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Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus hosts Juneteenth program

Rabb-introduced legislation calls for immediate fair public school funding

(Mar 22, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 22 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would push the General Assembly to commit itself to full and fair funding of Pennsylvania’s public schools. House Bill 961 would require that 100 percent of state funds for public schools immediately be distributed through the fair funding formula. It also would acknowledge that significantly more funding is required to ensure each school district has enough resources to educate its students. “As state legislators, we have a constitutional obligation to properly fund our schools. I would hardly call Pennsylvania’s current school funding model fair but rather one that sets our young people up to fail,” Rabb said. “Our schools receive a mere fraction of what they should be getting, which handicaps our students and strips them of critical opportunities. “I am leading the charge to require all of the state public school funds be distributed through this formula to certify our kids have the resources and tools needed to give them the best chance at success.” While the Basic Education Funding Commission unanimously agreed in 2015 to provide 100 percent funding to public schools through the fair funding formula, only 9 percent of 2018-19 state funds is currently being distributed to schools. Read more


Rabb seeks co-sponsors for bill to impose fines for certain resignations

(Mar 21, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 21 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced he is seeking support for his legislation that would take the burden off of Pennsylvania taxpayers for special elections after a state lawmaker is expelled or resigns and is ultimately convicted of a felony. “Elected officials are required to uphold the highest standards of the state constitution and of their constituents. These positions are taxpayer funded so those people should remember the privilege they have to serve and should maintain a level of integrity, respect and trust,” Rabb said. “When a lawmaker abuses their power to the point they can no longer hold office, it should not be up to the taxpayers to foot the bill for a special election to replace that person.” Rabb is currently looking for co-sponsors for his legislation that would amend the state election code in order to impose fines for certain legislative resignations and establish a Special Election Fund. Under the proposed bill, an elected official who is found guilty of a felony and who is expelled or resigns from office would be required to pay a fine of $100,000 that would go into the fund. “These elected officials should be held accountable for the mistakes they made and the consequences that follow. Under no circumstances should taxpayers face the burden for the costs of these special elections,” Rabb said. “We owe it to the people of Pennsylvania to change the laws so future members Read more


Kinsey Stands Up For Nurses

(Mar 20, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey rallied with healthcare workers in Harrisburg to address a growing number of nurses being overworked and understaffed. He explains why it’s critical for Pennsylvanians we take action now. Read more


PA Is Better When It’s Fair

(Mar 19, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta joined his colleagues to unveil a new exhibit in the State Capitol Building supporting the LGBTQ community and stood up for a diverse workforce. He explains why fairness is critical to people across the Commonwealth. Read more


Davis introduces legislation to help job applicants with criminal records

(Mar 19, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 19 – In an effort to give state residents with a criminal record a chance to find meaningful, family-sustaining jobs, state Rep. Austin Davis today introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made. Coined “Ban the Box,” Davis’ H.B. 898 is modeled after a similar application process currently in place in Allegheny County. It’s a system Davis said has yielded positive results. “We live in a land of hope and opportunity, but sometimes fair opportunities are squandered because of mistakes made in the past. That’s not what this country was built on – everyone deserves a second chance, especially when it comes to being able to provide for one’s family,” said Davis, D-Allegheny. “Applicants with criminal histories are automatically disqualified for certain jobs before the ink dries on their application, and that’s unacceptable. This bill would not only reduce repeat offenders but also provide qualified workers for our growing workforce.” If enacted into law, Davis’ measure would still allow employers required by state or federal law to inquire about criminal histories at the appropriate, required time. Read more


Kinsey Stands Up For A Diverse Workforce

(Mar 19, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Kinsey joined his colleagues in fighting for a diverse workforce. He explains why it’s critical for Pennsylvania’s economy that all entrepreneurs have equal opportunities. Read more


McClinton Fights For A Diverse Workforce

(Mar 19, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. McClinton joined her colleagues in supporting a diverse workforce. She explains the struggles women and people of color are facing when it comes to becoming successful entrepreneurs. Read more


Kenyatta Fights To Strengthen Cybersecurity

(Mar 19, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta continues his push to strengthen cybersecurity across the commonwealth. He questioned Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in a public hearing on the importance of protecting families online and the good paying job opportunities that are created by cybersecurity. Read more


Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority (PMBDA)

(Mar 19, 2019)

Learn how entrepreneurs can get low-interest loans to help with their business. Read more


A Diversified Workforce Makes PA Stronger

(Mar 19, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris joined his colleagues to fight for a diversified workforce, stand up for women and people of color, and demand action to ensure they have the best opportunity to succeed as business owners. Read more


Rabb lauds House passage of legislation to bolster business start-ups

(Mar 18, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 18 – Legislation co-sponsored by state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., that would provide more opportunities for entrepreneurship across the commonwealth passed the House today, 192-2. House Bill 324 would permit municipalities with a population of 10,000 people or more to encourage development of micro-enterprises, businesses that employ up to five people. In so doing, such initiatives can reduce the number of people participating in social programs and transition them into the full-time workforce. “With my background as a business author, practitioner and professor teaching entrepreneurship, it led me to help extend the reach of this proposed initiative to a more diverse set of beneficiaries, including worker cooperatives,” Rabb said. “This business assistance program would now be made available to more prospective business owners who would most benefit from it, and prevent others outside of Pennsylvania from taking advantage of opportunities meant for state residents already invested in their local communities.” The legislation also would encourage partnerships with existing authorities and redevelopment authorities to operate a community development authority that would issue loans to micro-enterprises. Funding for the loans would come from money contributed by municipalities through a small portion of fees and fines collected, as well as money through private partnerships. Rabb said that bipartisanship helped to move Read more


Burgos appointed to serve on Governor’s Census Commission

(Mar 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 15 -- State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Census 2020 Complete Count Commission as Pennsylvania prepares for the 2020 census. Gov. Tom Wolf formed the commission to make sure Pennsylvania is taking the appropriate steps to achieve a complete and accurate count of the population. Burgos said that the commission will be making recommendations on methods and policies that will help make the 2020 census more accurate and easier to achieve. “I am looking forward to working with, and facilitating the most complete and accurate census count in 2020. Including implementing strategies to reach hard-to-count populations and hard-to-enumerate areas,” Burgos said. “This is an important appointment as the commonwealth prepares for the census next year. We need all people to be counted, from our biggest cities to our small and rural communities Pennsylvania may suffer deep consequences if the population is miscounted. “From losing seats in Congress to receiving billions of dollars less in federal funds for a variety of services and programs, there is a lot at stake. It is why the work of this commission is so important, and why it is an honor for me to be chosen for this important work,” he said. Some of the organizations joining Burgos on the commission are the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Service Employees International Union and the NAACP. Burgos was appointed Read more


Today's moment in Black History

(Mar 12, 2019)

Crystal Bird Fauset became the first black woman in the U.S. to be elected to a state general assembly. She was elected to serve in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1938. Read more


Rabb to reignite effort to reform special elections for Pa. legislature

(Mar 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that he plans to re-introduce legislation to reform the special election nomination process for the Pennsylvania legislature. “Far too often, special elections across the commonwealth fail to honor our participatory democracy, where the people, not a political party, are supposed to be in charge of choosing a candidate,” Rabb explained. “My bill aims to prevent nominees from being hand-picked, putting the responsibility solely in the hands of voters, and restore public faith in the special election process for senators and representatives in the General Assembly.” Under Rabb's bill , people interested in running in a special election would be required to: File their candidacy with the political party in each county of the legislative district. Pay a modest filing fee. Prepare, or publicly opt out of preparing, a short video announcing their candidacy, which would be posted on the Department of State's website and made available to the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Rabb's bill also would require political parties to advertise and hold a public meeting to consider each person who seeks nomination as a candidate in a special election. “The whole point of an election is to choose the best person fit to serve, period,” Rabb said. “Instead, current special election rules favor a process that deters a wide variety of candidates from Read more


Cephas to hold ‘State of the 192nd’ town hall March 14

(Mar 08, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, March 8 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas is holding a town hall meeting for residents of her legislative district from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at Sweet Union Baptist Church, located at 1536 N. 50 th St. According to Cephas, the “State of the 192nd” town hall will focus on the outlook of the communities she represents and review her legislative and local goals for the year. “This town hall meeting is an excellent opportunity for people to have their voices heard and partner with me to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and build a more vibrant community,” Cephas said. “I am honored to serve for another term and look forward to sharing more with the people I represent. Year one was a success, but the work continues!” Cephas said the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Philadelphia’s Department of Revenue, and the Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. will be among the local agencies and organizations that will be in attendance and have resources to share. Residents who have questions about the town hall or who need help with any state-related matter should contact Cephas’ office at 215-879-6625 . Read more


Today's moment in Black History

(Mar 05, 2019)

Established in 1837, Cheyney University in Pennsylvania was the first of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs). In the 1930s when Jewish academics, facing persecution in Europe, started arriving in the U.S, they found an accepting environment in the HCBUs. At the time, African-Americans and Jews were united in their common goal of attaining equality. Read more


Kenyatta introduces bill to strengthen protections against cyberattacks

(Mar 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 4 – With the ongoing attempts of cyberattacks targeting Pennsylvanians, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., has introduced legislation that would help protect the commonwealth’s cyber infrastructure. “From email and phone scams to personal data breaches, it is unconscionable the number of attempted cyberattacks occurring in Pennsylvania. With everyone constantly connected on their phones, computers and other electronic devices, the amount of potential attacks will only increase,” Kenyatta said. “We have to protect Pennsylvanians’ personal information and the creation of the Cybersecurity Innovation Commission would do just that.” House Bill 225 would create a Cybersecurity Innovation Commission to safeguard Pennsylvania’s data by conducting cybersecurity audits, improving security and privacy standards and analyzing the protocols. The commission also would work with businesses to make sure they are up-to-date on the newest technology. During recent House Appropriations Committee budget hearings, officials with the Governor’s Office of Administration testified that while they follow national federal guidelines and best practices to defend the commonwealth against cyberattacks, they still have seen an increase in the number of threats, with 18 billion in 2018. According to the Insurance Information Institute, Pennsylvania ranks 18th in the nation for the amount of identity theft cases. Read more


Rabb seeks nominations for 'phenomenal women'

(Mar 01, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, March 1 – State Rep. Chris Rabb is calling on his constituents to nominate a woman from the 200th Legislative District who is making in a difference in the community, home or at work. Rabb will honor these women during a luncheon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 15 at the Pleasant Recreation Center, 6757 Chew Ave., Philadelphia. The media is invited to attend. The luncheon also will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about state-related programs that could benefit them and their families. Rabb said constituents can nominate a phenomenal woman by visiting his website at www.pahouse.com/Rabb , or by calling his office at 215-242-7300. The deadline for nominations is March 11. Read more


Davis: $45,000 grant awarded to local nonprofit veterans program

(Mar 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 1 – A national nonprofit organization situated in West Mifflin is receiving a $45,000 state grant to help fund the group’s initiative of providing welcome home kits to at-risk veterans, announced state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny. Davis said Operation Troop Appreciation, located at 1200 Lebanon Road, has been selected by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to get the grant through the Veterans Trust Fund, which is replenished by generous Pennsylvanians who make a voluntary $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or photo ID, or renewing a vehicle registration. “Since becoming a nonprofit organization in July 2004, Operation Troop Appreciation – which we’re proud to have located in our district – has been a source of hope and appreciation for veterans abroad and for those returning home,” Davis said. “This selfless organization, which is completely run by volunteers, works tirelessly to make sure veterans have what they need while overseas and ensures veterans don’t end up on the streets once they return home. It’s with great appreciation and gratitude that I announce this grant for Operation Troop Appreciation.” Aside from grant money, funding for OTA comes by way of donations. Read more


Cephas applauds $86,000 to help Philadelphia veterans

(Mar 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 1 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas announced today that St. Joseph’s University is receiving $11,836 to help fund its efforts to assist veterans. The grant money is part of the Veterans Trust Fund and will be used to support the school’s podcasts that highlight business topics of interest to women veterans and military spouses. “The commitment, dedication and sacrifice of our veterans has opened the door to freedoms that too many in this country take for granted. While we can never fully repay them for their service, this money is critical in supporting programs aimed at helping our nation’s heroes here at home,” Cephas said. “I commend Governor Tom Wolf for awarding these funds, and I share in his passion to putting veterans and their families first.” St. Joseph’s University was one of three organizations in Philadelphia that received VTF funding: Military Assistance Project: $49,600 to provide free legal services to veterans Veterans Multi-Service Center: $25,000 for its women veterans program A complete list of recipients can be found here . The VTF is funded by generous Pennsylvanians who voluntarily make a $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license, photo ID, or a motor vehicle registration. The VTF also receives proceeds that come from the sale of the Honoring Our Veterans license plate and private donations. Since the grant program began in 2013, more than Read more