Rabb bill would prevent needless deportations, keep families together

(Feb 06, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 6 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., plans to introduce a bill to prevent needless deportations and keep families together by adjusting the maximum one-year sentences for some Pennsylvania misdemeanors by one day. "I was working on this legislation even before the controversy over the president's executive order on immigration, but certainly the heartlessness and sloppiness of that executive order has underlined the need for this bill," Rabb said. Rabb said there is a discrepancy between state and federal law. In Pennsylvania, a third-degree misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to one year. However, the same crime is considered an aggravated felony under federal immigration law – which is a deportable offense – simply by carrying a possible sentence of one year. Examples of third-degree misdemeanors include: disorderly conduct, loitering or simple drug possession. "These are not minor crimes, but we have chosen to treat them as misdemeanors, not felonies, in Pennsylvania – and in many cases, the person convicted doesn't serve a full year. Yet they can still be deported on this basis even if they didn't serve the full year. This is absurd and I doubt it was the intent of state law. Unless we fix our law, a legal, tax-paying immigrant convicted of a crime considered a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania would be considered a felon under federal immigration law and face deportation," Rabb said. Read more

 

Rabb issues statement of concern regarding the president's pick to lead U.S. environmental agency

(Jan 31, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 31 – Philadelphia state Rep. Chris Rabb, who also serves as a founding member of the General Assembly's Climate Caucus, today issued the following statement concerning the pending confirmation of the president's nominee, Scott Pruitt, to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and how it could impact Pennsylvanians: "The confirmation of this nominee would most certainly have a trickle-down effect. Once again, similar to the closure of three Pennsylvania unemployment compensation call centers, I'm reminded of the Republicans' complacency. As a result of underfunding the state Department of Environmental Protection, it begs the questions: Is the water we drink safe? Is the water we bathe in safe? "The EPA has already sent the warning signal to Pennsylvania that only the minimum is being done to ensure we have safe drinking water, and the common denominator for each and every violation comes back to a lack of staff due to funding cuts. The lack of transparency by Pruitt throughout his confirmation hearings only compounds my concern for the public health of the families I represent. I'm proud that the 200 th Legislative District boasts the Wissahickon Creek Watershed and I will continue to fight to protect and enhance our most precious resource. " If you believe in smart-sized government that's there to provide, at the very least, the most basic services meant to safeguard public Read more

 

Rabb resolution honors the 'radical' Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

(Jan 25, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 25 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today secured adoption of a resolution in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in light of the recent national holiday. "Everyone knows the stirring line 'I have a dream,' but we need to remember the complete Dr. King, who was considered a radical in his time, who fought against poverty as well as racial injustice, in part because those two things are linked," Rabb said. Rabb's resolution ( H.R. 39 ) includes passages such as: "People in cities, suburbs and small towns across our diverse nation have joined in homage to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who organized and mobilized against and resisted the bigotry, structural inequality and kleptocratic features existing within American society;" and "The prescient expressions of equality and solidarity in the Rev. Dr. King's career-defining speech during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom also ring true in today's political and social context." The resolution also quotes these lines from Dr. King's 1963 speech about the promises of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness made in Philadelphia at the nation's founding: "America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come Read more

 

Rabb Fighting to Outlaw Conversion Therapy

(Jan 20, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Christopher Rabb explains his support of legislation that would outlaw the controversial practice of "conversion therapy" that purports to "cure" someone of homosexuality. Rabb attended a press conference at Philadelphia City Hall with the bill's sponsor, Pa. state Rep. Brian Sims, Mayor Jim Kenney, other House colleagues and medical professionals to speak out against the practice and support the legislation that would ban conversion therapy in Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Rabb supports bill to protect Pa. kids from anti-LGBT 'conversion therapy'

(Jan 19, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 19 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today joined fellow legislators and Mayor Jim Kenney in calling for passage of a statewide law to protect minors from anti-LGBTQ "conversion therapy." "As someone who firmly believes in the Golden Rule -- not to mention as a father who loves my children unconditionally -- I am sickened that such malevolent chicanery has been allowed to be practiced on members of the LGBTQ community. We all have an obligation to protect children from harm whether or not we are parents or guardians ourselves. I believe this includes protecting our young people from this discredited practice that can do so much damage to already marginalized youth," Rabb said. "I think it would send a powerful message if the most populous city in the commonwealth affirms the wisdom of the city of Pittsburgh by passing a ban on this oppressive practice. I want to go even further and protect kids across the state," Rabb said. Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., and Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, D-Phila./Delaware, will again be the lead sponsors of the legislation in the House and Senate. Sims, the state's first out LGBT legislator, said, "In his first weeks in office, Representative Rabb is already demonstrating his commitment to the LGBT community, including the vulnerable young people who are at risk from so-called 'conversion therapy.' He understands the need to protect all kids." Rabb represents Read more

 

Rabb: Reform Sentencing in Pennsylvania

(Jan 10, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Chris Rabb is working to pass legislation that would revise the sentencing limits for those convicted of a third-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. Rabb says a current discrepancy between state and federal law could potentially harm some of the near 760,000 foreign-born residents living in the state. Read more

 

Rabb Open House

(Jan 10, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Christopher Rabb invites residents to visit his new office at 7216 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, for an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, January 12. Come meet the staff and learn what help is available for variety of state related issues. Read more

 

Rabb: I'm Ready to Serve

(Jan 03, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Christopher Rabb was sworn into office today in Harrisburg. Rabb talked about his priorities as he begins the legislative session. Read more

 

Rabb sworn in for first term at state Capitol

(Jan 03, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – During a ceremony at the state Capitol that opened the 2017-18 legislative session, Rep. Chris Rabb took the oath of office to represent northwest Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “I am thankful that the constituents of the 200th Legislative District put their faith in me to represent them,” Rabb said. “I am hitting the ground running to work on the issues that matter to them.” Rabb added he will soon introduce legislation that would commit Pennsylvania’s presidential electors to the candidate who wins the most popular votes in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. His legislative interests include fighting for social justice, shared prosperity and public integrity. While his constituent services office won’t be open until sometime later this month, Rabb said residents can email him regarding any state-related issues at Rabb@pahouse.com in the meantime. Rabb also encouraged constituents to sign up for periodic e-mail updates by registering through his website, http://www.pahouse.com/Rabb . Constituents can also stay up to date with news from Harrisburg and Philadelphia by adding him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RepRabb and following him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RepRabb . Read more

 

Rabb: New Office to Serve You

(Dec 21, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Christopher Rabb explains the services that his Constituent Service Office can provide. The new office at 7216 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, will be open at the beginning of January 2017, but Rabb and his staff can help at any time by emailing rabb@pahouse.net or voicemail at (215)242-7300. Read more

 

Rabb: Let Popular Vote Decide Elections

(Dec 15, 2016)

Pa. state Rep.-elect Christopher Rabb discusses his bill that would commit Pennsylvania's presidential electors in the Electoral College to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. Read more

 

Rabb to introduce National Popular Vote bill in Pa.

(Dec 15, 2016)

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 15 – State Rep.-elect Chris Rabb, D-Phila., plans to introduce the National Popular Vote bill in Pennsylvania after he is sworn in Jan. 3. The bill would commit Pennsylvania's presidential electors to the candidate who wins the most popular votes in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. "This is not retroactive to the 2016 election – this is forward-looking, nonpartisan and could benefit a candidate of either party. Until the Electoral College is abolished, the National Popular Vote agreement is a fair and equitable way to have the will of the people expressed in participatory democracy, rather than an outdated, arcane intermediary. Most people haven't even realized they're voting for electors rather than a presidential candidate directly," Rabb said. The bill would have Pennsylvania add its 20 electoral votes to an agreement that already covers 165 electoral votes from 11 states and the District of Columbia. The agreement would take effect once it covers at least 270 electoral votes, the minimum needed to win the presidency. "Throughout the 240 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed here in Philadelphia, we've made other improvements to the founders' designs, and moving to a national popular vote system is another important way to do that," said Rabb, who is a descendant of Declaration of Independence signer Philip Livingston. "The founders of our country only Read more

 

Rep.-elect Rabb takes stand against President-elect Trump's 'first 100 days' plan

(Dec 06, 2016)

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 6 – State Rep.-elect Christopher Rabb, D-Phila., issued the following statement in support of a Washington, D.C. news conference held today by the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), in response to the president-elect's anticipated agenda for his first 100 days in office: "I commend SiX's effort in standing up and taking a stand and speaking out against the president-elect's 'first 100-days' plan for our country. SiX has an economic vision for our country that would take us in the right direction by supporting the millions of working and middle class families who are the very fabric of society. "Now, more than ever before, is the time for elected officials to counter the full-scale assault on silencing the call for social justice, investing in clean energy and bridging divides in the most vulnerable communities. Instead, we need to work together to protect and foster collaboration among the people we represent who are feeling disenfranchised, marginalized and anxious about the violence, intimidation, rhetoric and prospective policies spawned by the incoming president of the United States. "I echo the words of Senator Elizabeth Warren who said, ‘When we're loud enough and strong enough, person to person, city to city, state to state, then Washington won't be able to ignore the progressive voices in this country.’ " At the state level, I will use my voice to Read more

 

PA Power Switch: Ask the right questions

(Dec 01, 2016)

In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. All Pennsylvania residents have the right to choose their electric supplier, but your ability to switch depends on where you live. Competitive offers may not be available in all areas. PAPowerSwitch provides much of the information that you need. Before approving any agreement with a supplier, you should always read the contract thoroughly and understand the product you are purchasing, its price, when the contract ends, cancellation or other fees, and any other terms and conditions that apply, including if and when the price might change. As always, if you need more help or have questions about your situation, please contact my office . Read more

 

Pa. Treasury could be holding your unclaimed property

(Nov 30, 2016)

Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Unclaimed property may include: Closed bank accounts; Uncashed checks, including paychecks; Lost stocks and bonds; Contents of safe deposit boxes; Proceeds from the demutualization of insurance companies; Expired gift cards/gift certificates. To find out if you have unclaimed property, search your name in the Unclaimed Property database at www.patreasury.gov/Unclaimed/Search.html , call 1-800-222-2046, or contact my office . There is NO CHARGE to claim your unclaimed property. Read more

 

Sign up for the Do-Not-Call list

(Nov 30, 2016)

To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit Pennsylvania's Do-Not-Call list or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. If you continue to receive unwanted telemarketing phone calls, complaints can be filed with the Bureau of Consumer Protection in the state Attorney General's Office by calling 1-800-441-2555. Violation of the law carries a civil penalty of up to $1,000 and as high as $3,000 if the person contacted is 60 or older. Please keep in mind that existing law does not prevent telemarketers from calling those with whom they had an established business relationship within 12 months preceding the call, or telemarketers calling on behalf of charities, political parties or candidates. Read more

 

Beware IRS phone scams

(Nov 29, 2016)

Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed. Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed. Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you. Additionally, it is important for you to know that the IRS: Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone; Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations; Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies. Consider the other characteristics of a scam. Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves. Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number. Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling. Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims Read more

 

Weatherizing your home saves you money on energy bills

(Nov 29, 2016)

If you choose to have a professional home-energy audit and meet the requirements, you might qualify for the Pennsylvania’s Weatherization Assistance Program . Last year’s bitterly cold winter left many people struggling to pay higher-than-normal home energy bills. As we head toward the coldest months of the year, there are ways you can winterize your home to keep heat in, cold air out, and money in your pocket. Many businesses offer professional home energy audits, but you can perform your own by inspecting areas where heat escapes and cold air leaks in. One easy way to start is by locating air leaks. Common air leak locations include gaps along baseboards and doors to the outside, along with windows and junctures of the walls and ceiling. These leaks can sometimes be fixed by caulking holes and gaps or by applying weather stripping to doors and windows. It’s also easy to lose heat through poor insulation. Especially in older homes, insulation in attics and garages can wear down over time or simply not be adequate by today’s standards. Inspecting the quality and type of insulation you have and replacing it if necessary could keep your home much warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer. The type of light bulb you use can also save money on energy bills. Consider replacing inefficient bulbs with energy-saving incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). If you choose to have a professional Read more

 

CHIP offers kids protection and parents peace of mind

(Nov 28, 2016)

Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. What does CHIP cover? Immunizations Routine Check-ups Diagnostic Testing Prescriptions Dental, Vision, Hearing Services Emergency Care Maternity Care Mental Health Benefits Up to 90 Days Hospitalization in any Year Durable Medical Equipment Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Partial Hospitalization for Mental Health Rehabilitation Therapy Home Health Care Does my family qualify? The following factors are considered for a child's eligibility for CHIP: Must not be eligible for Medicaid or have any other health insurance. Must be under age 19. Must be a U.S. citizen or lawful alien. Must be a Pennsylvania resident for at least 30 days, except for a newborn. The family's income is below the following levels: Income guidelines: Family Size Free CHIP Subsidized CHIP* 2 $31,020 $31,021 - $46,530 3 $39,060 $39,061 - $58,590 4 $47,100 $47,101 - $70,650 5 $55,140 $55,141 - $82,710 6 $63,180 $63,181 - $94,770 7 $71,220 $71,221 - $106,830 8 $79,260 Read more

 

Check out charities before making holiday donations

(Nov 28, 2016)

While it may be the season for charitable giving, scammers don't take a holiday. The Pennsylvania Department of State offers a simple way to ensure a charity is legitimate and that your donation will be used properly. The Department of State's Charities Database contains a list of over 10,000 charities and professional fundraisers, their addresses, telephone numbers, total income and total contributions. In addition, the database breaks down costs for programming, administration and fundraising. In addition, the site provides helpful tips for charitable giving, such as hanging up on aggressive and harassing solicitors and asking who will benefit from your contribution. While not every charity is listed on the department's site, you can email or call the bureau about charities not on the list. The site also lists organizations that are prohibited by law from operating within the commonwealth, donation warnings and alerts issued by the state and federal government, and information on how to file a complaint. Read more