Davis: Legislation would ensure families have access to water

(Feb 20, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 20 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, has introduced H.B. 2099, which would establish the Low-Income Water and Wastewater Assistance Program. The program would provide critical assistance to working families struggling to pay their water and wastewater bills. “Water is one of our most fundamental human needs, and it is essential for the health of our citizens,” Davis said. “Low-income residents working hard to provide for their families should not be forced to contend with safety and sanitation problems if their services are discontinued because of unpaid water or wastewater bills.” The program would operate in a manner similar to the existing Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program that provides assistance to low-income residents for home heating. Under Davis' proposal, households with an annual income that is below 100 percent of the federal poverty line would qualify for assistance payments ranging from $100 to $500. Households would be limited to one payment per program year. The legislation would also establish the Low-Income Water and Wastewater Assistance Fund, which would supply funding for the program. Davis, who was sworn in as a member of the General Assembly in early February, noted that the bill marks the first piece of legislation he has introduced as a state representative. “When I took the oath of office, I vowed that I would do everything in my power to help make life better for all Read more

 

Sturla expresses optimism for Wolf's 2018/19 fiscal year budget proposal

(Feb 06, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 6 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, released the following response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address for the 2018/19 fiscal year: “The governor’s budget address was positive and promising. I’m in full support of his efforts, which will help move Pennsylvania forward. “The governor’s proposed investment in job training and education provides an outlook for a brighter future for Pennsylvanians. We need to work with all levels of government and private enterprises to meet the workforce needs of current and prospective businesses to continue to build and energize Pennsylvania communities, starting with investing in pre-K through K-12 and post-secondary education. “Pennsylvania has the lowest minimum wage of our neighbors. Raising the wage will help working men and women better provide for their families while depending less on social programs, thus increasing revenues for education funding and workforce development. “We heard again this year about how a modest severance tax will help us make that happen. We’re the only state with natural gas resources that doesn’t impose a severance tax. This resource will help pay for the investment in education and our future. “Additionally, the governor proposed shrinking the size of the waiting list for services for individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities, and making contributions to the state’s rainy day fund. Read more

 

House passes Rothman/Matzie bill that would limit use of automatic plate readers

(Jan 23, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 23 – Rep. Rob Matzie is pleased to announce that the House today passed H.B. 1811, legislation that would limit the state’s use of Automated License Plate Reader Systems to law enforcement purposes only. ALPRs are systems that combine mobile or fixed high-speed cameras with computer algorithms that convert images of registration plates into computer-readable data. States, counties and local agencies use the data for law enforcement. Matzie, the prime co-sponsor of the bill along with Rep. Greg Rothman, R-Dauphin, said that while ALPRs provide vital data, controls are needed to protect motorists’ personal information. Matzie has previously voiced concerns over the sale of data collected by the state Transportation Department and has introduced legislation to prohibit third parties from selling such information. He fears that without proper regulation, data generated by ALPR systems may be sold to, or shared with, third parties, compromising motorists’ privacy. “I have been leading the fight to protect personal data -- in any form -- for many years,” said Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny. “While ALPR data is a valuable and necessary tool for law enforcement, the consequences of that data falling into the wrong hands can be devastating and can ruin lives. It is critical to protect that information.” In addition to limiting ALPR use to law enforcement purposes, the bill would provide that government entities may Read more

 

Conklin introduces bill for more oversight on congressional maps

(Jan 16, 2018)

CENTRE COUNTY, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, today announced a bill that would create a Congressional Redistricting Commission and provide guidelines for the congressional redistricting process. By amending the Pennsylvania Election Code, H.B. 2020, the Congressional Redistricting Commission would be established each year following a decennial census, as well as require the commission to adhere to redistricting principles created by state and federal law and court precedents. “The intent of my bill is to put integrity back into the process of redistricting and to insure that congressional districts are drawn by considering the fair and equal representation of the citizens of Pennsylvania rather than the political parties currently drawing maps,” said Conklin, D-Centre. Last year, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and others filed a lawsuit arguing that the state’s congressional redistricting that took place in 2011 was done in order to maximize the number of Republicans elected within certain districts. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is now expected to hear oral arguments regarding the case. Conklin said he would like to see Pennsylvanians have the authority to draw congressional maps, and leave partisanship out of it. “Over the past year, I have watched partisanship and gridlock in Washington, which have caused divisions in our nation and our commonwealth,” said Conklin, also the Democratic chairman of Read more

 

Frankel encouraged by the new agreement between UPMC, Highmark

(Jan 05, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 5 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, released the following statement regarding health care access in western Pennsylvania: "I’m encouraged by Governor Wolf’s announcement that UPMC and Highmark have agreed to terms to ensure consumers will continue to have access to critical, unique services in our region moving forward. "I’m grateful for the governor’s leadership in protecting consumer access to our community facilities and I’m cautiously optimistic that this will solve some of the access issues facing western Pennsylvanians as the end of the existing consent decree approaches in 2019. "It is my understanding that the agreement provides in-network access to one-of-a-kind UPMC facilities including Western Psychiatric Institute, UPMC Center for Assistive Technology, UPMC Center for Excellence for treatment of Cystic Fibrosis and other important facilities. "We know that both providers and consumers suffer when patients can’t see their long-time doctors and when doctors can’t care for their long-time patients. Communities also suffer when asked to double the number of specialty hospitals because access is denied at the ones that already exist. "I’m hopeful that this agreement will ease many of the burdens faced by consumers in western Pennsylvania and I will continue to monitor this situation very closely and do what I can to help ensure that Read more

 

Solomon’s veterans registry bill becomes law

(Dec 22, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 22 – State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., today stood by Gov. Tom Wolf as he signed Solomon’s legislation into law that will help Pennsylvania veterans receive federal, state and local benefits. House Bill 1231, now Act 69 of 2017, will expand the existing Department of Military and Veterans Affairs registry’s reach by bringing other agencies into the process of identifying veterans who stand to benefit. Currently, the DMVA manages an online registry that lists more than 10,000 veterans, but that number is still significantly less than the 894,000 veterans living in Pennsylvania. “This law will ensure the hundreds of thousands of veterans in Pennsylvania who are potentially missing out on the opportunities and benefits others are receiving through the DMVA registry get the help they deserve,” Solomon said. “It will make more people aware of the existing one-stop shop for our veterans and their loved ones that allows them to discover programs and services that they may not have previously been aware of. The law also will help veterans, their families and support workers get access to important benefits that support them.” Solomon added this bipartisan effort was first co-sponsored by state Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Clearfield/Elk. “This is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue,” Solomon stated. “Veterans served, and risked everything to protect our freedom and our country, so we all need to Read more

 

Applications for 2018 Pennsylvania House Scholarship now available online

(Dec 18, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 18 -- High school seniors interested in receiving financial assistance to help pay for college can now apply for a Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship. Each year the program awards four-year scholarships to two students preparing for post-secondary education. The scholarship is privately funded by individual and corporate donors; no tax or other public funds are used. The program is open to graduating high school seniors who are Pennsylvania residents with plans to attend a Pennsylvania college, university, or career school as a full-time student. Students must have attained a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average in high school in order to be eligible for a scholarship. Other factors taken into consideration for the awards are a student’s commitment to community, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities, and financial need. The scholarship program is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. The application is available through the foundation’s website at www.tfec.org . Once on the site, click on the “Scholarship” tab at the top of the page. Then click on any of the counties listed underneath or the link titled “any other county in the state of Pennsylvania” to access the scholarship information. The application deadline is March 1, 2018. The Office of the Chief Clerk of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives assists in facilitating the scholarship program. Read more

 

Women of the PA House, Senate take a stand against sexual harassment and abuse

(Dec 11, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 11 – Women of the Pennsylvania House and Senate joined Monday to take a stand against sexual harassment and abuse and discuss proposed legislation to better protect victims. “The recent stories from around the country and right here in the PA legislature show that sexual harassment and abuse have been overlooked for far too long,” said Rep. Margo Davidson, D- Delaware, chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “We’re here to say enough is enough. It is long past time that we step up to protect women and ensure that harassment is not only taken seriously, but that women feel safe enough to come forward as soon as possible. We also stand together to say that the culture, which appears pervasive, of sexual misconduct in the workplace and domestic abuse at home will not be brushed aside, swept under the rug or tolerated on any level at all, any longer.” Women of the House and Senate stood together Monday to discuss legislation being introduced that would better protect women and all victims of harassment and abuse. Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky is introducing legislation to create the #METOO PA General Assembly (Member and Employee Training and Oversight on PA General Assembly) Act. The legislation would ban non-disclosure agreements that mask the names of General Assembly members who harass, prohibit General Assembly members from using taxpayer funds to pay settlement costs, and provide for other reforms. “The Read more

 

Cruz urges vote on resolution to address committee chairman’s conduct

(Dec 08, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 8 – Following an outburst during a House committee meeting that was captured on video and has garnered nationwide media attention, state Rep. Angel Cruz is seeking to bring his resolution up for a vote to address the conduct of committee chairmen. In a letter written to House Speaker Mike Turzai, Majority Leader Dave Reed and Minority Leader Frank Dermody, Cruz expressed outrage over the behavior of state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, Republican chairman of the State Government Committee, and urged that his resolution ( H.R. 128 ) be moved out of the Rules Committee and brought to the full House for a vote. “Chairman Metcalfe is making a mockery of this great body and further demonstrating that he is unfit to serve as chairman of a committee which has oversight on very important civil rights issues,” said Cruz, D-Phila. During the State Government Committee meeting on Tuesday, Democratic Chairman Matt Bradford touched Metcalfe’s arm while trying to make a point about a bill being discussed. Metcalfe interrupted Bradford by saying, “Representative Bradford, look, I’m a heterosexual. I have a wife, I love my wife. I don’t like men, as you might. But stop touching me all the time.” Bradford is married to a woman and has four children. Cruz said he is calling for movement on his resolution because of this outburst and an instance last session in which Metcalfe prevented a member of his committee from speaking during Read more

 

House Democrats’ Plan For PA puts people first

(Dec 06, 2017)

Rep. Ryan Bizzarro joined House Democrats as they rolled out their Plan For Pa, a new way forward for Pennsylvania that emphasizes good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. “Putting people first means working for fair opportunities for all families,” Bizzarro said. Read more

 

Daley joins House Democrats to unveil “Plan For PA”

(Dec 06, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 6 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley joined a group of House Democratic lawmakers today to unveil Plan For PA, a comprehensive plan that puts people first, supports good jobs, fights for quality schools and promotes a fairer tax structure. “The Plan for PA is all about creating jobs, ensuring our educational system is as top notch as it can be, and really having a focus on working families,” said Daley, D-Montgomery. The House Democratic Plan for PA focuses on four components: A People First Plan for PA that protects the safety, health, financial security, and dignity and opportunity that every Pennsylvanian deserves, not just those at the top. A Jobs Plan for PA that attracts good jobs that support families, moves the economy forward, expands opportunities for working people, and protects the financial security of the middle class. A Quality Schools Plan for PA that gives every child access to a safe school and a quality education, and allows adults to gain the skills and training they need to do the jobs businesses are looking to fill. A Fair Taxes Plan for PA that eases the tax burden on working people and homeowners and prevents corporations and the wealthy from exploiting the middle class. “The idea of creating jobs and having really world class education from kindergarten through college or technical school, prepares our young folks for jobs of the future,” Daley said. “I think this is really important Read more

 

Davis joins House Democrats to unveil 'Plan For PA'

(Dec 06, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 6 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, joined a group of House Democratic lawmakers today to unveil Plan For PA, a comprehensive strategy that puts people first, supports good jobs, fights for quality schools and promotes a fairer tax structure. The plan involves several legislative initiatives sponsored among House Democrats. Davis is introducing a bill that would reinvest money made from Pennsylvania’s Business in Our Sites program into more shovel-ready projects. Sites targeted under the program are old or undeveloped properties that are planned and zoned for improvement. Initially, the Commonwealth Financing Authority allocated $300 million in BIOS grant and loan funds for businesses to improve sites and create jobs. Repayment on the loans is then used to fund more projects. Davis’s bill would allow the CFA to use its current portfolio as security to raise an additional $50-$100 million for even more projects. “Too many bills coming out of Harrisburg are falling tone-deaf on families out here in the real world,” Davis said. “Our plan is to put the focus back on families and the good jobs they need. Add that to other bills in the package focused on education and health care, and that’s how we improve things in Pennsylvania. It’s really that simple.” The House Democratic Plan for PA focuses on four components: A People First Plan for PA that protects the safety, health, financial Read more

 

House Democrats call for action on Plan for PA

(Dec 06, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 6 – A group of House Democratic lawmakers today said it is time for legislators to move forward with their Plan for PA, a comprehensive policy strategy that offers a stark contrast to the failed legislative leadership and policies currently hindering the commonwealth. Democratic state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro of Erie County, Leanne Krueger-Braneky of Delaware County, Joanna McClinton of Philadelphia/Delaware counties, Ed Gainey of Allegheny County, Mike Schlossberg and Peter Schweyer of Lehigh County, Kevin Boyle of Philadelphia and others joined at a Capitol news conference to contrast the priorities in the House Democratic Plan for PA with the legislative agenda put up by the Republican majority in recent weeks. “Putting people first means working for fair opportunities for all families,” said Bizzarro as he kicked off a morning Capitol news conference. “The majority Republicans have proven time and time again that they are incapable of leading and producing substantive policies that benefit all Pennsylvanians. While they prefer to continue to play hyper-partisan political games that are crippling our commonwealth, we intend to counter their incompetence with the Plan for PA and put Pennsylvanians back to work. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, wealthy, middle class or barely making it by, our Plan for PA delivers for you and your family, now, and for future generations to come.” The Read more

 

State lawmakers push bill to protect insurance coverage of contraceptives

(Nov 01, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 1 – State Reps. Leanne Krueger-Braneky and Kevin Boyle today unveiled a plan to protect access to birth control under health insurance coverages in Pennsylvania. The legislation, proposed by Krueger-Braneky, Boyle and Rep. Tina Davis, would require that all state-regulated insurance plans in Pennsylvania cover contraceptives and vasectomies. It would further require that plans provide coverage for any prescription or non-prescription method of birth controlled approved by the FDA. It also would: Eliminate most co-payments for birth control and vasectomies Enable women to receive 12 months of birth control at one time Lift pre-authorizations on intrauterine devices (IUDs) On Oct. 6, the Trump administration announced it would roll back the contraceptive coverage requirements within the ACA. The rollback allows any employer to opt-out of providing contraceptive coverage in its health plan based on religious beliefs or moral convictions. At least 2.5 million women in Pennsylvania depend on this coverage to access affordable, effective contraceptives. “Contraception is health care, and access to health care is a fundamental human right that is inextricably tied to economic mobility and freedom,” said Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware . “By making basic preventive care like the pill a costly luxury, the Trump administration is sidelining girls and women – whether they are students, hourly wage workers, Read more

 

Wolf signs Pashinski’s legislation targeting harmful and invasive weeds

(Oct 31, 2017)

Gov. Tom Wolf signed H.B. 790 into law yesterday, creating the Controlled Plants and Noxious Weeds Act that was introduced by Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, Democratic chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.“I’m extremely appreciative to Governor Wolf and my fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle,” Pashinski said. “This commonsense legislation will help our state be proactive as we do everything we can to prevent the spread of harmful weeds and protect our valuable land for agriculture and tourism purposes.” Read more

 

Pennsylvania budget may be done, but challenges remain

(Oct 31, 2017)

The 2017-18 state budget is finally completed, but Pennsylvania's ongoing fiscal challenges remain. Obstruction all summer -- primarily by the House Republican caucus -- forced Gov. Tom Wolf to begin the month of October taking steps on his own to pay the state's bills and protect taxpayers from backdoor tax increases due to another credit downgrade. There have already been six downgrades for Pennsylvania under Republican majorities in the legislature. The month of October ends with the legislature forced to send Gov. Wolf a budget balanced with significant amounts of borrowing and one-time revenue sources that won’t be there in future years. Responsible and predictable revenues would have allowed us to balance this and future-year budgets and begin to move forward on fixing our long-term fiscal challenges and lowering the increased costs to taxpayers that recent Republican budgeting strategies have created. House Democrats realize that the state needs a completed, balanced budget so our schools can stay open, you and your family continue to receive the protection, support and services you need, and our economy doesn't fall further behind. But this is not the budget we would have crafted. Our budget would have been based on sustainable, long-term revenues -- money that is available year after year so that our schools, communities and businesses aren't left constantly scrambling. A responsible budget is Read more

 

Frankel, health advocates: Obamacare open enrollment starts Wednesday, Nov. 1; Opportunity to get covered or find a better plan

(Oct 30, 2017)

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 30 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and health advocates today promoted the upcoming open enrollment period for Affordable Care Act coverage. " Even with the shorter time period this year and a steep cutback in advertising , open enrollment is still an opportunity for many Pennsylvanians to get covered or find a better plan. I don't want anyone in western Pennsylvania to miss out," Frankel said. Leslie Bachurski, director of consumer navigation at the Consumer Health Coalition, said, “The key things people should know about the Affordable Care Act are that the law has not changed and that open enrollment has been shortened to only six weeks. People have a lot of questions right now, and navigators are a great local resource for getting the facts straight. Our navigators are working hard to be available in the community during open enrollment and help the enrollment process run as smoothly as possible.” People can shop for plans on www.healthcare.gov or find a local navigator at https://localhelp.healthcare.gov . The Squirrel Hill Health Center hosted today's news conference. CEO Susan Friedberg Kalson said, "Squirrel Hill Health Center welcomes the opportunity to highlight the upcoming open enrollment period for ACA Marketplace insurance plans. In addition to providing comprehensive primary medical, behavioral health and dental services to all, regardless of insurance status or Read more

 

Boyle, Murt tout bill to strengthen hate crimes law in Pa.

(Oct 24, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 24 – Joined by Democrats and Republicans from the Senate and House, state Reps. Kevin J. Boyle, D-Phila., and Tom Murt, R-Montgomery/Phila., called upon the General Assembly during a Capitol news conference to pass legislation to strengthen the hate crimes law in Pennsylvania. House Bill 505, co-sponsored by Boyle and Murt, would amend current state law to expand the offense of ethnic intimidation to include malicious intention against the actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity of another person or a group of people. Senators Lawrence Farnese and Anthony Williams also have legislation ( S.B. 96 ) regarding hate crimes. Boyle said under H.B. 505, a crime motivated by hatred toward these protected classes would be graded one degree higher than already specified in law. “Pennsylvania’s lack of protections against hate crimes for LGBT communities and persons with disabilities is a national embarrassment. We remain the only state in the Northeast to not enshrine protections against hate crimes for these groups into law,” Boyle said. “I have introduced this bill for two consecutive sessions to add these protections but it has never been brought to a vote. Our legislature is failing its duty to protect the citizens of this commonwealth, and ignoring the constitutional rights of the physically and intellectually disabled, and the LGBT communities.” Boyle Read more

 

Davis, Snyder sex-offender bill aims to keep children safe near schools

(Oct 24, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 24 – State Reps. Tina Davis and Pam Snyder this week introduced H.B. 1882 , which would restrict convicted sex offenders from living near schools. Under the bill, a sex offender registered under Megan’s Law would not be allowed to live within 2,500 feet of a public, private or parochial school, pre-school or child-care facility in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania State Police report that there are 21,685 registered sex offenders living in the commonwealth, convicted of offenses ranging from possession of child pornography to rape. “Right now, there are no laws preventing offenders from moving in right next door to the school attended by your child, grandchild, niece or nephew,” said Davis, D-Bucks. “Our legislation aims to address this problem and keep kids safe at school and on their way to and from school.” “We must do all we can to protect our most vulnerable citizens from those with a proven record of predatory – and in some cases violent – behavior,” said Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington. “Our legislation simply mandates a buffer zone between an offender and a school or child-care facility to keep children safe. “It’s past time Pennsylvania had a law like this on its books.” Read more

 

Solomon, Charlton introduce Pa. Commission bill to plan for America’s 250th birthday in 2026

(Oct 16, 2017)

With less than 10 years until America celebrates the nation’s 250 th birthday in July 2026, a bipartisan team in the Pennsylvania House has introduced House Bill 1793, establishing the Pennsylvania Semiquincentennial Commission. This effort, led by state Reps. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., and Alex Charlton, R-Springfield, envisions the commission to plan, encourage, develop and coordinate the commemoration of the 250 th anniversary of the founding of the United States. “Our country’s semiquincentennial is a moment for all Americans and Pennsylvanians to engage in a shared undertaking of national unity, remembering what unites us American citizens while aiming toward a better tomorrow as individuals, families and communities,” said Charlton. In the legislation, the commission is expected to submit a comprehensive report that includes the specific recommendations of the commission to the governor and General Assembly by next September. “This is exceptional for our Commonwealth, as we led and became the first state in the nation to begin the very important planning of welcoming in the 250 th birthday of America,” said Solomon. The commission will coordinate planning with all federal, state and local agencies on infrastructure improvements and projects to welcome regional, national and international tourists. “For Pennsylvanians, it is both a privilege and responsibility to host the nation and the world on the anniversary of Read more

 

Davis: Legislation would ensure families have access to water
Feb 20, 2018

Sturla expresses optimism for Wolf's 2018/19 fiscal year budget proposal
Feb 06, 2018

House passes Rothman/Matzie bill that would limit use of automatic plate readers
Jan 23, 2018

Conklin introduces bill for more oversight on congressional maps
Jan 16, 2018

Frankel encouraged by the new agreement between UPMC, Highmark
Jan 05, 2018

Solomon’s veterans registry bill becomes law
Dec 22, 2017

Applications for 2018 Pennsylvania House Scholarship now available online
Dec 18, 2017

Women of the PA House, Senate take a stand against sexual harassment and abuse
Dec 11, 2017

Cruz urges vote on resolution to address committee chairman’s conduct
Dec 08, 2017

House Democrats’ Plan For PA puts people first
Dec 06, 2017

Daley joins House Democrats to unveil “Plan For PA”
Dec 06, 2017

Davis joins House Democrats to unveil 'Plan For PA'
Dec 06, 2017

House Democrats call for action on Plan for PA
Dec 06, 2017

State lawmakers push bill to protect insurance coverage of contraceptives
Nov 01, 2017

Wolf signs Pashinski’s legislation targeting harmful and invasive weeds
Oct 31, 2017

Pennsylvania budget may be done, but challenges remain
Oct 31, 2017

Frankel, health advocates: Obamacare open enrollment starts Wednesday, Nov. 1; Opportunity to get covered or find a better plan
Oct 30, 2017

Boyle, Murt tout bill to strengthen hate crimes law in Pa.
Oct 24, 2017

Davis, Snyder sex-offender bill aims to keep children safe near schools
Oct 24, 2017

Solomon, Charlton introduce Pa. Commission bill to plan for America’s 250th birthday in 2026
Oct 16, 2017