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The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus congratulates Biden and Harris on historic win

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State lawmakers call for end to family deportations from Berks ICE facility

(1 day ago)

Legislators ask for release of families, children in face of COVID pandemic, unsanitary conditions Read more

Kinsey congratulates Bullock for being elected to chair Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus

(Nov 13, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 13 – Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Stephen Kinsey congratulated his successor state Rep. Donna Bullock for being elected to head the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus for the 2021-22 legislative session. Bullock, who currently serves as vice chair of the PLBC and will be the third woman to chair the caucus in its 47-year history, was elected by returning and new members of the 27-member bicameral caucus during caucus-wide leadership elections on Tuesday. PLBC members also elected Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, as vice chair, while Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, will retain her role as secretary, and Rep.-Elect Manny Guzman, D-Berks, will serve as treasurer. “Representative Bullock has been an outstanding vice chair of the PLBC, and I’m thrilled to see manifestations of her dedication in ensuring communities of color are uplifted and recognized in the legislative fabric of our commonwealth,” said Kinsey, D-Phila. “I also want to congratulate other members for being elected to serve in their respective leadership roles. Each of these members has been championing equality and justice as activists and now as lawmakers. It’s solid track records like these that continue to propel the mission of this esteemed caucus forward.” In the current legislative session, Kinsey and the PLBC unveiled a platform that focused on investing in schools and educational opportunity, reforming a criminal Read more

Kinsey, PLBC congratulate McClinton on historic leap for women in Pa. legislature

(Nov 13, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 13 – Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., is congratulating state Rep. Joanna McClinton for winning the role of House Democratic Leader for the 2021-22 legislative session. McClinton was elected to lead the Democrats in the next term during the caucus’ leadership elections held on Thursday. She becomes the first woman and woman of color to be elected floor leader in the Pennsylvania House. “Representative McClinton has been breaking barriers for women and women of color throughout her life,” Kinsey said. “She was the first African-American woman to be elected to serve the 191 st Legislative District in Philadelphia County when she won her special election in 2015. From that time on she has worked hard and with purpose to win the respect of her peers and to help move the Democratic agenda of people first to the forefront of public policy. “I not only congratulate my good friend for this well-deserved recognition of her talents and ability to bring people together on behalf of the people we serve, but I also congratulate the Pennsylvania House institution as a whole for ushering in a new era of leadership where women and girls, and especially women and girls of color, can rise to the top and assume roles once reserved for men only. “I look forward to working with Leader-elect McClinton and the entire House Democratic Leadership team in helping to enact an Read more

PLBC, Philadelphia House Delegation, and Police Reform Working Group members demand justice after Black man is killed by police

(Oct 27, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 27 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with its members and members of the Pennsylvania Police Reform Working Group and the Philadelphia House Delegation, are demanding justice for West Philadelphia resident Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man, who was killed by police on Monday afternoon in the Cobbs Creek section of the city. Members of these respective legislative bodies also called on the legislature to expeditiously pass the multiple pieces of police reform legislation languishing without action, some of which address procedures on non-lethal de-escalation methods and would instill policies for safer police interactions with residents experiencing mental health crises. “A mother watched her son, suffering from mental illness, be met with a barrage of bullets before her eyes, and a neighborhood saw the same. A mother and father lost their son, and children have lost their father--generations of one family and an entire community are now forced to bear that trauma for the rest of their lives,” said Kinsey, D-Phila. “Indeed, it’s trauma that we are all forced to bear as we have yet to receive justice for the countless other Black lives killed with impunity at the hands of police. Furthermore, during a time when seeking mental health resources is strongly encouraged, this tragedy reveals that living with mental illness while Black, however, and crying for help is Read more

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Stephen Kinsey: How video gambling companies profit off communities of color

(Oct 23, 2020)

We need to stand against these types of policies that prey on communities or color and force on us additional social issues that negatively impact our economic opportunities. Read more

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Stephen Kinsey: How video gambling companies profit off communities of color

(Oct 23, 2020)

We need to stand against these types of policies that prey on communities or color and force on us additional social issues that negatively impact our economic opportunities. Read more

Wheatley introduces “Return Your Rights” legislation

(Oct 16, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley has introduced a measure designed to end the cycle of branding nonviolent offenders, who have paid their debt to society, for their past mistakes. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, says H.B. 2942 would ensure their full rights as citizens are restored, provided they have served their time and paid all fines, fees and restitution. His bill would allow offenders to vote while in prison and once they are released. In addition, Wheatley’s measure would provide for the expungement of nonviolent felonies under the state’s The Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act and allow nonviolent offenders who have completed their sentence and paid any fines or related costs to obtain a firearm license. “When nonviolent offenders serve their time and have paid their debt to society, sadly it’s not uncommon for them to be subsequently denied basic rights and privileges that many of us take for granted,” said Wheatley. “While we’ve made some strides in recent years to implement meaningful criminal justice reforms, including the passage of clean slate legislation in 2018, we can and must do more. They deserve a second chance.” More information on the bill can be found at the following link: https://legis-pahofr.msappproxy.net/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=30908 Read more

How video gambling companies profit off communities of color

(Oct 09, 2020)

As community activists and public officials call for a change in how resources are provided to communities of color throughout the Commonwealth, some members of the state legislature are still looking into policies that exploit low-income and minority neighborhoods. The most recent example is the fast-tracking of legislation that would create thousands of mini casinos and slots parlors on every street corner in cities across the state. This is simply a proliferation of gambling that historically targets poor and largely minority communities. My colleagues and I on both sides of the political aisle are working hard to address policies that rethink how we fund and operate policing in our communities and how we can better reinvest public tax dollars back into programs that lift up minority neighborhoods. This includes investments in public education, economic development and health care. But, as the General Assembly finally begins to address the systemic issues and inequities that plague communities of color, some in the legislature are pushing for expanded gambling that will have major consequences in our neighborhoods. Even as the eyes of the world have been opened to the injustices and inequities facing people of color, a coalition of out-of-sate video gambling companies are looking to expand their predatory practices and bring tens of thousands of video gambling devices into bars, restaurants and grocery stores. These machines Read more

State lawmakers representing Philadelphia welcome lawsuit against commonwealth, legislature for restricting gun-safety measures

(Oct 07, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 7 – State House lawmakers representing the House Philadelphia Delegation and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today pledged their full weight behind major legal action being taken against the commonwealth for preventing local governments from enacting their own gun-safety laws. The lawsuit filed by the city and private law firms on behalf of Pennsylvanians who have been impacted by gun violence was announced at a news conference in Philadelphia today. Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins and PLBC Chairman Stephen Kinsey said it was long past time for the many people who have been impacted by gun violence to receive true acknowledgement and justice for their pain. They said the delegations they lead have worked for years to enact sensible gun-safety measures in the state but have been hampered by a Republican majority legislature determined to give no one in the state the ability to reduce gun violence and save lives. “Philadelphia and municipalities across the state took action tragedy after tragedy on behalf of the residents they serve when the state would not, only to be met with callous laws specifically designed to prevent them from doing so,” Dawkins said. “I am equally tired of the hallow promises to help reduce gun violence being made by the Republican majority following each tragedy. They hold the power to move the commonsense gun safety legislation we put forward. Yet, they continue to deny Read more

The Pa. Legislative Black Caucus condemns grand jury decision in slaying of Breonna Taylor, continues fight for police reform

(Sep 28, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 28 – Days after a Kentucky grand jury’s failure to indict one of the three police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor on charges related to her killing, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with PLBC members, said the decision is a grim reminder of how Black lives — more specifically Black women’s lives — are devalued. However, in the spirit of the esteemed PLBC’s core mission of dismantling systemic racism across the commonwealth, the caucus of legislators collectively vowed to use this pain to fuel their ongoing fight for racial justice and meaningful police reform. Kinsey, D-Phila., a father of four Black daughters, expressed that he is especially saddened. He also dissipated the attempts to vilify her memory by reflecting on Breonna’s life and her dedication to public service as a first responder on the frontlines of this pandemic. “I am a father of four Black daughters and my heart is breaking for Breonna and her family as she reflects my own girls. I see their brilliance, their strengths, and their vulnerabilities. It pains me to know that Black girls and women are denied protection and the privilege of being viewed as whole,” the chairman said. “I want to buck that narrative: Breonna was a caring young woman who had a bright future. She effortlessly juggled enjoying life and a Read more