State Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-Lackawanna, today announced the introduction of the “Made in Pennsylvania Manufacturing Tax Credit Act” that would give substantial tax breaks to state-based companies expanding and hiring new workers. Read more
HARRISBURG , May 18 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, today issued the following statement on Gov. Tom Wolf’s nomination of Andrew Place to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission: "The governor made an excellent choice by nominating Andrew Place to the PUC. Andrew will bring a wealth of experience with energy issues to the commission. Coming from the natural gas industry, he will ensure that the commonwealth’s energy resources continue to benefit all Pennsylvanians. As a Greene County farmer, Andrew provides a unique perspective while making sure that the concerns of southwestern Pennsylvania will be taken into consideration." ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 18 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., will host two free, public meetings this month as part of his "A Conversation with the Secretary" series. Kinsey and Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Phila., will host Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel for a discussion of prisons, reintegration services and other services as they relate to the prison system and programs for ex-offenders from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 21 at the First Presbyterian Church of Germantown, 35 W. Chelten Ave. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and speak with experts about the realities posed by imprisonment and the resources to help with them. In a second meeting of the series, Kinsey and Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass will host a meeting with Pennsylvania State Education Secretary Pedro Rivera from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 27 at Martin Luther King High School, 6100 Stenton Ave. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the governor’s proposed education budget, the impact it will have on schools, what adequate funding means in Philadelphia, what parents can do to support schools and much more. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 15 – This week state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio and her colleagues in the Women's Health Caucus introduced their legislative agenda for the current session of the General Assembly. The caucus is a bipartisan and bicameral group of legislators seeking to ensure legislation that supports Pennsylvania women is introduced and passed. "In my first session in the legislature, this caucus focused only on one or two issues, generally around reproductive health," DeLissio said. "Since then, the caucus has come to understand that there are a myriad of issues that can better women's lives, and the caucus has worked hard to recruit legislators in both chambers and from both parties to introduce and support a package of bills." The bills are categorized as follows: Family-friendly working conditions: Reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers; sanitary conditions for nursing mothers; and protecting all employees against sexual harassment. Economic fairness: Equal pay in the workplace, raising the minimum wage, retirement security; and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – increasing the earned income disregard. Ensuring healthy lives: Ensuring patient trust; setting up a task force on health care for women veterans; and safe access to health care facilities. Domestic violence awareness: Cell phone contract termination for domestic violence victims; early lease termination for victims of domestic violence, sexual Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 15 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio will hold her 46th Town Hall at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 28 in the Wolcolf Auditorium of Roxborough Memorial Hospital, 5800 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia. The event is free and open to the public. The focus will be on discussing medical marijuana and the state budget to be debated in earnest during the month of June. A member of the House Health Committee, DeLissio said that following the state Senate’s passage of Senate Bill 3, it’s reasonable to expect that the committee or even the full House will take up the bill this session. "How medical cannabis would be regulated and governed needs to be carefully vetted," said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. "There are 23 states and the District of Columbia where the use of medical cannabis is legal. I look forward to continuing to explore the pros and cons of legalizing this substance at my town hall meeting." DeLissio said she will be also will holding her Fourth Annual Voices of the Community: PA 2015-16 Citizen Budget Hearing from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 4, in the Community Room at Falls Ridge, 4349 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia. "If you live or work in the 194th Legislative District, then you are eligible to give remarks on what you believe the priorities of our state budget should be," she said. "My previous years’ hearings have been quite successful, and many constituents have come to express their priorities Read more
State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, was appointed to the House Education Committee on Wednesday. Read more
State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, said today he voted against an amendment that would bring limited property tax relief to Pennsylvania because it would distribute the relief inequitably while failing to resolve the underlying education funding issue. Read more
Rep. Pam Snyder reports that the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency approved $750,000 in funding and $692,279 in tax credits to launch the Brownsville Senior Housing Project. The project builds on other renewal efforts under way in the borough.
PHILADELPHIA, May 14 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced today that he was appointed to serve on the House Judiciary Committee for the remainder of the 2015-16 legislative session. The Judiciary Committee reviews bills pertaining to law enforcement and corrections. It provides oversight over a number of state agencies, including the Pennsylvania State Police, Attorney General's Office, Department of Corrections, the State Ethics Commission, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Office of General Counsel, Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission. Dawkins said that the committee also evaluates prison staffing and inmate populations and housing conditions. "I'm honored to receive an appointment to this important committee that plays a vital role in crafting legislation that will address critical criminal justice reform issues, such as ending the school-to-prison pipeline, reducing recidivism, and increasing opportunities for expungement," Dawkins said. "This appointment allows me to bring my constituents’ concerns about our law enforcement and judicial systems to the table as we debate these important issues." Dawkins also serves on the Health, Human Services, Urban Affairs and Aging and Older Adult Services committees. ### Read more
PITTSBURGH, May 13 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, released the following statement today following the House passage of property tax relief legislation: “Passage of House Bill 504 is a first step in what I hope will be our true commitment to the citizens of Pennsylvania to bring significant property tax relief. I do not believe Representative Saylor’s proposal provides the final solution, but I am encouraged by the bipartisan support, and believe that we will be able to address this a meaningful way. “As we move forward through the legislative process, I look forward to further negotiations on this issue with my colleagues in the House and the Senate, as well as Governor Wolf. Together, I believe we can reach a consensus that will provide significant property tax relief in a fair and equitable manner, while also addressing the many other challenges facing the commonwealth, including a major structural deficit and restoring funding to our schools after years of education cuts.” ### Read more
HARRISBURG, May 13 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware , joined with a bipartisan majority today to pass a bill that would offer lower property taxes and stabilize school funding. The House passed an amended version of H.B. 504 that would provide historic levels of property tax relief for Pennsylvania homeowners, by a vote of 105-86. "This bill doesn’t contain all of what I had hoped to see, but it’s a crucial step towards including property tax relief with the upcoming state budget," Davidson said. "For decades, Pennsylvanians have been calling for property tax relief and we’re closer than we’ve been in years to providing real and significant relief to homeowners." The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, May 13 – House Urban Affairs Committee Democratic Chairman Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, said the House of Representatives today unanimously passed a measure designed to incentivize economic development in cities and towns across the state. House Bill 613 would establish the Tax Exemption and Mixed-Use Incentive Program. It is designed to provide tax exemption incentives to developers and property owners in order to encourage new construction in deteriorated areas of depressed communities and improvements to certain deteriorated commercial, residential and industrial property. Caltagirone, a co-sponsor of the bill, said a primary focus of the legislation is to encourage mixed-use development. Such development would include projects that incorporate residential, commercial, industrial, cultural or institutional uses. "Mixed-use development is the tie that binds improved housing, retail and business spaces," Caltagirone said. "We're narrowing-in on places that need help the most. "Revitalizing a main street, downtown or any economically depressed area is a huge undertaking – it takes incentives. These tax incentives stand to breathe life back into suffering boroughs, towns and cities." The bill also would provide a yearly exemption schedule for eligible properties. For instance, during the first, second and third years of improvements or new construction, 100 percent of the eligible tax assessment would be Read more
Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law legislation by Rep. Tina Davis and Sen. Tommy Tomlinson naming a segment of Bath Road in Bristol Township as the Sergeant George Stuckey Memorial Road.
The Bucks County lawmakers said Act 3 of 2015 honors the ultimate sacrifice of Stuckey, who was the first police officer in Bucks County to be killed in the line of duty when he was shot to death March 29, 1972, while stopping suspected bank robbers.
Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law state Rep. Pam Snyder's measure honoring two members of America’s armed forces from southwestern Pennsylvania killed in action in Vietnam and Somalia. Act 3 of 2015 names the Exit 28 Mon-Fayette Expressway Interchange with state routes 43 and 88 in Centerville, Washington County, as the Marine Corporal Thomas R. Matty Memorial Interchange. It also names the Route 88 bridge over Muddy Creek in Cumberland Township, Greene County, as the Army Corporal Richard W. Kowalewski, Jr. Memorial Bridge. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 12 – State Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, joined with a bipartisan majority this afternoon to adopt an amendment to a bill that would offer lower property taxes and stabilize school funding. The House adopted the amendment to H.B. 504 by a 109-86 vote, with support from both sides of the aisle. "I have been a strong proponent for fixing our property tax system since I first took office in 2007," Galloway said. "As is true for any true reform effort, this amendment had much to offer along with some negatives, but in this case, the advantages made this a very easy 'yes' vote. "Adopting this amendment was a crucial step in including a real property tax cut in the upcoming budget, and it also offers potential tax cuts to all property owners, as well as to stabilize school funding in the future. My goal is to completely eliminate property taxes for all Pennsylvanians and this is a promising beginning." The amended bill now faces a final vote in the House and would move to the Senate for consideration upon final House passage. ### Read more
Rep. Tina Davis voted for a proposal to provide property tax relief to long-suffering homeowners so the issue remains in the legislative spotlight during upcoming budget negotiations. The Bucks County Democrat says the proposal isn’t the final bill, but the vote ensures that the issue will not be pushed aside as budget deliberations proceed.
PHILADELPHIA, May 12 – Seeking to end Pennsylvania’s status as one of only two states that fail to tax state lottery winnings, state Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., plans to introduce bills to close that loophole and start generating millions of dollars in new revenue. Youngblood’s two-bill package will mirror H.B. 1969 and H.B. 1970 from last legislative session, with the former removing the State Lottery Law tax exemption for winnings and the latter striking the exemption from the state Tax Reform Code. California is the only other state that doesn’t tax its state lottery winnings, said Youngblood, noting that Pennsylvania’s 3.07 percent personal income tax already applies to winnings from casino gambling, pari-mutuel thoroughbred horse racing and harness horse racing, games of chance and bingo. “These proposals have the potential to raise significant revenue for the commonwealth, without negatively impacting consumers, the poor, small businesses, working families or anyone relying on a fixed income,” Youngblood said. “Plus, my initiatives would end a double standard, whereby all gambling proceeds are subject to the state personal income tax except those doled out by the Pennsylvania lottery.” Youngblood, who serves as secretary of the House Democratic Caucus and has launched a legislative agenda called People 1st, said obtaining needed state revenue by closing loopholes fits Read more
HARRISBURG, May 12 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, will introduce legislation to carry out Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed changes to the state school code. "After four years of cuts and underfunding of K-12 and higher education, Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly elected Governor Wolf to put us back on the right track in education. I'm proud to work with the governor and House leadership to introduce this blueprint of necessary changes to the school code to help our kids," Roebuck said. Wolf has proposed a $400 million increase in the basic education subsidy to K-12 schools -- the largest in Pennsylvania history – to restore Accountability Block Grant and Educational Assistance Program funds cut under the Corbett administration. Under this plan, school districts would receive reimbursement for about 10 percent of their mandatory charter school tuition payments. Also, more resources would be made available to help close the funding gap that resulted from cuts in the basic education subsidy dating to the 2010-11 school year. Roebuck said House Democrats' main budget bill will also include Wolf's proposed $100 million increase in the Special Education Subsidy to further Pennsylvania’s transition to the formula enacted in 2014, "which was made possible through the hard work of the bipartisan legislative Special Education Funding Commission. My bill would Read more
HARRISBURG, May 12 – Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, today introduced the Pennsylvania Education Reinvestment Act, an essential component of Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2015-16 budget. “I am honored to push forward the governor’s proposal to reinvest in education,” Davidson said. “This is the vehicle to make that happen and I implore my fellow legislators to support it for the children of our commonwealth.” Davidson’s H.B. 1142 would impose a tax on the extraction of natural gas within the state to raise needed revenue for our state’s public education system. “The previous administration cut education funding by $1 billion,” Davidson said. “We need to reverse these cuts and properly fund education, without further burdening homeowners with higher property taxes.” The tax proposed in the Education Reinvestment Act is modeled after the severance tax in West Virginia, which has also seen a boom in production from unconventional drilling over the last decade. The severance tax would impose a rate of 5 percent on the market value of gas extracted in Pennsylvania (with a floor of $2.97), along with an additional 4.7 cents per cubic foot extracted. Davidson noted that Pennsylvania currently ranks 45th in the nation in percentage of state-provided funding for public education. “With Pennsylvania sitting on one of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world, it is up to us to use Read more
State Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila., welcomed the St. Hubert Catholic High School For Girls cheerleading team to the state Capitol Monday and presented them with an official citation from the state House of Representatives. Read more
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