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Philadelphia House Delegation: police accountability reforms are coming

Kinsey, Webster and PLBC members amplify call to remove Montco Commissioner Joe Gale

(Aug 13, 2020)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Aug. 13 – State Reps. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus; and Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, along with PLBC members state Reps. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, and Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, today participated in a “Free from Hate” news conference led by PA Women Rise at the West Norriton Municipal Center. The group’s “Free from Hate” platform was centered around increased demands for the ousting of Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph Gale for his comments earlier this summer referring to people involved in the Black Lives Matter movement as terrorists. To further amplify their demands, the state legislators unveiled Webster’s H.R. 920 , which would impeach Gale and which Webster introduced in response to the offensive statement. “In our quest to free our communities of hate, we must condemn actors like Commissioner Gale who used his official capacity to perpetuate hate by vilifying residents’ calls for equality and justice,” Kinsey said. “Instead of being an active agent of change in upholding those calls, Gale chose to side with the powers of oppression. His actions demonstrate his complacency with injustice, making him unfit to serve the public, and for that, Gale must be removed immediately.” Concurring with Kinsey, Webster acknowledged the solidarity among lawmakers and community members, and also Read more

 

Women’s Health Caucus calls for investigation into ‘Real Alternatives’ nonprofit

(Aug 13, 2020)

The WHC chairs called the actions of the nonprofit into question, writing, “For more than 20 years, an organization known as Real Alternatives has been enriching itself and its executives, mismanaging state-appropriated funding, and potentially misdirecting that funding for advertising and legal services, including using Pennsylvania dollars in other states.” Read more

 

Delaware County lawmakers call for investigation into violence against Black Lives Matter supporters

(Aug 07, 2020)

HARRISBURG (August 7, 2020) – Today, a group of state lawmakers from Delaware County called for District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer to investigate violence and intimidation aimed at Black Lives Matter supporters during a march in Ridley Township on Saturday, August 1 st . State Sens. Tim Kearney and Anthony Williams as well as State Reps. Leanne Krueger, Margo Davidson, David Delloso, Brian Kirkland, and Joanna McClinton signed the letter, which details how peaceful protesters were met with violence and intimidation by a group of counter-protesters. The letter calls for Delaware County’s District Attorney to investigate the counter-protesters’ actions and the Ridley Township Police Department’s response. “I was proud to participate in the Black Lives Matter protest and stand with people of all races and all ages against systemic racism,” said Sen. Tim Kearney . “But I was disturbed by the hate and intimidation that I witnessed firsthand from counter-protesters. We are better than that. We need to make sure our community feels safe when peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.” “I join others across our community in expressing horror that this demonstration of love and support for Black lives was met by a menacing group with a mission to taunt and intimidate peaceful protesters,” said Rep. Leanne Krueger . “Instead of actively protecting the First Amendment rights of our Read more

 

Kenyatta condemns hate targeting transgendered Pennsylvanians

(Jul 23, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 23 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta condemned the Bloomsburg Fair mocking state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and pointed out that the transphobic remarks relay to ongoing violence against trans people. “Dr. Levine is an exemplary public servant as she continues to lead our commonwealth through these uncertain times in a dignified manner. Those pivoting to transphobic slandering to undermine her leadership, which has proven to save lives, reveal a deep seeded and ugly hatred against the trans community. “These so-called jokes at the expense of trans identities invalidates the humanity of trans people and greenlights depraving violence against them. That violence has been often been directed at trans women, and even more often, specifically Black transwomen. Transphobia coupled with misogynoir has resulted in the brutal slaughtering of six Black transwomen nationwide in the span of a few months -- one of which happened right here in our commonwealth in my hometown of Philadelphia. “These latest murders are why we must actively condemn transphobia in every form, including ‘jokes’ at fairs. We must also hold perpetrators of hatred accountable to convey the message that Pennsylvania will not tolerate hatred!” Kenyatta, D-Phila., is the first openly gay man of color in Pennsylvania history serve in the General Assembly. He has been a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold hearing on Building Inclusive Disability Curriculum Thursday in Capitol

(Jul 21, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 21 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on Building Inclusive Disability Curriculum as part of Disability Pride Philadelphia’s Virtual PA 2020. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 23, in Room G-50 Irvis Office Building in Harrisburg. The media and public are urged to watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . The hearing was requested by State Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., to explore how educational curriculums can be more inclusive of the disability community. Testifiers and members will participate in person and remotely. Testifiers will include: Jamie Ray-Leonetti , Associate Director of Policy, Temple Institute on Disabilities Alan Holdsworth , Director, Disability Equality in Education Dr. Thomas Neuville , Professor and Disability Studies Advisor, Millersville University ShaVon Savage, Elementary School Principal , School District of Philadelphia Lisa Aquila, Home Care Worker and Disability Advocate Nadine Silber, Autistic Activist and Disability Educator Nancy Ostroff, Disability Advocate Shawn Aleong, Student, Temple University Following the hearing, testimonies and full hearing video will be posted at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . ### Read more

 

Lawmakers: Time to close Amazon sales tax loophole

(Jul 20, 2020)

Proposed change would level the playing field between local businesses and online retailer Read more

 

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

 

Kinsey, Webster and PLBC members amplify call to remove Montco Commissioner Joe Gale
Aug 13, 2020

Women’s Health Caucus calls for investigation into ‘Real Alternatives’ nonprofit
Aug 13, 2020

Delaware County lawmakers call for investigation into violence against Black Lives Matter supporters
Aug 07, 2020

Kenyatta condemns hate targeting transgendered Pennsylvanians
Jul 23, 2020

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold hearing on Building Inclusive Disability Curriculum Thursday in Capitol
Jul 21, 2020

Lawmakers: Time to close Amazon sales tax loophole
Jul 20, 2020

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