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Philadelphia Delegation Platform for the 2019-20 Legislative Session

Francis Pastorious School community meeting is Wednesday, May 13 at 5 p.m.

(May 13, 2015)

Over a year ago, I began meeting with members in the northwest community about changing the name of the Francis Pastorious Mastery Charter School to honor a distinguished citizen, the Honorable David P. Richardson Jr. After a series of meetings with the Pastorious School Advisory Council and the school administration, I’m happy to announce that they voted to recommend a name change to Pastorious Richardson, Mastery Charter School. For the second phase of this project, there will be a communitywide meeting involving students, parents, graduates and neighbors to gauge your opinion of the change. This meeting will be held at 5 p.m. today, at the Pastorious School. I hope to see you there! Read more


Kinsey Honors Korean Armistice Anniversary

(May 12, 2015)

HARRISBURG, MAY 12, 2015 - Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey honors the 62nd Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement with a unanimously approved resolution in the House of Representatives. Read more


4th Annual Voices of the Community scheduled for June 4th; RSVP to speak now

(May 12, 2015)

You are invited to participate in or watch my 4th Annual Voices of the Community 2015-16 PA Budget Hearing event on Thursday, June 4th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Community Room at Falls Ridge, 4349 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, 19129. If you live or work in the 194th Legislative District, then you are eligible to testify on what you believe the priorities of our state budget should be. My previous years’ hearings have been quite successful, and many constituents have come to express their priorities for the Pennsylvania state budget. Please call my District Office at 215-482-8726 to sign up to share your thoughts. Written testimony is not required. Remarks are limited to 5 minutes per person. All are welcome to attend. Spread the word and bring your neighbors! Read more


Youngblood to revive effort to ensure tax fairness with Pa. lottery winnings

(May 12, 2015)

PHILADELPHIA, May 12 – Seeking to end Pennsylvania’s status as one of only two states that fail to tax state lottery winnings, state Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., plans to introduce bills to close that loophole and start generating millions of dollars in new revenue. Youngblood’s two-bill package will mirror H.B. 1969 and H.B. 1970 from last legislative session, with the former removing the State Lottery Law tax exemption for winnings and the latter striking the exemption from the state Tax Reform Code. California is the only other state that doesn’t tax its state lottery winnings, said Youngblood, noting that Pennsylvania’s 3.07 percent personal income tax already applies to winnings from casino gambling, pari-mutuel thoroughbred horse racing and harness horse racing, games of chance and bingo. “These proposals have the potential to raise significant revenue for the commonwealth, without negatively impacting consumers, the poor, small businesses, working families or anyone relying on a fixed income,” Youngblood said. “Plus, my initiatives would end a double standard, whereby all gambling proceeds are subject to the state personal income tax except those doled out by the Pennsylvania lottery.” Youngblood, who serves as secretary of the House Democratic Caucus and has launched a legislative agenda called People 1st, said obtaining needed state revenue by closing loopholes fits Read more


Driscoll welcomes the Bambies to the Capitol

(May 12, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 12 – State Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila., welcomed the St. Hubert Catholic High School For Girls cheerleading team to the state Capitol Monday and presented them with an official citation from the state House of Representatives. "These talented young women and their coach prove what is possible with enough dedication and hard work," Driscoll said. "They should be proud of their accomplishment, and it is an honor to recognize their success." Driscoll honored the Bambies for sending four squads to Orlando in February to compete in the National High School Cheerleading Championship. The Bambi Squad took first in the Large Junior Varsity Division for the second year in a row, and the three other squads all had top-10 finishes in their respective divisions. Read more


Sims, Davis to reintroduce equal-pay bill as part of Pa. Agenda for Women's Health

(May 11, 2015)

HARRISBURG, May 11 – State Reps. Brian Sims, D-Phila., and Tina Davis, D-Bucks, will reintroduce equal-pay legislation as part of the bipartisan "Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health" unveiled today by the legislature's Women’s Health Caucus. Sims said, "Moms deserve more than Mother's Day flowers or cards. One thing mothers and all Pennsylvania women desperately need is for the legislature to close the holes in the equal pay law so it actually gets the job done for working women and their families. Wage inequality is not only a detriment to working women, but to families as well. When employers underpay equally qualified female employees, they shortchange our wives, our mothers and our daughters, to the detriment of all.” Sims and Davis will introduce the bill as H.B. 1160. A companion bill in the Senate has been introduced as S.B. 303 . The bills would narrow the definition of determining factors for pay to education, training or experience, while also lifting the veil of pay secrecy and creating protections that permit employees to inquire about salaries without fear of termination. Current law allows for "any factor other than sex" to be a legitimate justification for disparities in pay. Davis said, "Pennsylvania has had an equal-pay law for more than 50 years, but women are still paid on average 54 to 83 cents for every dollar a man makes, depending on which county they live in. Clearly we need to Read more


3rd Annual Salute to Veterans is Saturday, May 16

(May 07, 2015)

Please join State Representative Stephen Kinsey and Philadelphia Councilwoman Cindy Bass as they host a memorial ceremony and salute to veterans Saturday, May 16 at First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG). The event will include: Bell Ringing Martin Luther King High School ROTC Veteran’s Resource Room Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Information Health Screenings Movie Screening Veteran’s Luncheon Read more


Cruz: Give Pa. Families a living wage

(May 06, 2015)

Rep. Angel Cruz talked about the importance of raising the minimum wage for working Pennsylvanians at a press conference on May 5th at the Captiol. View the video below: Read more


Thomas: Emergency communication bill needs changes before becoming law

(May 05, 2015)

HARRISBURG – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas , D-Phila., called on his colleagues in the Senate to make significant changes to legislation recently passed from the House that would update the 911 emergency communication law. House Bill 911, which passed the House Monday 134-59, would increase 911 surcharges on monthly phone bills to fund county call centers across the commonwealth and force municipalities to join county or regional call centers. Thomas said he has concerns about the legislation because it does not reflect the needs of Philadelphia. "Philadelphia has the largest, and most efficient 911 call center in the state. It handles over 3 million calls each and every year," Thomas said. "However, it is also the most underfunded call center in the state and this bill in its current form would only exacerbate that issue." Thomas said it was unacceptable that the bill's funding formula is not based on the volume of 911 calls received by a call center and the population it serves. Thomas said he was also concerned that the legislation in its current form does not give Philadelphia a standing seat on the 911 Board. "As the only first-class city in the state, Philadelphia deserves a voice on the 911 Board," Thomas said. "While every municipality has its own needs, the size of the city and its status as a major tourist attraction is unique in the state and should be reflected on the board." Thomas said he also believed a Read more


Baltimore events troubling but not surprising

(May 04, 2015)

The events of Baltimore are troubling but not at all surprising. Let me first say that as a rule I do not support or condone acts of violence, against people or property. I believe that reason and intellect usually help all of us find a way to agree or as my mother says: Agree to disagree. However, as Americans, we have supported the violent uprisings of many peoples throughout the globe. I would like to believe that this support of oppressed peoples around the globe has been about more than just politics, but more also about the responsibility of man to care for his fellow man. What I wonder today, after watching yet another American city burn is this: who or what, is most responsible for this upheaval? I know that yet another young, unarmed black male was murdered. However, I don’t believe that’s the reason why 13- and 14 year-olds were throwing rocks at police officers in the streets of Baltimore. I was once a 13-year-old boy and I feared adults, especially armed adults. I know things are different in the minds of today’s young black males, but if they are indeed that different we should all be asking ourselves the question: Why? Over the next several days, the media will be inundated with folks who will talk about the righteousness or the heinousness of the tactics used in Baltimore. But tactics are left for the tactical-minded; this is not a trait we attach to teenagers. Teenagers aren’t thugs -- they are children. They aren’t Read more


Spring 2015 Newsletter

(Apr 30, 2015)

Read Rep. Jason Dawkin's Spring 2015 Newsletter here. Read more


Roebuck: New national report spotlights Pa. charter school problems; Report says waste, fraud and abuse may total $1.4 billion nationwide

(Apr 29, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 29 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, said a new national report shows the need for strong charter school reforms in Pennsylvania like the legislation he plans to introduce soon. The report by the Center for Popular Democracy and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools is titled "The Tip of the Iceberg: Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, And Abuse." It covers more than $200 million in alleged or confirmed financial fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in charter schools. The report says standard forensic auditing methodologies suggest the real total is closer to $1.4 billion, but that much "will go undetected because the federal government, the states, and local charter authorizers lack the oversight necessary to detect the fraud." Roebuck said: "Philadelphia and Pennsylvania are unfortunately well-represented in this report. In Harrisburg, House Republicans have passed a charter school bill (H.B. 530) that falls short on needed reforms and oversight and would override local control to make it even easier to start charter schools – a dangerous combination for kids and taxpayers. House Democrats will continue to stand for greater accountability and transparency in these privately run, publicly funded schools. Fortunately, the Senate and Governor Tom Wolf still have the opportunity to do better, and the governor's budget proposes serious Read more


Kinsey appointed to state Minority Business Development Authority

(Apr 21, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 21 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., has been appointed as the House Democratic member of the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority for the 2015-16 legislative session. The PMBDA offers low-interest loan financing to businesses owned and operated by ethnic minorities. The recommendation to appoint Kinsey was made by House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. "The PMBDA mission is one that aligns with my goals as a state representative," Kinsey said. "I look forward to having a say as I work to help increase the growth and success of minority-owned businesses across the commonwealth. Entrepreneurship is a hard-fought goal for many Pennsylvanians, and I believe that the PMBDA can be that vehicle and play an integral role in helping minorities to realize their dreams. "Minority success in entrepreneurship directly and positively affects Pennsylvania’s economic climate, and the jobs that they create make real differences in the communities we call home." Read more


West Chester University honored for community service

(Apr 21, 2015)

It was my sincere pleasure to host on April 20, 2015, members of the West Chester University student body and faculty, who accepted a House citation for the university’s exemplary community-service accomplishments and for being named in December to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, which is no small feat. Last year, West Chester Students logged more than 600,000 hours of community service with an undergraduate enrollment of 13,700 students, thanks in part to the courses that integrate community work into curriculum. Two-hundred faculty members included a service component in classes in 2013-14. That’s great work and great learning! Read more


House Celebrates Jazz Month

(Apr 21, 2015)

Pa. state Rep. Jake Wheatley hosted the second annual celebration of National Jazz Month in Pennsylvania. Rep. Stephen Kinsey, Rep. Patty Kim and Rep. Harry Lewis joined Rep. Wheatley in honoring the music genre and those who have made significant contributions to it in the Commonwealth. Read more


Donatucci denounces pre-emption of local paid sick leave laws

(Apr 16, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 16 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, has released the following statement in response to the state Senate’s passage of S.B. 333 , which would invalidate Philadelphia’s mandatory paid sick leave law: “It saddens me to think that Philadelphia workers would be further subjected to working through their own illnesses, or a family illness – instead of getting the rest and care they need to be even more effective employees. Getting rid of this well-intentioned law would hurt many low-income workers, in particular, who are forced to work while sick in order to keep their jobs and support their families. “The bill’s sponsor, Senator John Eichelberger, has said that the state or federal government should decide how to handle paid sick leave. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my House Bill 624 with the senator. Under this important legislation, workers would accrue paid sick leave to care for themselves or an ill family member based on the number of hours they have worked. Most workers would accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, with slight changes in the regulations for small businesses. If Senator Eichelberger is looking for a solution at the state level, I would respectfully ask him and his colleagues to consider this bill. “Taking a sick day shouldn’t be considered a luxury. I hope my colleagues will do what’s right for Philadelphians, and for all Read more


Kinsey honors brother, military personnel

(Apr 14, 2015)

Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey honored his brother, Captain Barry Kinsey, who is retiring from the U.S. Army after nearly 25 years of service. Kinsey recognized the sacrifices and challenges that military personnel face while serving their country. Read more


Harris to introduce legislation authorizing extended liquor sales

(Apr 13, 2015)

PHILADELPHIA, April 13 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phlia., announced today that he plans to introduce legislation which would amend the Liquor Code to allow businesses to apply for extended use permits, which would authorize the sale of alcohol beyond 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. "This legislation would create a more attractive Pennsylvania and further a goal of appealing to young professionals and millennials who can greatly improve our local economies," Harris said. "Philadelphia especially has lagged behind other major cities within a short radius as far as nightlife is concerned, and this bill would put our city on par with some of the largest cities in the country as far as having a healthy, vibrant nightlife. "Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and cities in between are world-class cities of higher education and we need to create an environment where the nightlife encourages young people who become educated here to stay in our Commonwealth to live, work and play. While I understand nightlife isn’t the only concern for those making a decision on whether to stay in cities across Pennsylvania or move, I do know that it is a concern, one that we can fix, enhance and as a city, benefit from." Harris’ legislation would charge a business 10 percent of the yearly fee it pays to have a liquor license to have an extended permit license, with 50 percent of that total going to the municipality and 50 percent going to the State Stores Fund. It also Read more


Sims, Conklin: Make Pa. voting easier by making registration automatic

(Apr 07, 2015)

HARRISBURG, April 7 – State Reps. Brian Sims, D-Phila., and Scott Conklin, D-Centre, plan to introduce legislation reforming Pennsylvania's voter registration system by instituting automatic registration of all eligible voters, with provisions for opting out. "Voting is a fundamental right of all Americans, but one which many forgo due to the burdens associated with voter registration, and the time and financial costs resulting from going to the polls. As technology continues its rapid advance, legislators must find efficient and less taxing methods for helping the citizens of Pennsylvania to exercise this fundamental right," Sims said. Conklin said, "Under our proposal, the responsibility of voter registration would be passed from eligible voters onto the Pennsylvania Department of State and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Beginning July 1, 2015, the secretary of the commonwealth would initiate a program to automatically register eligible voters whose information is provided to PennDOT for obtaining a driver’s license or non-driver identification card. The Department of State would use the PennDOT data, which includes information on whether a person is a citizen, to register voters. These newly registered voters would then be sent a postcard with information on how to opt out of registration altogether and how to choose a party affiliation. Under our proposal, a newly registered voter would have 21 days to opt out of Read more