Waxman, prison-reform advocates push to make Scandinavian unit permanent fixture statewide

(May 21, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 21 – Today, state Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Phila., was joined by multiple prison-reform advocates for a Capitol news conference to discuss State Correctional Institute Chester’s Scandinavian unit, also known as “Little Scandinavia.” Little Scandinavia is a pilot project modeled after prisons in Scandinavia, where the core values are safety, transparency and innovation, with a focus on normality and reintegration into the community upon release. The unit provides a quiet environment where residents live in single-person cells with a shared kitchen surrounded by outdoor green space and plants. Waxman spoke on the importance of permanently funding this unit so that it can become a fixture at state correctional facilities across Pennsylvania. “It's time for a shift in how we handle corrections in PA. Little Scandinavia isn't just a program, it's a new horizon in rehabilitation and human rights. This model focuses on transformative care, not just incarceration. In the next state budget, I will strongly advocate for us to include funding that would make the Scandinavian Unit a permanent fixture in our state’s corrections system.” Bryan Widenhouse, senior policy associate for Families Against Mandatory Minimums, stated his belief that Little Scandinavia can help lower the recidivism rate in Pennsylvania. "For decades I sat in prison and listened Read more

 

Pennsylvania State Police roll out body cameras to Philly-area troopers

(May 01, 2024)

Amid continued calls for increased police accountability and transparency, the Pennsylvania State Police announced that it has issued body cameras to all troopers in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties. Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation praises increased transparency by PA State Police

(Apr 29, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 29 – The Philadelphia House Delegation today applauded the Pennsylvania State Police for following up on their promise to expand the use of body cameras to the officers in Troop K serving the Philadelphia region. During a public hearing with the House Appropriations Committee on the 2024-25 state budget in early March, State Police Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris assured the committee that resources would be expedited to Southeastern PA for body camera recordings to be implemented on all officers. “Transparency is critical in officer-involved incidents. The cameras now worn by Troop K and used in their vehicles will assist in that transparency and create accountability in the unfortunate use of force,” said delegation chairwoman Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila. “This is about protecting our communities and protecting officers, giving everyone a little more peace of mind when issues arise.” House Majority Appropriations Committee Chairman Jordan Harris, D-Phila, recounted the pledge to expedite body cameras by PSP leadership during the committee’s public hearings on the state budget. “On March 4, 2024, the Appropriations Committee met with the Pennsylvania State Police for their budget hearing. This hearing immediately followed high-profile incidents with the PSP in our region; Commissioner Paris assured me and the committee that they would expedite resources to have Read more

 

Waxman calls to make unit at state correctional institution a permanent fixture statewide

(Apr 12, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 12 – State Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Phila., is calling for the “Scandinavian Unit” at SCI Chester to be used permanently at correctional institutions across Pennsylvania. The Scandinavian Unit is modeled after prisons in Scandinavia, where the core values are safety, transparency, and innovation, with a focus on normality and reintegration into the community upon release. “It's time for a shift in how we handle corrections in PA. The Scandinavian Unit at SCI Chester isn't just a program, it's a new horizon in rehabilitation and human rights,” Waxman said. “This model focuses on transformative care, not just incarceration. In the next state budget, I will strongly advocate for us to include funding that would make the Scandinavian Unit a permanent fixture in our state’s corrections system.” This unit is the result of a multiyear partnership with the Norwegian Correctional Service, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service, and the Danish Prison and Probation Service. In 2019, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections employees traveled to Norway, Sweden and Denmark to see for themselves how Scandinavian countries approach incarceration . The unit provides a quiet environment where residents live in single-person cells with a shared kitchen surrounded by outdoor green space and plants. Waxman has written a letter to the Pennsylvania Read more

 

House Commerce Committee works to protect consumers’ investments in cryptocurrencies

(Mar 27, 2024)

Waxman said, “With the growth, expansion and volatility of these currencies, we need to ensure that consumers are protected and are reassured that their investment into a cryptocurrency will not disappear if a collapse occurs.” Read more

 

Rep. Ben Waxman, Sen. Nikil Saval, Friends of Rittenhouse Square Celebrate Lawn Restoration Project

(Mar 18, 2024)

Philadelphia, Sunday, March 17— Today State Senator Nikil Saval and State Representative Ben Waxman joined the Friends of Rittenhouse Square to update and celebrate the ongoing work on behalf of one of Philadelphia’s most beloved parks. “Rittenhouse Square is truly one of Pennsylvania's treasures and among the best parks in the nation,” said Representative Waxman. “I am incredibly pleased that the Friends of Rittenhouse Square have received this state funding to help finance their Lawn Restoration Project so that future visitors can enjoy this extraordinary public space for years to come.” “One of the oldest and most successful public spaces in the country, Rittenhouse Square is the heritage of every Philadelphian," said Senator Saval. “Its tall trees, bench-lined paths, and expansive lawns are instantly recognizable—iconic after 300 years of use, and welcoming to all. The Friends of Rittenhouse Square work tirelessly to safeguard the health and vitality of the park for all who love it and depend on it. I’m so proud to support their work.” The people and businesses that make up the Friends of Rittenhouse Square shoulder the bulk of the work that sustains Rittenhouse Square, ensuring the park and neighborhood remain vibrant through regular and seasonal maintenance and special projects to address the ever-changing needs of the park and surrounding community. “Our team works hard Read more

 

Waxman Probes Financial Health of PA

(Mar 07, 2024)

PA state Rep. Ben Waxman questions the Governor’s Budget Office about the overall financial health of the commonwealth. Read more

 

Waxman to introduce legislation to decriminalize HIV in Pennsylvania

(Feb 28, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – State Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Phila., plans to introduce legislation to eliminate a felony penalty for people with HIV charged with prostitution. In Pennsylvania, prostitution is a misdemeanor unless the person has HIV. . In Pennsylvania, people living with HIV have been prosecuted under generally applicable laws for conduct that would not be a crime, or would be a less serious crime, but for their HIV status. For example, Pennsylvania is one of nine states that still subjects people living with HIV to harsher penalties if charged with prostitution. Prostitution is typically a misdemeanor offense; however, people living with HIV in Pennsylvania who are charged with prostitution can be charged with a felony. This would happen even if transmission would not be possible, because no physical contact occurred or the nature of contact is not a method of transmission. “HIV criminalization laws have not kept up with the four decades of progress in the fight against HIV, and do not reflect current scientific knowledge around HIV prevention, transmission, and treatment,” Waxman said. “The harsher criminalization of those living with HIV only stigmatizes those who have contracted this virus as well as the marginalized communities it disproportionately affects.” Waxman said the legislation could also help prevent Pennsylvania from costly legal trouble. On Dec. 1, 2023, the Read more

 

Committee hearing focuses on improving public transportation

(Feb 20, 2024)

“Public transportation is a critical lifeline for residents in my district, it is the one thing that connects us as a community,” said Rep. Waxman, who requested and hosted the hearing. “What makes my district in Philadelphia unique is we have more residents that rely on public transit to get to work and their daily needs like doctor appointments, but we also have one of the most active districts for visitors traveling into our district through public transportation.” Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation congratulates new city leaders

(Jan 03, 2024)

Today, leaders of the Philadelphia House Delegation expressed their excitement for the inauguration of Cherelle Parker as the first woman and 100th Philadelphian to serve as mayor of Philadelphia. Read more

 

Waxman: More than $1.3 million in funding awarded to local arts organizations

(Dec 19, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 19 – State Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Phila., today announced more than $1.3 million in state grants that will support local arts organizations across the 182 nd Legislative District. The following grants were awarded by the Commonwealth Finance Authority through the COVID-19 ARPA PA Arts and Culture Recovery Program: Association for Public Art $50,345 to The Association for Public Art for new programs and marketing for the Arts Organization located in Philadelphia. Astral Artists Inc. $29,404 to Astral Artists, Inc. to cover operating costs for the Performing Arts Organization located in Philadelphia. Center for Emerging Visual Artists LTD $17,034 to Center for Emerging Visual Artists LTD for operating expenses for the Arts Organization located in Philadelphia. Choral Arts Philadelphia $10,000 to Choral Arts Philadelphia to offset lost revenue for the Performing Arts Organization located. College of Physicians of Philadelphia $95,000 to College of Physicians of Philadelphia to offset lost revenue for the History Museum Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia $30,490 to Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia to offset lost revenue for the Orchestra. CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia $29,038 to CultureWorks, Greater Philadelphia to for operating expenses and new Read more

 

PA House Democrats approve legislation to increase nonprofit security grant program to $10 million

(Nov 02, 2023)

"I was honored to join with Chairman Harris as well as the other members of the Philadelphia Delegation from impacted communities to co-sponsor this legislation,” said Waxman. “Together, we showed that we are united in offering support to every community impacted by hate crimes and global unrest." Read more

 

Waxman Lauds Advancement of Anti-Death Penalty Bill

(Nov 01, 2023)

A longtime proponent of repealing PA’s death penalty, state Rep. Ben Waxman stands with advocates and colleagues to celebrate the House Judiciary Committee’s approval of legislation that would abolish the death penalty. Read more

 

Eviction Reform Hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 29; News from the Capitol

(Aug 28, 2023)

I have reported our success in passing a $45.5 billion primary budget bill in the beginning of the month, but we still need to pass “code bills,” which outline the way that the budget is directed toward specific programming. Read more

 

Philly 10K Road Closures and Parking Changes

(Aug 16, 2023)

I want to help do my part and make sure you’re notified properly about the upcoming Philly 10K race that will be returning for its tenth year! With this race showcasing some of the best areas of South Philly, please make sure you are prepared for travel on Sunday, August 27! Above are road closures and timetables to help you prepare and anticipate delays. Read more

 

Waxman votes in favor of state budget

(Jul 06, 2023)

HARRISBURG, July 6 – State Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Phila., yesterday cast his vote in favor of the 2023-24 state budget, committing to significant investment in Pennsylvania's education system, infrastructure and mental health services. The budget, passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, signals a commitment to Pennsylvania's future and a dedication to addressing immediate needs of communities. "This budget is not perfect by a long shot, but Governor Shapiro's commitment to veto the $100 million voucher portion of the budget was key in securing my vote. We need to ensure our resources are committed to public education,” Waxman said. The Philadelphia School District will receive $1.7 billion, a $119.6 million, or 7.6%, increase from the previous fiscal year. "This budget avoids a prolonged partisan standoff without compromising our core values,” said Waxman. "Our work in the Pa. House has yielded historic increases to K-12 education funding, a commitment to supporting teachers with student teacher stipends, and vital expansions in food security for our students through free breakfast and expanded lunch programs." Waxman also noted the budget's commitment to improving Pennsylvania's infrastructure and supporting local businesses, with $50 million in whole home repairs and $20 million for the Historically Disadvantaged Business Program. In addition to Read more

 

Infrastructure, Housing, Transportation, and Safety Funding Opportunities

(Jul 05, 2023)

Below are several grant programs that are currently open for applications. PROGRAMS NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS: Historical & Museum Commission: Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program Who May Apply: Museums that are in Pennsylvania with annual operating budgets exceeding $100,000 (excluding capital and in-kind services) and at least one full-time professional staff person and that are not supported by other state agency funding programs and official County Historical Societies designated as the official historical society for the county. Use: The goal of this program is to strengthen Pennsylvania’s museums and allow applicants to determine how to use funds for operating expenses. Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to, salaries, benefits, insurance, food service, travel, professional development, marketing, and equipment. Funds: Grant awards range from $2,500 to $65,000. Application Deadline: November 7, 2023 More information: PHMC Website Department of Community and Economic Development: Pennsylvania Strategic Investments to Enhance Sites (PA SITES) Program Who May Apply: Municipality, Economic Development Organization, Redevelopment Authorities, Municipal Authorities, Industrial Development Agencies. For-profit businesses are not eligible to apply for the PA SITES Program. However, an eligible applicant may apply for a site owned and controlled by the Read more

 

Hohenstein introduces local funding options for transportation

(Jun 20, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., today hosted a news conference on the Capitol steps to introduce his legislation that would provide local funding options for transportation . “As we have seen this past week, when a transportation crisis occurs, we lean on our public transit system,” Hohenstein said. “SEPTA has stepped up with increased services while I-95 is being repaired. Now we need to step up and give it funding flexibility and give Philadelphia and its surrounding counties the ability to fully support one of the largest people-moving transit systems in the country. Local funding options are essential to the survival of public transit, and public transit is essential for our economic growth.” "I am proud to stand with my colleagues to support increased funding for public transit,” said state Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Phila. “Public transportation is a critical component to our economy as well as protecting our environment. The PA House Democratic Caucus is committed to fighting to make sure our transit systems have all the resources they need." “As SEPTA works to respond to the I-95 collapse with added service, equipment and staff to meet the needs of our city and its residents, I am asking council this week to approve a resolution supporting SEPTA and urging state lawmakers to increase their investment in public transportation and enable local Read more

 

Infrastructure, Housing, and Safety Funding Opportunities

(Jun 16, 2023)

STATE PROGRAMS NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS: Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency: Support Families of Child Abuse Victims Who May Apply: Non-profits that specialize in providing service for child abuse victims in Pennsylvania. Use: Implementation of a research or evidence-based trauma training to support non-offending caregivers of child abuse victims. Funds: $250,000 in federal Children’s Justice Act funds. Application Deadline: July 6, 2023 More information: PCCD Website Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency: PA START/STOP Project Who May Apply: Any private non-profit agency, any private for-profit agency, public agency, or unit of local government. Use: The PA START/STOP campaigns aim to increase awareness of the dangers of Opioid abuse, as well as to provide resources to assist parents and caregivers in promoting healthy behaviors among youth to prevent substance use in the first place. Funds: $900,000 in federal State Opioid Response funds. Application Deadline: July 10, 2023 More information: PCCD Website Pennsylvania Department of Transportation: Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Who May Apply: Local, county, and tribal governments, transit agencies, schools, school districts, nonprofits, and small Metropolitan Planning Organizations. Use: Transportation alternatives, including on- and Read more

 

Waxman celebrates House passage of his measure to reduce cell phone bills

(Jun 13, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 13 – State Rep. Ben Waxman, D-Phila., today celebrated the passage of his legislation that would reduce cell phone bills for families across the state. “ This is about providing financial relief to individuals and families across the entire state ,” Waxman said. “ We all rely on cell phones for communication, work, and staying connected to loved ones. They have become an essential part of our lives, and it’s only fair that we work to alleviate the excessive tax burdens placed on Pennsylvanians.” Waxman’s legislation would exempt cell phone service from the 6% sales and use tax, as well as the 5% gross receipts tax. This legislation follows Gov. Josh Shapiro’s state budget plan and would save Pennsylvania families an estimated $124 million per year. According to Waxman, Pennsylvania has the seventh highest combined rate of taxes and other government fees and surcharges on cell phone bills at 16.62%. At this time, 68% of American households do not have a landline and rely solely on cell phones for voice communication. Waxman said lower-income households and younger individuals are more likely to be wireless-only. Further, 15% of Americans use cellular data on their smartphones as their only method of accessing the internet, as these families do not have broadband internet service. For more information, those interested can contact Waxman’s Read more

 

Waxman, prison-reform advocates push to make Scandinavian unit permanent fixture statewide
May 21, 2024

Pennsylvania State Police roll out body cameras to Philly-area troopers
May 01, 2024

Philadelphia House Delegation praises increased transparency by PA State Police
Apr 29, 2024

Waxman calls to make unit at state correctional institution a permanent fixture statewide
Apr 12, 2024

House Commerce Committee works to protect consumers’ investments in cryptocurrencies
Mar 27, 2024

Rep. Ben Waxman, Sen. Nikil Saval, Friends of Rittenhouse Square Celebrate Lawn Restoration Project
Mar 18, 2024

Waxman Probes Financial Health of PA
Mar 07, 2024

Waxman to introduce legislation to decriminalize HIV in Pennsylvania
Feb 28, 2024

Committee hearing focuses on improving public transportation
Feb 20, 2024

Philadelphia House Delegation congratulates new city leaders
Jan 03, 2024

Waxman: More than $1.3 million in funding awarded to local arts organizations
Dec 19, 2023

PA House Democrats approve legislation to increase nonprofit security grant program to $10 million
Nov 02, 2023

Waxman Lauds Advancement of Anti-Death Penalty Bill
Nov 01, 2023

Eviction Reform Hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 29; News from the Capitol
Aug 28, 2023

Philly 10K Road Closures and Parking Changes
Aug 16, 2023

Waxman votes in favor of state budget
Jul 06, 2023

Infrastructure, Housing, Transportation, and Safety Funding Opportunities
Jul 05, 2023

Hohenstein introduces local funding options for transportation
Jun 20, 2023

Infrastructure, Housing, and Safety Funding Opportunities
Jun 16, 2023

Waxman celebrates House passage of his measure to reduce cell phone bills
Jun 13, 2023