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Philadelphia House Democrats’ statement on Fairmount house fire

Burgos appointed to serve on Governor’s Census Commission

(Mar 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 15 -- State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission as Pennsylvania prepares for the 2020 census. Gov. Tom Wolf formed the commission to make sure Pennsylvania is taking the appropriate steps to achieve a complete and accurate count of the population. Burgos said that the commission will be making recommendations on methods and policies that will help make the 2020 census more accurate and easier to achieve. “I am looking forward to working with, and facilitating the most complete and accurate census count in 2020. Including implementing strategies to reach hard-to-count populations and hard-to-enumerate areas,” Burgos said. “This is an important appointment as the commonwealth prepares for the census next year. We need all people to be counted, from our biggest cities to our small and rural communities Pennsylvania may suffer deep consequences if the population is miscounted. “From losing seats in Congress to receiving billions of dollars less in federal funds for a variety of services and programs, there is a lot at stake. It is why the work of this commission is so important, and why it is an honor for me to be chosen for this important work,” he said. Some of the organizations joining Burgos on the commission are the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Service Employees International Union and the NAACP. Burgos was appointed Read more


Rabb to reignite effort to reform special elections for Pa. legislature

(Mar 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that he plans to re-introduce legislation to reform the special election nomination process for the Pennsylvania legislature. “Far too often, special elections across the commonwealth fail to honor our participatory democracy, where the people, not a political party, are supposed to be in charge of choosing a candidate,” Rabb explained. “My bill aims to prevent nominees from being hand-picked, putting the responsibility solely in the hands of voters, and restore public faith in the special election process for senators and representatives in the General Assembly.” Under Rabb's bill , people interested in running in a special election would be required to: File their candidacy with the political party in each county of the legislative district. Pay a modest filing fee. Prepare, or publicly opt out of preparing, a short video announcing their candidacy, which would be posted on the Department of State's website and made available to the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Rabb's bill also would require political parties to advertise and hold a public meeting to consider each person who seeks nomination as a candidate in a special election. “The whole point of an election is to choose the best person fit to serve, period,” Rabb said. “Instead, current special election rules favor a process that deters a wide variety of candidates from Read more


Solomon Discusses Term Limits For Lawmakers

(Mar 12, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Jared Solomon participated in a news conference to discuss how implementing term limits for House and Senate members would restore public trust in our political system. Read more


Driscoll introduces Irish-American Heritage Month resolution

(Mar 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Michael Driscoll, D-Phila., announced he has introduced H.R. 120 , designating March 2019 as “Irish-American Heritage Month” in Pennsylvania. “Since this nation’s founding, American citizens of Irish descent have made many significant contributions both within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States. Today, they continue to thrive and excel in many spheres of human endeavor, from academia to business and beyond,” Driscoll said. The celebration of Irish heritage is a long-standing tradition in the commonwealth, which hosts among the largest and oldest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country each year. Irish heritage will be celebrated from Philadelphia, where the city's parade first took place in 1771, to Scranton, which hosts the second-largest St. Patrick’s parade in the country. “As a proud Irish-American myself, it is always an honor to sponsor a resolution recognizing the impact Irish-Americans have been making since before our country’s founding. Thank you to my co-sponsors for their show of support and for extending their best wishes to the Irish community with House Resolution 120,” Driscoll said. The resolution’s co-sponsors include Reps. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, Kevin Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, and Tim Hennessey, R-Chester/Montgomery. ### Read more


Cephas to hold ‘State of the 192nd’ town hall March 14

(Mar 08, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, March 8 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas is holding a town hall meeting for residents of her legislative district from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at Sweet Union Baptist Church, located at 1536 N. 50 th St. According to Cephas, the “State of the 192nd” town hall will focus on the outlook of the communities she represents and review her legislative and local goals for the year. “This town hall meeting is an excellent opportunity for people to have their voices heard and partner with me to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and build a more vibrant community,” Cephas said. “I am honored to serve for another term and look forward to sharing more with the people I represent. Year one was a success, but the work continues!” Cephas said the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Philadelphia’s Department of Revenue, and the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. will be among the local agencies and organizations that will be in attendance and have resources to share. Residents who have questions about the town hall or who need help with any state-related matter should contact Cephas’ office at 215-879-6625 . Read more


Hohenstein, Policy Committee talk mental health in substance use treatment and recovery

(Mar 06, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, March 6 – State Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at Friends Hospital that focused on the role of mental health in substance use disorder treatment and recovery. Hohenstein and colleagues from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, heard testimony from local officials and advocates on how they can work together to provide better treatment to those with substance abuse problems. The conversation included ways the legislature can help pave a path to provide better assistance to successful long-term recovery. “The stigma associated with mental health is often a major challenge to overcome. That can start a difficult spiral leading to substance abuse issues. I’d like to thank Chairman Sturla and my colleagues for having this conversation that will ultimately help our friends and family seek the help they need,” Hohenstein said. Sturla added, “Any time we can come together to help people know that we can empathize with what they’re going through, I think is helpful. People don’t look at a cancer patient and say, ‘You’ve had 30 days of treatment, we can’t do anything more for you right now,’ and we need to stop doing that with substance abuse issues.” The committee heard testimony from Lynn Kovich, deputy secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Pennsylvania Department of Human Read more


Kenyatta introduces bill to strengthen protections against cyberattacks

(Mar 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 4 – With the ongoing attempts of cyberattacks targeting Pennsylvanians, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., has introduced legislation that would help protect the commonwealth’s cyber infrastructure. “From email and phone scams to personal data breaches, it is unconscionable the number of attempted cyberattacks occurring in Pennsylvania. With everyone constantly connected on their phones, computers and other electronic devices, the amount of potential attacks will only increase,” Kenyatta said. “We have to protect Pennsylvanians’ personal information and the creation of the Cybersecurity Innovation Commission would do just that.” House Bill 225 would create a Cybersecurity Innovation Commission to safeguard Pennsylvania’s data by conducting cybersecurity audits, improving security and privacy standards and analyzing the protocols. The commission also would work with businesses to make sure they are up-to-date on the newest technology. During recent House Appropriations Committee budget hearings, officials with the Governor’s Office of Administration testified that while they follow national federal guidelines and best practices to defend the commonwealth against cyberattacks, they still have seen an increase in the number of threats, with 18 billion in 2018. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Pennsylvania ranks 18th in the nation for the amount of identity theft cases. Read more


Rabb seeks nominations for 'phenomenal women'

(Mar 01, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, March 1 – State Rep. Chris Rabb is calling on his constituents to nominate a woman from the 200th Legislative District who is making in a difference in the community, home or at work. Rabb will honor these women during a luncheon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 15 at the Pleasant Recreation Center, 6757 Chew Ave., Philadelphia. The media is invited to attend. The luncheon also will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about state-related programs that could benefit them and their families. Rabb said constituents can nominate a phenomenal woman by visiting his website at www.pahouse.com/Rabb , or by calling his office at 215-242-7300. The deadline for nominations is March 11. Read more


Cephas applauds $86,000 to help Philadelphia veterans

(Mar 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 1 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas announced today that St. Joseph’s University is receiving $11,836 to help fund its efforts to assist veterans. The grant money is part of the Veterans Trust Fund and will be used to support the school’s podcasts that highlight business topics of interest to women veterans and military spouses. “The commitment, dedication and sacrifice of our veterans has opened the door to freedoms that too many in this country take for granted. While we can never fully repay them for their service, this money is critical in supporting programs aimed at helping our nation’s heroes here at home,” Cephas said. “I commend Governor Tom Wolf for awarding these funds, and I share in his passion to putting veterans and their families first.” St. Joseph’s University was one of three organizations in Philadelphia that received VTF funding: Military Assistance Project: $49,600 to provide free legal services to veterans Veterans Multi-Service Center: $25,000 for its women veterans program A complete list of recipients can be found here . The VTF is funded by generous Pennsylvanians who voluntarily make a $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license, photo ID, or a motor vehicle registration. The VTF also receives proceeds that come from the sale of the Honoring Our Veterans license plate and private donations. Since the grant program began in 2013, more than Read more


Isaacson: We Must Make Voting Easier

(Feb 26, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Mary Isaacson joined the House Democratic Policy Committee in Allentown for a roundtable discussion on protecting voting rights in Pennsylvania. The roundtable focused on a new legislative package from the House Democrats titled Your Vote Counts, which would allow for early voting, additional time for absentee ballots to be submitted, time off to vote, and mail-in ballots. Read more


McClinton announces appointment of deputy caucus chairs

(Feb 26, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 26 – House Democratic Caucus Chair Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today announced the appointment of four legislators to serve in the newly-created role of deputy caucus chair for the 2019-2020 legislative session. The newly appointed deputy caucus chairs are: State Rep. Morgan Cephas, Philadelphia County State Rep. Ed Gainey, Allegheny County State Rep. Frank Burns, Cambria County State Rep. Michael Schlossberg, Lehigh County “As the first woman and the first African-American to serve as the House Democratic Caucus chair, I am committed to ensuring that our new members have the information and mentorship they need to best serve their communities. I also know it is equally important to work hand-in-hand with our experienced members to better meet the needs of all of our constituents. For those reasons, I’m grateful to be joined in this effort by four deputy caucus chairs who represent a cross-section of our caucus in terms of gender, race and geographic location,” McClinton said. In their new roles, the deputy caucus chairs will work closely with the 24 new members of the House Democratic Caucus to provide peer mentoring in areas such as messaging, legislative goals, district office outreach and constituent services. The deputy caucus chairs will also work with McClinton to prepare special informational presentations for legislators and to encourage all members to routinely attend daily caucus meetings Read more


Know your rights regarding housing issues

(Feb 25, 2019)

I’m inviting you to learn about your rights by attending my Housing: Know Your Rights event on Tuesday, Feb. 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Berean Presbyterian Church, 2101 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, 19122. Renters and homeowners can receive information on their rights as well as on a number of state-related programs, such as help to heat your home and assistance with rent or property taxes. Read more


Bullock Fights For Diversity in PSP

(Feb 25, 2019)

During a House Budget Hearing in Harrisburg, Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock questioned the lack of diversity in the Pennsylvania State Police. She discussed why it’s critical to have troopers of all different backgrounds. Read more


Hohenstein Holding Hearing To Combat Opioid Epidemic

(Feb 25, 2019)

In his ongoing fight to combat the opioid epidemic, Pa. state Rep. Joe Hohenstein is holding a public hearing that focuses on the gap in mental health side of addiction. Read more


Fiedler introduces net neutrality bill to protect consumers (with video)

(Feb 22, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 22 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., this week introduced legislation that would protect Pennsylvanians’ internet use. House Bill 544 would make it illegal for internet service providers to block lawful internet content, impair internet traffic or engage in any other activities that negatively affect the web experience of Pennsylvania residents. “Most people get their internet access from a handful of big companies, including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. Under current law, the company you pay for your internet service could prevent you from going to a competitor’s website, interfere with speech that criticizes the company, or even block your access to a union website during a labor conflict at work,” Fiedler said. “We rely on the internet for so much of our communication with work, school, government and family, and for financial transactions including purchases and bill paying. We need to protect our equal access to information on the internet. In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to dismantle the rules of net neutrality, which is the expectation that the company people pay for internet service will treat all data on the internet equally. House Bill 544 was referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee. Read more


Philadelphia Delegation Platform for the 2019-20 Legislative Session

(Feb 21, 2019)

The Philadelphia Delegation's top priorities for the 2019-20 Legislative Session include investing in education and schools, criminal justice reform, health care for all, strengthening commercial coordinators, and alternative energy methods. Read more


Burgos Celebrates Dominican Independence Day

(Feb 19, 2019)

As the first Dominican elected to serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Pa. state Rep. Danilo Burgos gave the keynote address in Harrisburg to honor 175 years of independence for the Dominican Republic. He explains the legislation he’s working on to help people of all backgrounds achieve the American Dream. Read more


Bullock Pushes for Community Solar

(Feb 19, 2019)

At a Capitol news conference, Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock promotes legislation enabling community solar projects in Pennsylvania. In community solar, participants can subscribe to a portion of an offsite solar project and receive credit on their electricity bill for the power produced, just as if the panels were on their roof. Read more


Kenyatta joins Pa. attorney general to announce Kensington drug bust

(Feb 15, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 15 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., joined Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Thursday for a news conference to discuss a major drug bust in Kensington. Yesterday, more than 160 agents and officers representing all levels of law enforcement executed search warrants at 13 residences and of 15 vehicles. Eleven people were arrested in connection with the drug trafficking operation. “The breakup of this drug operation is a testament to what can happen when state, local and federal law enforcement work together. I’m grateful to Attorney General Shapiro and his office for their work,” Kenyatta said. “While we must actively and aggressively pursue criminal justice reform, we must also work to stem this tide of poison flowing into our communities. “I remain dedicated to doing all we can to fund drug treatment programs and workforce development initiatives. We must enhance social services to help folks get off of drugs and remain off of drugs. I stand ready and willing to work with law enforcement to ensure that those who make our communities less safe are held accountable and taken off the streets.” The estimated street value of the heroin, fentanyl and other drugs distributed by this criminal operation is roughly $7.7 million. In addition to 983 grams of crack cocaine and 4,900 grams of heroin and/or fentanyl, agents also recovered three handguns, $13,000 in cash, and a piece of heavy machinery Read more


Neilson bill would help crack down on trespassers

(Feb 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 15 – Legislation introduced this week by state Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., would help police across the commonwealth remove illegal trespassers from residential properties. House Bill 546 would help address situations where people illegally move into a home or an apartment but claim to live there legally when police arrive. Law enforcement would have the authority to remove someone from a home if they have probable cause to believe the person is trespassing. Under the bill, the accused would be granted adequate opportunity to prove they live there legally before police can remove them. “There are cases when it’s one person’s word against another’s, so police often hesitate to remove the trespasser because the property owner could be attempting to evict rightful tenants illegally,” Neilson said. “There are certain situations when an owner may have to take legal eviction action, which could be expensive and time-consuming. My legislation would help eliminate that potential step for the property owner.” The bill would not affect landlord-tenant disputes, and a property owner making a false statement could be held criminally and civilly liable. Read more