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Kinsey Honors Korean Armistice Anniversary

(May 12, 2015)

HARRISBURG, MAY 12, 2015 - Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey honors the 62nd Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement with a unanimously approved resolution in the House of Representatives. Read more

 

Sims, Davis to reintroduce equal-pay bill as part of Pa. Agenda for Women's Health

(May 11, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 11 – State Reps. Brian Sims, D-Phila., and Tina Davis, D-Bucks, will reintroduce equal-pay legislation as part of the bipartisan "Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health" unveiled today by the legislature's Women’s Health Caucus. Sims said, "Moms deserve more than Mother's Day flowers or cards. One thing mothers and all Pennsylvania women desperately need is for the legislature to close the holes in the equal pay law so it actually gets the job done for working women and their families. Wage inequality is not only a detriment to working women, but to families as well. When employers underpay equally qualified female employees, they shortchange our wives, our mothers and our daughters, to the detriment of all.” Sims and Davis will introduce the bill as H.B. 1160. A companion bill in the Senate has been introduced as S.B. 303 . The bills would narrow the definition of determining factors for pay to education, training or experience, while also lifting the veil of pay secrecy and creating protections that permit employees to inquire about salaries without fear of termination. Current law allows for "any factor other than sex" to be a legitimate justification for disparities in pay. Davis said, "Pennsylvania has had an equal-pay law for more than 50 years, but women are still paid on average 54 to 83 cents for every dollar a man makes, depending on which county they live in. Clearly we Read more

 

Mullery introduces bill to ban use of tobacco- and nicotine-based products in Pa. schools

(May 11, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 11 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery introduced a bill today that would prohibit the use of both tobacco- and nicotine-based products in all Pennsylvania schools. “My legislation can serve as a deterrent and help prevent our young people from becoming hooked on tobacco and nicotine and starting a costly, destructive habit,” said Mullery, D-Newport Township. Mullery said the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ 2013 report demonstrates the need for his legislation. According to the report, 17 percent of American high school students smoke, and 90 percent of adult smokers started the habit as teenagers. The report also found that one in three kids becomes regular, daily smokers after trying a cigarette. Mullery added that many of the nicotine products available today are colorful and attractive to young people. He said some of these products look, smell and taste like mints, gum and other candy. Mullery said violations of his legislation (H.B. 1189) would result in a summary offense. The bill is expected to be referred to the House Judiciary Committee. Read more

 

Bipartisan House-Senate caucus unveils Pa. Agenda for Women's Health

(May 11, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 11 – Members of the legislature's Women’s Health Caucus today unveiled their "Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health" for the new session at a Capitol news conference. The caucus is co-chaired by Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Frank Farry, R-Bucks; and Sens. Judy Schwank, D-Berks, and Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks. Frankel said, "We need to do more than honor women with words and Mother's Day cards – our bipartisan caucus is putting forth a package of legislation that would make specific progress for Pennsylvania women in areas such as family-friendly working conditions, economic fairness, ensuring healthy lives and help for victims of domestic violence." Farry said, "Women’s health is an important issue and we in the General Assembly take it seriously, including the health of our female veterans and active duty military personnel. In Pennsylvania alone, there are nearly 80,000 women veterans. While the proportion of women veterans to male veterans continues to increase, the unique health needs of women can be overlooked in providing services to a large, and predominantly male, veteran population. This comprehensive package of bills will go a long way in ensuring all Pennsylvania women, including our veterans, have health care options to meet their needs." Schwank said, "Women and families play a pivotal role in the overall health of our communities and the Read more

 

Schweyer legislation calls for fairness in Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program eligibility

(May 06, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, said he has introduced legislation that would allow retirees from federal civil service who do not receive Social Security to qualify for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Schweyer said he authored the legislation following a conversation with a constituent. “Many retirees of federal service do not receive Social Security benefits. Instead, they paid more into their retirement plan,” Schweyer said. “Because of this, they are at a disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. “Every senior in Pennsylvania deserves to receive as much assistance as they can following their years of dedicated service to the federal government.” House Bill 1162 would add federal civil service retirees to the list of people who can deduct 50 percent of their income in order to become eligible for this rebate program. Schweyer said this bill would provide the same measure of fairness to this group of retirees that has been given to retirees of the railroad industry. While both groups of retirees are not eligible for Social Security, railroad retirees are able to determine eligibility for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Read more

 

Snyder measure would extend Lemon Law protections to motorcycles

(May 04, 2015)

Rep. Pam Snyder has introduced legislation that would extend the state’s Lemon Law protections to motorcycle buyers. Under Pennsylvania’s Lemon Law, manufacturers must replace, repurchase or compensate vehicle owners for defects that substantially impair its use, value or safety at no cost to the purchaser. "The reasonable protections available for vehicle owners should apply to motorcycle owners," Snyder said. "If a new motorcycle is in the repair shop for 30 days during the first year of ownership through no fault of the owner, then the rider deserves a fair shake and a new deal." Read more

 

Galloway introduces two bills

(Apr 29, 2015)

LEVITTOWN, April 29 – State Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, recently introduced two bills in the House of Representatives. House Bill 1076 would stiffen drunk driving crimes for some accidents which cause serious injury or death. Currently there is a loophole which allows reduced charges if it cannot be proven that driving under the influence was the cause of an accident which kills or seriously injures someone, even if the driver was found to be intoxicated. "This is a huge loophole in our DUI rules," Galloway said. "A local teenager, Zachary Gonzalez, was killed by an intoxicated driver while riding his bike in January 2014, but since the police could not prove the driver's intoxicated state caused the crash, he could not be charged with a homicide; only driving under the influence. My bill would close that loophole." The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee for further consideration. Galloway is also reintroducing Monica's Bill as H.B. 1074 , a bill that would allow a personal state tax deduction for uncovered expenses incurred by a living organ donor during the organ donor process. At least 10 other states have laws which provide some tax incentive for living donors. The bill was inspired by a family medical emergency which brought the need for the tax deduction to Galloway’s attention. An organ donation recipient’s insurance will pay the costs of the medical procedures required for the donor, but Read more

 

Harkins bill would set safety rules for public employers

(Apr 28, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 28 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, held a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda this morning to introduce legislation he authored in direct response to the workplace accident and death of a Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority employee last fall. H.B. 1082, the Jake Schwab Worker's Safety Bill, was introduced in memory of Erie resident Jake Schwab, a mechanic with EMTA who lost his life due to a workplace incident in November. As a public transit authority, EMTA is exempted from OSHA regulations, so the details regarding the incident and any safety concerns that would have been raised through an OSHA review have been hard to track. "Under my bill, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry would have the authority to perform workplace safety inspections and levy fines," Harkins said. "Because this accident was with a public transit authority, a private insurance company handled the investigation and the records are private." The Harkins bill would provide on-the-job safety protection to public employees by establishing Occupational Safety and Health Administration-equivalent safety rules for public employers, including the commonwealth, all legal political subdivisions, public schools, transit systems and any nonprofit organizations currently exempt from the OSHA standards. Schwab's widow, Tiffany, expressed her family's support for the legislation, saying," Don't you expect your loved ones to Read more

 

Pa. House OKs Bizzarro bill to protect against elder abuse

(Apr 21, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 21 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, said the state House of Representatives today unanimously passed his legislation to provide extra protection against elder abuse committed by people acting with power of attorney. Read more

 

Bizzarro and Teplitz call for statewide veterans' courts

(Apr 15, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 15 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, and state Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin/Perry, today held a joint news conference at the state Capitol to reintroduce their legislation that would establish veterans’ courts statewide. Read more

 

Pashinski, Policy Committee examine education funding in Pa.

(Apr 07, 2015)

WILKES-BARRE, April 7 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from leaders in education, along with state officials, concerning funding for education in Pennsylvania at a hearing requested by state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne. The meeting was held at Wilkes University and focused on Gov. Tom Wolf’s "Schools that Teach" plan, which is part of the governor’s three-step approach to strengthen the commonwealth. Pashinski said the governor’s proposal will not only help restore funding for education in two years, it will also reduce school property taxes by more than 50 percent to homeowners. "The governor’s plan is truly a win-win for the people of Pennsylvania," Pashinski said. "House Democrats and I believe this proposal is a strong investment to provide a solid education and better future for the youth of this commonwealth and connect the economic improvements to a quality education. "Gov. Wolf’s budget also provides property tax relief, which will help rebuild the middle class in this state." Pashinski co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as House Democratic Policy Committee chairman. "As a former educator, Rep. Pashinski has always been an advocate for quality education," Sturla said. "By initiating this hearing, he is showcasing his strong support in Gov. Wolf’s plan for moving Pennsylvania in an upward and Read more

 

Sims, Conklin: Make Pa. voting easier by making registration automatic

(Apr 07, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 7 – State Reps. Brian Sims, D-Phila., and Scott Conklin, D-Centre, plan to introduce legislation reforming Pennsylvania's voter registration system by instituting automatic registration of all eligible voters, with provisions for opting out. "Voting is a fundamental right of all Americans, but one which many forgo due to the burdens associated with voter registration, and the time and financial costs resulting from going to the polls. As technology continues its rapid advance, legislators must find efficient and less taxing methods for helping the citizens of Pennsylvania to exercise this fundamental right," Sims said. Conklin said, "Under our proposal, the responsibility of voter registration would be passed from eligible voters onto the Pennsylvania Department of State and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Beginning July 1, 2015, the secretary of the commonwealth would initiate a program to automatically register eligible voters whose information is provided to PennDOT for obtaining a driver’s license or non-driver identification card. The Department of State would use the PennDOT data, which includes information on whether a person is a citizen, to register voters. These newly registered voters would then be sent a postcard with information on how to opt out of registration altogether and how to choose a party affiliation. Under our proposal, a newly registered voter would have 21 days to opt out of Read more

 

Democratic Policy Committee examines Patty Kim’s bill to increase Pa.’s minimum wage

(Apr 02, 2015)

Kim’s bill, H.B. 250, would increase the minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour after 60 days and then to $10.10 per hour a year later. It also includes an annual cost-of-living adjustment beginning January 1, 2016. Read more

 

Bizzarro introduces measure to curb animal cruelty in Pa.

(Apr 02, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 2 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, has recently introduced legislation designed to prevent animal cruelty and prohibit convicted animal abusers from further caring for animals they have harmed. Read more

 

Kinsey bill would make academic fraud criminal offense in Pennsylvania

(Mar 26, 2015)

HARRISBURG, March 26 – Perpetrating academic fraud, like what occurred over two decades involving no-show classes at the University of North Carolina, would be criminally punishable in Pennsylvania under a bill proposed by state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila. His bill, which will be introduced into the House Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks, would legally define academic fraud as a felony. "When a college or university cheats for its students to keep scholarships or to remain competitive in an athletic arena, it is literally stealing from students and in many cases taxpayers," said Kinsey, D-Phila. "That is a crime, and it’s time we treat it as such." Academic fraud is not currently punishable in criminal courts. Under the proposal, a person would be charged with a third-degree felony if he or she attempted to or helped a student obtain a credit, grade or test score by fraudulent means, or changed a score, grade or credit in exchange for goods or services. A perpetrator involving student athletes would be charged with a second-degree felony if he or she accepted goods or services for teaching a no-show class, steered a student athlete into a no-show class for the sake of athletic eligibility, attempted to or forged a grade or credit, or systematically conducted fraudulent business to ensure a student athlete’s academic eligibility. UNC last year disclosed academic fraud, which is believed to have taken place Read more

 

Schweyer introduces two resolutions to raise awareness for protecting minors

(Mar 26, 2015)

HARRISBURG, March 25 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, recently introduced two resolutions he said will bring awareness in April to protecting the Pennsylvania youth. House Resolution 187 will recognize April 18 through 25 as “National Infant Immunization Week” in the commonwealth. “Following a schedule and immunizing early in life is one of the best ways parents can protect their children,” Schweyer said. “Taking these two important steps is so easy and they prevent families from facing potentially deadly consequences. “As a parent and a former health care executive, it goes without saying that I support immunizations. My wife and I have made sure that our children are fully immunized, and we encourage all parents to do the responsible thing when medically possible and vaccinate their children, too.” House Resolution 192 would designate April 2015 as “Alcohol Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. Schweyer said this resolution is aimed at keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors. “It goes without saying that consumption of alcohol by minors is a dangerous practice,” Schweyer said. “We have a responsibility as a society to remind minors about the dangers of consuming alcohol, while also reminding adults that they have a significant role to play in preventing this behavior.” Schweyer said he is optimistic the House will unanimously Read more

 

Schweyer: Legislation for more liquor licenses to enhance economic development

(Mar 24, 2015)

Often times, our mid-size cities (like Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton) struggle to get new restaurants to locate downtown. One key tool to help entice these businesses into economically disadvantaged areas is the Economic Development Liquor License. Currently, third-class cities (like Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton) may be awarded two economic development licenses per year, per county. But if a county has more than one mid-size city (for example, Lehigh County includes both Allentown and Bethlehem), the cities have to compete with each other for these economic development tools. I introduced legislation recently that would amend the current state liquor code by allowing up to three new liquor licenses per year in these counties instead of two, enhancing the chances for economic development. It also would ensure that no single municipality could be awarded more than two of these economic development licenses. I believe this would ensure that every city has the ability to entice good restaurants to their economically disadvantaged areas and help kick start their economic recovery. Job creation, economic revitalization and community development are certainly priorities of mine – and the state should partner with the private sector and our local municipalities. If passed, this would be a small change to the liquor code, but it could have a big impact on cities struggling to find new investors in their under-developed sections. Read more

 

Harkins, Policy Committee examine commonwealth’s commitment to education funding

(Mar 24, 2015)

ERIE, March 23 – Requested by state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, the House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing today on Gov. Tom Wolf’s education funding proposal to collect input from local school superintendents and a fair education funding advocate. “House Democrats and I believe the key to a better future starts with a solid education that requires a stronger investment from the state,” Harkins said. “Hearing the testimonies of our local superintendents brings the need for, not only more funding, but also a fair funding formula into clear focus.” Harkins co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as House Democratic Policy Committee chairman. Sturla added, “Representative Harkins has been a strong advocate for education investment and he recognizes that Schools that Teach is a critical part of Governor Wolf’s plan for moving Pennsylvania in an upward and positive direction. I thank him for hosting this important hearing today.” The hearing was held at Erie's nationally recognized Barber National Institute, which Harkins said is a leader in providing educational support for children and adults dealing with developmental or mental disabilities, as well as those on the autism spectrum and others dealing with hearing disabilities. Those testifying included: Jay Badams, superintendent, Erie School District; Shane Murray, superintendent, Iroquois School District; Read more

 

Schweyer, Policy Committee examine commonwealth’s job market, ways to make state economically competitive (with video)

(Mar 19, 2015)

ALLENTOWN, March 19 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from leaders in the business, labor and job-training industries, along with state officials, concerning Pennsylvania’s economy at a hearing requested by state Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh. The meeting focused on creating a competitive job market, specifically with regard to the manufacturing sector. “House Democrats are leading the way in developing policies that will help create family-sustaining, private-sector jobs,” Schweyer said. “Today’s conversation with leaders in business and labor was incredibly informative and will prove to be most helpful in the coming months.” The hearing was held at Allentown Economic Development Corp., located in the 22 nd Legislative District represented by Schweyer and based in a former Mack Trucks assembly plant transformed into a manufacturing-focused business incubator. "We are happy that Representative Schweyer asked AEDC to host the committee hearing at Bridgeworks Enterprise Center and that he is taking a deep interest in the creation of manufacturing jobs in Allentown,” said R. Scott Unger, AEDC executive director. “These types of jobs provide livable wages to Allentown families that are typically higher than service-sector wages in the city." Schweyer co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as Democratic House Policy Committee chairman. “I commend Read more

 

Conklin to lead Children and Youth Committee

(Mar 13, 2015)

HARRISBURG, March 13 – Centre County state Rep. Scott Conklin has been appointed to serve as the Democratic chairman of the Children and Youth Committee in the House of Representatives. “I’m honored and very excited to take on this job and contribute to the success of Governor Tom Wolf’s ambitious agenda to improve the lives of children,” Conklin said. Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said Conklin was a natural choice to lead the committee’s Democrats. “With his background as a former county commissioner, Representative Conklin is very familiar with how children and youth services are delivered through county agencies,” Dermody said. “Scott also was part of the concentrated and successful effort to improve Pennsylvania’s child protection laws in the last three years.” Conklin will work with the committee’s majority chairperson, Rep. Katharine Watson of Bucks County. “This House committee is known for the ability of members to put partisan differences aside and work productively for the protection and benefit of children,” Conklin said. “I look forward to continuing that tradition.” Conklin was first elected to the House in 2006 and currently is serving his fifth term. Read more

 

Kinsey Honors Korean Armistice Anniversary
May 12, 2015

Sims, Davis to reintroduce equal-pay bill as part of Pa. Agenda for Women's Health
May 11, 2015

Mullery introduces bill to ban use of tobacco- and nicotine-based products in Pa. schools
May 11, 2015

Bipartisan House-Senate caucus unveils Pa. Agenda for Women's Health
May 11, 2015

Schweyer legislation calls for fairness in Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program eligibility
May 06, 2015

Snyder measure would extend Lemon Law protections to motorcycles
May 04, 2015

Galloway introduces two bills
Apr 29, 2015

Harkins bill would set safety rules for public employers
Apr 28, 2015

Pa. House OKs Bizzarro bill to protect against elder abuse
Apr 21, 2015

Bizzarro and Teplitz call for statewide veterans' courts
Apr 15, 2015

Pashinski, Policy Committee examine education funding in Pa.
Apr 07, 2015

Sims, Conklin: Make Pa. voting easier by making registration automatic
Apr 07, 2015

Democratic Policy Committee examines Patty Kim’s bill to increase Pa.’s minimum wage
Apr 02, 2015

Bizzarro introduces measure to curb animal cruelty in Pa.
Apr 02, 2015

Kinsey bill would make academic fraud criminal offense in Pennsylvania
Mar 26, 2015

Schweyer introduces two resolutions to raise awareness for protecting minors
Mar 26, 2015

Schweyer: Legislation for more liquor licenses to enhance economic development
Mar 24, 2015

Harkins, Policy Committee examine commonwealth’s commitment to education funding
Mar 24, 2015

Schweyer, Policy Committee examine commonwealth’s job market, ways to make state economically competitive (with video)
Mar 19, 2015

Conklin to lead Children and Youth Committee
Mar 13, 2015