YORK, Sept. 22 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans will collect donated diapers in her district office from Monday to Oct. 6, as she joins other state legislators in an effort to raise awareness of what is known as the “diaper gap.” Hill-Evans, D-York, joined state Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Phila., to introduce a resolution marking Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 as “Diaper Need Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania. One in three mothers find it difficult to provide diapers for their children, which might cause babies or toddlers to wear one diaper for a day or longer, which poses health risks. Incontinent adults also can have difficulty affording disposable undergarments, which can cause them to face serious medical issues. “It’s heartbreaking to think that a mom or dad might have to make a choice between paying the bills or buying diapers for a child,” Hill-Evans said. “Many community organizations are working to try to fill the ‘diaper gap,’ and I hope we can help by raising awareness of the need that exists.” The fourth annual Diaper Need Awareness Week Diaper Drive will be held Monday to Oct. 6 at the state Capitol. Donations also will be accepted at Hill-Evans’ district office, 53 E. North St., Suite 3, York. The disposable diapers and wipes packages must be sealed. Donated diapers will be given to a Pennsylvania diaper bank registered with the National Diaper Bank Network. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., said Pennsylvania's rules for notary publics are undergoing major changes beginning Oct. 26. The changes are identified in Act 67 of 2013, known as the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, or RULONA. The changes affect everything from educational requirements to permitted duties of a notary to eligibility, journals and approved methods of identification and even the official notary stamp. Roebuck said detailed information is available by visiting the Pennsylvania Department of State's website at www.dos.pa.gov/OtherServices/Notaries/ and clicking "What to Know About RULONA." The department's RULONA page has a summary of all the changes and a list of RULONA-compliant education courses. Roebuck said the biggest changes include: Education: All applicants, including current notaries up for reappointment, must complete a course within the six months immediately preceding the application and provide proof of certification, including those who were previously grandfathered in to avoid the requirement. Examination: All applicants without a current, valid commission must take an exam administered by Pearson VUE. This includes those who previously held a commission but is no longer valid. Eligibility: Must be at least age 18 and a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident; have completed the three hours of approved notary education; and pass an examination if the applicant does Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., has introduced legislation ( H.B. 1799 ) that would make solar energy more accessible to low-income and disadvantaged Pennsylvanians. Bullock announced the introduction of this bill today at a joint news conference with PECO. “Many families in Philadelphia are forced to choose between heating their homes and what’s for dinner,” Bullock said. “While there are other, more energy-efficient alternatives, these options are simply out of reach for many of our residents. Instead of thinking about alternative energy, they may be struggling to repair a leaky roof or are fighting to keep the lights on.” House Bill 1799 would allow utility companies like PECO to own and operate Pennsylvania-based solar sites and provide solar energy to low-income residents at a discounted rate. Under Act 213 of 2004, Pennsylvania electric distribution companies and electric generation suppliers are required to produce 18 percent of electricity through alternative resources by the year 2021. “House Bill 1799 would make solar energy more accessible to all Pennsylvanians – no matter how much they make or what their credit score is,” Bullock said. “Investing in solar energy has the potential to transform our lives, improve our neighborhoods and energize our economy. It can also remove the perception that solar energy is only reserved for the wealthy.” The average cost for Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Joran Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, visited Cheyney University this week to celebrate National Historically Black College and University week. Harris and several members of the PLBC were joined by Congressman Dwight Evans to discuss the importance of HBCUs in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. “It was a pleasure to join my colleagues and speak with Cheyney University students about the role that HBCUs play in our nation,” Harris said. “Cheyney University is much more than a place we send our students to learn. For 180 years, Cheyney has prepared students of color to successfully take on the world. We must ensure that it continues to do so.” Established in 1837, Cheyney University is the nation’s first historically black college. Harris and other members of the PLBC serve on the Cheyney University task force. In May, the task force urged the State System of Higher Education to forgive the university of more than $30 million in loans. “Our visit to Cheyney University was productive and gave us an opportunity to speak with students and get their perspective on what is happening at the university,” said Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee. “As Democratic chairman, I believe these conversations are important and help us make thoughtful decisions in Harrisburg. This encourages me to intensify my Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, has introduced H.B. 1808 , which would extend the statute of limitations on the crime of drug delivery that leads to a death. A person who provides a drug to a victim that ultimately dies from the use of that drug currently must be charged within a two-year window. This bill would expand that window under the statute of limitations to five years. “Too many families watch their loved ones die due to opioid overdoses,” Readshaw said. “The number of overdose deaths has been rising dramatically each year yet one of our best defenses in the drug battle is to remove dealers and distributors from the equation. “Keeping that potential window open for a much longer timeframe gives police investigators and prosecutors more time to complete a thorough investigation to ensure the perpetrators are convicted and removed from the streets. “The statute of limitations was previously five years but a change to another law inadvertently affected this specific situation and my bill aims to correct it.” Readshaw said that Pennsylvania families are the front lines of the opiate epidemic in this Commonwealth, and this bill is an effort to again provide families with a longer opportunity for justice for their loved ones. ### Read more
SCRANTON, Sept. 21 – Area veterans are invited to take part in the monthly support program next week at the office of state Rep. Marty Flynn. A representative from the American Legion Service Office Outreach program will be in Flynn's office -- Jay's Commons, 409 N. Main Ave. -- from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27 to provide information on services available to veterans and their families. The American Legion representatives are available to discuss pensions and other compensation, education, health care and death benefits. Legion membership is not required to take advantage of the help, but anyone interested in speaking to the advisers is recommended to schedule an appointment through Flynn’s office at 570-342-4348. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – The House Consumer Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Monday on state Rep. Tina Davis’s H.B. 798, which would place municipal water and sewer authorities under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Utility Commission. Under current law, the PUC does not generally have jurisdiction over municipal authorities. To remedy this, her bill would amend the definition of a public utility under Title 66 to include municipal corporations that provide water and sewer services. “At the end of the day, water and sewer services are essential utilities and deal heavily in the matters of safety, reliability and money,” said Davis, D-Bucks. “And where we can consolidate, we can save, use best practices and offer better oversight.” Davis said that her bill also would give customers a larger resource to address problems with their services and continue to receive reliable service at reasonable rates. Additional state oversight also could help foster new technologies and competitive markets and protect public resources, she added. “House Bill 798 has bipartisan support, and I’m looking forward to substantial progress on the bill as a result of this hearing,” she said. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said today’s announcement from Standard and Poor’s of a lower credit rating for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a direct result of the failure of House Republican leaders to honestly deal with the state’s budget situation. “We were warned multiple times that this could happen, yet a few House Republican leaders in position to do something productive about it chose to do nothing instead,” Dermody said. “After every House Republican leader voted for a budget spending $32 billion on June 30, that same leadership group proved incapable of finding an honest and realistic revenue plan to pay for it. “The plan that House Republicans finally passed last week was a bad joke. It cuts vital services and doesn’t add up. They employed almost every gimmick that the credit rating agencies specifically warned against. The result of that irresponsibility is no joke. Every Pennsylvania taxpayer will pay a price for the House Republican leadership’s obstruction. So will every county, city, borough and township,” Dermody said. “It didn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Today’s news is a blow to our state’s fiscal standing. It’s also an opportunity for everyone, including House Republicans, to take stock of the situation and get back to work on a real budget solution that includes recurring revenue.” Read more
EBENSBURG, Sept. 20 – Saying more than 700 jobs and specialized care for nearly 225 mentally and physically disabled adults are at stake, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is vowing to lead the fight against a bill that would close the Ebensburg State Center . Burns said H.B. 1650, authored by Republican state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff of Centre County, would mandate closure of all five of Pennsylvania’s remaining intermediate care facilities by 2023 – including the one in Ebensburg. Burns said that while he understands the desire to cut costs by moving these residents to home- and community-based settings, he has a deep desire to make sure that the voices of family members are heard before any systemic change is made. “As someone who has visited the Ebensburg facility, I have witnessed the care needs of its residents and heard from many grateful family members,” Burns said. “The current staff does an excellent job dealing with adults who have very serious mental and physical disabilities – and for whom ‘round-the-clock care’ is not just a phrase, but a reality. “Before we go changing a system that has literally kept people alive, sometimes beyond medical expectation, there should be a full vetting and support from all stakeholders – starting with those who have loved ones in the Ebensburg State Center.” Burns said while the bill’s passage does not appear to be imminent – it Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, released the following statement honoring the life and legacy of Lenora M. Smith, Esquire: “Ms. Lenora M. Smith was truly the embodiment of what is means to be a public servant. A South Philadelphia native, she was a civil rights attorney best known for defending Harrisburg’s most vulnerable residents. She often took on the cases of those who needed her help the most – giving a voice to the voiceless and hope to those who had lost it. She was a force to be reckoned with and that is why we honor her. “Ms. Smith was also a trailblazer who knocked down barriers impacting both women and African Americans. She used her role as vice president of Harrisburg City Council to put the needs of the people first. Even after leaving office, she continued to fight for those who were unable to fight for themselves. Her legacy will serve as a constant reminder of how much we have accomplished, but also how much we have left to do.” ### Read more
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Newport Township, announced he will host a free shredding event from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 30 in the parking lot of Crestwood High School in Mountain Top. "It is important for people to destroy unwanted documents that contain personal information and which could be used by identity thieves,” Mullery said. "I'm pleased that my staff and I can again provide this public service as previous shredding events have been well attended." Unwanted items that should be shredded include credit card statements, credit card applications, bank statements, canceled checks, income tax information, insurance records and retirement or pension fund information. Residents are asked not to bring plastics, such as page protectors, binders and checkbook covers, and metals, such as large spring clips, wire from wire-bound notebooks and file folders with metal prongs in material to be recycled. Cassettes, binders, plastics, magazines, newspapers and books also will not be accepted. This event is only for residential documents. Business documents will not be accepted. Documents will be shredded on site. For more information, residents may call Mullery's Nanticoke office at 570-740-7031. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 19 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., will join PECO for a news conference at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 21 at Philadelphia OIC, 1231 N. Broad St., to announce legislation she plans to introduce that would make solar energy more accessible to low-income and disadvantaged Pennsylvanians. Bullock will be joined by: Mayor Jim Kenney State Sen. Sharif Street Craig Adams, president and CEO, PECO Dr. Kevin R. Johnson, president and CEO, Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center Inc. Christopher Lewis, chairman, Solarize Philadelphia Media coverage is invited. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 18 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg today was recognized as 2017 National Association of Social Workers-PA Legislator of the Year. Read more
EYNON, Sept. 18 – Area veterans are invited to take part in the monthly support program next week at the office of state Rep. Kevin Haggerty. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 18 – State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone stood with other advocates on Monday and pushed for funding for research into pediatric cancer, to mark September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among those 1 to 14 in the United States. It is estimated that a child is diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer every two minutes, with an average of seven children dying every day across the United States. “We desperately need to increase funding for research into childhood cancer. The vast majority of money collected goes toward adult cancer research,” said Caltagirone, D-Berks. “We have to take care of our most vulnerable residents – our children. Funding is the key to research breakthroughs that will result in better treatments and eventually a cure for pediatric cancers.” Caltagirone has introduced a package of bills that would combine to raise money for pediatric cancer research hospitals. Two of those bills – one to create a checkoff box on the state income tax form to allow contributions to research, and another to create a similar box on driver’s license and vehicle registration forms – unanimously passed the House and await action in the Senate. “What we are trying to do is raise over $100 million over a 10-year period, to be divided equally among the four research hospitals for children in Pennsylvania,” Caltagirone said, Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 18 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., released the following statement condemning Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence, for threats he made against non-violent protesters in St. Louis, Mo. “Each day, I continue to be surprised by the level of hate and prejudice that spew from many of my colleagues in our state legislature. This weekend, as protesters took to the streets in St. Louis to speak out against police violence, Representative Aaron Bernstine decided that it was acceptable to threaten protesters via Twitter. Representative Bernstine believes that protests should be met with violence and that some Americans are not deserving of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. “As a Christian, a father and a state representative, Representative Bernstine should be ashamed of himself. He should issue a public apology immediately. His belief that non-violent protesters should be run over is no different than the use of high-pressure water hoses and police dogs on those who fought for civil rights in the ‘60s. In fact, it is exactly how an innocent young woman lost her life in Charlottesville, Virginia. “While the nation expressed outrage over the events that took place in Charlottesville, people of color across the country were not surprised. Those hateful ideologies are prevalent right here in Pennsylvania, and even in our state Capitol. However, they are disguised as legislation that would deport Read more
SWARTHMORE, Sept. 18 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, today denounced violent and derogatory threats made by state Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-Beaver, against protesters. Commenting on an article about a protest against police-involved violence in St. Louis, Bernstine tweeted: “If anyone ever tries to stop my car on a highway with negative intentions… I will not stop under any conditions.” Bernstine went on to refer to protesters as “thugs” and critics of his comments as “snowflakes.” “The inflammatory comments by Representative Bernstine are outrageous and unacceptable,” Krueger-Braneky said. “No elected official should ever threaten violence, particularly against political protesters or those who do not agree with us. Being a state lawmaker is not just a privilege, but a responsibility – to ensure that the rights of all people are protected and that the constitution is upheld. “Instead of respectfully agreeing to disagree with his critics, Aaron doubled down and dismissed them as ‘snowflakes.’ More concerning to me is that he referred to protesters as ‘thugs’ – a term that has been used to defame and oppress people of color for decades and across continents. “As a fellow Christian, I pray that Aaron comes to the realization that state-sanctioned violence is unacceptable. There is no shame in admitting you were wrong and asking for Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 18 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., announced he will host representatives from the Philadelphia Police Department for a recruitment drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12 at his district office, 3503 North B St., Unit 7, Philadelphia, PA 19134. “Being a Philadelphia police officer is a demanding and important job because our communities rely on law enforcement for safety and protection. It can be a rewarding opportunity to serve the public as well,” Cruz said. “I encourage anyone who is interested in becoming a police officer to come to my office and speak with a representative from the Philadelphia Police Department.” Constituents with questions should contact Cruz’ district office at (215) 291-5643. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will host a free Senior Expo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 at Roxborough Memorial Hospital, 5800 Ridge Avenue. The Expo will be under the tent in the Rector Street parking lot. This is a rain or shine event. “Seniors are active and vital members of the community, and I’m excited to be able to bring together a diverse group of agencies and organizations that offer opportunities specifically for older adults,” DeLissio said. “In addition to a variety of health, home, and other service needs, folks will be introduced to organizations providing lifelong learning and volunteer opportunities, and ways to stay or become engaged with the community in which we live, work and play.” DeLissio said that she will continue to offer a diverse group of exhibitors at the expo to acknowledge seniors’ varied interests and needs. Representatives from the Philadelphia Corporation of Aging, Visiting Nurses Association, Benefits Data Trust, CLARIFI, and Community Legal Services and many other organizations will be available to provide information that older adults may find very helpful. Additionally, DeLissio said that she is pleased to have organizations such as Morris Animal Refuge attending with cats looking for a happy home, Road Scholar providing information on their educational travel tours, Community College of Philadelphia, the local YMCA, and Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., last week signed on to an amicus brief for a lawsuit over redistricting that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 3. “The lawsuit, Gill vs. Whitford , involves the practice of gerrymandering and how it has led to gridlock and extreme partisanship in many state legislatures and in Congress,” she said. In the suit, Wisconsin state officials are appealing a lower-court ruling that the state’s redistricting plan went to such extremes in its political gerrymandering that it violated protections given to voters by the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Holwell Shuster & Goldberg’s brief speaks for legislators across eight states, which, like all states, will undergo redistricting following the 2020 census. “I am one of two legislators from Pennsylvania who was interviewed for this brief, and I was proud to be asked for my perspective on how gerrymandering in Pennsylvania affects the legislative process,” DeLissio said. “One example of gerrymandering is our recent negotiation of our state budget. Gerrymandering has clearly contributed to the fact that we remain at a budget impasse. “It was an honor for me to have participated in this amicus brief for this historic occasion, as I believe redistricting is an issue of integral importance to our democracy.” Read more
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