HARRISBURG, Jan. 19 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today announced he joined over 50 volunteers in an effort to distribute 1,600 cases of free bottled water to over 600 families serviced by the Mountaintop Regional Water Authority. The water was donated by Nestle Waters North America. Hanna said many residents contacted his office and pleaded for help. “Once I understood the extent of the situation, I knew we had to do something,” Hanna said. “While not a long-term solution, this water will help many families by lessening the financial burden of purchasing bottled water in the immediate future.” Hanna said he has been in contact with the authority and even spoke to maintenance workers during today’s event to discuss details about the infrastructure system. Further, he has been working with both state and local officials to determine the next course of action and will continue these conversations in the days and weeks to come. “Everyone deserves clean running water,” Hanna said. “Residents in Snow Shoe, Clarence, Moshannon and Pine Glen are no exception.” While problems of this magnitude are not quickly remediated, Hanna said he encourages residents to remain diligent, yet calm, during this crisis. Efforts are being made to rectify the infrastructure system to ensure the water authority can continue servicing its customers for many years to come. “But, it Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 19 – In his ongoing effort to improve his communities, state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., held a town hall meeting to bring residents together, address issues, and discuss upcoming development projects. Dozens of people filled the James J. Sullivan School’s auditorium Thursday night. The event focused on the Wissinoming neighborhood, more specifically a new ShopRite moving in to the Shoppes at Wissinoming shopping center. Staff members from the grocery store, including the manager and a registered dietitian, were on hand to help answer questions and address concerns of commercial truck traffic. “The space where this ShopRite is going is part of the recent revitalization efforts taking shape in Wissinoming. It’s natural for people to have questions and concerns about something new, but that’s why these Town Hall events are so important,” Dawkins said. “Everyone needs to understand what’s happening in their community and deserves to have the opportunity to speak up if they have a question or a problem.” Dawkins also talked about a new senior living facility that’s set to open soon at the site of the former St. Bartholomew Catholic School. “These two development projects will bring more jobs and go towards bettering our local economy,” Dawkins explained. He spent time outlining his priorities for this year, which includes pushing for three pieces of legislation he authored Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 19 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., is holding a community meeting to discuss residents’ concerns about recent robberies and school safety near Global Leadership Academy. It will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29 at the Global Leadership Academy, 4601 W. Girard Ave. “This meeting will be an opportunity to bring all stakeholders together to allow concerns to be addressed,” Brown said. “We deserve to live in safer communities with the best quality of life possible and I am committed to protect our citizens to the best of my ability.” Brown will be joined by representatives from the 16th and 18th Police District. For more information, please call Brown’s office at (215) 879-6615 . Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 19 – A two-page form that lets patients refuse opioid therapy, as called for in legislation put forth by state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, has recently been made available by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The new medical form has its genesis in H.B. 2335 , introduced by Gainey in the last legislative session, which called for creation of the Pennsylvania Patient Non-Opioid Directive. It permits patients opt out of treatment with opioids by checking a box, and is valid for all medical and dental care. Recognizing the importance of getting this done no matter who gets credit, Gainey, co-chairman of the Pennsylvania Heroin, Opioid Prevention & Education Caucus, amended his language into S.B. 1367 , which became law as Act 125 of 2016 . During House debate, Gainey explained: “A patient who does not want to have opioid drugs administered or prescribed could sign a form and present it to his or her practitioner, evidencing his or her desire not to be administered or prescribed any opioid drug, such as Oxycodone, Vicodin or morphine. This is a patient rights issue, it is a public safety and health issue – and I urge (this amendment’s) passage.” Gainey said that while the measure became law in late 2016, it took additional time for the Health Department to create, approve and make available the form. It indicates to all prescribers, practitioners and health care facilities that a patient has opted not to be Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 18 – State Rep. Mike O’Brien, D-Phila., today joined 143 organizations and leaders signing on to a public letter sent to the Pennsylvania congressional delegation urging the elected officials to pass the Dream Act and a spending bill by this Friday, Jan. 19. “Nearly a million lives are at stake today. It is time for Congress to act; it is time to invoke the foundations of this country to protect these young people from deportation,” O’Brien said. “Congress needs to stop tearing families apart and provide a path to citizenship, so the immigrants who have helped build and strengthen our states and communities can live their lives without fear.” O’Brien said the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, allowed young people to come out of the shadows, obtain valid driver's licenses, enroll in college, secure jobs, strengthen civic ties and drive economic growth throughout the country. “Immigrants have done nothing wrong. This country is the only place they call home. In fact, In Pennsylvania alone, there are 5,889 Dreamers who contribute $230 million to the state’s economy each year and an unquantifiable amount to our communities. There are no excuses to delay this issue any longer. The termination of DACA will destabilize schools, workplaces, and communities. Congress must act now.” Click here to read the letter. Read more
WILKINSBURG, Jan. 18 – State Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the Hosanna House to discuss quality education in Pennsylvania, which is a main component of the House Democrats’ Plan4PA. Gainey was joined by Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, legislators from across the state, local education officials and advocates to discuss how stakeholders can work with state officials to improve quality education for all students. “Education is supposed to be the great equalizer; however, Pennsylvania is still the most inequitable when it comes to education funding. We need to work on leveling the playing field so that regardless of their parents’ income level, our kids have a chance at a bright future. I thank my colleagues and Chairman Sturla for joining me today to strengthen our Plan4PA and improve quality education in the state,” said Gainey. Sturla added, “As we continue to talk about the Plan4PA, I’m glad to see a focus on education and Pennsylvania’s children. Investments in education are an investment in the state’s future and Representative Gainey realizes the importance of making sure all kids have access to a bright future through quality early learning and educational opportunities at every level of K through 12.” Hearing testifiers included Dr. Anthony Hamlet, superintendent of schools, Pittsburgh Public Schools; Ed Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 18 – State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Donna Bullock, both D-Phila., have introduced a bill ( H.B. 2009 ) that would require bullying education to be taught in Pennsylvania schools across all grade levels. This bill would implement uniform bullying prevention policies to address the issue at its root cause through education and intervention programs. “Following my October news conference to bring attention to the alarming incidence of bullying, I’m calling on Pennsylvania’s executive and legislative leaders to take action,” Kinsey said. “Bullying is a public health pandemic, and we must provide the resources necessary to get it under control. Our children are being hurt and dying because of perceived differences.” Both Kinsey and Bullock cite the recent surge in suicides among young people as the primary motivation for introducing the bill. Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death among Pennsylvanians between the ages of five and 24, with 222 people within that age group taking their lives in 2015 according to a state Department of Health report . Bullock, vice chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said, “While there are policies in place that seek to prevent bullying from occurring, there are no clear policies to change the culture that consumes our children. This is especially true when it comes to cyber bullying. Having these policies posted throughout our schools is not Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today announced he has coordinated efforts with Nestle Waters to provide 1,600 cases of free bottled water to residents serviced by the Mountaintop Regional Water Authority. Hanna said many residents have contacted his office and pleaded for help. For nearly two months, residents have noted their water went from milky white in color to green and brown. A boil water advisory has been in effect for over a week with no end in sight. “This is a water crisis and a serious health hazard,” Hanna said. “Residents cannot bathe, brush their teeth or safely cook meals under these conditions. I implore the Mountaintop Regional Water Authority to take every step possible to rectify this situation.” Hanna said he has been in contact with the Authority to offer assistance and has been working with both state and local officials to evaluate contributing factors and determine the next course of action. The Centre County Planning Office has been an asset and has been working to provide the Authority with the tools it needs to resolves these issues. According to recent reports, approximately half of the water is being lost through leaks in the infrastructure system. Low water levels are causing sediment to be dispersed through distribution pipes and there have been countless complaints about poor water quality. “This is unacceptable,” Hanna said. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today announced the City of Lock Haven will receive $269,615 in grant funding through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s 2017 Community Development Block Grant Program. Hanna said the city will use the funds for street improvements to East Church Street which will include new curbing, concrete sidewalks, trees, grates and ADA compliant handicap ramps. In addition, funds will be used to rehabilitate the Hammermill Playground by removing existing equipment, installing state-of-the-art play structures and rubber safe fall surfaces, installing paved walkways, benches and a bike rack, and constructing handicap accessible picnic tables and a parking area. “This funding is crucial to our community, its parks and various recreation facilities,” Hanna said. “The economic improvements we make today will have a lasting impact on younger generations for years to come.” Upon receipt of the fully executed contract, Lock Haven must complete all applicable program requirements in order to begin the requisition of project funds. Prevailing wage requirements are generally applicable to projects using grant funds toward construction, demolition, reconstruction, alteration, repair work, renovations, build-out and installation of machinery and equipment in excess of $25,000. The Community Development Block Grant Program is administered by the Department Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, joined students and volunteers from local organizations for a “day-on” to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr on Jan. 15. McClinton co-hosted the MLK day of service alongside The First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Mural Arts Restorative Justice Program, Sayre Health Center and Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. “We had such an amazing turnout and all who helped did a tremendous job,” McClinton said. “It was great to see everyone come together and not think of MLK day as a day off from work or school.” The day consisted of painting the hallways, lockers, stairwells and cafeteria of Sayre High School and workshops for girls on the topics of dressing for success, conflict resolution and social media branding. “I would like to thank those organizations who co-hosted this event with me for their hard work and efforts. Judge Sierra Thomas Street led the charge at bringing both judges and staff to beautify the school alongside of returning citizens led by Robyn Buseman. The ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha hosted ‘My Sisters’ Dream,’ which was an empowerment day for young girls at Sayre High School. As these two activities were unfolding, the Sayre Health Center hosted an emotional wellness project that included vision boards and line dancing,” McClinton said. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – A Philadelphia Eagles victory on Sunday could earn a donation for a Delaware County organization, after state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky made a friendly wager with a counterpart in the Minnesota state legislature. Minnesota State Rep. Mike Freiberg, whose district 45B includes four Minneapolis suburbs, reached out to Krueger-Braneky on Twitter because of their similar districts and suggested the Vikings would triumph in the NFC Championship on Sunday. “Of course, I disagreed and sent Representative Freiberg a little reminder of the Eagles beating the Vikings in a playoff game in 2005,” said Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware. Some good-natured ribbing led to the wager: If the Vikings win, Krueger-Braneky will send Freiberg a basket of Pennsylvania-made treats and make a donation to the organization of his choice. If the Eagles win, Freiberg will send a basket of Minnesota treats to Pennsylvania and make a donation to an organization of Krueger-Braneky’s choice – she has already chosen Nick’s House in Swarthmore, a project of the Headstrong Foundation to provide free housing to families coming to the area for cancer treatment. “This is a fun way to show support for our home teams and raise money for a good cause at the same time,” Krueger-Braneky said. “I look forward to seeing the Eagles advance to the Super Bowl and enjoying some delicious Minnesota treats!” Read more
MONACA, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee roundtable to discuss workforce development at the Community College of Beaver County. Members of the House Democratic Policy Committee, including Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, joined Matzie for the discussion with local labor leaders and policy experts. The roundtable focused on job training for employment opportunities in Southwest Pennsylvania. “Programs have been developed to take advantage of the Shell cracker plant and Southwest Pennsylvania’s abundant supply of energy. This tells a good story of the role community colleges play in preparing the workforce, planning and filling positions based on demand,” Matzie said. “Workforce development often begins at community colleges. Whether recent high school graduates are continuing their education or adult learners are looking to further their education and careers, they offer the key to a family-sustaining career path,” Sturla emphasized. “Representative Matzie is an example of those who attended community college and have achieved both personal and professional success. I look forward to further discussion on developing a workforce for the needs of today and the future.” Participants included: John Goberish, dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education, Community College of Beaver County; Elizabeth McIntyre, director Read more
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 16 –State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-Allegheny, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee roundtable discussion at the Bellevue Borough Building on small-business development and jobs, which is a part of the House Democrats’ Plan4PA. Ravenstahl was joined by Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, legislators from across the state and local stakeholders. “Small businesses are the epicenter of our community. It was great to talk about how helping small businesses grow can improve the job market, create family sustaining wages and retain a talented and diverse workforce,” Ravenstahl explained. “The Plan4PA includes offering low-interest loans to help start and expand small businesses and grow our economy. I look forward to figuring out bright ways to incorporate today’s discussion into the plan.” Sturla added, “Small-business growth and development play an important role in our economy. There are nearly 1 million small businesses in Pennsylvania and they employ 2.4 million people. Representative Ravenstahl’s roundtable gave legislators and small business stakeholders the opportunity to talk about how we can help boost the economy and support business owners.” Panelists included: Raymond Vargo, director, Small Business Development Center of the University of Pittsburgh; Ron Borczyk, director of administrative services, Bellevue Borough; Thomas Link, director of Read more
EYNON, Jan. 16 – Area veterans are invited to take part his monthly support program at the offices of state Rep. Kevin Haggerty. Dominick L. Nati III of the American Legion will be in Haggerty's Eynon office -- 307 Betty St., Suite 4 -- from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22 to provide information on services available to veterans and their families, including retirement, benefits and more. Legion membership is not required to take advantage of the help, but anyone interested is recommended to schedule an appointment through Haggerty’s office at 570-876-1111. Haggerty said the veterans outreach program alternates on the fourth Monday of each month between his Eynon and Dunmore offices. The February visit will be Feb. 26 at Haggerty’s Dunmore office – located at the Dunmore Community Center, 1414 Monroe Ave. Appointments for that date may be scheduled by calling 570-342-2710. Read more
CENTRE COUNTY, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, today announced a bill that would create a Congressional Redistricting Commission and provide guidelines for the congressional redistricting process. By amending the Pennsylvania Election Code, H.B. 2020, the Congressional Redistricting Commission would be established each year following a decennial census, as well as require the commission to adhere to redistricting principles created by state and federal law and court precedents. “The intent of my bill is to put integrity back into the process of redistricting and to insure that congressional districts are drawn by considering the fair and equal representation of the citizens of Pennsylvania rather than the political parties currently drawing maps,” said Conklin, D-Centre. Last year, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and others filed a lawsuit arguing that the state’s congressional redistricting that took place in 2011 was done in order to maximize the number of Republicans elected within certain districts. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is now expected to hear oral arguments regarding the case. Conklin said he would like to see Pennsylvanians have the authority to draw congressional maps, and leave partisanship out of it. “Over the past year, I have watched partisanship and gridlock in Washington, which have caused divisions in our nation and our commonwealth,” said Conklin, also the Democratic chairman of Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus on Monday was presented with the Outstanding Organization Award by the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia during their annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast. Each year, the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia present this award to an organization that fights to ensure that minorities and people of color have full access to the rights and privileges guaranteed under the law. State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the caucus, said, “I was honored to accept the Outstanding Organization Award on behalf of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. While we do not work for awards or recognition, it is humbling to see that our efforts to create a more fair and just society are noticed – especially from Governor Wolf, who presented us with the award. I would like to thank the Barristers’ Association for their commitment to fighting injustice and promoting awareness of the law.” State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, also was presented with the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. She said, “I am beyond grateful, humbled and honored to have been awarded the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from my Barristers’ Association family. As a proud member of the Barristers’ Association and a former public defender, my commitment to seeking justice did not end after taking office. We must continue to speak truth to power and Read more
SCRANTON, Jan. 16 – 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, Jan. 24 to provide information on services available to veterans and their families. The American Legion representatives are available to discuss 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
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Paul Costa announced that Action Housing will soon begin construction again at the site of the former Homestead Bakery Building. Empty since 2010, Action Housing took on the redevelopment project in 2016 with the goal of creating 26 units of mixed income housing and commercial space. It was awarded $1 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program money from the state for this development. “The revitalization of this building with a combination of public and private investment is the perfect example of how the state can work with locals to breathe new life into a community,” said Costa, D-Allegheny. “Homestead’s revival should be a model for other boroughs looking to modernize existing buildings and attract new residents.” Homestead once boasted a vibrant business environment, but suffered when U.S. Steel production declined. Many of the buildings from that period remain; however, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “Losing a major industry, like Homestead lost steel production, can be devastating for a community or it can provide the opportunity for incredible real estate projects,” Costa said. “Homestead has turned its loss into a gain by being creative and looking for different investments and partnerships.” At the site of the former steel plant in Homestead now sits The Waterfront, one of the largest redeveloped major retail sites in the Read more
CONSHOHOCKEN , Jan. 16 – State Rep. Mary Jo Daley will host a Brownfields Town Hall Meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18. The town hall will take place at Wissahickon High School, 521 Houston Road, Ambler. Representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will join Daley to discuss the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield sites and take questions from the audience. After the DEP presentation, attendees will have the chance to talk one-on-one with health officials, municipal officials, developers and representatives of the DEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “This is a great opportunity for area residents to learn more about how these sites can be safely cleaned up and redeveloped for good use,” said Daley, D-Montgomery. For more information, those interested can call Daley’s office at 610-832-1679. Read more
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 12 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss quality education in Pennsylvania. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18 at the Hosanna House, 807 Wallace Avenue, Wilkinsburg. Gainey requested the hearing to discuss the latest education trends and how to ensure quality schools for all Pennsylvanians. Policy experts and state legislators, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will be in attendance. The current agenda is: 10 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 10:10 a.m. Panel One: Dr. Anthony Hamlet , superintendent of schools, Pittsburgh Public Schools Ed Donovan , past president, Wilkinsburg Board of School Directors 10:30 a.m. Questions from Committee Members 10:50 a.m. Panel Two: Tiffini Simoneaux , early childhood manager in Bureau of Neighborhood Empowerment, Office of Mayor William Peduto Angel Gober , lead organizer, One Pennsylvania 11:10 a.m. Questions from Committee Members 11:30 a.m. Closing Remarks Visit www.planforpa.pahouse.com for additional information about the Plan4PA and www.pahouse.com/policycommittee for Policy Committee materials. Read more
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