Latest News

Ciresi announces $1.58M in grants for affordable housing projects

(Jun 14, 2024)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today announced $1.58 million in PA Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund awards for affordable housing and homelessness prevention projects in his legislative district. “I am very glad that these deserving projects have been funded in this round of PHARE grants,” Ciresi said. “Housing affordability is a major issue and a struggle for many people in our area. Everyone needs safe and secure housing in order to thrive. I believe this funding will help strengthen the social net in our communities, build strong families, and set individuals on the way to financial success.” $80,000 Access Services Recovery Oriented Rapid Rehousing Access Services will use funds to support five recovery orientated rapid rehousing units. These units will be targeted to individuals exiting substance abuse recovery settings or street homeless individuals struggling to maintain sobriety due to homelessness. $125,000 College Student Basic Needs Program Affordable Housing Scholarship Fund – TriCounty Community Network on behalf of the College Student Basic Needs Program The College Student Basic Needs Program will use the funds to assist under-resourced college students experiencing housing and food insecurity to stay in school, succeed academically, graduate and obtain better paying employment. One program provides housing scholarships for rental assistance to avoid Read more

Ciresi calls out privatized rate hikes for wastewater in Limerick, Pa.

(Jun 07, 2024)

ROYERSFORD, June 7 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi today spoke against the negative impact of Aqua Pennsylvania’s recent proposed wastewater rate hike on Limerick Township ratepayers and advocated for legislation that would require public hearings and clearer language on rate increases in public notifications for the sake of transparency and fairness. “Aqua Pennsylvania is proposing a 19% rate increase in Limerick Township following the near doubling of rates in the township less than three years ago,” Ciresi said. “If the rate increase is approved by the Pennsylvania Utilities Commission, customers would see a significant bill increase at a time when they’re already struggling.” The most recent hike is proposed from $78 to $93 for 3,870 gallons per month. This comes less than three years after 5,000 households in Limerick Township saw a near 100% increase in wastewater rates. Ciresi’s remarks also highlighted the dangers of privatization, as Aqua Pennsylvania will be raising rates in one district to make capital improvements in another district. He drew parallels between the rate hikes and the satirical plot of the Tony winning Musical Urinetown, in which people are faced with wastewater rates that are so high, using the bathroom becomes a privilege. “The sobering truth is that without better safeguards in place, privatizing something as essential as water is sending us down a Read more

Friel introduces bill dealing with food processing residue in Pennsylvania

(Jun 07, 2024)

HARRISBURG, June 7 – State Rep. Paul Friel this week introduced a bill ( H.B. 2393 ) that seeks to change the way that Pennsylvania handles food processing residue – addressing the hazards this waste can cause for rural and agricultural communities by updating the process and putting appropriate guardrails in place. Food processing residue, also known as FPR, is the leftover product created by commercial food processing. Food processing residues can include vegetable peelings, raw meat scraps, and liquid-like cleaning wastewater that includes blood, fat, hair and feathers, and a variety of other vegetable and animal byproducts and chemicals used to process them. While FPR can be used to fertilize the soil, it can create numerous problems if care is not taken. For example, some areas of Pennsylvania have seen groundwater contamination. Many other areas find themselves dealing with consistent, noxious odors. Compounding the issue, surrounding states have heavily restricted or banned the use of FPR, making Pennsylvania a target for cheaply offloading the commercial waste. “This bill – a bipartisan legislative solution to the problem – is the result of working with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, the departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection, affected community members, farmers, conservation experts and industry stakeholders. The goal is to make sure that FPR is used responsibly, contributing Read more

Mayes, Curry bill to provide maternal and newborn supply kits passes PA House

(Jun 06, 2024)

HARRISBURG, June 6 – Building on their strong record of propelling initiatives aimed to assist Pennsylvania families, state Rep. La’Tasha D. Mayes, D-Allegheny, and state Rep. Gina H. Curry, D-Delaware, announced today that their legislation that would create a state program providing “Welcome Baby” kits to new moms and parents passed the Pennsylvania House. House Bill 2137 would establish a new state program to help ease the financial and emotional stress new moms and parents face by providing them with maternal and newborn supply kits and connecting them to additional support programs available at the state and county levels. “I believe that the arrival of a newborn should be a time of joy and hope, not stress and uncertainty,” said Mayes, D-Allegheny. “Our legislation would ensure that these families receive the support they need during this transformative time. “The Maternal and Newborn Supply Kit program addresses the social determinants of health like having a low income which can impact a person’s health outcomes. For new moms and parents, these kits are part an answer to combat the driving forces of maternal mortality and morbidity and a lifeline for struggling new families.” I stand firmly committed to advocating for policies that provide parents with the necessary resources to nurture their child from day one.” “Welcoming Read more

Kim bill offering Pennie enrollees help for premiums passes House

(Jun 05, 2024)

HARRISBURG, June 5 – Pennsylvanians who buy health insurance through Pennie would receive financial assistance to help pay premiums under a bill that passed the House today. House Bill 2234 , introduced by House Insurance Committee Chair Patty Kim, would award financial assistance to Pennie customers to help pay their premiums. Pennie provides excellent health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who fall outside of traditional work-related coverage options, Kim said, but many families still struggle to meet their deductibles or pay their premiums. “Pennie and the reinsurance program have been very successful – this past open enrollment period, a record 435,000 Pennsylvanians bought their health insurance through Pennie,” said Kim, D-Cumberland/Dauphin. “But many Pennsylvanians – especially those coming off Medicaid – cannot afford a Pennie plan. Many other Pennsylvanians technically have coverage through Pennie, but that coverage has a deductible in the thousands of dollars.” Additionally, more than two-thirds of uninsured people who applied for, but did not purchase, Pennie coverage said it was too expensive. Moreover, according to Federal Reserve data, 13% of adults are unable to pay a $400 unexpected expense at any given time – meaning many Pennie customers cannot afford their coverage. “House Bill 2234 has two goals in mind: Read more

House passes Daley bill expanding mental health care training for school staff

(Jun 05, 2024)

HARRISBURG, June 5 – A bill that would require high school coaches to receive training on student mental health passed the House Tuesday, announced the measure’s sponsor, state Rep. Mary Jo Daley. House Bill 1367 would help ensure that students, parents and guardians, athletic coaches and extracurricular advisers are all made aware of the availability of mental health services within a school and local community. The bill would also require that athletic coaches receive mental health awareness training similar to training required of other school personnel. A recent study surveying more than 10,000 coaches found only 18% of youth coaches feel highly confident in their ability to link athletes to mental health resources, and 67% want more training and information on the subject. “School professionals already serve a big role in a student’s life, so it only makes sense that we provide critical, lifesaving training to everyone we can on school grounds. For when things are not OK, we need to know that every adult is available to identify and take the steps to help a student find solid ground,” said Daley, D-Montgomery. “It takes training to know when and how to be there for a student especially at a time when nearly half of America’s youth are, in fact, struggling with their mental health.” Specifically, the bill would: Direct the Pennsylvania Department of Education to revise standards for Read more

Rep. O’Mara and Taiwan Caucus chairs welcome Ambassador Lee from Taiwan to Harrisburg

(Jun 04, 2024)

“Pennsylvania’s partnership with Taiwan has brought immense economic, cultural and social benefits to both sides. As we commemorate the 45-year anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act and the adoption of House Resolution 439, we reaffirm our commitment to the values of democracy, mutual respect and shared success,” O’Mara said. Read more

Curry’s tow truck legislation passes PA House

(Jun 04, 2024)

“Our first responders need to lean on every resource necessary in order to help others with efficiency and safety,” Curry said. “There is no time for tow truck drivers to consider every legal repercussion they may face when trying to help our police officers, firefighters and paramedics. This bill will give tow truck drivers peace of mind that, as long as they are following the directions of a police officer, they can take the necessary risks to help others without penalty.” Read more

Williams announces $300K grant for Chester County Home Modification Program

(May 22, 2024)

COATESVILLE, May 22 – Chester County will receive $300,000 from the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Keystone Communities Program for the Chester County Home Modification Program which makes homes more accessible for low-income residents with disabilities. “For many of our residents with disabilities, their houses often feel like potential danger zones as they haven’t been constructed with their unique needs in mind,” Williams said. “By providing for important home accessibility improvements and upgrades that increase safety and mobility, this state grant money will help our residents truly feel safe and secure in their homes.” The Chester County Home Modification Program assists low-to-moderate-income residents of Chester County with permanent disabilities to make their current residences more accessible. The CCHMP allows for a wide range of adaptive modifications, which include, but are not limited to, ramps, lifts, door and hallway widening, kitchen and bathroom modifications, visual doorbells, audio phones and visual phone signalers. Run by DCED, the KCP encourages the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors that support the growth and stability of neighborhoods and communities; social and economic diversity; and a strong and secure quality of life. Local governments, redevelopment and housing authorities, nonprofit organizations, community development corporations, and business, Read more

Hanbidge and Cephas bill strengthening affordability and accessibility to child care passes the House

(May 22, 2024)

“Incentivizing employer contribution to employees’ child care expenses can help ensure workforce access to parents trying to support families,” Hanbidge said. Read more