Fitzgerald introduces legislation to protect gun owners, promote public safety

(Nov 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 25 – State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald, D-Phila., announced she has introduced a series of bills designated to protect law-abiding gun owners, children and residents in the commonwealth. “It’s unfortunate that anyone could potentially become a victim to gun violence here in Pennsylvania. Whether accidental or intentional, one life lost is one too many. We must put commonsense legislation in place to prevent senseless killings from occurring in the future,” Fitzgerald said. “My three bills would preserve the rights of Pennsylvanians who are carrying guns legally, safeguard our children from being killed accidentally and enforce a ‘cooling-off’ period for a person who may have experienced an unpleasant incident in their life and who looks to potentially commit an act of violence.” The bills introduced by Fitzgerald are: H.B. 2076 – Would require driver’s licenses and photo identification cards to indicate a person possesses a concealed carry permit. H.B. 2077 – Would require all firearms be safely stored whenever they are not in use. H.B. 2078 – Would establish a 72-hour waiting period for purchases of semi-automatic assault rifles. Fitzgerald is a member of the PA SAFE Caucus , which is made up of 70 members of the PA House and Senate who believe in reducing all types of violence in society through Read more

 

McClinton applauds passage of legislation outlawing sexual extortion

(Nov 21, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today applauded the passage of bipartisan legislation she co-sponsored, which would outlaw sexual extortion in Pennsylvania and empower law enforcement and victim services organizations to help victims of this serious sex crime who previously fell between the cracks. “Finally, victims of this horrific crime will have an avenue to seek justice and perpetrators of sexual extortion – which the Department of Justice has said is the most significantly growing threat to children – can be held accountable,” McClinton said. “I am elated to see this legislation receive bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and I look forward to seeing Governor Wolf sign it into law.” McClinton introduced H.B. 1402 with Rep. Tedd C. Nesbit, R-Mercer/Butler. The House passed it unanimously in June. The Senate unanimously passed the bill on Wednesday after making small improvements to the legislation. Today, the House unanimously passed the bill on concurrence, and it’s headed to Wolf’s desk for his signature. McClinton said previously that by specifically adding sexual extortion as a crime, we can protect individuals from people in power who demand sexual acts, images or videos from victims, usually for something of value to the victim. “Now, would-be perpetrators will not be able to lord intimate photos or other Read more

 

House unanimously adopts Bizzarro resolution designating Nov. 22 Veterans Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day

(Nov 21, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro announced the unanimous passage of his House Resolution 608 designating Nov. 22, 2019 as Veterans Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day. Bizzarro, D-Erie, championed the resolution to draw attention to the heroes communities across Pennsylvania have lost as well as those who may continue to be lost if this public health epidemic goes unaddressed. The date further serves as a reminder of the estimated 22 veterans who die by suicide daily. “Our nation’s veterans have served our country and we have an obligation to serve and support them. I want each and every veteran to know there are resources available to help them heal from the scars of war,” expressed Bizzarro. The resolution urges family members and care providers to initiate free and confidential conversations with Veterans Health Administration Providers via the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, online at veteranscrisisline.net/chat or via text to 838255. “The United States loses more than 8,000 veterans to suicide each year. That is more than the number of veterans who died in combat deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. We have to work earnestly to make sure these men and women who have given our nation so much know there is no shame in seeking help and make it easy for vets and their families to reach out,” Bizzarro explained. “In an effort to be a Read more

 

Legislators, advocates help raise awareness for bone marrow donor need

(Nov 19, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – Inspired by a Pennsylvania teen who is in need of a bone marrow transplant, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, hosted a news conference to bring attention to the crucial need of bone marrow donors, especially people of color. Kinsey was joined by Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila.; Rep. Carol Hill-Evans; Sarah Speed, a cancer mom; and Michael Garbin from Be the Match. The news conference was held in honor of Juwan Adams, a senior at Abington Senior High School who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and who is currently waiting for a donor match. “At a 23% match rate currently, there is a crucial need for bone marrow donors among African Americans,” Kinsey said. “Juwan’s story is one of several that must be heard. Many of our young people are battling life changing diseases and require so much more than basic medical care. It’s important that everyone looks into being a donor if their health permits them, so they can be a hero for those who need and await lifesaving procedures.” Farnese said, “My father suffered from cancer and was the recipient of a bone marrow transplant, so I know how important these lifesaving registrations are. I hope that today’s event brings awareness about how easy it is to register and encourages my colleagues in Harrisburg and my constituents back home to sign up Read more

 

Isaacson to introduce legislation to regulate lead in playground areas

(Oct 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 30 – In the wake of published reports spotlighting the high levels of lead on playground equipment and in soil, state Rep. Mary Isaacson, D-Phila., is introducing legislation that would help reduce those toxic levels. The legislation would lower the acceptable limit of lead in playground soil in Pennsylvania to 200 parts per million. Currently, the limit is 400 parts per million as set in federal regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency. “Philadelphia has a serious lead issue and as a result, our children are facing serious health risks. Lead has no place where we live, where our kids go to schools and especially where they play,” Isaacson said. “My legislation is just one way to help lower the health hazards of lead while helping families keep their children safe and healthy.” In September, Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Department reportedly closed the Monkiewitz Playground along with Hieztman and Samuels recreation centers due to elevated levels of lead found in the soil. The department had also reportedly shut down the athletic field at Chew Playground for similar reasons in June. Isaacson noted she has also introduced legislation ( H.B. 79 ) that would require all children in Pennsylvania to be tested for lead at ages one and two. Read more

 

Philadelphia legislators oppose bill that eliminates straight ticket voting

(Oct 29, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 29 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, released the following statement on behalf of a majority of delegation members who are against S.B. 421 , which would eliminate the straight ticket voting option in Pennsylvania. “The majority of the Philadelphia House Delegation is deeply concerned with the elimination of straight ticket voting. The governor’s office has touted Senate Bill 421 as the most comprehensive change to the way people vote in Pennsylvania since suffrage. While members of the Philadelphia Delegation have supported and do support many of the individual pieces contained within Senate Bill 421, the short timeline as well as lack of funding and big picture planning make it impossible for Philadelphia to implement these changes in time for the 2020 primary and general elections. Many of our constituents already face large challenges participating in the voting process, whether they have physical disabilities or access issues, and without funding to educate voters about the dramatic change, we cannot in good conscience support this legislation. “Governor Wolf released a statement in which he agreed with our concerns on July 5: ‘This policy choice removes a convenient voting option which is used by voters of any party affiliation. To implement such a change, particularly as new machines are being used for the first time, could lead to voter Read more

 

Kenyatta selected for NCSL Task Force on Cybersecurity

(Oct 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 25 – As part of his ongoing fight to protect the commonwealth’s cyber infrastructure, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta announced he has been selected as a Pennsylvania representative to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ bipartisan Executive Committee Task Force on Cybersecurity. The NCSL task force brings together state lawmakers, legislative staff and other stakeholders to discuss how state legislatures can create sound frameworks for protecting against, responding to, and prosecuting perpetrators of cyberattacks. “I am honored to have been chosen to sit on this important committee. It’s no secret that cyberattacks are not only a major concern in Pennsylvania, but across the entire country. With everyone constantly connected on their phones, computers and other electronic devices, the amount of potential attacks will only increase,” Kenyatta said. “I look forward to working with members on the task force to learn what’s being done in other states to protect citizens from cyberattacks and bring that back to craft legislation on strengthening safeguards here in Pennsylvania.” Kenyatta is the prime sponsor of H.B. 225 , which would create a Cybersecurity Innovation Commission to safeguard Pennsylvania’s data by conducting cybersecurity audits, improving security and privacy standards and analyzing the protocols. According to the Read more

 

Davis: Increase to first-responder loan program passes House

(Oct 23, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 23 – State Rep. Tina Davis today applauded her House colleagues for unanimously passing H.B. 1816 , her plan to increase the amount of money that emergency response units can borrow for critical equipment through the Volunteer Loan Assistance program. The VLAP provides low-interest loans to volunteer fire companies and emergency medical services so that they may purchase up-to-date equipment and vehicles and maintain and upgrade their facilities. The 10% increase in loan limits set forth by the bill address the rate of inflation. The maximum limit on loans was last raised in 2013. “Current loan limits have restrained vital fire companies and emergency medical services,” said Davis, D-Bucks. “As a result, these organizations are spending too much time fundraising because VLAP’s loan rates haven’t increased with the rate of inflation. “This bill would provide these vital organizations with the ability to buy or upgrade essential equipment and maintain facilities across the state.” In addition, the bill would annually increase all loan limits by the inflation rate from the previous year to ensure that fire companies and emergency medical services have lasting access to financial assistance. “Having to go to the legislature every couple of years to raise loan rates is inefficient, as we know the rate of inflation is going to increase,” Davis said. “This bill Read more

 

Daley, Policy Committee discuss Waters of Pennsylvania

(Oct 21, 2019)

“With over 85,000 miles of rivers and streams and 99,000 acres of lakes, our state features some of the nation’s most beautiful and bountiful waterways. With that abundance, though, comes crucial challenges that we must face together in order to keep our waters clean and pollutant-free.” Read more

 

Sappey, Policy Committee examine stormwater management and infrastructure

(Oct 16, 2019)

State Rep. Christina Sappey, D-Chester, hosted a House Policy Committee hearing at the East Bradford Township Building on severe weather’s impact on infrastructure and stormwater management. Read more

 

Delloso, Policy Committee examine jobs, labor market

(Oct 03, 2019)

State Rep. David Delloso, D-Delaware, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at IAM AW Local Lodge 1776 on jobs and the labor market. Delloso requested the hearing to discuss ways Pennsylvania can improve the job market. Read more

 

Delloso to host Policy Committee hearing on Jobs and Labor Market Thursday in Essington

(Sep 30, 2019)

State Rep. David Delloso, D-Delaware, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on Jobs and the Labor Market Thursday, Oct. 3 in Essington. Read more

 

Legislators fight to bring back General Assistance Fund

(Sep 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 24 – Joining advocates, former recipients of General Assistance and state senators, state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, Melissa Shusterman and Elizabeth Fiedler repeated the call for the General Assembly to restart the program that many vulnerable residents depended on in the commonwealth. “Ending General Assistance was one of the cruelest legislative decisions that has been made in this body since I became a member. There is no logical excuse or argument for denying support for the most vulnerable communities when they needed it most. It was like kicking them while they’re down,” Kenyatta, D-Phila., said. “That is why I’ve introduced House Bill 1709 to bring this vital resource back. I’m urging my colleagues across the aisle to understand the severity of the harm this has caused for Pennsylvania families and fix it now.” Kenyatta is the main sponsor of H.B. 1709, which would provide emergency relief to those Pennsylvanians who previously received support through the General Assistance Fund. The program provided $200 a month in cash assistance to those who were unable to work, those caring for loved ones who were sick or disabled, veterans, victims of domestic violence and those receiving treatment for substance abuse, among others. In June, the General Assembly voted to end the program, despite the pleas from many, including Kenyatta and Shusterman, Read more

 

House votes to mandate ethics requirements for Act 47 coordinators

(Sep 23, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 23 – The state House of Representatives today passed legislation that would require compliance with ethics statutes for Act 47 coordinators appointed to assist financially distressed municipalities, according to the bill’s sponsor Rep. Robert Freeman. Read more

 

House OKs Mullery bill to increase penalty for body-gripping traps

(Sep 19, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 19 – The penalty for illegally setting body-gripping traps would be increased under legislation that passed the House of Representatives unanimously today, according to the bill’s author, state Rep. Gerald Mullery. Read more

 

Bizzarro bill to improve charitable fundraising heads for House vote

(Sep 19, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 19 – Legislation that would help non-profit organizations host more successful fundraising events for charity is heading to the House chamber for a vote after being added to another bill approved by the House Liquor Committee today, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced. Bizzarro’s H.B. 1406 would address a major obstacle affecting nonprofit organizations hosting charitable fundraising events: A provision of the state Liquor Code governing special occasion permits prohibits the companies these non-profits hire to plan and organize the events from managing the funds. As a result, the fundraisers are not as efficient or successful as possible. Bizzarro said his legislation would change all that. “Non-profit organizations such as churches and community groups often turn to event planning and organizing companies because of their expertise when it comes to fundraising events,” Bizzarro said. “Unfortunately, the law prevents these organizers from managing the funds, which greatly affects the success and efficiency of these events. My legislation would remove that obstacle by permitting event organizers and planners to collect and manage the funds as long as the non-profit organization is the primary host of the event and the funds are being raised for a charitable purpose. “I’m delighted that this legislation is advancing to the House. Successful fundraising events are Read more

 

Ciresi, Policy Committee focus on economic impact of the arts

(Sep 12, 2019)

POTTSTOWN, Sept. 12 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on the economic impact of the arts at the Steel River Playhouse. Ciresi requested the hearing on the arts to learn how to ensure that arts organizations are financially stable, promote attendance and participation in arts programs, and determine what overall work can be done to broaden support for the arts. Ciresi was joined by legislators from across the state. “Today’s hearing was a great example of how we can work together to learn from one another in order to create policy decisions that benefit all Pennsylvanians,” Ciresi said. “With the information we have shared with each other today, we will be able to grow our arts programs and move towards an age of ingenuity, creativity and excitement. The arts lead to higher civic engagement, child welfare, and lower crime and poverty rates. They bring about social awareness and a better understanding of our cultures and the world around us. By introducing our children to the arts, and continuing to stay creative in our older age, we create lasting memories and the foundations for skills that can last a lifetime. In addition, the arts provide for three percent of the nation’s GDP alone, an $800 billion industry. When you consider traveling expenses and local merchants that benefit from strong art programs, the numbers begin to add up quickly economically too.” Read more

 

Rep. Zabel, Policy Committee discuss rising cost of prescription drugs

(Sep 11, 2019)

“We must get to the point where people who need medicine are able to purchase that medicine without the fear of going broke. The gouging of prices for life-saving drugs needs to be curbed, which is why I’m introducing legislation to cap insulin prices.” Read more

 

Legislators vow to fight Pa. Commission on Sentencing's risk-assessment tool

(Sep 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 6 – Following their votes today to reject the new risk-assessment tool by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, state Rep. Joanna McClinton and Sen. Sharif Street said they vow to push for their legislation that would repeal the commission’s mandate to create a such a tool. “I voted to reject the risk-assessment tool because I have serious concerns that it is not the best way to reduce recidivism and keep people safe in my community and across the Commonwealth. I strongly believe that the mandate requiring the commission to create a new risk-assessment tool needs to be repealed and I will continue to work closely with Senator Street and my colleagues to pass legislation that would abolish that mandate,” McClinton said. Under this risk-assessment tool passed Thursday, when a person scores high- or low-risk based on the risk-assessment instrument, they would be flagged for further assessment of their risk of recidivism and need for treatment or support. The plan permits county probation departments to put these people through whatever assessment they use. Street said, “For almost a decade, the sentencing commission has worked – under a legislative mandate – to create a risk-assessment tool with the goal of reducing costs and decreasing the prison population. Senator Greenleaf, author of the original legislation, has denounced this version of the risk-assessment tool as having the adverse effect of its Read more

 

Fiedler, Policy Committee examine school building toxic conditions and emergency funding

(Sep 04, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 4 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on toxic conditions in school buildings and emergency funding at the Horace Furness High School. Fiedler requested the hearing to discuss what more the state can do to improve conditions in Philadelphia schools for students and staff. The hearing ended with a tour of the high school to see the conditions firsthand. Legislators from across the state joined Fiedler, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “Nearly half of the school buildings in Philadelphia are decades old with antiquated systems, including heating, cooling, lighting and electrical. These basic comforts are in dire need of replacement. In addition, these buildings have mold and other hazards that are creating serious health problems for our children,” Fiedler said. “We need to come up with policies that will ensure our schools receive adequate funding, so our children receive a quality education in hazard-free and safe environments.” Sturla added, “The children in Philadelphia and throughout the commonwealth should not have to learn in unhealthy and outdated conditions. The House Democratic Caucus seeks to provide all students with a high-quality education, so they are prepared to either go on to an institution of higher education or to join the workforce. I thank Representative Fiedler for her leadership in spotlighting Read more

 

Fitzgerald introduces legislation to protect gun owners, promote public safety
Nov 25, 2019

McClinton applauds passage of legislation outlawing sexual extortion
Nov 21, 2019

House unanimously adopts Bizzarro resolution designating Nov. 22 Veterans Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day
Nov 21, 2019

Legislators, advocates help raise awareness for bone marrow donor need
Nov 19, 2019

Isaacson to introduce legislation to regulate lead in playground areas
Oct 30, 2019

Philadelphia legislators oppose bill that eliminates straight ticket voting
Oct 29, 2019

Kenyatta selected for NCSL Task Force on Cybersecurity
Oct 25, 2019

Davis: Increase to first-responder loan program passes House
Oct 23, 2019

Daley, Policy Committee discuss Waters of Pennsylvania
Oct 21, 2019

Sappey, Policy Committee examine stormwater management and infrastructure
Oct 16, 2019

Delloso, Policy Committee examine jobs, labor market
Oct 03, 2019

Delloso to host Policy Committee hearing on Jobs and Labor Market Thursday in Essington
Sep 30, 2019

Legislators fight to bring back General Assistance Fund
Sep 24, 2019

House votes to mandate ethics requirements for Act 47 coordinators
Sep 23, 2019

House OKs Mullery bill to increase penalty for body-gripping traps
Sep 19, 2019

Bizzarro bill to improve charitable fundraising heads for House vote
Sep 19, 2019

Ciresi, Policy Committee focus on economic impact of the arts
Sep 12, 2019

Rep. Zabel, Policy Committee discuss rising cost of prescription drugs
Sep 11, 2019

Legislators vow to fight Pa. Commission on Sentencing's risk-assessment tool
Sep 06, 2019

Fiedler, Policy Committee examine school building toxic conditions and emergency funding
Sep 04, 2019