309 would allow women between the ages of 30 and 65 to qualify for the HealthyWoman program if they meet other eligibility guidelines. The program, designed to serve low-income, underinsured and uninsured women who make up to 250 percent below the federal poverty level, is currently open to eligible women 40 to 64, women under 40, if they are symptomatic, and women 65 or older if screenings are not covered by Medicare Part B. Read more

 

Deasy: Bill would protect seniors from exploitation through powers of attorney

(Jun 15, 2015)

Rep. Dan Deasy has introduced legislation that would authorize local area agencies on aging to investigate those holding powers of attorney when there is reason to believe that an older Pennsylvanian is being exploited. Seniors throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually from elder financial abuse and exploitation, and only about one in every five such cases ever come to light. Read more

 

Bill that includes ban on vaping products in schools passes state House

(Jun 15, 2015)

A bill that includes state Rep. Gerald Mullery’s legislation to ban nicotine products from school grounds, including increasingly popular "vaping" products and electronic cigarettes, passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today. Read more

 

Carroll named Democratic chairman of Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee

(Jun 12, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 12 – State Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne/Lackawanna, has been named Democratic chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee by Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. Carroll said, "I have been extremely fortunate to have had a substantial role with the Appropriations, Education, Transportation and Environmental Resources and Energy committees. I fully expect to continue serving as a leading voice in these policy areas for the people of Lackawanna and Luzerne counties while fulfilling my responsibilities in my new role as chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. I look forward to serving the people of Luzerne and Lackawanna counties in this new additional role, where I will oversee legislation dealing with the important agriculture and food sector in Pennsylvania." Dermody added, "Mike has earned the chance to lead this committee. He knows the importance of farms, food and agricultural research to Pennsylvania’s economy and he understands that thousands of jobs depend on keeping agriculture strong. As a chairman of a standing committee, his responsibilities within the caucus have been raised to include oversight of the committee while continuing to advance transportation and education policies important to House Democrats." Carroll is serving his fifth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Read more

 

Schlossberg applauds Wolf for fee waiver, urges colleagues to pass change into law

(Jun 11, 2015)

State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, commended Gov. Tom Wolf during a news conference today for his move to waive background check fees for volunteers while calling on his colleagues in the General Assembly to follow suit by codifying the exemption into law. Read more

 

House passes Pashinski bill to establish Kinship Navigator Pilot Program (with video)

(Jun 10, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 10 – State. Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, announced the House today passed his bill that will focus on assisting grandparents raising grandchildren in Pennsylvania. House Bill 662 would establish a Kinship Navigator Pilot Program in the commonwealth to determine the needs of kinship caregivers and assess the feasibility of establishing a permanent program. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, more than 191,000 children in Pennsylvania are being raised by 80,000 grandparents. Nearly 20 percent of these grandparents raising their grandchildren live in poverty. Pashinski said many grandparents in his district face challenges raising their grandchildren, including lack of a support network and absence of respite for the caregiver. “Grandparents often are not prepared financially or emotionally to provide for their grandchildren,” Pashinski said. “When taking on the role of parent, grandparents also often face custody battles that are costly, time-consuming and complicated. “These grandparents need qualified support and guidance to help them navigate the complexities of the system. It’s time for Pennsylvania to step up and help our grandparents and grandchildren by establishing a Kinship Navigator Pilot that would assist them in finding support they need to keep their family together.” Pashinski added that at least a dozen states have established similar and successful programs, including neighboring Read more

 

Donatucci reintroduces bill to modernize Equal Pay law

(Jun 10, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 10 – Fifty-two years after President John F. Kennedy signed the federal Equal Pay Act into law, state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, today announced she has reintroduced legislation to update Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Law. Donatucci’s H.B. 1250 would increase fines for employers that knowingly violate state law, falsify records or interfere with investigations under the act. It would also allow employees to file a legal action up to three years after the violation. Read more

 

Freeman introduces bill to let housing authorities set up police departments

(Jun 10, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 10 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, has introduced a bill that would let public housing authorities form their own police force. "Philadelphia and Pittsburgh housing authorities already have this ability under current law, but smaller cities in the state face the same problems with criminal activity that larger cities do," Freeman said. "All public housing authorities should have the ability to set up their own police force in order to better combat crime. "A public housing police force also would greatly enhance community policing efforts, making public housing projects safer for their residents and their families, especially children." Under Freeman's bill, the housing authority police officers would patrol public housing projects. They would be required to complete the same course of instruction and accreditation as is required for municipal police officers under state law. Funding for these police forces would come from public housing authority budgets. While every housing authority would have the option to form a police force under Freeman’s bill, they would not be required to do so. "Some authorities may choose to simply hire a detective rather than create a full-blown police force," Freeman said. "Either way, they could determine what would be the most appropriate approach to enhancing law enforcement efforts." Besides reducing crime and enhancing public safety, Freeman Read more

 

Caltagirone introduces bill to legalize video gaming

(Jun 10, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 9 – State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, today said he has introduced legislation that would create the Pennsylvania Video Gaming Act. Specifically, H.B. 1182 would legalize video poker for adults 21 and older at establishments that are licensed to sell liquor such as bars, taverns and clubs. Establishments would be permitted to operate up to five video gaming machines and would be subjected to a criminal background check performed by the Pennsylvania State Police before being awarded a license. "We're staring at a $2 billion budget hole and we're sitting on a potential gold mine," Caltagirone said. "This is a prime time to enact a new revenue source to help spur economic development throughout struggling cities and towns and get our state back on track." The legislation also would create the Municipal Economic Development Fund. Money within the fund, acquired through video gaming profits, would be distributed by the state Department of Community and Economic Development as grants for local municipalities' economic development projects. Caltagirone added the funding formula for how video gaming proceeds would be distributed includes 50 percent to the licensed establishment, 20 percent to the licensed operator, 29 percent to the Municipal Economic Development Fund, and 1 percent to the host municipality. "This bill could provide an additional and needed revenue source for local Read more

 

Harris: People deserve a second chance

(Jun 10, 2015)

Joined by state Reps. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, and Cris Dush, R-Jefferson/Indiana, along with Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association members, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., called for support for bipartisan legislation to permit expungement of specific offenses from a person’s criminal record provided certain criteria are met. Read more

 

Roebuck to introduce strong, bipartisan Pa. charter school reform bill

(Jun 10, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 10 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, will introduce a bipartisan bill that would carry out strong charter school reforms. "This bill would make the reforms our students and taxpayers need. It has bipartisan support from the start, so it's more likely that Governor Wolf can and would sign it into law instead of vetoing it. The legislature and governor have a lot to get done this year and we need to work together," Roebuck said. "There are charter schools that are innovative and provide a good education, but we must have the tools to deal with the bad apples, and we shouldn't overpay for the good ones. Our children and taxpayers deserve better." In March, the House passed a charter-school bill (H.B. 530) on party lines. Roebuck said that bill falls short on needed reforms and oversight, would override local control and would cut Wolf out of a proposed school funding commission. Roebuck's new bill includes: Setting a tuition rate of $5,950 for each non-special-education cyber charter school student, based on the highest-spending comparable high-performing online education programs offered by Pennsylvania intermediate units. This resembles what Wolf proposed in his budget. "This bill would return $160 million to school districts, which are largely funded by property taxes. That is a much better deal for students and Read more

 

DeLuca pharmacy technician bill passes House

(Jun 09, 2015)

House Bill 854, introduced by state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, would require pharmacy technicians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a criminal background check and complete a board-approved training program before being permitted to register with the state. Read more

 

House OKs Snyder bill clarifying minors’ consent for health services

(Jun 09, 2015)

HARRISBURG , June 9 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, said the House of Representatives today unanimously passed her bill that would clarify when minors’ consent for mental health treatment is needed. "Confusion surrounding consent issues is causing great pain to families frantic for help and the young people needing mental health examinations and treatments," Snyder said. "My House Bill 337 would end the delays to treatment and enable health care professionals to begin care expediently and responsibly." Snyder said changes made in 2004 to the Minor Consent to Medical, Dental, and Health Services Act created confusion among providers, minors and parents regarding the rights of each. "My bill would enable the state Department of Human Services to issue guidelines regarding minors’ consent to mental health treatment," Snyder said. "The regulations would detail the conditions when consent is needed, and provide for more uniform application of the standards so recovery-oriented programs can be implemented more quickly." Snyder told her House colleagues that the legislation was prompted by a call from a family desperate to find help for their child. The family was stymied by the confusion surrounding the mental health law affecting minors. "I believe that all of us – and the communities where we live – will be safer and stronger once the needed changes are made to the Read more

 

Harris appointed to powerful House Rules Committee

(Jun 09, 2015)

State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., Tuesday was appointed to the House Rules Committee by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. Read more

 

Bill to extend Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program passes Pa. House

(Jun 02, 2015)

State Rep. Neal P. Goodman’s legislation that would extend the Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program for three more years passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday. The program, which provides a small, one-time stipend to veterans of the first Gulf War, is set to expire on Aug. 31. Read more

 

Retirement security to be focus of Democratic Policy Committee hearing Thursday in Harrisburg

(Jun 02, 2015)

HARRISBURG, June 2 – House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the committee will hold a public hearing about a national perspective of retirement security from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 4 in the House Minority Caucus Room, 418 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg. Read more

 

Mullery bill would protect workers from hidden fees in debit payroll cards

(Jun 01, 2015)

State Rep. Gerald Mullery has introduced legislation (H.B. 1274) that would ensure employees who are paid with a debit card have access to the full amount of their wages and no-cost access to their accounts. Read more

 

Frankel applauds historic Commonwealth Court ruling to protect patients in western Pennsylvania

(May 29, 2015)

PITTSBURGH, May 29 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, released the following statement in light of the ruling today by Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini in the ongoing dispute between UPMC and Highmark: "Today’s decision by Judge Pellegrini is a momentous victory for consumers in western Pennsylvania. Under this decision, UPMC is required to continue to see Highmark Medicare Advantage patients at in-network rates which means that 180,000 seniors will not lose access to their doctors," Frankel said. "The decision is important in several ways. Not only does it resolve the ongoing confusion regarding Medicare Advantage, it requires both UPMC and Highmark to resolve outstanding issues related to their consent decrees through binding arbitration which must be completed by September 30, 2015. In doing so, this decision could help provide clarity to hundreds of thousands of consumers in Pennsylvania who’ve been held hostage by this ongoing situation," Frankel said. "Additionally, Judge Pellegrini made it clear that neither entity can make changes in their future business relationship with each other without court approval. The decision also requires the Commonwealth to make recommendations on how to change the corporate governance structure of both entities. This could lead to long-term changes in UPMC and Highmark’s behavior that reorients them to an even stronger commitment to serve Read more

 

Carroll to propose moratorium on Keystone Exams as graduation requirement

(May 28, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 28 – State Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne/Lackawanna, will introduce an omnibus Public School Code bill that would establish a moratorium on Keystone Exams being used as a requirement for graduation. Carroll said this suspension would benefit students and their families, while offering much-needed relief to school districts that face significant financial and educational obstacles to fully implement the graduation requirement. "It has become ever more apparent to me that the linkage of Keystone exam passage to graduation is riddled with problems and that more thought is required to assess students with a wide range of abilities," said Carroll, a member of the House Education Committee. "A one-size-fits-all approach seldom works in the real word and the Keystone exam requirement is no exception." Carroll said this provision of his pending bill complements an effort by state Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-Chester, Democratic chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Carroll's bill also will include all of Gov. Tom Wolf's education code changes, except that his bill will go beyond Wolf's plan to ensure fairness in special education funding for both charter and cyber charter schools. It will seek to accomplish this by applying the special education formula recommended by the Special Education Funding Commission to both charter and cyber charter schools. Another key difference between the Wolf plan and Read more

 

Schweyer, Schlossberg call for study on income inequality in Pa. (with video)

(May 26, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 26 – State Reps. Peter Schweyer and Mike Schlossberg, both D-Lehigh, have introduced a resolution that would examine the unfair balance of income and the factors that contribute to it in Pennsylvania. House Resolution 326 would direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study on income inequality in the commonwealth. The study would include factors that have contributed to the increase in income inequality over the last several decades, gender differences in education levels and occupations and how they contribute to the gender wage gap, comparing wages for working minorities and working non-minorities with the same level of education, comparing wages for minority women and non-minority women with the same level of education, and comparing wages for men and women in female-dominated, gender-balanced and male-dominated occupations. “We can only begin fixing a problem by fully understanding it,” Schweyer said. “There have been concerns over the issue from business, community and economic leaders and faith-based communities in my district, so we really need to get our arms around it.” Click on the picture below to see more of Schweyer's comments: "Income inequality is the greatest challenge of our modern society; the rich have more and the poor have less than at any point since the Great Recession," Schlossberg said. "We must gain a better understanding of the specific challenges Read more

 

Donatucci measure would expand state program for more cancer screenings
Jun 16, 2015

Deasy: Bill would protect seniors from exploitation through powers of attorney
Jun 15, 2015

Bill that includes ban on vaping products in schools passes state House
Jun 15, 2015

Carroll named Democratic chairman of Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee
Jun 12, 2015

Schlossberg applauds Wolf for fee waiver, urges colleagues to pass change into law
Jun 11, 2015

House passes Pashinski bill to establish Kinship Navigator Pilot Program (with video)
Jun 10, 2015

Donatucci reintroduces bill to modernize Equal Pay law
Jun 10, 2015

Freeman introduces bill to let housing authorities set up police departments
Jun 10, 2015

Caltagirone introduces bill to legalize video gaming
Jun 10, 2015

Harris: People deserve a second chance
Jun 10, 2015

Roebuck to introduce strong, bipartisan Pa. charter school reform bill
Jun 10, 2015

DeLuca pharmacy technician bill passes House
Jun 09, 2015

House OKs Snyder bill clarifying minors’ consent for health services
Jun 09, 2015

Harris appointed to powerful House Rules Committee
Jun 09, 2015

Bill to extend Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program passes Pa. House
Jun 02, 2015

Retirement security to be focus of Democratic Policy Committee hearing Thursday in Harrisburg
Jun 02, 2015

Mullery bill would protect workers from hidden fees in debit payroll cards
Jun 01, 2015

Frankel applauds historic Commonwealth Court ruling to protect patients in western Pennsylvania
May 29, 2015

Carroll to propose moratorium on Keystone Exams as graduation requirement
May 28, 2015

Schweyer, Schlossberg call for study on income inequality in Pa. (with video)
May 26, 2015