HARRISBURG, April 13 -- State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila, is advocating for formal acknowledgement of the extraordinary work of caregivers of Pennsylvania’s veterans through the Hidden Heroes campaign. “Many times, a veteran’s caregiver is a spouse, parent and other loved ones whose lives are transformed, their goals set aside, and they rearrange their lives to help the ones who sacrificed the most for us,” Rabb said. “We need to recognize that these women and men are heroes and sacrifice more than we currently understand.” The Hidden Heroes campaign is an initiative through the Elizabeth Dole Foundation that seeks to raise awareness of the struggles of these special caregivers. It also seeks to establish a national registry where veterans and their caregivers can access resources available to them. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 20 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that he is drafting legislation that would amend the Criminal History Record Information Act to ensure disclosure of public health and community safety risks. Public health reports from 2016 and 2023 revealed that there is an extensive list of contaminants in the Dimock water supply in Pennsylvania. However, CHRIA prohibits the Office of Attorney General from disclosing the results of its independent report analyzing the Dimock water supply. This legislation would provide exceptions for CHRIA that allow the public to be notified of public health and community safety risks and would require the Office of Environmental Justice to investigate information pertaining to potential or prospective harm to public health. “The public has a right to information regarding potential health hazards,” Rabb said. “We cannot allow polluters to pollute our environment anywhere across our commonwealth under the veil of benign government bureaucracy.” Read more
“It is imperative that we take the initiative to infuse fairness into our election process, so that candidates are running on a level playing field,” Rabb said Read more
HARRISBURG, Mach 16 – Following the recent Philadelphia ballot lottery result, where little-known candidates lucked into top billing for the May 16 mayoral election, State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., is planning to reintroduce his rotating ballot positions legislation , which would establish a randomized candidate ballot position rotation system to ensure no candidate has an unfair advantage based on the luck of the ballot position draw. The legislation would require the randomization of each precinct’s list of candidates, so that no individual precinct will reflect the same order on the ballot, ensuring that no candidate has the unfair advantage of topping every ballot. “It is imperative that we take the initiative to infuse fairness into our election process, so that candidates are running on a level playing field,” Rabb said. “While drawing ballot positions from a Horn & Hardart coffee can is a quaint tradition, it’s an arcane, unnecessary and inequitable way to determine something as important as ballot position.” Rabb previously introduced the bill as part of his package of innovative election-related legislation in the leadup to the November 2022 election. Read more
“The documented abuses of this publicly funded program are a disgrace condemned by law enforcement leadership and police officers who follow the rules and are in genuine need of assistance,” Rabb said. “If my conservative colleagues claim the banners of ridding government of waste, fraud and abuse, fiscal responsibility and law enforcement, my bill should be eagerly embraced.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 17 – Following Gov. Josh Shapiro’s Thursday announcement that he will not issue any execution warrants during his term, state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today announced that he will reintroduce legislation to repeal Pennsylvania’s death penalty, a bill that he has proposed three times since taking office in 2017. “One innocent life taken at the hands of the state is one too many . The fact that the state has put even one innocent person to death is simply egregious,” Rabb said. “Furthermore, the appeals process when a person is sentenced to death is long and costly, lasting decades and often resulting in their death via old age rather than lethal injection. “The risks are grave and the injustices irreparable. Our justice system is simply too fallible and the benefits too small to continue this practice.” Should Pennsylvania enact Rabb’s legislation, it would join 23 other states that have decided to abolish the death penalty. According to Gallup polling, public support for the death penalty is the lowest it’s been in decades. In Pennsylvania, the number of new death penalty sentences has steadily declined since the 1990s. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 10 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., released a statement on Judge Scott DiClaudio’s ruling that India Spellman’s 2010 murder trial was unconstitutional and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s decision to not retry Spellman, freeing her to go home. “Ms. Spellman had years of her life stolen by a justice system that let corruption fester. It took a former homicide detective being tried for perjury in a similar case, along with the persistent efforts of the Spellman family — constituents of mine — for India to gain her long overdue freedom. It disturbs me to think of how many people could be stuck in a similar position due to our deeply flawed criminal legal system and law enforcement practices,” Rabb said. “It is a reminder how these injustices breed public distrust of institutions that were not designed to protect or serve members of our society’s most vulnerable communities. “We must take action to see that the innocent are not wrongfully convicted, and if they are, that they are exonerated and properly compensated for the theft of their freedom by the state.” Rabb has introduced groundbreaking legislation on exoneree compensation as improved by the collective input of many leaders in the exoneree community. Rabb said he will be reintroducing his bill in this legislative session and will seek have it be Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 9 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., issued a statement in response to the Feb. 7 decision by Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court on William Penn School District v. Pennsylvania Department of Education , which ruled Pennsylvania’s public school funding system is unconstitutional. “It’s about time! I have been a long-time champion for full and fair funding for public schools,” Rabb said. “However, Tuesday’s decision is only the first step in the long journey toward generously and equitably investing in our students and in our schools.” During his first two terms in office, Rabb introduced popular, bipartisan legislation to direct 100% of state education funds through the fair funding formula . He also convened a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on the subject in 2019 at Emlen Elementary School in his district to raise awareness around what he has characterized as “educational apartheid.” Commonwealth Court Judge Renee Cohn Jubilerer ruled that Pennsylvania public schools don’t have the resources to adequately educate all students, and the gaps between wealthy and poor school districts has rendered the system unconstitutional. The petitioners argued that the state’s system for funding public education, which relies mainly on local property taxes, causes inequities in funding, with school Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 3 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that he is drafting legislation that would establish the first Monday of February as Emancipation Day in Pennsylvania. Rabb said the bill would acknowledge the ongoing struggle for Black liberation in a society that still poses threats and allows barriers to persist against the advancement of Black people and allied communities of struggle. On Feb. 3, 1865, Pennsylvania became the sixth state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, thus ensuring the abolition of slavery throughout the United States. “In theory, the passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteens Amendments — otherwise known as the Reconstruction Amendments — should have led to the expansion of civil rights for Black Americans, but in practice we know that not to be the case. Black Americans have had to fight every step of the way and are still fighting to this day for true emancipation,” Rabb said. “As the axiom goes: ‘nobody’s free until everybody’s free.’” Signing this piece of legislation into law and recognizing Emancipation Day would further show the Commonwealth’s commitment to racial justice, Rabb said. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 31 – A week before consequential special election races in Allegheny County that may sway the balance of power in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., urged support for his soon-to-be reintroduced legislation to modernize the special election process — an all too opaque, exclusionary and expensive endeavor in which too few voters participate. “It’s time to rethink the system that got us here. We must invest in a process that is more transparent, accountable, inclusive, efficient and less costly to taxpayers,” Rabb said. The bill’s key provisions include: Making special elections for state and municipal offices nonpartisan and more accessible to both candidates and voters. Requiring that special elections happen sooner when a seat becomes vacant more than 90 days before the next election. Requiring automatic mail-in voting for all elections while providing county boards of election with the option to establish satellite voting sites. Subsidizing special elections from restitution paid by elected officials who have vacated their seats because of a felony conviction. Allowing candidates to electronically obtain nomination petition signatures. Rabb said he believes as more people choose to register as independent instead of with the two major parties in a state that prohibits independent voters from participating in primary elections, his legislation would help Read more
Pa. state Rep. Chris Rabb attended House Speaker Mark Rozzi's listening tour stop in Philadelphia to hear directly from Pennsylvanians about their concerns on how the legislature operates. Rabb, the founding chair of the House Democratic Caucus Equity Committee, says these listening sessions are meaningful to him and inform his advocacy as good government public servant in Harrisburg. Rabb hopes this will help usher in a new era of transparency and accountability in how the House functions as one of the oldest legislative bodies in the world. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Chris Rabb stood with Sec. of Agriculture Russell Redding at the Pa. Farm Show to announce more than $500,000 in grants to help grow urban agriculture and shrink food deserts in the Commonwealth. Rabb says supporting urban agriculture helps lift people out of poverty, creates good, sustainable jobs and can help further conversations about long-standing racial injustices and disparities. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta D-Phila., reintroduced a bill that designates Jan 6th as “Democracy Observance Day,” as well as a resolution with Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., that would formally condemn the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021. On Jan. 6, 2021, while Congress met to officially tally the Electoral College votes for president, a violent mob of domestic terrorists descended upon the Capitol building and forcibly entered its hallowed halls. As lawmakers and staff barricaded themselves in secure locations, the insurrectionists proceeded to pillage offices, destroy property and assault law enforcement personnel. Still others paraded around the chambers of the House and Senate and smiled for photographs while pilfering public property. “January 6, 2021 was a shameful day in our nation’s history and if we don’t remember and learn from it, we are doomed to repeat it,” Kenyatta said. “Violent insurrectionists armed with weapons and lies told by former President Trump and Republican leaders about the 2020 presidential election led to this attack; he did nothing to stop the violence. Because of this rhetoric, lives were lost, including members of law enforcement.” Kenyatta continued, “We must make sure that any attack on our governing body’s is condemned.” “Our nation is not impervious to fascism, authoritarianism or extremism. But we cannot Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Reps. Chris Rabb and Ed Neilson, both D-Phila., today announced they are drafting legislation that would establish an observance of Jan. 6 Day in the Commonwealth’s schools. The legislation is a companion bill to one that state Sen. Art Haywood, D-Phila./Montgomery, has proposed. “The January 6th insurrection is a stark reminder that democracy is only as effective as the sum effort of its parts and that it takes our collective will toward being an inclusive and honest society to function,” Rabb said. “We must commit to reshaping America into a country that lives up to the creed: liberty and justice for all.” On Jan. 6, 2021, members of the U.S. Capitol Police Department and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department faced an unprecedented situation when insurrectionists attacked the U.S. Capitol building intent on violently attacking members of Congress to stop them from carrying out the electoral college process. “Two years ago on Jan. 6, after 9,400 rioters invaded the U.S. Capitol, five Capitol Police officers gave the ultimate sacrifice in trying to protect our democracy," Neilson said. "This legislation would honor their heroism, bravery and devotion to the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution and our country." This legislation would honor the five police officers who lost their lives due to the events of their hours-long battle with more than 9,000 rioters that day. Read more
HARRISBURG, Date – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today announced he is reintroducing legislation that would ensure detention centers cannot operate in Pennsylvania following the recent closure of the Berks County Residential Center. This legislation would update the state’s Human Services Code to direct the Department of Human Services to update facility licensure regulations. “As public servants, we are charged with protecting the health and safety of people across our commonwealth. Therefore, we must take every precaution to safeguard all people, especially those members of our most vulnerable communities,” Rabb said. “Group homes are not children’s nursing homes, and child residential facilities are not family detention centers.” With the tools the state has at hand, Rabb said, it does not have the ability to guarantee the health and safety of human beings who end up stuck in such detention centers. He said is the legislature’s constitutional responsibility to ensure it is not complicit in perpetuating a humanitarian crisis within the state’s borders. Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 8 – State Reps. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., and Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, today announced they are drafting legislation that would prohibit the use of public money to bust unions. “Unions are the backbone of our communities and have a rich and storied history in our state, from the coal mines of the northeast to the steel mills of Pittsburgh. Union workers built this state and have for years been the protectors of the working class,” Miller said. “Now, with economic inequality on the rise, we need to stand up to support our unions and send a strong message that our commonwealth stands not only with them but, more importantly, with the working families and communities who rely on them.” Modeled after similar legislation in New Mexico, the legislation would amend the Public Employee Relations Act to prohibit public and state-related employers from spending taxpayer dollars for union avoidance or union busting services or activities. “It is impossible to tell the story of economic progress in Pennsylvania without the inclusion of unions, which have been a keystone in the fight for improved workplace safety, increased wages, employer-provided healthcare and retirement benefits.” Rabb said. “In keeping with our state’s history, we should ensure that union votes are able to be made free from intimidation by public or state-related employers who would seek to infringe upon that right using taxpayer Read more
Pa. state Rep. Chris Rabb and the Shutdown Berks Coalition received word that the Biden Administration will end its contract with ICE in Berks County on January 31st, 2023. Rabb says detention centers like this only serve to further marginalize the immigrants and asylum seekers that bring so much to our diverse country. Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 28 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that he intends to introduce legislation during the 2023 session that would establish an election integrity board to combat election disinformation. This legislation would give the new board the ability to perform oversight and combat election disinformation, ensuring that candidates for public office accept election results. Election denialism and disinformation are destructive forces in the country. “Nationwide, over 100 election-denying candidates won primaries this year. Such individuals continue to perpetuate unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, despite evidence confirming that our elections are highly secure,” Rabb said. “This rhetoric falsely impugns the legitimacy of our elections for the sake of partisan politics, sowing doubt about the validity of results. “Pennsylvanians deserve elections where legitimate issues are the focus and quality candidates present their positions in good faith. Baseless claims and conspiracy theories meant to disrupt elections have no place in the democratic process.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 28 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today he is drafting legislation that would empower municipalities to utilize funding and investment in green banks. As part of the federal government’s Inflation Reduction Act, the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will go toward providing financial assistance to green banks, which are nonprofit organizations focused on the deployment of low- and zero-emission products, technologies and services. Pennsylvania needs to ensure it is well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunity, Rabb said. “The Pennsylvania Constitution enshrines the right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment,” he said. “Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. Therefore, it is our collective duty to conserve and maintain our natural resources.” Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 22 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today he is introducing wide-ranging legislation to honor and protect Native American culture and history. Rabb said he is highlighting his spate of Native-centered legislation in November, which is Native American Heritage month, to bring awareness to the continuing and widespread disregard for indigenous peoples, their history and culture, and the misappropriation thereof and how Pennsylvania can substantively right these wrongs. In 2021, Rabb authored a resolution that would have amended the rules of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to include a formal land acknowledgment at the beginning of each legislative week. In 2018, Rabb introduced a bill to formally abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day ( H.B. 2110 ), legislation he has reintroduced twice. “Symbolism matters -- particularly when it’s tethered to substantive action. That’s why rhetoric must be followed by redress,” Rabb said. With the involvement and affirmation of tribal leaders, Rabb has also put forth legislation to protect Native American trademarks by preventing the use of Pennsylvania state trademarks by non-Native American groups to claim Native American patterns and tribal names as well as other cultural heritage and intellectual property. “With the name change of the Washington NFL team to the Washington Commanders, one small step has been taken to Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today released the following opinion/editorial in cooperation with the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators: Governments from across the globe recently came together in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), to identify the next steps the world’s governments must take to address the worsening impacts of climate change. But it isn’t just federal governments who will ensure we meet our global climate goals. States are also vitally important. This past week, I traveled to COP27 with a delegation of state legislators from across the United States. We worked to shine a light on the way our home states are leading efforts to combat climate change and equitably transition to a clean energy economy. In the wake of consequential midterm elections and a new report that the U.S. has warmed 68% faster than the planet as a whole, U.S. states are more ready than ever to lead in the passage and implementation of strong climate policy. Some may be still asking why state governments matter in the fight against global climate change. After all, addressing climate change will require an all-hands-on-deck approach with buy in from all nations. But local and state climate policy solutions are critical. The impacts of climate change are not uniform and result in different types of burdens depending on Read more
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