Featured News

Madden, McNeill re-elected to Northeast Delegation leadership; Kosierowski added to leadership team

$1 million state grant benefits Building 21

(Jan 27, 2017)

ALLENTOWN, Jan. 27 – State Sen. Pat Browne and Reps. Mike Schlossberg and Peter Schweyer presented Allentown School District officials with a $1 million grant for Building 21 Allentown during a Friday news conference. “We are truly grateful to the city, our local legislators and the governor who worked together to secure the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding for Building 21 Allentown High School,” said Dr. Gary Cooper, interim superintendent of the Allentown School District. “To say that we continue to be overwhelmed by the support of Building 21 and our commitment to finding innovative pathways for learning would be an understatement. This funding provides us with the resources needed to renovate the building while we continue to focus on connecting our students to learning opportunities that allow them to grow and discover their individual paths.” The RACP funding, which had previously received legislative authorization, was released by Gov. Tom Wolf late last year. “Building 21, as part of the Allentown School District, provides another great opportunity for students who thrive in a more non-traditional, innovative-learning environment,” Browne said. “I am pleased that the governor and the legislature were willing to fund this Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program project in support of this alternative school that provides students with a more hands-on, small group education.” Building Read more

 

McCarter joined by legislators, advocacy groups to announce formation of Climate Caucus

(Jan 25, 2017)

HARRISBURG , Jan. 25 – Citing the very real threat posed by climate change, state Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, was joined today by legislators and advocacy groups to announce the formation of the bicameral Climate Caucus. “With a new administration at the federal level, it’s now more important than ever for legislators to collaborate and share information and ideas concerning climate change and how its impact will affect Pennsylvania,” McCarter said. “The Climate Caucus aims to provide a forum for discussion and to increase information so we as legislators can ensure we’re making informed decisions in the best interest of the environment and the people of Pennsylvania.” McCarter was joined by state Reps. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery; Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware; Bob Freeman, D-Northampton; Donna Bullock, D-Phila.; Chris Rabb, D-Phila.; Greg Vitali, D-Delaware; Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester; and Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. "There's indisputable proof that our climate is changing at a rapid and unsustainable rate, and there are ways to protect our environment for current and future generations while also encouraging job growth, such as in the fields of clean energy and energy efficiency,” Frankel said. Legislators were also joined by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, the Environmental Defense Fund, Penn Environment, PennFuture and the Sierra Club. “Our climate is in a fragile state Read more

 

Schweyer: Fund Our Unemployment Call Centers

(Jan 24, 2017)

At a rally in the Capitol rotunda, Pa. state Rep. Peter Schweyer urges his colleagues to pass legislation to fund the Unemployment Call Centers that help thousands of out-of-work Pennsylvanians get the benefits and assistance they need. With the December closure of the Allentown Unemployment Compensation Service Center, Schweyer is reintroducing legislation from last session to extend funding for one year for Act 34, the unemployment compensation system’s Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund. Read more

 

Mullery concerned with Corrections secretary’s testimony regarding potential closure of SCI-Retreat (with VIDEO)

(Jan 23, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 23 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, offered the following statement after a public hearing and rally that were held today at the state Capitol regarding the potential prison closings being proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. “Corrections Secretary John Wetzel’s testimony caused me great concern,” Mullery said. Mullery said closure of SCI-Retreat has a real impact: the loss of 400 jobs, annual economic loss of $57.3 million, $1.6 million funding cut to Greater Nanticoke Area School District, $400,000 cut to Newport Township, and $250,000 cut to Luzerne County. Luzerne County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the commonwealth, a poverty rate higher than the state average, a housing vacancy rate higher than the state average, and more households receiving food stamps and eligible for Medical Assistance than the state average. “These are real numbers and we must demand real numbers from the Department of Corrections and the Wolf administration. Unfortunately, we didn’t receive those numbers at today’s hearing,” Mullery said. “Secretary Wetzel said, ‘Whatever our numbers are, our numbers are.’ His response and the failure of the DOC and administration to provide consistent data highlights the need to delay this decision and properly vet this issue.” Wetzel admitted the discussion to close two state correctional institutions only Read more

 

Schweyer for unemployment funding

(Jan 20, 2017)

With the December closure of the Allentown Unemployment Compensation Service Center due to a funding dispute in Harrisburg, state Rep. Peter Schweyer is reintroducing legislation from last session to extend funding for one year for Act 34, the unemployment compensation system’s Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund. “When the Allentown service center closed, 88 people lost their jobs,” Schweyer said. “Beyond that, there are thousands of out-of-work people who count on these service centers for help with benefits, training and assistance in finding new employment that were impacted.” Schweyer’s legislation would extend funding through 2017 and ensure that a transfer of up to $42.5 million would be used for operational purposes and up to $15 million to allow the start of technological upgrades to the benefits delivery system. “The House passed legislation last session that would have avoided the situation we’re in right now,” said Schweyer. “The House vote was 175 to 13, with overwhelming bipartisan support. However, it went nowhere in the Senate and our service center, along with those in Altoona and Lancaster, were forced to close as a result. Not only did those people lose their jobs, but it created additional strain on an overwhelmed system.” Schweyer plans to attend a noon rally at the state Capitol Rotunda on Monday, Jan. 23, organized by the Service Read more

 

Schweyer Office Ready to Help You

(Jan 17, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Peter Schweyer invites you to stop by his Constituent Service Office in Allentown for help with all state- and government-related issues. The office is located at 1912 South 4th Street, Allentown, Pa. 18103 or by calling 610-791-6270. Read more

 

Northeast state legislators send governor letter for prison public hearings

(Jan 13, 2017)

State Rep. Gerry Mullery, D-Newport Township, said members of the House of Representatives Northeast Delegation are showing solidarity by sending a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf expressing dismay at the recent state Department of Corrections announcement of impending closure of two state correctional facilities in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The pending closure date is Jan. 26. Mullery said members want to delay any decision about the closings until public hearings are held so that those affected can offer testimony. “Our region has been disproportionately impacted by the decision, with three of the potential five facilities within our boundaries.” Mullery said. “We need to hold public hearings so our constituents can be heard before any decisions are made.” The Luzerne County legislator said with less than six months of notice, staff and their families may be forced to relocate from the areas around SCI Frackville, SCI Retreat, and SCI Waymart as they seek employment at other correctional institutions or in other fields. “Besides the pending loss of jobs in our area, the economic impact is estimated to be more than $57 million and $1 million in annual tax revenue to local school districts,” Mullery said. “We need to look at all the facts and figures before the Governor makes his decision.” The SCI-Retreat, which is located in Mullery's legislative district, houses 1,103 inmates. It employs 400 people, 79 Read more

 

Core-Mark expansion good news for Hanover Township

(Jan 13, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 13 – Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, welcomes the news that Core-Mark Holding International Inc. will bring 25 jobs to its expanded operations in Hanover Township. “A sound economy is crucial to Pennsylvania’s future and when companies make the decision to keep and expand their businesses here, it’s a win-win situation. Core-Mark recognizes the dedicated workforce that exists in Luzerne County and that means more jobs for local residents,” Mullery said. “I thank Core-Mark officials for growing their company in Hanover Township and I commend the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce for working with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development in getting a funding commitment that will help the company with employee training.” Core-Mark is leasing a 155,000-square-foot site at 213 Great Valley Blvd. in Hanover Township. The $12 million project includes infrastructure improvements and the installation of a commercial refrigeration unit. The company has committed to creating 25 full-time jobs over the next three years and to retaining 381 positions. The company will begin hiring new employees during the first quarter of 2017. Additionally, the company will also maintain its current operations in Wilkes-Barre. Core-Mark received a DCED funding proposal that includes $50,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the jobs and $11,250 in WEDnetPA funding for employee Read more

 

Pashinski Talks Farm Show With Ag Secretary

(Jan 12, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski caught up with Secretary Russell Redding of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to talk about the 2017 Pennsylvania Farm Show. Agriculture is big business in the Commonwealth and the Farm Show highlights it all. Read more

 

PennDOT project to improve pedestrian safety in Allentown

(Jan 12, 2017)

Residents will soon see pedestrian safety improvements at a high-volume intersection adjacent to the school district’s new public high school, according to state Reps. Peter Schweyer and Mike Schlossberg and Sen. Pat Browne. The project is part of a statewide initiative geared at enhancing communities across the commonwealth, tapping into $33 million in federal funds via the Transportation Alternatives Program. “Martin Luther King Boulevard is a gateway to the downtown arena, shops and restaurants. This project will give us the needed pedestrian safety improvements to allow residents and visitors alike to really explore all that the city of Allentown has to offer,” Schweyer said. “I am pleased to see that Allentown will receive funds from the Transportation Alternatives Program for public safety improvements,” Browne said. “This funding will allow for the completion of necessary safety improvements at a dangerous intersection with a heavy volume of pedestrian traffic, especially children as they make their way to-and-from the new high school.” One of 51 projects slated to provide enhancements or alternatives to the current transportation infrastructure statewide, the $297,274 in funding for Allentown will be used to make improvements to the connection point between the downtown and the city’s western park resources. “I am glad to see the safety improvements for this intersection Read more

 

Schlossberg wants Pa. to comply with federal REAL ID law

(Jan 11, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 11 – Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, said Pennsylvania should work to comply with the federal REAL ID law. Before Schlossberg joined the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2013, the legislature enacted Act 38 of 2012, which said “Neither the governor nor the Department of Transportation or any other commonwealth agency shall participate in the REAL ID Act of 2005 or regulations promulgated thereafter.” “I understand the intent of Act 38. That said, it needs to be repealed. If it isn’t, Pennsylvanians will not be able to use Pennsylvania-issued identification to access federal buildings as of Jan. 30, 2017, or board airplanes for domestic flights effective Jan. 22, 2018. This presents clear obstacles in travel for business and pleasure and to access federal facilities which require identification,” Schlossberg said. The federal REAL ID Act of 2005 was established by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush on recommendation by the 9/11 Commission after the Sept. 11 attacks. “It recognizes state-issued identification without proper safeguards and vetting to verify identity presents a risk from foreign terrorists and domestic criminals. It was intended to make it more difficult to assume new identities, which safeguards against identity theft and fraud. "I have signed onto legislation to repeal Act 38. I will work with my colleagues to work toward its passage, and I'm looking forward to Read more

 

Making Pennsylvania's Future Secure

(Jan 10, 2017)

As 2017 gets underway, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives begins a new legislative session, each member duty-bound to serve constituents and communities where they live. I look forward to what this session can bring to help make Pennsylvania’s future secure. Pennsylvania voters delivered a very strong message in 2016, leaving no doubt that an economy that works for everybody is a vital priority. This includes jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage, a secure retirement and affordable, reliable health care that meets physical and mental health needs. This will mean we need to lay the groundwork for more manufacturing jobs and level the playing field for small businesses. To do this, we will need to invest in students of every age and every ZIP code. We need early childhood education so every child is ready for kindergarten, community schools so students can get a good education regardless of where they live, affordable college, and job training so our workforce can take advantage of a prosperous economy. As we build a strong economy, Pennsylvania also needs to take steps to build a robust democracy. Voters are frustrated with partisan gridlock and they deserve government that works, delivering efficient and reliable services for taxpayers. We must meet our obligation to take care of people at the margins: children, the aging, infirmed, individuals with disability and mental health challenges and those who have fallen on hard times. Additionally, we need to Read more

 

Public hearing on proposed expansion of Chrin Landfill set Jan. 17

(Jan 09, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 9 – State Rep. Bob Freeman reminds residents they can attend or testify at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Jan. 17 public hearing regarding Chrin Landfill’s permit application to expand its existing facility in Williams Township. Chrin Landfill is requesting an expansion of the landfill permit area by approximately 30 acres and the disposal area by approximately 33 acres. DEP staff will take testimony regarding the landfill’s application for expansion during the meeting which is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 17 at Wilson Area High School, 424 Warrior Lane, Easton 18042. Those wishing to testify at the hearing should email Colleen Connolly at coconnolly@pa.gov . Freeman said anyone who is unable to attend the hearing may submit written testimony until 4 p.m. Jan. 27. A copy of Chrin’s permit application can be viewed by appointment at DEP’s Bethlehem District Office located at 4530 Bath Pike, Bethlehem 18017. Those wishing to make an appointment to view the documents can do so between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. by calling the office at 610-861-2070. Additional copies of the application are available for review at the Easton Public Library, 515 Church St. and the Easton Area Neighborhood Center, 902 Philadelphia Road. The public does not need an appointment to view documents at either location. Read more

 

Freeman reappointed chairman of House Local Government Committee for the Democrats

(Jan 06, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, this week was reappointed Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee. The appointment was made by Speaker of the House Mike Turzai upon recommendation by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. Freeman has served as the Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee since 2006. He authored legislation that created the state’s Elm Street program which assists older urban residential areas in revitalizing their neighborhoods. He was also one of the leaders in the Municipalities Planning Code revisions enacted in 2000 that became Acts 67 and 68 of that year. "The Local Government Committee is important to my district because it deals with land use planning, urban revitalization and all aspects related to local governance, all issues impacting the Lehigh Valley," Freeman said. "Government at the local level is closest to the people. The committee can be instrumental in assisting local governments to fulfill their responsibilities to the community." Freeman is the fifth-most senior member of the House Democratic Caucus. The 136th Legislative District includes Easton, parts of the townships of Lower Saucon and Palmer, and all of Williams, and the boroughs of Freemansburg, Glendon, Hellertown, West Easton and Wilson. Read more

 

Rep Mullery is ready to vigorously fight to 400 state prison jobs in his district

(Jan 06, 2017)

State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, today said he is ready to vigorously fight to save 400 State Correctional Institution Retreat jobs in his district. Citing cost saving measures, the Department of Corrections has announced it will close two state prisons this year and will announce its final decision Jan. 26. SCI Retreat is among five prisons being considered for closure. Mullery said he will fight tooth and nail as he believes there is no reason the governor should close this institution. “The governor has unnecessarily placed the lives and livelihoods of Pennsylvania families in the heart of the budget battle and I am vehemently opposed to this tactic,” Mullery said. “He is creating a situation to use as a negotiating chip and I will do everything I can to keep this correctional facility open.” Mullery said Gov. Tom Wolf’s power has been greatly diminished with the Republicans holding super-majorities in the House and Senate. “I understand the pressures of passing an on-time, responsible budget,” Mullery said. “However, treating those individuals who place their lives at risk every day like political pawns is 100 percent unacceptable.” According to the state DOC, because of cost savings initiatives taken over the past several years, the department is again in the position to make more reductions due to the of the dire budget forecast. Each affected employee will be Read more

 

Pashinski named Democratic chairman of House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

(Jan 05, 2017)

State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, has been named Democratic chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee by Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “I am extremely grateful for this appointment to be the chairman of the agriculture committee which represents the number one industry in the state,’ Pashinski said. “The committee’s agenda is full of important legislative bills that affect food, water, agricultural research, and the horse racing industry, which are all vital to Pennsylvania’s economy,” Pashinski said. “I intend to work with the majority chairman to keep agriculture jobs in our state and keep our food products safe for consumers.” In addition, the committee works in conjunction with the state Department of Agriculture for inspections of restaurants and food establishments throughout Pennsylvania. Pashinski is serving his sixth term in the House of Representatives. His Luzerne County district includes the city of Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes-Barre Township, Ashley Borough, Fairview Township, most of Hanover Township and Laurel Run Borough. Read more

 

Schweyer Fights for Schools and Jobs

(Jan 05, 2017)

As the 2017-18 House Session begins, Pa. state Rep. Peter Schweyer talks about his priorities which include properly funding education and creating a good environment for job growth in the Allentown area. Read more

 

Schweyer begins second term

(Jan 04, 2017)

State Rep. Peter Schweyer began his second term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Tuesday, Jan. 3, where he will represent the 22nd Legislative District in the 2017-18 legislative session. Schweyer said his legislative priorities include increasing the minimum wage and supporting economic development, properly funding public schools, investing in pre-kindergarten programs and supporting affordable access to higher education. Additionally, Schweyer intends to introduce legislation that would address the closure of three unemployment compensation services centers in Allentown, Altoona and Lancaster and to also reintroduce legislation to begin funding programs aimed at combatting veterans’ suicide. The closures of the unemployment compensation services centers resulted in 88 job losses in his district, and impacted 500 workers statewide. “Born and raised in center-city Allentown, I look forward to continuing to represent the concerns and needs of my friends and neighbors,” Schweyer said. “Now, most especially, both sides of the aisle need to work together on the issues that matter most to everyone; not just in my district, but across the Commonwealth.” Schweyer invites Allentown residents to visit his webpage, www.pahouse.com/Schweyer , for information about constituent services. Residents also may follow Schweyer's updates via his legislative Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RepSchweyer , Read more

 

Schweyer: We Need our UC Center

(Jan 04, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Peter Schweyer talks about the unfortunate closing of the Allentown Unemployment Compensation Service Center due to a funding dispute in Harrisburg and its effect on area residents. Read more

 

Freeman ready for new term in Pa. House

(Jan 03, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, was sworn in today at the state Capitol to begin his 16th two-year term representing the 136th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The swearing-in ceremony, which is held on the first Tuesday of the year as required by the Pennsylvania Constitution, marked the beginning of the 201st session of the General Assembly. "I look forward to representing the needs and interests of the people of my district in the new session of the legislature," Freeman said. Freeman, the longest-serving member in the current Lehigh Valley delegation, served from 1982 to 1994, and was re-elected in 1998 and has served since. Freeman is the fifth-most senior member of the House Democratic Caucus. He serves as the Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee. Previously, he served on the committees of Labor Relations, Environmental Resources and Energy, State Government and Consumer Affairs. “With my enhanced seniority and many years of legislative experience, I am hopeful of having an even greater impact on the legislative process in Harrisburg,” Freeman said. Freeman's district includes the city of Easton, parts of the townships of Lower Saucon and Palmer, and all of Williams, and the boroughs of Freemansburg, Glendon, Hellertown, West Easton and Wilson. Read more