PHILADELPHIA, July 25 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., is partnering with the American Red Cross to host the "Sound the Alarm, Save a Life" campaign. Cephas, along with her staff and community volunteers, will be available to install smoke alarms and provide fire safety tips to residents of the 192nd Legislative District in west Philadelphia. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 12, at Shephard Recreation Center, 5700 Haverford Ave., 19131. “Unfortunately, there are many families in our communities that don’t have working smoke detectors in their homes,” Cephas said. “I encourage everyone in my district who does not have a smoke detector in their home to contact my office to have one installed. “By doing so, we can help prevent house fires because even one fire is one too many.” Cephas said smoke detector installations will be performed on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last. To RSVP for an installation or for more information, residents should contact Gwen at (215) 879-6625. Read more
YARDLEY, July 25 – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation should consider the need for weight restrictions on two local roads in Yardley and Lower Makefield Township, according to an online petition being circulated by state Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks. Warren said that he is trying to show that State Route 32 beginning at the intersection with Woodside Road and continuing to the intersection at East Ferry Road, and Main Street beginning at the interchange with Interstate 95 and continuing to the intersection at Big Oak Road, are unsafe for through truck passage. “These roads are very narrow in spots, and they wind through residential neighborhoods and busy business districts, placing pedestrians and residents in danger,” he said. “In just over a week, 415 people have signed the petition.” The first-term state representative representing Lower Makefield Township, Morrisville, Newtown Borough and Township and Yardley wrote legislation that would prohibit the truck through traffic. However, in reviewing the proposed legislation, House Transportation Committee and PennDOT representatives advised Warren that, because the local roads had 10 years ago been deemed safe for through traffic and the roads adequate to handle the traffic, the legislation likely would not survive a legal challenge. Accordingly, Warren's petition asks PennDOT to reconsider the determination that the route is safe. Since March 2016, there were two separate Read more
EBENSBURG, July 25 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, today issued the following statement regarding state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s filing of a felony charge against a Catholic priest in nearby Westmoreland County yesterday: “The attorney general, using the investigating grand jury system, is examining child sexual abuse by priests throughout the commonwealth – and rightly so,” Burns said. “There is no excuse for a person in authority taking advantage of a child in this most psychologically damaging of ways, and the message being sent by Mr. Shapiro in this case is that even if the abuse took place in the early 1990s, if the law allows, your day in court is coming. “As a Catholic, I take no particular glee in watching these chickens come home to roost across our commonwealth. But also as a Catholic – and one who attended a parochial high school where similar abuse was previously documented – I am compelled to seek and support justice on behalf of my friends and classmates and others who were victimized in this most inappropriate way.” In the wake of last year’s revelation of widespread child sex abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese spanning decades, Burns has called for revising the statute of limitations for such crimes . Read more
HARRISBURG, July 25 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, launched a new constituent and community outreach service dubbed “One.19” in White Haven on Monday. The initiative involves scheduling meetings and constituent service hours in all 19 communities Mullery represents. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 25 – State Reps. Isabella Fitzgerald, D-Phila., and Thomas Murt, R-Montgomery/Phila., announced they introduced legislation to enact a “Homeless Bill of Rights” to protect fundamental civil and human rights of homeless people. “Homelessness continues to be an issue in many communities across the Commonwealth. Local codes that outlaw loitering, vagrancy, sitting or lying on the sidewalk, begging, eating in public, and other behaviors disproportionately affect homeless people,” Fitzgerald said. Fitzgerald said House Bill 1664 would protect the homeless population’s rights to move freely in public spaces, and receive equal treatment by all government agencies, employers and health care providers. The legislation would also shield their right to vote and the confidentiality of personal records and information. “Homelessness involves not only individuals but entire families. On any given day, over 15,000 Pennsylvanians are known to be homeless. During one school year, our education system serves approximately 13,000 homeless children,” she added. Murt emphasized there are key rights the homeless population needs to have protected. The Homeless Bill of Rights would establish that no person should suffer unnecessarily, be denied basic rights or be subject to unfair discrimination based on their homeless status. “As the burdens of joblessness grow and the pressures on public resources increase, we have Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 24 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins has announced that he will host his third annual Frankford Community Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12 at the Gambrel Playground, 1900 Wakeling St., Frankford. “I am excited to host my third annual community day in Frankford,” Dawkins said. “For the past two years, I have been able to bring my community together and provide them with various resources to meet their needs. I look forward to this year’s event, meeting my neighbors face-to-face, and addressing any issues they have.” Dawkins said the free event will feature carnival and video games, as well as live entertainment. Represetatives from local and state agencies will also be available to provide information about a variety of social services. Guests include Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, State Senator Christine Tartaglione, Congressman Brendan Boyle, the 23 rd Ward of Philadelphia, the Frankford Community Development Corporation and more. Free refreshments also will be served. For more information, contact Dawkins’ constituent service office at 215-744-7901 ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 24 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., has announced that he will host his fifth annual Soul School Festival beginning at noon Saturday, Aug. 12 at Chew Playground, 19th and Washington Ave. “I am excited to announce that my annual Soul School Festival is back and better than ever,” Harris said. “Each year, I have the honor of bringing my community together to hear directly from them about the issues they face and how I can solve them. It also gives me the opportunity to provide them with available state services and entertainment for the entire family.” The free festival will feature bounce houses, a basketball tournament, face painting and live entertainment. Attendees will also be able to receive free health screenings and learn more about registering to vote, the PA 529 College Savings Plan and utility assistance programs. There will be musical performances by Biz Markie, Total, Marsha Ambrosius, DJ Kool, and Chill Moody. Refreshments also will be served. The event is open to the community, and constituents with questions should contact Harris’ office at (215) 952-3378. ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 24 – July and August are the hottest months of the year, so the prospect of hot-weather injuries continues to exist, said state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., who will kick off bottled-water deliveries with local elected officials to police officers, firefighters and senior citizens across the 201st Legislative District . "There is the threat of heat injury and we want to take precautions keeping local residents equipped with water," Kinsey said. "We have folks without air conditioning, seniors who have difficulties withstanding the heat, and people out there working in the hot sun. People need reminded to drink plenty of water, take breaks and find cool shelter when working or playing outside for long periods of time." Kinsey will be delivering more than 5,000 bottles of water to area residents and sharing tips on how to beat the heat, such as: Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and do not overexert yourself. Try to stay indoors as much as possible. Check on elderly friends and neighbors, and those with medical conditions. For additional help, call the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging Senior Helpline at 215-765-9040. Know the City of Philadelphia "Cooling Centers" at http://gsg.phila.gov/map . Register at https://alert.pa.gov to receive emergency alerts for when temperatures spike and other emergencies strike. Kinsey also said that he encourages seniors in need of water to contact his Read more
Rep. Ryan Bizzarro said Saturday’s House session, purportedly called to consider a 21-day-late revenue package for the new state budget, amounted to a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. “Perhaps Saturday’s debacle will move House Republicans to start working with others,” Bizzarro said. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 22 – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf allowed S.B. 624 to become law Friday. The new law reduces protections to streams where coal companies seek to mine underneath them and interferes with pending litigation, said state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery. The bill passed both the Pennsylvania House and Senate and was presented to the governor on July 11. He had until Friday to either sign it, veto it or let it become law by his inaction. “This is a triumph of special-interest group influence over good environmental policy,” Vitali said “The law is also unconstitutional.” Vitali said S.B. 624 violates Article III, Section 32 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which prohibits special legislation. Senate Bill 624 is directed at one particular coal company, Consol Energy, in one particular location, Ryerson Station State Park, Vitali said. Introduced by Sen. Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, the bill directly affects a pending case before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB Docket No. 2014-072-B) relating to Consol Energy’s longwall mining activity in and near this Greene County state park. Vitali said the law also violates Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution (the Environmental Rights Amendment), as recently interpreted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Longwall mining activity by Consol Energy under Ryerson Station State Park has already caused permanent damage to Read more
ALLENTOWN, July 21 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer is leading an effort to collect school supplies at his Allentown office, 1912 S. Fourth St. Read more
PITTSBURGH, July 19 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, invites residents of the 23rd Legislative District to participate in a live Tele-Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 27. The district includes part or all of these Pittsburgh neighborhoods: Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Greenfield, Oakland, Point Breeze and Regent Square. Residents of Frankel's district will receive an automated phone call at about 7 p.m. that day inviting them to join the meeting. To participate, people simply need to remain on the line once they receive the call. "This is a great way to bring district residents into a community discussion in a more convenient way for them, without them having to leave the comfort of their homes,” Frankel said. "I look forward to talking with my constituents about a variety of issues that have an impact on them and their families. I enjoy meeting with constituents in person as well, and groups that would like to invite me to speak should contact my office at 412-422-1774." During the live event, Frankel will discuss and take questions on a variety of state issues, and participants will be asked to weigh in on poll questions using their touch-tone phones. Anyone who doesn’t have a chance to speak during the phone meeting will be able to record a question at its conclusion. Questions will be forwarded to Frankel's office for a future response. Those interested also may email questions to Frankel before the Tele-Town Read more
FOLSOM, July 19 – Following a series of safety issues, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, released the following statement calling for a halt to the construction of the Mariner East 2 Pipeline: “I am calling for an immediate moratorium on construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline until the state Department of Environmental Protection can ensure proper safeguards are in place to protect safety and property of local residents. “Monday’s 1,500-gallon spill of bentonite drilling fluid in Middletown Township is just the latest in a series of pipeline and drilling-related incidents damaging local streams and water supplies. What happened this week was worse than a spill: at least one aquifer was impacted and potentially, a private drinking well in the area. Enough is enough. There have already been three documented spills of drilling fluid in the Chester Creek in Brookhaven and drinking water has been compromised in nearby Chester County. It is reckless and potentially dangerous to allow construction to continue until steps are taken to protect residents, their property, and our water supply from future spills. “The state Department of Environmental Protection does not have the authority to oversee private water wells. In most other counties, the local Health Department has jurisdiction in this area to keep people safe. However, what makes a bad situation worse is that Delaware County is the largest county in the Commonwealth Read more
Rep. Dan Deasy reports that a telephone scam is making the rounds where fraud artists claiming to be state Treasury employees threaten arrest if unpaid taxes are not paid. Read more
CHESTER, July 19 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, has announced plans to introduce three new pieces of legislation that would bolster the state’s ability to protect private wells for its citizens, enhance interagency communication and create pipeline siting authority. These bills follow her recent announcement calling for a state Pipeline Safety and Communication Board. “After reading the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Report from February 2016 and speaking with residents, municipal officials, first responders, the secretary of Department of Environmental Protection and the chair of the Public Utility Commission, it was clear to me that we could be doing a lot more to ensure better communication and safety as it pertains to pipelines,” Comitta said. “Talking with these agency heads helped to identify what was needed and areas where legislation would be helpful to them. I am happy to respond to this need.” The first bill would address the PUC’s lack of siting authority for intrastate pipelines. A second bill would amend the PUC Confidential Security Information Disclosure Protection Act in order to permit agencies to communicate sensitive information with each other. The disclosure act was passed after 9/11 with the intent to protect information from getting into the wrong hands; however, it overreaches and restricts sharing of certain information between agencies, an unintended Read more
HARRISBURG, July 19 – State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria/Somerset, today announced the award of nearly $15 million in Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority funding to three sanitary sewer/storm water projects in the 71 st Legislative District. “This massive injection of state funding is welcomed and necessary, as we resolve current issues and position Cambria County for future growth,” Barbin said. “I’d like to thank the Pennvest board for approving these projects – and thus improving the lives of our residents.” Barbin offered the following insights on where and how the money will be spent: $8.13 million is going to the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority for its Hornerstown and Ohio Street Interceptor Storm Water Separation Project, to replace and rehabilitate approximately 12,050 feet of sewers. $5.58 million is going to the city of Johnstown for its Ohio Street Sanitary/Storm Water Separation Project, to replace collection pipes, manholes and 20,000 feet of service laterals in the Ohio Street and Moxham areas. $1.28 million is going to Franklin Borough for phase two of its Sanitary Sewer Improvement Project, to replace 3,885 feet of nearly 100-year-old pipe – as well as replacing 36 laterals and 16 manholes, among other things. Barbin noted that the Johnstown city and Johnstown Redevelopment Authority awards, as well as $668,682 of the Franklin Borough award, consist of long-term loans Read more
HARRISBURG, July 19 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, announced today that he will host a Vietnam Veterans Ceremony at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17 at the Lock Haven University Price Auditorium. Hanna says the purpose of the event is to honor Vietnam War veterans who live in the 76th Legislative District. “This momentous event is a way to honor the service and sacrifice so many have made for our great county,” said Hanna. To sign up for the event, Vietnam War-era veterans may call Hanna’s Lock Haven office at 570-748-5480 or his Milesburg office at 814-353-8780. Participants are asked to note whether they intend to bring a guest. Veterans and their guests must be confirmed no later than Aug. 18. Hanna has previously honored veterans who served in both World War II and the Korean War. Read more
Rep. Brandon Neuman reports that Chartiers Township has been approved for an $875,000, low-interest Pennvest loan to extend sewer lines to 50 families along McClane Farm Road. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 19 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., said he is pleased with the funding appropriated to the cause of sickle cell disease on the 2017-18 state spending plan . “I’m glad the legislature kept sickle cell patients as a priority on this year’s spending plan and appropriated the necessary money to support individuals and families whose lives have been touched by the disease. Now we can continue research activities that can lead to improved treatment and, one day, a cure,” Kinsey said. Sickle cell funding for fiscal year 2017-18 reaches $1.26 million, the same amount appropriated for the 2016-17 fiscal year. The funds will be administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. “I’ve been a strong advocate for sickle cell funding because this is a disease with a high prevalence among African-Americans and people who live in households with low family incomes. For this populations, attaining and maintaining high-quality health insurance is even more difficult,” Kinsey said. “We held events, rallies and meetings and the efforts have come to fruition.” Sickle cell anemia is a serious blood disorder that causes acute pain, severe anemia, infections and vascular blockages that can lead to widespread organ damage and death. It is a genetic disease, affecting 2 million Americans, most often African-Americans and Hispanics. Until the past few decades, most people with sickle cell disease did not Read more
Harrisburg – July 19, 2017 – State Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Representative Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) today issued the following statement in reaction to the House Republican leadership’s continuing refusal to call the House into session to work toward closure on the 2017-18 budget: “The House last met over a week ago without completing the work on revenue needed to finalize the state budget. Republican Speaker Mike Turzai has not advised lawmakers of when the House might reconvene. “This ongoing failure to finish our work on the budget means the state-related schools – the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Temple University and Lincoln University are in danger of not receiving any state appropriations this year. In addition, the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School is unfunded. “It’s disturbing that we have hit late July and still do not have a finished 2017-18 fiscal year revenue plan. Four parties in the budget talks have been around the table working toward an agreement, but consistently the House Republicans have refused to engage. “This bizarre situation is unconscionable. We have an incomplete budget and Pennsylvania families are wondering what happens next, especially those families preparing to send their children to college in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, these families and our state-related universities are being used as budget pawns by the House Read more
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