DeLissio votes for bill allowing lottery-win intercepts in Pennsylvania HARRISBURG, April 27 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio on Monday voted in favor of a bill that would allow the state to intercept lottery winnings from individuals who owe back state taxes, back child support or victim restitution. House Bill 674 would require the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue to conduct a background check on any person who wins more than $2,500 in the Pennsylvania Lottery to determine if the individual owes such money. Any amount owed will be deducted from any winnings and remitted to the state. When both back child support and back taxes are owed, the child support obligation will be given first priority. “This is a reasonable approach to ensuring that a person who receives a winning hand fulfills their obligations to anyone they legally owe,” DeLissio said. “I’m proud to have supported the bill and look forward to quick action in the Senate so that the governor can sign this bill and get children, victims , and the state , money that is rightfully owed.” Read more
HARRISBURG, April 27 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., continued to voice his opposition to firearm pre-emption legislation that would make it easier for gun groups such as the NRA to sue Pennsylvania municipalities at taxpayers’ expense. The Republican-majority House approved H.B. 671 this week after defeating a number of changes to the bill, among them 10 amendments Thomas introduced in an attempt to address the issue of gun violence. "This legislation is an assault on local control and an assault on everyday people in our local communities,” Thomas said. “It would tie the hands of our municipalities whose commitment is to protect their residents.” Thomas has both introduced and supported legislation over the years that would strengthen the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Law, which makes it unlawful for certain categories of people to possess firearms. He has been a strong advocate against gun violence. The bill would permit individuals to sue municipalities they feel have “adversely affected” their firearm rights. The bill would hold municipalities responsible for legal expenses if the individual is successful, but would not require those taking legal action to cover expenses if the municipality prevails. The bill would also extend to outside organizations like the NRA the option to implement legal action. “It would give outside organizations like the NRA influence Read more
HARRISBURG, April 27 – The House Game and Fisheries Committee on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation introduced by state Reps. Neal P. Goodman and Keith Gillespie, R-York, majority chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, that would expand Pennsylvania’s mentored hunting program Read more
A resolution commemorating Workers’ Memorial Day, introduced by state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, was unanimously adopted in the House today. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 27 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, announced today that West Chester will receive a $40,000 state grant to develop a multi-year financial management plan. The grant comes through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Early Intervention Program. “I’m pleased that West Chester will be able to use this funding to look at how to best deliver services in our community. I look forward to seeing the borough develop a plan that paves the way to a bright future,” Comitta said. The Early Intervention Program helps communities develop comprehensive financial plans and establish short- and long-term financial objectives. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 27 – In an effort to better protect dogs and other domestic animals, state Rep. Gerald Mullery introduced legislation that would increase the penalty for illegally setting body-gripping traps. State law requires all body-gripping traps to be set inside an established watercourse, waterway, marsh, pond, or dam. Unfortunately, body-gripping traps are often illegally placed outside these water locations, inadvertently luring dogs and other domestic animals which are often seriously injured or killed by the traps, according to Mullery. “The frequency and severity of this problem prompted the Pennsylvania Game Commission to restrict the size of openings for these traps in an effort to reduce the number of domestic animals being killed or injured by them. Even with this size restriction, I believe it is necessary to strengthen the penalty for those who place these traps in unapproved and illegal locations,” said Mullery, D-Luzerne. A violation of the current law is punishable by a fine of up to $200. House Bill 1292 would raise that penalty to a fine of up to $1,500 and up to three months in prison. The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Trappers Association supported the bill when Mullery introduced it last legislative session, although it did not receive a vote by the House Game and Fisheries Committee. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 27 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, this week voted in favor of legislation that would strengthen the state's animal cruelty law. The legislation, H.B. 1238 , would update Pennsylvania's animal cruelty provisions by breaking down various cruelty to animal offenses and resulting penalties. "Animals deserve to be protected, period," Conklin said. Conklin said the three categories of offenses include neglect of an animal, cruelty to an animal and aggravated cruelty to an animal. They would be classified as a summary offense, second-degree misdemeanor and third-degree felony, respectively. "This means not providing food, water or a clean environment, abandoning an animal, torturing or causing bodily injury to an animal would no longer be tolerated," Conklin said. "No human deserves inhumane treatment, why should animals? "I sincerely hope our senators across the hall agree and we can swiftly see this bill signed into law." The legislation passed the House by vote of 167-20; it now awaits action by the Senate. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 26 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., is calling for state House hearings on the Wordsworth youth treatment center scandal . "As the state representative whose district includes two Wordsworth sites and a member of the House Children and Youth Committee, I am extremely disturbed by what has been reported, above all because of the harm to children, and also because these centers are regulated by state agencies," Brown said. "We need to get to the bottom of this." Brown will ask two committee chairs to hold hearings: Children and Youth Committee Chair Katharine Watson, R-Bucks; and Human Services Committee Chairman Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks. Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, Democratic chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee, said, "The welfare of children should be our utmost priority. When incidents of neglect or abuse occur, it is our responsibility as legislators to make sure a comprehensive investigation is conducted to ensure our children are protected in the future." Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Human Services Committee, said, "Jointly we will work together to provide the best service for the troubled youth of Wordsworth and children in the commonwealth and look into any and all allegations." ### Read more
HARRISBURG, April 26 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, has been appointed to the House Game and Fisheries Committee for the remainder of the 2017-18 legislative session. Hanna previously served on the House Game and Fisheries Committee during the 1991 and 1995 through 2010 legislative sessions. “I am pleased to return to this important committee,” Hanna said. “My priority will be to advance legislation that protect the rights of sportsmen throughout this commonwealth.” Hanna said he looks forward to working with Majority Chairman Keith Gillespie and Minority Chairman Bryan Barbin to promote the very best interests of both hunters and anglers alike. “My 27 years in this institution have afforded me the ability to get many proposals through the legislative process,” Hanna said. “I believe my long history serving on this committee and my role in leadership certainly positions me to effectively strengthen the missions of both the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.” The Game and Fisheries Committee has the critical task of helping to manage Pennsylvania's wildlife resources and ensuring that the average citizen can access outdoor recreation. Every piece of legislation that affects hunting, fishing and trapping must pass through the committee. The committee is made up of 27 representatives from across the state – 16 Republicans Read more
HARRISBURG, April 26 – Despite opposition from numerous municipalities and environmental groups, the Pennsylvania House yesterday passed legislation that would prevent local governments from enacting measures to address problems caused by disposable plastic bags, said state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery. House Bill 1071 would prohibit Pennsylvania cities, counties, townships and boroughs from imposing a ban, fee, tax or surcharge on the use of disposable plastic bags at retail stores. The bill passed the House by a vote of 102-82. “This is a bill driven by national plastic bag manufacturer Novolex, who owns the Helix Poly plant in Milesburg, Pa.," Vitali said. "Milesburg is represented by one of the House members sponsoring the bill." Novolex has been active in promoting this type of legislation in other states, Vitali said. "Unfortunately good public policy has been trumped by special-interest influence in Harrisburg, once again," Vitali said. Currently, 165 municipalities across the country have adopted some form of single-use plastic-bag legislation, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Following implementation of a citywide bag fee in 2010, the presence of bags in Washington, D.C., decreased by 67 percent. "Pennsylvania municipalities should have the tools of a plastic-bag fee or ban at their disposal to help deal with such local problems as litter, the clogging of storm Read more
HARRISBURG, April 26 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, held a Capitol news conference this afternoon to announce the reintroduction of legislation he authored in direct response to the workplace accident and death of a Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority employee in 2014. House Bill 1082, the Jake Schwab Worker's Safety Bill, was first introduced in 2015 in memory of Erie resident Jake Schwab, a mechanic with EMTA who lost his life due to a workplace incident in November 2014. As a public transit authority, EMTA is exempted from OSHA regulations, so the details regarding the incident and any safety concerns that would have been raised through an OSHA review have been hard to track. Harkins pointed out that following the accident, Schwab’s family, and especially his widow, Tiffany, had to battle to receive any information on the accident, because under current law, "the insurance industry controls the investigation. Tiffany has been a real inspiration to me," he said. William Dando, legislative director, AFSCME Council 13, Harrisburg, highlighted the five states that have established OSHA-like protection for their public employees: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey and New York. "Creating an OSHA state plan for public employees is the right thing to do," Dando said. "We need to stop treating public employees like second-class citizens." Rick Bloomingdale, president of the Read more
Rep. Joseph Petrarca reports that the state Department of Community and Economic Development has approved a $200,000 Early Intervention Program grant for the Indiana County commissioners to map fiscal-management and economic strategies. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 26 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, welcomed today's House passage of his advanced-placement bill. Roebuck's bill ( H.B. 1022 ), introduced with Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York, would expand Pennsylvania's Transfer and Articulation Program to include credits for matriculating college freshmen who have taken Advanced Placement (AP) exams in high school with scores that qualify them for college course credits. The bill would cover community colleges and the 14 universities in the State System of Higher Education. The legislation passed the House last session. It would ensure that high school students who have taken Advanced Placement courses and obtained a score of 3 or more on the AP exam would receive college course credit from Pennsylvania public institutions of higher education. The bill also would include students who have achieved sufficient scores in exams for an International Baccalaureate Diploma, the College-Level Examination Program or DANTES subject standardized tests. "This legislation would relieve some of the financial burden on college students and parents by eliminating the need to pay for duplicate courses. The awarding of these credits would save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition costs and lead more students to graduate from college in four years," Roebuck said. "Another benefit to both the state and Read more
Calling it life-changing therapy, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, joined legislators and advocates today at a rally for music therapy awareness at the Capitol. Read more
EBENSBURG, April 26 – In what’s become an annual tradition , state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, and his staff will deliver donations from their 2017 Pet Food Drive to the Humane Society of Cambria County, 743 Galleria Drive Extension, Johnstown, PA 15904, at 2 p.m. Monday, May 1. Throughout the month of April, Burns collects the donations at his constituent service offices in Ebensburg, Portage, Patton and Lower Yoder Township, and at participating schools throughout the 72 nd Legislative District. Donations are traditionally generous, particularly from the schools, and a truckload or more is usually delivered to the Humane Society. Media coverage is invited. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 26 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, congratulated Antietam Middle Senior High School senior Kelly Weikel today for winning one of two recently awarded 2017-18 Pennsylvania House of Representative Scholarships. Winners of the scholarship receive a four-year scholarship at the tuition level equivalent of one semester at a State System of Higher Education School. “Congratulations to Kelly for earning this scholarship for her academic performance, commitment to her community and demonstration of leadership,” Rozzi said. “I hope this scholarship provides much needed assistance as she continues her education, because no Pennsylvanian should have to take on unreasonable amounts of debt in order to better themselves.” To be eligible, a student must be a graduating senior living in Pennsylvania with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade-point average, participate in extracurricular activities, have community and leadership skills and demonstrate financial need. The scholarship program, which is privately funded by individual and corporate donations, is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 26 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, which recognizes May 2017 as Military Service Opportunity Month in Pennsylvania The resolution, H.R. 92 , encourages our state and educational community to recognize the U.S. military for its positive impact on the Pennsylvania educational system and its students. The U.S. military is one of the leading federal organizations that supports and invests in educational initiatives. It offers personal advancement for all students within the Commonwealth through education programming, starting at the high school level. “While it is appropriate to recognize the value of our military every day, May is the perfect time to acknowledge the benefits of a military career through higher education,” Readshaw said. “With the Memorial Day celebration at the end of the month, the commonwealth is able to recognize those planning or just beginning a career, as well as those who have served with valor.” It is the mission of the U.S. military to continue to offer outstanding career and educational opportunities to all students who seek the adventure of service to their nation. “Those who received specialized training through the U.S. military will return to civilian life qualified in their fields such as medical services, advanced cyber security, law enforcement services, Read more
ERIE, April 26 – Seeking to raise awareness of a useful online tool for veterans and their families, state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, will host a news conference on the Network of Care at 10 a.m. Friday, April 28 at the Millcreek Township Municipal Building, 3608 W. 26 th St. Because the Network of Care only recently became available to Pennsylvanians, Bizzarro is eager to broaden public knowledge of the benefits it can provide. He will be joined by Bruce Bronzan, president of Triology Integrated Resources, and a team from that California-based internet company, who will provide a demonstration of how this web-based tool can assist veterans. Bizzarro is very excited about this opportunity to showcase the portal to veterans and to veteran-related organizations, as well as local media that reach those audiences. Contact Bizzarro’s office at (814) 835-2880 for more information. Media coverage is invited. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, said today the House passed a proposal that would provide incentives for recycling plastic bags in the commonwealth. Hanna said the proposal, House Bill 1071 , is important because similar legislation over the last decade has resulted in an increase in the rate of plastic bag, film and wrap recycling by 74 percent. In 2015, 1.2 billion pounds of post-consumer film, which includes plastic bags and packaging, was recovered for recycling. Right now, over 90 percent of American consumers have access to plastic bag recycling through retail take-back programs. Plastic bag bans, taxes and surcharges hurt these efforts. According to Hanna, the proposal only relates to bags that can be recycled and will not get in the way of individual grocers’ bag policies. “Plastic bags that cannot be recycled are filling our landfills and causing pollution because consumers cannot return them,” said Hanna. “We need to promote recycling efforts and that’s what HB 1071 does.” Hanna said there are 14 manufacturing facilities located throughout Pennsylvania. “This proposal works to protect the 1,500 Pennsylvania residents whose jobs depend on the plastic bag recycling and manufacturing industry,” said Hanna. “This bill is about jobs and consumer choice. It promotes good, family-sustaining careers for hard-working Pennsylvanians. Read more
Rep. Brandon Neuman introduces two bills designed to provide greater protections for domestic abuse victims, their families and the first responders responding to domestic disturbances. Read more
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