After Berks County sent out Spanish instructions for mail-in ballots with wrong date, activists want Nov. 18 deadline honored

(Oct 29, 2021)

“It doesn’t matter how many folks were sent the incorrect information,” Guzman said, pointing out that races could be decided by just a handful of votes. “Even if one person was disenfranchised because they received the incorrect information — that’s one person too many.” Read more

 

Shusterman awarded National Association of Social Workers’ Legislator of the Year

(Oct 28, 2021)

PAOLI, Oct. 28 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman was recently recognized by the National Association of Social Workers for Legislator of the Year. “We appreciate her commitment to tackling social inequality, including her efforts on college students experiencing homelessness, expansion of expungement, and addressing food deserts,” NASW said in a statement regarding the award. “Representative Shusterman addresses problems not only through legislation, but also helps constituents through her district office and hosts public events and media promotions to bring awareness to the issues.” The award recognizes outstanding service and contributions of an elected official. NASW said Shusterman won the award because she has been a voice of the people. The organization believes that legislators represent society’s collective values and recognize when they enact policies that fight for social justice and against injustice. This legislative session Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, has introduced the Child and Adult Care Food Program Supplement, which would provide funds for food to care facilities for children and adults. Shusterman also introduced legislation to combat littering, promote recycling and was a co-sponsor on a bill called the LEVEL UP for ID/A Act. LEVEL UP for ID/A would change provider payments based on outcomes of individuals with disabilities and autism, instead of services provided. This bill has many components which are all Read more

 

Guzman pushes to restore turnpike jobs and ensure proper toll collection

(Oct 27, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 27 – State Rep. Manny Guzman, D-Berks, is planning to introduce legislation that would bring back in-person tollbooth jobs on the Pennsylvania Turnpike during peak hours to prevent motorists without an E-ZPass from riding toll free, which happened for about half of those motorists in 2020. “We lost more than $104 million in turnpike tolls last year due to a flawed, all-electronic tolling system. That is unacceptable,” Guzman said. “The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission laid off nearly 500 tollbooth workers and prematurely converted to an all-electronic system, resulting in this catastrophic loss. The commission needs to be held accountable.” Guzman is proposing a hybrid system that would bring back tollbooth workers during the road’s busiest hours so that the electronic system can be improved without incurring further revenue losses. “The benefits of a functioning all-electronic system are undeniable,” he said. “However, last year’s blunder demonstrated that the commission needs more time to develop a working system.” About 11 million trips without tolls occurred on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 2020, according to an internal turnpike report obtained by the Associated Press. After eliminating in-person toll collection last year, a 45% rate increase was implemented for non-E-ZPass drivers. E-ZPass tolls accounted for over $1 billion of the PTC’s $1.3 billion total tolls Read more

 

Guenst elected secretary of House Democrats’ Southeast Delegation

(Oct 26, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 26 – State Rep. Nancy Guenst, D-Montgomery/Phila., was elected by her peers to serve as secretary of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus’ Southeast Delegation. The Southeast Delegation is the Pennsylvania House’s largest delegation, comprising legislators from Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, York and Dauphin counties . The secretary is tasked with keeping accurate records and minutes of meetings of the delegation. “I am very happy to serve the caucus in any way I can,” Guenst said. “I appreciate the support of my colleagues in the Southeast Delegation and look forward to continuing to work together to represent the needs of our region.” Guenst represents the 152 nd District, which includes part of Philadelphia, as well as Bryn Athyn, Hatboro, Lower Moreland Township, Upper Moreland Township and part of Upper Dublin Township in Montgomery County. She serves on the House Agriculture, Children and Youth, Game and Fisheries, and Human Services committees. Read more

 

Lawmakers, activists discuss bill to protect Chester Water Authority customers

(Oct 26, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 26 – State Reps. Leanne Krueger and John Lawrence were joined by local activists and union representatives at a news conference Tuesday at the state Capitol, where they discussed legislation to protect the customers of municipal and authority-owned water or wastewater systems in the acquisition process. Krueger, D-Delaware, and Lawrence, R-Chester/Lancaster, have introduced legislation ( H.B. 1936 ) to amend Section 1329 of the Public Utilities Law to prohibit the use of that section for the sale of municipal or authority-owned water or wastewater systems to private companies using the valuation procedure outlined there unless the system is in financial and/or operational distress. Chester Water Authority is a financially stable utility being pursued by Aqua Pennsylvania for acquisition. “Sales through Section 1329 always drive up rates for customers, so those sales should be limited to distressed systems that truly need assistance,” said Krueger. “Chester Water Authority is not in financial or operational distress. If passed, this bill would prevent Aqua from marking up an offer price to take over CWA and passing those costs on to ratepayers. I will continue fighting to protect CWA customers.” “Chester Water Authority’s Board unanimously rejected a buyout offer,” said Lawrence. “Thousands of CWA ratepayers have spoken out against a Read more

 

Shusterman, Hill-Evans to introduce Child and Adult Care Food Program Supplement to help feed care facility participants

(Oct 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 25 – State Reps. Melissa L. Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, and Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, have announced they will introduce a bill to provide additional food funds for care facilities enrolled in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, a federal program that compensates care facilities for meals served to participants. “Care facilities across the state deal with incredibly high operating costs,” Shusterman said. “Unfortunately, the federal program meant to help them feed our neediest citizens does not go nearly far enough to alleviate the extraordinary costs they face. It’s time for Pennsylvania to supplement this vital program.” Hill-Evans agreed. “Pennsylvania’s economy is stronger when our most vulnerable residents have access to essential resources,” Hill-Evans said. “By ensuring our care facilities have adequate funding, we would enable more Pennsylvanians to enter the workforce.” According to the PA Department of Education’s website , participating facilities are eligible to be reimbursed for up to two meals and one snack per participant, per day. The new bill introduced by Shusterman and Hill-Evans would expand that. Currently, participating facilities also receive federally donated commodities, nutrition education materials and annual training workshops. The following care facilities are eligible to participate in the CACFP: Licensed, nonprofit, non-residential Read more

 

Ciresi announces $3.7 million grant to replace Pottstown lead service lines

(Oct 21, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, announced today that the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority has approved a $3.71 million grant to fund the Pottstown Borough Authority’s 2021 Lead Service Replacement Project. The project will replace lead lines in older homes, eliminating exposure to lead materials. “I am very glad that PENNVEST has made this investment in the future of Pottstown Borough as this funding will ensure that my constituents will have a modern and safe infrastructure for years to come for something as fundamental as drinking water,” Ciresi said. “This work to eliminate lead and other harmful contaminants from drinking water is crucial to the health and well-being of our residents, children, and future generations.” The funds will be used to fund a project to replace approximately 8,400 linear feet of lead service lines and 700 linear feet of water service curb stops throughout Pottstown Borough. The authority has already contracted work in 2019 and 2021 to replace some of the existing lead service lines throughout the borough to provide safe drinking water to the residents of the area. The 2021 Lead Service Replacement Project will complete this effort in the remaining sections of the borough that are designated as being in critical condition. “This grant provides the funds necessary to continue the efforts of the Pottstown Read more

 

Ciresi introduces legislation to fund PPE in schools, ensure safe in-person instruction

(Oct 19, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 19 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, introduced legislation today to establish a grant program for the 2021-22 school year that would allow schools to purchase face masks, other additional personal protective equipment, and cleaning and sanitizing supplies, as well as allow them to make modifications necessary to ensure appropriate social distancing. “There are over 3,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 right now and we’ve lost too many over the course of this pandemic,” Ciresi said. “We’ve got to remain vigilant and do everything we can to make sure our schools are safe spaces for our children. That’s why I’ve introduced this legislation, which would help schools provide effective, high-quality masks for their students and staff, as well as any other PPE or supplies they need to hinder the transmission of the virus and create a safe environment for learning.” Ciresi’s legislation is similar to Act 30 of 2020, which created grants for schools to purchase PPE and cleaning supplies in the previous school year but has since expired. Funding would be available to help both public and nonpublic schools. Read more

 

Galloway introduces legislation to include digital wallets in Breach of Personal Information Notification Act

(Oct 18, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – As a longtime proponent of consumer protections, state Rep. John Galloway is introducing legislation that would seek to include digital wallets in the Breach of Personal Information Notification Act. “Digital wallets have made it so easy for us to pay for everyday things, but there is a great risk that digital wallets could be easily hacked, and our savings stolen from us,” Galloway, D-Bucks, said. “My legislation would protect Pennsylvanians by making sure that they are notified as soon as their wallets have been hacked so they can begin to take steps to protect any other electronic data that may have been exposed as well as immediately start the process of repairing the damage caused by the hack.” The legislation is now being circulated for co-sponsors and will be introduced soon. Read more

 

Lawmakers introduce legislation to ensure paid time off for workers experiencing pregnancy loss

(Oct 15, 2021)

“The loss of a pregnancy is devastating, physically and mentally, and can trigger negative long-lasting effects in the lives of those who experience it and aren't able to get the help they need,” Hanbidge said. “Often in our society, working people are forced to return to work too soon after this difficult experience." Read more

 

Otten calls for halt of Mariner East pipeline following Attorney General Shapiro’s filing of 48 criminal charges

(Oct 05, 2021)

“Attorney General Shapiro is sending a clear message to Energy Transfer and other pipeline operators: You cannot operate in Pennsylvania and play by your own set of rules. If you break Pennsylvania law, you will be tried in a criminal courtroom in Pennsylvania." Read more

 

Krueger, Lawrence introduce bill to protect water system customers

(Oct 01, 2021)

CHESTER, Oct. 1 – At a news conference at Chester Water Authority headquarters, state Reps. Leanne Krueger and John Lawrence today discussed their bill to protect the customers of municipal and authority-owned water or wastewater systems in the acquisition process. Krueger and Lawrence have introduced legislation, H.B. 1936 , to amend Section 1329 of the Public Utilities Law to prohibit the sale of municipal water or wastewater systems to private companies using the valuation procedure outlined there unless the system is in financial and/or operational distress. Earlier this year, Krueger and Lawrence hosted a bipartisan legislative hearing in Harrisburg to discuss that section of the law, particularly as it related to the Chester Water Authority, a financially stable utility being pursued by Aqua Pennsylvania for acquisition. “It became clear during that hearing that sales through Section 1329 always drive up rates for customers,” said Krueger, D-Delaware. “To protect consumers, we should ensure these sales are limited to distressed systems – those that truly need outside help to meet financial or operational safety best practices.” “Ratepayers bear the financial impact when a municipal water or sewer system is sold,” said Lawrence, R-Chester/Lancaster. “Rates have doubled or even tripled for some ratepayers, even when the system servicing their home is in good repair. This legislation addresses this issue Read more

 

Sanchez: Constitutional amendments are better determined during high voter turnout elections

(Sep 22, 2021)

Constitutional amendments need to be scrutinized by a large cross-section of voters. High levels of voter participation would help ensure the changes made truly represent the will and voice of the people. Read more

 

Ciresi introduces legislation exempting injured and decorated veterans from vehicle registration fees

(Sep 21, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, introduced H.B. 1895 today to exempt injured and decorated veterans from vehicle registration fees. In serving the 146th legislative district, Ciresi has been particularly concerned that returning veterans receive assistance from the state in recognition of the sacrifices they’ve made serving their country. “While state law currently provides some veterans with a discounted rate for vehicle registration by only charging a processing fee, in recognition of their service I believe our injured and decorated veterans deserve to be fully excused from paying vehicle registration fees,” Ciresi said. Ciresi said, “That is why I’ve introduced legislation, with bipartisan support, which totally waives these fees for veterans who were injured or captured while serving their country, or who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor or the Purple Heart.” Current law charges a $10 processing fee instead of a registration fee for veterans who’ve lost a limb or eye or became partially paralyzed while serving in the armed forces; were captured by the enemy in an armed conflict; or were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Ciresi’s legislation eliminates the processing fee and expands eligibility to also include all recipients of the Purple Heart. According to Ciresi, this exemption would not only help eligible veterans directly, but also their Read more

 

Daley: Protecting All Children

(Sep 21, 2021)

Pa. state Rep. Mary Jo Daley knows that the mask mandate in schools was enacted in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. She says that kids are ready to get back to school, but not every child can get vaccinated. In order to keep all children safe, she supports the mask mandate and encourages everyone who can to get vaccinated. Read more

 

Ciresi introduces legislation allowing limited wineries to partner with BYOBs

(Sep 17, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 17 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, introduced legislation yesterday to allow BYOB restaurants to collaborate with local limited wineries to sell wine to diners. Ciresi, who has made the promotion and protection of small businesses a cornerstone of his role as state representative for the 146th District, said his legislation will benefit BYOB establishments, small Pennsylvania wineries and Pennsylvania dining patrons. “Our small local restaurants are a foundation of our communities and provide a wonderful place for people to come together,” Ciresi said. “Sometimes diners will go out to a restaurant and not realize it is BYOB. Though the restaurant might wish to provide wine to its patrons, it can’t afford to purchase a liquor license which costs thousands of dollars. “My legislation would allow a BYOB restaurant to collaborate with a local limited winery to sell wine so customers could enjoy wine with their meal in the restaurant. My goal is to support our small local restaurants, which are still trying to recover from the financial impact of the pandemic, and our growing Pennsylvania winery industry, as well as to enhance our diners’ patronage of local restaurants.” The legislation would permit limited wineries to apply for and obtain an off-premise catering permit they could use to partner with community restaurants to benefit both local businesses. Read more

 

State lawmakers announce $1.75M flood assistance program for Bucks residents

(Sep 15, 2021)

BRISTOL, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, along with state Sen. Robert “Tommy” Tomlinson, R-Bucks, today announced the opening of a flood relief assistance program to aid Bucks County residents affected by the severe weather and flash flooding on July 12. Also in attendance at the Bucks County Redevelopment Authority in Bristol Wednesday afternoon were Rep. K.C. Tomlinson, R-Bucks, Bristol Township Council President Craig Bowen, Bensalem Mayor Joe DiGirolamo, Bucks County Redevelopment Authority representatives Board President Sean Schaefer and Executive Director Jeff Darwak. The Neighborhood Flood Assistance Program is funded by a $1.75 million grant secured by the lawmakers from the Department of the Community and Economic Development and will be administered by BCRDA. The program’s goal is to offer financial support to those who faced significant property loss or damage and were uninsured or underinsured. Assistance will not be given to landlords, businesses, or non-profit organizations. “I’m very glad to have been instrumental in securing this critical state funding for our residents who have been struggling since the July 12 th storm and flash foods destroyed their homes and so upended their lives,” Davis said. “Many have been forced to relocate in the storm’s aftermath. This state money will help our neighbors come home once again to rebuild their homes and their Read more

 

Nelson: Community colleges in Pa. could be – and should be – free

(Sep 15, 2021)

Community colleges are such a valuable component of public education that 25 states are already promoting community college opportunities for free to their residents. Red states and blue states alike are investing in their own kids right now and growing because of it. Read more

 

Hanbidge: If We Fail to Act on Behalf of Women’s Reproductive Rights, Pa. will Become the Next Texas

(Sep 15, 2021)

We are closer to being like Texas than you can imagine. It’s up to all of us to ensure we don’t end up there, which we can do by demanding our elected state officials protect our rights. Read more

 

Napoleon Nelson hosting ‘fireside chats’ with blockchain technology insiders

(Sep 14, 2021)

Nelson launched the Emerging Technologies Caucus this spring to help the commonwealth’s elected leaders learn about new and developing technology by working closely with innovators, including academics, entrepreneurs and businesses, and to help foster innovation while responsibly allowing Pennsylvania to compete in the new digital era. Read more

 

After Berks County sent out Spanish instructions for mail-in ballots with wrong date, activists want Nov. 18 deadline honored
Oct 29, 2021

Shusterman awarded National Association of Social Workers’ Legislator of the Year
Oct 28, 2021

Guzman pushes to restore turnpike jobs and ensure proper toll collection
Oct 27, 2021

Guenst elected secretary of House Democrats’ Southeast Delegation
Oct 26, 2021

Lawmakers, activists discuss bill to protect Chester Water Authority customers
Oct 26, 2021

Shusterman, Hill-Evans to introduce Child and Adult Care Food Program Supplement to help feed care facility participants
Oct 25, 2021

Ciresi announces $3.7 million grant to replace Pottstown lead service lines
Oct 21, 2021

Ciresi introduces legislation to fund PPE in schools, ensure safe in-person instruction
Oct 19, 2021

Galloway introduces legislation to include digital wallets in Breach of Personal Information Notification Act
Oct 18, 2021

Lawmakers introduce legislation to ensure paid time off for workers experiencing pregnancy loss
Oct 15, 2021

Otten calls for halt of Mariner East pipeline following Attorney General Shapiro’s filing of 48 criminal charges
Oct 05, 2021

Krueger, Lawrence introduce bill to protect water system customers
Oct 01, 2021

Sanchez: Constitutional amendments are better determined during high voter turnout elections
Sep 22, 2021

Ciresi introduces legislation exempting injured and decorated veterans from vehicle registration fees
Sep 21, 2021

Daley: Protecting All Children
Sep 21, 2021

Ciresi introduces legislation allowing limited wineries to partner with BYOBs
Sep 17, 2021

State lawmakers announce $1.75M flood assistance program for Bucks residents
Sep 15, 2021

Nelson: Community colleges in Pa. could be – and should be – free
Sep 15, 2021

Hanbidge: If We Fail to Act on Behalf of Women’s Reproductive Rights, Pa. will Become the Next Texas
Sep 15, 2021

Napoleon Nelson hosting ‘fireside chats’ with blockchain technology insiders
Sep 14, 2021