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Philadelphia House Democrats’ statement on Fairmount house fire

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus to host Tuskegee Airmen program for Black History Month

(Feb 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced that the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will host a Black History Month program to celebrate the Tuskegee Airmen. The ceremony will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Feb. 23 at New Covenant Church of Philadelphia, 7500 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19119. "The Tuskegee Airmen’s excellent combat record served as an example to all who doubted the leadership skills of black Americans'” Kinsey said. “Even before the civil rights movement took shape, these heroes helped open doors for black Americans in the military and beyond.” The event will feature a panel discussion with members of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen hosted by Junious R. Stanton. Speakers include Tuskegee Airmen and women Nathan O. Thomas, Dr. Eugene Richardson, Bertram Levy and Alma Bailey. Read more


Neilson bill would protect enforcement officers from assault

(Feb 14, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 14 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would provide protection to local code enforcement officers if they are assaulted while on the job. House Bill 545 would include these public employees to a protected class in the event of an assault. The legislation would increase the penalty – from a misdemeanor of the second degree to a felony of the second degree – for an assault on a local code enforcement officer when they are on duty and they are injured. “These public servants are performing thankless jobs every day by enforcing the law. They face unexpected and, many times, unnecessary problems with citizens that could result in injury,” Neilson said. “Our local code enforcement officers deserve the same protections as those in similar jobs where telling people what they don’t always want to hear may lead them to become hostile.” Pennsylvania law currently provides such protection to constables, teachers, parking enforcement officers and public utility employees. Read more


Dawkins: Nearly $2.6 million in grants will expand Philadelphia job, workforce development opportunities

(Feb 13, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 13 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, today announced that nearly $2.6 million in state grants will help expand registered apprenticeships and workforce development opportunities, and increase job-training opportunities for students and job seekers in Philadelphia. The grants, which are part of the PAsmart initiative, will be used to identify local needs and connect students and other job seekers to Philadelphia industries, while helping those industries become more competitive. “Apprenticeship programs are a great way for people to earn while they learn because these opportunities could turn into family-sustaining careers,” Dawkins said. “I have been partnering with local labor unions to host workshops designed to inform people about apprenticeship programs and I have received positive feedback. The Philadelphia House Delegation is united in pushing for more of these programs as part of our platform to get people to work and help reduce Philadelphia’s 26 percent poverty rate. These grants will help in our efforts.” Award recipients are: The Wistar Institute – $128,262 District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund – $495,950 Philadelphia Youth Network Inc. – $45,950 Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center – $40,000 Philadelphia Area Labor - Management Committee – $190,000 Philadelphia Works – $580,038 Labor Union 14 Joint Apprentice Read more


Bullock Fights For Quality Schools

(Feb 12, 2019)

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Sims: Get Tested for HIV Now

(Feb 07, 2019)

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Kenyatta praises federal Green New Deal proposal (with video)

(Feb 07, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 7 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., today applauded the announcement of a federal initiative to combat climate change across the nation. “The Green New Deal proposed today by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York and U.S. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts is an ambitious and aggressive beginning in the fight against climate change. From record rainfall and deadly wildfires to frigid cold temperatures, these unusual weather patterns are a constant indication that climate change is real and we need to act fast. “Today’s announcement also serves as a reminder that the Pennsylvania General Assembly must look to itself and redouble its efforts on climate change, renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions in the commonwealth. Last summer, Philadelphians dealt with several days of scorching heat, resulting in an increase in pollution and poor air quality and creating breathing difficulties for the young and old. The decline in our climate and increase in pollution is a social justice issue that hits poor and working-class communities the hardest. “The legislature could start by supporting legislation, of which I am a cosponsor, written by my Philadelphia colleague state Representative Chris Rabb. The bill would transition the commonwealth to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 . He and I, along with many of our fellow lawmakers, agree the change must start now. “I also stood today with Read more


Cephas: Wolf’s proposed budget will be good for Philadelphia

(Feb 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., today announced her support for Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019-20 proposed budget. “Recently, my colleagues in the Philadelphia House Delegation stood together to announce our plan to reduce poverty in Philadelphia,” Cephas said. “House Democrats are on the same page as Governor Wolf when it comes to helping our most vulnerable citizens get back on their feet while avoiding new taxes.” Wolf’s 2019-20 budget proposal includes: • No new taxes. • A new Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center. • A minimum wage increase to $12 per hour. • Lowering the age of mandatory school attendance from 8 to 6. • Increasing the dropout age from 17 to 18. • A study on the benefits of providing free full-day kindergarten to all children 5 and older. • $200 million more for basic education. • $50 million more for pre-K and Head Start. • $50 million more for special education. • $7 million more for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. • $8 million in one-time grants for community college students/graduates working in Pennsylvania. “This is the first step in a long budget review process and I look forward to learning more details through my committee roles this session,” Cephas said. “I want to make sure that the final budget continues to reflect the values Read more


Philadelphia House Delegation unites to raise communities out of poverty

(Feb 05, 2019)

Philadelphia’s poverty rate has remained at roughly 26 percent since 2013. That is unconscionable to our delegation. While we see skyscrapers rise in Center City and other signs of growth and affluence, many of our communities — indeed our constituents — live a very different daily reality that includes contemplating buying food or paying the bills. This needs to change. Read more


Kinsey & PLBC Kickoff Black History Month

(Feb 04, 2019)

Chairman of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Stephen Kinsey, talks about the power of the messages spoken and the inspiration of the next generation in their creative efforts at the Black History Month kickoff event. Read more


McClinton on Rosa Parks Remembrance Day

(Feb 04, 2019)

Citing the mountain of work still to do, Pa. House Democratic Caucus Chair Joanna McClinton asks the gathered assembly if they have the bravery of Rosa Parks to stand up in the face of fear to fight for equality and civil rights for all people. McClinton honors Mrs. parks with a House Resolution declaring February 4, 2019 as Rosa Parks Remembrance Day in Pennsylvania. Read more


Harris: Pennsylvania Promise provides elevator out of poverty

(Jan 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – Citing the negative statistics regarding higher education in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., House Democratic Whip, today joined fellow legislators and advocates to announce the reintroduction of the Pennsylvania Promise initiative in the Capitol Media Center. “The cost of a college education has risen exponentially over the past twenty years, with averages across the country more than tripling,” Harris said. “Over that same time, wages have not grown at nearly the same pace, making a college education unattainable for too many Pennsylvanians.” Pennsylvania currently ranks 47 in the nation in higher education funding per capita and dead last in U.S. News’ Best States 2018 report in regards to higher education. State system students’ real tuition and fees increased 51 percent since 2000 while the median student debt for state system students increased 132 percent between 2000 and 2015. “We should be tearing down barriers to education, not building them,” Hughes said. “The growing costs of higher education and the exploding rates of debt are having an increasingly negative impact on our state. It is time we support our learners and give them the best opportunities for prosperity.” “It is absolutely crucial that our students be given every chance to succeed and grow within their learning communities,” Roebuck said. “I could not imagine trying to Read more


Philadelphia Delegation announces subcommittee chairpersons

(Jan 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, today announced that subcommittee chairpersons have been selected to oversee issues and generate policies that would support the Philadelphia Platform for the 2019-20 legislative session. The delegation said its top priority for working toward a better Philadelphia is reducing the city’s 26 percent poverty rate through workforce development, education, strengthening commercial corridors, criminal justice and safety reform, and improving infrastructure and exports. “After announcing the platform earlier this month, we hit the ground running by determining the means in which we will approach these issues and how to best focus on them,” Dawkins said. “In selecting these subcommittee chairpersons, we connected these issues with members who either have experience in those subject areas or who have been advocating for them. “The overall focus with the platform is stripping the main thread weaving through every neighborhood in Philadelphia, and that’s poverty. This needs to change. We must do that by working together and investing in education and our schools, reforming the criminal justice system, providing health care for all, and strengthening commercial corridors and alternative energy methods,” Dawkins said. “For too long our justice system has been an injustice system for far too many,” said Rep. Malcolm Read more


We must educate our young people about human trafficking

(Jan 29, 2019)

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and you may think this is a problem unique to other countries around the world, but you would be wrong. This epidemic knows no national boundaries – imprisoning millions of people each and every year to a life of indentured servitude, sexual exploitation, violence and fear. Human trafficking doesn’t just take place in foreign countries, dark alleyways, or on Hollywood movie sets. It’s happening right now in the neighborhoods where we all live, where we send our children to school and where we go to work. Human trafficking refers to the sexual or labor exploitation of people by threat, force or coercion. According to the United Nation’s International Labour Organization, there are over 40 million victims of human trafficking globally, with the vast majority of them being women and girls. While victims live in isolation and deplorable living conditions, perpetrators of this abuse rake in millions of dollars. In fact, forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide, and the United States is not immune. In the United States, 8,759 cases of human trafficking were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2017 – a 13 percent increase in cases compared to 2016. In Pennsylvania, roughly 200 cases of human trafficking were reported to this hotline in 2017, up from 157 in 2016 and 109 in 2014. In 2017, an estimated one out of seven endangered runaways reported to the Read more


Hohenstein Discusses Committee Priorities

(Jan 29, 2019)

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Fiedler receives 2019-20 House committee assignments

(Jan 28, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 28 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., today announced that she has been appointed to sit on three House standing committees for the 2019-20 legislative session. The freshman legislator was picked to serve on the Appropriations; Environmental Resources and Energy; and Health committees. “I am thrilled to get started on these powerful committees and to work with my colleagues on health, environmental and economic issues that impact the residents in my district and across Pennsylvania,” Fiedler said. She added while all three committees are crucial in dealing with matters concerning the commonwealth, they also coincide with her legislative priorities. “I believe my work on environment, health and economic issues will go hand in hand. We all deserve high quality health care, clean air and water, and the medical treatment our doctors say we need to live healthy lives. And we deserve an economic system that spends public money for the greater good. “Health care specifically is a major issue for my constituents in South Philadelphia. As a member of the Health Committee, I will continue the fight for high-quality health care. Our lives are more valuable than huge profits for big companies. I also will push for universal health care and for our rights as women to make our own choices about our health and our bodies,” Fiedler said. Fiedler represents the 184th Legislative District in South Philadelphia. She Read more


Burgos receives 2019-20 House committee assignments

(Jan 28, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 28 – State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., today announced he has been appointed to serve on several key House committees for the 2019-20 legislative session. House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody appointed the freshman legislator to the chamber’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs; Children and Youth; and Human Services committees. “As a new legislator, I am eager to represent the interests of my district on these important committees. From making sure our children are protected and safe, to helping residents get the assistance and resources they need; whether it is help for addiction or trying to make ends meet, these committees serve as great platforms to benefit the people of north Philadelphia and the entire commonwealth,” Burgos said. In addition to being appointed to the three committees, Burgos is a member of the newly created bipartisan, bicameral Criminal Justice Reform Caucus. “Criminal justice reform is one of my top priorities. We have many people in Philadelphia who have committed minor crimes, served their punishment and have returned to society, yet they are having difficulty getting back into the workforce because of their past. This needs to change,” Burgos said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to move good legislation forward to help these people in the city and across Pennsylvania.” Burgos represents the 197th Legislative District in north Philadelphia including the Read more


Rabb hosting appreciation day for federal employees impacted by shutdown

(Jan 25, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 25 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., is hosting an appreciation day for federal employees impacted by the federal government shutdown from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the Upper Room Baptist Church’s food bank located at 7236 Ogontz Ave. Rabb said community organizations will be at the event to provide groceries to federal workers who show their federal ID. Rabb and his staff will be there to share information on the home heating assistance program, commonly known as LIHEAP, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP benefits. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Congressman Dwight Evans also will share information about local resources. “Trump’s federal shutdown for political posturing – the longest in U.S. history – has resulted in enormous hardships for the hardworking people who keep our government running,” Rabb said. “The callousness shown by the president and his administration regarding the real struggles of federal workers is troubling and disheartening. I am hosting this event to show our federal workers that we know their struggles are real and serious and that there are people out there who care about their well-being.” According to Rabb, the appreciation day is still taking place despite the reported deal reached today to halt the shutdown and keep the federal government open for the next several weeks. He believes that federal employees will still need assistance as they Read more


Get free assistance with your Property Tax/Rent Rebate

(Jan 24, 2019)

Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2018 tax year are available – and my office staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2018 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The rebates normally are distributed by the Department of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more


Rabb applauds Gov. Wolf’s consideration of general use cannabis

(Jan 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 24 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today issued a statement supporting Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s launch of a statewide listening tour on the possibility of legalizing the sale and adult consumption of cannabis – more popularly known as “marijuana.” “I’m glad to see our governor seriously considering the legalization of general use cannabis,” Rabb said. “As a founding member of the PA Cannabis Caucus and the founding chair of the PA House Democratic Caucus Equity Committee, I strongly support the legalization of general use cannabis in Pennsylvania. One in four young adults already uses cannabis and with 64 percent of Americans in favor of legalization, it is past time for Pennsylvania to be frontrunners in this industry rather than lagging behind. It is clear that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ has failed, and it’s time we started to treat cannabis use as a public health issue, not a criminal one.” Rabb went on to say that the policies enacted ultimately need to include: • Comprehensive criminal justice reform as it relates to the thousands of people who have languished in jails and prisons over cannabis-related drug offenses; • A rigorous social equity rubric regarding how licenses are applied for and secured by prospective business owners of cannabis grow facilities and dispensaries; and • Allocation of tax revenues from cannabis sales Read more