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Lawmakers introduce bipartisan occupational licensure reform

(May 22, 2019)

State Reps. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., Democratic whip, and Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, were joined by state Sens. John DiSanto, R-Dauphin/Perry, and Judy Schwank, D-Berks, to announce the introduction of bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate aimed at removing employment barriers for formally convicted people. Read more

 

Kenyatta introduces “Phillip’s Law”

(May 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 7 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today announced that he would be co-sponsoring legislation referred to as “Phillip’s Law,” which would provide for a study on school mental health professionals. “It is with a deeply saddened heart that I ask for support from my colleagues,” Kenyatta said. “An 11-year-old student from my district named Phillip committed suicide after enduring prolonged bullying from his peers. This tragedy has brought to light the fact that our school mental health professionals are not always available due to budget constraints and, in fact, there is no mandate for schools to retain mental health staff. We need to take an honest look at the number of mental health professionals in our schools and how we can provide the best access to our students to prevent tragedies like this in the future.” Kenyatta’s bill would require the Department of Education to investigate and report on the number of mental health professionals in schools in order to make recommendations on how to increase the number of school mental health professionals to meet nationally accepted ratios. Phillip’s family said that Phillip had tried to get the attention of the support staff at his school but was told that he had to wait. Afraid to miss the bus, and worried about his younger brother, Phillip left school and later that day took his own life. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Read more

 

House Democrats offering Beyond Safe Schools legislative package Wednesday in Capitol Media Center

(May 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – House Democrats today announced they will unveil a legislative package to address school safety measures that intend to strengthen supports that go beyond physical safety measures. The news conference will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 8 in the Capitol Media Center. The media and public are invited to attend. The comprehensive package includes 15 pieces of legislation that address supporting Pennsylvania educators, programs and support services aiming to help students and educators feel more safe and secure at school. School security, trauma-informed training, mental health screenings, bullying prevention and support staff ratios are all addressed. Rep. Dan Miller, Education Committee Democratic Chairman James Roebuck, Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla and other sponsors and supporters of the package will attend. The package is part of House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools, and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com . Additional information about the package will be available at www.pahouse.com/beyondsafeschools . Read more

 

Academic records would transfer timelier under Madden bill

(May 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 3 – State Rep. Maureen Madden is reintroducing legislation that would require school districts and charter schools to share student records with one another within 10 days of receiving the request. Read more

 

Roebuck and colleagues announce charter school reform package

(May 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 3 – Today, Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., alongside other House Democrats, unveiled a package of eight charter school reform bills designed to treat all Pennsylvania public schools – both traditional and charter – and their students equally under law. "I believe we can get bipartisan support for these bills and improve accountability in the charter school system,” Roebuck said. “Our goal is to treat these schools equally under the law, so that we can make sure tax dollars are being used efficiently.” Roebuck, Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, introduced H.B. 1330 that would end conflicts of interest in tax-funded payments for charter school leases. The seven other bills in the package are: H.B. 1329, introduced by Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne, would bring charter schools in line with school districts by imposing limits on the surpluses that charter schools may accumulate. H.B. 1332, introduced by Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, would limit charter school management organization fees to no more than 5 percent of tuition charged per student enrolled. Besides limiting overhead, Longietti said his bill would require much more disclosure of financial documentation from for-profit and nonprofit school management organizations. H.B. 1331, introduced by Rep. Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, would phase in a final recommendation of the Special Education Funding Commission to fix how Pennsylvania Read more

 

Krueger calls for infertility awareness in PA

(May 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – In a first-of-its-kind resolution approved by the House April 30, state Rep. Leanne Krueger calls for infertility to be recognized as a public health issue in Pennsylvania. The unanimously passed resolution, H.R. 253, officially designates the week of April 21 through April 27 as “Infertility Awareness Week in Pennsylvania,” echoing the National Infertility Association’s national week of awareness. “One in eight couples has trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy,” Krueger said. “Infertility does not discriminate based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or socioeconomic status; it’s an issue that any family can face, and it’s one for which help is available.” Krueger also noted her own difficulty in conceiving her son, who is now 7, describing the days of treatments and tests, many of which can be costly. “I was given the diagnosis of unexplained infertility,” Krueger said. “This diagnosis can be heartbreaking. It means that a doctor has confirmed that someone has a hard time getting pregnant, but they cannot figure out why and they’re not sure how to fix it.” Bringing awareness to infertility as a public health issue, she said, helps individuals and couples struggling to conceive cope and realize they are not alone. Krueger said anyone who has a documented issue with a healthcare provider or a question about healthcare Read more

 

House Steel Caucus leadership announce new U.S. Steel facility in Braddock

(May 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – State Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-Allegheny/Washington, the Republican chairman of the House Steel Caucus, and state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, the Democratic chairman of the House Steel Caucus, applauded the announcement made today by U.S. Steel to construct a new state-of-the-art and sustainable endless casting and rolling facility. The $1 billion investment at the Edgar Thompson Plant in Braddock, will be very beneficial to the steel industry in Western Pennsylvania and the Mon Valley. “I am extremely excited about the investment that U.S. Steel is making in the Mon Valley,” Kortz said. “The steel industry is vital to the economy in Western Pennsylvania and this new facility will help secure the future of manufacturing in the region.” “U.S. Steel’s commitment to build a new sustainable endless casting and rolling facility will benefit the steel industry and Western Pennsylvania for many years,” Ortitay said. This world-class technology will increase the ability to produce advanced high strength steel, while also improving environmental performance.” The steel industry is very important to Pennsylvania’s economy. According to a 2018 economic impact study commissioned by the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Pennsylvania steel industry directly employs 34,124 workers who earn $3.14 billion in wages and salaries annually. This equates to an average annual salary of $92,037, while Read more

 

Warren bill aimed at reducing flood insurance premiums passes House

(Apr 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 30 – State Rep. Perry Warren’s bill to create the Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force in Pennsylvania unanimously passed in the House of Representatives. This task force would be charged with combating rising premiums faced by owners of properties in flood zones. The task force would make recommendations on programs that offer premium discounts or incentivize local governments to support flood mitigation efforts, and spearhead necessary changes to the administration of flood insurance. Warren explained that flood zones can shift. Homebuyers initially may not be required to purchase flood insurance. Then, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency updates its flood maps, homeowners may find themselves in a newly defined flood zone. “Flood insurance can be a financial burden, as of course can being flooded,” said Warren, D-Bucks. “The insurance cost increases the overall cost of buying and maintaining a home.” Pennsylvania ranked eighth in the country for the most flood insurance payouts between January 1978 and March 2011, totaling $773 million, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. “Water and our waterways are great natural resources,” Warren said, “but they pose a flooding risk, and our communities here in Bucks County and throughout Pennsylvania will benefit from this task force and its efforts to mitigate both flooding and flood insurance costs.” Read more

 

Daley: State DEP invests in propane-powered fleet for Bimbo Bakeries

(Apr 26, 2019)

CONSHOHOCKEN, April 26 – The Bimbo Bakeries Conshohocken facility has been awarded $300,000 from the state Department of Environmental Protection to obtain a propane powered fleet of delivery trucks, state Rep. Mary Jo Daley announced today. The grant is for a fleet of 20 Class 5 delivery trucks covered under DEP’s Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants program. “From both an investment and environmental point of view, this is fantastic news for Bimbo Bakeries and our region,” said Daley, D-Montgomery. “The Wolf administration’s choice to invest here tells us that we’re doing the right things in Montgomery County, and that the public and private worlds can come together to do things like create jobs and reduce carbon emissions.” According to its website, the AFIG Program helps create markets for alternative fuels in Pennsylvania to enhance energy security. The program invests not only in alternative fuels, but the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles, fleets and technologies. It aims to best manage Pennsylvania's fuel resources to improve the environment, support economic development and enhance the quality of life here. Staff in Daley’s district office can help area residents and business owners locate and apply for a variety of state grant programs. Read more

 

Republican Dirty Dozen Threaten Public Safety

(Apr 25, 2019)

Imagine a world where you could commit any crime – even killing another person – but as long as you were the one who called the police and reported yourself, you’d walk away scot-free. That’s the world some corporate special interests are asking extremist Republicans to build for them – a regulatory Wild West where profits come before public safety and state regulators are told to stand down. We’ve seen too often what happens when corporations police themselves. The Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. The Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal. The willful misrepresentation by drug makers about opioid drug safety. The Boeing 737 Max. Although most corporations prioritize public safety and long-term success, it only takes one bad actor to cut the wrong corner in the name of quick profits to cause a tragedy. Despite the danger, some Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg are pushing their very own “Dirty Dozen” – five bills containing 12 proposals to let corporate special interests have almost anything they want even when public safety is put at risk. These bills would do things like: Let corporations escape penalties when their negligence leads to permanent harm or even death if the corporation is the one reporting the accident to the state. Put the burden of accidents and pollution cleanup solely on the taxpayers and let the corporation off the hook. Allow politicians in the legislature to eliminate any Read more

 

Daley, Policy Committee highlight the importance of unions at public hearing

(Apr 24, 2019)

PLYMOUTH MEETING, April 24 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the UFCW Local 1776 Meeting Hall titled, “Why Unions?” focusing on the role unions play in protecting workers’ rights. Daley requested the hearing to bring together her legislative colleagues from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and stakeholders to discuss the need unions play for workers. "Basic worker rights such as the 40-hour work week, workplace safety regulations, child labor laws and much more. It’s important that we recognize as the workforces evolve and times change, that we must keep up with the times and provide protections workers drastically need,” stated Daley. “Last year, CEO wages went up nearly 18 percent while worker wages stayed stagnant. Unions help to ensure that hardworking men and women are paid family-sustaining wages. When we allow CEOs and big companies to pay low wages, we’re giving them a free pass while their workers must rely on state assistance just to get by,” explained Sturla. “I’m happy to stand with Rep. Daley to support unions and workers who help boost Pennsylvania’s economy.” The committee heard testimony from: Gerald Oleksiak, Secretary of Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry; and a panel of unions including: Wendell Young IV, President, United Food & Read more

 

Freeman bill would permit extended participation in Main Street program

(Apr 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 16 – Communities would be allowed to extend their participation in the state’s Main Street program an additional five years, for up to 10 years, under legislation introduced by state Rep. Robert Freeman. Read more

 

Coalition of legislators unveils bills aimed at reforming police procedures

(Apr 16, 2019)

State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and PLBC members were joined by a coalition of legislators from around the state for a press conference to unveil a package of legislation aimed at streamlining police procedures and improving police-community relations at noon today in the Capitol Media Center. Read more

 

Regulations relax for craft breweries, distilleries under Schweyer bill

(Apr 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 16 – Craft distilleries and breweries would have consistent and expanded operating hours for sales at their tasting and tap rooms under legislation that passed the state House of Representatives unanimously today, according to the bill’s primer sponsor Rep. Peter Schweyer. Read more

 

Flynn bill would exempt Olympic winnings from taxes

(Apr 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 16 – The state House of Representatives today unanimously passed a bill that would exempt from state income taxes prize winnings and medals received for competing in the Olympic Games or Paralympic Games, according to the bill’s author, Rep. Marty Flynn. Read more

 

Lawmakers announce ‘Zero Waste PA’ package to address single-use plastics, litter and a ‘throwaway’ society

(Apr 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 10 – House lawmakers joined PennEnvironment today to announce a package of bills aimed at addressing single-use plastics, pervasive issues of litter and the various environmental harms caused by a "throwaway" society. Legislation in the “Zero Waste PA” package works to address issues created by a disposable society including single-use plastics such as straws, plastic bags and Styrofoam takeout food containers, electronic waste, funding Pennsylvania’s recycling programs and more. “We can no longer ignore the growing waste problem that is threatening our environment. My colleagues and I have introduced a package of bills that, together, address this problem from a number of angles,” said Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery. “By encouraging the use of more naturally biodegradable materials, addressing issues with the way we recycle, and finding ways to support environmentally friendly practices, we can help preserve our planet for future generations.” “Every day, unwitting Pennsylvanians are barraged with products that we’re expected to purchase and use, and then throw away. Only, there is no ‘away,’” said PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. “Instead, it ends up in landfills where it can cause water pollution, in incinerators that cause air pollution, or blowing around in our neighborhoods in the form of litter. Nothing we use for a few minutes should Read more

 

Snyder: State must delay planned changes that would adversely affect Medical Assistance recipients, seniors

(Apr 09, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 9 – State Rep. Pam Snyder was among several legislators who are urging the state to delay a plan that would mandate shared ride services for Medical Assistance recipients go through statewide or regional vendors instead of county or locally based services. Snyder, D-Fayette/Greene/Washington, was joined by House and Senate Democratic and Republican members today to provide details of their legislation. House Bill 986 and S.B. 390 would request the state Department of Human Services to suspend the plan until a thorough review is conducted by the Joint State Government Commission to study the impacts it could have on each county. “While we all want to save money, I’m not convinced this plan will do that,” Snyder said. “We do need to press the pause button. We need to see how this is truly going to impact people in Pennsylvania. It can’t be a cookie-cutter approach. What may work in Philly or Pittsburgh won’t necessarily work in Waynesburg or Uniontown or Washington.” Last year, the state Human Services Code included this transportation requirement as a way to reduce costs and improve efficiencies, modeling it after similar efforts in other states. “From 2011 to 2015, the Texas nonmedical emergency medical transportation program saw its costs quadruple, its complaints triple, and ridership decline by 50 percent,” said Richard Farr, executive director of the Read more

 

Healthy People, Stronger Economy

(Apr 08, 2019)

With the president leading a renewed push to dismantle affordable healthcare coverage in the United States, House Democrats are reinforcing a commitment to make sure people can always afford to see a doctor when they get sick. The “Healthy People, Stronger Economy” plan protects consumers even if special interests are able to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The plan contains four bills putting people first. Read more

 

Boyle legislation to ban business with nation of Brunei

(Apr 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 3 – As the nation of Brunei enacts a new law today that implements stoning or whipping to death under anti-LGBT laws, state Rep. Kevin Boyle is calling on the commonwealth to end any business investments with that country. “This new law is inhumane and violates international human rights laws. It is medieval and should not be tolerated by anyone,” said Boyle, D-Phila. “While we here in Pennsylvania certainly can’t change the laws in Brunei, we can certainly punish the nation for its abhorrent actions of discrimination by cutting investment ties with it and any businesses located in Brunei.” Boyle is currently seeking co-sponsors for his legislation that would require the Public School Employees’ Retirement System, the State Employees’ Retirement System, the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System, and the state Treasurer's Office to no longer invest in companies that do business with Brunei. “For humanity’s sake, we cannot stand idly by and be associated with countries that commit such acts of abuse. These places, including Brunei, create risk and undermine the value of Pennsylvania’s investments,” Boyle said. Boyle said his proposed legislation would amend Act 44 of 2010, known as the Protecting Pennsylvania’s Investments Act, which already divests commonwealth-funded investments in Iran or Sudan, or with any company from either of those countries. Read more

 

Rabb sponsors resolution to censure disorderly members

(Apr 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 2 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today announced his resolution to amend the House rules to create a motion to censure. “All members of the House are here to serve based on the trust that has been given to us by the public and our constituents,” Rabb said. “If a member decides to act without any sense of common decency, it should fall upon all of us in the chamber to demand that order is maintained and a certain level of respect is shown when we are doing business in the People’s House. Rather than waiting for a committee, I want to put the power back in our hands so that we may act swiftly to condemn the words or actions of a fellow member when they choose to dishonor this institution.” Rabb’s resolution would create a motion to censure a member of the House that would require a two-thirds vote to be effective. Currently, to censure a disorderly member, a resolution must be introduced and sent to committee, which can take time or even be used to block a resolution. Rabb continued that although the motion should be taken very seriously, the power to censure should be exercised under the direct control of the House as a whole, not up to a committee. “By requiring a two-thirds vote, we can ensure that the motion is not used aimlessly, and we can now provide for immediate action of the House to enforce its own rules,” Rabb said. Rabb said he plans to push for passage of his resolution next Read more

 

Lawmakers introduce bipartisan occupational licensure reform
May 22, 2019

Kenyatta introduces “Phillip’s Law”
May 07, 2019

House Democrats offering Beyond Safe Schools legislative package Wednesday in Capitol Media Center
May 06, 2019

Academic records would transfer timelier under Madden bill
May 03, 2019

Roebuck and colleagues announce charter school reform package
May 03, 2019

Krueger calls for infertility awareness in PA
May 02, 2019

House Steel Caucus leadership announce new U.S. Steel facility in Braddock
May 02, 2019

Warren bill aimed at reducing flood insurance premiums passes House
Apr 30, 2019

Daley: State DEP invests in propane-powered fleet for Bimbo Bakeries
Apr 26, 2019

Republican Dirty Dozen Threaten Public Safety
Apr 25, 2019

Daley, Policy Committee highlight the importance of unions at public hearing
Apr 24, 2019

Freeman bill would permit extended participation in Main Street program
Apr 16, 2019

Coalition of legislators unveils bills aimed at reforming police procedures
Apr 16, 2019

Regulations relax for craft breweries, distilleries under Schweyer bill
Apr 16, 2019

Flynn bill would exempt Olympic winnings from taxes
Apr 16, 2019

Lawmakers announce ‘Zero Waste PA’ package to address single-use plastics, litter and a ‘throwaway’ society
Apr 10, 2019

Snyder: State must delay planned changes that would adversely affect Medical Assistance recipients, seniors
Apr 09, 2019

Healthy People, Stronger Economy
Apr 08, 2019

Boyle legislation to ban business with nation of Brunei
Apr 03, 2019

Rabb sponsors resolution to censure disorderly members
Apr 02, 2019