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Philadelphia House Delegation praises expanded state Child and Dependent Care Enhancement Tax Credit

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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