Boyle’s prisoner transport vehicle bill signed by governor

(Jul 12, 2016)

HARRISBURG, July 12 – A bill giving emergency vehicle designation to Philadelphia Prison System prisoner transport units sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila./Montco., was signed into law by Governor Wolf on Friday, July 8. "My bill, H.B. 898 , is important because this designation allows prisoner transport units to operate using flashing lights when transferring prisoners," Boyle said. "There is no doubt this will reduce risks associated with prisoner transfers." Due to the vast State Road prison complex, prisoners are transported across Northeast Philadelphia every day. All of these transfers can potentially lead to problems if there are traffic issues or one of the prisoner transport units gets into an accident. Boyle explained that prison transports are subject to high-volume traffic, which poses a risk when moving prisoners from location to location. Also, the complex infrastructure of the City of Philadelphia makes it necessary for prisoner transport units to have a clear path to facilities. The bill also allows high ranking fire department officials, such as a fire chief or assistant in chief, to use flashing lights when responding to emergencies in both fire department and privately-owned vehicles. "I am thrilled that this bill is finally a law because it will definitely make Philadelphia’s streets safer," Boyle said. ### Read more

 

2016-17 Fiscal Year Budget first in five years to cover costs

(Jun 30, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D- Lancaster, released the following statement following the passage of the 2016-17 Fiscal Year Budget: “This is the first budget in five years, assuming we can get the revenue, which does not increase the structural budget deficit. While it doesn’t reduce the existing deficit, at least it doesn’t continue the practice of spending more than we have in the state coffers. “I still have some concerns including the practice of stealing money from the Motor License Fund, a total of $814 million this year. This budget increases money to basic education, but does not solve the problems of inequity in funding those schools. It removes some people with disabilities off of waiting lists for services; however, there is still a five year waiting list for people hoping to access services. Can you imagine if we ran other parts of our government this way? “I challenge those who refused to support this budget with the excuse that they wanted more cuts to propose what specifically they would like to cut and not just rely on the blanket statement of identifying ‘waste, fraud and abuse’. Propose specifically which classes they’d like to cut from school curriculum, how many prisoners to let out of jail or how many seniors to kick out of nursing home care facilities. The frivolous claim to find dollars where they do not exist is simply not enough and has not been enough for Read more

 

Snyder: Budget not ideal, but a solid step forward for Pennsylvania

(Jun 30, 2016)

Rep. Pam Snyder reports that a 2016-17 spending plan sent to the governor is a workable compromise on key issues such as education funding, taxes, human services and funding programs and services to counter the opioid addiction epidemic. Rep. Snyder said the $31.6 billion plan features an additional $250 million investment in education, with $200 million more for basic education, $25 million more for pre-K, $5 million more for Head Start and $20 million more for special education. Read more

 

Longietti will vote to support basic, special and higher education

(Jun 30, 2016)

State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, will vote tonight to pass S.B. 1073, the general appropriations bill for Pennsylvania’s fiscal year that begins tomorrow. “This budget represents a true compromise between Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, and Governor Wolf’s office,” Longietti said. “It provides a solid investment in our education system, including basic, special and higher education, without a broad-based tax increase that hits our working families hardest.” Read more

 

Pashinski urges Senate action to help grandparents raising grandchildren

(Jun 27, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, today held a Capitol news conference to request the Senate move on his bill that would help benefit grandparents who are the sole caregivers of their grandchildren in Pennsylvania. House Bill 662, which has been in the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee for more than a year, would create a Kinship Navigator Pilot Program to determine the needs of kinship caregivers, focusing on grandparents raising grandchildren, and assess the feasibility of establishing a statewide Kinship Navigator Program. Pashinski said there are more than 240,000 children in Pennsylvania who are being taken care of by family members. Of those children, 191,000 are being raised by 80,000 grandparents. "These grandparents face many challenges raising their grandchildren including no support network, no access to legal service or direction to service organizations, and no information on relief funds and rehabilitation services for grandparents and grandchildren," he said. "On average, it costs $27 a day to keep a child in foster care in Pennsylvania, which adds up to nearly $2 billion a year. The grandparents who are raising their grandchildren are saving the taxpayers serious money, so these grandparents deserve some reasonable assistance." Pashinski said he has provided a resource on his legislative webpage ( www.pahouse.com/Pashinski ) that provides links to resources and information on Read more

 

Rep. Bizzarro: Opioid crisis requires immediate legislative action

(Jun 24, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 23 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today joined Gov. Tom Wolf and a large group of bipartisan legislators at a Capitol news conference to detail upcoming work to combat Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis. “Unfortunately, opioid and heroin addiction are ravaging communities in every part of the commonwealth,” Bizzarro said. “Pennsylvanians of all races, religions and incomes are affected. If we don’t act now, a situation that’s already pretty dire will get even worse.” In the Rotunda, the governor, along with House leaders, announced the possibility of a special legislative session in the fall to prompt further action on the opioid crisis, in addition to several joint House Democratic and Republican Policy Committee hearings focused on the issue throughout the summer. The governor also outlined the recommendations from the Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation. A pair of legislative recommendations, H.B. 1737 and H.R. 590 , recently passed the House. Other recommendations include requiring doctors and pharmacists to attend three hours of opioid and addiction-related training before obtaining relevant licenses and requiring insurance plans to provide access to abuse-deterrent opioid drugs. “It’s heartbreaking to hear from people in our communities who’ve lost loved ones to this growing epidemic,” Bizzarro said. “The legislature has taken Read more

 

Kinsey: Opioid epidemic at critical stage

(Jun 24, 2016)

State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., joined Gov. Tom Wolf and House leaders for a Capitol news conference to highlight details of a joint effort to combat the opioid and heroin crisis across Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Matzie: Bipartisan effort is our only option in ending opioid crisis

(Jun 23, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 23 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, joined Gov. Tom Wolf and a group of bipartisan legislators today for a Capitol news conference to highlight details of a joint effort to combat the opioid and heroin crisis in the state. In the Rotunda, Democratic Leader Frank Dermody joined Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, Majority Leader David Reed and other House members to announce the completion of recommendations from the Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation. “For the past several years, the General Assembly has been focused on the opioid and heroin crisis gripping our state,” Matzie said. “While there is still much to do to wipe this scourge from our communities, today represents progress in that fight. The recommendations from the task force will make a real difference in ending this crisis.” The Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation, which was created through the adoption of a resolution in 2014, made several legislative recommendations, including H.B. 1737 and H.R. 590, both of were recently approved by the House. Also announced at the news conference was a special legislative session focused on the opioid crisis, which is expected to be convened in September. “This issue isn’t a partisan one. Individuals from all across our state and from all walks of life have fallen victim to addiction,” Matzie said. “As a member of the Health Committee, I have seen members from bo Read more

 

Frankel, Sims hail bipartisan Pa. Senate action on nondiscrimination bill

(Jun 22, 2016)

State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Brian Sims, D-Phila., praised today's bipartisan, historic state Senate committee vote that sent a nondiscrimination bill to the full Senate. Read more

 

Bipartisan effort to pass wine and liquor modernization brings optimism for budget as deadline approaches

(Jun 10, 2016)

Bipartisan budget negotiations continued in Harrisburg this week with major action on legislation that will help close Pennsylvania’s budget deficit and increase consumer convenience with wine and liquor sales in the state. Gov. Wolf signed the wine and liquor modernization bill (H.B. 1690) into law on Wednesday. It allows wine to be sold in many more locations, including grocery stores that already sell beer, and permits the direct shipment of wine by licensed producers to consumers at their homes. The law also gives the Liquor Control Board more flexibility to set competitive prices, offer discounts and set state liquor store hours in ways that are more convenient for consumers, including Sundays and holidays. The measure is projected to increase state revenues by almost $150 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1. House Democrats are encouraged by the bipartisan, bicameral negotiations that took the wine and spirits convenience bill across the finish line. The General Assembly and Gov. Wolf must continue to work together to finalize a 2016-17 budget that is truly balanced , fixes the more than $1.5 billion deficit, pays the bills, supports human services and invests in education at all levels. If this week’s teamwork and collaboration is any indication, Pennsylvania will not be forced into a repeat of last year and will head down the path that starts to fix a broken Harrisburg and rightly puts people before politics. You can help move Read more

 

Sturla unveils plan that would generate $245 million annually for state budget and water-related programs

(Jun 06, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 6 – At a Capitol news conference today, state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced he is introducing House Bill 2114, known as the Pennsylvania Water Resource Act. The Pennsylvania Water Resource Act would enact a water resource fee on 4.4 billion gallons of daily water withdrawals in Pennsylvania that has the potential to generate $245 million annually, based on current usage rates. The bill would exempt the 1.5 billion gallons of daily water withdrawals for agricultural and municipal water usages. “The Pennsylvania Constitution makes it clear that Pennsylvania’s public natural resources belong to the people of the commonwealth. This bill ensures that entities that are currently using our water for free would pay a nominal fee that will be used to fund water-related programs and projects while freeing up money for the General Assembly to close structural deficits in the state budget,” Sturla said. Water withdrawn from commonwealth waterways in excess of 10,000 gallons a day is already required to be reported to the Department of Environmental Protection. House Bill 2114 would result in a charge of 1/100th of a cent per gallon if water is withdrawn for use and eventually returned to the source. Water withdrawn and not returned beyond 10,000 gallons a day would be charged 1/10th of a cent per gallon. Revenue generated from H.B. 2144 would be used to fund water-related programs and general governmental operations in the Read more

 

Snyder: Bill would boost local highway maintenance

(Jun 03, 2016)

Rep. Pam Snyder's House Bill 2123 would provide fairer reimbursements to localities maintaining roadways once part of the state highway system. The reimbursement rate, which hasn’t been increased in 10 years, would increase the maintenance payment from the state Transportation Department to $6,000 a mile from $4,000. Read more

 

Krueger-Braneky appointed to bipartisan panel to address massive Pa. school construction and renovation 'logjam'

(Jun 01, 2016)

State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, announced today that she has been appointed to the Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction Advisory Committee, also known as the PlanCon Committee, to work in a bipartisan way to review and make recommendations for a new PlanCon program. Read more

 

Sturla to unveil water fee bill to generate $245 million for state at Capitol News Conference Monday at 10:30 a.m.

(Jun 01, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 1 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that he will host a news conference to discuss his House Bill 2114 that could generate $245 million annually from a water resource fee for major water withdrawals in Pennsylvania. Weather permitting, the event will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, June 6 on the front steps of the Main Capitol Building . In the event of inclement weather, the event will be held in the Main Capitol Rotunda. Over 5.9 billion gallons of water are reported as used every day in the Commonwealth. Under the state constitution, Pennsylvanians own this water that is currently being used free of charge. Sturla’s legislation would use this revenue to fund state water-related programs, major watersheds, and an optional $3 billion Growing Greener bond. Cosponsors and stakeholders that helped to craft the legislation will attend. Media coverage is invited and encouraged. Read more

 

Productive budget discussions must include realistic proposals

(May 27, 2016)

House Democrats are eager to continue positive and productive discussions with Gov. Tom Wolf and Republicans in an effort to reach agreement on a 2016-17 budget that is truly balanced, fixes the deficit, supports human services and invests in education at all levels. But to continue to be productive, we must be realistic. Unfortunately, a group of Republican legislators this week broke from reality to put forward a report that is rife with untruths and inaccuracies. Taking discussions two steps back, these Republicans continue to mislead the public that Pennsylvania can pass budgets using short-term revenues, lapsed funds, phantom savings, improper cuts and other gimmicks. The so-called $3 billion in savings they allegedly found “under Pennsylvania’s couch cushions” is nonexistent. Most of the savings identified in the report are already accounted for in the proposed 2016-17 budget, and are necessary to meet the natural increase in the costs of maintaining current services and paying ongoing bills. Other savings identified in the report are wildly overstated or don't exist at all, such as $100 million (?!) in technology savings within CHIP, or $600 million in savings from pension reform that hasn't passed yet and that won't provide immediate budget savings anyway. Their large “savings” figure also includes an additional $1 billion cut from human services. This would further devastate state and local programs for senior Read more

 

DeLissio appointed to new Pa. Long-Term Care Council

(May 26, 2016)

HARRISBURG, May 26 -- State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., has been appointed to serve on the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council within the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. The Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Council was established by Act 64 of 2015 to replace the Intra-Governmental Council of Long-Term Care, created in 1988. This Long-Term Care Council will broaden the previous scope and address topics ranging from facility based care to home and community-based services. "I am pleased to play a role on this new council," DeLissio said. "Our state ranks fourth in the country with the percentage of citizens 65 or older and citizens 85 or older are the most rapidly growing segment of seniors in the commonwealth. Our current system is difficult for consumers and caregivers to navigate and one of my goals as a member of the council will be to ensure that the continuum of housing and services is as seamless as possible." The council will consist of 35 members, and focus on six different areas of concentration: regulatory review and access to quality care; community access and public education; long-term care service models and delivery; work force; housing; and behavioral health issues of seniors 60 or older. When the law was under consideration in the House last year, DeLissio amended it to ensure consumers and caregivers were adequately represented on the council so the state could benefit from their first-hand Read more

 

Browne and Schlossberg applaud passage of rear-facing car seat bill

(May 23, 2016)

HARRISBURG, May 23 – State Senator Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, and Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, today applauded House passage of S.B. 1152, which would require infants younger than 2 to be restrained in a rear-facing child safety seat while in a vehicle. Browne’s S.B. 1152, which is identical to legislation Schlossberg previously introduced in the House, is now on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf for signature into law. Read more

 

Legislature must fix the deficit so that we can focus on education

(May 20, 2016)

This week Gov. Tom Wolf rightfully vetoed Republican-sponsored legislation that continues to focus on school cuts rather than educational investment. Five years ago Republicans supported Gov. Tom Corbett’s $1 billion cut to K-12 schools. Those cuts created chaos in classrooms statewide. At the same time, Republicans pushed a new teacher evaluation system that is proving to have problems similar to the now-delayed Keystone Exams . Pennsylvania's first priority should be investing in its schools and hiring more teachers, not shortchanging kids by laying off their most experienced and dedicated teachers. It’s time to move forward, and time for Republicans and Democrats to come together on a state budget that puts a greater focus on educational investment from pre-school through college. Speaking of college, a new study shows public universities in Pennsylvania have been losing state funding at twice the rate of schools in other states. The Corbett cuts of 2011 contributed to that distinction and caused a loss of funding for various Pennsylvania universities of between 18 to 22 percent. As a result, the average tuition debt of college graduates in Pennsylvania is $33,264. Only graduates in New Hampshire face higher debt. High tuition rates and high student debt is hurting both access to education and Pennsylvania's workforce and businesses. The modest 5 percent increase in the 2015-16 budget still leaves state funding for most public universities in Read more

 

Bipartisan brain health/mental health checkup legislation introduced by Miller

(May 13, 2016)

On the heels of the fifth student suicide in the past six years in a nearby school district, state Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, has introduced legislation that would require a mental health – or brain health – check-up that would at minimum include a depression screening for each student in Pennsylvania by age 14. "We know that many people who develop a mental health issue go untreated, and this lack of treatment can have lifelong repercussions," Miller said. "Knowing this, we need to recognize that mental health is arguably even more important than physical health and we need to improve our early diagnosis capabilities to get those who need treatment the help they need to improve their quality of life." Read more

 

If we want a better Pennsylvania, we need a budget that will fund it

(May 06, 2016)

The House began legislative action on the 2016-17 state budget this week by positioning a bill to serve as the placeholder for the final negotiated plan. Pennsylvania still faces a significant fiscal crisis, and Democratic and Republican legislators need to begin working with the governor RIGHT NOW to fix it. This year, Republicans acknowledge that the budget deficit is real, and the number is big. Because the 2015-16 budget was another status-quo effort, the negative impact of the structural deficit remains. The Independent Fiscal Office's revenue estimates this week were a reminder that Pennsylvania cannot balance the budget with another round of one-time revenues and accounting gimmicks. Compounding the problem is the fact that Pennsylvania's huge structural budget deficit makes it impossible to pay the bills we already owe. There's nothing left over to restore funding for education, public safety and other important investments Pennsylvanians want lawmakers to make. Additionally, if we don’t work to fix the deficit and invest in what matters, credit rating agencies will continue to downgrade Pennsylvania's bond status. Much in the same way that the five-year disinvestment in schools forced local property tax increases statewide, credit agency downgrades will significantly increase borrowing costs for critical school and infrastructure projects – another BACKDOOR TAX INCREASE on Pennsylvania citizens. No one wants a repeat of last Read more

 

Boyle’s prisoner transport vehicle bill signed by governor
Jul 12, 2016

2016-17 Fiscal Year Budget first in five years to cover costs
Jun 30, 2016

Snyder: Budget not ideal, but a solid step forward for Pennsylvania
Jun 30, 2016

Longietti will vote to support basic, special and higher education
Jun 30, 2016

Pashinski urges Senate action to help grandparents raising grandchildren
Jun 27, 2016

Rep. Bizzarro: Opioid crisis requires immediate legislative action
Jun 24, 2016

Kinsey: Opioid epidemic at critical stage
Jun 24, 2016

Matzie: Bipartisan effort is our only option in ending opioid crisis
Jun 23, 2016

Frankel, Sims hail bipartisan Pa. Senate action on nondiscrimination bill
Jun 22, 2016

Bipartisan effort to pass wine and liquor modernization brings optimism for budget as deadline approaches
Jun 10, 2016

Sturla unveils plan that would generate $245 million annually for state budget and water-related programs
Jun 06, 2016

Snyder: Bill would boost local highway maintenance
Jun 03, 2016

Krueger-Braneky appointed to bipartisan panel to address massive Pa. school construction and renovation 'logjam'
Jun 01, 2016

Sturla to unveil water fee bill to generate $245 million for state at Capitol News Conference Monday at 10:30 a.m.
Jun 01, 2016

Productive budget discussions must include realistic proposals
May 27, 2016

DeLissio appointed to new Pa. Long-Term Care Council
May 26, 2016

Browne and Schlossberg applaud passage of rear-facing car seat bill
May 23, 2016

Legislature must fix the deficit so that we can focus on education
May 20, 2016

Bipartisan brain health/mental health checkup legislation introduced by Miller
May 13, 2016

If we want a better Pennsylvania, we need a budget that will fund it
May 06, 2016