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Philadelphia House Delegation advancing eviction reform

Philadelphia House Delegation praise reopening of I-95

(Jun 23, 2023)

PHILADELPHIA, June 23 – The Philadelphia House Delegation today expressed satisfaction on the reopening of Interstate 95 today ahead of the originally scheduled two-week timeline. Philadelphia House Delegation Chair Morgan Cephas said that the group, which toured the site this morning, values the immediate response and leadership of Gov. Josh Shapiro and expeditious work of crews from the Philadelphia building trades. “Our tour this morning gave us an up-close look at the incredible work being done here,” Cephas said. “It's only by the hard work of our local trades, facilitated by coordination with state, city and federal officials, that we're able to get this major artery through our city re-opened so much earlier than anyone expected,” Cephas added. “Our city is in awe and gratitude of the speedy engineering and production of our Philadelphia building trades members and contractors.” Pennsylvania House Speaker Joanna McClinton said that she celebrates the collective effort that made possible the reopening of six lanes of traffic that will keep the City of Brotherly Love up and running for locals and hundreds of visitors. “Philadelphia is a hub for everything from commerce to health care to recreation,” said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “So, today’s reopening of I-95 is great news for our neighbors, people who visit our Read more


Krajewski Kinship bill unanimously passes PA House

(Jun 22, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 22 – Today, legislation ( H.B. 1058 ) introduced by state Rep. Rick Krajewski, D-Phila., unanimously passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and will now head to the state Senate for consideration. House Bill 1058 would make child custody proceedings more inclusive of potential kinship care providers by requiring courts to solicit and consider the opinions of those who engaged with family finding and kinship care programs. While living with kin (relatives and close family friends) minimizes childhood trauma and increases wellbeing , f ewer than 42% of children receiving care in the state are placed in a kinship home. “This simple change in where a youth calls home can help a child resume attending school, reforge their community connections, and avoid being at-risk for violence. As we're hit by a gun violence crisis, it is essential that we do all we can to keep communities intact and minimize childhood trauma. ” Krajewski said. “We took an important step in moving this legislation out of the House. Now, I urge my Senate colleagues to do the same in their chamber so we can get it signed into law and ensure foster kids find homes with people who will be best for their growth and futures.” Read more


Kenyatta cybersecurity coordination bill approved by Commerce Committee

(Jun 22, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 22 – Today, legislation ( H.B. 1139 ) introduced by state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., was approved in the Pennsylvania House Commerce Committee and now heads to the full House for future consideration. This legislation would create a centralized, integrated system of cybersecurity across all commonwealth agencies and branches with the establishment of the Cybersecurity Coordination Board. The board would gain the knowledge needed to strengthen cybersecurity by conducting audits and analyzing current federal, state and local protocols. “ Identifying and implementing a unified model cybersecurity policy will help to ensure our data systems can bear up under the threat of compromise. Once achieved, Pennsylvanians can take comfort knowing their most sensitive personal data is protected,” Kenyatta said. “I’m glad to see this bill that will protect Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth move to the full House. Now, I call on my House colleagues to move it along to the Senate.” Read more


Clean streets, thanks to WeLoveU

(Jun 22, 2023)

Solomon presented a citation to WeLoveU, adding his belief that cleaner neighborhoods are safer neighborhoods. Offering thanks to the volunteers were Joe Bell, vice president and market manager of Beasley Media Group, and Alex Post, WeLoveU’s director of global partnerships. Read more


Kinsey Fresh Food Financing Initiative bill passes House

(Jun 21, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 21 – Today, legislation ( H.B. 580 ) introduced by state Reps. Stephen Kinsey, Danilo Burgos and Morgan Cephas, all D-Phila., passed the Pennsylvania House and will now head to the Senate for future consideration. This legislation would re-establish the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative , a program that operated from 2004 to 2010 and provided grants and low-interest loans for the construction, rehabilitation or expansion of grocery stores, farmers markets and other healthy food retail establishments in low- to moderate-income areas in need and other underserved communities. “Today, we in the Pennsylvania House affirmed our commitment to ensuring all communities in our state have access to healthy, nutritious and fresh food,” Kinsey said. “I’m glad to see us one step closer to bringing back the Fresh Food Financing Initiative- now, I urge my Senate colleagues to get this bill to the governor’s desk so it can be signed into law, and we can bring back this necessary initiative.” “I am proud to see that our efforts have paid off,” Burgos said. “We are now a step closer to providing more fresh food purchasing options to residents in underserved areas. Fresh food cannot be accepted as a privilege of a few. We are moving legislation forward for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.” “We are determined to make the commonwealth a Read more


Hohenstein introduces local funding options for transportation

(Jun 20, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., today hosted a news conference on the Capitol steps to introduce his legislation that would provide local funding options for transportation . “As we have seen this past week, when a transportation crisis occurs, we lean on our public transit system,” Hohenstein said. “SEPTA has stepped up with increased services while I-95 is being repaired. Now we need to step up and give it funding flexibility and give Philadelphia and its surrounding counties the ability to fully support one of the largest people-moving transit systems in the country. Local funding options are essential to the survival of public transit, and public transit is essential for our economic growth.” "I am proud to stand with my colleagues to support increased funding for public transit,” said state Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Phila. “Public transportation is a critical component to our economy as well as protecting our environment. The PA House Democratic Caucus is committed to fighting to make sure our transit systems have all the resources they need." “As SEPTA works to respond to the I-95 collapse with added service, equipment and staff to meet the needs of our city and its residents, I am asking council this week to approve a resolution supporting SEPTA and urging state lawmakers to increase their investment in public transportation and enable local Read more


Neilson introduces resolution to extend Gov. Shapiro’s emergency declaration

(Jun 16, 2023)

State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., chair of the PA House Transportation Committee, has introduced House Resolution 154, which seeks to extend Gov. Josh Shapiro’s emergency proclamation for the safe and prompt rebuilding of Interstate 95, one of the busiest highways in Pennsylvania, carrying an average of 160,000 vehicles daily. Read more


Kinsey 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline bill passes House

(Jun 14, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – Today, legislation ( H.B. 1305 ) introduced by state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., passed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and will head to the state Senate for future consideration. Kinsey said the bill would establish sustainable funding for Pennsylvania’s 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline in line with Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal. The lifeline was launched in July of 2022 and allows anyone in the U.S. to call, chat or text 988 to receive support and resources during a suicide, mental health or substance use crisis. The proposed legislation would be similar to how communities fund 911 by creating a monthly fee on all wireless devices to ensure these emergency services will not experience any funding gaps. “With the ongoing mental health crisis affecting Pennsylvanians across the commonwealth, it’s crucial we ensure such a critical resource in 988 is funded sustainably so they can be reliable to help folks suffering with their mental health,” Kinsey said. “Today, we took a step toward strengthening and solidifying this lifeline that can help so many. I now urge my colleagues in the Senate to get this bill to the governor’s desk so it can be signed into law.” Read more


State Reps. Fiedler, Schweyer, Merski, Hill-Evans and advocates urge PA Legislature to fund school facilities in 2023-24 state budget

(Jun 14, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., hosted a news conference in the state Capitol Rotunda Wednesday and called on legislators to fund school facilities in Pennsylvania. “We have a unique opportunity to finally invest in fixing toxic schools across Pennsylvania,” said Fiedler. “It’s long past time we prioritize the health of our students, teachers and school staff. We have some of the oldest schools in the nation right here in Pennsylvania, and many of them have unsafe conditions that are simply unacceptable. I am committed to investing state dollars to remediate and repair our schools.” Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, chair of the House Education Committee, reminded everyone that school buildings are learning environments. “The quality of a school building has a direct impact on a child's ability to learn,” he said. “This year's House budget begins to address our toxic schools, but there's much more work to be done. We can't delay any longer -- our children deserve better.” State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York County, commended the bipartisan support behind funding school facilities. “We are building bipartisan support for funding school facilities within this year’s budget,” she said. “The House sent a version of the budget to the Senate last week. Our proposal used Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget proposal as a starting point Read more


Waxman celebrates House passage of his measure to reduce cell phone bills

(Jun 13, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 13 – State Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Phila., today celebrated the passage of his legislation that would reduce cell phone bills for families across the state. “ This is about providing financial relief to individuals and families across the entire state ,” Waxman said. “ We all rely on cell phones for communication, work, and staying connected to loved ones. They have become an essential part of our lives, and it’s only fair that we work to alleviate the excessive tax burdens placed on Pennsylvanians.” Waxman’s legislation would exempt cell phone service from the 6% sales and use tax, as well as the 5% gross receipts tax. This legislation follows Gov. Josh Shapiro’s state budget plan and would save Pennsylvania families an estimated $124 million per year. According to Waxman, Pennsylvania has the seventh highest combined rate of taxes and other government fees and surcharges on cell phone bills at 16.62%. At this time, 68% of American households do not have a landline and rely solely on cell phones for voice communication. Waxman said lower-income households and younger individuals are more likely to be wireless-only. Further, 15% of Americans use cellular data on their smartphones as their only method of accessing the internet, as these families do not have broadband internet service. For more information, those interested can contact Waxman’s Read more


House Bipartisan Caucus rolls out agenda at news conference

(Jun 13, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 13 – Today, the Pennsylvania House Bipartisan Caucus hosted a news conference dubbed “Meet Me in the Middle” where they rolled out their agenda for this legislative term. This caucus was formed in 2021 by state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and state Sen. Greg Rothman, R-Cumberland/Dauphin/Perry, who served as a state representative at the time. It was formed as a platform to bring Democratic and Republican members together to listen to people, organizations and businesses across the Commonwealth and work collectively to address issues facing Pennsylvania. Currently, in the Pennsylvania House, Democrats hold a one-seat majority, making bipartisanship extremely important in getting bills passed. Co-chairs of this caucus include Kinsey and state Reps. Jill Cooper, R-Westmoreland; Patty Kim, D-Dauphin/Cumberland; and Jamie Flick R-Lycoming/Union. They each gave their remarks on how this caucus can help cut through some of the partisanship in Harrisburg and move Pennsylvania forward. “I started this caucus with my former colleague as I saw how the political division boiling in Harrisburg was negatively affecting the lives of everyday Pennsylvanians,” Kinsey said. “We don’t have to agree on everything, but working together in a bipartisan fashion and listening to the people of our commonwealth is very important in moving Pennsylvania forward. I firmly believe Read more


Dawkins Moving the Needle on Minimum Wage

(Jun 13, 2023)

Pa. House Labor and Industry Committee Majority Chairman Jason Dawkins says workers earning minimum wage have waited long enough for a raise. Dawkins and his Democratic colleagues voted to advance legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $15/hr. over the next three years. Read more


Why some lawmakers think this will be the year Pa. raises its minimum wage

(Jun 13, 2023)

At the moment, Pennsylvania’s wage floor is $7.25 an hour — the same as the federal minimum. The legislature last increased the state’s minimum wage in 2006, and every neighboring state currently has a higher wage floor. Read more


Green Votes to #RaiseTheWage

(Jun 13, 2023)

As a lifelong supporter of workers rights, Pa. state Rep. Roni Green voices her support for a long overdue raise in the state's minimum wage. In a House Labor & Industry Committee meeting, Green called out the fear mongering of the House GOP, calling for a living wage so that hard working Pennsylvanians can support themselves and their families. Read more


The Pa. legislature should make speed cameras permanent

(Jun 13, 2023)

Although our speed camera enforcement program is having a dramatic impact on public safety on Roosevelt Boulevard, it is set to legislatively expire in December unless the General Assembly acts to make it permanent. Currently, State Rep. Ed Neilson has sponsored legislation that would do just that, while also permitting the use of automated enforcement cameras to protect children on school buses and in designated school zones. Read more


Gallagher celebrates House passage of Keystone Saves

(Jun 12, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 12 – State Rep. Pat Gallagher, D-Phila., today celebrated the passage of his legislation that would establish Keystone Saves, a voluntary employee retirement savings program that would expand access to private sector individual retirement accounts (IRA) to the over two million Pennsylvania workers who currently have no opportunity to save for retirement at their place of employment. “ Unfortunately, more and more Pennsylvanians are reaching retirement age without enough savings to age gracefully after a lifetime of hard work ,” Gallagher said. “ We’re working in a bipartisan manner to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to save for retirement. With many employees lacking employee sponsored retirement plans, there have to be more options for retirement. This is one more step to giving Pennsylvanians more independence and preparing them for life on a fixed income.” The State Treasurer’s Retirement Security Task Force Report highlighted the vast number of Pennsylvanians who are unprepared for the financial challenges of retirement. It’s a problem not just for retirees but also for the commonwealth as financially unprepared retirees are projected to cost the state an additional $14 billion in social services between 2015 and 2030, an average of nearly $1 billion per year. Additionally, lower consumer spending by retirees over this same time is estimated to cost the state Read more


Neilson Thanks First Responders at I-95 Disaster

(Jun 12, 2023)

At a Pa. House Transportation Committee meeting one day after the collapse disaster on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia, Chairman Rep. Ed Neilson thanks the first responders and officials who came to Northeast Philadelphia to assist in the response and recovery. Read more


Boyle bill protects access to mental health screenings and other preventive health care

(Jun 12, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 12 – Today, H.B. 1050 , introduced by PA House Insurance Committee Chair Kevin Boyle, D-Phila., passed the House Insurance Committee and will head to the House floor for consideration. This bill would require health insurers to cover preventative health care services including mental health treatment without cost-sharing. A similar law is part of the federal Affordable Care Act, which gives Americans access to no-cost preventive health care. But earlier this year, a judge in Texas struck down that part of the Affordable Care Act . If appeals are unsuccessful, millions of Pennsylvanians could lose access to potentially life-saving preventative health care such as cancer screenings, depression and anxiety screenings, multiple vaccines, and annual well-woman visits. Boyle’s legislation would protect Pennsylvanians regardless of what the federal courts do. “We must ensure all Pennsylvanians have access to life-saving preventive health care without having to pay a copay, coinsurance or deductible,” Boyle said. “It’s good to see this bill pass the Insurance Committee, now I hope to see my colleagues do right by the people of Pennsylvania and pass it out of the House.” Read more


Philadelphia House Delegation Reacts to I-95 Collapse Emergency

(Jun 11, 2023)

This morning, the Philadelphia House Delegation responded to the emergency in Northeast Philadelphia where a portion of Interstate 95 collapsed due to a vehicle fire. It appears that there were no injuries in the collapse, but city, state and federal agencies continue to fight the fire and investigate the disaster. Read more


Young Preparing Educators for Urban Schools

(Jun 08, 2023)

As a former educator, Pa. state Rep. Regina Young knows the importance of a quality education and how that begins with quality teachers. Young introduced a House Resolution aimed at the creation of urban teaching programs to inform potential educators on the experience of teaching in an urban setting. This will recruit and retain good teachers for city schools that will help ensure students have qualified educators that share their experience. Read more