Pa. LGBT Equality Caucus: Trump adding to string of broken promises, this time to trans service members

(Jul 26, 2017)

HARRISBURG, July 26 – Members of the Pennsylvania legislature's LGBT Equality Caucus are denouncing President Trump's announcement that he will discriminate against transgender people who serve or wish to serve in the U.S. military. State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, said, "This is discrimination, adding to a string of broken Trump promises, this time one he made to LGBT Americans, and it's a waste of tax dollars and the talents and abilities of thousands of Americans who just want to serve their country. "A news report has already confirmed this morning that this is just a cynical political ploy . And it's unlikely to work, as former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory's example shows – he lost re-election in 2016 in a swing state after discriminating against LGBT citizens. I would add that the health-care cost argument is false , like so many other things the president says or tweets. In addition, 18 other countries allow transgender people to serve – including several of our NATO allies and Israel – and who takes security more seriously than Israel? Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery/Delaware, co-chair of the caucus, said, "Thousands of transgender Americans currently serve honorably in our military, yet President Trump claims they are a 'disruption.' Perhaps when he claimed he would have the LGBTQ community's back, he was already planning to stab them in Read more

 

Philadelphia lawmakers urge return to Harrisburg to finalize state budget, offer solutions to fix recurring revenue gap

(Jul 18, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, July 18 – Members of the Philadelphia Delegation in the state House of Representatives today urged Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, to call the House back to Harrisburg to wrap up the 2017-18 state budget. "The main spending bill was passed on June 30, on a bipartisan basis, and it became law on July 10. So now we have to pay for that budget. And we need recurring, sustainable revenue to do it. Another year of mostly using gimmicks, what I refer to as 'smoke and mirrors,' will put us at risk of more credit downgrades, which just cost Pennsylvania taxpayers more. Unfortunately, Republican leaders shut down the House without finishing the job," said delegation chair Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware. Legislators outlined three major solutions to Pennsylvania's revenue gap that should receive votes in the full House: A severance tax on natural gas drilling companies: "Pennsylvania has already given away more than $2 billion in potential revenue by writing the natural gas law to favor the industry and shortchanging Pennsylvania residents. We simply want a severance tax comparable to the one every other natural gas-producing state in the nation have already put in place," said Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila. Closing corporate tax loopholes: "Without closing the so-called Delaware loophole here in Pennsylvania, we lose hundreds of millions in revenues each year by allowing large corporations to avoid state Read more

 

Sims Recognizes Anniversary of Orlando Massacre

(Jun 13, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Brian Sims recognized the one year anniversary of the mass shooting in Orlando, FL at the Pulse Nightclub. The massacre was the largest act of terrorism against the LGBT community in United States history. Over 200 were injured and 49 died as a result of the attack. Read more

 

LGBT Equality Caucus backs agency non-discrimination proposals

(May 25, 2017)

HARRISBURG, May 25 – Members of the legislature's LGBT Equality Caucus today submitted public comment in favor of a state agency's proposals to interpret existing law on sex discrimination to protect LGBT people from discrimination, as several courts and agencies have already done. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission , which enforces state non-discrimination law, is accepting public comment through Friday on its proposals to update how it interprets the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. That law bans discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on several categories, including sex. The commission also proposes to make a similar update to how it interprets the Pennsylvania Fair Educational Opportunities Act. State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus, said, "While I still believe we need the Pennsylvania Fairness Act signed into law to avoid any ambiguity, I fully support these proposals to interpret existing laws to include anti-LGBT discrimination. As Equality PA noted in its public comment, a federal appeals court stated, 'Any discomfort, disapproval, or job decision based on the fact that the complainant -- woman or man -- dresses differently, speaks differently, or dates or marries a same-sex partner, is a reaction purely and simply based on sex... It would require considerable calisthenics to remove the 'sex' from 'sexual orientation.'" The bipartisan Read more

 

Sims Risk Assessment Task Force testifies before PA Commission on Sentencing

(May 25, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, May 25 – State Rep. Brian K. Sims, D- Phila., announced that the Risk Assessment Task Force he created with co-chairwoman Marni Snyder, a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney, testified on Tuesday before the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing . “I formed this task force due to the growing concern over new guidelines, like the Sentence Risk Assessment Instrument, that are being created,” Sims said. "We cannot have a fair criminal justice system within our state if the guidelines we use are imbalanced and unfair.” As a Philadelphia native and seasoned attorney, Snyder works on behalf of the Philadelphia court system. Snyder’s expertise has focused on both criminal and special education law. The task force also includes a diverse field of practitioners, scholars, jurists and advocates within the criminal justice system. During Tuesday's hearing the task force proposed this new guideline would not only be considered unjust towards defendants but could also ignite costs and delays for the local courts. On March 16, the commission adopted for public comment the Sentence Risk Assessment Instrument. Its purpose is to serve the sentencing court in determining the appropriate sentence within the limits established by law. Specifically, it would aide in evaluating the relative risk that an offender will reoffend and be a threat to public safety. The instrument further determines whether a more thorough assessment would Read more

 

Sims co-sponsoring bipartisan Fairness Act to protect LGBT Pennsylvanians

(May 18, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, May 18 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., is co-sponsoring the bipartisan Pennsylvania Fairness Act, reintroduced this week in the House by Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, which would protect LGBT Pennsylvanians from discrimination in in the workplace, housing and public accommodations. The bill ( H.B. 1410 / S.B. 613 ) would include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the types of discrimination banned statewide. Sims said, "Now is the time for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to act. We, as a legislature, owe it to the people we serve to act swiftly and substantively to protect LGBT Pennsylvanians from legal discrimination. For decades the legislature has allowed LGBT individuals to be legally fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, and refused service strictly because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Every day the legislature fails to act, it diminishes the values upon which Pennsylvania was founded. "More than 40 local governments across Pennsylvania have taken a stand against legal discrimination – including last week's passage in Camp Hill, a Republican suburb of Harrisburg. The Fairness Act has continued to have more than 70 percent public support for nearly a decade. There have been ongoing discussions with previous opponents to find common ground on this important issue. Reflecting the strong support of Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth, there is broad bipartisan support Read more

 

Sims: Equal Work Deserves Equal Pay

(Apr 04, 2017)

On April 4, Equal Pay Day, Pa. state Rep. Brian Sims rallied with colleagues and advocates at the State Capitol for measures that will ensure women receive equal pay for an equal day's work. Read more

 

Sims, Donatucci, Bullock, Davis push equal-pay bills at Capitol rally

(Apr 04, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 4 – State Reps. Brian Sims and Donna Bullock, both D-Phila.; Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware; and other leading advocates for equal pay for women held a Capitol rally today. The event was hosted by the American Association of University Women and Business and Professional Women. Sims, Donatucci, Bullock and Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, are lead sponsors of legislation that would address the pay gap in Pennsylvania: H.B. 830 , which would significantly increase the fines for violating the equal-pay law; H.B. 931 , which is modeled on Massachusetts' pay equity law; and a pending bill that would combat secrecy that hides unequal pay and increase protections for employees who file an equal-pay complaint. Sims said, "Pennsylvania women are paid on average 54 to 83 cents for every dollar a man makes, depending on which county they live in. Equal work deserves equal pay – anything less is unacceptable. Pennsylvania's current equal-pay law is more than 50 years old and clearly not strong enough to get the job done. Paying women equally for their work isn’t just the right thing to do -- it will help foster what we all want: a stronger economy that works for every Pennsylvanian." Donatucci said, "This year, April 4 is Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day when a woman’s salary catches up to a man’s salary from the previous year. In Pennsylvania , the wage gap costs women $430,480 over a 40-year career compared Read more

 

Sims elected vice chair of PA SAFE Caucus, which pushes for gun reforms

(Feb 08, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., this week was elected vice chair of the PA SAFE caucus, which pushes for commonsense gun safety reforms in the Pennsylvania legislature. "I'm honored that my colleagues chose me for this role, and I will continue advocating for much-needed gun safety laws in Pennsylvania. So much attention is paid to terrorism when many more Pennsylvanians and Americans die each year from so-called 'routine' gun violence. There is solid public support for reforms such as 'no fly, no buy' to keep people on the terror watch list from buying guns, for example," Sims said. In the new legislative session, Sims plans to introduce new commonsense gun safety reforms he has crafted. More information about the PA SAFE Caucus is available at www.pahouse.com/PASafe/ Sims is in his third term representing the 182nd Legislative District, which includes Rittenhouse, Fitler and Logan squares, the Gayborhood and parts of Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Graduate Hospital and Queen Village. Sims' constituent service office is located at 21 S. 12th St., Suite 182, Philadelphia; phone 215-246-1501. In addition to his website -- www.pahouse.com/Sims -- he provides information to constituents through his legislative Facebook and Twitter pages: www.facebook.com/RepBrianSims and www.twitter.com/repsims . ### Read more

 

Sims to host forum Monday on how to get involved with 'amazing' public schools in Center City

(Jan 26, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 26 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., will host an education forum at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30 at the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, 901 S. Broad St. Sims invites the public to join him, elementary school principals, policy experts, academics, and community leaders for a discussion about education and engagement in Philadelphia. "Together we’ll explore how entire communities can use their unique assets to support local public schools and move our vision for Philadelphia schools forward. Dr. William Hite, the Philadelphia School District superintendent, will kick off the forum and help us welcome panelists, parents and attendees," Sims said. "A panel of principals from five neighborhood elementary schools will join us and each will share their school's accomplishments as well as opportunities for growth. It's a great way for parents, community members and those who are new to the area to learn more about how to get involved with the amazing public schools in Center City." The principals are: April Brown, Waring Elementary; Zack Duberstein, Vare-Washington Elementary; Lisa Kaplan, Jackson Elementary; Dan Lazar, Greenfield Elementary; and Lauren Overton, Meredith Elementary. Sims said a second "all-star" panel will focus on sharing best practices for engaging entire communities in supporting local public schools through fundraising, program development, community partnerships and Read more

 

Sims Fighting to Outlaw Conversion Therapy

(Jan 20, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Brian Sims explains the need for his legislation that would ban the controversial practice of "conversion therapy" that purports to "cure" a person of homosexuality. Sims held a press conference at Philadelphia City Hall with Mayor Jim Kenney, as well as other House colleagues and medical professionals to speak out against the practice and highlight the legislation that would outlaw conversion therapy in Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Sims, Harris, Kenney call for statewide protection from anti-LGBT 'conversion therapy' for Pa. minors

(Jan 19, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 19 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., Mayor Jim Kenney and other elected officials today called for passage of statewide legislation to protect minors from anti-LGBT "conversion therapy." Sims and state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, D-Phila./Delaware, are the lead sponsors of the legislation in the House and Senate. "In a time of extreme divisiveness, elected officials should seize every opportunity to find areas of common ground. Together, the legislature disagrees on many issues, including those considered LGBT-specific. Today we have a chance to heed the advice of dozens of professional medical associations, and ban a practice that inflicts innocent children with pain and fear. To those still peddling this barbarism as medicine, you cannot fix what is not broken and we will not rest until you are driven from this Commonwealth," said Sims, the state's first out LGBT legislator. State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said, "As adults, we have a duty to protect children, ALL children! We should not endorse or promote, through our silence or our advocacy, any practice that has been proven to be destructive to the developing spirit of a child. This legislation would give our kids the protection that young people already have in California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Oregon, Vermont and next door in New Jersey." The elected officials were joined by Read more

 

Sims, colleagues tour site of $1.5 million state investment in Mazzoni Center

(Jan 17, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., and fellow legislators today toured the site of the state's largest investment in an LGBT project. Pennsylvania is providing $1.5 million toward consolidation and expansion of the Mazzoni Center, which provides health services to LGBT people. Those touring the site with Sims included state Sens. Larry Farnese and Anthony Hardy Williams and state Rep. Maria Donatucci, all D-Phila., and City Councilman Bill Greenlee. "I’m very pleased to see the Commonwealth extending support to this important project, which will have a substantial impact on the health and well-being of the many people Mazzoni Center serves, which includes some of the most vulnerable individuals in Philadelphia," Sims said. "In addition to what it will do in terms of bricks and mortar and the provision of essential services, this award represents an important affirmation of the values of fairness and inclusion, and the idea that all Pennsylvanians deserve equal access to quality health care. This was a joint effort to secure this funding with my colleagues and Governor Tom Wolf's administration." The project will include internal demolition; the building of an additional 10,000 square feet; expansion and upgrading the mechanical, plumbing, electrical, paint and data capabilities; and furnishing of 1328-1338 Bainbridge St. The project will increase by more than 30 percent the Mazzoni Center’s capacity to Read more

 

Sims sets priorities for third term in Pa. House

(Jan 03, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., is continuing his push for commonsense priorities as he begins his third term representing Philadelphia's 182nd Legislative District. Members of the legislature were sworn in today. Sims said, "In addition to seeking to restore more of the school funding that was cut during the Corbett years, I will continue working with allies from both parties in the coming months to introduce legislation on other important issues," such as: LGBT equality, including equal protections in the workplace and a ban on harmful "conversion therapy" for minors; sustainable development and manufacturing; increased accessibility and convenience in voting and ending partisan gerrymandering; fair compensation for people harmed by a local government's action or inaction – like Philadelphians who only got 19 cents on the dollar for electrical and water damage done to their homes by a 4-foot-wide water main break in 2012; and proactive women's health initiatives. "I'm honored and grateful for the opportunity to continue representing the people of the 182nd District and to serve as their voice in Harrisburg," Sims said. "Pennsylvania has taken important steps forward in Governor Tom Wolf's first two years, and I look forward to working with the Wolf administration to achieve more positive change in 2017 and 2018." Sims, a policy attorney and civil rights Read more

 

Sims announces $5.5 million in state grants for 3 local projects

(Nov 23, 2016)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 23 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., today announced the approval of $5.5 million in state grants for three projects in the 182nd Legislative District. "I advocated for these projects and thank Governor Tom Wolf for releasing these funds for important work that will benefit the people I represent, in part by creating and retaining jobs in our communities," Sims said. The grants are: $3 million to convert the site of an obsolete, blighted building at 34 S. 11th St. into a Class A modern warehouse office building with about 161,000 square feet on floors 2 through 8. It will also include about 25,000 square feet of retail space, of which 16,000 have been leased to MOM’s Organic Market. This is part of the East Market project in Center City. $1.5 million for consolidation and expansion of the Mazzoni Center, which provides health services to LGBT people. The project will include internal demolition; the building of an additional 10,000 square feet; expansion and upgrading the mechanical, plumbing, electrical, paint and data capabilities; and furnishing of 1328-1338 Bainbridge St. The project will increase by more than 30 percent the Mazzoni Center’s capacity to meet the growing health care needs of the LGBT population it serves. $1 million to renovate the Performance Garage into a state-of-the-art center for dance and wellness in the Spring Garden/Avenue of the Arts North district. Sims represents the 182nd Read more

 

Sims: Anti-immigration bill would hurt Pennsylvanians

(Oct 17, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., forcefully opposed an anti-immigration bill (H.B. 1885) in the House today in part because it would lead to increased crime and punish Philadelphia taxpayers. "There are so many unanswered questions about this 'sanctuary cities' bill. Even the prime sponsor of the bill, Republican Representative Martina White of Philadelphia, couldn't answer several questions about it clearly," Sims said. "We don't know what would be 'reasonable cause' for a police officer to stop or detain someone, or how someone has to look or sound for an officer to ask for their papers or let them go, or whether it would apply to victims of crime. "What we do know is Philadelphia and other cities would be stuck with massive legal bills because of this vague legislation, just as Arizona's infamous 'papers please' law cost millions of dollars and six years in court before that state finally dropped it. Wrongful detention has also led to lawsuits throughout Pennsylvania and is a major reason why local governments across the state no longer hold people on federal immigration detainers. "What we also know is this bill would increase crime by reducing cooperation with the police by victims and witnesses. That's the wrong way to go." Video of Sims' remarks in the House chamber can be found on his website, www.pahouse.com/Sims . ### Read more

 

Sims hires new staffers to serve 182nd District

(Sep 21, 2016)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., has hired three new staffers for his Center City office to fill vacancies and make sure the people of the 182nd Legislative District are well-served. "I'm proud that my staff and I have been able to increase dramatically the number of constituents served compared to nearly four years ago when I first took office. I know my new team members will help in continuing our excellent record of service to the people of the 182nd District," Sims said. The 182nd District includes part or all of: Rittenhouse, Fitler Square, Logan Square, Midtown/Gayborhood, Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Fairmount, Queen Village, East Passyunk, Spring Garden and Market East. Sims' Philadelphia office is at 21 S. 12th St., Suite 182, and can be reached at 215-246-1501. He has a website at www.pahouse.com/Sims and also offers updates at www.facebook.com/RepBrianSims and www.twitter.com/RepSims . In addition to the new hires, Tim Keller has been promoted to chief of staff in Sims' Philadelphia office. Keller has served on Sims’ staff since the legislator took office and is a proud Temple University alumnus and Philadelphia native. He was involved with the recent passage of the Medical Cannabis Act and previously worked on the House Education Committee staff. The new staffers are: Abby Rambo, community relations director, who previously served as executive director at the South of Read more

 

Sims announces $200,000 state grant to develop local park

(Jul 01, 2016)

PHILADELPHIA, July 1 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., today announced the approval of a $200,000 state grant to develop a local park. Sims made multiple requests for the Commonwealth Financing Authority to approve the grant for developing park land in front of Park Towne Place Museum District Residences, 2200 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, into an active recreational space, walking trails and reflective gardens featuring public art. The city's Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with Aimco (Apartment Investment and Management Co.) and the Association for Public Art on the project. In addition to the park redevelopment, Aimco is currently engaged in a $200 million renovation of its four apartment home towers which contain close to 1,000 units and are home to more than 2,200 residents. The first tower is complete, and the ribbon was recently cut to celebrate the completion of the Park Towne's commercial and recreation improvements. Sims said the public-private partnership to improve the park area is consistent with the master plan for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway- More Park, Less Way, by providing a welcoming open green-space along the parkway which will benefit residents, visitors and neighboring cultural institutions. The overall development will also create and retain jobs within the region, he said. Sims represents the 182nd Legislative District, which includes part or all of: Rittenhouse, Fitler Square, Logan Square, Midtown/Gayborhood, Read more

 

Frankel, Sims hail bipartisan Pa. Senate action on nondiscrimination bill

(Jun 22, 2016)

State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Brian Sims, D-Phila., praised today's bipartisan, historic state Senate committee vote that sent a nondiscrimination bill to the full Senate. Read more

 

Frankel, Sims ready House petition in hopes of freeing nondiscrimination bill

(Jun 09, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 9 – State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Brian Sims, D-Phila., are planning to pry a bipartisan nondiscrimination bill out of a committee whose chairman has refused even to hold a hearing on it. Frankel is lead House sponsor of the proposed Pennsylvania Fairness Act (H.B. 1510/S.B. 974). The legislation 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. Frankel and Sims have filed a discharge petition, which allows a simple majority of the House to free a bill from a committee where it has been stalled. They can call for the vote as soon as Wednesday. Frankel said: "Poll after poll over the years has shown consistent support of 70 percent or more in Pennsylvania for this commonsense, nondiscrimination legislation. Most Pennsylvanians don’t want their gay or transgender family members, friends, co-workers or neighbors to get fired or denied a home, a hotel room or a restaurant table just because of who they are. They know that's wrong. "Most Pennsylvanians know being gay or transgender has nothing to do with someone's ability to fix a car or a computer, for example. And thanks to the coverage of anti-LGBT bills Read more

 

Pa. LGBT Equality Caucus: Trump adding to string of broken promises, this time to trans service members
Jul 26, 2017

Philadelphia lawmakers urge return to Harrisburg to finalize state budget, offer solutions to fix recurring revenue gap
Jul 18, 2017

Sims Recognizes Anniversary of Orlando Massacre
Jun 13, 2017

LGBT Equality Caucus backs agency non-discrimination proposals
May 25, 2017

Sims Risk Assessment Task Force testifies before PA Commission on Sentencing
May 25, 2017

Sims co-sponsoring bipartisan Fairness Act to protect LGBT Pennsylvanians
May 18, 2017

Sims: Equal Work Deserves Equal Pay
Apr 04, 2017

Sims, Donatucci, Bullock, Davis push equal-pay bills at Capitol rally
Apr 04, 2017

Sims elected vice chair of PA SAFE Caucus, which pushes for gun reforms
Feb 08, 2017

Sims to host forum Monday on how to get involved with 'amazing' public schools in Center City
Jan 26, 2017

Sims Fighting to Outlaw Conversion Therapy
Jan 20, 2017

Sims, Harris, Kenney call for statewide protection from anti-LGBT 'conversion therapy' for Pa. minors
Jan 19, 2017

Sims, colleagues tour site of $1.5 million state investment in Mazzoni Center
Jan 17, 2017

Sims sets priorities for third term in Pa. House
Jan 03, 2017

Sims announces $5.5 million in state grants for 3 local projects
Nov 23, 2016

Sims: Anti-immigration bill would hurt Pennsylvanians
Oct 17, 2016

Sims hires new staffers to serve 182nd District
Sep 21, 2016

Sims announces $200,000 state grant to develop local park
Jul 01, 2016

Frankel, Sims hail bipartisan Pa. Senate action on nondiscrimination bill
Jun 22, 2016

Frankel, Sims ready House petition in hopes of freeing nondiscrimination bill
Jun 09, 2016