Featured News

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus hosts Juneteenth program

Rep. Hill-Evans: Medication synchronization bill would benefit all

(Feb 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, proudly voted this week for H.B. 195, a medication synchronization bill that unanimously passed the House. This bill, which next heads to the Senate, would streamline pharmaceutical prescription refills for health insurance enrollees aiming to fill two or more medications. “This is terrific legislation for all who need to refill multiple medications through a pharmacy or doctor,” Hill-Evans said. “Evidence clearly shows improved medication adherence when patients are able to get all their medications in one monthly visit instead of going back and forth several times to fill several prescriptions. “We encourage the Senate to do as the House did and pass this legislation.” Among the benefits: Medication synchronization would allow patients to synchronize their medications in order to receive them on the same day each month instead of having to make multiple trips to the pharmacy. The common-sense change would serve as a convenience to the patient, especially elderly or others who rely on transportation, and would reduce poor health care outcomes that result from medication adherence. A Harvard Medical School study showed that when medications were not synchronized, patients’ adherence rates were 8.4 percent lower than those whose medications were synchronized. The bill includes protection for the patient that would bar their insurance plan from denying coverage Read more

 

Kinsey & PLBC Kickoff Black History Month

(Feb 04, 2019)

Chairman of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Stephen Kinsey, talks about the power of the messages spoken and the inspiration of the next generation in their creative efforts at the Black History Month kickoff event. Read more

 

McClinton on Rosa Parks Remembrance Day

(Feb 04, 2019)

Citing the mountain of work still to do, Pa. House Democratic Caucus Chair Joanna McClinton asks the gathered assembly if they have the bravery of Rosa Parks to stand up in the face of fear to fight for equality and civil rights for all people. McClinton honors Mrs. parks with a House Resolution declaring February 4, 2019 as Rosa Parks Remembrance Day in Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Today's moment in Black History

(Feb 04, 2019)

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks was born on this day in 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She became famous for refusing to obey a bus driver to give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. The U.S. Congress later called Parks, "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement." Read more

 

PLBC hosts Black History Month event at state Capitol

(Feb 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – In commemorating Black History Month, members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus hosted an event in the Main Capitol Rotunda. This year’s theme was “Black Migrations,” observing the movement of people from African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities. “The African-Americans who embarked on the journey of migration were all trailblazers in their own right. They broke culture barriers while facing extreme prejudice and economic, political and social challenges,” said Rep. Stephen Kinsey, PLBC chairman. “The program provided us with the opportunity to not only celebrate the achievements our ancestors pursued that ultimately laid a foundation in our history, but also to remember the struggles they endured; for these struggles continue to plague people of color in today’s society.” “The Great Migration changed the course of the lives of many African-Americans and their children. Some families attained success, others found that racial injustices and disparities weren't limited to the south,” said Rep. Donna Bullock, PLBC vice chairman. “Through Black History Month programs, like our showcase at the state Capitol, we have a responsibility to honor our ancestors' journey, celebrate our achievements, defend democracy and fight injustices everywhere.” The program also included speaker Dr. Chieke E. Ihejirika, professor at Lincoln Read more

 

McClinton expungement clinic offers second chance in Delaware County

(Jan 31, 2019)

DARBY, Jan. 31 – In her continuing effort to give residents in her district a second chance, state Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, recently partnered with state Sen. Anthony Williams to hold an expungement clinic. “There are countless people who run into unnecessary roadblocks because of a minor criminal offense and they can’t get a job or buy a home,” McClinton said. “This expungement clinic provided them with the means to gain a fighting chance at a brighter future.” More than 45 people received assistance at the Academy Park High School to have their criminal records expunged. Free legal services also were offered at the event. “I would like to thank Academy Park High School for hosting our clinic and thanks to Senator Williams, Legal Aid of Southeastern PA and the Chester Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. for partnering with me to make it a success,” McClinton said. Local residents who believe they may be eligible for an expungement or would like to apply for a pardon, but were unable to attend the event, are encouraged to contact McClinton’s office at 215-748-6712 for information. Read more

 

Harris: Pennsylvania Promise provides elevator out of poverty

(Jan 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – Citing the negative statistics regarding higher education in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., House Democratic Whip, today joined fellow legislators and advocates to announce the reintroduction of the Pennsylvania Promise initiative in the Capitol Media Center. “The cost of a college education has risen exponentially over the past twenty years, with averages across the country more than tripling,” Harris said. “Over that same time, wages have not grown at nearly the same pace, making a college education unattainable for too many Pennsylvanians.” Pennsylvania currently ranks 47 in the nation in higher education funding per capita and dead last in U.S. News’ Best States 2018 report in regards to higher education. State system students’ real tuition and fees increased 51 percent since 2000 while the median student debt for state system students increased 132 percent between 2000 and 2015. “We should be tearing down barriers to education, not building them,” Hughes said. “The growing costs of higher education and the exploding rates of debt are having an increasingly negative impact on our state. It is time we support our learners and give them the best opportunities for prosperity.” “It is absolutely crucial that our students be given every chance to succeed and grow within their learning communities,” Roebuck said. “I could not imagine trying to Read more

 

We must educate our young people about human trafficking

(Jan 29, 2019)

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and you may think this is a problem unique to other countries around the world, but you would be wrong. This epidemic knows no national boundaries – imprisoning millions of people each and every year to a life of indentured servitude, sexual exploitation, violence and fear. Human trafficking doesn’t just take place in foreign countries, dark alleyways, or on Hollywood movie sets. It’s happening right now in the neighborhoods where we all live, where we send our children to school and where we go to work. Human trafficking refers to the sexual or labor exploitation of people by threat, force or coercion. According to the United Nation’s International Labour Organization, there are over 40 million victims of human trafficking globally, with the vast majority of them being women and girls. While victims live in isolation and deplorable living conditions, perpetrators of this abuse rake in millions of dollars. In fact, forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide, and the United States is not immune. In the United States, 8,759 cases of human trafficking were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2017 – a 13 percent increase in cases compared to 2016. In Pennsylvania, roughly 200 cases of human trafficking were reported to this hotline in 2017, up from 157 in 2016 and 109 in 2014. In 2017, an estimated one out of seven endangered runaways reported to the Read more

 

Rabb hosting appreciation day for federal employees impacted by shutdown

(Jan 25, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 25 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., is hosting an appreciation day for federal employees impacted by the federal government shutdown from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the Upper Room Baptist Church’s food bank located at 7236 Ogontz Ave. Rabb said community organizations will be at the event to provide groceries to federal workers who show their federal ID. Rabb and his staff will be there to share information on the home heating assistance program, commonly known as LIHEAP, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP benefits. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Congressman Dwight Evans also will share information about local resources. “Trump’s federal shutdown for political posturing – the longest in U.S. history – has resulted in enormous hardships for the hardworking people who keep our government running,” Rabb said. “The callousness shown by the president and his administration regarding the real struggles of federal workers is troubling and disheartening. I am hosting this event to show our federal workers that we know their struggles are real and serious and that there are people out there who care about their well-being.” According to Rabb, the appreciation day is still taking place despite the reported deal reached today to halt the shutdown and keep the federal government open for the next several weeks. He believes that federal employees will still need assistance as they Read more

 

Get free assistance with your Property Tax/Rent Rebate

(Jan 24, 2019)

Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2018 tax year are available – and my office staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2018 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The rebates normally are distributed by the Department of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more

 

Rabb applauds Gov. Wolf’s consideration of general use cannabis

(Jan 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 24 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today issued a statement supporting Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s launch of a statewide listening tour on the possibility of legalizing the sale and adult consumption of cannabis – more popularly known as “marijuana.” “I’m glad to see our governor seriously considering the legalization of general use cannabis,” Rabb said. “As a founding member of the PA Cannabis Caucus and the founding chair of the PA House Democratic Caucus Equity Committee, I strongly support the legalization of general use cannabis in Pennsylvania. One in four young adults already uses cannabis and with 64 percent of Americans in favor of legalization, it is past time for Pennsylvania to be frontrunners in this industry rather than lagging behind. It is clear that the so-called ‘war on drugs’ has failed, and it’s time we started to treat cannabis use as a public health issue, not a criminal one.” Rabb went on to say that the policies enacted ultimately need to include: • Comprehensive criminal justice reform as it relates to the thousands of people who have languished in jails and prisons over cannabis-related drug offenses; • A rigorous social equity rubric regarding how licenses are applied for and secured by prospective business owners of cannabis grow facilities and dispensaries; and • Allocation of tax revenues from cannabis sales Read more

 

Rabb explores fair school funding at House Democratic Policy Committee hearing

(Jan 23, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 23 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss the moral implications and practical solutions to addressing Pennsylvania’s ranking as the worst state in the U.S. on public education funding equity. Rabb was joined by state legislators from across the state, many of whom are advocates for a fair and equitable funding formula, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who previously served on the Basic Education Funding Commission, Rep. James Roebuck, chairman of the House Democratic Education Committee and Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia County Delegation. “We had the opportunity to talk to advocates and superintendents from across the state to see how the current inequities in funding are impacting students. This open dialogue gave us great insight into how we can move forward to make changes to directly reach the students and districts that need resources most,” Rabb explained. Sturla added, “As a member of the Basic Education Funding Commission, I had the opportunity to help craft the current funding formula. Unfortunately, the formula only applies to new dollars invested in education. We really need to find a way to accelerate that equitable funding to ensure that generations of students are not left behind.” The committee heard testimony from Christopher Dormer, superintendent, Norristown School District; Read more

 

Wednesday's moment in Black History

(Jan 16, 2019)

First Woman Representative: Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She was elected in 1968 and represented the state of New York. She broke ground again four years later in 1972 when she was the first major party African-American candidate and the first female candidate for president of the United States. Read more

 

Kenyatta district office grand opening

(Jan 14, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., will host a district office grand opening from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 at 1501 N. Broad St., Suite 17 . “My staff and I are excited to get to work for our neighbors,” Kenyatta said. “I invite all those in the district to come to our office to meet face to face with myself and the people who are working for them. I want open communication with my community. We could not be here without the support of our citizens, and now it’s finally time to give back. Let us know what we can do to serve you to the best of our ability.” Kenyatta encourages residents of Philadelphia’s 181st Legislative District to come to the event to meet his staff and to learn about the various constituent services offered. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the district office at 215-978-0311 or visit www.pahouse.com/Kenyatta , which has links to information on state services and includes a form that enables residents to email him. Residents can also follow Kenyatta on Facebook www.Facebook.com/RepKenyatta and Twitter @RepKenyatta . Read more

 

Northwest Economic Empowerment Business Summit Jan. 19

(Jan 11, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 11 – State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald will be joined by Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Chris Rabb, Sen. Art Haywood and Councilwoman Cherelle Parker to co-host an annual summit to help current and future business owners succeed and prosper. The 2 nd Annual Northwest Economic Empowerment Business Summit, organized by Fitzgerald, will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at Masjidullah, the Center for Human Excellence, 7433 Limekiln Pike, 19138. The theme of this year’s summit is “Continuing the Journey.” Those attending the summit can take part in a variety of workshops and hear from expert panelists about starting a business or making an existing business thrive. “Business owners are a vital part of our community,” Fitzgerald said. “We want to provide constituents with the opportunities and resources to assist them, whether it’s starting their own business venture or growing their existing business.” Fitzgerald said there will be door prizes and continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Congressman Dwight Evans will be the keynote speaker. Representatives and their staff also will be available to answer questions and provide information on state government-related services. For more information and to RSVP, please call Fitzgerald’s office at 215-549-0220 or by email at repizzy@pahouse.net . Read more

 

Wednesday's moment in Black History

(Jan 09, 2019)

John Mercer Langston was the first black man to become a lawyer when he passed the bar in Ohio in 1854. When he was elected to the post of Town Clerk for Brownhelm, Ohio, in 1855 Langston became one of the first African Americans ever elected to public office in America. John Mercer Langston was also the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, famed poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Read more

 

New PLBC Leadership Takes Oath

(Jan 04, 2019)

The new leadership for the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus took their oath of office in Harrisburg. Now, they’re ready to get to work to tackle the issues that people of color, those people disenfranchised and those that have been marginalized in our society continue facing each and every day across Pennsylvania. Read more

 

PLBC statement on Mummer’s Parade

(Jan 03, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statements after seeing reports of racist behavior at the Mummer’s Parade: “The issue we are seeing here is a history of controversial characters and portrayals,” said state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila, chairman of the PLBC. “The actions of those involved was intended as a form of comedy, but many viewers on the outside of the event believe it was in poor taste. We want to work on educating the public about how these actions can affect those around them, and how we might be able to better work for the future by working together on this parade as a whole community. The PLBC will continue our fight against acts of racism and fight for non-discriminatory legislation that updates the laws to help combat racism and racist behavior. Even if we cannot defeat it altogether, we should have better laws in place to discourage hateful practices and better educate the public.” “It doesn’t matter if it’s blackface or a black face, racial insensitivity has no place in Philadelphia,” said state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., former chairman of the PLBC and House Democratic Whip. “Sadly, this Parade has a tradition of racial insensitivity at best and racism at worst. It’s high time the sponsors and all others involved take a deliberate look at the messages being put forth by the parade. I look forward to joining other Read more

 

Harris sworn in for fourth term as state representative

(Jan 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – During a ceremony at the state Capitol to open the 203rd legislative session, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., took the oath of office to begin his fourth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and first term as the Democratic whip. “I’m honored to have my constituents’ trust to remain their state representative for another two years,” Harris said. “I will continue to stand up for the voiceless and the powerless while expanding on the work that my staff and I accomplished for the 186 th Legislative District.” The 2019-20 legislative session also marks Harris’ first term as Democratic whip, a position his colleagues elected him to serve in November. He is the first African-American to serve as whip since Rep. K. Leroy Irvis in the 1970s. “Serving as the Democratic whip is an exciting opportunity to have a larger role in shaping the agenda of the House Democratic Caucus,” Harris said. “I’m honored with the trust my colleagues have placed in me and I look forward to moving forward with all Democrats with a better vision for Pennsylvania.” The whip is considered the second in command in the caucus and is responsible for making sure that Democratic members attend session and generally understand the specifics of legislation and procedural votes in the House. During his third term, Harris co-authored the Clean Slate bill, which became law and is the framework Read more

 

Cephas: Store closure devastating to local neighborhood

(Jan 03, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., said she is disheartened over the community impact following the announcement of a grocery store closing due to the city’s soda tax . “It is disappointing to see the Shoprite store along Haverford Avenue closing its doors,” Cephas said. “Not only is it a hit to the local economy and a loss of jobs in the immediate area, it will add to the already overwhelming amount of food deserts in our Middle Neighborhoods. “While there are other stores in the immediate area where people can shop, the lack of access to fresh foods and produce in the community where this Shoprite exists could become a burden for those who may be unable to get to those stores. I will work with area stakeholders and residents to bring a grocery store to the soon-to-be vacant site in an effort to benefit the community’s overall needs. “With a new legislative session underway in Harrisburg, the general assembly must work together to provide adequate funding for our schools and infrastructure needs across the commonwealth, no matter the zip code. By fairly distributing sufficient appropriations for education and recreation centers, municipalities and cities, including Philadelphia, would not need to create alternative means of funding, such as a soda tax, which could ultimately have a devastating impact on businesses and our neighborhoods.” Read more