Madden: Treat All Public Schools Equally

(Apr 19, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Maureen Madden stood with her House Democratic colleagues to unveil 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. Read more


Pashinski: Treat All Public Schools Equally

(Apr 19, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski stood with his House Democratic colleagues to unveil 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. Read more


Freeman announces $3.4 million Pennvest investment for Easton Suburban Water Authority

(Apr 19, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 19 – State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, announced today a $3.4 million investment through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority. The over $3 million low-interest loan would allow the Easton Suburban Water Authority, which serves parts of Northampton County, to replace approximately 1.6 miles of distribution piping, and install control valves, hydrants and service laterals. "The Easton Suburban Water Authority's existing distribution facilities serve a population of 96,000 and are in need of upgrading. It’s no longer able to supply reliable water pressure during peak demand or meet recommended fire flows," Freeman said. While consistent with land use and farmland preservation efforts, this project would provide a number of major advantages. Our area would benefit from the prevention of further deterioration within its water supply and protection against health hazards. It would also improve documented low flows for drinking water and fire flow uses. Pennvest provides low-interest loans for the design, engineering and construction of publicly and privately owned drinking water distribution and treatment facilities, storm water conveyance and wastewater treatment and collection systems. Read more


Pa. charter school reform bills' goal: Treat all public schools equally

(Apr 19, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 19 – House Democrats today 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 am hopeful we can pull together bipartisan support for these bills that improve efficiencies and accountability, which means that there will be more money available for education. Providing high-quality education to all Pennsylvania students should be the ultimate goal of our educational system," said Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, has introduced a bill ( H.B. 1199 ) that would end conflicts of interest in tax-funded payments for charter school leases. "The auditor general's office has identified millions of dollars in questionable charter school leases. We need to prevent these conflicts of interest up front, and we need to recover taxpayers' money to benefit students when there has been an inappropriate payment for one of these leases. Every dollar that goes to an inappropriate lease is a dollar that doesn't go to educate our kids," Roebuck said. Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne, introduced a bill ( H.B. 1198 ) that would bring charter schools in line with school districts by imposing limits on the surpluses that charter schools may accumulate. "My legislation Read more


Pashinski, Murt honor Ned McGinley

(Apr 18, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 18 – State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, was joined by state Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery, in honoring former Kings College head wrestling coach Ned McGinley today on the House floor. “Ned McGinley has spent nearly five decades providing a positive environment for his student-athletes to achieve both in the classroom and on the wrestling mat,” Pashinski said. “It’s a tremendous honor to be able to recognize Ned and the countless young men he has guided throughout his career at Kings.” McGinley, who has been the wrestling coach at Kings College since the program’s inception 48 years ago, retired at the conclusion of the 2016-17 wrestling season in February. During his 48 years as coach, both McGinley and his student-athletes achieved numerous awards and recognitions, including: Coached 45 College Division/Division III national tournament qualifiers; 18 NCAA Division III All-Americans; 20 Middle Atlantic Conference individual champions; Six Metropolitan Conference winners; Five National Catholic Invitational Tournament champions; 13 wrestlers with undefeated dual-meet seasons; and 32 NCAA Division III Scholar All-Americans. Prior to his retirement, McGinley was recognized as the longest-tenured active wrestling coach at the NCAA Division I, II and III levels by Jason Bryant, president of the National Wrestling Media Association. McGinley is a member of the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Read more


Schweyer votes to fund UC centers, help unemployed workers (WITH VIDEO)

(Apr 18, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 18 – The state House of Representatives today passed legislation that would provide emergency funding to restore some of the unemployment services lost in December after Senate Republicans refused to support the state’s call service centers used by jobless people seeking unemployment compensation, according to state Rep. Peter Schweyer. Senate Bill 250 would provide $15 million of temporary funding for the remainder of calendar year 2017. The bill passed the House 189-4. “Working people from across the commonwealth contribute a portion of their paychecks every payday to ensure that Pennsylvania has a robust unemployment compensation system. It is a fact of our American economy that some people will be out of work through no fault of their own. A downturn in the economy, outsourcing, robotics or a change in the marketplace could all cause an employer to lay someone off,” Schweyer said. “But it is widely agreed upon that no one should lose their home or go hungry over this. That is why we have an Unemployment Compensation program. This is one of the most important yet basic safety nets for all workers and their families. “It is true that the UC fund must have enough money in its account to support those out-of-work employees. But it is equally vital that we have the delivery mechanism needed to make sure that the benefit payments are actually made. To put it another way, what good is a savings account if there Read more


National Infant Immunization Week recognized by state House

(Apr 18, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 18 – The state House of Representatives today unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing April 22-29 as National Infant Immunization Week in the commonwealth, according to prime sponsor Rep. Peter Schweyer. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended immunization schedule for infants and children is designed to give protection early in life before likely exposure to several potentially life-threatening diseases, such as measles, polio and whooping cough. Currently, the United States has the safest and most effective vaccine supply in its history,” said Schweyer, D-Lehigh. Since 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and local health departments, national immunization partners, health care professionals and public officials have observed National Infant Immunization Week to highlight the importance of vaccinations and call attention to achievements in immunizations According to the CDC, routine childhood immunizations in one birth cohort prevents approximately 20 million cases of infectious disease and approximately 42,000 deaths, saving $13.5 billion in direct costs. In 2014, the CDC reported that, among children born between 1994 and 2013, vaccinations are expected to prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetime. Despite achievements in immunization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports Read more


Pashinski: Early Education Critical To Success

(Apr 13, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski attended a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to stress the importance of properly funding early childhood education programs in Pennsylvania. Invest now and reap the benefits later. As a former educator, Pashinski knows the power we give children by starting their education early. These results will benefit us all, especially our children. Read more


Schlossberg: Consumers need better internet identity protection

(Apr 13, 2017)

State Rep Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, plans to introduce legislation that would require an internet service provider or telecommunications company to notify consumers of its privacy and security policies in easy-to-read language. Schlossberg’s legislation is part of a six-bill online privacy and security package. "My constituents and all citizens across Pennsylvania need to know how their data or profiles are being used and sold and they need to be protected," Schlossberg said. "My bill would require ISPs and telecommunications companies to notify customers of privacy and security policies in easily understandable language." Schlossberg said Congress recently passed a bill that will reverse and block internet privacy rules that were passed by the Federal Communications Commission. These FCC rules were designed to protect consumers, but because of a federal administration reversal of opinion by the Trump administration, the personal information of millions of American can be sold by ISPs and telecommunication companies to advertisers and other third parties. In addition, under Schlossberg’s bill, any violation would be considered a breach of trust under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. "Privacy is a fundamental right. This includes privacy from government and big business intrusion," Schlossberg said. Nobody -- government or business -- has the right to profit off of somebody else’s Read more


Mullery announces grants for West Hazleton, Freeland schools to provide healthier meals

(Apr 12, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 12 – Students at two local schools will be eating healthier thanks to food service equipment grants, according to state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne. Mullery said West Hazleton Elementary/Middle School intends to use its $18,082 grant to purchase and install a convection steamer, while Freeland Elementary/Middle School was awarded a $6,767 grant to purchase and install a reach-in freezer. “Combined, this is nearly $25,000 coming into two of our area’s schools to help provide healthier food for the students,” said Mullery, D-Luzerne. “These grants will help make sure that they are getting good, nutritious and safer meals.” The grants come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, and are distributed through the state Department of Education using a competitive selection process. Priority is given to high-need schools where 50 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Mullery said 44 Pennsylvania schools received a total of $844,776 in funding under the program, to purchase equipment to serve healthier meals that meet updated meal patterns, with emphasis on more fruits and vegetables in school meals, improved food safety and to expand access to food. Criteria also taken into account includes schools in underserved areas and the age of existing food service equipment. Read more


Pashinski announces grant for Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School

(Apr 10, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 10 – State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, Democratic chairman of the House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, announced today a $20,130 Food Service Equipment Grant has been approved for the Hanover Area Junior/Senior High School to help the school upgrade kitchen equipment and infrastructure in an effort to serve more nutritious meals. “Nutritious meals promote health and wellness in our students, and that starts with the ability to properly prepare quality meals using more fruits and vegetables,” Pashinski said. “Students who eat healthier meals can focus and concentrate better in class, leading to higher academic achievement, which is a goal we should all hope to attain.” The Food Service Equipment Grant is funding distributed by the United States Department of Agriculture to eligible school food authorities. The funds allow school food authorities to purchase equipment to serve healthier meals that meet updated meal patterns, placing an emphasis on more fruits and vegetables in school meals, improving food safety and expanding access. Read more


Rep. Madden to introduce bill for timely transfer of students’ school records

(Apr 10, 2017)

State Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, said she plans to introduce legislation in the near future that would require schools to provide a timely transfer of students’ records to another school. "My legislation would protect students and their families regardless of their choice of school," Madden said. Madden said the legislation would include students who transfer to another public school, including charter schools, or a nonpublic school. "It is necessary that a student be provided with the continuity of their education program and my bill would ensure that a student's records are transferred within 10 days from the school’s request for those records," Madden said. The Monroe County lawmaker said the school would also need to evaluate students’ needs and place them in the appropriate academic programs, and provide a complete and accurate record of their academic and attendance records. "Record keeping is vital to an education system’s information cycle and school records are an important means of accountability because they provide proof and they also provide data that reveal students' learning performances," Madden said. Madden said school records help administrators and teachers make decisions about their students. Madden represents the 115 th Legislative District. Read more


Schweyer responds to Penn State trustee news

(Apr 05, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 5 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, issued the following statement regarding today’s Penn State trustee news. “News is breaking that Penn State trustee Al Lord, who recently said that he was ‘Running out of sympathy for 35 year old, so-called victims with 7 digit net worth,’ is withdrawing from the race to remain a member of the Board of Trustees. Assuming these reports are correct, it is a huge win for our Penn State community , the countless advocates interested in this situation and most importantly the victims of serial rapist, Jerry Sandusky. “My alma mater has done quite a lot to take responsibility for the victims who were assaulted at our campus. Penn State has done a remarkable job of modernizing reporting mechanisms, increasing awareness of sexual assault, investing in research and yes, changing the culture on our campus and in our commonwealth. Penn State has rightfully been commended for these actions. “It is clear that Trustee Lord’s statements were 100 percent indefensible and do not reflect on the values of Penn State students past, present or future. They also ran counter to the remarkable progress made by Penn State in the wake of the revelations of Jerry Sandusky. “I will not applaud his decision to leave because quite frankly anyone who has such a lack of empathy and refusal to take responsibility has no place in the leadership of my alma mater. But I will applaud, again, Read more


Pashinski, labor leaders call Open Workforce Initiative Package anti-worker, bad for Pennsylvania

(Apr 04, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 4 – Calling it part of a continued systematic assault on workers, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, joined labor leaders and fellow legislators today to call a package of bills known as the Open Workforce Initiative Package another anti-worker attempt to destroy unions and turn Pennsylvania into a “right-to-work” for less state. “This is a reintroduction of legislation that has been circulating for several sessions by people who simply aim to destroy Pennsylvanian workers’ ability to bargain and take care of themselves and their family,” Pashinski said. “As a government, we need to be putting the rights of hard working Pennsylvanians and their families first, not changing the rules to make it harder for workers to earn a fair wage or receive adequate benefits.” Pashinski was joined by fellow legislators, AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, along with representatives from the public, private and building trades sectors, including Tammy Geanangel, a 30-year member of IUOE Local 66; Dean Showers, president of United Steelworkers Local 6996; and Alison Ocmand, director of government relations of AFT PA. “There’s nothing right about so-called ‘right to work.’ It’s a sham pushed by deep-pocketed special interests to keep people’s wages down and help wealthy corporations and their CEOs evade responsibility,” said House Read more


‘Free’ tuition ads would be prohibited under Schlossberg bill

(Apr 03, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 3 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit public school entities from advertising “free” tuition or transportation and require them to disclose that instructional and transportation costs are paid for by tax dollars. Schools across the state and nationwide are using various forms of advertising to attract students to increase enrollment. However, some schools are referring to services and programs in their advertising as “free." “Taxpayers are paying for public schools. They deserve to be given credit for footing the bill,” said Schlossberg, D-Lehigh. Instruction and other programs and services at all public schools in Pennsylvania, including brick-and-mortar charter and cyber-charter schools, are taxpayer funded, just like at traditional public schools. To ensure a level playing field for all public schools competing for student enrollment in Pennsylvania, Schlossberg said the state should make sure all public schools tell the truth in their advertising about who is paying the bills. He said the requirement would be consistent with the Taxpayer-Funded Advertising Transparency Act (Act 90 of 2015) that says paid advertising by state agencies must include the phrase "Paid for with Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars." Read more


Schweyer Pushes For Statute Of Limitations Reform

(Apr 03, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Peter Schweyer spoke at a rally on the Capitol steps to highlight the long overdue need for reform of Pennsylvania’s laws affecting victims of childhood sexual abuse. Read more


April designated Alcohol Awareness Month

(Apr 03, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 3 – The state House of Representatives today unanimously adopted a resolution designating April as Alcohol Awareness Month , according to lead sponsor Rep. Peter Schweyer. “Alcohol use by Pennsylvania’s youth is extremely dangerous, not only to themselves but to society. Underage drinking is directly associated with traffic accidents and fatalities, violence, suicide, academic failure, alcohol poisoning and other destructive behaviors. Adolescence is a time of heightened risk-taking and our youth may not fully comprehend the consequences of drinking alcohol,” said Schweyer, D-Lehigh. “It is with this in mind that we need to raise awareness about alcohol abuse and take action to prevent it, both at home and in the community. We have a responsibility to provide minors with alternative opportunities and education to ensure no youth turns to alcohol for recreation and escape. “By drawing attention to the issue, my colleagues and I in the House of Representatives stand together with community organizations, business leaders, government agencies and our partners in the alcohol industry to raise awareness about the effects alcohol can have on our society when abused,” Schweyer said. Read more


Schlossberg to hold town hall meetings

(Mar 30, 2017)

ALLENTOWN, March 30 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg is inviting area residents to one of two town hall meetings where they will have the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns about state and local issues. “Town halls are a great way for me to learn about issues that are important to the residents and communities I represent at the state Capitol,” said Schlossberg, D-Lehigh. “We’ll likely cover the same topics at both meetings, so I’m hopeful that one of the dates will work for most people to attend.” The free events will be held: 7 p.m. April 13 at Muhlenberg College, Seegers Union, Room 111-112, 2400 W. Chew St., Allentown; and 7 p.m. April 27 at the East Side Youth Center, 1140 E. Clair St., Allentown. No registration or RSVP is required. Staff will be on hand to assist with state-related issues. For additional information, contact Schlossberg’s Allentown office at 610-821-5577. Read more


136th District receiving $296,000 in state funding

(Mar 30, 2017)

HARRISBURG, March 30 -- State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, today announced Easton and Hellertown Borough will benefit from a share in $296,000 in state funding awarded to the district. "This funding is great news for the city of Easton, and Hellertown Borough," Freeman said. "It is because of these grants, these entities can move forward on important projects for the benefit of our region -- focused on enhancing safety and quality of life." The projects and awards are as follows: The Greater Easton Development Partnership will receive $197,333 to make improvements to Easton Centre Square Park by removing specific physical features hindering circulation and to address federal Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues. Hellertown Borough will receive $98,667 to make improvements to the Dimmick Park play area to include replacement of outdated play equipment with new multi age-appropriate structures, Americans with Disabilities Act compliant paths and parking, a safety surface, and a sun shade. A rain garden and meadow area will be designed and planned to accompany a new underdrain system. The grants are funded by the Local Share Account, which receives gaming money generated by casinos. The gaming funds provided by the casinos also distribute approximately $790 million statewide, which on average equals to a $215 reduction in property taxes for Pennsylvania residents for their primary residence. The funding was approved by Read more


Mullery worked to secure over $2.25 million in Local Share Account Funds

(Mar 30, 2017)

State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, announced more than $2.25 million in grants that will help local governments and various organizations in Luzerne County. “These economic and community development projects are vital to people living in Luzerne County because they help to provide a better quality of life for families,” Mullery said. Mullery said he is pleased the state will provide the necessary financial support to help fund the projects. Mullery announced the following grants: • $490,000 to Hanover Township for multiple projects, including $240,000 for Lower South Valley Council of Government to buy road restoration equipment; • $250,000 to Hazle Township for the Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority for sewer overflow concerns and • $23,825 for the Association of the Blind organization to buy a van; • $300,000 to Larksville Borough for paving projects and ADA ramps on Greenwave Boulevard; • $478,198 to Nanticoke City for the Main Street revitalization program; • $39,500 to Nuangola Borough for the Nuangola Lake Pavilion Renovation Project; • $291,000 to Plymouth Borough for the Beverly Drive and Smith Rowe Stormwater Management Project; • $26,775 to Plymouth Township to buy a backhoe; • $33,939 for Rice Township for Ice Lakes dam retrofit project; • $183,725 to West Hazleton Borough for Fawn Drive reconstruction; and • $140,000 to Wright Township for paving in Walden Park. The Read more