HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Kyle Mullins offered the following observations about the 2019-20 budget proposal presented today by Gov. Tom Wolf. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 - State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, released the following statement today in reaction to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019-20 budget address: “I am pleased that Governor Wolf’s budget proposal includes important investments to move Pennsylvania forward by providing critical funding to educate our school children and train the next generation of workers while taking care of the needs of our senior citizens. “The governor spoke of the importance of funding basic education, which I believe is the most important investment we can make. Giving our kids the strongest possible start from preK-12 has always been important. Today, however, as technology assumes an ever-increasing role in the workplace, it’s more important than ever to provide our students with a broad curriculum that includes the latest science, technology, engineering and math concepts. Additionally, when the state increases funding to our local school districts, we reduce pressure on local sources of funding like property taxes. “I also strongly support the governor’s plans for increased investments in workforce development. By strengthening career and technical training for Pennsylvanians of all ages, we’re equipping the workers who will carry forward the economic future of the commonwealth. We’re providing them with the tools they need to succeed and to stay and raise families in the state. “Finally, I support funding that ensures that Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., released the following statement about the 2019-20 budget proposal presented today by Gov. Tom Wolf: “I’m thankful to Governor Wolf for outlining his budget priorities and I’m excited to work with him to ensure the voices of the 181 st District are heard in the process. I’m heartened that the governor has once again requested an increase in funding for education; including $200 million for basic education and $7 million for higher learning. In Philadelphia and across the commonwealth, every child deserves a high-quality education and safe school, no matter what ZIP code they live in. These are our kids and this is our obligation. “Eradicating poverty is the moral and economic issue of our generation and raising wages for the poor and working class people of Pennsylvania is my top priority. I am pleased Governor Wolf wants to begin to make it a reality. By raising the minimum wage, it would enable thousands of people to transition out of poverty and save the commonwealth nearly $120 million, but I know we can and must go further. “ We have to also protect our water and air. I look forward to working with him to make sure we fully fund our agencies such as DEP and ask natural gas drillers to pay their fair share, so we can invest in our aging infrastructure across the commonwealth. “Working across chambers and across the aisle we can get big things done for Read more
State Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, today praised Gov. Tom Wolf’s call for increasing funding for education, raising the minimum wage and seeking criminal justice reforms that would allow people who have served their time to reenter society as productive citizens. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, proudly voted this week for H.B. 195, a medication synchronization bill that unanimously passed the House. This bill, which next heads to the Senate, would streamline pharmaceutical prescription refills for health insurance enrollees aiming to fill two or more medications. “This is terrific legislation for all who need to refill multiple medications through a pharmacy or doctor,” Hill-Evans said. “Evidence clearly shows improved medication adherence when patients are able to get all their medications in one monthly visit instead of going back and forth several times to fill several prescriptions. “We encourage the Senate to do as the House did and pass this legislation.” Among the benefits: Medication synchronization would allow patients to synchronize their medications in order to receive them on the same day each month instead of having to make multiple trips to the pharmacy. The common-sense change would serve as a convenience to the patient, especially elderly or others who rely on transportation, and would reduce poor health care outcomes that result from medication adherence. A Harvard Medical School study showed that when medications were not synchronized, patients’ adherence rates were 8.4 percent lower than those whose medications were synchronized. The bill includes protection for the patient that would bar their insurance plan from denying coverage Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – Reacting to Gov. Tom Wolf’s address this morning on his proposed 2019-20 budget, state Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, said: “I was encouraged by the governor’s emphasis today on education and workforce development. In many ways, I think his address reflects a bold approach. A number of his proposals include measures that I’ve been pushing for during my 12 years in the House and in my work as Democratic chairman of the House Labor Committee. “A number of the governor’s proposals can make a positive impact, not only in the areas of education and labor, but in addressing the everyday problems facing Pennsylvania’s working families.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, today issued the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address: “The building blocks laid forth today in Governor Tom Wolf’s budget address stand in conjunction with that of the working-class families in the Mon Valley. I’m encouraged and excited to assess the budget proposal in the coming weeks in the House Appropriations Committee, and I’m hopeful my colleagues and I will be able to bring it to resolution in June. “Workforce development and a continued emphasis and push to advance the commonwealth’s educational entities – K-12, higher education and career training –are areas of extreme importance to the Mon Valley, so I’m thankful to know that I’ll have a chance to examine a budget that reflects the core values of my constituents. “We have a long way to go, but the progressive and calculated budget proposal offered before the House today reflects the base of House Democrats’ Plan for PA initiative, which includes putting people first, quality schools and a fair economy.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, released the following statement regarding the education proposals Gov. Tom Wolf unveiled during his 2019-20 budget address today: “I’m pleased and encouraged by the education proposals Governor Wolf outlined, including a significant increase in public education funding and supporting efforts to boost early childhood education. Strong funding for education will reap benefits for our students and our workforce and is a true investment in our state’s future. “I also support the governor’s proposal to connect teachers with the workforce, ensuring that teachers are preparing students for the jobs of today and for years to come. We also need to do more to recruit the best and the brightest teachers to Pennsylvania, including paying them a fair salary and ensuring they have the tools they need to prepare our kids for a bright, successful future. “The same is true for workforce development programs, such as technical and career training, which equip Pennsylvanians to meet the increasingly complex demands of the modern workplace and help ensure that our state remains competitive. We’ve had great success with the PAsmart pilot program, and providing additional investments will ensure a qualified and strong workforce. “No doubt, there’s much work ahead for us on these education proposals, but I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – Reacting to Gov. Tom Wolf’s address today, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, expressed enthusiasm for aspects of the governor’s proposed 2019-20 budget, and particularly its focus on education. “I was encouraged to hear the governor speak about the importance of funding basic education,” Merski said. "As a former educator for more than 20 years, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of a strong pre-K to grade 12 program. Instilling fundamental concepts in kids at the earliest possible age leads to better grades, stronger self-confidence and achievement in life. So an investment in public education is truly an investment in the future of the commonwealth. “Funding is also important to ensure that the curriculum keeps pace with the changing demands of the modern workforce. As today’s jobs become increasingly complex, developing a curriculum doesn’t mean the same thing it did 30 years ago. There are increased demands for STEM courses, computer sciences and other tech-intensive classes that kids need in order to be prepared. “I also support the governor’s proposed investment in workforce development. It’s clear that investing in our future generation of workers through enhanced career and tech training will yield returns in the form of a better-prepared, more competitive workforce. “Now starts the work of reaching across the aisle to agree on a budget that works for everyday Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Marty Flynn offered the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019-20 budget plan, which was unveiled today. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, today issued the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address: “After years of the governor pushing different tax schemes, I’m pleased that he has proposed a no-new-taxes budget. As a fiscally conservative Democrat, I have consistently opposed tax hikes and will do so again, if needed. I look forward to working with leaders of both parties, in a bipartisan manner, to ensure we have an on-time budget. “During budget negotiations, I will insist the families in my district are heard. It’s time for everyone to put party affiliation aside and focus on what’s really important: investing in our children, taking care of the seniors of our community, fighting for working families and honoring the veterans who fought for this country.” Read more
Schlossberg responds to governor’s budget address Education funding a priority HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, said he appreciates Gov. Tom Wolf’s continued leadership which focuses on investing in Pennsylvania’s citizens and communities. A key focus, Schlossberg said, is in continuing to make education funding a priority in the 2019-2020 state budget. Schlossberg said several years ago the General Assembly approved the state’s fair funding formula to help bridge the inequality gap between the poorest and richest school districts in Pennsylvania. “The students in the 132 nd District cannot afford to have the inequality continue in our public schools,” Schlossberg said. “Without more investments in basic education, the fair funding formula has no teeth.” Schlossberg was also excited to hear Wolf’s commitment to making Pennsylvania’s workforce the best in the nation. “Pennsylvania’s workers continue a strong and proud of history of building America,” Schlossberg said. “Our economic future depends on honoring their role in making Pennsylvania great and continuing to build a well-educated and highly-trained workforce.” Schlossberg also agreed with Wolf’s call to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage. “Workers in 20 other states saw increases in the minimum wage on Jan. 1, but not in Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Robert Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, released the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2019-20 budget address today: “The governor’s budget proposal is just that, a proposal. It highlights his priorities moving forward for the next fiscal year. The end product can sometimes look much different than what is presented today. There are several items the governor mentioned that I support, and some that will require further discussion. “I fully support the governor’s proposal for an increase in funding for our schools. America is about opportunity. The only way we ensure equal opportunity for all is by providing our students with a quality education. That starts with adequate funding. “The same is true for our workers. In Beaver County and Southwestern Pennsylvania, they are second to none. But they need the tools to succeed. We have an exciting future for labor taking shape right now in Beaver County. Funding for career and technical training is vital for our workers to meet that future. “I also fully support the governor’s efforts on continuing to fight the opioid crisis. “There’s obviously much work ahead, as this is the first step in a long process. I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in ultimately finding the compromise that best serves Beaver County and the residents of my district.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – Reacting to Gov. Tom Wolf’s address today on his proposed 2019-20 budget, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, said he was encouraged to hear the governor’s emphasis on education and career training opportunities for Pennsylvanians. “I support a number of the governor’s proposals because they’re investments, first and foremost, in the people of Pennsylvania,” Bizzarro said. “By emphasizing education, workforce training, and fair pay, the governor is recognizing that our state’s economic well-being is closely tied to the opportunities we provide our working families. “I agree with the governor’s continued focus on public education funding. With today’s jobs becoming more and more technologically demanding, it’s critical that we provide our kids the best possible start through preK-12 programs that keep pace with essential STEM subjects and other technology-based curricula. “The same is true for the governor’s proposals to invest more in workforce development through technical and career training programs. By investing in young Pennsylvanians who are preparing to enter the workforce, we’re investing in the commonwealth’s economic future. “To be sure, these proposals are just a blueprint, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and work out the concrete details with my colleagues on both sides of the Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – House Democratic leaders responded to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2019-20 budget proposal presented today. “We support the governor’s plan to make Pennsylvania a national leader in education and workforce development without raising taxes on working people. He is beginning this year’s budget talks with a responsible framework for the budget hearings and bipartisan discussions yet to come. “House Democrats have a Plan For Pennsylvania that closely tracks many of Governor Wolf’s priorities. It’s about having quality schools, good jobs for workers, affordable health care and fairer treatment of all Pennsylvanians in their daily lives. We are fighting for families all across the state. “We are especially pleased that the governor continues to address the need to fix our criminal justice system. His vocal support for fairer justice means a lot. “House Democrats share many of the governor’s ideas and look forward to working with him and with our Republican colleagues to deliver a balanced budget that will continue the substantial progress Pennsylvania has made in recent years.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., has been appointed to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency Board of Directors by House Speaker Michael Turzai. "PHEAA is a national leader in creating greater access to higher education," Cruz said. "I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the board of directors and begin working to make higher education more affordable for every Pennsylvanian." Cruz has represented the 180 th Legislative District since 2001. Currently he also serves as the Democratic chairman of the House Human Services Committee. The PHEAA Board of Directors consists of 20 members: eight from the Senate, eight from the House, three non-legislative members and the Secretary of Education as a member ex officio. Board members serve six-year terms, with the possibility of reappointment. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – The House Urban Affairs Committee today unanimously approved a bill that would give first-time home buyers a tax deduction for money saved toward the purchase of a home, according to one of the bill's prime sponsors, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie. “Owning a home has been an elusive dream for too many young Pennsylvanians trapped in a cycle of renting and debt,” Bizzarro said. “But it doesn’t have to be that way. Home ownership and everything that goes along with it – financial stability, better credit, more predictable costs and the homeowner’s tax deduction – should be an attainable goal for all Pennsylvanians, not just the wealthy. This bill would give families a leg up toward reaching that goal by making it easier for them to save and even encouraging family members who may have a little more disposable income to help.” Introduced by Bizzarro and state Rep. Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe, H.B. 128 would establish the “First-Time Home Buyer Savings Account Act,” permitting Pennsylvanians to open special savings accounts and take state tax deductions for eligible expenses such as a down payment and closing costs. Account holders would be permitted to claim deductions for a total of $50,000 over a 10-year period. Annual contributions would be capped at $5,000 for single taxpayers and $10,000 for those filing a joint return. The bill would apply both to first-time home buyers and Read more
State Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, today said that Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal sets a path that can lead Pennsylvania forward and build a pathway to prosperity for all. Read more
KENNETT SQUARE, Feb. 1 – State Rep. Christina Sappey announced today that the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau was awarded state funding to replace wayfinding road signage throughout Chester County. The bureau was awarded $204,284 through the state Multimodal Transportation Fund. The project will include replacing the existing signage, including fabrication, installation and inspection of newly designed signs. “I’m pleased that the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau will receive this funding for a project that will help visitors and residents make their way around Chester County,” said Sappey, D-Chester. “I’m glad to see the state supporting projects that will make sure everyone using our roads can do so easily and safely.” The funding is part of $44.5 million awarded to 50 highway, bridge, transit, aviation, bike and pedestrian projects in 23 counties on Friday. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation evaluated the applications and made selections based on such criteria as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, the technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency and operational sustainability. Find more information at www.penndot.gov and click on Multimodal Program under the “projects and programs” button. Read more
state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today introduced the most comprehensive adult-use cannabis legalization bill to date. Read more
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