HARRISBURG, April 9 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery announced Luzerne County has received two grants totaling $3,857 for its recycling program “I appreciate Luzerne County’s efforts to help our environment by reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills,” said Mullery, D-Newport Township. “Plus, recycling programs in Luzerne County and across the state create jobs and help our economy.” Mullery said the county received a $1,866 grant for recycling 311 tons of material in 2012, and a $1,991 grant for recycling 331.8 tons of material in 2013. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection awarded the grants under the Recycling Performance Grant Program. The program provides incentive to help Pennsylvania municipalities increase the amount of materials recovered through recycling, and to promote economic growth through job creation and market expansion. Read more
SCRANTON, April 8 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing with committee chairman Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, to discuss the issue of public education funding. The hearing, held in Scranton High School, focused on how local districts have been impacted by decreased state funding over the last few years, and what Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed budget will mean for them. ”When it comes to our children's education, it is important that we make sure our school districts have the tools to help our children succeed," Flynn said. "Today's hearing was a way for us to learn how districts have struggled to continue to do that in the wake of the Corbett administration's decreases in state funding for education.” Flynn added, “Governor Wolf’s ‘Jobs that Pay, Schools that Teach, and Government that Works’ initiative is one to improve an entire society. By ensuring Pennsylvanians have access to fundamental resources like a good education and well-paying jobs, he’s making it possible for our citizens to better provide for themselves and their families and achieve the American dream.” Echoing that sentiment, Sturla said, "The testimony we heard today here in Representative Flynn's district was not unique in that a majority of school districts across the state have been faced with difficult decisions because of the previous Read more
WILKES-BARRE, April 7 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from leaders in education, along with state officials, concerning funding for education in Pennsylvania at a hearing requested by state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne. The meeting was held at Wilkes University and focused on Gov. Tom Wolf’s "Schools that Teach" plan, which is part of the governor’s three-step approach to strengthen the commonwealth. Pashinski said the governor’s proposal will not only help restore funding for education in two years, it will also reduce school property taxes by more than 50 percent to homeowners. "The governor’s plan is truly a win-win for the people of Pennsylvania," Pashinski said. "House Democrats and I believe this proposal is a strong investment to provide a solid education and better future for the youth of this commonwealth and connect the economic improvements to a quality education. "Gov. Wolf’s budget also provides property tax relief, which will help rebuild the middle class in this state." Pashinski co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as House Democratic Policy Committee chairman. "As a former educator, Rep. Pashinski has always been an advocate for quality education," Sturla said. "By initiating this hearing, he is showcasing his strong support in Gov. Wolf’s plan for moving Pennsylvania in an upward and Read more
LACKAWANNA, April 7 – State Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-Lackawanna, announced today that he will chair a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to look at his H.B. 348 that would study the cost-effectiveness of a new statewide public school employee health care benefit program.
HARRISBURG, April 7 – State Reps. Brian Sims, D-Phila., and Scott Conklin, D-Centre, plan to introduce legislation reforming Pennsylvania's voter registration system by instituting automatic registration of all eligible voters, with provisions for opting out. "Voting is a fundamental right of all Americans, but one which many forgo due to the burdens associated with voter registration, and the time and financial costs resulting from going to the polls. As technology continues its rapid advance, legislators must find efficient and less taxing methods for helping the citizens of Pennsylvania to exercise this fundamental right," Sims said. Conklin said, "Under our proposal, the responsibility of voter registration would be passed from eligible voters onto the Pennsylvania Department of State and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Beginning July 1, 2015, the secretary of the commonwealth would initiate a program to automatically register eligible voters whose information is provided to PennDOT for obtaining a driver’s license or non-driver identification card. The Department of State would use the PennDOT data, which includes information on whether a person is a citizen, to register voters. These newly registered voters would then be sent a postcard with information on how to opt out of registration altogether and how to choose a party affiliation. Under our proposal, a newly registered voter would have 21 days to opt out of Read more
HARRISBURG, April 6 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, invites area residents to celebrate "Eat for Peace Week" in Pennsylvania April 11th through April 19th by sharing a meal with persons of various backgrounds and cultures at local restaurants. For the past four years Rep. Davidson and the Brandywine Visitors and Convention Bureau have marked the occasion by hosting a “Eat for Peace” Restaurant week celebration which features restaurants that serve cuisines from around the world throughout the 164 th Legislative District, including all five municipalities – East Lansdowne, Lansdowne, Millbourne, Upper Darby, Yeadon. "The Eat for Peace concept evolved from the unique experiences of Anthony Lucidonio, Jr., known as “Tony Luke,” who has restaurants in Delaware County and all over the world,” Davidson said. “Specifically, it was during Mr. Lucidonio’s time in the country of Bahrain that he observed firsthand the phenomenon of healthy and positive relationships being forged between the multinational patrons who dined at his restaurant.” Davidson said this concept has special meaning in her legislative district because it is the most diverse district in the commonwealth with over 70 languages spoken at the schools. Residents who would like more information about Eat for Peace or a complete list of restaurants participating in Eat for Peace Week should call Davidson’s office at (610) Read more
Rep. Pam Snyder is inviting residents of the 50th Legislative District to participate in a live Tele-Town Hall meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9.
TEMPLE, April 6 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, will host a free vehicle etching event in an effort to combat vehicle theft in Berks County. Read more
ALLENTOWN, April 2 – State Reps. Mike Schlossberg and Peter Schweyer, both D-Leigh, sent a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane late last urging her to take any and all actions required to prevent RadioShack from selling millions of its former customers' personal data.
As a result of RadioShack declaring bankruptcy, more than 13 million email address and 65 million customer names and physical addresses are reportedly up for sale to the highest-bidder. Previously, RadioShack made a pledge to its customers that it would not sell their personal data to other companies.
"When a company like RadioShack collects personal information based off a promise, which includes its protection from sale to another company, Pennsylvania consumers have a right to expect that information will stay private," Schlossberg said. "Rep. Schweyer and I contacted Attorney General Kane to ensure that Pennsylvania law enforcement takes all appropriate actions and fully applies state laws to guarantee those protections are maintained."
Kim’s bill, H.B. 250, would increase the minimum wage from the current $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour after 60 days and then to $10.10 per hour a year later. It also includes an annual cost-of-living adjustment beginning January 1, 2016. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 2 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, announced the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has awarded over $14,000 in funds to two historical institutes within his legislative district. The National Canal Museum will receive $5,784 and the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society will receive $8,373. "Supporting the wealth of historic and cultural information in the commonwealth helps encourage Pennsylvanians to educate themselves and grow as citizens," Freeman said. "I’m especially pleased for the National Canal Museum in Easton and the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society, for both of which provide an abundance of historical knowledge to Northampton County." In all, the PHMC provided more than $1.9 million in grants to 120 eligible museums and official county historical societies in Pennsylvania that met necessary guidelines. To qualify, interested establishments must have been either Pennsylvania museums with at least one full-time professional staff person and have an annual operating budget of over $100,000 (excluding capital and in-kind services) or the official historical society for the county. Award amounts were determined using an equation based on a percentage of the eligible museum’s previous year’s operating budget. Any museum could have received a maximum amount of $65,000. The maximum for historical societies was $4,000. This PHMC-funded grant Read more
HARRISBURG, April 2 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, today participated in a House Human Services Committee public hearing titled "Eliminating Stigma in Mental Health," supporting a change in societal perception he believes is long overdue.
“Too often, people live in fear and embarrassment about their mental health struggles. This is unnecessary and results in wasted lives and needless pain," Schlossberg said. "The purpose of this hearing was to learn more about what we, as a government and as elected officials, can do to combat this stigma. I am incredibly grateful for the work of the groups who joined us today in shining light on this important issue.”
State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the Human Services Committee, said, “One of the biggest issues facing those who suffer from mental health disabilities is the stigma that comes attached to their diagnosis. It can be debilitating and often times compound the issues that they are already having.”
Echoing Schlossberg’s concern, Cruz added, “Discussions like the one we had today will go a long Read more
HARRISBURG, April 2 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, has recently introduced legislation designed to prevent animal cruelty and prohibit convicted animal abusers from further caring for animals they have harmed. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 1 – House Urban Affairs Committee Democratic Chairman Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, said the committee reported out the following bills this week and sent them to the full House for consideration: House Bill 11 is designed to help improve efficiency within state government. The legislation builds on the approach of the state Office of Innovation, which reportedly saved state taxpayers more than $690 million. Gov. Wolf recently named the Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management, and Efficiency as the successor of the Office of Innovation. House Bill 11, as amended, would secure the office in law and create a steering committee that would include the secretaries of Policy and Planning, General Services and Budget, in addition to one member from the Republican and Democratic caucuses in both the House and Senate. House Bill 341 would require property disclosure statements related to residential real estate transfers to include notification of any sinkholes and storm water facilities located on the property. "This bill stresses the importance of being well-informed," Caltagirone said. "Sinkholes alone can wreak havoc on a property and financially strap a property owner. This legislation is an all-encompassing consumer protection bill." House Bill 447 would allow for early termination of a residential lease following the death of the sole tenant of an occupied unit. Under the bill, upon 14 days written notice to Read more
HARRISBURG, April 1 – Centre County state Rep. Scott Conklin said the House of Representatives has adopted a measure honoring the life and service of Robert Bradley Jr., who served as a State College Borough police officer for 19 years. Bradley died Feb. 9 after collapsing while on duty. House Resolution 135 is a condolence resolution that is designed to pay tribute to Bradley's commitment to protecting the lives of others. "This a small token of appreciation to present to Officer Bradley's family. For their loss, they have my deepest sympathy," Conklin said. "Following this tragedy, kinder words about Robert as a police officer, a friend and family man have never been spoken." In addition to his law enforcement career, Bradley was a criminal justice instructor at Kaplan University and a criminal procedures instructor at the University of Phoenix. Bradley also practiced law part-time at the Law Office of Robert W. Bradley. Bradley, a 1989 graduate of Bellefonte High School, received a bachelor's degree from the Pennsylvania State University and graduated as valedictorian from Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Municipal Police Training Academy in 1995. He also earned his juris doctor degree from Widener University School of Law in 2007. "Officer Bradley's commitment to law enforcement and the community he called home are indicative of someone who lived to serve others," Conklin said. "While the void Read more
Rep. Snyder won unanimous House support for her measures honoring George J. Plava, a longtime Fayette County educator, and John Mitchell, a renowned national labor leader. Snyder noted that
the good the men did while among us will never be forgotten, and both improved the lives and livelihoods of countless residents.
HARRISBURG, March 31 – In a show of bipartisan cooperation, the House Urban Affairs Committee voted today in favor of legislation sponsored by state Reps. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, and Seth Grove, R-York, that would help improve government efficiency.
In February, Gov. Tom Wolf created the successor to the Office of Innovation – in the new Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency – with a goal of finding ways to further modernize state government and save money. House Bill 11, as amended, would secure the office in law and create a steering committee that would include the secretaries of Policy and Planning, General Services and Budget, in addition to one member from the Republican and Democratic caucuses in both the House and Senate.
"Since the start of the great recession, the phrase 'doing more with less' has been said by government officials so many times that it has almost become a reflex," Schlossberg said. "However, doing more with less means that we give government employees the tools that they need to succeed. This bill does just that."
“House Bill 11 builds on the approach of the state Office of Innovation, which was highly successful, having saved state taxpayers more than $690 million through the adoption of lean management principles intended to increase the efficiency of state government,” said Grove. “This bill was amended to train new state employees on lean management practices, helping modernize state government and imp Read more
HARRISBURG, March 31 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously adopted a resolution authored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, that designates April 2015 as “Limb Loss Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania.
"Whether it is due to congenital defect, bone malignancy or the result of an accident, limb loss is a serious condition affecting many Americans of all walks of life," Matzie said.
Almost 2 million Americans of all ages, races and genders have had a limb amputated, while another 28 million Americans are at risk for amputation. On average, each day, 500 Americans will lose a limb, creating a lifetime condition that poses physical, emotional and financial challenges for the individual and their loved ones.
"The average citizen is largely unaware of the strength of will and determination shown everyday by the amputee community," Matzie said. "This awareness month is meant not only to draw attention to their challenges, but also to recognize the strength and fortitude they display on a daily basis.”
HARRISBURG, March 31 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, today announced that the deadline to apply for assistance through Pennsylvania's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP, has been extended through May 1. Federally funded LIHEAP helps income-eligible households pay for heat during winter months and is administered by the state Department of Human Services. A family of four with an annual income of up to $35,775 can qualify for this assistance. Petrarca said LIHEAP's closing had been set for April 3 before today's adjustment. "February was an exceptionally cold month, and even now the weather still seems very cold, although we're headed into April," Petrarca said. "By extending the program another month, more people will be able to apply and get help with their heating bills." Petrarca said people can learn more about LIHEAP by calling or visiting any of his offices: in Vandergrift at (724) 567-6982, 239 Longfellow St.; in Derry at 724-694-5298, 620 N. Chestnut St.; and in the Latrobe Municipal Building, 901 Jefferson St., at 724-539-7560. Applications are also available through the Westmoreland County Assistance office by calling (724) 832-5524, the Armstrong County Assistance office at (724) 543-6076, or the Indiana County Assistance Office at 724-357-2918. Applications are also available online at www.compass.state.pa.us . Read more
State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., takes part in a Legislative Breakfast with the Philadelphia Children's Alliance on March 27, 2015. PHILADELPHIA, March 27 – As a new member of the House Children and Youth Committee, state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., is helping raise awareness of “Child Abuse Prevention Month” in April. A recent hearing this session included testimony on the implementation of the almost two dozen pieces of new child protective services legislation signed into law last legislative session. “As with any landmark policy undertaking, there is a need for clarification and potentially making legislative adjustments to the laws that were passed,” DeLissio said. “Concerns include the need for background checks by organizations and religious entities for many individuals, particularly volunteers, who may come in contact with children even momentarily throughout the day.” To read more about the policies implemented and what it means for those who work with children, DeLissio said she encourages people to check out http://keepkidssafe.pa.gov/ . “The protection and safety of our children is paramount; however, we need to ensure that our laws do not place unfair burdens that in reality can undermine or deter the good work happening to support our children’s needs,” she added. DeLissio said as she embarks on work with the Children and Youth Read more
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