PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will co-host a weekly radio program from 11 a.m. to noon every Thursday on radio station WTTM, 1680 AM. The program, entitled "Voices from the Inside," will focus on the state's prison system and reducing crime. McClinton will be joined by co-hosts state Rep. Leslie Acosta, D-Phila., Esteban Cabrera and author Hugh Taft-Morales. "I am excited to have this opportunity to discuss our criminal justice system," McClinton said. "This new program will offer a voice to those currently incarcerated and will promote the sharing of ideas between prisoners and us on the outside. Thanks to Rep. Acosta, who developed the idea and invited me to participate in such a meaningful program. "By meeting those currently in prison, I hope that the listeners will understand the need for changes and improvements in our current system. We need to establish more humane methods to house our prisoners and work with them so they can be rehabilitated and can return to society and contribute. We waste so much money incarcerating those who have committed minor offenses and by locking them up for extended periods of time, we make it harder for them to blend back in to society and hold a meaningful job. "Additionally, we will be discussing community programs which may reduce violence and crime." The program will air live at 11 a.m. every Thursday on 1680 AM, and it can also Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 9 – The House Transportation Committee today amended and reported out a bill, authored by state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, to strengthen provisions intended to keep infants safe while traveling in a vehicle.
"On Monday, at a public hearing held by the House Transportation Committee, I was pleased to see wide, bipartisan support for efforts to improve child safety in Pennsylvania," Schlossberg said. "After a productive and frank discussion, it was clear that there was sufficient support to strengthen my bill by amending it to offer even better protections for our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. I fully support that effort."
House Bill 1551, which originally would have required children younger than 1 to be secured in a rear-facing car seat, was amended by the committee to require children to be secured in a rear-facing car seat while in a vehicle until age 2 unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer’s specification of the car seat in use.
Schlossberg noted that this change to his bill follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. During the House Transportation public hearing, Ted Leonard, executive director of the Pennsylvania AAA Federation, voiced AAA’s support for efforts to enhance the requirement to secure children under age 2 in rear-facing car seats or until that child reaches the maximum height and weight for the car seat as noted by the manufacturer.
"As a father of two young children, I find it hard to belie Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 7 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, has introduced H.B 1692, which would make it easier for family members to commit a loved one for drug and/or alcohol treatment.
“Too many families watch their loved ones deal with alcohol or drug abuse problems and can only standby while they spiral into despair, or worse,” Readshaw said. “I have been working with family members, law enforcement, the district attorney, the minor courts and others to ensure that my bill would offer remedies for families seeking help for their loved one.
"I introduced this bill at the request of my friend, a constituent who recently lost his son because of a drug overdose," he added.
Readshaw said that Pennsylvania families are the front lines of the opiate epidemic in this Commonwealth, and this bill is an effort to provide families with another avenue of resources.
House Bill 1692 would provide for involuntary treatment requirements and procedures for individuals suffering from alcohol and other drug abuse; and imposing duties on the Department of Health and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Presuming the person has a reasonable benefit of recovery and the individual presents an imminent danger or imminent threat of danger to self, family or others as a result of alcohol and other drug abuse, or there exists a substantial likelihood of such a threat in the near future, a family member would be able to petition the Court of Common Pleas to initiate proceedings for in Read more
PITTSBURGH, Dec. 2 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny announced the state's heating assistance program, LIHEAP, is accepting applications for the winter.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides federal aid to eligible families to help pay winter heating bills and cover emergency heating equipment needs.
"LIHEAP ensures that qualified households can pay for their heating costs, such as gas, oil or electricity," Readshaw said. "Emergency funds are also available for households without heat or fuel, or those facing cut-off from a supplier.
"My staff can help complete the application."
Household income limits to qualify vary according to family size:
Household Size Maximum Income
The household income level increases by an additional $6,240 for each additional person.
"Since this program is based on federal money, the state budget impasse should not affect the funding for this program," Readshaw said.
Applications also can be completed online at www.compass.state.pa.us, and can be obtained at local county assistance offices, which can be found at www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/CAO-locations.aspx.
HARRISBURG, Nov. 16 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, and state Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery/Phila., announced today that they will host a private advance screening of the film “Spotlight” on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at the Midtown Cinema, 250 Reilly St. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and Turning Point are the event sponsors.
A complimentary reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., prior to the movie. Remarks will be offered by the sponsors and hosts in support of legislation that would modify the Pennsylvania statute of limitations to allow victims to seek civil action against abusers and the institutions that shield them.
“Spotlight” is the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child sexual abuse and cover-up within the local Boston Archdiocese.
More information about the event is available by contacting Rozzi’s Harrisburg office at (717) 783-3290. To reserve tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/private-advance-screening-of-spotlight-tickets-19499631924. Seating is limited.
HARRISBURG, Oct. 28 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, will host a flu shot clinic from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Nov. 5 at Concord Presbyterian Church, 1907 Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh, 15210.
Pneumonia shots also will be available.
"The earlier you can get a flu shot, the longer you are protected through the flu season," Readshaw said. "It is important to remember that flu is not just a nuisance. It can be a serious, even fatal, illness, especially for those young children, elderly and anyone who may have a weaker immune system."
While the flu vaccinations are not free, the costs are covered by all Medicare Part B plans as well as many other medical insurance plans. Vaccination recipients must bring their insurance cards when they get their shots.
Readshaw reminds people who may have the flu to see a doctor as quickly as possible. There are treatments which may lessen the severity of the illness if taken quickly enough.
HARRISBURG, April 6 – House Democratic Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the committee will hold a public hearing hosted by state Reps. Steve McCarter, Mary Jo Daley and Leanne Krueger-Braneky on clean-energy jobs. The hearing will be held 10 a.m. Monday, April 11 in the House Democratic Caucus Room, 418 Main Capitol Building, Harrisburg. The current hearing agenda is: 10 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 10:10 a.m. John Quigley , secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection 10:30 a.m. Panel One: Liz Robinson , executive director, Energy Coordinating Agency Ken MacDougal , director of business development, National Electrical Contractors Association – PA-DE-NJ Chapter Nancy Mifflin , Mid-Atlantic regional coordinator, American Association from Blacks in Energy Ron Celentano , president, Pennsylvania Solar Energy Industries Association 11:10 a.m. Panel Two: Kate Ringness , program manager, The American Jobs Project Eric Miller , policy counsel, Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance Khari Mosely , Pennsylvania regional programs manager, BlueGreen Alliance 11:40 a.m. Closing Remarks The hearing is open to the public and media coverage is invited. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 1 – The Schuylkill Conservation District will receive a $67,024 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection to again monitor water quality on the Upper Swatara Creek, state Reps. Neal P. Goodman and Mike Tobash and state Sen. David G. Argall announced. Read more
EBENSBURG, April 1 – As the final portion of a state grant, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, said the Cambria County Solid Waste Authority will receive $250,000 toward purchase of two CNG recycling trucks in the next four to six weeks. Burns said the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has notified the authority that the final invoice is being processed for the $750,000 project, two-thirds of which is DEP-financed. "These new trucks will replace seven old trucks that had gone beyond their useful lives," Burns said. "The reason that two trucks can replace seven is that they are larger and have compacting capabilities. They are also less expensive to operate, and they run on a fuel that’s produced and in abundant supply in Pennsylvania." Earlier this week, Burns attended the unveiling of the locations of two CNG fueling stations announced by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. One will be in Ebensburg and the other at the CamTran main building in Johnstown. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 31 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., will host his fourth annual job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, April 8 at the William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. "For three years, this event has connected hundreds of people with potential employers, and I'm sure this year's job fair will do the same," Sims said. "More than 25 employers will be on hand, including the City of Philadelphia fire and police departments, SEPTA, the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission -- and some major private-sector employers as well. "Bring your resume and remember to dress to impress!" RSVPs aren't required but are appreciated. Residents can email RepSims@pahouse.net or call 215-246-1501. Sims represents the 182nd Legislative District, which includes part or all of: Rittenhouse, Fitler Square, Logan Square, Midtown/Gayborhood, Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Fairmount, Queen Village, East Passyunk, Spring Garden and Market East. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, March 31 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., welcomed Wednesday's signing of a "reverse transfer" agreement between Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges and the 14 State System universities. The initiative will allow students who have earned at least 60 total credits to apply for an associate’s degree from the community college where they started. "In many cases, receiving an associate's degree could immediately increase the student’s earning potential, even as he or she continues working toward a bachelor’s degree or another certification or credential at a State System university. This reverse transfer agreement could be especially helpful for students called to military service, for example," said Roebuck, Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee. Under the agreement, students who began their postsecondary education at any community college in Pennsylvania and earned a minimum of 45 credits before transferring to any State System university can participate in the new program. Eligible credits may include those earned through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Credit by Exam and the military. A student must have enrolled at a State System university within five years of leaving the community college and have earned at least 15 additional credits at a State System university to be considered for the program. Their State Read more
HARRISBURG, March 31 – A group of nearly 20 state House members led by state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, today sent a letter to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission urging approval of regulations that would make gas drilling safer in Pennsylvania. IRRC, the agency created to review commonwealth agency regulations to ensure they are in the public interest, is scheduled to consider the regulations at its April 21 hearing. Vitali, Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said the regulations would enhance public resource protections, including those for state parks and forests, playgrounds, schools and public water supplies; provide for pre-drilling review of potential abandoned and operating wells; require water supply restoration standards for operators who degrade a water supply; and enhanced spill reporting and clean-up requirements. The Performance Standards at Oil and Gas Well Sites regulations were promulgated in accordance with Act 13 of 2012, and have not been updated since 2001, so modernizing them is critical to ensure protection of Pennsylvania’s environment, the group’s letter states. The drilling industry opposes the regulations and on March 24, the Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers Association filed a suit in Commonwealth Court challenging them. The House and Senate can stop the regulations by passing a concurrent resolution disapproving them, which must be signed by Read more
WHITEHALL, March 30 – State Rep. Daniel McNeill, D-Lehigh, today hosted recovery experts, leaders of support groups, grieving parents, addicts in recovery, and concerned citizens from across the Lehigh Valley at his second town hall meeting on the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing the area. McNeill was joined by Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Taylor, Drug Enforcement Agency; Nancy Howe of G.R.A.S.P. (Grief Recovery After A Substance Passing); Donna Jacobsen, parent leader of the Lehigh Valley Parent and Family Support Group; Devin Reaves, Young People in Recovery; Chelsea Ruane and Sarah McCann who are addicts in long-term recovery, and parents who have lost children to fatal heroin overdoses. Several concerned parents joined the discussion to find out how their children are becoming addicted and what options are available for treatment. McNeill said he hosted a second town hall meeting because his first event in February was so highly attended, and he wants to get as many people involved in discussions about this crisis as possible. “We need to keep this conversation going in order to educate everyone about the seriousness of this issue,” McNeill said. “I am hopeful that these events give parents the courage and tools they need to seek help for their children who may be addicted. If we can prevent one young life from being lost, it will be worth it.” McNeill cited a recently-released study by the Trust for Read more
HARRISBURG, March 31 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said that his offices have both federal and state income tax forms and applications for the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program available for constituents. "Tax time is getting ready to wrap up, so if you wait until the last few weeks of tax season to do your taxes, know that my office has the forms available," Petrarca said. "We also have the forms for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, and can help you apply." The tax filing deadline this year is delayed to April 18 because the traditional deadline happens to fall on a public holiday in the District of Columbia. The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program provides rebates for property taxes or rent paid in 2015. Those eligible are Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older and adults of any age with disabilities. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded. The deadline to apply is June 30. "Some companies send out solicitations that offer to help you apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for a fee. The state Revenue Department, which operates the program, does not charge a fee, and my staff and I can provide free assistance in completing the application. Just give one of my offices a call or stop by," Petrarca said. Petrarca's offices are located at 239 Longfellow St., Read more
The House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing 11 a.m. Monday, April 4, on Rep. Tina Davis' legislation, H.B. 1884, which would provide needed oversight and safeguards on recovery houses used by patients rehabbing from drug and alcohol addictions. The Bucks County Democrat says the hearing in Room 418 in the state Capitol will be streamed live at www.pahouse.com/live and likely will be broadcast on PCN at a later time. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 30 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, today announced the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is accepting applications for its Volunteer Fire Assistance grant program, aimed at saving lives and protecting property in unprotected or inadequately protected rural areas. The VFA grant provides assistance to state foresters and other officials for their efforts to aid local forces in rural areas or communities with under 10,000 residents, to prevent and control fires threatening human life, livestock and their natural surroundings. “Our firefighters lay their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and protect our environment,” Donatucci said. “The least we can do is make sure they have the updated equipment they need to do their jobs. I encourage organizations to see if they qualify for this important opportunity.” The cost-share program will cover up to half of project expenditures, with a maximum grant award of $7,500. Grants can be used for purchase of wildfire suppression equipment, wildfire protective gear, and mobile or portable radios; installation of dry hydrants; wildfire prevention and mitigation; wildfire training; and the conversion and maintenance of federal excess vehicles received from the Bureau of Forestry. However, priority will be placed on projects that include purchase of wildland fire suppression equipment and wildland fire protective gear. All applications Read more
EBENSBURG, March 30 – As special needs children were presented adaptive bikes, strollers and communications devices during a Monday event at St. Francis University in Loretto, state Rep. Frank Burns spoke of his role in securing $245,762 for the Ebensburg Regional Inclusive Playground. Opened in 2015 at Cambria Elementary School, the regional playground features special equipment designed to give children with physical and cognitive disabilities the chance to play alongside other children. It was built with a Burns-secured grant from the Commonwealth Financing Agency to the Central Cambria Education Foundation. “Just as I said then that all children should be included on the playground and be able to play together, today I say that all children should be able to enjoy riding a bike, participating in daily activities and using their voice,” Burns said, assessing the purpose of “ An Event to Change Kids’ Lives.” Burns said the purpose of both initiatives is to enable special needs children to fully participate in all the daily activities available to their peers without special needs. He commended the effort, noting, “Many of these adaptive devices are quite expensive, but their value goes beyond a dollar sign. They are helping kids lead more normal lives, and it’s hard to put a price tag on that.” In addition to St. Francis University, the Mainline Area Special Needs Advocacy Group, AFSCME District Council 83 Read more
HARRISBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Chris Sainato today joined the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and other elected officials at a Capitol event commemorating the end of the Vietnam War to honor and thank Pennsylvania veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices. Sainato, the Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said it is only fitting that these veterans are being recognized for their service and sacrifice on the 43rd anniversary of the day the last of our troops departed Vietnam. “Pennsylvania should be very proud because when war occurs, the call goes out and Pennsylvania residents are there,” Sainato said. “When I look at our World War II vets, our Korean and Vietnam vets, and even Operation Desert Storm -- with our National Guard, they answered the call. “When I look out there and see you -- these men and women who served -- and what you went through, we do thank you,” he said at the event. Sainato added that more than 3,100 Pennsylvanians made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam. The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is part of an initiative with the Department of Defense to help Pennsylvanians honor its Vietnam veterans on behalf of the commonwealth. The Vietnam War Commemoration recognized all men and women who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces between Nov. 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975. Read more
EBENSBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Frank Burns lauded the positive impact of public-private partnerships like the one responsible for bringing two compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations to Cambria County, including one in Ebensburg for the CamTran fleet. Burns joined PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards and CamTran President Ed Cernic Jr. in making the announcement Monday in Johnstown, where the other CNG fueling station at the main CamTran building will be accessible to the public. "This $84.5 million project will construct and improve 29 public transit agency sites across Pennsylvania over the next five years," Burns said. "The state, our transit agencies and the public are the big winners." Burns said the Trillium CNG team – which will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the fueling stations – will also pay a 15 percent royalty to PennDOT, excluding taxes, for each gallon of fuel sold to the public. The team has guaranteed at least $2.1 million in royalties, which will be used to support the project. Burns said PennDOT expects the project to greatly reduce transit agencies’ dependence on state subsidy, and will help them achieve at least $10 million per year in savings. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 29 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, applauded UPMC's announcement that it will increase the minimum starting wages for entry-level jobs at most Pittsburgh facilities to $15 an hour by January 2021. "As one of western Pennsylvania's largest employers, UPMC is showing leadership on this issue. This is the direction we should be moving as a state. The minimum wage in Pennsylvania has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009, while all of our neighboring states have raised theirs ," Frankel said. "I continue to work to raise the minimum wage statewide. People who work full-time shouldn't struggle to afford rent, groceries and utilities, and raising the wage would generate much-needed revenue at a time when the state has a budget deficit. "Governor Tom Wolf recently signed an executive order increasing the wage to $10.15 for about 450 low-wage state workers, but the legislature still needs to act -- we should be striving toward one fair minimum wage for ALL employees." ### Read more
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