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State Rep. Jared Solomon introduces bill to address staff shortages in Philadelphia Police Department

Rep. Kenyatta celebrates $50 million in hazard pay grant funding for Pa. frontline workers

(Jul 17, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 17 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said his fight to guarantee Pennsylvanians working on the frontlines during the fatal COVID-19 pandemic are afforded increased wages has finally been accomplished with Gov. Tom Wolf recently announcing the availability of $50 million in grant funding to help employers provide hazard pay to employees in life-sustaining occupations. Kenyatta, D-Phila., called the program a sincere expression of appreciation for the sacrifices of frontline employees, and an overall win for workers’ rights. “I am proud of Governor Wolf’s support in our demands to prioritize Pennsylvania frontline workers in any mitigation efforts during this crisis,” Kenyatta said. “It is their labor that has sustained countless communities across our commonwealth throughout the pandemic. Providing this funding for hazard pay transcends the hollow ‘thank you,’ and explicitly demonstrates our appreciation for their service by guaranteeing that they are properly compensated.” From the start of this crisis, Kenyatta boasts a solid track record of championing protections for the rights and safety of Pennsylvania’s essential workers. In May, the lawmaker stood in solidarity with Temple health care workers on the picket line in his district. Last month, in a video that has since gone viral , Kenyatta challenged booing Republicans in the House chamber about Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold public hearing on COVID-19 Plans for Long-Term Care Facilities Thursday in Capitol

(Jul 14, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 14 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on COVID-19 Plans for Long-Term Care Facilities as part of Disability Pride Philadelphia’s Virtual PA 2020. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 16 in Room G-50 Irvis Office Building in Harrisburg. The media and public are invited to attend and watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . The hearing was requested by state Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., to explore how the disability community has been impacted by COVID-19 in long-term care facilities Testifiers and members will participate in person and remotely. Testifiers will include: Sarah Boateng , executive deputy secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Health Keara Klinepeter , special adviser to the secretary of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Health Kristin Ahrens , deputy secretary of the Office of Developmental Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Matt Yarnell , president, SEIU Healthcare PA Emma Graham , certified nursing assistant Elyse Ford , vice president, District 1199C Misty Dixon , chief executive officer, Center for Independent Living of North Central PA Justin Bell , nursing home survivor For more information about the Policy Committee and testimonies, go to Read more

 

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts

(Jul 09, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 9 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., said his efforts to ensure the Black community is represented in Pennsylvania’s efforts to continue to understand COVID-19 came to fruition on Tuesday as the House passed legislation to begin the epidemiological study of the deadly virus. Adopted as an amendment to a bill (H.B. 2450) that would establish an independent COVID-19 State Epidemiology Advisory Council tasked with making policy recommendations under the direction of epidemiologists appointed by deans of select accredited state universities, Kenyatta’s legislation would require that the council’s policy recommendations and final report also be focused on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on specific racial and ethnic groups, particularly Black and brown communities. “This is a win and significant step toward effectively mitigating the pandemic here in Pennsylvania, especially in our Black and brown communities,” Kenyatta said. “We know that race and ethnicity are playing a key role in the spread of this deadly disease and that Black and brown communities are disproportionately affected. “In seeking solutions, it is crucial for this council of epidemiologist to be deliberate in the approach to understanding how this virus spreads, with a keen focus on critical demographics. I am proud my legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support, an acknowledgement that we Read more

 

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts

(Jul 09, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 9 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., said his efforts to ensure the Black community is represented in Pennsylvania’s efforts to continue to understand COVID-19 came to fruition on Tuesday as the House passed legislation to begin the epidemiological study of the deadly virus. Adopted as an amendment to a bill (H.B. 2450) that would establish an independent COVID-19 State Epidemiology Advisory Council tasked with making policy recommendations under the direction of epidemiologists appointed by deans of select accredited state universities, Kenyatta’s legislation would require that the council’s policy recommendations and final report also be focused on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on specific racial and ethnic groups, particularly Black and brown communities. “This is a win and significant step toward effectively mitigating the pandemic here in Pennsylvania, especially in our Black and brown communities,” Kenyatta said. “We know that race and ethnicity are playing a key role in the spread of this deadly disease and that Black and brown communities are disproportionately affected. “In seeking solutions, it is crucial for this council of epidemiologist to be deliberate in the approach to understanding how this virus spreads, with a keen focus on critical demographics. I am proud my legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support, an acknowledgement that we Read more

 

Rabb lauds passage of his measure to stop sexual assaults in police custody

(Jul 07, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 7 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today said he is honored that legislation he introduced 18 months ago to stop sexual assaults in police custody is on its way to becoming law. Rabb said his measure (H.B. 1807) to close a dangerous loophole that has allowed police who sexually assault a person in custody to use sexual consent as a defense was amended into legislation (H.B. 256) relating to corrections institutions. “This is another victory for Pennsylvanians who took to the streets across our commonwealth demanding real police accountability,” Rabb said. “While we have a long way to go in order to change the system and right the wrongs of the past and present, we must commit ourselves to destroying its toolbox, tool by treacherous tool.” Rabb’s H.B. 1807 was among nearly 20 Democratic bills that were presented to House Republican leadership on June 8 when a handful of Black legislators commandeered the Speaker’s rostrum demanding immediate legislative action on police violence and police accountability. After bipartisan negotiation, House Republican leadership agreed to support four Democratic bills, which have now been passed unanimously in both chambers of the General Assembly, including Rabb’s legislation (amended into H.B. 1841) to create a game-changing statewide law enforcement misconduct database. “Police officers are supposed to use their authoritative power to protect the public, Read more

 

Fitzgerald lauds enactment of breast density screening and insurance law

(Jul 06, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 6 – More women who are at higher risk for breast cancer will have affordable access to enhanced screening methods thanks to legislation signed into law last week, according to state Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald, D-Phila., a longtime champion of the measure. Wolf last week signed a bill (S.B. 595) that is substantially identical to legislation (H.B. 1245) Fitzgerald sponsored in the House over the past two legislative sessions. Specifically, the new law extends insurance coverage to breast cancer screening methods recommended for women with high breast density, such as ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs). It also would cover other known risk factors, such as family history. “We need to ensure proper access to screenings to enable early detection of breast cancer in women with high breast density, those with a higher risk for the disease,” Fitzgerald said. “I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for passing this important measure, and I thank Governor Wolf for signing this life-saving legislation into law. “I also must thank and recognize Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority for their ongoing efforts to bring awareness to this issue in communities of color, providing support and advocacy, as well as mobile mammography for women in need.” Fitzgerald held a public policy hearing in Philadelphia in the last legislative session to further explore why the screening mandate is necessary. Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation: police accountability reforms are coming

(Jun 30, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 30 – Today, state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., and chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation, announced that two police reform bills passed the Senate and sent to the governor’s desk for his signature. “It has been a group effort passing meaningful reforms to help better equip law enforcement to handle the mental and physical pressures of the job,” Dawkins said. “I am grateful to my colleagues in the House and everyone on the Police Reform Working Group for their tireless work organizing effective protests and championing these important bills.” House Bill 1910 would require officers to receive training to recognize the signs of child abuse and childhood trauma. It includes an amendment containing Dawkins’ own legislation that would require officers to undergo PTSD training after incidents involving deadly force. It also would allow commanding officers to request tests as needed, and the bill would call for increased training for officers to better understand PTSD. House Bill 1841 would require employers to disclose employment information to a law enforcement agency that is conducting a background investigation of an applicant, and to permit a court to compel the release of such employment information if the employer fails to comply. It also would free the applicant’s previous employers from civil liability for sharing employment information in good faith with a police Read more

 

Women’s Health Caucus applauds SCOTUS decision to strike down Louisiana law severely restricting abortions

(Jun 29, 2020)

“Over the years, there’s been continuous attempts to reverse the progress we’ve made when it comes to women’s rights and access to healthcare,” said Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., vice chairwoman of the WHC. “Decisions like this one made by SCOTUS today help to ensure that we continue moving forward so that our communities have equitable access to necessary care.” Read more

 

Kenyatta announces Environmental Education Grant for The U School

(Jun 26, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 26 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today announced that a $2,998 Environmental Education Grant has been awarded to The U School in his 181 st Legislative District. The grant, Kenyatta said, is funded by the state Department of Environmental Protection and will assist in the development of an “Urban Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources” club to introduce 10 th and 11 th graders to career paths in environmental sustainability. “The fight for justice includes environmental justice and equity. It’s a fight that can only be won by empowering communities that have been systemically barred from being stakeholders of their food, water, land and air quality,” Kenyatta said. “Fostering and instilling an interest in environmental sustainability careers among our local youth is a step toward progress, which is why I am thrilled that The U School has been awarded this grant.” The Environmental Education Grants Program engages youth and adults in environmental justice, climate change, and/or water quality improvement, expanding their understanding of these issues in Pennsylvania and providing skills to take responsible action to protect their environment The program was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1993, which mandates setting aside 5% of the pollution fines and penalties DEP collects annually for environmental education Read more

 

Kenyatta applauds historic passage of police reform bills

(Jun 24, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., applauded the historic unanimous House passage of two of 19 bills that aim to provide police reforms. The bills, H.B. 1841 and H.B. 1910, would reform policing practices in Pennsylvania by mandating that police officers undergo PTSD evaluation after resorting to lethal force and creating a database that tracks disciplinary actions searchable by law enforcement agencies evaluating prospective hires. “The passage of these bills in the House is the first to reforming a system that we know is broken. Every Black and brown person in this chamber and across our commonwealth is all too familiar with that gut-wrenching feeling when those red and blue lights pull you over. That feeling is from the uncertainty of not knowing if that encounter will end safely,” Kenyatta said. “I am proud to see this chamber unanimously heed the calls of our citizens who are calling upon us to take action in ensuring lives are protected and law enforcement is held accountable.” In the House chamber, Kenyatta, who is a member of the newly created Police Working Reform Group, gave impassioned remarks about the need to ensure the passage of these two pieces of legislation become one of many steps taken toward progress in reforming policing in the commonwealth. Invoking the names of Antwon Rose, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd—all victims of police Read more

 

Dawkins: Police reform bills pass House vote

(Jun 24, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced that H.B. 1910 and H.B. 1841 passed the House toda y. House Bill 1910, sponsored by state Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, would require police officers to receive training to recognize the signs of child abuse and childhood trauma. It includes an amendment containing Dawkins’ own legislation that would require officers to undergo PTSD training after incidents involving deadly force. It would also allow commanding officers to request tests as needed, and it calls for increased training for officers to better understand PTSD. “These reforms are long overdue,” Dawkins said. “The community should be served by officers who are mentally fit for the job and who have not shown a history of abusing power. This is a great first step to keep people safe, and to make sure law enforcement officers have the support they need. The collaborative efforts of many members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, Philadelphia Delegation and the House Democratic Caucus made this possible. We will need to continue this collaboration to achieve all we need to.” House Bill 1841, sponsored by state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, would require employers to disclose employment information to a law enforcement agency that is conducting a background investigation of an applicant, and to permit a court to compel the release of such employment information if the employer Read more

 

Philadelphia metrics and targets for moving to Green Phase

(Jun 20, 2020)

Philadelphia Metrics and Targets for moving from Yellow Phase to Green Phase in COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Read more

 

Cruz announces office reopening

(Jun 18, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 18 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., today announced that his district office will reopen to the public on a limited schedule starting Tuesday, June 23. “We’ve been seeing some progress with mitigating the spread of the virus, so I’m making the decision to reopen my office to the public. However, out of abundance of caution for the safety of both residents and staff, we will be operating on adjusted hours and continue to practice proper social distancing,” Cruz said. “My staff and I are available to assist residents in-person, but some services may not be available at this time because some partner agencies are still closed.” Cruz said that public office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and by appointment only. He also cautioned that residents entering the office must wear a mask and practice proper social distancing. To schedule an appointment for in-person assistance, residents can call Cruz’ district office at (215) 291-5643. Read more

 

Philadelphia lawmakers lay out path for a ‘Just Recovery’ in Pa.

(Jun 18, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 18 – Philadelphia lawmakers today held a virtual news conference to lay out the steps the Pennsylvania legislature must take to create a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the calls for racial justice demanded by Pennsylvanians across the state are acted on. State Sen. Vince Hughes and state Reps. Jordan Harris and Jason Dawkins each addressed aspects of a plan to ensure a living wage and a fair return to work for all Pennsylvanians, great schools and a superior education for all from pre-school through college; career and technical training; access to quality health care and testing; a roof over every head; tax cuts for working families to ensure no one is taxed into poverty; and safe voting options and integrity to guarantee every voice is heard and every vote is counted. The lawmakers said all of these things should be available to all Pennsylvanians, especially marginalized communities that have suffered most during the COVID-19 pandemic and at the hands of a systemic system of bigotry and racism in not just law enforcement, but also in education, health care, housing, wages and working conditions. “The current crisis, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest stemming from systemic racism, have shown that the way things were simply wasn’t working for too many Pennsylvanians,” Harris said. “We can’t go back to a broken system. Instead, we must reform nearly all aspects of our Read more

 

Kenyatta presents first check from his newly launched microgrant program for businesses impacted by civil unrest

(Jun 16, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 16 – In efforts to repair damage to local businesses in the wake of days of civil unrest across the city, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., along with members of the local business community in his 181 st Legislative District, on Friday presented a $500 check to one affected business owner. Kenyatta presented the check to Rich Kim, a COVID-19 survivor and community contributor, to assist him with repairs to his property that was destroyed in a fire during the first night of the recent uprisings on May 31. Funding for the check, the first of many, was made available through a newly launched microgrant program created by Kenyatta and Richie Juniors and administered by Beech Companies. “Rich has endured so much over these last few months. He and his family have suffered from both the health and economic impacts of the pandemic and have now faced the brunt of the recent uprising,” Kenyatta said. “Rich has been an asset to this vibrant community. He has donated food to residents in need and our first responders. I am proud of Temple University, Beech Companies, and Richie for stepping up to make this funding possible to pay it forward to the Kim family on their road to recovery. “We will continue this initiative because small businesses are the backbone of our communities and it’s crucial that we do more to foster their growth,” Kenyatta added. Read more

 

Kenyatta calls US Supreme Court ruling a major victory for civil rights in America

(Jun 16, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 16 – Minutes after the United States Supreme upheld that Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 that bars sex discrimination also provides protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta issued an emotional statement, calling the decision a major victory in the fight for civil rights for LGBTQ Americans: “I’m still collecting my thoughts and fighting back tears, but the Supreme Court’s Title VII decision is a powerful moment for progress and the LGBTQ community,” Kenyatta said. “America has never lived up to its creed — ever. All men and women have been created equal but have never been treated equally or protected equally under the law. This decision changes that. “Three weeks ago, I told my coming out story on the House floor and today I can say confidently to our LGBTQ kids that you matter and who you are will not limit your possibility,” he said. Kenyatta, D-Phila, the first openly gay man of color to serve in the General Assembly in Pennsylvania’s history and a member of the governor’s LGBTQ Affairs Commission, expressed hopefulness that the court’s ruling will further elevate the visibility of LGBTQ Americans to better assess and mitigate their plights. He pointed to a bill he introduced months prior to the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision that would Read more

 

Burgos stomps out disaster declaration termination rumors

(Jun 11, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 11 – State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., today issued a statement quelling the misinformation that Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency disaster declaration was eliminated. Burgos’ statement follows a widespread rumor claiming that the passage of H.R. 836 – a resolution that only aims to end the declaration – in the House and Senate means that the legislation has now become law. “My office has received many, many calls asking about the validity of this hearsay, while some also have taken to blindly sharing an image that erroneously declares that the declaration has been terminated because it passed both chambers,” Burgos said. “To dispel those rumors, I want to make it clear that the emergency declaration disaster is still in effect and all Pennsylvanians are still required to follow the guidelines set by the state Department of Health to continue to help curb spreading the virus. This especially means wearing masks and practicing proper social distancing while out in public and running essential errands.” Burgos reiterated that the resolution’s passage does not make it a law and highlighted the dire consequences that H.R. 836 carries. “It requires a signature by the governor to be binding, and Governor Wolf has adamantly expressed that he intends to veto the resolution because it not only puts countless lives at risk, but it also stands to inflict Read more

 

Dawkins, Philadelphia Delegation members protest police brutality

(Jun 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – Today, state Rep. Jason Dawkins and other members of the House Philadelphia Delegation joined a protest on the speaker’s rostrum against police brutality. “The recent death of George Floyd has served as a hurtful reminder of the injustices that exist throughout our society,” Dawkins said. “People in our communities are understandably sad and angry. We need to show people across the commonwealth that the House stands committed to ending racism across our state.” “The world we are fighting for- one with healthy, fully funded schools, healthcare, and housing for all, one where our government serves people over profits, where our neighborhoods experience safety without trauma and injustice- the only way that world is possible is if we dismantle the structural racism that upholds these current systems,” Rep. Fiedler, D-Phila. and delegation secretary, said. “For 13 days, folks have been protesting in the streets, demanding that we actually do something. Now we are here demanding the same thing,” Rep. Kenyatta, D-Phila., and delegation vice chairman, said. “We demand that we get meaningful police reform passed out of the Pennsylvania House. It’s the people’s house, and if we ain’t doing the people’s business, then we ain’t doing business.” Following the protest, House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, said he would welcome a special Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation leaders welcome Gov. Wolf’s action on police reform and accountability

(Jun 04, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 4 – Leaders of the House Philadelphia Delegation today praised Gov. Tom Wolf for acting on concerns raised by delegation members and Philadelphia public officials. On the heels of public protests in Philadelphia and across the nation following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Wolf today outlined a proposal to improve law enforcement relations with the community and strengthen training and accountability, especially as it relates to institutional racial targeting and discrimination by law enforcement. “Since May 25, the day a bad police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while other bad police officers stood by and did nothing, the nation and world have risen up in protest to say enough is enough and demand change,” said Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins, D-Phila. “Today, Governor Wolf has set Pennsylvania on a course to making that happen. I thank the governor for hearing our collective voices and working with us to address the concerns of the unheard. I am proud of the work that has been done by the Police Reform Working Group, who started working on these reforms long before Mr. Floyd sadly took his last breath.” The Police Reform Working Group, of which Dawkins is a member, includes state and local elected lawmakers, the chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, as well as several attorneys. Earlier this week the working group put Read more

 

Burgos condemns PennAg Industries VP for insensitive migrant workers comments

(May 28, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 28 – State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., today issued a statement condemning comments made by PennAg Industries Executive Vice President Christian Herr about immigrant migrant agriculture workers during a House Agricultural & Rural Affairs Committee meeting on Tuesday. Herr, during a committee discussion about the vulnerability of farming employees —a workforce mostly comprised of migrants -- temporarily residing in farm labor camp housing in the wake of the pandemic, said that “ethnic families, close-knit families ride the buses to these facilities together,” describing their lengthy travels to commercial food processing facilities for employment that involves working for long hours and for low pay, while living in subpar employer-sponsored housing conditions as “cultural in many ways.” Burgos said he was deeply angered by Herr’s remarks, calling them insensitive and dehumanizing. He also said Herr’s assertion that the overrepresentation of migrants enduring these exploitative practices are their customary traditions absolves perpetrators instituting this predation of any accountability. “I am deeply disturbed that Herr is so morally bankrupt that he’s able to causally contort the systemic exploitation of marginalized people-- desperately trying to survive and provide for their families-- performing physically taxing labor in exchange for a pittance Read more

 

Rep. Kenyatta celebrates $50 million in hazard pay grant funding for Pa. frontline workers
Jul 17, 2020

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold public hearing on COVID-19 Plans for Long-Term Care Facilities Thursday in Capitol
Jul 14, 2020

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts
Jul 09, 2020

Kenyatta ensures Black communities hard hit by pandemic are at the forefront of COVID-19 mitigation efforts
Jul 09, 2020

Rabb lauds passage of his measure to stop sexual assaults in police custody
Jul 07, 2020

Fitzgerald lauds enactment of breast density screening and insurance law
Jul 06, 2020

Philadelphia House Delegation: police accountability reforms are coming
Jun 30, 2020

Women’s Health Caucus applauds SCOTUS decision to strike down Louisiana law severely restricting abortions
Jun 29, 2020

Kenyatta announces Environmental Education Grant for The U School
Jun 26, 2020

Kenyatta applauds historic passage of police reform bills
Jun 24, 2020

Dawkins: Police reform bills pass House vote
Jun 24, 2020

Philadelphia metrics and targets for moving to Green Phase
Jun 20, 2020

Cruz announces office reopening
Jun 18, 2020

Philadelphia lawmakers lay out path for a ‘Just Recovery’ in Pa.
Jun 18, 2020

Kenyatta presents first check from his newly launched microgrant program for businesses impacted by civil unrest
Jun 16, 2020

Kenyatta calls US Supreme Court ruling a major victory for civil rights in America
Jun 16, 2020

Burgos stomps out disaster declaration termination rumors
Jun 11, 2020

Dawkins, Philadelphia Delegation members protest police brutality
Jun 08, 2020

Philadelphia House Delegation leaders welcome Gov. Wolf’s action on police reform and accountability
Jun 04, 2020

Burgos condemns PennAg Industries VP for insensitive migrant workers comments
May 28, 2020