Cephas, Policy Committee discuss court ruling on unions, impact on women

(Aug 08, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 7 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., and the Women and Girls of Color Subcommittee of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing at the District 1199 Union Hall on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and its impact on women. Cephas was joined by Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and state legislators from across the commonwealth. The committee discussed how the Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31 decision threatens worker rights and all working families, particularly women of color. Cephas said labor unions have helped women of all backgrounds close gaps in pay and career advancement. Letting government workers benefit from union representation without paying union fees would make many institutions across the country smaller and poorer in the next few years. “My mother raised four young girls on her own and struggled with her wage, leave and her rights. She couldn’t fight the battles on her own, but her union was there for her,” Cephas said. “Unions lifted my mother and other women out of poverty. They were a vehicle for women of color to gain access to the middle class. It is our duty to continue the fight against powerful corporate special interests.” Sturla added, “The U.S. Supreme Court ruling dealt a blow to unions, but that will not stop the effort of helping working people in Pennsylvania obtain health care benefits, safe working Read more

 

Roebuck to hold Policy Committee hearing on college affordability Thursday in Philadelphia

(Aug 06, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 6 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on the PA Promise Act, legislation that would provide free tuition for students attending Pennsylvania’s community colleges, state system universities, and state-related institutions. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 at Temple University, Shusterman Hall, 1834 Liacouras Walk, 19122. Roebuck requested the hearing to gather insight on innovative ways to reduce the financial burden on Pennsylvania’s students and their families, and provide support for the state’s community colleges and universities. Roebuck will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 10 a.m. Welcome and opening remarks 10:10 a.m. Mark Price, labor economist, Keystone Research Center 10:40 a.m. Panel from higher education: Dr. Chae Sweet, dean of liberal studies, Community College of Philadelphia Dr. Ivan Turnipseed, professor and coordinator – hotel, restaurant and tourism management, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Mark Rimple, professor, music theory and composition, and APSCUF chapter president, West Chester University of Pennsylvania 11:20 a.m. Closing remarks The meeting is one in a series being held across the state on the House Read more

 

McClinton to hold Policy Committee hearing on probation reform Wednesday in Philadelphia

(Aug 03, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 3 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila., will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on probation reform. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8 at the Philadelphia City Hall, City Council Chambers (Room 400), 1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, 19107. McClinton requested the hearing to discuss potential legislation that would update Pennsylvania’s probation policies, reduce recidivism, create reforms and give returning citizens a second chance and save taxpayer dollars. McClinton will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 2:10 p.m. Panel: Christian Stephens, deputy secretary for field services, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Helene Placey, executive director, County Chief Adult Probation & Parole Officers Association Holly Harris, executive director, Justice Action Network 2:50 p.m. Panel: Office of the Philadelphia District Attorney Mark Houldin, policy director, Defender Association of Philadelphia Leslie Jones, policy and advocacy director, Montgomery County Public Defender Office, and member, Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 3:30 p.m. Panel of parolees John Thompson Crystal Walker 3:50 Read more

 

Cephas to host Policy Committee hearing about Janus vs. AFSCME ruling’s impact on women of color Tuesday in Philadelphia

(Aug 02, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 2 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., and the Women and Girls of Color Subcommittee of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on how a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on unions impacts women of color. The hearing will be held at noon Tuesday, Aug. 7 at District 1199 Union Hall, 1319 Locust St., 19107. Cephas requested the hearing to discuss the Janus vs. AFSCME case and how the justices’ ruling against unions affects women of color. According to the National Women’s Law Center, Women represented by a union are paid 15 percent more than those who are not, and women of color represented by unions are closer to closing the wage gap with black women making 77 cents and Latina women making 75 cents to every dollar white men make. Cephas will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 12 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 12:10 p.m. Panel One: • Amal Bass, staff attorney, Women’s Law Project • Representative from POWER 12:40 p.m. Panel of union leaders: • Chris Woods, executive vice president, District 1199C • Bonnee Breese Bentum, board member, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers • Lynn Read more

 

PLBC helps Cheyney University establish new research institute

(Jul 31, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, July 31 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, has released the following statement on today's announcement of a new research institute at Cheyney University: "I would like to congratulate Cheyney University on its establishing the Institute for the Contemporary African American Experience at the campus. The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus was pleased to play the leading role in bringing the Starbucks Foundation and Cheyney together, and we hope this partnership will benefit everyone involved. "Today's announcement is a welcome one as it shows that Cheyney, our nation's first historically black college or university (HBCU), and a jewel of the Pennsylvania system, is on its way back to prominence. This Institute for the Contemporary African American Experience will serve as not only a think tank for the African American community but also a place where implementable solutions are developed. What better place than Cheyney for such an endeavor? "Thank you to our Governor Tom Wolf, Chair of the Board of Governors for the State System Cynthia Shapira, Chair of the Council of Trustees Robert Bogle, Cheyney President Aaron Walton and all other partners and supporters. Most importantly, thank you to the students, faculty, staff and alumni who have never given up on Cheyney University, a university that will not die, for its value in the African American community and the Read more

 

McClinton to cohost free shredding event Aug. 4 in Darby

(Jul 23, 2018)

DARBY, July 23 – In her continued effort to protect constituents and their identities, state Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will cohost a free shredding event with Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, in partnership with Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4 at Mercy Fitzgerald East Campus, 1515 Lansdowne Ave. in Darby. Constituents are encouraged to bring unneeded paper items to be shredded for disposal, including old bills, health records and financial items, as well as any other paper items of a personal nature. “With the threat of identity theft everywhere, especially online, I want to make sure people are educated about this issue,” said McClinton. “Improper disposal of old documents is a leading cause of identity theft, and we’re bringing constituents the best defense against becoming a victim of this of crime by organizing shredding events.” Staff members from the offices of McClinton and Williams also will provide help with state issues such as applying for PennDOT materials, Medicaid and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Read more

 

Rabb to host Health Fair and Mammogram Event

(Jul 11, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, July 11 – In his continued effort to promote health and well-being of constituents in the 200th Legislative District, state Rep. Chris Rabb will host a Summer Health Fair and Mammogram event. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, July 19 at his satellite office located at Wadsworth Library, 1500 Wadsworth Ave., 19150. Various community groups will be present to provide blood pressure screenings, healthy food samples and information about choosing and living a healthy lifestyle. Fox Chase Cancer Center also will be in attendance with its mammography van. Women may receive a mammogram if they are 40 or older, have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months and if they get a prescription from their physician to give to the technician. “Whether it’s a family member, friend or colleague, many of us know someone who has battled breast cancer,” Rabb said. “Early detection is so important, so I urge all eligible women to make an appointment to get a lifesaving screening.” Women interested in scheduling a screening should contact Debra Resnick at (215) 214-1682. Space is limited. Read more

 

Legislators offer ways to improve police-community relations

(Jun 26, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 25 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., along with Austin Davis, Ed Gainey and Jake Wheatley, all D-Allegheny, and other members from across the state, offered solutions on how to restore public trust and improve the professionalism of law enforcement, during a news conference today held at the Capitol. They hoped taking action will help improve police and community relations. The lawmakers unveiled a framework for legislative action, including three main initiatives: Establishing a licensing board or commission, similar to nearly every other professional occupation from doctors and lawyers to barbers, that would be able to independently take action regarding individuals’ ability to participate in that profession. They believe law enforcement should be no different. Creating a bipartisan caucus to bring policymakers together to offer ideas and best practices from across the commonwealth Enacting legislation similar to laws that apply to teachers, so that any incidents or transgressions related to their employment can be shared with potential employers. “As a parent, none of us want to ever bury a child,” said Wheatley, who is also Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee. “We want to find ways on how we can prevent and possibly eliminate police shootings of unarmed men and women, particularly those of color.” The news conference was held almost a week after the death of 17-year-old Antwon Rose, Read more

 

Harris’ ‘clean slate’ passes in the Senate, heads to governor’s desk

(Jun 22, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 22 – A bill that would give people with low-level, nonviolent criminal records an opportunity to have their record sealed from public view is now awaiting Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature after passing in the Senate, said state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila. The Senate voted 49-0 in favor of House Bill 1419 , which Harris introduced with Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, last year. “I’m pleased to see real and meaningful change happening in Pennsylvania,” Harris said. “This legislation will help fix many inefficiencies and inequities of the criminal justice system in our commonwealth, by clearing the darkness, shining a light and creating a path to do what is right for our people. There’s still work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction. I look forward to the governor’s signature in the upcoming weeks.” Harris added Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long from the Philadelphia Eagles along with former Eagles player Torrey Smith were very supportive of H.B. 1419. Harris was instrumental in passing Act 5 of 2016, which provides a process for sealing non-violent misdemeanors, but requires that former offenders file a sealing petition with a court. Under H.B. 1419, though, no action would be needed by former offenders to automatically seal their records. The legislation proposes the following structure for sealing records: Non-violent misdemeanor convictions – sealing would occur after a Read more

 

PHEAA hosting student loan repayment Twitter chat

(Jun 22, 2018)

If you, or someone you know, is currently a student loan borrower or is paying back a student loan, I encourage you to participate in PHEAA’s Twitter chat on Monday, June 25 at 1 p.m. You can ask questions and learn about different repayment options, how to establish repayment goals, how to set and stick with a manageable budget, avoiding delinquency and other information. To participate in PHEAA’s Twitter chat, follow @PHEAAaid and use the hashtag #RepaymentReady. Read more

 

Taking a stand against family-separation policy

(Jun 21, 2018)

The events that have been unfolding along the U.S.-Mexico border have been heartbreaking and unbearable to see. As a mother, I cannot fathom the idea of having my children taken away from me, let alone the devastating impact on the children. This separation is a vile and inhumane act. I am firmly against the administration’s zero tolerance, family-separation immigration policy. I joined some of my colleagues from the House and the Senate for a rally Thursday in opposition to these actions. I also co-sponsored House Resolution 1000 , which would urge the president to immediately reverse the policy. While the president signed an executive order into place Wednesday that would stop the separation of immigrant children and parents, we all must make sure he stands by it. Using children as political pawns is a tasteless and horrifying tactic to gain immigration policy changes. I hope Congress will work on sensible reform and to ensure these events do not occur again. This country is supposed to be the land of the free for everyone, not just for some. Read more

 

Legislative package would help incarcerated women, parents in Pa.

(Jun 21, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., and colleagues today unveiled a package of legislation that would help incarcerated women and parents in Pennsylvania. "I'm glad that we're having vital, bipartisan discussions about criminal justice reform. I think it's crucial for those discussions to include women and girls of color," said Cephas, chairwoman of the Women and Girls of Color Subcommittee of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. "Women are the fastest-growing segment of the incarcerated population. Since 1985, the rate of incarcerated women has increased at nearly double the male rate. The ACLU reports that African-American women and women of color are significantly overrepresented in the prison population. African-American women are 30 percent of incarcerated women in the United States, but only 13 percent of the female population. In addition, Hispanic women are 16 percent of incarcerated women but only 11 percent of all women in the U.S." Cephas plans to introduce a bill to create a Women and Girls Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. "I believe this would aid the commission in its work as it specifically relates to research and programs that will have a direct impact on women and girls." Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the PLBC, said, “This package of legislation would help support incarcerated women in the commonwealth’s prison Read more

 

McClinton motion delays vote on sentence risk assessment tool

(Jun 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today lauded the vote by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to postpone a move on the controversial sentence risk assessment tool. McClinton, who serves on the commission, made the motion to delay the vote after receiving several pieces of testimony against implementing the tool. The commission voted unanimously to postpone any action. The General Assembly mandated the commission to adopt a sentence risk assessment instrument to serve as an aid in the sentencing process in an effort to reduce the prison population. It would provide judges with facts and information to ensure a defendant receives the proper punishment while indicating if they need help, such as a drug treatment program. McClinton said she believes the risk assessment tool is unfair because it would adversely impact people of color. “During three public hearings, including one in Philadelphia where 33 people testified, we heard from citizens, the Philadelphia Bar Association and advocate groups opposing the sentence risk assessment tool because of its racial implications,” McClinton said. “We cannot allow a judge to put someone in a box when they have a family to support and bills to pay. They should be granted another chance to put their best foot forward and work to become a productive member of society. “I am pleased the commission decided to take a step back, digest and evaluate the comments Read more

 

PLBC lauds commission’s delay on risk assessment tool vote

(Jun 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement after the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing voted to postpone action on the sentence risk assessment tool: “I applaud the members of the commission for delaying their action to vote for a tool that is in no way a crystal ball of predicting whether a convicted offender will commit another crime after they have served their sentence,” said state Rep. Jordan Harris, chairman of the PLBC. “A tool of predictability has no place in the criminal justice system, especially in a program that could end badly for citizens of this commonwealth, particularly people of color. There is certainly no predictability to the degree of accuracy of this tool as a result, so we will continue to see bias against young black males who are incarcerated at a nine-to-one ratio than other races.” “As a former public defender in Philadelphia, I always encouraged judges to sentence the individuals who were in front of them. I often reminded these jurists that "sentencing guidelines" are simply "guidelines," state Rep. Joanna McClinton said. “Computer statistics should not determine one's sentence because they cannot accurately predict one's ability to be rehabilitated, make positive changes and be properly punished. I do not want to interfere with a judge's ability to fairly administer justice and will not be voting to Read more

 

McClinton: Risk Assessment Potentially Unjust

(Jun 14, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Joanna McClinton answered her community’s call for help. She stopped a new tool, intended to reduce the prison population, from moving forward because of its risk of using race to determine a person’s fate in the criminal justice system. Read more

 

Harris Keeping the PAPromise

(Jun 06, 2018)

Chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus state Rep. Jordan Harris is a lead sponsor of the PA Promise initiative that would make college free or more affordable for many students and give them the best chance to succeed in the classroom while paving the way for a brighter future. Read more

 

Harris, Roebuck and Sen. Hughes introduce legislation pushing for free and affordable college for Pa. college and university students

(Jun 06, 2018)

HARRISBURG – June 6, 2018 – State Reps. Jordan Harris and James Roebuck, both D-Phila., joined Sen. Vincent J. Hughes, D-Phila./Montgomery, to introduce legislation for the Pennsylvania Promise initiative, a program that would make college free and affordable to many students across the state. The legislators were joined by guests from the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) President Ken Mash, dozens of APSCUF members, a student and other members of the House and Senate announcing Senate Bill 1111 and House Bill 2444. “Helping our students should be priority number one,” Senator Hughes said. “I’ve heard from far too many college students who are struggling to make ends meet. They’re starving and some can’t maintain stable housing throughout the school year. They need something like PA Promise to make college reality.” The bills would: Cover up to four years of tuition and fees for any recent high school graduate enrolled full-time at one of the Commonwealth’s 14 public community colleges. Cover up to four years of tuition and fees for any recent high school graduate with a family income less than or equal to $110,000 per year at one of the 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education or a state-related university. Cover room and board for any recent high school graduate with a family income less than or equal to $48,000 per year at a Read more

 

McClinton welcomes 400 families to Southwest Community Day

(Jun 06, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, June 6 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, welcomed 400 families of the 191 st Legislative District to her Southwest Community Day, where the whole family could enjoy a day of fun and entertainment. “The weather held up and it turned out to be a great day to celebrate our community and empower neighbors with resources,” McClinton said. “I love to hear first-hand what issues our constituents face in their daily lives, and my staff was able to provide on-the-spot assistance.” The event featured 35 vendors that provide community resources and giveaways; main stage entertainment by the African Dance and Drum Ensemble, local churches, local hip hop/R & B artists as well as physical fitness activities; children’s activities, food and refreshments. Attendees also had the opportunity to gather information on a variety of state programs such as CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), Medicaid, and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. McClinton said she wanted to thank the community sponsors and partners, which included Greater Philadelphia Health Action, JEVS at Home, The Village, African Cultural Alliance of North America Inc. (ACANA), Africom, Mercy Health System, Giant, Cousin’s Supermarket, Shoprite, Philadelphia Water Ice Company, CoCo’s Chicken and Waffles and McDonald’s. “I am thrilled that we had 400 families in attendance. I cannot thank the vendors, sponsors Read more

 

Cruz: $1M grant awarded to Esperanza Health Center

(Jun 05, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, June 5 – Following approval by the state Office of the Budget, state Rep. Angel Cruz announced a $1 million grant has been awarded to Esperanza Health Center to help fund construction for the new Kensington Health Center. The new facility will be built in the former bank building at 861 E. Allegheny Ave. and will be a state-of-the-art center providing primary medical and dental care as well as mental health and enabling services. “Anytime there is an opportunity to transform blight into some resourceful and sustainable in our community is a welcomed addition,” Cruz said. “I applaud Esperanza Health Center for making investments in our neighborhood that will not only improve the quality of life but also create jobs and help the economy.” "Esperanza Health Center is thrilled to receive this RACP award to help us build our comprehensive primary health care center. We are excited to invest in the health of this community and hope to be an anchor organization in the rebuilding of Kensington,” said Susan M. Post, executive director of Esperanza Health Center. “This project will allow us to provide high quality, faith-based primary health care and dental care to thousands of additional. We are thankful for this support to Esperanza Health Center and the people of Kensington." Construction is slated to begin this summer with the new health center expected to open in early 2019. RACP is administered by Read more

 

PLBC applauds PIAA vote to change headgear policy

(May 24, 2018)

HARRISBURG, May 24 – State Rep. Jordan Harris and state Sen. Shariff Street, both D-Phila., applauded the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s vote to change its policy on headgear following protest from the Muslim community. Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with Street and members of the PLBC, joined the protest after 16-year-old Nasihah Thompson-King was excluded from participating in a basketball game because she refused to remove her hijab. Harris said, “I applaud the PIAA for protecting the rights of children of all faiths in this commonwealth to participate in athletic events while maintaining their religious and cultural identities. I thank my colleague Senator Street for taking the lead on this issue on behalf of the Black Caucus. Additionally, I thank members of the Muslim community and of all faiths for standing up against this injustice, but lastly, and most importantly, I thank young Ms. Nasihah Thompson-King for the strength of her convictions." Street said, “The PIAA’s historic decision to remove guidelines that unduly burden the free exercise of religion for student athletes is in compliance with the law, morally sound and victory for American values, the foundation of which was established here in Philadelphia in our great commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The collective action of my colleagues, the Muslim community and, most importantly, the courage of Nasihah Read more

 

Cephas, Policy Committee discuss court ruling on unions, impact on women
Aug 08, 2018

Roebuck to hold Policy Committee hearing on college affordability Thursday in Philadelphia
Aug 06, 2018

McClinton to hold Policy Committee hearing on probation reform Wednesday in Philadelphia
Aug 03, 2018

Cephas to host Policy Committee hearing about Janus vs. AFSCME ruling’s impact on women of color Tuesday in Philadelphia
Aug 02, 2018

PLBC helps Cheyney University establish new research institute
Jul 31, 2018

McClinton to cohost free shredding event Aug. 4 in Darby
Jul 23, 2018

Rabb to host Health Fair and Mammogram Event
Jul 11, 2018

Legislators offer ways to improve police-community relations
Jun 26, 2018

Harris’ ‘clean slate’ passes in the Senate, heads to governor’s desk
Jun 22, 2018

PHEAA hosting student loan repayment Twitter chat
Jun 22, 2018

Taking a stand against family-separation policy
Jun 21, 2018

Legislative package would help incarcerated women, parents in Pa.
Jun 21, 2018

McClinton motion delays vote on sentence risk assessment tool
Jun 14, 2018

PLBC lauds commission’s delay on risk assessment tool vote
Jun 14, 2018

McClinton: Risk Assessment Potentially Unjust
Jun 14, 2018

Harris Keeping the PAPromise
Jun 06, 2018

Harris, Roebuck and Sen. Hughes introduce legislation pushing for free and affordable college for Pa. college and university students
Jun 06, 2018

McClinton welcomes 400 families to Southwest Community Day
Jun 06, 2018

Cruz: $1M grant awarded to Esperanza Health Center
Jun 05, 2018

PLBC applauds PIAA vote to change headgear policy
May 24, 2018