Featured News

Sims announces state grants for local historical sites

Sims, Philadelphia legislators on impending Hahnemann University Hospital closure

(Jun 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 26 – State Rep. Brian Sims, along with members of the Philadelphia House and Senate delegations, have released the following statement on the impending closure of Hahnemann University Hospital: “The Philadelphia House and Senate delegations have come together to request emergency funding from Governor Wolf to address the dire situation at Hahnemann University Hospital. HUH is a vital health care provider for Philadelphians and the surrounding communities, and members of the legislature are committed to working with stakeholders to find a solution to ensure that HUH remains a fully functioning hospital. “In order to understand the means necessary to prevent closure, we have requested that the owners of HUH, American Academic Health System, submit to an audit and agree to a state-appointed independent monitor to oversee operations and financial management. "The closure would immediately impact the Philadelphia region through the loss of good paying jobs and an economic driver in the city, as well as throughout the commonwealth. We will do everything in our power to work with state, local and institutional partners to prevent the loss of this historic institution.” The Philadelphia legislators sent a letter to the governor Tuesday, asking for his assistance in keeping Hahnemann University Hospital from closing. Read more

 

Sims joins legislators to unveil anti-discrimination legislation

(May 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila, today partnered with Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., along with Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila., to announce the introduction of legislation to help combat discrimination in the commonwealth. The legislation (H.B. 1404 and S.B. 614) would update Pennsylvania’s current nondiscrimination law – originally written in 1955 – to ensure that all residents, regardless of race, color, religion, ancestry, age, sex, national origin, disability -- and now sexual orientation, gender identity and expression – can participate in and contribute to the state’s economy. “It’s unacceptable that today, there are Pennsylvanians who must be afraid that they’ll lose their job or home simply because of who they are. As some of my colleagues have been advocating for this legislation for the past 20 years, it’s time we get serious about it. It’s literally lifesaving,” Sims said. It is currently legal in Pennsylvania to fire someone and deny them housing or business services solely based of the person being gay or transgender. A recent survey of Pennsylvania residents showed that 73 percent incorrectly believe discrimination against gay and transgender people in the workplace and in housing and business services is already illegal. The same study found 78 percent of Pennsylvanians are in support of updating the current Human Relations Act Read more

 

Sims Rallies For Police Reform Legislation

(Apr 30, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Brian Sims joined advocates from across the commonwealth to rally for police reform legislation. He explains why taking action now is critical for Pennsylvanians. Read more

 

Sims Rallies For Equal Pay

(Apr 29, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Brian Sims joined advocates in Harrisburg to push legislation that would ensure equal pay for women in the workplace across Pennsylvania. He explains why this issue should be a non-issue in the commonwealth. Read more

 

Sims Pushes Police Reform Legislation

(Apr 25, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Brian Sims unveiled his plans to change the way that cases of police use of deadly force are prosecuted. His bill that would appoint a special prosecutor in these cases was rolled out as part of a package of bills backed by the Pa. Legislative Black Caucus. Read more

 

Coalition of legislators unveils bills aimed at reforming police procedures

(Apr 16, 2019)

State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and PLBC members were joined by a coalition of legislators from around the state for a press conference to unveil a package of legislation aimed at streamlining police procedures and improving police-community relations at noon today in the Capitol Media Center. Read more

 

Sims joins in ‘Zero Waste PA’ bill package to address single-use plastics, litter and a ‘throwaway’ society

(Apr 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 10 – State Rep. Brian Sims today joined other lawmakers and PennEnvironment to announce a package of bills aimed at addressing single-use plastics, pervasive issues of litter and the various environmental harms caused by a "throwaway" society. Legislation in the “Zero Waste PA” package works to address issues created by a disposable society including single-use plastics such as straws, plastic bags and Styrofoam takeout food containers, electronic waste, funding Pennsylvania’s recycling programs and more. “Plastic bags are spending a full millennium in landfills, blowing around our streets, getting caught in our street trees, clogging our inlets and floating around in the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers in perpetuity,” said Sims, D-Phila. “It’s past time we find a way to move on from using non-biodegradable plastic bags. Until we do, a modest fee of two cents on each plastic bag given out to consumers at retail establishments would serve as a reminder for everyone to think twice before taking a bag and would offer a needed revenue source for Pennsylvania’s recycling programs.” “Every day, unwitting Pennsylvanians are barraged with products that we’re expected to purchase and use, and then throw away. Only, there is no ‘away,’” said PennEnvironment Executive Director David Masur. “Instead, it ends up in landfills where it can cause water pollution, Read more

 

Equal Pay Rally April 8 in Harrisburg

(Apr 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, April 2 – Equal pay advocates and lawmakers from across the state will rally with state Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday, April 8. Sims said he organized the rally to highlight the pay disparities among men and women in the state, largely due the fact that Pennsylvania has not updated its Equal Pay Act since 1959. On average, Pennsylvania women earn 80% of what men earn in equivalent jobs, with Black women and other women of color facing much wider pay gaps than their white counterparts. Sims said that without a policy fix, Pennsylvania women will not achieve pay equity until 2068. Sims and Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, are re-introducing legislation that would make long-overdue updates to Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Law. The bill would broaden the terms “employee” and “wages” to include more people and wage benefits, protect employees from retaliation when inquiring about wage information and ensure wages are based on bona fide factors. Pennsylvania workers also would have the ability to collect unpaid wages when an employer is found to violate the law. “When people work hard and follows the rules, come payday, they should be taking home the same amount as their colleagues for doing the same job,” Sims said. “Yet, we all know women across this Commonwealth that aren’t earning equal pay for equal work. In fact, our broken system will often discourage workers from Read more

 

Sims: Remove Barriers to Higher Education and Training

(Mar 29, 2019)

Pa. state rep. Brian Sims talks about his experience at Bloomsburg University and his commitment to education in Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Sims condemns Google for hosting conversion therapy app

(Feb 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 12 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., today denounced Google for refusing to remove an app that encourages LGBTQ youth to seek out conversion therapy. “Google's silent refusal to remove this app speaks volumes about the quality of their commitment to the LGBTQ community,” Sims said. “This app specifically targets youth during a challenging period of their lives as they wrestle with their identity in an attempt to connect them to a dangerous practice that is condemned by every reputable professional medical association that exists. Let us be clear, this is abuse -- not therapy. “I would encourage Google executives to meet with victims of this debunked and cruel practice, as I have, to learn firsthand of the lifetime of pain and anguish they continue to enable. Facilitating this abuse is abhorrently wrong. “I have introduced legislation to ban conversion therapy in Pennsylvania so the commonwealth can join the 15 states that have done so to protect youth from this abuse that leads to significantly higher rates of depression, substance abuse and suicidal ideation. Google’s continued failure to remove this app demonstrates it is on the wrong side of history, science and medicine. “I call on Google to join Microsoft and Amazon in immediately suspending this app on its platforms to send a clear message to LGBTQ youth across the country that they are perfect the way they are.” ### Read more

 

Sims: Get Tested for HIV Now

(Feb 07, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Brian Sims joined his colleagues in Harrisburg to encourage people across the commonwealth to get tested for HIV. He gives us an up close look at the quick and easy process. Read more

 

Sims: Wolf's Budget is Good for PA's Workforce

(Feb 07, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Brian Sims is responding to the governor’s budget, commending him for his commitment to funding education, creating good paying jobs, and strengthening our workforce. 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

 

Sims condemns SCOTUS decision on transgender military ban

(Jan 22, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 22 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s transgender military ban: “I am disgusted by the Court’s decision, but I am not surprised. Verdicts like this are exactly why special interests and the far-right took the unprecedented action of blocking former President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court for 293 days. “In the months and years to follow, the Supreme Court will issue countless more decisions which will impact nearly every imaginable aspect of our nation. With each decision, it is critically important to remember the genesis of this era in our nation’s history. “As the son of two lieutenant colonels, I’ve witnessed the dedication and sacrifice exhibited by our service members all across our nation. I cannot fathom the pain and indignity our transgender military members feel in the wake of this morning’s unconscionable decision. “It is equally important to note that the commander in chief who issued this order not only evaded military service during the Vietnam War but also is under investigation for conspiring with a hostile foreign power to elevate his own interests over those of our nation. “We owe these soldiers and veterans our gratitude as well as our commitment to ensuring that this shameful moment in our history is never repeated again. This ban has been Read more

 

Heating aid via LIHEAP now open

(Nov 01, 2018)

The 2018-2019 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP – is accepting applications for heating assistance grants. LIHEAP offers cash grants of $200 to $1,000 that are sent directly to the utility company to defray heating costs for eligible households, and crisis benefits of up to $600 for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Remember: These are grants and do not have to be repaid. This season’s income guidelines for both LIHEAP cash and crisis grants are $18,210 for an individual, $24,690 for couples and increases for each additional person in the household. Please click here for more LIHEAP information. Please consider visiting my office if you need help filing a LIHEAP application. Besides my office, LIHEAP information is available by: Contacting local County Assistance offices by phone or in person. Calling the LIHEAP Client Helpline at 1-866-857-7095 or PA Relay at 711 for the hearing impaired. Applying online at https://www.compass.state.pa.us . Read more

 

Frankel, Sims condemn Trump administration move to narrow civil rights protections for transgender people

(Oct 24, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 24 – State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Brian K. Sims, D-Philadelphia, today jointly condemned efforts by the Trump administration to roll back federal civil rights protections for transgender people. Their actions were prompted by news that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is attempting to impose a restrictive definition of gender as a biological, immutable condition determined at birth and limited to “male” or “female.” Doing so would remove protections available to transgender people under current civil rights laws such as Title IX, which bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government assistance. “This administration is attempting to legislate transgender men and women out of existence. But it doesn’t work that way. People won’t feel differently about their own bodies and lives just because Trump tells them to ,” said Frankel, who is co-chairman of the House LGBT Equality Caucus. Sims said, “The Trump administration’s proposal is designed to erase the legal identities of transgender Americans by destroying decades of American jurisprudence and precedent that unquestionably recognizes the scientific and medical reality of transgender existence. This is an abhorrent and dehumanizing attack on the transgender community that will undoubtedly cause millions of Americans to suffer. The federal government’s planned assault on Read more

 

Senior prescription program expanded to help more people

(Oct 23, 2018)

I voted for legislation that would allow more senior citizens in Philadelphia and across the state pay for their prescription medication. Putting people first and focusing on health care is part of the House Democrats' Plan for Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Pennsylvania receives extension for REAL ID

(Oct 11, 2018)

Pennsylvania has been granted a REAL ID enforcement extension by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through August 1, 2019. This extension means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities or boarding domestic commercial aircraft through at least that date. REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards will be available from PennDOT at the customer’s option beginning March 2019. PennDOT is encouraging customers to pre-verify for REAL ID the required documentation as soon as possible, giving them ample time to prepare. More information about what documents will be required is available on PennDOT's Driver and Vehicle Services website . More information about REAL ID, including frequently asked questions , can be found at www.dmv.pa.gov . Read more

 

Sims announces grant to restore Schuylkill River sinkholes

(Sep 18, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 18 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., today announced that Schuylkill River Development Corporation will receive a $75,000 grant for the restoration of the East side of the Schuylkill River. “The sinkholes along this stretch of the river are a safety risk,” Sims said. “I’m glad that this area will be restored using these funds, so that residents can safely enjoy this beautiful landscape.” The grant will help SRDC restore the landscaping where sinkholes have appeared under the greenway. Weak areas in the bulkhead will be repaired, so that tidal water can no longer erode the soil. The funding was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority at its board meeting today, for restorations along the area along the Schuylkill River between Callowhill and Locust Streets in Philadelphia. The total project cost is $600,000. The CFA was established in 2004 as an independent agency of DCED to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. It is responsible for funding programs and investments in Pennsylvania’s economic growth. The CFA consists of seven board members: four legislative appointees and the secretaries of DCED, the Office of the Budget and the Department of Banking and Securities. Read more

 

Statement from Representative Brian Sims & Senator Larry Farnese Regarding the Mazzoni Center

(Aug 23, 2018)

We have closely followed the recent press reports regarding the firing of Kay Martinez, who served as Mazzoni’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Additionally, we spoke directly with Nefertari Sloan, a staff member, who was reprimanded for attempting to address inequities and organizational policy, as well as other members of the community. To say we are frustrated and angered by these reports would be an understatement. After witnessing the shameful events that unfolded over the past two years and what has come to light since, we are fed up with this organization’s inability to live up to the promises of transparency, accountability, and engagement made to us and members of our community. Inclusion and ethnic diversity cannot be espoused as priorities within an institution while discrimination continues to be perpetrated that runs contrary to those policies. From all reports, Kay Martinez, a queer transgender person of color, is undoubtedly qualified for the role for which she was hired. In our conversations with Mazzoni staff, it was clear that she was not only respected for her leadership in working to rectify the longstanding issues of failing to treat Mazzoni staffers of color equitably and respectfully but also needed because many of these same problems continued to plague this organization. We want to make ourselves unequivocally clear on several key points: The Board of Directors must hold the leadership of Mazzoni accountable and ensure that Read more