HARRISBURG, April 17 – Sen. Steven Santarsiero and State Rep. Perry Warren, both D-Bucks, today announced the state Department of Community and Economic Development is awarding a $40,000 grant to Newtown. The funds are being provided through the department’s Early Intervention Program, Warren said. Grants from this program are designed to assist municipalities in creating short- and long-term financial plans to help them meet their goals. “As a former township supervisor, I understand the importance of developing a sound financial strategy,” Santarsiero said. “With this grant, Newtown Township will be able to provide residents with even greater services.” Warren added that this grant will provide Newtown with a financial plan for the next five years. “This infusion of state money will not only help the community grow, but it promises Newtown a prosperous future,” Warren said. Read more
WYNDMOOR, April 22 – State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing in the Springfield Township Administration Building on the future of nuclear energy and its impact on alternative energy portfolio standards. “It’s imperative that we consider our environment and economy when we look to the future of nuclear energy. The protection of jobs and growing a greener portfolio of energy sources is critical in the evaluation of nuclear generation in Pennsylvania,” McCarter said. McCarter is co-introducing legislation that would modernize Pennsylvania’s renewable energy standards by expanding the Alternative Portfolio Standards Act Tier 1 requirement from 8% to 30% by 2030. The bill also would provide several protections that control costs for electricity customers and would direct the Public Utility Commission to study the benefits of a renewable energy storage program. The committee heard testimony from: Steve Aaron , member, Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania; Chad Trainer, legislative director, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO; Asim Haque, executive director of strategic policy and external affairs, PJM; Mark Szybist, senior attorney of Climate and Clean Energy Program, The National Resources Defense Council; Rob Altenburg, director, PennFuture Energy Center; Mandy Warner, senior policy manager of programs, Environmental Defense Fund; and Tom Schuster, senior campaign representative, Sierra Club. Hearing Read more
PHILADELPHIA. April 22 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Philadelphia, is hosting a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on workforce development. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 25 at the UA Steamfitters Local 420 Hall, 14420 Townsend Rd., Philadelphia. The media and public are invited to attend. Neilson requested the hearing to bring stakeholders and his legislative colleagues from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, together to discuss efforts to recruit and train a workforce prepared for quality-wage jobs. A panel of local union officials will testify including Ryan Boyer, President of Philadelphia Building Trades; Pete Klein, Director of Training, Steamfitters Local Union 420; Don Sweeten, Training Coordinator/Financial Secretary, Sprinkler Fitters Local 692; and Brian Murphy, Assistant Coordinator/Director of Apprentice & Training, IUOE 542 JATC. The meeting is one in a series held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools, and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com . For more information about the Policy Committee, go to www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more
State Rep. Bridget M. Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna, today announced her plans to host a regional spring cleanup event aimed at removing litter and winter debris from roadsides, creeks, riverbanks, parks and recreation areas Saturday. It continues a tradition begun by her predecessor, Rep. Sid Kavulich, who passed away in October 2018. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 18 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., today announced that the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will be hosting a public policy hearing in conjunction with the House Democratic Policy Committee on re-entry initiatives and the transition from incarceration to civilian life. “It is critical that we work together to ensure that those who have paid their debts to society within the criminal justice system are given a chance to re-enter society once again,” Kinsey said. “I’m eager to hear from experts and the public on how we can improve these people’s lives and educate the public on how giving these folks a second chance helps to reduce recidivism.” The public policy hearing will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23 at Temple University’s Shusterman Hall, 1834 N. Park Ave. in Philadelphia. State legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will attend the hearing. Special guests include: Bernard Hopkins, boxing champion; PA Board of Probation and Parole; The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office; The Defender Association of Philadelphia; Philadelphia OIC; Freddy Nole, former juvenile lifer; Romanus Miles, former inmate and tradesman; Dawn Chamberlain-Hunter, former inmate and entrepreneur; Asya Richardson, former inmate and entrepreneur; Bill DeWeese, former Speaker of the House; and more. For more information, contact Read more
HARRISBURG, APRIL 18 – States Reps. Maureen Madden, D- Monroe, and Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, are circulating a legislative memo requesting cosponsors to reintroduce their pet safety legislation. The representatives want to stop pet stores from luring customers into buying cute but expensive pets through lease agreements. Under the terms of lease contracts, customers enter into a long-term payment agreement, which often results in them paying far more than what they would have by purchasing the pet outright, with large balloon payments at the end of the lease. “Unfortunately, customers eventually discover that they were deceived when they signed the pet lease,” Madden said. “Sadly, when a customer lacks the financial ability to make a payment, their pet is repossessed and often finds its way back to a shelter.” According to the Federal Trade Commission, pet leasing is not considered illegal; however, companies may be held responsible since they have an obligation to clearly state that customers are entering into a lease agreement. “We need to protect pet owners from the unnecessary stress and trauma of losing a pet should they be unable to make payments and lose a pet due to repossession,” McNeill said. “For many of us, pets are more than just companions, they are family.” Madden said other states such as California, Nevada and New York have enacted legislation to ban the practice. Madden Read more
HARRISBURG, APRIL 18 – States Reps. Maureen Madden, D- Monroe, and Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, are circulating a legislative memo requesting cosponsors to reintroduce their pet safety legislation. The representatives want to stop pet stores from luring customers into buying cute but expensive pets through lease agreements. Under the terms of lease contracts, customers enter into a long-term payment agreement, which often results in them paying far more than what they would have by purchasing the pet outright, with large balloon payments at the end of the lease. “Unfortunately, customers eventually discover that they were deceived when they signed the pet lease,” Madden said. “Sadly, when a customer lacks the financial ability to make a payment, their pet is repossessed and often finds its way back to a shelter.” According to the Federal Trade Commission, pet leasing is not considered illegal; however, companies may be held responsible since they have an obligation to clearly state that customers are entering into a lease agreement. “We need to protect pet owners from the unnecessary stress and trauma of losing a pet should they be unable to make payments and lose a pet due to repossession,” McNeill said. “For many of us, pets are more than just companions, they are family.” Madden said other states such as California, Nevada and New York have enacted legislation to ban the practice. Madden and McNeill said Read more
SCRANTON, April 18 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, will sponsor a free shredding event for residents in the 113 th Legislative District from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at his district office in Jay’s Commons, 409 N. Main Ave. “As residents continue their spring cleaning, they may want to safely dispose of sensitive records and documents,” Flynn said. “My office is happy to again offer this free shredding event, which is an environmentally friendly way to protect your identity from fraud.” Residents are encouraged to bring any documents that contain personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card statements and applications, medical records, banking statements, canceled checks, income tax information, insurance records and retirement or pension fund information. Flynn noted there is a limit of three boxes or trash bags per person and that the event is open only to residents in the 113 th Legislative District. Papers with metal clips, metal binding and leather or plastic covers will not be accepted. Residents wanting more information can call Flynn’s office at 570-342-4348. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 18 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today announced he will host his Drop & Roll Spring Shredding event. The free event will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. April 27 at New Covenant Campus, 7500 Germantown Ave., 19119. “I invite all of my constituents to come out to our free shredding event to help protect their identity and have their personal documents shredded,” Rabb said. “We must do what we can to protect our personal information and prevent identity theft before it starts. Even if we only save one person from having their information compromised, it prevents so much heartbreak that comes along with these crimes.” Each person is limited to two large bags of documents. Documents will be shredded on site. If you have a question about this event or another state-related concern, please call or visit Rabb’s office . ### Read more
HARRISBURG, April 17 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, accompanied by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, today unveiled a comprehensive bill package geared toward steering commonwealth school districts away from future financial mishaps, such as the financial crisis that landed Penn Hills School District on state-mandated financial oversight. The proposed bills, coined the “School Board and Administration Financial Reform Package,” was presented Wednesday during a Capitol news conference. The legislative package was crafted at the request of the Allegheny County Grand Jury that investigated the Penn Hills School District finances. “What took place in Penn Hills School District quite simply could be described as a complete disregard to taxpayers, the community and its students. I’m disgusted and downright disappointed that a once-renowned school district could dig itself into such a financial hole that its only option was to ask its taxpayers to bail them out,” DeLuca said. “The bill package presented today would guarantee that the financial disaster that took place in Penn Hills will never happen again, so long as we can get these good-government bills voted on and enacted into law. It’s my hope that my colleagues – on both sides of the aisle – see the importance of moving these legislative measures through the House.” The bills, which have yet to be formally introduced in the House, would: Read more
HARRISBURG, April 17 – State Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, was appointed Democratic secretary of the House Children and Youth Committee. She will serve as secretary with Democratic committee Chairman Joseph Petrarca. “My experience as a caseworker with the Chester County Department of Children, Youth and Families puts me in position to be a strong advocate,” Howard said. “As secretary, I am committed to creating a safer, more supportive community for the children of Pennsylvania.” The Children and Youth Committee focuses on Pennsylvania’s youngest residents, reviewing bills that impact the Office of Child Development and Learning, as well as the Office of Children, Youth and Families under the Department of Human Services. Those interested in learning more about Howard and her committee appointments can call her district office at 610-251-1070 or visit her website at www.pahouse.com/Howard . Read more
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, April 17 – State Rep. Stephen McCarter, D-Montgomery, announced he will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss the future of nuclear energy and its impact on alternative energy portfolio standards. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, April 22 at the Springfield Township Administration Building, Commissioner’s Meeting Room, 1510 Paper Mill Road, Wyndmoor. The media and public are invited to attend. McCarter will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 2:10 p.m. Panel One: Steve Aaron, member, Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania Chad Trainer, legislative director, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Asim Haque, executive director of strategic policy & external affairs, PJM 2:50 p.m. Panel Two: Mark Szybist, senior attorney of Climate & Clean Energy Program, The National Resources Defense Council Rob Altenburg, director, PennFuture Energy Center Mandy Warner, senior Policy manager of programs, Environmental Defense Fund Tom Schuster, senior campaign representative, Sierra Club 3:40 p.m. Closing remarks The meeting is one in a series held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, creating quality schools, and providing training Read more
EBENSBURG, April 17 – Continuing his trend of securing state funding for vital infrastructure development, state Rep. Frank Burns today announced approximately $5.14 million for two projects in the 72 nd Legislative District. Burns, D-Cambria, said the Middle Taylor Township Sewer Authority is receiving a $2.62 million grant and $997,231 low-interest loan to provide community wastewater service, including the installation of 27,000 feet of gravity wastewater main line piping. East Carroll Township will receive a $1.18 million grant and $342,429 low-interest loan for the extension of its wastewater collection system. “I thank the Pennvest board for its ongoing support for these types of projects, as this funding should help offset rate increases for residents in Middle Taylor and East Carroll Townships,” Burns said. “Municipalities in the district have been aggressively applying for state funding and it shows. The $5.14 million announced today will be added to the growing list of projects made possible by state grants and low-interest loans.” The awards were finalized today by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Authority, commonly known as Pennvest. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 17 — At a Capitol news conference, state Reps. Carolyn T. Comitta, D-Chester, and Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, joined state Sens. Art Haywood, Thomas H. Killion and Steven J. Santarsiero to call attention to climate change, its grave impacts and the urgent need to modernize the commonwealth’s renewable energy standards. Comitta and McCarter are both members of the bicameral, bipartisan Pennsylvania Climate Caucus. Comitta is vice chair; McCarter is its founder and chair. Their bill and a Senate companion bill introduced by Haywood, Killion and Santarsiero both seek to implement stronger renewable energy goals within the commonwealth to create good jobs, cut pollution and ensure a sustainable and prosperous Pennsylvania for future generations. “I am proud to join the calls for modernizing the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards,” Comitta said. “Our state has already made important investments in alternative and clean-energy technologies, but we must do more. Adjusting our electrical energy requirements to 30 percent by 2030 will solidify our path to reducing our carbon footprint and advance Pennsylvania toward becoming a national energy leader.” The Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act was a forward-looking policy when it was enacted in 2004. But in the intervening years, Pennsylvania has fallen behind neighboring states like New Jersey and Maryland, which have enacted stronger energy standards, creating Read more
TAYLOR, April 17 – State Rep. Bridget M. Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna, today announced the Greenfield Township Sewer Authority was awarded a $2 million low-interest loan for improvements to the township sewage treatment plant. The loan, approved by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, will benefit 561 residential houses and more than 1,440 residents in Greenfield Township. The treatment plant upgrade project will include installation of a new influent screen, a fine-bubble aeration system, an automated dissolved oxygen control system and a new ultraviolet light disinfection control panel. Improvements will also be made to the chlorine contact tank. “This long-term, low-interest loan will help the authority tremendously with general upkeep and will benefit the thousands of residents who live nearby,” Kosierowski said. “The project will ensure clean water for our communities as well as decreasing facility costs after upgrades. I am happy to play a role bringing local municipalities and state government together to improve infrastructure, and I look forward to the completion of this project.” Pennvest offers low-cost loans and grants to communities throughout Pennsylvania to fund sewer, storm water and drinking water maintenance and improvement projects. More information is available at www.pennvest.state.pa.us . Read more
State Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, helped to obtain a $2.4 million Pennvest low-interest loan to perform extensive work on the Middle Dam in East Stroudsburg. The Middle Dam provides the drinking water to East Stroudsburg residents. The existing water supply piping is over 100 years old. “The major benefit of this project is to improve water service to thousands of people in my district due to failing water lines,” Madden said. “This Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority funding will help to defray the cost of the $8 million dollar project.” Madden said the work will involve replacing the existing raw water supply intake and transmission pipeline from the intake structure of Middle Dam to the East Stroudsburg Water Filtration Plant. “One of my top priorities since taking office is to address the district’s outdated and crumbling infrastructure and this $2.4 million is included on my list of projects that will help to improve people’s lives,” Madden said. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 16 – Communities would be allowed to extend their participation in the state’s Main Street program an additional five years, for up to 10 years, under legislation introduced by state Rep. Robert Freeman. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 16 – Victims of child sex abuse who sign a nondisclosure agreement will clearly know their right to cooperate with law enforcement, under a key amendment sponsored by state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria. Burns, known for his efforts in supporting statute of limitations reform for victims of child sex abuse, said his amendment to H.B. 1171 is essential. With Burns’ addition, the bill would explicitly ensure any settlement agreement contain a provision that clearly states, in bold print and in plain English, that the agreement does not prevent victims from discussing the abuse with law enforcement. All parties involved in a settlement would be required to sign directly under the provision to acknowledge they have read and understood it, Burns added. “This amendment, which was unanimously approved in the House today, would implement one of the key recommendations from last year’s statewide grand jury report, making sure victims of child sexual abuse know they are not signing away their rights to talk with police about the abuse that happened, should they sign a nondisclosure agreement,” Burns said. “The bill – and my amendment – will apply to any victim of child sexual abuse, regardless of the perpetrator.” Burns, who announced plans to introduce similar legislation last week, said he worked across the aisle with his Republican colleague to add this crucial measure to the bill. “This Read more
HARRISBURG, April 16 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, Democratic chairman of the House Human Services Committee, said the committee unanimously approved a legislative package today that would fight the ongoing opioid epidemic and ensure equal rights for people with cognitive disabilities to technology and information access. “I’m very thankful that we could approve these bills in committee and allow the full House to vote on these important issues,” said Cruz, D-Phila. “My House Resolution 74 , works to make sure we close the gap on the vast majority of people with cognitive disabilities who have limited or no access to the comprehensible information and usable communication technologies that most of us today have in the palm of our hands. When we have these tools at our disposal, we can make better educated decisions about our health and wellness as a result.” Nearly 30 million citizens in the United States are living with some form of cognitive disability, whether an intellectual disability, severe mental illness, learning disability, brain injury, and many others such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Other measures approved by the committee include H.R. 216, H.B. 596, and H.B. 1024: House Resolution 216 would establish a task force on overdose recovery and direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on warm hand-off to treatment for people with substance abuse disorder in the commonwealth and Read more
HARRISBURG, April 16 – State Reps. Steve McCarter and Jared Solomon hosted “A Conversation with Veterans” on Saturday at Salus University in Elkins Park as an opportunity for the legislators to hear directly about the daily experiences and ongoing concerns of our military service members. The goal: to find meaningful solutions to the problems veterans face in areas of health, finances, education and employment. The members noted that life after military service presents significant challenges, including embarking on new career paths, finding housing, pursuing further education, coping with unfamiliar civilian demands and addressing psychological fallout – such as PTSD, survivor’s guilt, depression and substance abuse – from traumatic experiences. “There are many things in Pennsylvania we have done to try to help the veteran population; at the same time, we know there are probably a hundred more things that we have not yet addressed,” said McCarter, D-Montgomery. “We are trying to pinpoint veterans’ needs and concerns so we can identify what we can do in Pennsylvania to help their situations.” Said Solomon, D-Phila., “The experience of a deployed service member is such a unique one that a lot of people in our society really can’t comprehend what that is about. One of the reasons for this event was to get service members to speak openly about that experience, then we in the legislature Read more
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