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Davis: Increase to first-responder loan program passes House

Snyder: Farm Bill package will ensure a strong agriculture future for Pa.

(Jun 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 6 – Supporting Pennsylvania’s farmers and ensuring a strong agriculture future are the primary goals behind a comprehensive package of bills supported by state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington. Snyder said the PA Farm Bill is the first of its kind in the state’s history and would invest more than $24 million in the state’s agriculture industry, providing opportunities and resources to expand animal agriculture, remove regulatory burdens, implement disaster response resources, and increase marketing opportunities for Pennsylvania-grown products. “It’s no secret that our great state is a leader in agriculture: whether it’s food, dairy or meat, we are among the cream of the crop,” Snyder said. “It’s important that we continue to be proactive in supporting this great industry, but also ensure there are vital supports in place to ensure its strong future.” Snyder is the prime sponsor of H.B. 1520 , which is included in the PA Farm Bill package, and would create a grant program to reimburse federal meat inspection costs for small or new processors. Additional bills in the package include the creation of an agriculture business development center to assist farmers, expansion of the PA Preferred program, and the establishment of a state-level specialty crop block grant program to encourage the farming of high-priority crops, such as hemp, hops and Read more

 

McClinton applauds unanimous approval of bipartisan bill to crack down on sexual extortion

(Jun 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 5 – A bipartisan bill that would include sexual extortion as a sex crime unanimously passed the House today, according to state Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, one of its authors. McClinton introduced the bill (H.B. 1402) with Rep. Tedd Nesbit, R-Mercer/Butler. “Currently, there is no state law that adequately names sexual extortion as a crime, despite it being a growing form of sexual exploitation in which an individual misuses their power to demand sexual acts, images, or videos from victims, usually in exchange for something the victim is heavily dependent upon such as a service or something of value,” McClinton said. “I’m happy that my House colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, also agree that combatting this crime is very important.” McClinton said that sexual extortion can occur in any setting such as schools, workplaces, and community settings, but the most common setting is online. “Perpetrators hack people’s accounts to gain access to their intimate photos to extort them or manipulate victims by tricking them into sending pictures and then extort them to send more images or to engage in sexual acts,” McClinton said. The Department of Justice reports that 71% of sexual extortion cases involve victims under the age of 18, McClinton added, and is a significantly growing threat to children as they are considered easy targets because of their Read more

 

House chairmen applaud designation of ‘Fishing and Boating Week’ in Pa.

(Jun 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 5 – In an effort to encourage participation in fishing and boating activities, the state House today unanimously passed a resolution designating the week of June 1 through June 9 as “Fishing and Boating Week”, according to state Reps. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, and Keith Gillespie, R-York. “Fishing and boating opportunities are endless in our great state, and it’s a wonderful and affordable way for families to spend time together outdoors and make great memories,” Kortz said. “These fun activities also help protect our state’s waterways and fisheries, preserving them for future generations to enjoy.” “When President Herbert Hoover called fishing ‘much more than fish,’ he hit the nail on the head,” Gillespie said. “While it is a sport which requires a great deal of patience on the part of the individual, its enjoyment can be realized in groups of people, be they friends, family, or a mix of both. Fishing can be thoroughly relaxing or highly competitive in offering something for all ages and levels of skill.” “With 86,000 miles of streams and rivers, and hundreds of natural and manmade lakes across the commonwealth, new adventures are always waiting right around the corner,” said Tim Schaeffer, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission director. “Thank you to the House of Representatives for their support of Pennsylvania’s anglers and boaters. With Read more

 

McClinton, Nesbit call for passage of automatic expungement legislation

(Jun 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 5 – State Reps. Joanna McClinton and Tedd Nesbit were joined by advocates, legal experts and fellow colleagues for a news conference to urge the General Assembly to pass their bipartisan legislation that would automatically expunge some people’s criminal record. “There are women and men who have served their time for a minor offense, yet they are still being punished while no longer being incarcerated. Their criminal record is a blemish that is prohibiting them from obtaining employment, purchasing a home and walking into a brighter future for themselves and their families,” said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “It’s time that we remove the unnecessary roadblocks so these people can move forward with their lives.” House Bill 440 would provide an opportunity to expunge a person’s record if they have been unconditionally pardoned or fully acquitted of all charges. The commonwealth would receive notice of a potential expungement and would have an opportunity to object and conduct a hearing. “It’s plain and simple: individuals that are fully acquitted or pardoned of crimes should not have to be forced to carry the burdens and stigma that are associated with a criminal record,” said Nesbit, R-Mercer/Butler. “That’s what this bill seeks to do—improve our expungement laws and remove barriers to employment for the people of the commonwealth. I am excited to work with Read more

 

Kenyatta bill to ensure permanence of ‘Stop and Go’ enforcement clears committee

(Jun 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 4 – Legislation authored by state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., to make Pennsylvania’s law that better deals with “stop and go” nuisance establishments ironclad, today was approved by the House Liquor Control Committee. Kenyatta’s bill (H.B. 1434) would move the language that cracks down on nuisance establishments, which was originally included in the state Fiscal Code (Act 44 of 2017), to the state Liquor Code. He said the Liquor Code is the correct place for this important law. “They key to holding ‘stop and go’ businesses accountable is to ensure the law is solid and enforceable,” Kenyatta said. “Since this landmark law passed in October 2017, we have seen an increase in investigations by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and, ultimately, stricter compliance. However, the language of the law was placed in a state code that deals with financial matters of state government. It’s no place for liquor enforcement, and I am glad the members of the Liquor Control Committee agree.” Under the 2017 law, if the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board finds that a licensed establishment does not meet the seating, square footage, food, or health requirements under the state Liquor Code, it can suspend the license immediately. The law also gives local governments the power to recommend that the LCB investigate establishments believed to be failing to meet code requirements. “I am Read more

 

Burns bill guaranteeing in-state tuition for military families passes House

(Jun 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 3 – Providing in-state tuition rates to college students in active-duty military families in Pennsylvania – even if their parent is reassigned to another state before they can begin their education – is one step closer to reality following its unanimous passage in the House, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, announced today. House Bill 1050 , authored by Burns, would guarantee the in-state tuition rate for military families as soon as a student enrolls in a public college or university, regardless of where their military parent is later reassigned, Burns said. “These students shouldn’t be penalized because of their mother’s or father’s reassignment, which is beyond their control,” Burns said. “Veterans and their families count on us to ensure they get the benefits they deserve.” Under current law, Burns said dependents of military personnel in Pennsylvania who enroll at a public college or university in Pennsylvania are charged in-state tuition rates. However, the U.S. Department of Defense found some students lost the in-state rate, due to a parent’s reassignment outside of Pennsylvania, between the day the student was accepted to the college or university and the first day of the semester. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration. Read more

 

Burns: House minority leader tours Cambria County

(May 31, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 31 – Saying it bolsters his ongoing effort to put Cambria County on Harrisburg’s radar, state Rep. Frank Burns hosted House Minority Leader Frank Dermody on a fact-finding tour of the 72 nd Legislative District on Thursday. Dermody joined Burns during a visit to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center – one of the region’s largest employers – and in meetings with officials from Saint Francis University and several businesses and nonprofit organizations. “I had a great day with Representative Burns and share his excitement about all that’s happening in Cambria County,” said Dermody. “In Harrisburg, Frank Burns is a tireless advocate for the people back home, and he works hard to bring attention to the area’s needs and secure funding to address them. I am really grateful that he took the time to give me a firsthand view of the situation.” Burns, who has helped procure more than $6.5 million in state funding for his district in the first 150 days of the current legislative session, said he hopes the first-ever official visit by Dermody during his tenure as a state representative portends even greater things. “While our area has its challenges, progress is being made and I’m sure the strong showing by our business and nonprofit communities left a positive impression on Leader Dermody,” Burns said. “Though we’ll always have our differences, I’ve always been Read more

 

Delozier, Harris, Jones and Gainey introduce Smart Probation and Parole Act

(May 30, 2019)

State Reps. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, D-Phila, Mike Jones, R-York, and Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, today introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at reforming Pennsylvania’s probation and parole system to reduce recidivism, lessen the workload on Pennsylvania’s counties and help formerly incarcerated individuals avoid technical pitfalls that keep them trapped within the system. Read more

 

O’Mara bill to help fund Veterans’ Trust Fund passes committee

(May 28, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 28 – A Pennsylvania bill to raise money for veterans’ care, sponsored by state Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware, is making its way through the House. The Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee this month approved H.B. 857, which would create a space on individual tax returns to allow for a donation of not less than $5 to Pennsylvania’s Veterans’ Trust Fund. “Many of Pennsylvania’s veterans who have sacrificed dearly for our safety and freedom come home and, for a variety of reasons, end up in need of help, which is often provided by statewide charitable organizations, veterans’ service organizations and county veterans’ affairs offices,” O’Mara said. “We should do all we can to ensure that veterans receive the services they need.” The Veterans’ Trust Fund provides grants to charitable and service organizations that help veterans. The bill can now be voted on by the full House. Read more

 

Lawmakers introduce bipartisan occupational licensure reform

(May 22, 2019)

State Reps. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., Democratic whip, and Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, were joined by state Sens. John DiSanto, R-Dauphin/Perry, and Judy Schwank, D-Berks, to announce the introduction of bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate aimed at removing employment barriers for formally convicted people. Read more

 

Kenyatta introduces “Phillip’s Law”

(May 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 7 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today announced that he would be co-sponsoring legislation referred to as “Phillip’s Law,” which would provide for a study on school mental health professionals. “It is with a deeply saddened heart that I ask for support from my colleagues,” Kenyatta said. “An 11-year-old student from my district named Phillip committed suicide after enduring prolonged bullying from his peers. This tragedy has brought to light the fact that our school mental health professionals are not always available due to budget constraints and, in fact, there is no mandate for schools to retain mental health staff. We need to take an honest look at the number of mental health professionals in our schools and how we can provide the best access to our students to prevent tragedies like this in the future.” Kenyatta’s bill would require the Department of Education to investigate and report on the number of mental health professionals in schools in order to make recommendations on how to increase the number of school mental health professionals to meet nationally accepted ratios. Phillip’s family said that Phillip had tried to get the attention of the support staff at his school but was told that he had to wait. Afraid to miss the bus, and worried about his younger brother, Phillip left school and later that day took his own life. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Read more

 

House Democrats offering Beyond Safe Schools legislative package Wednesday in Capitol Media Center

(May 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – House Democrats today announced they will unveil a legislative package to address school safety measures that intend to strengthen supports that go beyond physical safety measures. The news conference will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 8 in the Capitol Media Center. The media and public are invited to attend. The comprehensive package includes 15 pieces of legislation that address supporting Pennsylvania educators, programs and support services aiming to help students and educators feel more safe and secure at school. School security, trauma-informed training, mental health screenings, bullying prevention and support staff ratios are all addressed. Rep. Dan Miller, Education Committee Democratic Chairman James Roebuck, Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla and other sponsors and supporters of the package will attend. The package is part of House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools, and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com . Additional information about the package will be available at www.pahouse.com/beyondsafeschools . Read more

 

Academic records would transfer timelier under Madden bill

(May 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 3 – State Rep. Maureen Madden is reintroducing legislation that would require school districts and charter schools to share student records with one another within 10 days of receiving the request. Read more

 

Roebuck and colleagues announce charter school reform package

(May 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 3 – Today, Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., alongside other House Democrats, unveiled a package of eight charter school reform bills designed to treat all Pennsylvania public schools – both traditional and charter – and their students equally under law. "I believe we can get bipartisan support for these bills and improve accountability in the charter school system,” Roebuck said. “Our goal is to treat these schools equally under the law, so that we can make sure tax dollars are being used efficiently.” Roebuck, Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, introduced H.B. 1330 that would end conflicts of interest in tax-funded payments for charter school leases. The seven other bills in the package are: H.B. 1329, introduced by Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne, would bring charter schools in line with school districts by imposing limits on the surpluses that charter schools may accumulate. H.B. 1332, introduced by Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, 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 bill would require much more disclosure of financial documentation from for-profit and nonprofit school management organizations. H.B. 1331, introduced by Rep. Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, would phase in a final recommendation of the Special Education Funding Commission to fix how Pennsylvania Read more

 

Krueger calls for infertility awareness in PA

(May 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – In a first-of-its-kind resolution approved by the House April 30, state Rep. Leanne Krueger calls for infertility to be recognized as a public health issue in Pennsylvania. The unanimously passed resolution, H.R. 253, officially designates the week of April 21 through April 27 as “Infertility Awareness Week in Pennsylvania,” echoing the National Infertility Association’s national week of awareness. “One in eight couples has trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy,” Krueger said. “Infertility does not discriminate based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or socioeconomic status; it’s an issue that any family can face, and it’s one for which help is available.” Krueger also noted her own difficulty in conceiving her son, who is now 7, describing the days of treatments and tests, many of which can be costly. “I was given the diagnosis of unexplained infertility,” Krueger said. “This diagnosis can be heartbreaking. It means that a doctor has confirmed that someone has a hard time getting pregnant, but they cannot figure out why and they’re not sure how to fix it.” Bringing awareness to infertility as a public health issue, she said, helps individuals and couples struggling to conceive cope and realize they are not alone. Krueger said anyone who has a documented issue with a healthcare provider or a question about healthcare Read more

 

House Steel Caucus leadership announce new U.S. Steel facility in Braddock

(May 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – State Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-Allegheny/Washington, the Republican chairman of the House Steel Caucus, and state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, the Democratic chairman of the House Steel Caucus, applauded the announcement made today by U.S. Steel to construct a new state-of-the-art and sustainable endless casting and rolling facility. The $1 billion investment at the Edgar Thompson Plant in Braddock, will be very beneficial to the steel industry in Western Pennsylvania and the Mon Valley. “I am extremely excited about the investment that U.S. Steel is making in the Mon Valley,” Kortz said. “The steel industry is vital to the economy in Western Pennsylvania and this new facility will help secure the future of manufacturing in the region.” “U.S. Steel’s commitment to build a new sustainable endless casting and rolling facility will benefit the steel industry and Western Pennsylvania for many years,” Ortitay said. This world-class technology will increase the ability to produce advanced high strength steel, while also improving environmental performance.” The steel industry is very important to Pennsylvania’s economy. According to a 2018 economic impact study commissioned by the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Pennsylvania steel industry directly employs 34,124 workers who earn $3.14 billion in wages and salaries annually. This equates to an average annual salary of $92,037, while Read more

 

Warren bill aimed at reducing flood insurance premiums passes House

(Apr 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 30 – State Rep. Perry Warren’s bill to create the Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force in Pennsylvania unanimously passed in the House of Representatives. This task force would be charged with combating rising premiums faced by owners of properties in flood zones. The task force would make recommendations on programs that offer premium discounts or incentivize local governments to support flood mitigation efforts, and spearhead necessary changes to the administration of flood insurance. Warren explained that flood zones can shift. Homebuyers initially may not be required to purchase flood insurance. Then, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency updates its flood maps, homeowners may find themselves in a newly defined flood zone. “Flood insurance can be a financial burden, as of course can being flooded,” said Warren, D-Bucks. “The insurance cost increases the overall cost of buying and maintaining a home.” Pennsylvania ranked eighth in the country for the most flood insurance payouts between January 1978 and March 2011, totaling $773 million, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. “Water and our waterways are great natural resources,” Warren said, “but they pose a flooding risk, and our communities here in Bucks County and throughout Pennsylvania will benefit from this task force and its efforts to mitigate both flooding and flood insurance costs.” Read more

 

Daley: State DEP invests in propane-powered fleet for Bimbo Bakeries

(Apr 26, 2019)

CONSHOHOCKEN, April 26 – The Bimbo Bakeries Conshohocken facility has been awarded $300,000 from the state Department of Environmental Protection to obtain a propane powered fleet of delivery trucks, state Rep. Mary Jo Daley announced today. The grant is for a fleet of 20 Class 5 delivery trucks covered under DEP’s Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants program. “From both an investment and environmental point of view, this is fantastic news for Bimbo Bakeries and our region,” said Daley, D-Montgomery. “The Wolf administration’s choice to invest here tells us that we’re doing the right things in Montgomery County, and that the public and private worlds can come together to do things like create jobs and reduce carbon emissions.” According to its website, the AFIG Program helps create markets for alternative fuels in Pennsylvania to enhance energy security. The program invests not only in alternative fuels, but the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles, fleets and technologies. It aims to best manage Pennsylvania's fuel resources to improve the environment, support economic development and enhance the quality of life here. Staff in Daley’s district office can help area residents and business owners locate and apply for a variety of state grant programs. Read more

 

Republican Dirty Dozen Threaten Public Safety

(Apr 25, 2019)

Imagine a world where you could commit any crime – even killing another person – but as long as you were the one who called the police and reported yourself, you’d walk away scot-free. That’s the world some corporate special interests are asking extremist Republicans to build for them – a regulatory Wild West where profits come before public safety and state regulators are told to stand down. We’ve seen too often what happens when corporations police themselves. The Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. The Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal. The willful misrepresentation by drug makers about opioid drug safety. The Boeing 737 Max. Although most corporations prioritize public safety and long-term success, it only takes one bad actor to cut the wrong corner in the name of quick profits to cause a tragedy. Despite the danger, some Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg are pushing their very own “Dirty Dozen” – five bills containing 12 proposals to let corporate special interests have almost anything they want even when public safety is put at risk. These bills would do things like: Let corporations escape penalties when their negligence leads to permanent harm or even death if the corporation is the one reporting the accident to the state. Put the burden of accidents and pollution cleanup solely on the taxpayers and let the corporation off the hook. Allow politicians in the legislature to eliminate any Read more

 

Daley, Policy Committee highlight the importance of unions at public hearing

(Apr 24, 2019)

PLYMOUTH MEETING, April 24 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the UFCW Local 1776 Meeting Hall titled, “Why Unions?” focusing on the role unions play in protecting workers’ rights. Daley requested the hearing to bring together her legislative colleagues from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and stakeholders to discuss the need unions play for workers. "Basic worker rights such as the 40-hour work week, workplace safety regulations, child labor laws and much more. It’s important that we recognize as the workforces evolve and times change, that we must keep up with the times and provide protections workers drastically need,” stated Daley. “Last year, CEO wages went up nearly 18 percent while worker wages stayed stagnant. Unions help to ensure that hardworking men and women are paid family-sustaining wages. When we allow CEOs and big companies to pay low wages, we’re giving them a free pass while their workers must rely on state assistance just to get by,” explained Sturla. “I’m happy to stand with Rep. Daley to support unions and workers who help boost Pennsylvania’s economy.” The committee heard testimony from: Gerald Oleksiak, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry; and a panel of unions including: Wendell Young IV, President, United Food & Read more

 

Snyder: Farm Bill package will ensure a strong agriculture future for Pa.
Jun 06, 2019

McClinton applauds unanimous approval of bipartisan bill to crack down on sexual extortion
Jun 05, 2019

House chairmen applaud designation of ‘Fishing and Boating Week’ in Pa.
Jun 05, 2019

McClinton, Nesbit call for passage of automatic expungement legislation
Jun 05, 2019

Kenyatta bill to ensure permanence of ‘Stop and Go’ enforcement clears committee
Jun 04, 2019

Burns bill guaranteeing in-state tuition for military families passes House
Jun 03, 2019

Burns: House minority leader tours Cambria County
May 31, 2019

Delozier, Harris, Jones and Gainey introduce Smart Probation and Parole Act
May 30, 2019

O’Mara bill to help fund Veterans’ Trust Fund passes committee
May 28, 2019

Lawmakers introduce bipartisan occupational licensure reform
May 22, 2019

Kenyatta introduces “Phillip’s Law”
May 07, 2019

House Democrats offering Beyond Safe Schools legislative package Wednesday in Capitol Media Center
May 06, 2019

Academic records would transfer timelier under Madden bill
May 03, 2019

Roebuck and colleagues announce charter school reform package
May 03, 2019

Krueger calls for infertility awareness in PA
May 02, 2019

House Steel Caucus leadership announce new U.S. Steel facility in Braddock
May 02, 2019

Warren bill aimed at reducing flood insurance premiums passes House
Apr 30, 2019

Daley: State DEP invests in propane-powered fleet for Bimbo Bakeries
Apr 26, 2019

Republican Dirty Dozen Threaten Public Safety
Apr 25, 2019

Daley, Policy Committee highlight the importance of unions at public hearing
Apr 24, 2019