Solomon champions quality child care in Pa.

(Oct 30, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 30 – With a thriving child care center in his district as the backdrop, state Rep. Jared Solomon today highlighted the ongoing need for quality child care in underserved areas in the 202nd Legislative District and throughout the commonwealth. Solomon held a news conference at Bustleton Child Learning Center and was joined by Aliya Johnson-Roberts, the center’s executive director. The center recently opened and is an expansion of Pratt Street Learning Center, which received a STAR 4 rating from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Keystone STARS program . "I am excited to celebrate Bustleton Learning Center and how they provide such high-quality child care to the children of my district," Solomon said. "Not only did they breathe new life into a vacant building at a vital intersection for our neighborhood, they are also a fantastic community partner that welcomes local groups and families to use this great space." Solomon helped transfer the vacant building at Bustleton and Magee avenues into the Bustleton Child Learning Center through the Fund for Quality , a grant program that strives to create and maintain high-quality child care. "State Representative Solomon has been really active and supportive from the beginning. We are really excited to be the high-quality program moving into the area. He not only supports us in the early child care but in becoming a HUB in the community. We are thankful Read more

 

Senior prescription program expanded to help more people

(Oct 23, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 23 – Thousands of additional Pennsylvania seniors will be able to receive help paying for their prescription medicines thanks to a new state law. Act 87, signed into law today, increases seniors’ access to the state’s prescription drug assistance program (PACENET) by raising the program’s income limits to keep pace with rising costs. The law increases the maximum income limit for PACENET to $27,500 for individuals and $35,500 for married couples. In addition, the new law allows pharmacists to fill partial prescriptions so PACE/PACENET participants’ refills can be synchronized for the same day. It’s estimated this expansion will allow for an additional 17,000 seniors to be eligible for PACENET statewide. The new law supports the priority of putting people first in the House Democrats’ Plan for Pennsylvania , which focuses on working together to build a stronger Pennsylvania through good jobs, affordable health care, quality schools and a fair economy. Read more

 

Bipartisan grandparents raising grandchildren legislation signed into law

(Oct 23, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 23 – Bipartisan legislation crafted by state Reps. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, Democratic chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, and Kathy Watson, R-Bucks, Republican chairwoman of the House Children and Youth Committee, was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf today signaling a major victory for grandparents raising grandchildren across Pennsylvania. “We’ve been fighting for this legislation for years, so to finally get it through not only the House, but also the Senate and on to be signed into law by Governor Wolf is a tremendous win for grandparents raising grandchildren in Pennsylvania,” Pashinski said. “I’m incredibly appreciative for the support Chairwoman Watson gave these bills, along with the support of my colleagues in the House and Senate and Governor Wolf himself. Governor Wolf was a vocal advocate for this bipartisan package of bills and I look forward to working with the governor and my colleagues in the General Assembly on more grandparents raising grandchildren issues in the future.” “This legislation is a win for the thousands of grandparents across this state who need some help,” Watson said. “Temporary guardianship will allow grandparents to be able to make decisions for their grandchildren, especially at a time of crisis. These children – many of whom are the latest victims of the ongoing opioid crisis – need a sense of permanence and Read more

 

Pennsylvania receives extension for REAL ID

(Oct 11, 2018)

Pennsylvania has been granted a REAL ID enforcement extension by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through August 1, 2019. This extension means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities or boarding domestic commercial aircraft through at least that date. REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards will be available from PennDOT at the customer’s option beginning March 2019. PennDOT is encouraging customers to pre-verify for REAL ID the required documentation as soon as possible, giving them ample time to prepare. More information about what documents will be required is available on PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website . More information about REAL ID, including frequently asked questions , can be found at www.dmv.pa.gov . Read more

 

In wake of town hall, Burns files bipartisan legislation seeking justice, protections for childhood sexual abuse victims

(Sep 19, 2018)

Burns introduced legislation calling for a nationwide investigation into the Roman Catholic Church and providing further protections for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Read more

 

Davis, Policy Committee examine child custody issues

(Sep 17, 2018)

LANGHORNE, Sept. 17 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on child custody issues at the Middletown Township Municipal Building in Langhorne. Davis was joined by Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and state legislators from across the commonwealth. Two bills for custody cases involving domestic violence and child abuse allegations were discussed: Davis’ H.B. 956 (updates court procedures) and H.B. 2058 (improves custody and visitation adjudications) that she is co-sponsoring. “Today’s hearing was an important discussion about the child custody crisis and what we legislators can do to improve how the courts handle cases of child and domestic abuse,” Davis said. “As a lawmaker, I am deeply concerned by how the courts fail to read the signs of domestic abuse and, as a result, award the custody of a child to their abuser. We must strengthen child custody laws to prevent this from happening again.” Sturla added: “Our most vulnerable citizens and children need to have strong protection by the courts. I commend Representative Davis for requesting this hearing, so we could explore her important legislation.” The committee heard testimony from Kathryn Sherlock, mother of Kayden Mancuso; Danielle Zarenkiewicz, mother; Danielle Pollack, ambassador, CHILD USA; Amy Tielemans, president, Pennsylvania Association of Marriage and Family Therapy; Diane Read more

 

PLBC applauds state funding for gun violence reduction initiatives

(Sep 07, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 7 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus applauded the announcement made today by Gov. Tom Wolf that more than $1.5 million in funding will be allocated across the commonwealth to help reduce gun violence. "The crisis created by the illegal gun violence epidemic cannot be averted without those on the frontlines of this fight having access to the resources and tools needed to do the work of healing those affected,” said state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., PLBC chairman. “The PLBC is proud to stand with Governor Wolf as we begin to ensure that our communities have the support and tools needed to begin to address this public health crisis." “The PLBC has been working hard to address gun violence in our community as a public health issue, because we understood that resources follow public health concerns. Today’s grant is a result of our collective work with Governor Wolf, city officials, and local advocates,” said state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chair of the PLBC. “As a member of the School Safety and Security Committee, I hope to bring more resources to Philadelphia to address gun violence in and around our schools.” “It is no secret there is a gun violence epidemic in the commonwealth. From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and all points in between, shootings are taking lives one or two at a time, destroying our communities and families,” said state Rep. Chris Read more

 

Warren introduces bill to require near-universal background checks in Pa.

(Sep 05, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 5 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, today announced he has introduced H.B. 2621, which would expand background check requirements in Pennsylvania by eliminating all exceptions to the requirement except for family transfers. Currently, the Crimes Code requires background checks for the sale of all handguns, or sales conducted by a federally licensed dealer. Background checks are not required for the private sale of “long guns.” “I’ve introduced this legislation to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect the residents of the commonwealth by preventing unauthorized people from purchasing firearms,” Warren said. “As a representative and vice-chairman of the House PA SAFE Caucus I have always been – and will continue to be – an advocate for legislative initiatives that respect the Second Amendment while promoting gun safety.” House Bill 2621 contains language from H.B. 1010, introduced in the previous session, including the elimination of most background check exemptions or the “gun-show loophole” and would require that all firearm sales, regardless of the barrel length, be conducted in front of a licensed importer, manufacturer, dealer or county sheriff. Private sales currently exempted from background checks include “any shotgun with a barrel length of less than 18 inches, any rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches or any firearm with an Read more

 

Krueger-Braneky, Moms Demand Action, Domestic Abuse Project advocate for H.B. 2060

(Sep 04, 2018)

MEDIA, Sept. 4 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky today in the County Government Center joined Moms Demand Action, Domestic Abuse Project of Delaware County and other elected officials to call for the passage of H.B. 2060, legislation to tighten the time frame and manner in which court-ordered defendants in domestic violence cases have to surrender their firearms. Under the legislation, those convicted of a domestic violence crime would have 48 hours to give up their firearms to a law enforcement agency, a federally licensed firearms dealer or their lawyer. Under current law, people convicted of domestic violence have 60 days and can give their guns to a relative, friend or neighbor. “Statistics show that a woman is five times more likely to be shot and killed by a domestic abuser when guns are present, so the stakes are high to get this bill signed into law,” said Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware. “The Senate unanimously passed legislation nearly identical to House Bill 2060, so I don’t see any reason this should not be the first bill on the agenda when we return to session later this month. “This legislation can turn victims into survivors by giving them the confidence to file a PFA, because they can know that the guns in the household will be more safely addressed. “One more life lost due to inaction is one too many. The speaker of the House and the House majority leader need to schedule a floor vote this Read more

 

Briggs appointed Democratic chairman of the House Health Committee

(Aug 27, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 27 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, was appointed as Democratic Chairman of the House Health Committee on Monday. “From health insurance to the opioid crisis, health care matters are some of the most challenging and important issues we face today,” said Briggs. “I’m honored to be named to lead this committee, and I look forward to working to better ensure a healthy future for all Pennsylvanians.” Briggs noted that the committee considers a variety of health-related matters, such as women’s access to reproductive health care, regulations related to opioid prescribing guidelines, public health emergencies, cancer screening programs and more. “I’m committed to making sure everyone in Pennsylvania has access to quality health care, and as chairman, I’ll work to advance legislation that promotes public health and wellness,” said Briggs. “Tim is a fantastic lawmaker because he studies the issues closely, listens to competing views and keeps an open mind,” said Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. “He’s the kind of person the House of Representatives needs to guide our committee work in a productive direction instead of partisan bickering.” Briggs was first elected to represent the 149 th Legislative District in 2008. He also serves on the House Appropriations, Judiciary, Transportation, Professional Licensure and Tourism and Recreational Read more

 

Frankel: 'Junk' insurance products are latest Trump attack on the Affordable Care Act

(Aug 02, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 2 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, today issued the following statement on the federal government’s final rule on the expansion of short-term, limited duration health plans: “I am dismayed and deeply troubled by the Trump administration’s latest attack on consumers and the Affordable Care Act. The president’s plan to expand the availability of short-term, limited duration junk health plans which fall far short of the insurance protections currently required under the ACA, is both dangerous and extremely short-sighted. “These plans, which had previously only been available for up to three months, would now be available for a full 12 months with the option to renew for additional years. We know that such plans are not required to cover essential health benefits, prescription drugs or preventative care, and are unlikely to cover a consumer’s pre-existing conditions. “It cannot be stated loudly enough: short-term, limited duration plans that don't cover essentials are not a meaningful substitute for major medical health-care coverage and should not be marketed as a realistic alternative. “I look forward to working closely with the Wolf administration and Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman, as well as my colleagues in the General Assembly, to do whatever is in our power to educate consumers about these dangerous short-term plans and mitigate any damage they may Read more

 

PLBC helps Cheyney University establish new research institute

(Jul 31, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, July 31 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, has released the following statement on today's announcement of a new research institute at Cheyney University: "I would like to congratulate Cheyney University on its establishing the Institute for the Contemporary African American Experience at the campus. The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus was pleased to play the leading role in bringing the Starbucks Foundation and Cheyney together, and we hope this partnership will benefit everyone involved. "Today's announcement is a welcome one as it shows that Cheyney, our nation's first historically black college or university (HBCU), and a jewel of the Pennsylvania system, is on its way back to prominence. This Institute for the Contemporary African American Experience will serve as not only a think tank for the African American community but also a place where implementable solutions are developed. What better place than Cheyney for such an endeavor? "Thank you to our Governor Tom Wolf, Chair of the Board of Governors for the State System Cynthia Shapira, Chair of the Council of Trustees Robert Bogle, Cheyney President Aaron Walton and all other partners and supporters. Most importantly, thank you to the students, faculty, staff and alumni who have never given up on Cheyney University, a university that will not die, for its value in the African American community and the Read more

 

The SCOTUS Janus decision threatens ALL workers and their families

(Jun 27, 2018)

Today's Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 threatens worker rights and all working families. The ruling chips away at the ability of working people to join together in strong unions to advocate for themselves and their fellow workers. For working men and women, real freedom and "right to work" should mean the right to earn fair pay for your hard work so you can support you family, and the freedom to not have to struggle paycheck to paycheck to live and retire with dignity. The National Right to Work Foundation is part of a network funded by corporate billionaires who are trying to use Congress, state legislatures and the courts to rig the system against working people. For decades, these wealthy special interests have used their massive fortunes to gain influence in government and erode the gains working people have made over the past 75 years -- gains like the 40-hour work week, fair wages and overtime pay, and safe workplaces. Now these wealthy special interests have convinced the highest court in the land that it's OK to undermine unions in order to undercut those worker gains. That's why it's time for responsible leaders to stand up for working people, their rights and their families. It's why working families are the foundation of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus' Plan for PA. The Plan for PA is focused on strengthening working people and the middle class, not CEOs and the 1 percent. The Plan for PA Read more

 

Harris’ ‘clean slate’ passes in the Senate, heads to governor’s desk

(Jun 22, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 22 – A bill that would give people with low-level, nonviolent criminal records an opportunity to have their record sealed from public view is now awaiting Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature after passing in the Senate, said state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila. The Senate voted 49-0 in favor of House Bill 1419 , which Harris introduced with Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, last year. “I’m pleased to see real and meaningful change happening in Pennsylvania,” Harris said. “This legislation will help fix many inefficiencies and inequities of the criminal justice system in our commonwealth, by clearing the darkness, shining a light and creating a path to do what is right for our people. There’s still work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction. I look forward to the governor’s signature in the upcoming weeks.” Harris added Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long from the Philadelphia Eagles along with former Eagles player Torrey Smith were very supportive of H.B. 1419. Harris was instrumental in passing Act 5 of 2016, which provides a process for sealing non-violent misdemeanors, but requires that former offenders file a sealing petition with a court. Under H.B. 1419, though, no action would be needed by former offenders to automatically seal their records. The legislation proposes the following structure for sealing records: Non-violent misdemeanor convictions – sealing would occur after a Read more

 

Legislative package would help incarcerated women, parents in Pa.

(Jun 21, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., and colleagues today unveiled a package of legislation that would help incarcerated women and parents in Pennsylvania. "I'm glad that we're having vital, bipartisan discussions about criminal justice reform. I think it's crucial for those discussions to include women and girls of color," said Cephas, chairwoman of the Women and Girls of Color Subcommittee of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. "Women are the fastest-growing segment of the incarcerated population. Since 1985, the rate of incarcerated women has increased at nearly double the male rate. The ACLU reports that African-American women and women of color are significantly overrepresented in the prison population. African-American women are 30 percent of incarcerated women in the United States, but only 13 percent of the female population. In addition, Hispanic women are 16 percent of incarcerated women but only 11 percent of all women in the U.S." Cephas plans to introduce a bill to create a Women and Girls Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. "I believe this would aid the commission in its work as it specifically relates to research and programs that will have a direct impact on women and girls." Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the PLBC, said, “This package of legislation would help support incarcerated women in the commonwealth’s prison Read more

 

Matzie: Bill would create commission to review impact of potential plant closures

(Jun 19, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 19 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today announced he will introduce legislation that would create a commission to review the potential adverse impacts of deactivating coal and nuclear electric plants before making decisions on whether to close those plants. Matzie, co-chairman of the House Nuclear Energy Caucus, said the proposed commission would make decisions on deactivations only after hearing from state and local government officials, affected employees, business owners and other stakeholders. “Over the last several years, we have witnessed the closing of a record number of Pennsylvania-based coal and nuclear electric plants,” Matzie said. “But no entity exists to examine the negative impacts ahead of time. These closings affect local economies, they affect electric reliability and they affect the environment. “What’s worse, there’s no requirement to give any sort of notice to the workers whose livelihoods are changed forever by the decision to close. We need to have a level of input and oversight. This legislation would provide employee protections such as minimum requirements for severance payments and the continuation of health care benefits. So it is not just industry focused, but worker focused as well.” Matzie said the proposed legislation also would require the owner of a coal fired plant to remediate the facility and the surrounding area in order to receive approval to Read more

 

Matzie, others meet with PIAA on leveling the playing field in public-private school sports competitions

(Jun 18, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 18 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, and fellow members of the Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee heard testimony this morning from the director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athlete Association – the state’s governing body for high school athletics – and others to address concerns that private schools have an unfair advantage over public schools under the current state playoff system – particularly when it comes to high school basketball and football. A central topic: how to deal fairly and effectively with situations in which students transfer schools. PIAA rules prohibit student athletes from transferring for athletic reasons. While the rules are designed to prevent abuses of the system – such as when a student moves to a school to compete in playoffs and then moves back – Matzie noted that many students transfer for legitimate socio-economic, safety or family-related reasons. “Every case is different,” Matzie said. “We need to consider those circumstances.” PIAA recently tightened the rules to mandate that if a student transfers during the season, he or she must sit out 21 days before becoming eligible to complete in PIAA-sanctioned events. And if a student is eligible to participate in 50 percent of a season at one school, he or she would not be eligible to play that season at the transfer school. But problems persist. As one charter school representative Read more

 

McClinton motion delays vote on sentence risk assessment tool

(Jun 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today lauded the vote by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to postpone a move on the controversial sentence risk assessment tool. McClinton, who serves on the commission, made the motion to delay the vote after receiving several pieces of testimony against implementing the tool. The commission voted unanimously to postpone any action. The General Assembly mandated the commission to adopt a sentence risk assessment instrument to serve as an aid in the sentencing process in an effort to reduce the prison population. It would provide judges with facts and information to ensure a defendant receives the proper punishment while indicating if they need help, such as a drug treatment program. McClinton said she believes the risk assessment tool is unfair because it would adversely impact people of color. “During three public hearings, including one in Philadelphia where 33 people testified, we heard from citizens, the Philadelphia Bar Association and advocate groups opposing the sentence risk assessment tool because of its racial implications,” McClinton said. “We cannot allow a judge to put someone in a box when they have a family to support and bills to pay. They should be granted another chance to put their best foot forward and work to become a productive member of society. “I am pleased the commission decided to take a step back, digest and evaluate the comments Read more

 

PLBC lauds commission’s delay on risk assessment tool vote

(Jun 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement after the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing voted to postpone action on the sentence risk assessment tool: “I applaud the members of the commission for delaying their action to vote for a tool that is in no way a crystal ball of predicting whether a convicted offender will commit another crime after they have served their sentence,” said state Rep. Jordan Harris, chairman of the PLBC. “A tool of predictability has no place in the criminal justice system, especially in a program that could end badly for citizens of this commonwealth, particularly people of color. There is certainly no predictability to the degree of accuracy of this tool as a result, so we will continue to see bias against young black males who are incarcerated at a nine-to-one ratio than other races.” “As a former public defender in Philadelphia, I always encouraged judges to sentence the individuals who were in front of them. I often reminded these jurists that "sentencing guidelines" are simply "guidelines," state Rep. Joanna McClinton said. “Computer statistics should not determine one's sentence because they cannot accurately predict one's ability to be rehabilitated, make positive changes and be properly punished. I do not want to interfere with a judge's ability to fairly administer justice and will not be voting to Read more

 

Davis bills will address water shutoff risk

(Jun 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, announced today that he will introduce legislation to combat problems that can place commonwealth residents in jeopardy of unexpected water shutoffs. Davis’ legislation would target situations in which a single water meter serves multiple units in a housing complex. The legislation would also permit regulation of homeowner associations that collect money from individual housing units and pay water or sewer bills on their behalf. “No resident should ever have to wonder if their tap water will be turned off because of the irresponsible actions of a third party,” Davis said. “Pennsylvanians should not have to face the kind of water security questions that plague residents of Third World countries.” Davis drafted the legislation in response to a recent situation in which residents of a Clairton housing complex lost tap water for about six hours after a utility suspended their service without warning for nonpayment. The homeowners’ association for the complex – which had just one water meter for several hundred units – was supposed to collect money from individual units to pay their water and sewer bills. A company that owned many of the units failed to pay its fair share and declared bankruptcy, forcing the association into bankruptcy, as well. The problem has been compounded by the challenge of collecting payments from units that are not separately metered. Read more

 

Solomon champions quality child care in Pa.
Oct 30, 2018

Senior prescription program expanded to help more people
Oct 23, 2018

Bipartisan grandparents raising grandchildren legislation signed into law
Oct 23, 2018

Pennsylvania receives extension for REAL ID
Oct 11, 2018

In wake of town hall, Burns files bipartisan legislation seeking justice, protections for childhood sexual abuse victims
Sep 19, 2018

Davis, Policy Committee examine child custody issues
Sep 17, 2018

PLBC applauds state funding for gun violence reduction initiatives
Sep 07, 2018

Warren introduces bill to require near-universal background checks in Pa.
Sep 05, 2018

Krueger-Braneky, Moms Demand Action, Domestic Abuse Project advocate for H.B. 2060
Sep 04, 2018

Briggs appointed Democratic chairman of the House Health Committee
Aug 27, 2018

Frankel: 'Junk' insurance products are latest Trump attack on the Affordable Care Act
Aug 02, 2018

PLBC helps Cheyney University establish new research institute
Jul 31, 2018

The SCOTUS Janus decision threatens ALL workers and their families
Jun 27, 2018

Harris’ ‘clean slate’ passes in the Senate, heads to governor’s desk
Jun 22, 2018

Legislative package would help incarcerated women, parents in Pa.
Jun 21, 2018

Matzie: Bill would create commission to review impact of potential plant closures
Jun 19, 2018

Matzie, others meet with PIAA on leveling the playing field in public-private school sports competitions
Jun 18, 2018

McClinton motion delays vote on sentence risk assessment tool
Jun 14, 2018

PLBC lauds commission’s delay on risk assessment tool vote
Jun 14, 2018

Davis bills will address water shutoff risk
Jun 14, 2018