Featured News

Philadelphia House Democrats’ statement on Fairmount house fire

Rabb explores fair school funding at House Democratic Policy Committee hearing

(Jan 23, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 23 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss the moral implications and practical solutions to addressing Pennsylvania’s ranking as the worst state in the U.S. on public education funding equity. Rabb was joined by state legislators from across the state, many of whom are advocates for a fair and equitable funding formula, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who previously served on the Basic Education Funding Commission, Rep. James Roebuck, chairman of the House Democratic Education Committee and Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia County Delegation. “We had the opportunity to talk to advocates and superintendents from across the state to see how the current inequities in funding are impacting students. This open dialogue gave us great insight into how we can move forward to make changes to directly reach the students and districts that need resources most,” Rabb explained. Sturla added, “As a member of the Basic Education Funding Commission, I had the opportunity to help craft the current funding formula. Unfortunately, the formula only applies to new dollars invested in education. We really need to find a way to accelerate that equitable funding to ensure that generations of students are not left behind.” The committee heard testimony from Christopher Dormer, superintendent, Norristown School District; Read more


Sims condemns SCOTUS decision on transgender military ban

(Jan 22, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 22 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s transgender military ban: “I am disgusted by the Court’s decision, but I am not surprised. Verdicts like this are exactly why special interests and the far-right took the unprecedented action of blocking former President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court for 293 days. “In the months and years to follow, the Supreme Court will issue countless more decisions which will impact nearly every imaginable aspect of our nation. With each decision, it is critically important to remember the genesis of this era in our nation’s history. “As the son of two lieutenant colonels, I’ve witnessed the dedication and sacrifice exhibited by our service members all across our nation. I cannot fathom the pain and indignity our transgender military members feel in the wake of this morning’s unconscionable decision. “It is equally important to note that the commander in chief who issued this order not only evaded military service during the Vietnam War but also is under investigation for conspiring with a hostile foreign power to elevate his own interests over those of our nation. “We owe these soldiers and veterans our gratitude as well as our commitment to ensuring that this shameful moment in our history is never repeated again. This ban has been Read more


Burgos to host Open House Jan. 31

(Jan 22, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 22 – State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., invites constituents to his open house from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31 at his district office at 635 W. Erie Ave., 19140. “I’ve rolled up my sleeves and am ready to work for the people who brought me here,” Burgos said. “I want to cut the red tape and make government more accessible to them, so we can all have the tools we need to succeed and to make our communities better. This will also be an opportunity to hear firsthand from my constituents about the issues most important to them, so I can refine my work in Harrisburg.” Burgos said he and his staff will discuss the ways his office can connect constituents to state-related programs and services, such as the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). They will also provide updates and information on how to get a Real ID in Pennsylvania. No RSVP is required. For more information, constituents can contact Burgos’ office at (215) 223-1890. Read more


Philly Delegation rolls out ambitious plan for 2019-20 legislative session

(Jan 17, 2019)

Members of the state House’s Philadelphia Delegation stood united at a Capitol press conference Wednesday to unveil a new legislative platform for the next two years. Read more


Philadelphia Delegation announces its legislative platform for 2019-20

(Jan 16, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, along with delegation members today announced their legislative agenda during a news conference at the state Capitol. The delegation said its top priorities for working toward a better Philadelphia include investing in education and schools, criminal justice reform, health care for all, strengthening commercial coordinators, and alternative energy methods. "We are joining forces to work as one unit for the betterment of all Philadelphians, and that begins with fighting for what our constituents need the most,” Dawkins said. "We are also focused on making sure that everyone gets a fair shot and equal treatment." “Last session we worked in bipartisan fashion to get clean slate legislation signed into law and bring real criminal justice reform to those who need it,” said Rep. Jordan Harris, the Democratic Whip. “Now, we must continue fighting for further reform to reduce recidivism and allow Pennsylvanians who have paid their debit to society to pursue a productive path to citizenry.” “For too long our criminal justice system has been an injustice system for the mentally ill, the poor, and people of color,” said Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. “While we’ve made progress, our prisons remain overcrowded, inmates mistreated, and mental health problems ignored. I stand with my Philadelphia colleagues to address Read more


Fiedler to host family-friendly Health and Wellness Fair

(Jan 14, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., announced she will host her first event since taking office as state representative of the 184th Legislative District . The Health and Wellness Fair will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 at the East Passyunk Recreation Center, 1025 Mifflin St., 19148. Fiedler said this family-friendly event will have a dance class for kids, exercise and healthy eating tips, information on health and safety programs for people of all ages, and door prizes. She and her staff also will be on-hand to meet attendees and answer any questions they may have regarding state services. “It’s a new year and with it comes New Year’s resolutions, including living healthier, but that sometimes takes a back seat while we all try to balance work, family and our health,” Fiedler said. “My event will provide great resources for busy families to get information they need to work together toward a healthy lifestyle and have fun at the same time.” For more information, constituents can call 215-271-9190 or email RepFiedler@pahouse.net . Read more


Kenyatta district office grand opening

(Jan 14, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., will host a district office grand opening from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 at 1501 N. Broad St., Suite 17 . “My staff and I are excited to get to work for our neighbors,” Kenyatta said. “I invite all those in the district to come to our office to meet face to face with myself and the people who are working for them. I want open communication with my community. We could not be here without the support of our citizens, and now it’s finally time to give back. Let us know what we can do to serve you to the best of our ability.” Kenyatta encourages residents of Philadelphia’s 181st Legislative District to come to the event to meet his staff and to learn about the various constituent services offered. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the district office at 215-978-0311 or visit www.pahouse.com/Kenyatta , which has links to information on state services and includes a form that enables residents to email him. Residents can also follow Kenyatta on Facebook www.Facebook.com/RepKenyatta and Twitter @RepKenyatta . Read more


Northwest Economic Empowerment Business Summit Jan. 19

(Jan 11, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 11 – State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald will be joined by Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Chris Rabb, Sen. Art Haywood and Councilwoman Cherelle Parker to co-host an annual summit to help current and future business owners succeed and prosper. The 2 nd Annual Northwest Economic Empowerment Business Summit, organized by Fitzgerald, will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at Masjidullah, the Center for Human Excellence, 7433 Limekiln Pike, 19138. The theme of this year’s summit is “Continuing the Journey.” Those attending the summit can take part in a variety of workshops and hear from expert panelists about starting a business or making an existing business thrive. “Business owners are a vital part of our community,” Fitzgerald said. “We want to provide constituents with the opportunities and resources to assist them, whether it’s starting their own business venture or growing their existing business.” Fitzgerald said there will be door prizes and continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Congressman Dwight Evans will be the keynote speaker. Representatives and their staff also will be available to answer questions and provide information on state government-related services. For more information and to RSVP, please call Fitzgerald’s office at 215-549-0220 or by email at repizzy@pahouse.net . Read more


PLBC statement on Mummer’s Parade

(Jan 03, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statements after seeing reports of racist behavior at the Mummer’s Parade: “The issue we are seeing here is a history of controversial characters and portrayals,” said state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila, chairman of the PLBC. “The actions of those involved was intended as a form of comedy, but many viewers on the outside of the event believe it was in poor taste. We want to work on educating the public about how these actions can affect those around them, and how we might be able to better work for the future by working together on this parade as a whole community. The PLBC will continue our fight against acts of racism and fight for non-discriminatory legislation that updates the laws to help combat racism and racist behavior. Even if we cannot defeat it altogether, we should have better laws in place to discourage hateful practices and better educate the public.” “It doesn’t matter if it’s blackface or a black face, racial insensitivity has no place in Philadelphia,” said state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., former chairman of the PLBC and House Democratic Whip. “Sadly, this Parade has a tradition of racial insensitivity at best and racism at worst. It’s high time the sponsors and all others involved take a deliberate look at the messages being put forth by the parade. I look forward to joining other Read more


Cephas: Store closure devastating to local neighborhood

(Jan 03, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., said she is disheartened over the community impact following the announcement of a grocery store closing due to the city’s soda tax . “It is disappointing to see the Shoprite store along Haverford Avenue closing its doors,” Cephas said. “Not only is it a hit to the local economy and a loss of jobs in the immediate area, it will add to the already overwhelming amount of food deserts in our Middle Neighborhoods. “While there are other stores in the immediate area where people can shop, the lack of access to fresh foods and produce in the community where this Shoprite exists could become a burden for those who may be unable to get to those stores. I will work with area stakeholders and residents to bring a grocery store to the soon-to-be vacant site in an effort to benefit the community’s overall needs. “With a new legislative session underway in Harrisburg, the general assembly must work together to provide adequate funding for our schools and infrastructure needs across the commonwealth, no matter the zip code. By fairly distributing sufficient appropriations for education and recreation centers, municipalities and cities, including Philadelphia, would not need to create alternative means of funding, such as a soda tax, which could ultimately have a devastating impact on businesses and our neighborhoods.” Read more


Hohenstein assumes office as state legislator for 177th Legislative District

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila, was inaugurated today to represent Pennsylvania’s 177th Legislative District. “I’m beyond honored and privileged to serve my community in this new role as a state representative,” Hohenstein said. “I’m committed to continue the work to raise the minimum wage and support our workers, women and equal pay, a clean environment, sensible gun laws, and fair districts to provide everyone an equal voice in government.” Aligned with the House Democrats’ Plan for PA , Hohenstein said his legislative priorities include full fair funding for Philadelphia schools, solutions to the drug crisis that make everyone in the community safer, and tax structures that are fair to working families and make corporations pay their fair share. The 177th Legislative District comprises the neighborhoods of Fishtown, Olde Richmond, Bridesburg, Port Richmond, Frankford, Tacony, Wissinoming, Mayfair, Holmesburg and Rawnhurst. Hohenstein’s district office is located at 4725-27 Richmond St., 19137. The telephone number is (215) 744-2600. Constituents may email him at RepHohenstein@pahouse.net or visit his website at www.pahouse.com/hohenstein to learn more about the state-related services and programs available through his local and Harrisburg offices. His legislative social media accounts can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RepHohenstein and on Twitter @RepHohenstein . Read more


Solomon sworn in for second term as state representative

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., today was sworn in to his second term in office during a Capitol ceremony as state representative for the 202nd Legislative District. “I am grateful for the opportunity to continue serving my community.” Solomon said. “We must keep the momentum going. Our community had a great year. We made big gains on business corridor development, added security and championed many issues for the Northeast. This year will be another great one. I will continue to work tirelessly to make sure our neighborhood continues to grow as a diverse, multicultural epicenter of cuisine and small businesses. I will focus on large-scale development and building the capacity of our civic institutions.” During his first term, Solomon passed legislation that ensured Pennsylvania can deliver state, local and federal benefits to our veterans. Solomon also established a commission to plan America’s 250th birthday, which will examine ways to drive infrastructure development in Philadelphia and in all of our counties. Solomon also helped pass a bill that created a one-stop shop for businesses looking to open, expand, or relocate to Pennsylvania, which provides an easy way to navigate bureaucratic hurdles. He worked with Gov. Tom Wolf to add $50 million for workforce development to the 2018-19 state budget. This allocation will allow students to graduate from high school with the skills needed to enter the middle Read more


Dawkins takes oath of office for start of 2019-20 session

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins today was sworn in to office to represent the 179 th Legislative District during a ceremony that ushered in the 2019-20 legislative session at the Pennsylvania Capitol. “I am excited and honored to continue to serve my community and district as its state representative,” Dawkins said. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to continue our efforts to make Pennsylvania a safe place to live, work and raise a family, including efforts to reform our state’s criminal justice system, promote workforce development and further education opportunities for all.” Dawkins was re-elected to his third term in office Nov. 6. He was recently elected as chairman of the Philadelphia County Delegation and is a member of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. Dawkins is a member of the PA SAFE Caucus, a group of legislators dedicated to reducing all types of violence in society through adequate mental health services funding, enforcing existing and creating stronger tools for law enforcement, and resources to deal with the effects of addiction and illegal drug trade, and solutions to reduce gun violence and promote public safety. The 179 th Legislative District stretches throughout lower northeast Philadelphia and comprises the neighborhoods of Frankford, Wissinoming, Mayfair, Olney and Oxford Circle. The district office telephone number is 215-744-7902. Read more


Kenyatta sworn in as state representative for first term

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – In the presence of family and friends, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta took the oath of office to begin his first term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he will represent the 181st Legislative District . He was recently elected vice-chairman of the Philadelphia County Delegation. Kenyatta, a 28-year-old native of the north Philadelphia community that makes up part of his district, is a 2012 graduate of Temple University. He is the first openly LGBTQ person of color to be elected to the General Assembly. Before being elected, Kenyatta led the Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. He also worked in Graduate Medical Education at Hahnemann Hospital and food service for a number of years. In addition, Kenyatta served as the campaign manager for a Philadelphia City Council candidate and served on the board of Equality Pennsylvania. “I am proud to be a part of history and to represent the community where I was born, raised and received my degree. I’m forever grateful to my constituents for allowing me to be their voice in Harrisburg,” Kenyatta said. “Becoming a state representative is a victory for north Philadelphia and for anyone who feels left out or left behind. We need to deal with the moral and economic crisis of poverty, fully and fairly fund schools, raise the minimum wage and provide a better quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.” Read more


Philadelphia Delegation lauds passage of Federal First Step Act

(Dec 19, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 19 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation in the House of Representatives, applauded the passage of “First Step Act,” which is designed to reform the criminal justice system and ease punitive prison sentences at the federal level. “The First Step Act will change criminal justice reform in the United States as we know it. Even though there is lot more to accomplish when it comes to criminal justice reform, this is definitely a step in the right direction,” Dawkins said. “This legislation was long overdue – for too long we have only been tough on crime. It is past time to take a step back and reevaluate what works better for our communities, our states and the nation. “I’m glad to see action on mandatory minimums. As we all know they drive up the cost of the system by imposing longer prison terms on more offenders, in many cases nonviolent offenders, and they provide little enhancement to public safety. “Pennsylvania took the lead on criminal justice reform in the nation, when we passed the Clean Slate legislation and we’re eager to see more change happen across the country.” The U.S Senate passed the “First Step Act” (87-12) last night. The House is expected to take up the Senate version of the bill at a later date. The House passed a similar version of the bill back in May by a wide margin, 360-59. Read more


Solomon champions quality child care in Pa.

(Oct 30, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 30 – With a thriving child care center in his district as the backdrop, state Rep. Jared Solomon today highlighted the ongoing need for quality child care in underserved areas in the 202nd Legislative District and throughout the commonwealth. Solomon held a news conference at Bustleton Child Learning Center and was joined by Aliya Johnson-Roberts, the center’s executive director. The center recently opened and is an expansion of Pratt Street Learning Center, which received a STAR 4 rating from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Keystone STARS program . "I am excited to celebrate Bustleton Learning Center and how they provide such high-quality child care to the children of my district," Solomon said. "Not only did they breathe new life into a vacant building at a vital intersection for our neighborhood, they are also a fantastic community partner that welcomes local groups and families to use this great space." Solomon helped transfer the vacant building at Bustleton and Magee avenues into the Bustleton Child Learning Center through the Fund for Quality , a grant program that strives to create and maintain high-quality child care. "State Representative Solomon has been really active and supportive from the beginning. We are really excited to be the high-quality program moving into the area. He not only supports us in the early child care but in becoming a HUB in the community. We are thankful Read more


Frankel, Sims condemn Trump administration move to narrow civil rights protections for transgender people

(Oct 24, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 24 – State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Brian K. Sims, D-Philadelphia, today jointly condemned efforts by the Trump administration to roll back federal civil rights protections for transgender people. Their actions were prompted by news that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is attempting to impose a restrictive definition of gender as a biological, immutable condition determined at birth and limited to “male” or “female.” Doing so would remove protections available to transgender people under current civil rights laws such as Title IX, which bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government assistance. “This administration is attempting to legislate transgender men and women out of existence. But it doesn’t work that way. People won’t feel differently about their own bodies and lives just because Trump tells them to ,” said Frankel, who is co-chairman of the House LGBT Equality Caucus. Sims said, “The Trump administration’s proposal is designed to erase the legal identities of transgender Americans by destroying decades of American jurisprudence and precedent that unquestionably recognizes the scientific and medical reality of transgender existence. This is an abhorrent and dehumanizing attack on the transgender community that will undoubtedly cause millions of Americans to suffer. The federal government’s planned assault on Read more


Solomon applauds final passage of bill to help business development

(Oct 17, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., today commended his House and Senate colleagues for passing legislation that would make sure businesses have continued access to a critical online tool. Solomon said the bill would strengthen the Pennsylvania Business One-Stop Shop initiative – a program already set in place by Gov. Tom Wolf as a sole source to guide entrepreneurs and small businesses through all stages of development – by enacting it into state law. Solomon thanked Rep. Michael Peifer, R-Pike/Wayne, for authoring the bill, which Solomon amended when it was before the House. “The Department of Community and Economic Development continues to welcome new and current entrepreneurs to the initiative’s website. Since it launched in February, more than 71,000 people have visited the website and nearly 5,000 Pennsylvanians have contacted the department either by phone or email,” Solomon said. “It is great to see Pennsylvanians invigorated to become business owners or to have current entrepreneurs seek the resources they need to thrive. “I look forward to the ongoing growth of the One-Stop Shop once the governor signs House Bill 1284 into law.” The legislation passed the Senate this week and was sent to the governor’s desk. The One-Stop Shop, which is available at https://business.pa.gov/ , includes resources for: Planning a business. Registration and permitting. Hiring Read more


Dawkins announces school safety grant for Mastery Charter School

(Oct 04, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 4 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today announced Mastery Charter School’s Smedley Campus has been awarded a $8,506 Safe Schools Targeted grant. It is among the $8.4 million in grants being distributed across the commonwealth. Dawkins said the school will use the funding to establish and implement programs to prevent and reduce violence. “Children and their parents should never have to fear whether or not they will return home from school,” Dawkins said. “Schools are for learning, succeeding and growing. These grants will help provide a safe and healthy environment for our children to learn, and teachers to teach.” Dawkins added the School District of Philadelphia will receive a $25,000 grant toward security-related equipment, including student, staff and visitor identification systems; metal detectors; protective lighting; surveillance equipment; special emergency communications equipment; electronic locksets; deadbolts and theft control devices; and training in the use of the security-related technology. The Safe Schools Targeted Grant program, awarded through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, assists schools in promoting an environment of productivity, safety and learning, as well as highlighting and promoting antiviolence efforts between schools, parents, and law enforcement and officials. For a list of awardees and their award amounts, visit the PDE’s website . This program is separate Read more


Solomon heralds final passage of a bill to make Roosevelt Boulevard safer

(Oct 02, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 2 – State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., today congratulated Rep. John Taylor and fellow colleagues in the House and Senate for passage of Senate Bill 172. The bill, which passed the Senate 47-1 on concurrence, would allow for a 5-year pilot program to install speed cameras in work zones and along Roosevelt Boulevard. “The passage of S.B.172 today marks another significant step to make Roosevelt Boulevard safer for all who use it or cross it in northeast Philadelphia,” Solomon said. “ 11 people have died already this year on the boulevard , making it the deadliest year in recent history. This is unacceptable. By passing this bill people are saying ‘enough’ and demanding a safer Roosevelt Boulevard.” Solomon thanked the families and advocates who had worked tirelessly to push this bill over the finish line, and said he looks forward to working with them, Gov. Tom Wolf, Mayor Jim Kenney and other colleagues to ensure continued safety improvements come to Roosevelt Boulevard. “The boulevard is the spine of northeast Philadelphia – connecting our residents to their place of work, their schools and to each other. But it is also a death trap,” Solomon said. “To change this will take time, but the Route for Change process quarterbacked by the mayor’s team is showing us the way. This bill follows the recent commencement of the new Roosevelt Boulevard Direct SEPTA bus service, which Read more