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, June 23 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today joined Gov. Tom Wolf and a large group of bipartisan legislators at a Capitol news conference to detail upcoming work to combat Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis. “Unfortunately, opioid and heroin addiction are ravaging communities in every part of the commonwealth,” Bizzarro said. “Pennsylvanians of all races, religions and incomes are affected. If we don’t act now, a situation that’s already pretty dire will get even worse.” In the Rotunda, the governor, along with House leaders, announced the possibility of a special legislative session in the fall to prompt further action on the opioid crisis, in addition to several joint House Democratic and Republican Policy Committee hearings focused on the issue throughout the summer. The governor also outlined the recommendations from the Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation. A pair of legislative recommendations, H.B. 1737 and H.R. 590 , recently passed the House. Other recommendations include requiring doctors and pharmacists to attend three hours of opioid and addiction-related training before obtaining relevant licenses and requiring insurance plans to provide access to abuse-deterrent opioid drugs. “It’s heartbreaking to hear from people in our communities who’ve lost loved ones to this growing epidemic,” Bizzarro said. “The legislature has taken Read more
State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., joined Gov. Tom Wolf and House leaders for a Capitol news conference to highlight details of a joint effort to combat the opioid and heroin crisis across Pennsylvania. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 23 – The House Human Services Committee today held a public hearing on a bill introduced by Rep. Harry Readshaw that would allow for the involuntary commitment of those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction for treatment. "I am gratified the committee held this hearing, as drug and alcohol addiction is a very serious problem in the state and across the country," Readshaw said. "To provide an example, 49 people were killed in the recent Orlando tragedy, but on the same day, over 200 people overdosed in the United States. "Pennsylvania families are on the front lines of the opiate epidemic in our state, and I believe this bill will help them intercede in order to save a life." During the hearing, David Freed of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association said the association supported the bill. Other hearing testifiers included state Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis, Brentwood Borough Mayor Dennis H. Troy, Health Secretary Rachel Levine and Deb Beck, president of Drug and Alcohol Services Providers Organization of Pennsylvania. Under the bill (H.B. 1692), an individual with drug and alcohol abuse would have to be in imminent danger or a threat of imminent danger to his or her self, family or others and be able to benefit from treatment in order to be involuntarily committed for treatment. This legislation is similar to existing laws in Ohio, Florida, Indiana and Kentucky. Readshaw said that he Read more
HARRISBURG, June 23 – State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, today released the following statement after the vote on a gaming expansion amendment failed in the House of Representatives: “While I support bringing video gaming terminals into the commonwealth, I voted against the amendment that would have allowed 75,000 VGTs to flood the gaming market overnight. The legislation would have permitted five of these machines at liquor establishments and truck stops. It would have completely saturated the gaming industry and, in the long run, have done more harm than good to our small businesses, bars and taverns. “The overflow would also have had a negative flow of revenue -- anywhere between $80 million and $200 million -- to the Pennsylvania Lottery, which provides funding for programs for our senior citizens. “I currently have legislation, House Bill 1458 , that would allow three video gaming terminals in restaurants, bars and clubs with a valid liquor license. The legislation would not only help these small businesses compete with the casinos, but it would also help reduce the property tax burden that homeowners are continuously facing.” Read more
HARRISBURG, June 23 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, joined Gov. Tom Wolf and a group of bipartisan legislators today for a Capitol news conference to highlight details of a joint effort to combat the opioid and heroin crisis in the state.
In the Rotunda, Democratic Leader Frank Dermody joined Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, Majority Leader David Reed and other House members to announce the completion of recommendations from the Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation.
“For the past several years, the General Assembly has been focused on the opioid and heroin crisis gripping our state,” Matzie said. “While there is still much to do to wipe this scourge from our communities, today represents progress in that fight. The recommendations from the task force will make a real difference in ending this crisis.”
The Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation, which was created through the adoption of a resolution in 2014, made several legislative recommendations, including H.B. 1737 and H.R. 590, both of were recently approved by the House. Also announced at the news conference was a special legislative session focused on the opioid crisis, which is expected to be convened in September.
“This issue isn’t a partisan one. Individuals from all across our state and from all walks of life have fallen victim to addiction,” Matzie said. “As a member of the Health Committee, I have seen members from bo Read more
HARRISBURG, June 22 – State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-Phila., today said he voted against an amendment that would have resulted in an explosion of gambling across the commonwealth because it would harm Philadelphia and further embolden nuisance bars throughout the city.
“I don’t have a problem with gaming,” said Neilson, who is the only Philadelphia member to sit on the House Gaming Oversight Committee. “I do take issue with any legislation that would allow 75,000 video gaming terminals to pop up across the state basically overnight.”
House Bill 2150 was originally introduced to regulate the fantasy sports industry in Pennsylvania and protect consumers using their services. However, an amendment, which Neilson opposed, was offered in the House that would have allowed the use of video gaming terminals at liquor establishments and truck stops. That amendment was unsuccessful.
“If the VGT legislation had been amended into this bill and it became law, obviously revenues from the casinos and the lottery would have been affected, which would have directly impacted the amount of funds available for property tax relief and senior programs like PACE. Even a 10 percent loss in casino revenues, which I think is a modest estimate, would have led to serious funding issues and the inevitable loss of casino jobs,” Neilson said. “We have seen that trend in every state that has allowed these machines to take root in their communities. But my largest concern has been and continues to be about t Read more
State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Brian Sims, D-Phila., praised today's bipartisan, historic state Senate committee vote that sent a nondiscrimination bill to the full Senate. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 22 – Legislation authored by state Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, to rehabilitate blighted properties while fighting homelessness was reported out of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee today and sent to the full Senate for a vote. Caltagirone, who is Democratic chairman of the House Urban Affairs Committee, said his legislation ( H.B. 1500 ) would expand the power of land banks to enter into partnerships with organizations in the private sector so they can collaborate on local solutions to address the lack of housing for the homeless population in their communities. The bill passed the House in April. Land banks are entities, formed at the municipal level, granted certain powers to acquire vacant and abandoned property, and repurpose it for return to productive use. "The link between blighted property and homelessness is well documented,” Caltagirone said. “My legislation seeks to offer a solution to communities that have so far been unable to connect the resources necessary to tackle the problem. "I am grateful to my counterparts in the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee for understanding the seriousness of this issue and the need to see change for the better in our blighted communities," he said. "I am encouraged by today’s action and look forward to the day when this measure becomes law.” Last year the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that at Read more
HARRISBURG, June 22 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, expressed concern today that a bill promoting commercial development like amusement parks and office buildings in state parks is being fast-tracked without public input. Vitali, Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, noted that H.B. 2013 was voted out of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee today and is scheduled for a House vote Thursday. Specifically, the bill would create a “Public-Private State Park Partnership Board” comprised primarily of political appointees who would be charged with soliciting, evaluating and approving private development on state park land. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources would also have to approve the projects. “Passage of this bill would lead to improper development on state lands without any public input,” Vitali said. The bill also requires DCNR to fund the activities of the board, which would drain its already limited resources. Projects that would be considered in addition to amusement parks and office buildings include hotels, inns, restaurants, water parks, sports facilities and golf courses, Vitali said. “State parks were created to preserve areas of the commonwealth with unique scenic, historic or geological characteristics,” Vitali said. “These types of developments are inconsistent with the mission of state parks.” He Read more
HARRISBURG, June 22 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously adopted a resolution authored by state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, designating September 2016 as Light the Night Walk Month in Pennsylvania. "As a childhood cancer survivor, it’s empowering to see communities come together each year to participate in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walks," Bizzarro said. "By raising our beautiful lanterns in the air at these events, we let blood cancer survivors know we are standing with them in solidarity." House Resolution 935 notes the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is focused on curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. Light the Night Walks take place in nearly 200 communities each fall, including Erie, Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Harrisburg and Philadelphia. They help to fund research and access to treatments, and support programs and educational materials for people battling blood cancer. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society invested $67.2 million for breakthrough blood cancer research in 2015. Read more
NEW CASTLE, June 22 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, today announced that New Castle was approved for a state grant to prepare a storm water management plan. The city will receive $123,600 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The grant was approved under the provisions of the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act (Act 47). “This grant will provide a tremendous opportunity for New Castle to incorporate plans for needed improvements without putting a burden on taxpayers,” Sainato said. “I congratulate Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo and everyone for their efforts in obtaining this funding.” Read more
State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, issued the following statement today lambasting passage of H.B. 1948, legislation that would give Pennsylvania the most restrictive abortion law in the country:
“This attack on female reproductive health is not only an embarrassment to the entire state of Pennsylvania but, more importantly, it puts the health of our pregnant women at significant risk with no input from doctors and the medical community.
HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, today released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would be the most restrictive abortion law in the country if it were to be signed into statute:
"I stand in opposition to House Bill 1948, but I do so with great respect. I know my colleagues on the other side of this issue are sincere in their beliefs, and I think that this is something which sometimes gets lost during particularly controversial debates such as these.
"Now, that does not mean we agree on legislation such as this. In fact, on this matter, we disagree on the effects this bill will have. My opposition to this legislation is largely based on this one medical truth: The dilation and evacuation procedure which would be banned by this legislation is the safest used in terminating a pregnancy after the first trimester.
"In outlawing this procedure, patients and doctors will be forced to seek alternatives, alternatives which are less safe. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alternative procedures are shown to have 3-4 times greater risk for complications. Thus, the impact of this legislation is clear: It will put the lives of women at risk.
"More than 40 years ago, the Supreme Court recognized 14th Amendment protections for a woman’s right to decide whether to continue or end a pregnancy. More than 20 years ago, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the basic holding of Roe Read more
HARRISBURG, June 21 -- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, which would look at options for dealing with heroin and other opioid addiction. The resolution ( H.R. 893 ) directs the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study and publish a report on the benefits, costs and drawbacks of alternative opioid dependence treatment programs that utilize Federal Drug Administration-approved medications. The study will also look at the feasibility of re-opening state hospitals for detox, rehabilitation and re-entry facilities. “The state hospitals are already in place,” Readshaw said. “This would be a way to offer treatment opportunities for individuals who are looking to get off heroin and other opiates while utilizing facilities already owned by the commonwealth. It also will provide family-sustaining jobs throughout the state. "The families who are on the front lines dealing with heroin addiction know that this is a serious problem today. We need to stop talking about the epidemic and begin providing real solutions for our families and friends." The report is due to the legislature in nine months. Read more
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