Rep. Pam Snyder reports that Washington Township, Greene County, has been awarded a $49,000 state grant for a variety of improvements at the Township Park. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 1 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., will host two senior luncheons to help older Pennsylvanians access local and state resources to improve their quality of life. The free events will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on the following dates and locations: Thursday, Dec. 14 - Casa Caribe,173 W. Allegheny Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19133 Friday, Dec. 15 - Somerset Villas, 200 E. Somerset St., Philadelphia, PA 19134 “Seniors are invaluable members of our community, and with these events my aim is to see that they are connected to all the programs, resources and initiatives that can help them remain active, engaged and live their best lives,” Cruz said. Attendees will be able to receive information about the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program, PACE and PACENET prescription-drug plans, SEPTA Key ID, heating assistance and other state programs. For more information, residents can reach out to Cruz’s office at 215-291-5643 or visit his website, www.pahouse.com/Cruz . Read more
NEWTOWN, Nov. 30 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing at the Chancellor Center on state efforts to battle opioid abuse. Warren requested the hearing to receive updates from the state and his local community on the opioid crisis. He was joined by Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, along with other committee members from across the state. “The opioid epidemic is reaching deeply troubling proportions. I am glad to bring the Policy Committee to my district to discuss how local and state officials can work together to make a meaningful impact on curbing the epidemic,” Warren said. Sturla added, “The committee has hosted hearings on the opioid epidemic across the state and I thank Representative Warren for inviting us to his district. While Pennsylvania is making progress on this issue, we still have so much more to do as was evident in today’s testimony.” The hearing featured testimony from the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs acting Secretary Jennifer Smith; Jacqui Redner, president of Pennsbury School Board; local resident Pam Garozzo; and Morrisville Borough Police Chief George McClay. Hearing testimony, photos and video will be available at www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee . Read more
EBENSBURG, Nov. 30 – State Rep. Frank Burns and Cambria County Crime Stoppers are offering a reward up to $500 for information leading to an arrest of the person who broke Burns's office window at 119 S. Center St. According to police, early Saturday morning, around 2:13 a.m. someone was seen trying to break a window outside of Burns's office, before jumping into a nearby car, and fleeing down West Lloyd Street. The suspect is described as a white male, wearing a white shirt and carrying a black hoodie and the car he got into was reportedly a medium-to-small sized gray car. "I will not be intimidated by people with political agendas," Burns said. "Thankfully, this incident only involved property damage, but all crime should be taken seriously. Hopefully, this reward offer will help local law enforcement find the perpetrator so he can be punished." Burns said that the first pane of the office double pane window was broken and the second pane was cracked. Anyone with information about this incident should call Cambria County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-548-7500. Read more
Rep. Frank Burns reports that the Pa. Outdoor Corps is offering paid work experience, job training and educational opportunities to young people who complete recreation and conservation projects on Pennsylvania’s public lands. Read more
MT. LEBANON, Nov. 29 – From dealing with the unique stresses and emotional turmoil of a loved one’s addiction, to the practical challenges many face in getting appropriate treatment, the Substance Abuse Forum held today by state Rep. Dan Miller delved deeply into navigating the road to recovery. Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, said the free, five-session event at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Washington Road provided attendees with expert insights from more than a dozen panelists in the legal, medical, human services and drug addiction recovery fields. “We envisioned this as a public service event where those impacted by the opioid and heroin crisis could learn more about the ‘Challenges to Recovery’ – with separate focuses on families, kids, crime and access to treatment – and it did not disappoint,” Miller said. “We set out to cover all the bases and provide useful information, and our panelists certainly delivered.” Miller said the presence of state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who hosted the opening session with a discussion centered on the drug epidemic’s scope and what his office is doing to combat it, underscored the seriousness of the problem. Shapiro said, “The opioid epidemic is the number one public health and public safety problem facing Pennsylvania, and it’s my top priority as attorney general. We lose 13 Pennsylvanians every day to this crisis. My office has arrested more Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 29 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today hosted his first House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on bold budget innovations for the betterment of all Pennsylvanians. Held at Chestnut Hill College, Rabb was joined by Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and several lawmakers from across the state. “We’re looking for innovative budget proposals that can help us improve economic security for all, better leverage taxpayer dollars for environmental stewardship, and ease the burdens on Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system. I am grateful to my colleagues for joining me at this forum to discuss these concepts and see where they may fit into our efforts to improve public policy,” Rabb explained. Chairman Sturla added, “Representative Rabb is an innovator and today’s discussion brought great insight into universal basic income, the municipal job guarantee, the carbon fee and various criminal justice reform proposals. Spending tax dollars in the most efficient way possible is the best approach and as we look for ways to close a budget deficit while still meeting the needs of all Pennsylvanians. I thank Representative Rabb for igniting this discussion.” Testifiers included Ioana Marinescu, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice; Darrick Hamilton, Ph.D., associate professor of economics and urban policy, The New School; Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 29 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today spoke at a news conference hosted by Moms Clean Air Force and Defend Our Future to discuss how toxins from the oil and gas industry disproportionately impact African-American families throughout Pennsylvania. According to a November 2017 report co-authored by the Clean Air Task Force and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, African-Americans are exposed to 38 percent more polluted air than their white counterparts and are 75 percent more likely than the average American to live in a fence-line community. Fence-line communities are communities that neighbor a company, industrial or service facility, and are directly impacted by the facility’s operation, which includes noise, door traffic, odor and chemical emissions. “The recent report authored by the Clean Air Task Force and the NAACP only confirms what we already know: the oil and gas industry is making profits at the expense of the health and well-being of historically marginalized communities,” Bullock said. “Many fence-line communities consist of low-income residents who have faced a history of discrimination on the bases of race, gender, class and disability. These companies are able burden vulnerable communities, many which have low rates of health insurance, with the deadly consequences from air pollution.” The report shows Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 29 – State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., participated in a cleanup and beautification effort at Tarken Recreation Center in northeast Philadelphia this past Sunday. “It was a pleasure seeing so many young people involved in the International WeLoveU Foundation’s beautification efforts at Tarken Recreation on Sunday,” Solomon said. “There is no better way to show your appreciation for the neighborhood than to ensure that it is clean and safe. I look forward to other efforts to beautify our community.” The effort was hosted by the International WeLoveU Foundation, which seeks to promote unity and friendship through impactful environmental and social welfare initiatives. Solomon and participants picked up trash, painted the exterior of the recreation center, as well as installed new nets on the center’s basketball hoops. ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 29 – The holidays are a time of giving, and state Rep. Vanessa Brown, D-Phila., is reminding the community to remember the less fortunate. According to Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services , last year, about 15,000 Philadelphians experienced homelessness. Now, there are ongoing efforts to help those in need, which includes Brown’s annual Thanksgiving Day Meal Delivery. She teamed with up City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, along with several area organizations, to pack and provide free food to more than a dozen senior apartment complexes and individual homes across the community. “Times can get tough and money can get tight for families,” Brown explained. “We are just grateful to have another year filled with hard working volunteers to assist in providing our neighbors a complimentary meal.” This year, the meals were distributed from the Greater Bible Way Temple Church and the Lavish Restaurant. “We appreciate the opportunity to serve, and we wish everyone the gift of faith, blessings and hope for the upcoming holiday season,” Brown said. The other organizations that participated included: Peace Islands Institute; Brown’s ShopRite and Fresh Grocer Supermarkets; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Nu Sigma Chapter; Taxi Workers Alliance; and Girl U Can Do It, Inc. There are a number of food pantries across Philadelphia available for those wishing to Read more
WILKES-BARRE, Nov. 29 – Joined by advocates, state officials and grandparents who are raising their own grandchildren, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, hosted a forum at Wilkes University today aimed at shedding light on the issue of grandparents raising grandchildren and moving the legislature to provide more help. Read more
WEST CHESTER, Nov. 28 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, announced today that West Chester University will receive approximately $112,000 in funding under the federal Troops to Teachers grant program as part of a more than $272,000 award shared with Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. The universities will partner with Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Delaware County Intermediate Unit, Pittsburgh Public Schools and Chester Upland School District to prepare military veterans to be teachers. “I am very pleased that West Chester University has been awarded this important funding to help assist veterans and address Pennsylvania’s growing teacher shortage,” Comitta said. “This program meets two critical needs and I am very proud that West Chester was selected.” The Troops to Teachers grant program, managed by the Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education Support, provides institutions with the funding needed to implement an alternative post-baccalaureate program to prepare eligible veterans to teach in one of Pennsylvania's subject shortage areas. Additionally, it aims to provide hard-to-staff schools with appropriately certified teachers. The program will enable veterans to gain critical skills and experience in the classroom, and help them with everything from navigating the certification process to securing a job in the field. Certification costs will also be discounted, and application processing Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 28 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila., today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on the recent rise of anti-Semitic acts in Northeast Philadelphia at the Congregations of Shaare Shamayim. Boyle requested the hearing to discuss recent incidents, including rocks thrown through windows at Temple Menorah Keneseth Chai in Tacony, and the more than 270 tombstones overturned at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Wissinoming. The committee discussed how the community can work together to curb these senseless acts and was joined by Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, along with other committee members from across the state. “A recent report by the Anti-Defamation League stated that anti-Semitic incidents in Pennsylvania have increased by 71 percent this year. I could not stand by and continue to hear of these stories of vandalism, harassment and vulgar acts against our neighbors and not take further action. When teachers are receiving anti-Semitic letters with feces, or people are caught urinating on a religious building, there is a clear lack of respect and disregard for others. My hope is that following today’s discussion, we can determine a course of action that will significantly reduce the number of these unfortunate incidents,” Boyle said. Sturla added, “Acts of hate, terrorism or racism against any group of people is inexcusable. As today’s testifiers indicated, we must work together to Read more
Calling it a victory for the greater Wilkes-Barre area, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement that Wilkes-Barre will receive $680,375 in funding through the Industrial Sites Reuse Program to remediate a building at 116 S. Main St. in Wilkes-Barre. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 28 – In her ongoing effort to help seniors, state Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, is hosting a Holiday Health and Fitness Expo. The free event will be held Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Motivation High School, 5900 Baltimore Ave. Participants are asked to bring their medical insurance cards because local health care providers and medical experts will be on hand to offer screenings and flu shots. McClinton and her staff will also be available to discuss any state-related issues, including questions about applying for Pennsylvania’s low-income heating assistance program ( LIHEAP ) and the senior Property/Tax/Rent Rebate Program . “As we get older, taking care of ourselves can get expensive,” McClinton explained. “It’s my job as a state representative to show our seniors the state assistance programs available to alleviate some of the stress and make life a little bit more affordable.” Participants will be able to enjoy a holiday lunch, have the opportunity to win door prizes, and take part in line dancing. Those attending are asked to use the entrance through the school yard on the 59th Street side. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 28 – Several members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today spoke out against the gun violence epidemic impacting communities of color across Pennsylvania. State Rep, Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said, “Gun violence in Pennsylvania is a public health crisis and an epidemic, particularly for communities of color. It’s past time we start raising the level of attention on this tragic issue and demand more action. When children are being impacted, it’s time to call a state of emergency. “At this time, I’m not calling for new gun laws, but for a coordinated effort and stronger enforcements of the laws we already have in place. By providing the resources necessary, we can finally address the issue of gun violence that has traumatized our communities for far too long.” In 2016 alone, there were more than 10,000 incidents involving firearms across Pennsylvania, with nearly 5,000 of them taking place in Philadelphia. While one Pennsylvanian is murdered with a gun every 17 hours, communities of color are disproportionately impacted. African Americans and Hispanics represent nearly 79 percent of all gun homicides in Pennsylvania. From 2005 to 2014, Pennsylvania ranked fourth in the nation for the rate of gun homicides of African Americans. Although African Americans make up about 12 percent of Pennsylvania’s population, they account for more than 69 Read more
LATROBE, Nov. 28 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, announced that Latrobe has been awarded a $2,326 state grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to plant trees. Read more
YEADON, Nov. 27 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing at Yeadon Borough Hall to discuss the battle for mental health treatment versus mass incarceration. Davidson, who is finalizing a legislative package to address the issue, requested the hearing to discuss the public health crisis surrounding mental health treatment and the impact that a lack of treatment has had on the criminal justice system “There is a serious shortage of mental health treatment available,” Davidson said. “That shortage has created a strain on our health care system and our criminal justice system. My hope is that today’s hearing will be the start of a greater discussion to take place over what will bring attention to the drastic need for better mental health care. An investment in mental health care treatment can ultimately save on criminal justice costs and save lives.” Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, added, “Representative Davidson is a strong advocate for the mental health community, and her work to see that a public health crisis is not mistaken for a criminal justice crisis will benefit people and taxpayers. Consideration for mental health should be a basic tenant of health care.” Hearing testifiers included Marilyn Benoit, senior vice president, chief medical officer, and chief clinical officer, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health; Susan Rogers, director Read more
EBENSBURG, Nov. 27 – As he’s voluntarily done every year, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, said he plans to once again donate the mandatory cost-of-living increase, or COLA, to local charities. “As a fiscally conservative representative who understands that our region is struggling and people are cutting back to make ends meet, I believe that the best use of this mandatory pay increase is to return it to the communities I serve,” Burns said. As prescribed by a law passed long before Burns was elected, state officials automatically receive a COLA increase, based on a cost-of-living index, effective Jan. 1. This year and in previous budget impasses, Burns also refused to accept a state paycheck until the annual state budget was finalized. He said that he’s traditionally gone without a paycheck as long as the state budget is unfinished, most notably during the nine-month impasse of 2015-16, as well as donated his automatic COLA to local charities, because of a strong belief that legislators should set an example. “I have always worked to put taxpayers first,” Burns said. “The legislature has a lot more work to do in order to make the state more accountable to taxpayers. Donating this mandatory increase is the right thing to do.” Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 27 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss how the state can leverage tax dollars with bold budget innovations for the betterment of all Pennsylvanians. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Chestnut Hill College, Sugarloaf Mansion, 9220 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia. Rabb requested the hearing to explore more enlightened and fiscally responsible ways to address economic security, environmental stewardship and justice restoration with policy experts and state legislators, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 2:10 p.m. ?Panel One – Economic Security (Universal Basic Income; Baby Bonds): • Ioana Marinescu, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Police & Practice • Darrick Hamilton, Ph.D. , associate professor of economics and urban policy, The New School 2:40 p.m.? Panel Two – Environmental Stewardship (carbon fee and dividend policies): • William Mettler , volunteer, Citizens’ Climate Lobby • Luke Taylor, Ph.D./MBA, associate professor of finance, The Warton School 3:10 p.m. Panel Three –Justice Restoration (Criminal Justice Reform): • J ames Dennis , returning citizen • Bobby Harris , returning citizen • Marie Gottschalk, Ph.D. , professor of American Read more
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