Pa. House recognizes LGBTQ+ Pride Month

(Jun 27, 2023)

“As levels of LGBTQ+ hate and discrimination continue to rise, we must also recognize that the fight for full equality is far from over. My colleagues and I in the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus stand in solidarity with members of the LGBTQ+ community and will continue advocating for policies like the Fairness Act that move us toward a more accepting, loving, and inclusive society.” Read more

 

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus shames Erie County Public Library

(Jun 21, 2023)

Calls for Pride book display to be replaced Read more

 

Rep. Jessica Benham: Federal agency could help Alzheimer’s patients

(May 24, 2023)

Last summer, my grandmother passed away after years of living with Alzheimer’s disease. If you’ve lost a loved one to this disease or know someone who has, then you’re familiar with the long and cruel journey both the patient and their families have walked. Read more

 

Benham applauds up to $800,000 to combat substance use disorder

(May 11, 2023)

Benham applauds up to $800,000 to combat substance use disorderState grants awarded to Tree of Life Bible Church, Crossroads Treatment Read more

 

Fairness Act protections for LGBTQ+ people clears Pa. House with bipartisan support

(May 03, 2023)

The Pennsylvania Capital-Star covers the passing of the Fairness Act out of the Pennsylvania House. Read more

 

Fairness Act passes PA House

(May 02, 2023)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – Today, the Fairness Act (H.B. 300) passed out of the Pennsylvania House and is headed to the Senate for a future vote. Below is a quote that can be attributed to the co-prime sponsors of this bill: Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila; Jessica Benham, Dan Frankel and La’Tasha D. Mayes, all D-Allegheny; Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; and Greg Scott, D-Montgomery. “Today is a historic day, as we take a critical step to make Pennsylvania fairer. The Fairness Act is as simple as it is substantive. H.B. 300 would protect LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians from facing discrimination and allow all individuals in the commonwealth to file complaints with the PA Human Relations Commission. “Now, we call on the Senate to quickly consider and pass this legislation and send it to Governor Shapiro’s desk.” Read more

 

PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus holds rally for Fairness Act

(Apr 26, 2023)

HARRISBURG, April 26 – Today, the PA House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, chaired by state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, held a rally on the PA Capitol steps in Harrisburg promoting the Fairness Act (H.B. 300), anti-discrimination legislation currently moving through the state House. House Bill 300 would prohibit discrimination in PA based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression. On Monday, the bill was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee and is headed for an eventual vote by the full House. Today’s rally saw a huge turnout of legislators, advocates and the public. Kenyatta and Benham were joined by the other co-prime sponsors of H.B. 300, state Reps. Dan Frankel and Latasha D. Mayes, both D-Allegheny; Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; and Greg Scott, D-Montgomery; to speak on their bill. “Pennsylvania is better when it’s fairer. Passing the Fairness Act is the right thing to do for our families, our commonwealth and for our economy. This legislation was first introduced 22 years ago -- leaving committee once before -- and never receiving a full vote,” Kenyatta said. “It’s time for that to change. Pennsylvanians are good and decent people. They know every single one of us should be treated with dignity and respect. We have a chance to deliver on that basic principle and we will.” “The Fairness Act is as Read more

 

‘Fairness Act’ reported out of House Judiciary Committee

(Apr 24, 2023)

HARRISBURG, April 24 – Today, The Fairness Act (H.B. 300) was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee 12-9 and will now head to the House floor for a vote. Prime sponsors of the bill, state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila; Jessica Benham, Dan Frankel and Latasha D. Mayes, all D-Allegheny; Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; and Greg Scott, D-Montgomery; issued the following statement following the Judiciary Committee vote. “The Fairness Act has been in the works for years and never received fair consideration. With today’s vote in the Judiciary Committee, we took a huge step toward making Pennsylvania fairer for our LGBTQ+ residents. “As H.B. 300 heads to the house floor for a vote, we are ready to defend the rights of LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians. “Most Pennsylvanians believe what we believe; Pennsylvania is better when it’s fairer. We hope our colleagues in the House can see eye to eye with us and most Pennsylvanians, so they can meet this monumental moment for our commonwealth and pass H.B 300 out of the House and to the Senate.” Read more

 

Democratic lawmakers issue statement on introduction of “Fairness Act”

(Apr 14, 2023)

HARRISBURG, April 13 – Today, the Fairness Act , whose prime sponsors are state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila.; Jessica Benham, Dan Frankel and Latasha D. Mayes, all D-Allegheny; Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster; and Greg Scott, D-Montgomery, was introduced as H.B. 300. The following joint statement can be attributed to the members listed above: “Every single Pennsylvanian deserves to live with dignity and respect. For far too long, LGBTQ+ folks across the commonwealth have faced horrific discrimination for who they love, how they identify and who they are. “In 2020, in the landmark decision of Bostock v. Clayton County, the United States Supreme Court ruled that an employer cannot discriminate against an individual because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While this decision was a historic victory for civil rights, it does not prevent someone in our state who identifies as LGBTQ+ from being denied housing, education or access to public accommodations. These protections must be codified into law. “Lack of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law in Pennsylvania is a deterrent for workers and businesses who could help grow our economy, and its passage is long overdue. Discrimination in any form degrades us all. We can and must do better. “That is why we are introducing the Fairness Act (H.B.300) to prohibit discrimination in our state based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. “We Read more

 

Workforce Development, Infrastructure, and Housing Funding Opportunities

(Apr 13, 2023)

STATE PROGRAMS NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry: DEI in the Building and Construction Trades Grant (Funding Source: General Fund) Who May Apply : Organizations that serve as sponsors or intermediaries of Registered Apprenticeship and/or Pre-Apprenticeship in the building and construction trades. Use : To develop diverse talent pipelines and reach underrepresented populations within the building and construction trades. Funds : $1 million in total program funding. Application Deadline : April 26, 2023 More Information : Click on https://www.dli.pa.gov/Businesses/Workforce-Development/grants/Pages/default.aspx . Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT): Public-Private Partnerships (P3) Program (Funding Source: State, Federal, & Private Funding) Who May Apply : Private companies. Use : To develop innovative ways to deliver transportation projects across a variety of modes including roads, bridges, rail, aviation, and ports. Funds : Varies by award. Application Deadline : April 30, 2023 More Information : Click on https://www.penndot.pa.gov/ProjectAndPrograms/p3forpa/Pages/default.aspx . Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry: Youth Reentry Grant (Funding Source: General Fund) Who May Apply : Read more

 

Abney and Benham praise state grant of up to $500,000 for Allegheny County recovery hub

(Apr 13, 2023)

PITTSBURGH, April 13 – State Reps. Aerion A. Abney and Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today that a state grant of as much as $500,000 will be awarded to Allegheny County for the establishment of a regional recovery hub spearheaded by Unity Recovery on Pittsburgh’s South Side. The funding will allow the recovery hub in Allegheny County and in counties across the Commonwealth to conduct an initial needs assessment for recovery support services in their specific region, including an estimate of individuals in need of these services and an analysis of their availability and accessibility. In addition, the hubs will develop a strategic plan, partnering with local organizations, that focuses on the importance of supporting multiple pathways to and through recovery, and will seek to promote recovery services in areas including peer support, family support and self-care. “Addiction is not a circumstance easily overcome by one individual’s own willpower,” Abney said. “These funds are essential to providing needed assistance for all those looking to turn their lives around for the positive.” “Substance use – especially opioid use – has devastated communities across the commonwealth, and South Pittsburgh is certainly no exception,” Benham added. “This is a public health crisis, and I applaud the Shapiro-Davis administration for embracing harm reduction strategies and investing in these recovery Read more

 

Benham, Ortitay advance kinship tuition bill through committee

(Apr 12, 2023)

Bipartisan bill to expand tuition waver program headed for House chamber vote Read more

 

Kenyatta, Benham, Burgos and Flick introduce bipartisan ‘Marriage Equality’ bill

(Apr 11, 2023)

HARRISBURG, April 11 – State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Danilo Burgos, both D-Phila., Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, and Jamie Flick, R-Lycoming/Union, are introducing legislation to protect the right of marriage equality against further high court cases that could erode that right and to clean up the statute to be in line with the U.S Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges . Marriage was only recently extended to same-sex couples across the United States. While numerous states had previously recognized the right of same-sex couples to marry, it was the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26, 2015, that made it clear that marriage, and all its privileges and responsibilities, should be available to all. Despite the landmark ruling, and same-sex marriage being legal in Pennsylvania, the commonwealth, as well as many other states, retain outdated, unconstitutional and unnecessary sections of law that prohibit marriage equality. This legislation would update Pennsylvania’s current laws by repealing the section of law that only recognizes marriage as being between a man and woman. Kenyatta, who serves as co-chair of the Pennsylvania LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, said it’s important for the statue of Pennsylvania’s law regarding marriage to reflect Obergefell v. Hodges. “As the first openly LGBTQ person to get married during their tenure in the General Assembly, I know how special it is, to not 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

 

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus condemns University of Pittsburgh for hosting transphobic speakers

(Mar 15, 2023)

“Giving a podium and university resources to someone like Michael Knowles who has publicly stated his goal is to eradicate ‘transgenderism’ from public life is a direct violation of the university’s commitment to support and protect its transgender community members. Transgender individuals at Pitt are not feeling supported – they are feeling endangered. I am urging the university to step in and cancel the events in the interest of protecting the LGBTQ+ community at Pitt.” Read more

 

PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Introduces Legislation to Push for Equality

(Feb 14, 2023)

We will do everything we can to ensure LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians have a voice in the halls of Harrisburg and a seat at the table directing our commonwealth’s future. Read more

 

South Side businesses renew calls to end neighborhood violence

(Feb 09, 2023)

"This is an awesome and vibrant neighborhood, and we need some help from you guys to make it to continue to be so," Lou Kroeck of the South Side Chamber of Commerce said. Read more

 

Residents, business owners and leaders meet to discuss South Side safety

(Feb 09, 2023)

State Rep. Jessica Benham hosted the gathering and says the state is investing in solving the issues, like the PennDOT project in the East Carson corridor and $8 million towards preventing youth violence. Read more

 

Policy Committee addresses needs for South Side neighborhood

(Feb 08, 2023)

“Those of us who live here know the challenges that we have faced, recently and stretching into the past, and I know – from my conversations with my colleagues – that many of these challenges are shared by other communities throughout Pennsylvania,” state Rep. Jess Benham said. Read more

 

Benham: $63,000 in state funds for local emergency services

(Feb 06, 2023)

MT. OLIVER, Feb. 6 – Nearly $63,000 has been awarded to local fire and EMS companies through the Fire Company and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program , state Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today. “We are very fortunate to have incredibly hard-working first responders in the 36th Legislative District,” said Benham. “I’ll continue fighting for state grant funding to train and equip our courageous firefighters and EMS workers to ensure they have the best tools to serve our neighbors.” The following local funding was included among $2.5 million in FCEMSG grants awarded in Allegheny County: $10,000 to Brentwood EMS. $13,000 to Brentwood Volunteer Fire Co. $14,800 to Mt. Oliver Hook and Ladder Co. $15,000 to Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire. $10,000 to Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire (EMS). Eligible projects include facility upgrades, equipment, debt reduction, training and certification, education and public outreach, and recruitment and retention efforts. Additionally, fire companies were permitted to apply for constructions savings accounts for the purposes of new facility construction. The FCEMSG is administered by the Office of State Fire Commissioner and makes an annual grant program available for volunteer and career fire companies, emergency medical services and rescue squads. All fire companies, emergency medical service and volunteer rescue squads are eligible to apply for this annual grant program. Read more

 

Pa. House recognizes LGBTQ+ Pride Month
Jun 27, 2023

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus shames Erie County Public Library
Jun 21, 2023

Rep. Jessica Benham: Federal agency could help Alzheimer’s patients
May 24, 2023

Benham applauds up to $800,000 to combat substance use disorder
May 11, 2023

Fairness Act protections for LGBTQ+ people clears Pa. House with bipartisan support
May 03, 2023

Fairness Act passes PA House
May 02, 2023

PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus holds rally for Fairness Act
Apr 26, 2023

‘Fairness Act’ reported out of House Judiciary Committee
Apr 24, 2023

Democratic lawmakers issue statement on introduction of “Fairness Act”
Apr 14, 2023

Workforce Development, Infrastructure, and Housing Funding Opportunities
Apr 13, 2023

Abney and Benham praise state grant of up to $500,000 for Allegheny County recovery hub
Apr 13, 2023

Benham, Ortitay advance kinship tuition bill through committee
Apr 12, 2023

Kenyatta, Benham, Burgos and Flick introduce bipartisan ‘Marriage Equality’ bill
Apr 11, 2023

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

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus condemns University of Pittsburgh for hosting transphobic speakers
Mar 15, 2023

PA LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Introduces Legislation to Push for Equality
Feb 14, 2023

South Side businesses renew calls to end neighborhood violence
Feb 09, 2023

Residents, business owners and leaders meet to discuss South Side safety
Feb 09, 2023

Policy Committee addresses needs for South Side neighborhood
Feb 08, 2023

Benham: $63,000 in state funds for local emergency services
Feb 06, 2023