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

White, Solomon Legislation to Speed Property Tax Rebates Becomes Law

(May 19, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 19 – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Reps. Martina White, R-Phila., and Jared Solomon, D-Phila., to speed up property tax and rent rebates to qualified recipients has was signed today by Gov. Tom Wolf. "Getting more money in our seniors’ pockets now, through the Rent/Property Tax Rebate program, allows them to buy more food in fewer trips," White said. "That limits their potential exposure to the virus and can help them stay safe." "I'm thrilled that Governor Wolf has signed this bill into law as it represents a fantastic chance to put money in the pockets of some of our most vulnerable citizens at a time when they really need it," Solomon said. "The commonwealth needs to use every lever at our disposal to help people, and colleagues on both sides of the aisle understand that the rebate check is a vital tool in that regard, particularly during this pandemic." Right now, rebates are distributed starting July 1. Their bill, which was amended into House Bill 1076, now Act 20 of 2020, which directs the departments of Revenue and Treasury to process 2019 rebate payments for all homeowners and renters who received a 2018 rebate and to issue those payments immediately. For anyone who became eligible in the past year, rebates would be issued immediately upon receipt of their application instead of waiting until July 1. The White/Solomon legislation was Read more

 

Help flatten another curve: Tick-borne illness in PA leads country

(May 19, 2020)

These tiny arachnids feed on the blood of mammals, birds and other creatures. They can be infected with bacteria, viruses or parasites, and the Tick Research Lab of Pennsylvania recognizes 11 different tick-borne illnesses that have been identified in this state. Read more

 

Rabb introduces legislation to extend deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots during disaster emergencies such as COVID-19

(May 18, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 18 – Holding firm on his belief that all registered voters should have an assurance that their votes will count, especially during a pandemic or other disaster emergency, Rep. Chris Rabb has introduced legislation, H.B. 2532, that would do just that. Read more

 

Hanbidge legislation to provide relief for feed sellers, livestock producers

(May 18, 2020)

“Livestock producers spend countless hours breeding, raising and feeding animals to ensure that food products so many of us take for granted are available each day,” Hanbidge said. “Many of these producers, along with those who supply them with feed for their livestock, are faced with a financial dilemma because, while their income may have slowed down or been cut off altogether during these difficult times, their operational costs have remained the same.” Read more

 

Sanchez, other lawmakers urge PA Supreme Court to protect families, businesses

(May 14, 2020)

“With the inescapable economic hardships that have accompanied this coronavirus pandemic, it’s critical that we do whatever we can to keep families in their homes and local businesses alive,” Sanchez said. “So many have been furloughed or have lost jobs entirely, and we’re all being instructed to stay home and stay safe. To do so, we need the assurance of a place to call home.” Read more

 

Rep. Burgos, Democratic colleagues, urge Supreme Court to protect residents from evictions and foreclosure during the COVID-19 pandemic

(May 14, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 14 – State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., today, with dozens of House and Senate colleagues, sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to urge the court to issue an order to stave off evictions and foreclosures for 90 days after a county is moved from the “red” to the “yellow” phase by Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration. Currently, an executive order from the governor extends a stay on foreclosures and evictions through July 10. “The governor’s order to delay evictions and foreclosures is a start, but we must consider the many Pennsylvanians who have been struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic. Many will be fiscally stunted, and realistically, the timeframe for many to gradually recoup their finances after months of lacking steady income will surpass July,” Burgos said. “We can’t allow families and small business trying to gain financial stability relive the stresses, or even experience the reality of losing their homes and livelihoods, which is why we are calling on the Supreme Court to enact this deferment.” With the support of many other lawmakers in both chambers, the letter highlights a shared concern that COVID-19 could continue to cause serious challenges for many Pennsylvanians whose counties were among the first to shut down and will remain in the red phase for a longer period of time. The order would cover commercial properties also to ensure Read more

 

Ullman introduces bill to guarantee admission to community college graduates in good standing to PASSHE

(May 14, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 14 – State Rep. Wendy Ullman, D-Bucks, announced today she has introduced a bill ( H.B. 2447 ) that would create a guaranteed pathway for students to transfer from a community college to a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institution by creating an Associate Degree for Transfer Program. Students who complete this program would be able to transfer with junior standing in their field of study. “ The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on many families’ and students’ finances,” Ullman said. “As a result, even more high school graduates will choose to go to a community college with the eventual goal of transferring to a four-year college. “Unfortunately, the transfer process from community college to a four-year institution can be convoluted and result in having to re-take courses, which is expensive and causes delays in graduation. Ultimately the process discourages some students from completing school. I want to make sure that the transfer process to a four-year institution is as streamlined as possible.” In the 2017-18 school year, nearly 35,000 Pennsylvania community college students transferred to another college, but less than half of them transferred to a PASSHE institution. Ullman said her bill would help even more students transfer to one of the commonwealth’s four-year colleges by guaranteeing admission to PASSHE schools to Read more

 

Warren liquor reform bill sent to governor

(May 13, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 13 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, announced his liquor reform bill, H.B. 327, passed the Senate today with overwhelming bipartisan support and is now on its way to the governor’s desk. The bill would amend the Liquor Code to clarify the process for a referendum on whether to allow for the sale of liquor in their municipality in a primary, municipal or general election. “The passage of this bill, coupled with Act 48 enacted last year, streamlines the process for residents’ right to decide whether to permit alcohol sales in a municipality,” Warren added. House Bill 327 also has a COVID-19 emergency provision which would allow licensed restaurants and hotels that have lost more than 25% of their average monthly sales during the disaster to sell prepared beverages or mixed drinks for off-premise consumption in quantities of 4 oz. to 64 oz. during the disaster emergency and mitigation period. “The passage of this bill is great news for Pennsylvania’s restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Warren said. “It enables our local restaurants selling food, beer and wine to add another product for curbside pickup and takeout during this crisis. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both the House and the Senate for supporting this legislation.” Lower Makefield Township has scheduled a liquor referendum for the June 2 primary election. Read more

 

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s push for LGBTQ COVID-19 data collection, highlights bill to make ongoing data collecting mandatory

(May 13, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 13 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today commended Gov. Tom Wolf’s move to include gender identity, sexual orientation and expression in electronic health records used by health care providers to report COVID-19 data. Praising the governor’s efforts in recognizing that the LGBTQ community has been among the most critically affected groups for the novel coronavirus as progressive, Kenyatta said, “The COVID-19 health crisis has magnified and intensified the many ongoing disparities among our nation’s minority groups, especially as it relates to sexual orientation and gender identity. In our fight to combat these inequities, we must be deliberate in our approach and I applaud Governor Wolf for doing just that by mandating that health care records for testing account for LGBTQ patients receiving quality care.” The freshman legislator, who serves on the governor’s LGBTQ Affairs Commission and is also the first openly gay man of color to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, raised that more must be done to elevate the visibility of LGBTQ residents to better assess and mitigate their plights through ongoing data collections. He pointed to a bill he recently introduced that would require all state forms which collect demographic information to contain a voluntary LGBTQ identifier question for respondents to answer. “The LGBTQ community is a Read more

 

Kortz: Time to expand Fish for Free days in Pa.

(May 13, 2020)

DRAVOSBURG, May 13 – State Rep. Bill Kortz will soon introduce a bill that would require the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to declare four statewide Fish for Free days each year. Kortz, D-Allegheny, said the commission declares two Fish for Free days each year, allowing anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish in state waterways without a fishing license with all other fishing laws and regulations remaining in effect. In past years, he said, the commission has declared one of those days to be held over the Memorial Day weekend and another Fish for Free day scheduled during the July 4 weekend. However, bad weather on either one or both of those days can be disappointing and defeat the purpose of encouraging this safe, fun activity, Kortz added. “That’s why I want to expand the Fish for Free program to require the executive director of the commission to declare four such days each year, allowing more opportunities for people to take part,” Kortz said. “Fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors and is a welcome respite during these challenging times, and expanding these opportunities will result in more Pennsylvanians giving fishing a try.” More information on his pending legislation can be found at this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=31782 Read more

 

Ullman, Staats introduce bill to protect young girls from upskirting

(May 12, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 12 – State Reps. Wendy Ullman, D-Bucks, and Craig Staats, R-Bucks, announced today they have introduced H.B. 2453 , which would increase the charges that can be brought against teachers and adults who victimize students and minors through upskirting — the taking of photographs under a girl’s skirt and then posting them online. The bill would make the offense a third-degree felony for a first violation and a second-degree felony for subsequent offenses. “ Upskirting is an extremely traumatic form of sexual abuse that violates a victim’s sense of autonomy, personal safety, trust and very selfhood,” Ullman said. “Our legislation seeks to provide justice for victims by making the punishment fit the crime.” Currently, the only criminal charges that can be brought against the victimizer are misdemeanors, similar to the charges for shoplifting – up to one year in prison and up to a $2,500 fine in exchange for a lifetime of trauma. “These are selfish, humiliating acts against innocent children, and the current penalties are woefully insufficient,” Staats said. “It is time the perpetrators of child sex crimes suffer real consequences for their actions and this bill helps to achieve that.” According to Ullman and Staats, upskirting happened to several young women in a school district that they share, where a male teacher Read more

 

Rabb, Hanbidge resolution calls for electric vehicle impact study in Pa.

(May 12, 2020)

The resolution would direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the costs and benefits of electric vehicles of all kinds on the commonwealth’s infrastructure, environment, employment, transportation methods and economy. Read more

 

Kenyatta calls for suspension of negative credit reporting during COVID-19 in new bill

(May 12, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 12 – In efforts to mitigate the financial blowback of the pandemic, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would prohibit credit reporting agencies from negatively reporting any missed or late payments resulting from financial hardships that have hit so many Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 disaster emergency. The bill, Kenyatta said, would amend the Credit Reporting Agency Act and suspend negative reporting for 90 days after the disaster declaration is lifted. “Pennsylvanians have had their lives and livelihoods upended in the wake of this pandemic, with some families having endured the temporary lapse of a paycheck, while waiting for federal stimulus money, or for their unemployment compensation to start,” Kenyatta said. “Others, however, have relied on credit cards, or sought unplanned loans from financial institutions, or even borrowed from friends.” Kenyatta said that delinquent payment reports stemming from Pennsylvanians facing financial difficulties stand to mar otherwise decent credit histories and could potentially prevent residents from qualifying for a loan, a mortgage, employment and housing. “My bill would save countless families from this slippery slope of financial ruin and devastation,” he said. “As this economic fallout unfolds, we as lawmakers must do all we can to ensure that those struggling to rebuild their Read more

 

Conklin to introduce bill to close corporate realty transfer loophole

(May 11, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 11 – In an effort to ensure corporations and large businesses are held accountable and pay their fair share, state Rep. Scott Conklin has announced his intent to introduce a bill that would close a realty transfer loophole in Pennsylvania. Conklin, D-Centre, said a recent incident in Butler County occurred, where a business was sold after the creation of subsidiaries which were transferred – along with the property – to the new owner. He said the parties involved used a loophole in state law that resulted in the reduction of the amount of realty transfer fees required to be paid to the municipality and the state. “ Hard working Pennsylvanians should not have to pick up the tab for out of state corporations,” said Conklin. “Such incidents, like the one that occurred in Butler County, clearly highlight the need for my legislation, because these businesses should not be allowed to get away with fleecing taxpayers who are left to make up the difference.” More information on Conklin’s pending legislation can be found at this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=31740 Read more

 

Dermody praises Wolf’s leadership in war on COVID-19

(May 11, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 11 – Democratic Leader Frank Dermody issued this statement after listening to Gov. Tom Wolf’s remarks today about COVID-19 recovery efforts: “The governor is doing everything he must to lead us in this war against a deadly enemy. Pennsylvanians have made untold sacrifices and ending the fight now would betray all those efforts and weaken our defenses. “It’s beyond reckless to assume that areas of our state are in the clear without any evidence to prove that. The enemy waits silently for the next chance to attack. Rash decisions made against the weight of medical advice will open the door for even more tragedy. That must not happen. “For everyone’s health and for thousands of lives that are at stake, we must keep doing what we can already see is working. We are winning this long fight, step by step. I applaud the governor’s courage and know that with his continuing strong leadership, we will carry on to victory.” ### Read more

 

Warren bill to end child marriage in Pa. now law

(May 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, announced that his legislation, which prohibits marriage before the age of 18, was signed into law as Act 18 today by Gov. Tom Wolf. “With Governor Wolf’s signature, Pennsylvania becomes the third state to protect its children by ending child marriage, and sets an example for other states, including Minnesota, whose legislature this week also unanimously voted to end child marriage and where the bill awaits its governor’s signature,” Warren said. “I am honored to be a part of Pennsylvania’s leadership in protecting our children.” The bipartisan bill, H.B. 360, which was jointly sponsored by Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford/Fulton/Franklin, sets the minimum age at which a marriage license may be issued to 18. Previously under Pennsylvania law, a marriage license could be issued to an applicant younger than 16 with court approval. A marriage license also could have been issued where an applicant is older than 16 but younger than 18 with the consent of a parent or guardian. Warren said it was the overwhelming support from colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both chambers that helped this bill become law. He said Topper and Sen. John Sabatina worked hard to raise awareness of this child protection issue in the legislature and throughout the state. “Thank you to Representative Topper and on the Senate side to Senator Read more

 

Kenyatta to host ‘Education in the era of COVID-19’ Virtual Town Hall

(May 08, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 8 -- State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., will host a Facebook LIVE virtual town hall titled “Education in the Era of COVID-19” from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 14. The town hall will examine the topics of state education funding, crisis preparedness, the digital divide, mental health supports and educational disparities. The town hall will include speakers from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, Philadelphia Student Union and a member of the state Special Education Advisory Council, Cecelia Thompson . The Philadelphia School District has also been invited. Online viewers will be able to offer live questions and comments during the townhall by attending through Kenyatta’s official legislative Facebook page . “The COVID19 pandemic crisis has changed the way we have been able deliver education to our children,” Kenyatta said. “It has also raised questions about our preparedness and ability to do so in the future in a productive and effective way. We must also deal with those systemic and ongoing socioeconomic challenges in education that have been exacerbated by this crisis.” Kenyatta, a graduate of Philadelphia public schools said, “I look forward to hearing from our informed guests on the many issues around schooling and education in the era of COVID-19.” Read more

 

Ciresi introduces bills to provide banking support for small businesses and nonprofits

(May 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today announced that he is sponsoring a pair of bills that would help small businesses and nonprofits throughout the state. The legislation would create the COVID-19 Banking on Small Business Program and COVID-19 Banking on Nonprofits Program within the Department of Banking and Securities to provide cooperation between small businesses and nonprofits and banks and credit unions for loan deferrals, repayment plans, and loan modifications. “Many of our small businesses and non-profits are contemplating closing their doors,” Ciresi said. “They do not have the same resources as larger corporations, and many times they are missing out on pandemic relief banking opportunities only because they do not have an attorney or financial specialist on call 24/7. If we want to give them a chance to survive this pandemic, we need to make sure they have the same chances at extensions of credit and deferred loans as the bigger corporations. I am working on this pair of bills to support our hardworking small business owners and the nonprofits that need this help the most.” The two bills would direct the attention of small businesses and nonprofits to the good work that banks and credit unions are already doing to help businesses stay afloat through extensions of credit or financial assistance in the form of deferred loans or new repayment options. Eligible small Read more

 

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s rent and mortgage suspension, calls for lengthier freeze

(May 08, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 8 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive order that halts foreclosures and evictions until July 10, but also announced he is drafting legislation that would extend the freeze for an additional six months. Kenyatta praised Wolf’s order, calling it a great start in ensuring that Pennsylvanians will not lose their homes during the pandemic. However, with the July 10 grace-period ending just two months from now, Kenyatta said that assurance is only short-lived. Kenyatta said the economic shockwave stemming from the pandemic will outlast the order’s two-month provision. “Pennsylvanians who have been unemployed will be fiscally stunted, and realistically, the timeframe for many to gradually recoup their finances after months of lacking steady income will surpass July. It could easily go on until the end of the year,” he said. Kenyatta called for a lengthier mortgage and rent payment freeze to allow for Pennsylvanians to financially rehabilitate. “As lawmakers, we can’t allow renters and homeowners to relive the fears and dread of homelessness. We can’t allow those struggling to rebuild their lives to be casted into a downward spiral of financial ruin because they missed mortgage or rent payments out of desperation,” he said. “This incredibly trying time has upended countless lives in various ways, Read more

 

Hanbidge sponsors legislation to honor frontline and essential workers

(May 08, 2020)

“Frontline workers have continued to perform their duties – often with limited protective gear – through long hours, daunting stressors and at great risk to their health and the health of their families,” Hanbidge said. “They do this so our great commonwealth can continue to function from the comfort and safety of our homes." Read more

 

White, Solomon Legislation to Speed Property Tax Rebates Becomes Law
May 19, 2020

Help flatten another curve: Tick-borne illness in PA leads country
May 19, 2020

Rabb introduces legislation to extend deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots during disaster emergencies such as COVID-19
May 18, 2020

Hanbidge legislation to provide relief for feed sellers, livestock producers
May 18, 2020

Sanchez, other lawmakers urge PA Supreme Court to protect families, businesses
May 14, 2020

Rep. Burgos, Democratic colleagues, urge Supreme Court to protect residents from evictions and foreclosure during the COVID-19 pandemic
May 14, 2020

Ullman introduces bill to guarantee admission to community college graduates in good standing to PASSHE
May 14, 2020

Warren liquor reform bill sent to governor
May 13, 2020

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s push for LGBTQ COVID-19 data collection, highlights bill to make ongoing data collecting mandatory
May 13, 2020

Kortz: Time to expand Fish for Free days in Pa.
May 13, 2020

Ullman, Staats introduce bill to protect young girls from upskirting
May 12, 2020

Rabb, Hanbidge resolution calls for electric vehicle impact study in Pa.
May 12, 2020

Kenyatta calls for suspension of negative credit reporting during COVID-19 in new bill
May 12, 2020

Conklin to introduce bill to close corporate realty transfer loophole
May 11, 2020

Dermody praises Wolf’s leadership in war on COVID-19
May 11, 2020

Warren bill to end child marriage in Pa. now law
May 08, 2020

Kenyatta to host ‘Education in the era of COVID-19’ Virtual Town Hall
May 08, 2020

Ciresi introduces bills to provide banking support for small businesses and nonprofits
May 08, 2020

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s rent and mortgage suspension, calls for lengthier freeze
May 08, 2020

Hanbidge sponsors legislation to honor frontline and essential workers
May 08, 2020