HARRISBURG, Oct. 2 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., released the following statement regarding the unanimous adoption of H.R. 525 today in the House: “Today, I joined my colleagues and took a stand against domestic violence by voting for House Resolution 525, which designates the month of October 2017 as ‘Domestic Violence Month’ in Pennsylvania. It is reported than an estimated one in three women are expected to experience physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. Often times, domestic violence is used to exert control over an intimate partner and can cause extensive emotional harm. “Although both men and women can experience domestic violence, 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women. In 2014, nearly 2,500 Pennsylvanians were served by state domestic violence programs. In 2015, an estimated 2,000 women visited a Philadelphia emergency room after being assaulted by a spouse, ex-spouse, boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend. More shocking is that 17.3 percent of Philadelphia students were physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend – this is nearly twice the national average. “While this resolution is a great first step, we must do more. This goes beyond just teaching our sons to respect women; men in particular must step up and renounce misogyny, rape culture and toxic masculinity – all of which allow for domestic violence to persist in a state where spousal rape has only been a crime Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 2 – A bill authored by state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., to rename a bridge after a Philadelphia police officer killed in the line of duty passed the House today. The legislation ( H.B. 1778 ) would designate the bridge on a portion of state Route 1005, also known as Castor Avenue, that goes over Frankford Creek, as the Officer Gary Frank Skerski Memorial Bridge. The 16-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 6, 2006, while responding to a reported armed robbery at a café near the intersection of Arrott and Adams avenues in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. “Officer Skerski was the definition of a true hero and heroes deserve to be honored,” Dawkins said. “The bridge is a way to pay tribute and never forget the ultimate sacrifice he made to keep this city safe.” Skerski was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, the League of Sacred Heart of Jesus, and a parishioner of St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church in Port Richmond. Reps. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., and John Taylor, R-Phila., are co-sponsors of the bill. The legislation now heads to the Senate. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 2 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced he will host his Harvest Resource Festival and Children’s Fright Night at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31 at Wissinoming Park, 5773-5945 Frankford Ave . The event will be held in collaboration with state Sen. Christine Tartaglione. Residents in the 179th Legislative District will be able receive information on how to prepare for the winter months with information on various utility assistance programs, how to properly weatherize their homes, and other state-related services. Dawkins’ office will have free games and candy available for children. The meeting is open to the community and costumes are encouraged. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 2 – October will be “Agent Orange Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania, per a resolution from state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, that gained unanimous House approval today. Matzie said his H.R. 508 serves as a reminder that approximately 19 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides were used during the Vietnam War, saddling thousands of veterans with exposure-related cancers, other health disorders and death. “Veterans with Agent Orange-related health problems live with the knowledge that genetic damage resulting from their exposure may be handed down through generations,” Matzie said. “In fact, federal law provides for the presumption that certain diseases are a direct result of exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War.” Matzie said approximately 498,000 men and women from Pennsylvania served during the Vietnam War era, with an estimated 172,000 of them directly participating in the war. “At the time, this was the longest conflict in American history, and American servicepersons displayed heroic courage and determination under some of the most difficult circumstances ever encountered by the U.S. military,” Matzie said. “Years after the conflict officially ended, many of them found out that they were also fighting a previously unseen enemy in the after-effects of Agent Orange.” Matzie said his resolution also honors those who bravely Read more
SCRANTON, Oct. 2 – Due to the Columbus Day holiday, this month’s Medicare outreach at the office of state Rep. Marty Flynn will be held Tuesday, Oct. 10. Flynn said an APPRISE counselor will be available from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Oct. 10 at his office – 409 N. Main Ave. in Jay's Commons – to help answer questions about Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap plans, Medicare drug plans, PACE/PACENET prescription-drug coverage and various low-income assistance programs, such as the Medicare Savings Program and Extra Help. Appointments are suggested by calling Flynn's office at 570-342-4348. The local APPRISE program is sponsored by the Voluntary Action Center and is funded by the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 2 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., is inviting residents of the 179th Legislative District and neighbors from across Philadelphia to attend the 5th Annual Olney Youth Arts Festival from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 in the 500 block of West Chew Avenue at North 5th Street, Philadelphia. “This is a great opportunity for our neighbors to witness the transforming power of the arts and the multi-cultural talent of our city’s children and youth,” Dawkins said. “By getting involved in arts, they open a pathway to access their deepest and most authentic selves. This provides them with a creative outlet for expression and reflection, both fundamental aspects for their lives as adults.” Dawkins and his staff will provide assistance on any state-related issue constituents may have. The rain location is St. Paul's Lutheran Church at 5918 N. 5th St., Philadelphia. More information about the event is available by calling Dawkins’ office at (215) 744-7901 or visiting www.pahouse.com/Dawkins . Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Reps. Ángel Cruz and Emilio Vázquez, both D-Phila., today announced that they plan to introduce a resolution urging Congress and President Donald Trump to allocate resources to help Puerto Rico and its residents recover from Hurricane Maria. “Yesterday, President Donald Trump waived the Jones Act restrictions for Puerto Rico for 10 days. That’s an enormous step, but in order for the island to move forward and rebuild, 10 days is not enough,” Vázquez said. “We need Congress to go further and waive the Jones Act permanently. We also need a relief and funding package to help the 3.5 million Americans living in Puerto Rico, allowing authorities to appropriately respond to the damage caused by María.” The Jones Act is a law that requires all goods transported between U.S. ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by Americans. This often makes the goods transported between the ports much more expensive. Cruz said, “A week after the event, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is still doing rescue operations and the supply deliveries just started around Monday. By this point in response to Hurricane Katrina, Lieutenant General Honore notes that we had 20,000 troops, 20 ships and 40,000 National Guard on the ground on the Gulf Coast. The federal response is just too slow. We ask that the president request an immediate allocation to FEMA for Puerto Rico, and Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Reps. Emilio Vázquez and Ángel Cruz, both D-Phila., today announced that they plan to introduce a resolution urging Congress and President Donald Trump to allocate resources to help Puerto Rico and its residents recover from Hurricane Maria. “Yesterday, President Donald Trump waived the Jones Act restrictions for Puerto Rico for 10 days. That’s an enormous step, but in order for the island to move forward and rebuild, 10 days is not enough,” Vázquez said. “We need Congress to go further and waive the Jones Act permanently. We also need a relief and funding package to help the 3.5 million Americans living in Puerto Rico, allowing authorities to appropriately respond to the damage caused by María.” The Jones Act is a law that requires all goods transported between U.S. ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by Americans. This often makes the goods transported between the ports much more expensive. Cruz said, “A week after the event, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is still doing rescue operations and the supply deliveries just started around Monday. By this point in response to Hurricane Katrina, Lieutenant General Honore notes that we had 20,000 troops, 20 ships and 40,000 National Guard on the ground on the Gulf Coast. The federal response is just too slow. We ask that the president request an immediate allocation to FEMA for Puerto Rico, and Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today joined Sen. Bob Casey and members of the Gray Coalition to urge Amtrak to rename its 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.” Harris was also joined by Reps. W. Curtis Thomas and Donna Bullock, both D-Phila. “We are standing on the shoulders of giants and Congressman Gray was one of those giants who paved the way for many of us today,” Harris said. “He dedicated his life to making Philadelphia a better place. In fact, without his help, Amtrak would have never received the funds necessary to complete the restoration project for 30th Street Station.” In 2014, the United States Congress unanimously passed H.R. 4838 to rename 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station. In August 2014, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 4838 into law. Since then, Amtrak has failed to rename the station after the late Congressman Gray. To urge Amtrak to immediately change the name of the station, Harris co-sponsored H.R. 419 , which was unanimously adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “It’s time to fully honor Congressman Gray’s legacy by renaming 30th Street Station,” Harris said. “Amtrak must comply with H.R. 4838, as unanimously passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. It’s the right and honorable thing to Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., on behalf of the urgency of the Now Gray coalition, today joined U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and broad leadership in urging Amtrak in renaming the 30th Street Station as the “William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.” Thomas was joined by state Reps. Donna Bullock and Jordan Harris, both D-Phila.; a diverse group of leaders from the faith community (African Methodist Episcopal churches, the United Methodist Churches, the Baptist, Jewish, and Muslim community, the United House of Prayer, Bright Hope Baptist Church and the Church of God and Christ); and the legatees of the late Congressman William H. Gray III in urging Amtrak to avoid delay or defer in compliance with H.R. 4838 of 2014 by renaming the 30th Street Station. House Resolution 4838 has been subsequently supported and endorsed by the Pennsylvania House of Representative in H.R. 419 and Philadelphia City Council. After the news conference, Thomas released the following statement: “In 2014, the United States Congress and the President took steps to institutionalize the stellar legacy and history of Congressman Gray by directing Amtrak in changing the name of the station. This action was taken as a direct result of the many years that Congressman Gray restored Amtrak’s funding after it had been zeroed out of the national budget, and especially in playing an instrumental role in providing 30th Street Station with its Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., today spoke at a news conference hosted by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and the Gray Coalition, to urge Amtrak to rename its 30th Street Station as the William H. Gray III 30th Street Station. Bullock was joined by state Reps. W. Curtis Thomas and Jordan Harris, both D-Phila. “I say it’s time that we build upon the legacy that Congressman Gray has left behind,” Bullock said. “Yes, we talk about African American contributions to Philadelphia, our commonwealth, and even our country. But somehow, that’s all it is: just talk.” In 2014, Congress unanimously passed H.R. 4838 to rename 30th Street Station as the William H. Gray III 30 th Street Station. In August 2014, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 4838 into law. Since then, Amtrak has failed to rename the station after the late Congressman Gray. To urge Amtrak to change the name of the station immediately, Bullock co-sponsored H.R. 419 , which was unanimously adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “Congressman Gray built upon the legacy and sacrifice of those who came before him,” Bullock said. “His contributions to our nation matter. Congress thought so. President Obama thought so. Even Amtrak has said so. So what’s the holdup?” ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, is announcing two popular constituent events scheduled for mid-October: his 10 th annual Senior Fair and his fifth annual Shred-It Event. Kortz said the Senior Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12 at Broughton VFD, 1030 Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh (South Park). The Senior Fair features representatives from the state's departments of Aging and Human Services, as well as from local and county agencies and vendors who provide services to seniors. Attendees will be able to receive a free flu shot if they present their Medicare card, and blood pressure screenings will be available. The Shred-It Event will be held 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 14 at West Mifflin #3 VFC, 3722 Rodeo Drive, West Mifflin. Kortz reminds participants there is a two-box limit per vehicle and the Shred-It Event is for household items only, not for businesses. The shredding event enables local residents to dispose safely and securely of unneeded personal papers containing confidential information such as health or military records, Social Security numbers or financial information. “These two constituent service events always draw large crowds in the 38 th Legislative District, as seniors seek to avail themselves of information, programs and help available to them, and residents show up to safely dispose of confidential information like that printed on credit card and banking statements,” Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 29 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., today announced Puerto Rico is gradually reestablishing postal and money transfer services. “I’ve confirmed that postal office and money transfer services are gradually getting back to normal, and I want to provide constituents in Philly with the information so they can send goods, supplies and money directly to their families,” Cruz said. “We all know there’s been a logistics issue to distribute donations, and people are desperate to fulfill the particular needs of their families.” Please be aware of the following updates: The United States Postal Service continues to increase access to P.O. Box mail and package pickup services at its offices in Puerto Rico. There are currently no deliveries. Residents must pick up packages at the post office. Services are currently available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 49 of its 174 facilities on the island (last updated Sept. 28 at 6:30 p.m.). Retail, PO Box mail and package pickup services PO Box mail and package pickup services (no retail) Aguirre, 00704 Añasco, 00610 Arecibo, 00612 Bayamón, 00959 Boquerón, 00622 Cabo Rojo, 00623 Camuy, 00627 Carolina, 00983 Carolina Pueblo, 00985 Cataño, 00962 Cayey, 00736 Ciales, 00638 Cidra, 00739 Comerío, 00782 Cupey, 00926 Dorado, 00646 Guaynabo, 00969 Read more
Rep. Pam Snyder reports that the five public school districts in Greene County will share a $10,000 state grant to prepare students for careers through collaborative activities and a countywide career awareness day. Read more
FOLSOM, Sept. 28 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, issued the following statement on today’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court opinion: “Today’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision was a victory for the children of our commonwealth. Congratulations to the plaintiffs, including William Penn School District, on winning an important battle in what has proven to be a long fight for equitable funding for our public schools. "The equality gap in public school funding is especially stark in Delaware County, as documented recently by National Geographic . Today, I'm thinking of students like Jameria Miller, a senior at Penn Wood High School, whose belief in herself and in what she and all students deserve is a call for elected officials to act. "I believe today's decision reinforced what legislative Democrats and Governor Tom Wolf have said every time: Under the GOP-controlled legislature, our commonwealth is failing to provide a ‘thorough and efficient’ education for young people. The Supreme Court, in allowing our students, parents and school districts to seek legal redress, makes clear that the law is on our side. “I urge my colleagues in the General Assembly to recognize that ongoing inequity in our schools is a dire threat to the future of the commonwealth – and deeply unfair to our blameless young people – and to work together and in good faith toward a fair, responsible budget Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 28 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, will hold his annual Senior Fair on Thursday, Oct. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon at 3 Lakes Golf Course, 6700 Saltsburg Road, Penn Hills. The event is free of charge. There will be numerous representatives from a wide range of state, federal and local agencies – and organizations on hand providing information about their programs and services. In addition, there will be free health screenings as well as free flu, pneumonia and whooping cough shots (but you must bring your Medicare card). Participants are also encouraged to bring unused, unwanted or expired prescriptions to the fair to have them properly disposed of through the Allegheny County Sheriff's Project DUMP (Disposal of Unused Medications Properly). A sheriff's deputy will be on site to collect the medications. There will also be free refreshments and door prizes. No pre-registration is required. Please be advised: To allow the vendors adequate time to set up their displays, the doors to the fair for participants absolutely will not open until 10 a.m. Lines of participants are frequently long in the parking lot hours before the event begins and there is no place to sit down. So, if you are physically disabled or using a walker you may want to wait to come to the fair until later in the morning. Read more
ALLENTOWN, Sept. 28 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, issued the following statement regarding today’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision about school funding: “I applaud today’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling. The majority opinion paid great deference to the General Assembly and balanced the need to respect the constitutional rights of our citizens and students. In reading the decision, it becomes quite clear to me that Pennsylvania’s method for funding education is broken. No further proof is needed than a look at the Allentown School District, which has lost nearly 20 percent of its teachers since 2010 as a direct result of funding cuts. It is clear to me that our current system of education funding doesn’t violate students’ rights to equal protection under the law and to receive a ‘thorough and efficient’ public education. “I hope this gets the state to change Pennsylvania’s method for funding public education. The quality of education students receive should not be determined by their ZIP code. Pennsylvania has the biggest gap in the country between the richest and the poorest school districts, ranks 47th in state support for public education and places too much of the funding burden on homeowners in low-income communities like Allentown. This directly results in enormous property tax bills for Allentown residents, businesses and property owners. While we have made great strides in Read more
UPPER DARBY, Sept. 28 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and U.S. Rep. Bob Brady will host an Immigration Forum to help untangle increasingly complicated immigration policy. On Thursday, Oct. 19 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Philadelphia Sikh Society, 6777 Market St., Millbourne, the Immigration Forum will address topics that include: DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program The road and rights to citizenship Green card: What it means to be a temporary resident vs. a permanent resident Visas and appropriate identification Medical coverage for undocumented residents Newly naturalized citizens Many agencies and organizations that have programs for the immigrant community will be on hand to provide help and information, including on local, state and national resources. “Our communities are better and more diverse because of the immigrants who live and work here,” said Davidson, D-Delaware. “Immigration can be a difficult, years-long process, and this event is a great place to help people navigate the system and understand the policies that affect them.” For more information and to register, call Davidson’s office at 610-259-7016 or email email@example.com . Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 27 – Several members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus have responded to Facebook comments made by former Cecil Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 Chief Paul Smith. Chairman Jordan Harris, D-Phila., released a joint statement with state Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-Washington/Allegheny, earlier today calling Smith’s behavior out of step with the values of average Pennsylvanians. Harris said, “Unlike athletes, celebrities, or even other citizens, he is a public servant who has held the trust of the general public in the capacity in which he serves them. That capacity came under question, due to his behavior, and he did the right thing by resigning.” State Reps. W. Curtis Thomas, James Roebuck, Isabella Fitzgerald and Stephen Kinsey, all D-Phila., also commented on Smith’s actions. Roebuck said, “His comments were inappropriate and brought into question his ability to do the job he was delegated to perform.” Thomas said, “The actions of Fire Chief Smith were way out of line. I am glad that he has removed himself from a public institution. Now is the time for us to stand together, not apart from one another.” Fitzgerald said, “Hate speech is unacceptable anywhere especially when one has the duty of protecting all citizens.” Kinsey said, “Mr. Smith’s comments are unacceptable and should never be tolerated. This is yet another unfortunate reminder that although Read more
FILADELFIA, Sept. 27 – El Representante Estatal Emilio Vázquez, D-Fila., convertirá sus oficinas en centros de acopio de suministros para ayudar a Puerto Rico tras del azote del Huracán María. “Nuestros corazones y oraciones están con nuestras familias y amigos en Puerto Rico”, dijo Vázquez. “No estamos allí fisicamente, pero también sufrimos la destrucción que dejó María a su paso. Sabemos que casi la isla entera continúa a oscuras, sin agua y sin comunicación”. “El hecho de que muchos puertorriqueños – incluyéndome – no han podido escuchar las voces de sus seres queridos empeora la situación. Por eso, me uní a varias organizaciones sin fines de lucro para recoger suministros y ayudar a Puerto Rico en el proceso de recuperación. Va a tomar tiempo, pero Puerto Rico volverá a brillar, y mucho más de lo que brillaba antes”. Los artículos deben ser llevados de lunes a viernes de 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. a 511 W. Courtland St. o los lunes, miércoles y jueves de 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. a 1421 W. Susquehanna Ave. Vázquez también está reclutando voluntarios para ayudar a organizar los artículos. Para más información, debe contactar su oficina de distrito al (215) 457-5281. Read more
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