McClinton addresses urban gun violence before House Judiciary Committee

(Apr 20, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 20 – During a series of hearings on gun violence this week before the House Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, addressed the disparity in coverage of gun violence between low-income communities of color and more affluent majority-white communities. During her testimony, McClinton, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, called on the committee to acknowledge gun violence as a public health crisis just like opioids, immediately advance legislation that would keep guns out of the wrong hands, and provide adequate funding for prevention programs and to the Office of the Attorney General for its Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. She said, “While it took tragedies like the Parkland and Las Vegas shootings to gather us here today, I would like to remind everyone that communities of color in Philadelphia, Delaware, Berks, Dauphin, Cambria and Allegheny counties have been victims of gun violence for decades. “In fact, the Center for American Progress reports that African-Americans and Hispanics represent nearly 79 percent of all gun homicides in Pennsylvania. From 2005 to 2014, Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for the rate of gun deaths among African-Americans. Although African-Americans make up about 12 percent of Pennsylvania’s population, they account for nearly 70 percent of gun homicides in our commonwealth. Moreover, Pennsylvania ranked second in the nation for the highest gun death Read more


Harris Honors 40th Anniversary of Cheyney Champs

(Apr 17, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris welcomed members of the NCAA Division II National Champion Men's Basketball team from Cheyney University on the 40th Anniversary of winning their title. Read more


Kinsey Honors Tuskegee Airmen

(Apr 17, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Stephen Kinsey welcomed two surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen, as well as the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, to the House of Representatives in honor of their service to our country. Read more


Harris supports new trial for Meek Mill

(Apr 16, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, April 16 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today released the following statement supporting Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s call to vacate the conviction of Philadelphia rapper Robert Williams, better known as Meek Mill, and Krasner's announcement of his support for Mill to receive a new trial: “Meek Mill is just one of the countless Black men in our nation who are disproportionately impacted by our criminal justice system – despite the fact that they are not more likely to commit crimes. With the arresting officer’s credibility being under question, it’s time that we include this into evidence and reassess the original charge," Harris said. “I hope that moving forward, Larry Krasner will implement policies that prevent misconduct among police officers through a stronger complaint review process. We must continue to speak up on behalf of the other ‘Robert Williamses’ who are victims of a broken justice system and who lack the capital and the resources to receive the justice they deserve. This is why the state Senate must immediately pass House Bill 1419 , to provide countless Pennsylvanians with a second chance.” ### Read more


Pa. House passes Clean Slate legislation

(Apr 11, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 11 – The House today approved legislation, authored by state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., and state Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland, that would create the Pennsylvania Clean State Law. Building upon Act 5 of 2016, H.B. 1419 would be the first bill of its kind anywhere in the United States. The bill would automatically seal low-level, non-violent misdemeanors, summary offenses and non-conviction records – with no action required by the person. Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, called the passage of the legislation a major milestone in criminal justice reform for the nation. Act 5 of 2016 allows for sealing of records if a petition is filed by the accused. “House Bill 1419 will change criminal justice reform in the United States as we know it,” Harris said. “People would no longer have to suffer for mistakes they made years ago. They would no longer be subjected to life as a second-class citizen and would now be able to find gainful employment and successfully pursue a post-secondary education, among many other things. Today, we are sending a clear message that everyone deserves a second chance, regardless of your race, age, ZIP code or level of education.” “People who had a criminal conviction from decades past and have turned their lives around, without any other police involvement, have faced employment barriers due to their prior bad actions,” Delozier said. “By Read more


House unanimously adopts Gainey/Roebuck resolution memorializing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assassination

(Apr 10, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 9 – The House today unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, and Rep. James Roebuck, D-Philadelphia, memorializing the 50 th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Members of the historic Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity — to which King belonged — were present in the House chamber as H.R. 747 was adopted and were recognized for their work in carrying on Dr. King’s legacy of civil rights advocacy and community service. “With Dr. King’s passing, we lost one of the world’s most passionate voices for civil rights and justice through peaceful protest,” Gainey said. “Thankfully, his words live on to inspire new generations of advocates, who work every single day to realize his dream of peace and racial equality.” “The life of Martin Luther King stands as a testimony of an individual’s ability to change a society,” Roebuck said. “His spirit continues to guide us, even 50 years after his death. We remain deeply indebted to his vision, commitment and sacrifice.” King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, on the balcony of Memphis’ Lorraine Motel, which is now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum. Sixteen years earlier, in 1952, he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha’s Sigma chapter, where he and his fraternity brothers had already begun pondering how to improve the lives of African American citizens. The Read more


4/5/18 – Healthy Food Options – Philadelphia

(Apr 06, 2018)

Materials from public hearing hosted by Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. Read more


PLBC and HDPC examine healthy food options and dairy industry

(Apr 05, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, April 5 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and House Democratic Policy Committee today held a joint policy hearing at the Walter Biddle Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences on the importance of increasing access to healthy food options and dairy in various communities throughout Pennsylvania. PLBC Chairman Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., said, “Countless residents throughout Pennsylvania go each day without access to fresh produce, dairy and culturally appropriate food options; with many of them being the most vulnerable among us. Our policy hearing today highlighted how we can advance policy to alleviate food insecurity and connect people with healthier and more nutritious food sources. I am thankful for today’s testifiers and look forward to working with them to fully address this issue.” HDPC Chairman Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, added, “Today’s hearing showed that we must do more to increase availability of healthy food throughout Pennsylvania, especially in our underserved communities. I thank Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding for participating today and recognizing the importance of this issue.” Testifiers ranged from various agencies and groups, including the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Fox Chase Farms, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, The Food Trust, The Port of Philadelphia, Associates Pennsylvania Constructors, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Penn Agriculture Read more


Dawkins applauds $3.5 million in grants to enhance apprenticeships

(Apr 04, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, April 4 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., lauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s allocation of $3.5 million for 61 grants to support pre-apprentice and apprenticeship programs throughout Philadelphia and across the commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry awarded the grants through Local Workforce Development boards across the state, including Philadelphia Works. The funding is designed to support businesses, industry associations, chambers of commerce, training providers, career and technical centers, and intermediaries interested in sponsoring registered apprenticeship programs. Dawkins said these grants will help open doors for people who are looking to obtain good-paying jobs. “Governor Wolf’s PAsmart initiative is helping Pennsylvanians develop the skills they need to stay competitive in today’s work force. Apprentice programs are the first step towards a life-long career with jobs that offer competitive pay, comprehensive health and vacation benefits, and comfortable retirement. We need more of these types of jobs now,” Dawkins said. Recently, Dawkins hosted a series of workshops in his district office designed to educate people on apprenticeship opportunities in Philadelphia. “I worked with our local labor and construction trade unions through my ‘Apprentice Prep with the Rep.’ workshop series to spread the word about these great prospects. These apprenticeship programs are open Read more


PLBC to host policy hearing on healthy food access

(Mar 27, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, March 27 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today announced that the caucus and the House Democratic Policy Committee will host a policy hearing on improving access to healthy food options and dairy in communities across Pennsylvania. Congressman Dwight Evans, D-Phila., will be a guest speaker at the policy hearing. The policy hearing will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 5 at the Walter Biddle Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences, 7100 Henry Ave., Philadelphia. ### Read more


Harris supports Gov. Wolf, Krasner decision on not opposing release of Meek Mill

(Mar 23, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, March 23 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, released the following statement supporting Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to support Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and not oppose the release of Philadelphia rapper Robert Williams, better known as Meek Mill: “I strongly support Governor Wolf for his support of District Attorney Larry Krasner’s position on not opposing the release of Meek Mill. However, I am also in support of freeing all the other 'Robert Williamses’ who are dealt an unfair hand from our criminal justice system. Williams is not a danger to himself, or society, and should be released. “Cases like Williams’, and so many others like him, are the reason why I have been a strong advocate of reforming our criminal justice system. This is why I worked with Governor Wolf to pass Act 5 of 2016 and to ban the box on all state-level jobs. This is also why I am working with the legislature to pass a clean slate bill into law so others like Williams do not fall victim to a broken criminal justice system.” ### Read more


McClinton Honors Rosa Parks

(Mar 16, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Joanna McClinton thanks the House of Representatives for unanimously approving her resolution designating February 4, 2018, as "Rosa Parks Remembrance Day" in Pennsylvania. Read more


Bullock: Time For Commonsense Gun Laws

(Mar 14, 2018)

Frustrated by the growing deaths at the hands of gun violence, Vice-Chairwoman of the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus state Rep. Donna Bullock participated in a PA Safe Caucus news conference to demand action on gun legislation to ensure the safety of students and the protection of communities across the Commonwealth. Read more


PLBC announces new Subcommittee on Criminal Justice Reform

(Mar 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, March 14 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today announced the creation of a new Subcommittee on Criminal Justice Reform. The subcommittee will be co-chaired by Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, and Sen. Sharif Street, D-Phila., both attorneys. Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., and Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Phila./Delaware, will also serve as members of the subcommittee. Harris said, “Criminal justice reform has become one of the leading issues in Pennsylvania and across our nation. I’m excited that our caucus will be spearheading this initiative and pushing for much needed reforms in the state legislature. While we have made some movement on providing second chances to returning citizens, there are countless other avenues that must be explored if we are to fully restructure our criminal justice system.” The subcommittee will push an aggressive legislative agenda and will also be vital in the creation of a criminal justice advisory group made up of formerly incarcerated people and expert legal practitioners. The advisory committee will be co-chaired by Keir Bradford-Grey, chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and Bill DeWeese, former state representative and the 135th speaker of the House. Among his many legal and legislative accomplishments, Street has supported numerous bills that would reform Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system. One bill Read more


Harris: Clean Slate Gives People a Second Chance

(Mar 13, 2018)

Pa. Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Jordan Harris has been working on legislation to give non-violent offenders who have served their time a second chance at life by giving them a "Clean Slate," improving their prospects for employment and return to society. Read more


2018 PLBC Scholarship Application

(Mar 13, 2018)

The 2018 PLBC Scholarship Application is now live! Make sure to apply by April 30th to be able to win a $1,000 scholarship. Details here: Read more


PLBC thanks Wolf for calling illegal gun violence a crisis during Phila. visit

(Mar 02, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, March 2 – Leaders of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus thanked Gov. Tom Wolf for calling gun violence a crisis during his visit to Philadelphia today. State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the PLBC, hosted Wolf as the governor and PLBC members visited a memorial to local victims of gun violence. The governor and legislators then held a public roundtable with members of the local community who have been affected by gun violence as well as other local leaders, including Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. Harris said: "Illegal gun violence in Pennsylvania is a public health crisis and it's important that we call it that. We must be concerned about the neighborhood shootings that take lives one or two at a time as well as the tragic mass shootings that tend to dominate the headlines. Every victim matters. "So we appreciate Governor Wolf coming to Philadelphia and calling illegal gun violence what it is – a public health crisis. We look forward to working with the administration to identify resources to help stem the tide of gun violence in our communities." Wolf said: "We do need to make sure we are approaching this as the health crisis that this is. We need to make sure that we do everything we can to change the mindset of a nation, a whole nation, that is taking an entirely too casual approach to gun violence." State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chair of the PLBC, said: Read more


PLBC to PIAA: scrap head garb waiver rule

(Feb 27, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 27 – State Rep. Jordan Harris and state Sen. Sharif Street, both D-Phila., met with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s executive director Monday to discuss changing the PIAA’s rules requiring a signed waiver for student-athletes who wear religious head garb. The meeting was a result of 16-year-old Nasihah Thompson-King being excluded from participating in a basketball game because she refused to remove her hijab. Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said while the meeting was productive, it is up to the PIAA’s board to do the right thing and make the rule change. Harris said, “Our meeting with Dr. Robert A. Lombardi, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, seemed productive. We urged the PIAA to remove the rule requiring a signed waiver for student-athletes to wear religious head garb. Dr. Lombardi agreed to bring our request to the PIAA board during their March meeting. We look forward to their decision to scrap the rule or we will be forced to look into further actions that will require them to comply with state and federal civil rights laws.” Street said, “After meeting with the PIAA, we stressed the importance of religious headgear being included as acceptable equipment, not listed as an exception, or requiring any documentation to be shown. We are encouraged that the rules committee of the PIAA will soon advance these Read more


Bullock on Environmental Justice & Solar for All

(Feb 26, 2018)

During the second week of House Appropriations Committee budget hearings, Pa. state Rep. Donna Bullock discussed the impact of climate change on poor & minority communities and the opportunities that solar energy offers to Pennsylvania. Read more


PLBC troubled by waiver requirement for student athletes, calls on PIAA to abandon waiver requirement

(Feb 21, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 21 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said that he and other caucus members were deeply troubled by 16-year-old Nasihah Thompson-King and other student athletes being excluded from participating in sports activities simply because of their religion. Members are calling on the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association to abandon the waiver requirement because it unjustly profiles students based on their religion. Harris said, “Requiring students to sign off on a waiver to prove their religion is unacceptable and completely unnecessary. We are calling on the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association to abolish this discriminatory rule. We must ensure that Pennsylvania students never have to endure the humiliation and mistreatment that Nasihah Thompson-King faced because she chose to wear her hijab.” The PLBC vice chairwoman, Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., said student athletes should not be forced to choose between their religion and participating in sports. Bullock said, “The PIAA waiver put in place singles out young people for no other reason than their religious beliefs. Women of color have far too many obstacles to overcome as it is. Nasihah’s head garb in no way impedes upon her ability to play basketball or any other sport. It’s time for the PIAA to correct this wrong and update their policies regarding the place of religion in sports Read more