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Philadelphia House Delegation: police accountability reforms are coming

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

 

Philly lawmakers outraged over GOP secrecy in positive COVID-19 case at state Capitol

(May 27, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 27 – State Reps. Jason Dawkins, Malcolm Kenyatta and Elizabeth Fiedler, all leaders of the Philadelphia Delegation in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, today said they were stunned upon learning the news that House Republican leaders kept secret the fact that a state legislator who worked among fellow lawmakers and staff tested positive for COVID-19. State Rep. Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin, said in a news release today that he tested positive for COVID-19 on May 20 and informed the “House of Representatives” and the Republican Caucus human relations department. Lebanon County Republican Rep. Russ Diamond also said today he was aware of it on May 21. Dawkins said that while Republicans may have been informed of Lewis testing positive for the deadly virus, and while multiple Republican members went into self-quarantine as a result, not a single Democratic lawmaker was informed, including Democratic leadership. “To say I am outraged at this reckless behavior by House Republican leadership is an understatement,” said Dawkins, chairman of the delegation. “Any lawmaker or staff who came in contact with this representative during committee meetings and during House session was put at risk. And, in turn, they may have put their own families at risk. The withholding of this information is a blatant disregard of human life and the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed thousands of Read more

 

DeLissio Fights for LGBTQ+ Legislation

(May 22, 2020)

Pa. state Rep. Pam DeLissio commits to fighting for LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination legislation this session. Currently, State law does not ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Legislation to accomplish this has been pending for over 20 years. This legislation has never been brought forward for a vote. Efforts to amend this proposed legislation into other bills has happened repeatedly with no success. Such an effort occurred again yesterday and these were my comments on that effort. Read more

 

Kenyatta continues fight to end LGBTQ+ discrimination across Pa.

(May 21, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 21 – On the sixth anniversary of marriage equality being recognized in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., yesterday gave an impassioned speech in the House chamber urging his lawmaker colleagues to support his legislation that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ+ residents and other minorities. The introduction of this proposal follows a similar amendment that would have outlawed employee discrimination at outdoor sportsman clubs across the state. The measure failed to pass the full House. Kenyatta, who is the first openly gay man of color to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, prefaced his speech with an emotional unprecedented public telling of his coming out story. He later expressed the dire need to pass this necessary measure in working toward a truly equal and accepting commonwealth. “I’ve never publicly talked about my coming out story, but I felt compelled to do it today,” Kenyatta said. “On this sixth anniversary of our state recognizing marriage equality, it is nice to celebrate this milestone, but we must also recognize we still have miles to go in this fight for civil rights and true equality. I will continue demanding an end to discrimination against our LGBTQ+ communities, and I will not stop until we are victorious. I once again fought to convince House Republicans to adopt my measure that would move this commonwealth forward in recognizing Read more

 

Kenyatta: Failure to pass anti-discrimination at sports clubs bill proves Pa. is losing fight for equal rights

(May 20, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 20 – In a statement today, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said that Pennsylvania’s complacency in allowing discrimination to continue proves that the state has a long way to go in the fight for equal rights. His statement comes after legislation he introduced that would ban outdoor sportsman clubs from discriminating against an employee on the basis of age, race, sex, religion, ethnic origin, economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression or disability failed to pass in the full House on Monday. Of his legislation that fell short of a few votes required to pass, Kenyatta, D-Phila, said, “The loophole in making discrimination permissible in sportsman clubs, or any entity, is for them to designate themselves as private. This leverages them the ability to continue to deny these marginalized groups membership and employment opportunities. If passed, my legislation would have served as the catalyst in dismantling discrimination and the suppression of civil rights in not just sportsman clubs, but also in all factions of our commonwealth. Its defeat, however, magnifies how ingrained and normalized discrimination is across our state.” Kenyatta, who is the first openly gay man of color to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, lamented on the reality that despite tirelessly serving residents across the commonwealth, there are parts where he is still unwelcomed. “I am a black openly Read more

 

White, Solomon Legislation to Speed Property Tax Rebates Becomes Law

(May 19, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 19 – Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Reps. Martina White, R-Phila., and Jared Solomon, D-Phila., to speed up property tax and rent rebates to qualified recipients has was signed today by Gov. Tom Wolf. "Getting more money in our seniors’ pockets now, through the Rent/Property Tax Rebate program, allows them to buy more food in fewer trips," White said. "That limits their potential exposure to the virus and can help them stay safe." "I'm thrilled that Governor Wolf has signed this bill into law as it represents a fantastic chance to put money in the pockets of some of our most vulnerable citizens at a time when they really need it," Solomon said. "The commonwealth needs to use every lever at our disposal to help people, and colleagues on both sides of the aisle understand that the rebate check is a vital tool in that regard, particularly during this pandemic." Right now, rebates are distributed starting July 1. Their bill, which was amended into House Bill 1076, now Act 20 of 2020, which directs the departments of Revenue and Treasury to process 2019 rebate payments for all homeowners and renters who received a 2018 rebate and to issue those payments immediately. For anyone who became eligible in the past year, rebates would be issued immediately upon receipt of their application instead of waiting until July 1. The White/Solomon legislation was Read more

 

Rep. Burgos, Democratic colleagues, urge Supreme Court to protect residents from evictions and foreclosure during the COVID-19 pandemic

(May 14, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 14 – State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., today, with dozens of House and Senate colleagues, sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to urge the court to issue an order to stave off evictions and foreclosures for 90 days after a county is moved from the “red” to the “yellow” phase by Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration. Currently, an executive order from the governor extends a stay on foreclosures and evictions through July 10. “The governor’s order to delay evictions and foreclosures is a start, but we must consider the many Pennsylvanians who have been struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic. Many will be fiscally stunted, and realistically, the timeframe for many to gradually recoup their finances after months of lacking steady income will surpass July,” Burgos said. “We can’t allow families and small business trying to gain financial stability relive the stresses, or even experience the reality of losing their homes and livelihoods, which is why we are calling on the Supreme Court to enact this deferment.” With the support of many other lawmakers in both chambers, the letter highlights a shared concern that COVID-19 could continue to cause serious challenges for many Pennsylvanians whose counties were among the first to shut down and will remain in the red phase for a longer period of time. The order would cover commercial properties also to ensure Read more

 

Philadelphia House leaders secure 100,000 face masks for Philadelphians working on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic

(May 14, 2020)

Calling it an example of working together for the greater good of Philadelphia, House leaders from the Philadelphia Delegation led by Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, Democratic Chairwoman Joanna McClinton, Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins, and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Stephen Kinsey, announced today a partnership with Lowe’s that has delivered 100,000 essential face masks to frontline workers in Philadelphia. Read more

 

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s push for LGBTQ COVID-19 data collection, highlights bill to make ongoing data collecting mandatory

(May 13, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 13 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today commended Gov. Tom Wolf’s move to include gender identity, sexual orientation and expression in electronic health records used by health care providers to report COVID-19 data. Praising the governor’s efforts in recognizing that the LGBTQ community has been among the most critically affected groups for the novel coronavirus as progressive, Kenyatta said, “The COVID-19 health crisis has magnified and intensified the many ongoing disparities among our nation’s minority groups, especially as it relates to sexual orientation and gender identity. In our fight to combat these inequities, we must be deliberate in our approach and I applaud Governor Wolf for doing just that by mandating that health care records for testing account for LGBTQ patients receiving quality care.” The freshman legislator, who serves on the governor’s LGBTQ Affairs Commission and is also the first openly gay man of color to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, raised that more must be done to elevate the visibility of LGBTQ residents to better assess and mitigate their plights through ongoing data collections. He pointed to a bill he recently introduced that would require all state forms which collect demographic information to contain a voluntary LGBTQ identifier question for respondents to answer. “The LGBTQ community is a Read more

 

Rabb, Hanbidge resolution calls for electric vehicle impact study in Pa.

(May 12, 2020)

The resolution would direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the costs and benefits of electric vehicles of all kinds on the commonwealth’s infrastructure, environment, employment, transportation methods and economy. Read more

 

Kenyatta calls for suspension of negative credit reporting during COVID-19 in new bill

(May 12, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 12 – In efforts to mitigate the financial blowback of the pandemic, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would prohibit credit reporting agencies from negatively reporting any missed or late payments resulting from financial hardships that have hit so many Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 disaster emergency. The bill, Kenyatta said, would amend the Credit Reporting Agency Act and suspend negative reporting for 90 days after the disaster declaration is lifted. “Pennsylvanians have had their lives and livelihoods upended in the wake of this pandemic, with some families having endured the temporary lapse of a paycheck, while waiting for federal stimulus money, or for their unemployment compensation to start,” Kenyatta said. “Others, however, have relied on credit cards, or sought unplanned loans from financial institutions, or even borrowed from friends.” Kenyatta said that delinquent payment reports stemming from Pennsylvanians facing financial difficulties stand to mar otherwise decent credit histories and could potentially prevent residents from qualifying for a loan, a mortgage, employment and housing. “My bill would save countless families from this slippery slope of financial ruin and devastation,” he said. “As this economic fallout unfolds, we as lawmakers must do all we can to ensure that those struggling to rebuild their Read more

 

Kenyatta to host ‘Education in the era of COVID-19’ Virtual Town Hall

(May 08, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 8 -- State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., will host a Facebook LIVE virtual town hall titled “Education in the Era of COVID-19” from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 14. The town hall will examine the topics of state education funding, crisis preparedness, the digital divide, mental health supports and educational disparities. The town hall will include speakers from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, Philadelphia Student Union and a member of the state Special Education Advisory Council, Cecelia Thompson . The Philadelphia School District has also been invited. Online viewers will be able to offer live questions and comments during the townhall by attending through Kenyatta’s official legislative Facebook page . “The COVID19 pandemic crisis has changed the way we have been able deliver education to our children,” Kenyatta said. “It has also raised questions about our preparedness and ability to do so in the future in a productive and effective way. We must also deal with those systemic and ongoing socioeconomic challenges in education that have been exacerbated by this crisis.” Kenyatta, a graduate of Philadelphia public schools said, “I look forward to hearing from our informed guests on the many issues around schooling and education in the era of COVID-19.” Read more

 

DeLissio urges voters to consider mail-in ballot for June 2 primary

(May 08, 2020)

“These were the first substantial changes to the Pennsylvania Election Code in 82 years, and the timing has proven to be incredibly important,” DeLissio said. “This pandemic and the accompanying stay-at-home order means voting by mail has become a critical option for so many Pennsylvanians. I strongly urge all eligible citizens to consider this option for voting not just in next month’s primary, but in the November general election and beyond.” Read more

 

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s rent and mortgage suspension, calls for lengthier freeze

(May 08, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 8 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive order that halts foreclosures and evictions until July 10, but also announced he is drafting legislation that would extend the freeze for an additional six months. Kenyatta praised Wolf’s order, calling it a great start in ensuring that Pennsylvanians will not lose their homes during the pandemic. However, with the July 10 grace-period ending just two months from now, Kenyatta said that assurance is only short-lived. Kenyatta said the economic shockwave stemming from the pandemic will outlast the order’s two-month provision. “Pennsylvanians who have been unemployed will be fiscally stunted, and realistically, the timeframe for many to gradually recoup their finances after months of lacking steady income will surpass July. It could easily go on until the end of the year,” he said. Kenyatta called for a lengthier mortgage and rent payment freeze to allow for Pennsylvanians to financially rehabilitate. “As lawmakers, we can’t allow renters and homeowners to relive the fears and dread of homelessness. We can’t allow those struggling to rebuild their lives to be casted into a downward spiral of financial ruin because they missed mortgage or rent payments out of desperation,” he said. “This incredibly trying time has upended countless lives in various ways, Read more

 

Kenyatta: I proudly stand with Temple Allied Healthcare Professionals Union, all workers

(May 01, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, May 1 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., expressed his support for the Temple Allied Healthcare Professionals Union striking today in front of Temple University Hospital, located in Kenyatta’s 181 st Legislative District, to demand hazard pay, personal protective equipment and testing availability: “In every period in history, the labor movement has been a paramount force in dismantling systems of oppression and guaranteeing rights and protections for American workers. In the wake of this pandemic, labor is once again demonstrating that reputation,” Kenyatta said. “I stand in solidarity with Temple University Hospital workers, who have been fiercely fighting on the frontlines of this pandemic. These people have gone above and beyond in ensuring our communities receive exceptional care in sanitized environments, all the while putting themselves, and their families, at risk. It is time to give them what they are owed!” Kenyatta stressed that there is power in numbers in the efforts to make the demands of striking workers concrete, saying, “We can be victorious in this fight if we band together as a collective in thwarting this capitalistic system that grossly and consistently prioritizes profits over lives. In Harrisburg, I have been fighting for many of the provisions the union is demanding today for all workers across Pennsylvania on the frontlines of this crisis. As lawmakers, we also Read more

 

Kinsey, PLBC applaud Wolf on calling for race and data with COVID-19 tests

(Apr 27, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, April 27 – In a statement released today, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with its members, commended Gov. Tom Wolf for calling for more free and accessible testing, and for health care providers and medical facilities to follow the Department of Health’s mandate to include race and ethnicity data in demographics provided to the department with COVID-19 test results. “Race and ethnicity have long been factors that essentially predestine a person’s quality of life, and in the wake of a pandemic, these factors have determined the accessibility of tests, the level of care, and overall survival outcomes. It’s a reality that’s all too familiar for people of color,” Kinsey said. “I commend Governor Wolf for his efforts in addressing these deep-rooted systemic ills by pushing Pennsylvania to be among the few states to collect this critical piece of data, which will help our commonwealth to be able to better identify contraction points and mitigate spread in these communities, ultimately saving lives.” The chairman added, “The data collected surrounding this widespread event will be incredibly valuable for our ongoing efforts in the dismantling these disparities moving forward.” Read more

 

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

Philly lawmakers outraged over GOP secrecy in positive COVID-19 case at state Capitol
May 27, 2020

DeLissio Fights for LGBTQ+ Legislation
May 22, 2020

Kenyatta continues fight to end LGBTQ+ discrimination across Pa.
May 21, 2020

Kenyatta: Failure to pass anti-discrimination at sports clubs bill proves Pa. is losing fight for equal rights
May 20, 2020

White, Solomon Legislation to Speed Property Tax Rebates Becomes Law
May 19, 2020

Rep. Burgos, Democratic colleagues, urge Supreme Court to protect residents from evictions and foreclosure during the COVID-19 pandemic
May 14, 2020

Philadelphia House leaders secure 100,000 face masks for Philadelphians working on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic
May 14, 2020

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s push for LGBTQ COVID-19 data collection, highlights bill to make ongoing data collecting mandatory
May 13, 2020

Rabb, Hanbidge resolution calls for electric vehicle impact study in Pa.
May 12, 2020

Kenyatta calls for suspension of negative credit reporting during COVID-19 in new bill
May 12, 2020

Kenyatta to host ‘Education in the era of COVID-19’ Virtual Town Hall
May 08, 2020

DeLissio urges voters to consider mail-in ballot for June 2 primary
May 08, 2020

Kenyatta applauds Wolf’s rent and mortgage suspension, calls for lengthier freeze
May 08, 2020

Kenyatta: I proudly stand with Temple Allied Healthcare Professionals Union, all workers
May 01, 2020

Kinsey, PLBC applaud Wolf on calling for race and data with COVID-19 tests
Apr 27, 2020