Featured News

Davis: Increase to first-responder loan program passes House

Freeman bill would permit extended participation in Main Street program

(Apr 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 16 – Communities would be allowed to extend their participation in the state’s Main Street program an additional five years, for up to 10 years, under legislation introduced by state Rep. Robert Freeman. Read more

 

Coalition of legislators unveils bills aimed at reforming police procedures

(Apr 16, 2019)

State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and PLBC members were joined by a coalition of legislators from around the state for a press conference to unveil a package of legislation aimed at streamlining police procedures and improving police-community relations at noon today in the Capitol Media Center. Read more

 

Regulations relax for craft breweries, distilleries under Schweyer bill

(Apr 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 16 – Craft distilleries and breweries would have consistent and expanded operating hours for sales at their tasting and tap rooms under legislation that passed the state House of Representatives unanimously today, according to the bill’s primer sponsor Rep. Peter Schweyer. Read more

 

Flynn bill would exempt Olympic winnings from taxes

(Apr 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 16 – The state House of Representatives today unanimously passed a bill that would exempt from state income taxes prize winnings and medals received for competing in the Olympic Games or Paralympic Games, according to the bill’s author, Rep. Marty Flynn. Read more

 

Lawmakers announce ‘Zero Waste PA’ package to address single-use plastics, litter and a ‘throwaway’ society

(Apr 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 10 – House lawmakers joined PennEnvironment today to announce a package of bills aimed at addressing single-use plastics, pervasive issues of litter and the various environmental harms caused by a "throwaway" society. Legislation in the “Zero Waste PA” package works to address issues created by a disposable society including single-use plastics such as straws, plastic bags and Styrofoam takeout food containers, electronic waste, funding Pennsylvania’s recycling programs and more. “We can no longer ignore the growing waste problem that is threatening our environment. My colleagues and I have introduced a package of bills that, together, address this problem from a number of angles,” said Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery. “By encouraging the use of more naturally biodegradable materials, addressing issues with the way we recycle, and finding ways to support environmentally friendly practices, we can help preserve our planet for future generations.” “Every day, unwitting Pennsylvanians are barraged with products that we’re expected to purchase and use, and then throw away. Only, there is no ‘away,’” said PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. “Instead, it ends up in landfills where it can cause water pollution, in incinerators that cause air pollution, or blowing around in our neighborhoods in the form of litter. Nothing we use for a few minutes should Read more

 

Snyder: State must delay planned changes that would adversely affect Medical Assistance recipients, seniors

(Apr 09, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 9 – State Rep. Pam Snyder was among several legislators who are urging the state to delay a plan that would mandate shared ride services for Medical Assistance recipients go through statewide or regional vendors instead of county or locally based services. Snyder, D-Fayette/Greene/Washington, was joined by House and Senate Democratic and Republican members today to provide details of their legislation. House Bill 986 and S.B. 390 would request the state Department of Human Services to suspend the plan until a thorough review is conducted by the Joint State Government Commission to study the impacts it could have on each county. “While we all want to save money, I’m not convinced this plan will do that,” Snyder said. “We do need to press the pause button. We need to see how this is truly going to impact people in Pennsylvania. It can’t be a cookie-cutter approach. What may work in Philly or Pittsburgh won’t necessarily work in Waynesburg or Uniontown or Washington.” Last year, the state Human Services Code included this transportation requirement as a way to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, modeling it after similar efforts in other states. “From 2011 to 2015, the Texas nonmedical emergency medical transportation program saw its costs quadruple, its complaints triple, and ridership decline by 50 percent,” said Richard Farr, executive director of the Read more

 

Healthy People, Stronger Economy

(Apr 08, 2019)

With the president leading a renewed push to dismantle affordable healthcare coverage in the United States, House Democrats are reinforcing a commitment to make sure people can always afford to see a doctor when they get sick. The “Healthy People, Stronger Economy” plan protects consumers even if special interests are able to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The plan contains four bills putting people first. Read more

 

Boyle legislation to ban business with nation of Brunei

(Apr 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 3 – As the nation of Brunei enacts a new law today that implements stoning or whipping to death under anti-LGBT laws, state Rep. Kevin Boyle is calling on the commonwealth to end any business investments with that country. “This new law is inhumane and violates international human rights laws. It is medieval and should not be tolerated by anyone,” said Boyle, D-Phila. “While we here in Pennsylvania certainly can’t change the laws in Brunei, we can certainly punish the nation for its abhorrent actions of discrimination by cutting investment ties with it and any businesses located in Brunei.” Boyle is currently seeking co-sponsors for his legislation that would require the Public School Employees’ Retirement System, the State Employees’ Retirement System, the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System, and the state Treasurer's Office to no longer invest in companies that do business with Brunei. “For humanity’s sake, we cannot stand idly by and be associated with countries that commit such acts of abuse. These places, including Brunei, create risk and undermine the value of Pennsylvania’s investments,” Boyle said. Boyle said his proposed legislation would amend Act 44 of 2010, known as the Protecting Pennsylvania’s Investments Act, which already divests commonwealth-funded investments in Iran or Sudan, or with any company from either of those countries. Read more

 

Rabb sponsors resolution to censure disorderly members

(Apr 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 2 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today announced his resolution to amend the House rules to create a motion to censure. “All members of the House are here to serve based on the trust that has been given to us by the public and our constituents,” Rabb said. “If a member decides to act without any sense of common decency, it should fall upon all of us in the chamber to demand that order is maintained and a certain level of respect is shown when we are doing business in the People’s House. Rather than waiting for a committee, I want to put the power back in our hands so that we may act swiftly to condemn the words or actions of a fellow member when they choose to dishonor this institution.” Rabb’s resolution would create a motion to censure a member of the House that would require a two-thirds vote to be effective. Currently, to censure a disorderly member, a resolution must be introduced and sent to committee, which can take time or even be used to block a resolution. Rabb continued that although the motion should be taken very seriously, the power to censure should be exercised under the direct control of the House as a whole, not up to a committee. “By requiring a two-thirds vote, we can ensure that the motion is not used aimlessly, and we can now provide for immediate action of the House to enforce its own rules,” Rabb said. Rabb said he plans to push for passage of his resolution next Read more

 

Neilson introduces legislation to protect Pennsylvanians’ personal information

(Apr 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 1 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would protect consumers across the commonwealth by requiring the opportunity to opt out of having their personal information sold to third parties. “Everyone deserves the right to know what personal information is being collected and sold,” Neilson said. “Businesses are profiting on selling a customer’s information to third parties and most Pennsylvanians are getting tired of the robocalls and unwanted solicitations from these third parties trying to sell them something they never wanted.” Specifically, H.B. 1049 would allow customers to opt out of having their information sold or even have the information deleted. “In today’s electronic world in which we live, we read about security breaches in the paper every day. Just because you purchased goods or services does not mean we need to be in their system and others forever, nor should we have to be certain that their technology is updated on a regular basis,” Neilson said. “The people of Pennsylvania deserve better and this legislation would be a step in the right direction.” Neilson said his proposal is already gaining bipartisan traction, with House Democrats and Republicans signing on as co-sponsors even before the legislation was formally introduced. Read more

 

Davis seeks to build on new ethics law with gift ban for public officials, public employees

(Mar 29, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 29 - On the heels of Gov. Tom Wolf signing legislation that requires public officials and employees convicted of job-related and other serious crimes to forfeit their pensions, state Rep. Tina Davis said she is renewing a push for her legislation to prevent bribery attempts at the state level. Davis’ bipartisan legislation would prohibit Pennsylvania’s public officials and employees from accepting any gifts that would have potential to influence public policy. The bill would prohibit gifts in the form of hospitality, such as transportation or lodging, expensive dinners or tickets to sporting events, which she cited as common forms of what she calls bribery in the past. “The new law will rightfully confiscate the pensions of public officials and employees who are convicted of serious felonies,” said Davis, D-Bucks. “My legislation seeks to stop people from getting into such situations in the first place by creating an additional level of security to ensure that bribery has no place in our Capitol.” Her bill also would apply to applicants for state contracts. Additionally, to further increase transparency, financial reporting requirements would become more stringent. “It’s sickening that in our state it is legal for special interest groups to bribe elected officials,” Davis said, “The lax limitations on the type and amount of gifts special interests can lavish on those who are Read more

 

Rabb to be Democratic vice chair of House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

(Mar 29, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today announced his appointment as Democratic vice chair of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. “Agriculture is much more than just farming and putting seeds into the ground. More Pennsylvanians – especially who live in urban areas -- need to understand how important this industry is to our families, to our communities, to our metro areas, and to our state as a whole,” Rabb said. “We must invest more into urban agriculture and inform young people entering the workforce that agriculture offers a diversity of opportunity and isn’t just for rural residents. It can happen in Philadelphia, whether it’s creating a garden, a vertical farm, or working with a food co-op. “We should envision vacant lots as entrepreneurial opportunities for the betterment of communities and the people who live there. By doing so, we can help beautify our neighborhoods and eradicate food deserts that are so predominant throughout Philadelphia. Agricultural issues are also frequently bipartisan matters that can build bridges between rural and urban priorities,” Rabb said. In his role as vice chair, Rabb will be responsible for conducting committee meetings when the chairman is absent and support any subcommittees that may be created. “I am very pleased to have Representative Rabb serving as a vice chair on our committee,” said state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, Read more

 

Burgos to take on leadership role in agriculture policy

(Mar 29, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., today said he was appointed to serve in a leadership role with the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, a committee not normally linked with city lawmakers. Burgos, who is a member of the committee and will now serve as Democratic secretary, said the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee reviews bills that directly affect Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry, including food safety and processing, transportation, marketing, weights and measures and farm equipment and production. It also works in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture on boards and commissions related to agriculture. “I am both humbled and honored to take a leadership role on the House Agriculture Committee, and I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to continue to tackle the agriculture concerns of our state, including food safety, food security and supporting the number one industry of our state,” Burgos said. “As a city lawmaker, not normally associated with dairy farms, corn fields and mushroom farms, I am excited to bring a different perspective to this committee.” Burgos said adding city legislators to the leadership fold will continue to help shape the committee in the image of the state. “City legislators within this committee means that we have the opportunity to continue to tackle the state’s agriculture issues, but with more of a balance,” Burgos Read more

 

Briggs and Roebuck introduce bill to better fund colleges, make higher education more affordable statewide

(Mar 28, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 28 – As hundreds of college students rallied at the state Capitol for affordable higher education this week, state Reps. Tim Briggs and James R. Roebuck Jr. joined in their call for action. Briggs, D-Montgomery, and Roebuck, D-Phila., recently introduced legislation (H.B. 993) that would make Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities more affordable and accessible. Their bill would create a higher education funding commission that would look at ways to improve access to higher education and job training in the state, including the charge to develop a higher education funding formula. “Pennsylvania ranks 48th, or third worst, in America at funding colleges, technical schools and universities,” said Roebuck, who serves as Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee. “By underfunding our institutions, we are creating a crisis for our graduates. That needs to change, because everyone benefits from the skills and education gained by students at our public institutions of higher education. To secure these benefits, we must invest substantial public resources to aid these institutions and their students in this important work.” The lawmakers said their legislation would ensure that Pennsylvania’s institutions receive appropriate and adequate funding, in turn working to combat Pennsylvania’s student debt crisis. They said a higher education funding formula would help determine the best distribution of Read more

 

House Democrats fight for healthy people and a strong economy in PA

(Mar 28, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 28 – With the president leading a renewed push to dismantle affordable healthcare coverage in the United States, a group of House Democratic lawmakers are reinforcing their commitment to a package of proposals designed to make sure people in Pennsylvania can always afford to see a doctor when they get sick. The “Healthy People, Stronger Economy” plan protects consumers even if special interests are able to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The plan contains four bills putting people first, including: Protecting Your Coverage, Protecting Your Health (HB 469) – sponsored by Reps. Tony DeLuca and Dan Frankel, both of Allegheny County – recognizes that a consumer paying for an insurance plan that doesn't cover items as basic as hospitalization and emergency services has insurance that is almost worse than having no insurance at all. The bill guarantees all insurance plans sold in the state cover 10 essential benefits: • emergency services; • hospitalization; • prescription drugs; • maternity & newborn care; • mental health & substance abuse disorder services; • rehabilitation; • laboratory services to aid in diagnosis and treatment; • chronic disease management; • ambulatory patient services; and • pediatric services, including oral and vision care. "If the Federal Health Care Reform law is ever abolished by the United States Supreme Court or Read more

 

Davis hails legislation to honor POW/MIA veterans

(Mar 28, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 28 -- A bill that would ensure that the POW/MIA flag is flown alongside the American flag on state grounds and buildings is moving in the House, announced Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, who first suggested the action more than eight years ago. “As a state representative, I’ve had the honor of meeting with many veterans and hearing their inspirational stories of bravery and selflessness. It’s what prompted me to suggest this bill several years ago,” Davis said. “As a commonwealth, we can always do more to show support for our troops, especially those who were prisoners of war and those are missing and have yet to make it home.” Currently, it is optional for the POW/MIA flag to be on display outside state buildings and on state grounds. This bill, H.B. 86, would make the display of the POW/MIA flag mandatory anywhere the American flag is flown, so long as the POW/MIA flag can be reasonably accommodated at the location. “I’ve been fighting for this bill since 2011, so I’m glad to see it moving through the House,” Davis said, “The honorable men and women who heroically served our country deserve this recognition. It is even more fitting that the legislation is moving right now as we observe National Vietnam War Veterans Day this weekend.” Davis is participating in the Delaware Valley Vietnam Veterans’ annual welcome home ceremony on Friday, March 29. “Too many of our brave Read more

 

Legislative package would help incarcerated women, parents in Pa.

(Mar 27, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 27 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., and colleagues today unveiled a package of legislation that would help incarcerated women and parents in Pennsylvania. “As chairwoman of the Women and Girls of Color Subcommittee of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, I traveled to SCI-Muncy last year, which is one of the two state prisons that house female inmates, and heard the cries for help,” Cephas said. “The visit made me realize that while I'm proud of the significant strides we've seen in our fight for criminal justice reform, we must include our women and girls of color in the bipartisan discussion. "Women are the fastest-growing segment of the incarcerated population. According to a report from the Vera Institute of Justice, the number of women in jail in the U.S. has grown 14-fold since 1970. Furthermore, a majority are accused of non-violent offenses. What's often ignored by our criminal justice system, though, is the fact female offenders have vastly different needs and experience different stresses compared to men.” Cephas plans to introduce two bills: one would create a Women and Girls Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency; the other bill would require the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to submit an annual report on healthcare screenings and care services they provide to the House Health and Human Services committees and the Senate Health and Human Read more

 

PLBC condemns divisive invocation given in the House Chamber

(Mar 26, 2019)

Members from Philadelphia and of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today condemned a divisive opening prayer delivered Monday in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Here’s a selection of quotes. Rep. Stephen Kinsey, PLBC chairman: “On a day that should have been celebrated, we found ourselves confused and mortified. The swearing-in of Representative Movita Johnson-Harrell as the first Muslim woman to ever serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives was overshadowed by the outrageous remarks made by the Republican member. This is disgusting behavior. I choose to celebrate the diversity of our caucus, and welcome Representative Johnson-Harrell with open, loving arms. I believe our Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said it best, ‘It was beneath the dignity of the House.’ There is no room for hate.” Rep. Donna Bullock, PLBC vice chairwoman: “It is unfortunate that prayer was used to intimidate and divide. As our state legislature becomes more diverse, as we elect more women, more people of color, and people of different faiths and experiences, our ability to work together for all Pennsylvanians will be tested. I pray that my colleagues come to understand that Pennsylvania's diversity is our strength, not the enemy.” Rep. Summer Lee, PLBC treasurer who represents a portion of Allegheny County: ”We want to foremost, recognize and celebrate the historic victory and swearing-in of Read more

 

Kenyatta, Lewis unveil Fighting Chance Act legislation

(Mar 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 26 -- Working to cut government red tape and reform the criminal justice system, freshmen state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin, today unveiled their Fighting Chance Act legislation at a state Capitol press conference. The bill would require state agencies overseeing occupational licensure and the Board of Probation and Parole to reduce red tape by 25 percent over the next three years, with the intent to eliminate unnecessary barriers for people trying to get into these important, licensed occupations. “Pennsylvania has the potential to be the top state in the nation for jobs and opportunity, but we won’t achieve that goal without significant government reform,” Lewis said. “For example, our state has thousands of outdated regulations governing occupational licensure that are keeping good people out of the workforce and hindering our small businesses growth. We believe we can change that through the Fighting Chance Act.” The bill also aims to reform the criminal justice system by calling for the removal of barriers to employment for people who have paid their debt to society. “People who are incarcerated have to perform all types of work in the institutions in which they’re being held,” Kenyatta said. “If you have the training and expertise to do the work of an electrician, plumber, or barber, you should be able to get back to work when you have paid your debt. Read more

 

Rabb seeks support for interdepartmental police hiring reform bill

(Mar 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 26 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today announced he is currently seeking co-sponsors for his forthcoming legislation that would crack down on police violence and misconduct by making it harder for “pariah police” to job-hop across Pennsylvania. Rabb’s circulation of the co-sponsorship memorandum comes in the wake of a not guilty verdict in the trial of Michael Rosfeld, the ex-East Pittsburgh cop charged with shooting and killing 17-year-old Antwon Rose II, who was unarmed. Rosfeld previously had been dismissed with cause from the Pittsburgh University Police Department a few months before joining the East Pittsburgh Police Department. “This officer’s knee-jerk reaction in this incident was illogical and tragically ended the life of a young black man. It could have been prevented had the officer’s previous transgressions been thoroughly investigated before he bounced from one police department to another,” Rabb said. “Police officers are supposed to be well trained to protect and serve in any given incident. The commonwealth must help ensure police departments secure as much relevant information as possible on anyone who is looking to join their ranks.” Rabb said his legislation, which is modeled after a similar law in Michigan, would require law enforcement agencies to keep detailed personnel records that include all criminal, civil and ethics substantiated complaints, as well as the Read more

 

Freeman bill would permit extended participation in Main Street program
Apr 16, 2019

Coalition of legislators unveils bills aimed at reforming police procedures
Apr 16, 2019

Regulations relax for craft breweries, distilleries under Schweyer bill
Apr 16, 2019

Flynn bill would exempt Olympic winnings from taxes
Apr 16, 2019

Lawmakers announce ‘Zero Waste PA’ package to address single-use plastics, litter and a ‘throwaway’ society
Apr 10, 2019

Snyder: State must delay planned changes that would adversely affect Medical Assistance recipients, seniors
Apr 09, 2019

Healthy People, Stronger Economy
Apr 08, 2019

Boyle legislation to ban business with nation of Brunei
Apr 03, 2019

Rabb sponsors resolution to censure disorderly members
Apr 02, 2019

Neilson introduces legislation to protect Pennsylvanians’ personal information
Apr 01, 2019

Davis seeks to build on new ethics law with gift ban for public officials, public employees
Mar 29, 2019

Rabb to be Democratic vice chair of House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee
Mar 29, 2019

Burgos to take on leadership role in agriculture policy
Mar 29, 2019

Briggs and Roebuck introduce bill to better fund colleges, make higher education more affordable statewide
Mar 28, 2019

House Democrats fight for healthy people and a strong economy in PA
Mar 28, 2019

Davis hails legislation to honor POW/MIA veterans
Mar 28, 2019

Legislative package would help incarcerated women, parents in Pa.
Mar 27, 2019

PLBC condemns divisive invocation given in the House Chamber
Mar 26, 2019

Kenyatta, Lewis unveil Fighting Chance Act legislation
Mar 26, 2019

Rabb seeks support for interdepartmental police hiring reform bill
Mar 26, 2019