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Kinsey: PLBC opposes Senate Bill 421 for its negative impact on marginalized communities

Today's moment in Black History

(Feb 07, 2019)

Dr. J. Robert Gladden forged a great path for other Black orthopedic surgeons after becoming the first board-certified African-American surgeon in 1949. Read more


Today's moment in Black History

(Feb 06, 2019)

NBA legend Michael Jordan soared into basketball history in 1988 with his unique slam dunk, taking off from the free throw line. The stunning feat earned him the moniker "Air Jordan" and the creation of the Jumpman logo. Read more


Cephas: Wolf’s proposed budget will be good for Philadelphia

(Feb 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., today announced her support for Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019-20 proposed budget. “Recently, my colleagues in the Philadelphia House Delegation stood together to announce our plan to reduce poverty in Philadelphia,” Cephas said. “House Democrats are on the same page as Governor Wolf when it comes to helping our most vulnerable citizens get back on their feet while avoiding new taxes.” Wolf’s 2019-20 budget proposal includes: • No new taxes. • A new Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center. • A minimum wage increase to $12 per hour. • Lowering the age of mandatory school attendance from 8 to 6. • Increasing the dropout age from 17 to 18. • A study on the benefits of providing free full-day kindergarten to all children 5 and older. • $200 million more for basic education. • $50 million more for pre-K and Head Start. • $50 million more for special education. • $7 million more for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. • $8 million in one-time grants for community college students/graduates working in Pennsylvania. “This is the first step in a long budget review process and I look forward to learning more details through my committee roles this session,” Cephas said. “I want to make sure that the final budget continues to reflect the values Read more


Today's moment in Black History

(Feb 05, 2019)

Bob Douglas became the first African-American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the founder of the New York Renaissance basketball team and was nicknamed the "Father of Black Professional Basketball." Read more


Kenyatta eager to start working on governor’s 2019-20 budget proposal

(Feb 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., released the following statement about the 2019-20 budget proposal presented today by Gov. Tom Wolf: “I’m thankful to Governor Wolf for outlining his budget priorities and I’m excited to work with him to ensure the voices of the 181 st District are heard in the process. I’m heartened that the governor has once again requested an increase in funding for education; including $200 million for basic education and $7 million for higher learning. In Philadelphia and across the commonwealth, every child deserves a high-quality education and safe school, no matter what ZIP code they live in. These are our kids and this is our obligation. “ Eradicating poverty is the moral and economic issue of our generation and raising wages for the poor and working class people of Pennsylvania is my top priority. I am pleased Governor Wolf wants to begin to make it a reality. By raising the minimum wage, it would enable thousands of people to transition out of poverty and save the commonwealth nearly $120 million, but I know we can and must go further. “We have to also protect our water and air. I look forward to working with him to make sure we fully fund our agencies such as DEP and ask natural gas drillers to pay their fair share, so we can invest in our aging infrastructure across the commonwealth. “Working across chambers and across the aisle we can get big things done for Read more


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


Wheatley introduces adult-use cannabis legalization bill for Pennsylvania

(Feb 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 4 – By introducing the most comprehensive adult-use cannabis legalization bill to date, state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today issued a bold call to move Pennsylvania onto the right side of history and into the 21 st century. “For too long we have allowed myths and ignorance to prevent a realistic and thoughtful discussion regarding the legalization of adult-use cannabis,” Wheatley said. “In 2016, we passed a law allowing medical cannabis in Pennsylvania. That law was the right step, the first step, but we need to do more. “My legislation builds on the invaluable efforts of so many by crafting comprehensive legislation that would not only decriminalize and legalize adult-use cannabis, but would rectify decades of injustice while investing in the people and future of our commonwealth.” Wheatley’s legislation – H.B. 50 – is the result of a deliberative, collaborative effort by a wide group of stakeholders, including the medical community and law enforcement. In addition to legalizing adult-use cannabis, his bill would levy a tax on cannabis, which Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has estimated could generate more than $580 million in tax revenue. Wheatley’s legislation would reinvest the new revenue to benefit all Pennsylvanians by devoting potentially hundreds of millions of dollars toward affordable housing, afterschool programs and student debt Read more


Wheatley, Hughes hold event recognizing National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Pennsylvania

(Feb 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 4 – Today state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, and state Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia/Montgomery, held an event in Harrisburg recognizing Feb. 7, 2019 as National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in Pennsylvania. “We like to think that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is over, that this problem has been solved,” Wheatley said. “But unfortunately, that isn’t true. Far too many Americans are still living with HIV/AIDS, and a disproportional number of them being African-American. HIV/AIDS can be prevented, it can be treated, but only as long as people get themselves educated and get themselves tested.” According to Wheatley, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day started as a grassroots effort with hundreds of organizations. This year marks the 19 th year for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, an initiative targeting black people to get tested in the hope of putting an end to the disease. Both Wheatley and Hughes plan to introduce legislation recognizing National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness in Pennsylvania. Wheatley said the need to raise awareness is real. At the end of 2014, there were an estimated 470,000 African-Americans living with HIV — and one in six of those didn’t know it. “The data is clear and informs us that this is still a major problem in the black community,” state Hughes. “Blacks make up 12 percent of the population but account for 44 percent of the HIV diagnoses. We have 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