Ciresi introduces bill to ensure proper use of electric vehicle charging spots

(Apr 25, 2023)

HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today announced the introduction of legislation that would ensure the proper use of electric vehicle charging spots in Pennsylvania. There are currently more than 2 million electric vehicles on the road nationwide, with more sold each year, but there is a limited availability of public charging stations. According to Ciresi, the blocking of charging stations for reasons other than charging is a common frustration among many EV owners and has been cited by planners in Pennsylvania as a challenge to EV deployment. His legislation, H.B. 1043, would ensure that spots clearly marked as reserved for electric vehicle charging are properly utilized and cannot be used by non-electric vehicles or vehicles not connected for charging, similar to existing laws restricting improper use of reserved disability parking spaces. “We want to make it easy for people to adopt electric vehicles to alleviate our reliance on fossil fuels to support a clean environment and reduce the impact of climate change,” Ciresi said. “Unfortunately, too often EV drivers find the reserved and marked EV charging stations blocked when they need it, leaving many electric vehicle owners struggling to find places to charge their vehicles. The lack of charging station availability is a serious impediment, impacting EV owners from everything from planning a trip to going about daily errands.” Eighteen states, including Read more

 

Roundtable examines negative impact of selling public water systems

(Apr 20, 2023)

“The sale of this public water authority is bad news for any resident of Pennsylvania who values their ability to access clean water and open green spaces,” said state Rep. Carol Kazeem, who hosted the event and represents portions of Delaware County – including the city of Chester. “For the more than 200,000 paying customers of Chester Water Authority, this sale could result in skyrocketing rate hikes. People who enjoy the outdoors can also expect access to the 2,000 acres of land currently owned by Chester Water Authority to change dramatically – including access for boaters, hikers and anglers. The bottom line is the only one who benefits from this sale is the for-profit company trying to purchase Chester Water Authority.” Read more

 

Hearing explores vision for Black maternal health

(Apr 13, 2023)

“This is a very serious conversation about a crisis happening across our country and throughout Pennsylvania,” said hearing host Rep. Gina H. Curry, who represents portions of Delaware County. “The purpose of today’s hearing is to shine a light on this issue. We are asking people to listen and take this issue to heart, realize action is needed and make transformation possible. Our end goal is to save lives.” Read more

 

O’Mara applauds DDAP investment in new recovery services for southeast PA

(Apr 13, 2023)

MARPLE, April 13 – State House Democratic Southeast Delegation Chair Jennifer O’Mara said today that she welcomes the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs’ investment of $4 million into regional recovery hubs across the commonwealth. Announced by DDAP on Wednesday , The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania Inc. will receive $500,000 for the establishment of a regional recovery hub covering Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Berks, Chester, Lancaster, Delaware and Schuylkill counties as part of the investment. “As we fight new stronger drugs with fentanyl and other deadly characteristics, addiction services are sorely needed across Southeast PA,” said O’Mara, D-Delaware. “DDAP’s investment of state funding brings our tax dollars back to our communities – providing hope in recovery for not only individuals but entire communities now reeling from the effects of addiction. “On behalf of the region’s state government representatives, I applaud the Shapiro administration for its forward-thinking approach to a problem facing us all.” Each grantee will create a hub-and-spoke model to provide recovery supports in their region. The “hubs” will support community-driven services that will serve as “spokes.” The hubs will provide technical assistance and collaborate with a variety of community entities, sectors and systems to enhance a Read more

 

Ciresi introduces legislation to support child mental health workforce

(Mar 31, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 31 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, introduced H.B. 725 and H.B. 726 to support the mental health workforce. “Pennsylvania’s children need adequate mental health support, but the mental health profession has been depleted by underfunding, provider and staffing shortages, and insufficient programs and access,” Ciresi said. “Especially as the need for mental health services challenges the system’s capacity, we need to address the profession’s recruitment and burnout. My two bills would help retain and recruit highly qualified individuals into the mental health field and ensure that our children receive the quality care they need.” The bills were produced in response to the Joint State Government Commission’s study on the shortage of mental health care professionals in Pennsylvania. The commission reported that Pennsylvania has a below-average number of mental health care providers per capita, and the trend is worsening. The commission recommended greater financial assistance for mental health professionals to reduce the cost barrier of higher education and attract more individuals to the field. The issues highlighted in the commission’s 2020 report only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw higher demand for mental health services and added to the workforce shortage. H.B. 725 would establish a student loan forgiveness program specifically for students seeking undergraduate or Read more

 

Benham, Kenyatta and Smith-Wade-El introduce bill to protect minors from conversion therapy in PA

(Mar 31, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 31 – State Reps. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny; Izzy Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; and Malcom Kenyatta, D-Phila., have introduced legislation (H.B. 575) to protect minors from conversion therapy. “There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that tells us efforts to change an individual’s sexual identity through so-called ‘therapy’ causes serious harm to their mental health,” said state Benham, who co-chairs the PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. “It is shameful that in 2023 Pennsylvania still allows the abhorrent practice known as conversion therapy to occur, and I am looking forward to outlawing it to protect and affirm LGBTQ+ youth across our Commonwealth.” “Conversion therapy is anti-gay bias masquerading as science,” said Smith-Wade-El. “This abusive practice has caused immense harm on patients, including depression, trauma, drug use, homelessness and suicide. It reinforces the idea that there is something psychologically wrong with LGBTQ people because of their sexual identity. It’s long past time that PA joins 20 other states and the District of Columbia in banning this abhorrent practice to protect the physical and psychological well-being of LGBTQ minors.” The legislation, the Protection of Minors from Conversion Therapy Act, seeks to address harms associated with conversion therapy by prohibiting a mental health professional from engaging in this archaic treatment with an Read more

 

Hearing House testimony, Warren introduces 3 commonsense gun safety bills

(Mar 30, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 30 – Following the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun safety last week, state Rep. Perry Warren reintroduced three bills directly addressing the gun safety concerns heard during testimony. The committee hearing, called by the new Democratic majority, included testimony relating to the pressing needs for safe-storage, lost-and-stolen, and background-check legislation. After the hearing, Warren promptly reintroduced bills he had introduced in the prior legislative session, each of which would address an aspect of the recommendations of the testifiers at the hearing. House Bills 712, 713 and 714 would address these widely supported measures, said Warren, D-Bucks. “Majority Chairman Tim Briggs organized this hearing as the first hearing of the House Judiciary Committee this session. Pennsylvanians support policies that will reduce violence and unnecessary loss of life involving guns,” he said. “Guns are involved in suicide, domestic violence, accidents, gang violence and mass shootings – and all signs point to these three basic policies as proven life savers.” Victims, second victims and advocates took turns Thursday outlining support for laws in Pennsylvania to ensure that stolen or missing guns are reported to law enforcement, guns in homes are safely stored and that long-gun sales at shows, stores or private sales are included in standard background checks. “The experts and advocates who Read more

 

Scott attends House Majority Policy Committee hearing on housing crisis

(Mar 30, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 30 – State Rep. Greg Scott, D-Montgomery, attended the House Majority Policy Committee hearing on Tuesday on the housing crisis in Pennsylvania, which is negatively impacting Pennsylvania’s residents and economy. “Our community is in an unprecedented housing crisis,” Scott said. “At this week’s policy hearing on the issue, I learned that one of the big problems we are facing is the fact that the housing crisis is seen as a ‘low-income issue’ and often disregarded. In fact, the housing crisis is negatively impacting residents from all income levels throughout the state. By changing the narrative to focus on the breadth of people affected by this crisis, we will be able to garner political support for creative solutions to resolve this problem. No one in Pennsylvania should be without an affordable and safe place to live.” A report in 2022 faulted communities failing to produce enough housing options to meet housing needs for the widespread growth of the crisis. Tuesday’s House Majority Policy hearing featured testimony from Michaela Allwine and Jocelynn Ritchey from Lancaster County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Holly Beck from the Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, and Lisette Rivera and Stephanie Thomas from Families in Transition. The committee pointed out that the housing crisis is having adverse effects on all income levels, not just low-income Pennsylvanians. Read more

 

Majority Policy Committee examines affordable housing crisis

(Mar 28, 2023)

“There is not a corner of our commonwealth or a corner of our nation not affected by a lack of affordable housing,” said hearing host Rep. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, who represents portions of Lancaster. “While our caucus continues to lead the way on issues, including education and employment, all of that work will be undermined if we cannot address the affordable housing crisis and ensure our families will be able to a find a place to lay their head every night.” Read more

 

Ciresi, James introduce legislation to create tax credit to rehabilitate and preserve historic homes

(Mar 28, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 28 – State Reps. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, and R. Lee James, R-Venango, introduced legislation on Monday to create the Historic Homeownership Preservation Incentive Tax Credit in Pennsylvania. The proposed legislation would allow homeowners with a plan to rehabilitate their historic home located in a qualified census tract to receive tax credits towards the rehabilitation project. “Historic preservation preserves our cultural and historic resources for future generations, and plays a key role in revitalizing communities, creating jobs, supporting local tax bases, and improving quality of life,” Ciresi said. “Currently, Pennsylvania has a Historic Preservation Tax Credit that supports the rehabilitation of income-producing properties but has no equivalent for owner-occupied historic structures despite the benefits to our economy and society. It’s time we changed that.” The representatives say that research shows that similar tax programs are great economic engines for communities. The representatives found that Maryland’s Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Program helped rehabilitate over 4,000 historic buildings since 1996, creating 25,000 jobs in the process. They also learned that studies have repeatedly found that historic preservation creates more jobs for each dollar than other public investments, including new construction and manufacturing. “So much rich history has passed here in the Read more

 

Representatives, testifiers advocate to Raise the Wage

(Mar 27, 2023)

“Too many people have worked too hard for too long to not be able to pay their bills,” hearing co-host Rep. Patty Kim said. “We want to tag a cost-of-living adjustment on this, so we never have to wait years and years – or wait for a once-in-a-century pandemic – for this issue to have a bright light shined on it.” Read more

 

Ciresi introduces legislation to replace state song

(Mar 24, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 24 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, introduced legislation (H.R. 41) this week to replace the Pennsylvania state song. In 1990, the state legislature adopted the current state song, “Pennsylvania” by Eddie Khoury and Ronnie Bonner. State law establishes this as Pennsylvania’s official song for all public purposes, and the song is often performed at public events, such as gubernatorial inaugurations. “State symbols bring us together,” Ciresi said. “When we see our state flag and hear our state song, we should be able to share our commonality and celebrate our heritage as fellow Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, our current state song is known by few and does not reflect the dynamic and diverse Pennsylvania of today.” “In the three decades since the state song was adopted, Pennsylvania has changed greatly, and our state song should embody the spirit of our great state,” Ciresi said. The resolution would establish an independent commission to study the history of the state song, solicit submissions from the public, and recommend changes to the state song. The legislature would then have the option of passing legislation to change the state song based on the commission’s recommendation. Read more

 

Borowski introduces bill to provide new funding source for EMS

(Mar 21, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 21 – State Rep. Lisa Borowski announced today she has introduced a bill that would support emergency medical service providers by providing Medicaid reimbursement for every mile a patient is transported by ambulance. The bill, also sponsored by Rep. Greg Scott, D-Montgomery, would amend the Fiscal Code to eliminate the provision that limits the per-mile Medicaid reimbursement of at least $4 to each mile beyond 20 miles of patient transportation. “The ongoing hospital closures around the commonwealth are limiting Pennsylvanians’ access to care in many ways – one of them is by adding to the intense strain on our EMS system,” Borowski said. “This is a commonsense move to help deliver much-needed funding to these essential providers, giving them more flexibility to provide timely responses to medical emergencies in this unpredictable healthcare environment.” “Building this funding mechanism between Medicaid and our EMS providers would provide money for the critical work being performed,” Scott said. “We cannot continue to burden patients with thousands of dollars in medical debt any more than we can leave EMS providers without payment for lifesaving work. And as an EMT myself, I’m especially proud to partner with Rep. Borowski on this legislation.” Borowski said she has been visiting her district’s EMS providers to discuss the challenges they face. Their main concern Read more

 

Ciresi introduces legislation to protect patients and medical personnel from retaliation

(Mar 21, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 21 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, today introduced legislation, (H.B. 641) that would protect patients and medical personnel from health care facility retaliation for filing grievances and complaints. “When mistakes are made at a medical care facility, patients can suffer physically, emotionally and financially,” Ciresi said. “Patients and medical personnel should be able to report errors and unsafe conditions without fear of retaliation for speaking up.” House Bill 641 would protect patients and medical personnel who file grievances or complaints with the facility or its staff, entities charged with accrediting or evaluating health care facilities or a governmental entity. It would also protect people who initiate, participate in, or cooperate with investigations or administrative hearings related to facility quality of care, services or conditions. As part of the protection, the bill would establish a rebuttable presumption that discriminatory treatment against patients and medical personnel was retaliatory if done within a set time after the filing of a grievance or complaint. If a facility is found to have engaged in discrimination or retaliation, victims would be entitled to civil and criminal penalties, including fines and restitution, for lost wages, work benefits and legal costs. “When passed, my legislation will help guarantee the vital right of patients and medical personnel to report unsafe Read more

 

Senate, House Dems discuss need for COLA for PSERS and SERS retirees

(Mar 21, 2023)

“I’m astounded to see that for 20 years – dating back to a time when I was still in college – no movement has taken place on this issue to assist public and state employees, including my own mother who is a retired public school teacher,” Malagari said. “We gathered today to express our support for these seniors, many of whom are struggling with health care needs on a fixed income, and it’s important to note that fixed income’s purchasing power continues to shrink each year.” Read more

 

Scott secures $857K for Norristown transportation and infrastructure projects

(Mar 17, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 17 – State Rep. Greg Scott, D-Montgomery, announced that he helped secure $857,258 in state grants for projects in the 54th District from the Commonwealth Finance Authority. “I am proud to have been able to help secure $857,258 for area transportation and infrastructure improvements because two things are key to Norristown’s growth—developing our economy and improving our quality of life,” Scott said. “These state grants will enable the districts to make critical investments in our freight transportation and municipal waste systems, so Norristown will strengthen its position as a critical rail hub for the transport of goods and protect the health of its residents.” The grants went to the following projects: $500,000 to renovate the Norristown Freight Station at Trail Junction Center (TJC). $387,258 to install sanitary sewer line replacements along Washington Street in Norristown Borough. The grants were awarded by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which oversees the state’s distribution of gaming revenues to support public projects. Read more

 

Daley brings home $2M for transportation and public projects in the 148th

(Mar 16, 2023)

State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, announced that she brought in $2,032,125 in state grants for projects in the 148th District to improve transportation, increase emergency services response times, and strengthen the local economy from the Commonwealth Finance Authority. Read more

 

Ciresi brings $1.7 million for area transportation and infrastructure improvements: Funding will advance project to restore Reading-Philadelphia passenger rail service

(Mar 16, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 16 – As a longtime, successful advocate for transportation and infrastructure programs in the 146th Legislative District, State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, announced today that he has helped to secure 1.7 million in state grants for area transportation and infrastructure projects through the Commonwealth Financing Authority. “I am proud to have secured $1.7 million in grant funding for these significant and far-reaching projects, particularly the feasibility study that will help establish passenger service between Reading and Philadelphia,” Ciresi said. “This funding will improve our area through investments in projects to reduce traffic, make our streets safer, and increase access to residential, business and recreational areas.” The funding will be used for the following projects: $250,000 toward reconstructing and aligning Lightcap Road in Limerick Township to support the increase in traffic caused by development in the area. $200,000 for the restoration of First Avenue from Arch Street to the trailhead parking area in Royersford Borough to improve access to residences, businesses, and amenities; support the broader Royersford business climate; and ensure a safe and well-maintained connection to the Schuylkill River Trail and other connected trails. $1 million to replace outdated streetlights in Pottstown Borough with new, energy efficient LED lights and control systems, and to install crime prevention Read more

 

Smith-Wade-El and Hill-Evans introduce bill to expand PTRR Program in PA

(Mar 14, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 14 – State Reps. Izzy Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster, and Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, on Monday introduced legislation (H.B. 389) to expand the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program in Pennsylvania by equalizing income levels, increasing rebate amounts and raising the highest income bracket for homeowners and renters. “It has become too hard to afford a home in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Smith-Wade-El said. “For many of our senior homeowners and renters, the place in which they live is a legacy of work, life, and love, and we have an obligation to protect them and that legacy by helping them stay in their homes. “Older Pennsylvanians in Lancaster and across the Commonwealth are struggling to pay for basic necessities like food and rent. Despite rising inflation and cost-of-living increases, PTRR’s income limits, rebate amounts and other provisions have not been modified to correspond to these economic changes, resulting in fewer people qualifying for the program and the program rebates failing to provide the necessary financial assistance. “In particular, the PTRR Program has too long discriminated against renters, saying that they deserve less support than homeowners. What we’re going to do differently with this legislation is make sure that all of our seniors and all of our neighbors with disabilities have the support they need to stay in their homes. “The changes Chairwoman Hill-Evans and I Read more

 

Ciresi, Haddock introduce legislation to expand property tax, rent relief

(Mar 09, 2023)

HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Reps. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, and Jim Haddock, D-Lackawanna/Luzerne, introduced this week H.B. 113, to expand the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program in Pennsylvania. “Pennsylvanians are struggling under high inflation to pay for basic necessities, especially housing,” Ciresi said. “I firmly believe that we must help our seniors and people with disabilities stay in the homes they’ve lived in for years for their own health and for community stability. Unfortunately, while inflation and cost of living has risen, PTRR’s income limits, rebate amounts and other provisions have not been updated to correspond with economic changes, so fewer people qualify for the program, and the rebates don’t provide the needed financial assistance.” “We must act now to expand PTRR as next year, thousands of seniors will lose eligibility because their Social Security cost-of-living adjustments will push them above the eligibility threshold,” Ciresi said. “It is time to make sure that our seniors can remain eligible, and that more individuals can seek assistance from this vital program.” The legislation would increase income limits for homeowners and renters to $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, recognizing the impact inflation has had since the last increase in 2006. In addition, the legislation would permanently reinstate a provision that would ensure individuals are not deemed ineligible for Read more

 

Ciresi introduces bill to ensure proper use of electric vehicle charging spots
Apr 25, 2023

Roundtable examines negative impact of selling public water systems
Apr 20, 2023

Hearing explores vision for Black maternal health
Apr 13, 2023

O’Mara applauds DDAP investment in new recovery services for southeast PA
Apr 13, 2023

Ciresi introduces legislation to support child mental health workforce
Mar 31, 2023

Benham, Kenyatta and Smith-Wade-El introduce bill to protect minors from conversion therapy in PA
Mar 31, 2023

Hearing House testimony, Warren introduces 3 commonsense gun safety bills
Mar 30, 2023

Scott attends House Majority Policy Committee hearing on housing crisis
Mar 30, 2023

Majority Policy Committee examines affordable housing crisis
Mar 28, 2023

Ciresi, James introduce legislation to create tax credit to rehabilitate and preserve historic homes
Mar 28, 2023

Representatives, testifiers advocate to Raise the Wage
Mar 27, 2023

Ciresi introduces legislation to replace state song
Mar 24, 2023

Borowski introduces bill to provide new funding source for EMS
Mar 21, 2023

Ciresi introduces legislation to protect patients and medical personnel from retaliation
Mar 21, 2023

Senate, House Dems discuss need for COLA for PSERS and SERS retirees
Mar 21, 2023

Scott secures $857K for Norristown transportation and infrastructure projects
Mar 17, 2023

Daley brings home $2M for transportation and public projects in the 148th
Mar 16, 2023

Ciresi brings $1.7 million for area transportation and infrastructure improvements: Funding will advance project to restore Reading-Philadelphia passenger rail service
Mar 16, 2023

Smith-Wade-El and Hill-Evans introduce bill to expand PTRR Program in PA
Mar 14, 2023

Ciresi, Haddock introduce legislation to expand property tax, rent relief
Mar 09, 2023