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PLBC honors scholarship award winners with ceremony

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Rep. Johnson-Harrell appointed by Gov. Wolf to gun violence council, introduces legislation to reduce gun violence in PA

(1 day ago)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, D-Phila., longtime anti-gun violence advocate, today announced her appointment to serve on Gov. Tom Wolf’s Special Council on Gun Violence. The announcement comes on what would have been the 27 th birthday of her son, Charles, who was shot to death in a case of mistaken identity in 2011. He was just 18 at the time. “After losing my son, I turned my grief into activism and began advocating for countless families in Philadelphia and across our state who’ve also been left reeling for solace and solutions after losing loved ones to gun violence,” Johnson-Harrell said. “I am grateful for Governor Wolf appointing me to this council so I can continue my mission to protect families from this ravaging epidemic.” The governor’s Special Council on Gun Violence was unveiled in August and included in a package of provisions in an executive order he signed to reduce gun violence following spates of shootings in Philadelphia. As a member of the council, Johnson-Harrell is authorized to attend council meetings, engage in discussions and vote on matters relevant to combatting gun violence across Pennsylvania. In addition to being appointed to the council and to further her mission to reducing statewide gun violence, Johnson-Harrell recently introduced legislation that would require a selection committee to accept proposals for a non-partisan research center for Read more

9/10/19 – Youth Perspective on Criminal Justice – Philadelphia

(Sep 13, 2019)

Materials from a joint public hearing with the House Democratic Policy Committee. Read more

Cephas joins Philadelphia mayor and MERCK for Mothers foundation to announce $1 million grant to reduce citywide maternal mortality rates

(Sep 13, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 13 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila, vice chair of the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus, today joined Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and others to applaud the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Philadelphia Health Federation for securing a $ 1 million grant from MERCK for Mothers to support efforts to decrease maternal mortality in Philadelphia. The grant will support the Philadelphia Maternal Mortality Review Committee and create a local action team to address the daunting, increasing maternal mortality rates and improve maternal health outcomes. “When it comes to maternal care, Philadelphia has abysmal maternal mortality rates, at 27.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. The city’s rising rates are among poor maternal mortality across the commonwealth,” Cephas said. “This grant is a great start to improve outcomes for women and families in Philadelphia. It will also support efforts that can help to provide a clearer understanding of the causes and correlations of maternal deaths, so we can better track them and save lives.” In addition to her leadership role on the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus, Cephas chairs the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ Subcommittee for Women and Girls of Color and has been a stalwart at addressing the rise in pregnancy-related deaths. She has coordinated meetings with stakeholders in Philadelphia and across the Read more

PLBC and Policy Committee listen to youth perspective on criminal justice

(Sep 10, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 10 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today held a joint hearing with the House Democratic Policy Committee on youth perspective on criminal justice. The PLBC requested the hearing to give youth an opportunity to express their views on the current criminal justice system. “I am grateful to the young people who were present for today’s hearing, as we are working to make changes to our society, including our criminal justice system, so that they will grow up in a better, more just world,” Kinsey said. “We know our system is flawed and unfair but hearing from the experts who testified today gave us invaluable information and insight that can be used to make much-needed improvements. I hope our young people know, after attending this hearing, that their voices are valued.” “Criminal Justice Reform is one of the important Civil Rights issues of our time,” Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., said. “Additionally, many of our young people are affected by it as participants themselves or as a family member of a participant. It’s important to hear their voice as we continue to address this important issue.” The Philadelphia Community Youth Court sits in Harris’ district and is located at the Universal Institute Charter School, where the hearing took place. They were joined by state legislators from across Read more

McClinton to host Senior Appreciate Fair on Friday

(Sep 09, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 9 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will host her “Healthy From Head to Toe” Senior Appreciation Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 at Presbyterian Homes, 2050 S. 58th St., 19143. "The seniors in our community have done so much for their families and their neighborhoods. They deserve to be appreciated and to receive resources that are beneficial to them,” McClinton said. “My event is a great opportunity for them to meet with a number of agencies and companies that cater to them.” The event will offer screenings and other health-related services, resources from area agencies such as insurance and health-care providers. Lunch will be provided. McClinton and her staff also will provide seniors with information and tools to help live healthy lives. For more information, constituents can call McClinton's district office at (215) 748-6712. Read more

Legislators vow to fight Pa. Commission on Sentencing's risk-assessment tool

(Sep 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 6 – Following their votes today to reject the new risk-assessment tool by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, state Rep. Joanna McClinton and Sen. Sharif Street said they vow to push for their legislation that would repeal the commission’s mandate to create a such a tool. “I voted to reject the risk-assessment tool because I have serious concerns that it is not the best way to reduce recidivism and keep people safe in my community and across the Commonwealth. I strongly believe that the mandate requiring the commission to create a new risk-assessment tool needs to be repealed and I will continue to work closely with Senator Street and my colleagues to pass legislation that would abolish that mandate,” McClinton said. Under this risk-assessment tool passed Thursday, when a person scores high- or low-risk based on the risk-assessment instrument, they would be flagged for further assessment of their risk of recidivism and need for treatment or support. The plan permits county probation departments to put these people through whatever assessment they use. Street said, “For almost a decade, the sentencing commission has worked – under a legislative mandate – to create a risk-assessment tool with the goal of reducing costs and decreasing the prison population. Senator Greenleaf, author of the original legislation, has denounced this version of the risk-assessment tool as having the adverse effect of its Read more

Cephas touts Wolf Administration for winning $2.25 million grant to reduce maternal mortality rates

(Sep 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 4 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., vice chair of the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus, today applauded the Wolf administration for securing a $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support efforts in decreasing maternal deaths in Pennsylvania. Cephas wrote letters of support for the CDC grant that will fund the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee, a multidisciplinary committee tasked with addressing the pressing issue of growing maternal mortality rates across the commonwealth. “Nearly a thousand women die from pregnancy-related complications each year across the country and many of these deaths were preventable. It’s also a problem here in our commonwealth,” Cephas said. “I am proud that Pennsylvania was awarded this grant to protect women, mothers, infants and their families.” Cephas has been a staunch advocate for addressing the rise in pregnancy-related deaths. She has coordinated meetings with stakeholders and the five delivery hospitals in the Philadelphia area to discuss potential solutions, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing, and sat on two panels to better assess the issue. In these discussions, Cephas said she also wanted to bring awareness to racial disparities and mental health issues as contributors to the increase in maternal deaths. “Black women are four times more likely to die from Read more

Street renamed after the late former Rep. Frank L. Oliver

(Aug 30, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 30 – State Rep. Donna Bullock was joined today by Sen. Sharif Street, former Sen. Shirley Kitchen and local ward leaders to rename a portion of 29th Street, between Master Street and Thompson Street, as the Frank L. Oliver Memorial Highway. “Frank was a pioneer and staple of this community. During his time as state representative, he played an active role as an advocate for minority hiring and inclusion, affordable housing and criminal justice reform,” Bullock said. “His inspirational fight to protect our most vulnerable populations ended in much-needed laws being passed.” The designation came to light after a bill was enacted ( S.B. 1156 ) that included Bullock’s amendment for the renaming. “With the designation of 29th Street as the Frank L. Oliver Memorial Highway, we honor Frank’s contributions and remind everyone of his hard work and dedication to the people of Philadelphia,” Bullock said. Frank L. Oliver represented the 195th Legislative District from 1973 to 2010 and retired as the most senior African-American elected official in the commonwealth and the longest-serving member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly with 37 years of service. During his tenure in the state legislature, he introduced legislation that enhanced First Amendment freedoms and benefits for women and minority civil service employees. Read more

Rabb introduces state-based slavery reparations bill on 400th anniversary of enslaved Africans arriving to North America

(Aug 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 30 – State Rep. Christopher Rabb, D-Phila., introduced legislation that would establish a reparations plan to combat systemic racism impacting Pennsylvanians of African descent on the 400 th anniversary of enslaved Africans arriving to Virginia in 1619. “For many other disenfranchised groups, the United States government has provided reparations and our commonwealth must follow suit,” Rabb said. “I am proud to introduce this bill for our commonwealth to atone for its role in this heinous institution that has resulted in generations of systemic racism bolstered by public policy and culture practice statewide.” Rabb said that slavery in Pennsylvania has been documented as early as 1639, with Philadelphia becoming the region’s largest port for importing enslaved Africans. “Many of the colonists who settled Pennsylvania tolerated slavery, including William Penn who owned 12 enslaved people. These people were responsible for building his colonial estate, Pennsbury Manor. Additionally, despite the Gradual Emancipation Act, passed in 1780, no enslaved person was ever emancipated, with many living and dying in bondage,” Rabb said. “Pennsylvania has always been a willing enabler of the subjugation of an entire race of people and this subjugation has been maintained statewide through institutional racism.” The bill outlines a state-based reparations plan that would have four parts: A formal Read more

Gainey: Importance of Financial Security

(Aug 21, 2019)

Rep. Ed Gainey attended a discussion about the financial security of Pennsylvanians and advocated for bringing the topic of financial literacy to the commonwealth's youth. Read more