LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus denounces Mastriano bill to ban drag shows

(Jan 26, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 26 – House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus co-chairs, state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, are denouncing state Sen. Doug Mastriano’s, R-Adams/Franklin, proposed bill to ban drag shows in Pennsylvania public places. This bill would place drag shows under the “adult-oriented business” classification. “The LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus recognizes that this legislation – which has no chance of becoming law – is a sad stunt by Mastriano and shows Republicans’ lack of addressing important issues facing our families. “When all a politician or party can offer you is a list of who to hate, what to ban, and what marginalized group to blame — it’s because they have no serious ideas to help solve your actual problems. This fact-free legislation has zero chance of becoming law or making communities safer, but has a very serious chance of increasing violence against performers, venues and guests.” Kenyatta said. Benham stated that this bill could lead to further attacks on LGBTQ+ individuals. “Drag shows are a celebration of identity,” Benham said. “This bill has no basis in any actual threat to the safety of young people and provides the foundation for attacks against the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to exist in public.” Many Republican legislators across the country have introduced similar legislation to ban or put restrictions on Read more


Benham praises $7.7 million for violence prevention programs

(Jan 13, 2023)

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 13 – Nearly $8 million has been awarded through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to support local violence prevention efforts, state Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today. “I am deeply saddened that violent crime continues to be prevalent in our communities,” said Benham. “The grants awarded to these organizations serving House District 36 represents an ongoing commitment to support local programs aimed at preventing future incidences of gun violence and other preventable tragedies.” The following local funding was included among $100 million in grants announced for projects across the state this week: $2.5 million to the Center for Victims to provide comprehensive resources for responses to gun/group violence that includes crisis response, targeted therapy and counseling, legal advocacy, long-term wellness and healing strategies, and expansion of ongoing violence interruption, intervention, and prevention efforts. Funding will support a percentage of personnel costs for current and new staff members. Ultimately, this project will enhance CV’s reach and ability to provide ongoing core services to victims, and to implement prevention and intervention strategies in communities. $2.5 million to the Safe Passages program , which is focused on combatting violence in schools. Specifically, this project will put Youth Read more


PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus urges Central Bucks SD to reconsider wrong-headed policy

(Jan 11, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 11 – The PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus issued the following statement on Central Bucks School District’s new policy that limits what teachers can discuss and display in the classroom. “Last night, the Central Bucks School Board voted 6-3 to adopt a wrongheaded policy to ban teachers from displaying any number of items in the classroom in the name of ‘neutrality.’ But we see this policy for exactly what it is -- another attempt to muzzle free expression, effectively ‘disappear’ members of our communities and silence the exchange of ideas that we should all want in our classrooms. The existence of LGBTQ people is not salacious. But let us be clear: turning our classrooms into a political proxy war is wrong. “At best -- and giving a large benefit of a doubt that this policy comes from the best intentions -- this will have a chilling effect on the lives of LGBTQ youth in the district. At worst, this represents an Orwellian erasure of the truth that these students are living, one that will shame and isolate young people at a critical time in their lives. “At a time when policies like these are being pushed across our nation by far-right extremist interests who seek political gain regardless of the costs, we are calling on the district to do the right thing, to re-consider this wrongheaded policy, and to help send a message that our communities will not tolerate these kinds of attacks on individual Read more


Benham begins second term in state House

(Jan 04, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 4 – State Rep. Jessica Benham took the oath of office in the state Capitol yesterday to begin her second term representing the 36th Legislative District in Allegheny County. For her second term, Benham said she plans to continue fighting for legislative changes that promote access to health care, public education, improvements to critical infrastructure, public safety, workers’ rights and more. “I pledge to continue fighting for working families in Pennsylvania, many of whom are currently struggling to get by,” said Benham. “My colleagues in Harrisburg and I are eager to continue working to pass legislation that will make material changes for those most in need.” As one of the few openly LGBTQ+ members in the General Assembly, Benham was recently named co-chair of the PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus alongside state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., positioning the pair to lead on championing bills like the PA Fairness Act in the 2023-24 legislative session. In addition to pursuing policy changes in Harrisburg, Benham said her office on Brownsville Road is ready to help constituents with a variety of state-related services, including home heating assistance, children’s health insurance, prescription drug and property tax/rent rebate assistance. Residents can visit to find out more. The 36th Legislative District includes about 62,000 residents in the boroughs of Read more


Benham applauds $1.8 million for safer communities

(Dec 15, 2022)

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 15 – More than $1.8 million in grants has been awarded to two area organizations through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, state Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today. Benham praised both awards, saying the funds will enhance community safety initiatives and increase access to essential victim services throughout the region. Funds were awarded as follows: $1.8 million to the Center for Victims , which provides critical support and services to victims of all crimes, including-domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, child sexual assault and physical abuse, elder abuse, homicide, burglary, and incidents of mass violence. $10,000 for security enhancement projects at the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corp. , a community organization focusing on racial and economic equity in the area. More information on PCCD grants can be found here . Read more


PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus celebrates step forward in state’s nondiscrimination policies

(Dec 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 8 – In celebration of an affirmative vote today by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission that will enable the PA Human Relations Commission to investigate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus co-chairs state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement: “LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians now have a legitimate avenue for recourse when they face discrimination from a landlord, employer or in public accommodations. This, along with today’s passage of the landmark Respect for Marriage Act at the federal level, makes today a truly momentous day for LGBTQ+ individuals in our state and across the nation. “While these hard-won victories warrant celebration, it’s important for us to recognize that the fight for true equality is far from over. Members and allies of this community have given blood, sweat, tears and, in some cases, their own lives to get us this far. We can’t quit now. “Pursuing legislation to make these important protections permanent remains one of our top priorities in the General Assembly, and it will be until they are enshrined in our state law. We look forward to championing the PA Fairness Act among other bills to make Pennsylvania equitable for all.” Read more


PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus applauds move to adopt nondiscrimination protections

(Dec 07, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 7 – After nearly a decade of stonewalling by Republicans in the state legislature, the PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus co-chairs state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, today offered their full support for a move by Gov. Tom Wolf and the PA Human Relations Commission ahead of a PHRC vote tomorrow that could solidify nondiscrimination protections in the state: “It’s 2022 and Pennsylvania still has no law on the books to prevent discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals, a situation which is completely unacceptable and, quite frankly, embarrassing. “In the realms of employment, education, and housing, it’s currently legal in our commonwealth to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. While our caucus fought tooth-and-nail for more comprehensive anti-discrimination laws, like the PA Fairness Act , in previous legislative sessions, the Republican majority at the time did everything they could to obstruct and prevent progress. “That is why we are offering our full support to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to secure these basic, long overdue protections for LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians; something that the General Assembly failed to do for decades under a Republican majority. Additionally, we look forward to re-introducing the PA Fairness Act to enshrine these protections into our state law.” The PHRC is scheduled tomorrow to vote on Regulation Read more


State programs now open for applications

(Dec 05, 2022)

Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency/Pennsylvania Department of Human Services: Pennsylvania Academic and Career/Technical Training Innovative Solicitation (Funding Source: Justice Reinvestment Fund) Who May Apply : Existing PACTT Affiliates. Use : To improve services for delinquent youth receiving academic and career/technical training services. Funds : Awards up to $75,000 for 24-month projects. Application Deadline : December 23, 2022 More Information : Click on . Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission: Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Pumpout Grant Program (Funding Source: Federal Funding) Who May Apply : Local governmental entities and private businesses that own and operate boating facilities. Use : To fund the construction, renovation, and maintenance of pumpout and dump stations to service pleasure boats. Funds : Reimburse up to 75% of the installation cost of pumpout and dump stations. Application Deadline : December 30, 2022 More Information : Click on . Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency: 2022-23 School Safety and Security Training and Technical Assistance Program (Funding Source: FY 2022 School Safety and Security Grant Program Fund) Who May Apply : Non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education (not-for profit), and for-profit organizations. Use : To Read more


PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus issues statement on World AIDS Day

(Dec 01, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 1 – PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus co-chairs state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement on World AIDS Day: “On this World Aids Day, we recognize the effect this disease and the stigma of it has had on the LGBTQ+ community across the world. “While medical improvements have been made to address this disease, there is still much more we can be doing. According to the CDC, over half of people living with HIV in the US are gay and bisexual men. “We cannot allow this horrible disease to continue to disproportionately affect our communities. Our caucus is committed to working with medical professionals, LGBTQ+ advocates, elected officials and anyone who cares about AIDS to keep LGBTQ+ individuals safe from this horrible disease.” Read more


Frankel, Muth to hand off LGBTQ+ Caucus Leadership

(Nov 29, 2022)

Kenyatta, Benham will lead the caucus in 2023-24 session Read more


Benham announces $200K for Elizabeth Seton Center

(Nov 15, 2022)

BROOKLINE, Nov. 15 – A state grant of $200,000 has been awarded to fund renovations at the Elizabeth Seton Center on Pioneer Ave., state Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today. “We all deserve equal access to every part of our community,” said Benham. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to bring these tax dollars to make the Elizabeth Seton Center more accessible for everyone.” Benham said the award will fund the installation of an elevator and a stair lift, as well as restroom renovations to maximize accessibility at the center. The grant was among a number funded by the Allegheny County Gaming Economic Development Tourism Fund , which is financed by gaming activity in the county. The fund is administered by the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County and the state Commonwealth Financing Authority. Read more


Benham: $2.5 million secured for local revitalization efforts

(Oct 28, 2022)

BRENTWOOD, Oct. 28 – Two grants totaling $2.5 million have been awarded to support local redevelopment projects, state Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today. “I’m proud to have secured these funds to revitalize two properties in our community,” said Benham. “I’ll continue fighting to bring tax dollars back to Allegheny County through state grants like this.” One grant of $1.5 million will fund a project for Brentwood to demolish its vacant borough building to the subgrade level. Additionally, asbestos and other hazardous materials will be professionally remediated and the site will be restored to pad-ready condition. The second grant of $1 million will fund the construction of a building for Casa San Jose. The entirety of the project will be based in the 1602-1606 Broadway Avenue building. RACP funding will be used to "white-box" the building and perform necessary grading, demolition, infrastructure upgrades and other site work. Benham thanked her colleague Rep. Dan Deasy, also D-Allegheny, for assisting in securing funding for the Casa San Jose project. The grants are sourced from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program , a Commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are state-funded and cannot Read more


Benham, Abney to host Hilltop Health Check in Mt. Oliver

(Sep 20, 2022)

MT. OLIVER, Sept. 20 – State Reps. Jessica Benham and Aerion Abney, both D-Allegheny, are inviting members of the community to join them for a health resource fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Brashear CARES Center located at 320 Brownsville Road. The Hilltop Health Check will feature a variety of health-related vendors, as well as information on state resources that are available to the public. There will also be a flu vaccination clinic happening simultaneously nearby at the Mt. Oliver Borough Firehall, located at 120 Brownsville Road. Questions about the event can be directed to Benham’s district office. The official event flyer can be found here. Read more


Benham applauds executive order to deter conversion ‘therapy’

(Aug 16, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 16 – In response to Governor Tom Wolf’s executive order on “conversion therapy” that was signed today, state Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, released the following statement: “I applaud the governor’s efforts to discourage the dangerous practice commonly referred to as conversion therapy. Misnomered as ‘therapy,’ this abusive tactic reinforces the idea that LGBTQ+ individuals are inferior because of their sexual preference. Furthermore, it has devastating effects on the mental health of those who are subjected to it, especially young people. “While I’m happy that this executive order will create meaningful changes, it does not change the fact that LGBTQ+ people are, sadly, still seriously marginalized in many ways. We need to keep fighting and pushing for further reforms, like the PA Fairness Act , that will bring us closer to a truly equal society.” As one of the few openly LGBTQ+ legislators in Pennsylvania, Benham is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and has been a fierce advocate for the expansion of LGBTQ+ protections since her election to the state House in 2020. Read more


Rep. Jess Recap: Celebrating a successful shredding event and more!

(May 25, 2022)

Click to read the latest email update from Rep. Jess... Read more


Recap with Rep. Jess

(May 11, 2022)

Click here to read the latest email update from Rep. Jess Benham Read more


Benham and Costa to host shredding event

(Apr 28, 2022)

State Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today her office will host a free shredding event in conjunction with state Sen. Jay Costa from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, May 7 at Carrick High School, 125 Parkfield St. in Pittsburgh. Read more


Recap with Rep. Jess

(Apr 25, 2022)

Click to read the latest email update from Rep. Jess Read more


Benham: $1 Million award to fund Hilltop Community Center project

(Apr 23, 2022)

State Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today a $1 million grant award to the Brashear Association for the Hilltop Community Center project. Read more


Recap with Rep. Jess

(Apr 05, 2022)

Click to read Rep. Jessica Benham's latest email. Read more