PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will co-host a weekly radio program from 11 a.m. to noon every Thursday on radio station WTTM, 1680 AM. The program, entitled "Voices from the Inside," will focus on the state's prison system and reducing crime. McClinton will be joined by co-hosts state Rep. Leslie Acosta, D-Phila., Esteban Cabrera and author Hugh Taft-Morales. "I am excited to have this opportunity to discuss our criminal justice system," McClinton said. "This new program will offer a voice to those currently incarcerated and will promote the sharing of ideas between prisoners and us on the outside. Thanks to Rep. Acosta, who developed the idea and invited me to participate in such a meaningful program. "By meeting those currently in prison, I hope that the listeners will understand the need for changes and improvements in our current system. We need to establish more humane methods to house our prisoners and work with them so they can be rehabilitated and can return to society and contribute. We waste so much money incarcerating those who have committed minor offenses and by locking them up for extended periods of time, we make it harder for them to blend back in to society and hold a meaningful job. "Additionally, we will be discussing community programs which may reduce violence and crime." The program will air live at 11 a.m. every Thursday on 1680 AM, and it can also Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 9 – The House Transportation Committee today amended and reported out a bill, authored by state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, to strengthen provisions intended to keep infants safe while traveling in a vehicle.
"On Monday, at a public hearing held by the House Transportation Committee, I was pleased to see wide, bipartisan support for efforts to improve child safety in Pennsylvania," Schlossberg said. "After a productive and frank discussion, it was clear that there was sufficient support to strengthen my bill by amending it to offer even better protections for our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. I fully support that effort."
House Bill 1551, which originally would have required children younger than 1 to be secured in a rear-facing car seat, was amended by the committee to require children to be secured in a rear-facing car seat while in a vehicle until age 2 unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer’s specification of the car seat in use.
Schlossberg noted that this change to his bill follows recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. During the House Transportation public hearing, Ted Leonard, executive director of the Pennsylvania AAA Federation, voiced AAA’s support for efforts to enhance the requirement to secure children under age 2 in rear-facing car seats or until that child reaches the maximum height and weight for the car seat as noted by the manufacturer.
"As a father of two young children, I find it hard to belie Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 7 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, has introduced H.B 1692, which would make it easier for family members to commit a loved one for drug and/or alcohol treatment.
“Too many families watch their loved ones deal with alcohol or drug abuse problems and can only standby while they spiral into despair, or worse,” Readshaw said. “I have been working with family members, law enforcement, the district attorney, the minor courts and others to ensure that my bill would offer remedies for families seeking help for their loved one.
"I introduced this bill at the request of my friend, a constituent who recently lost his son because of a drug overdose," he added.
Readshaw said that Pennsylvania families are the front lines of the opiate epidemic in this Commonwealth, and this bill is an effort to provide families with another avenue of resources.
House Bill 1692 would provide for involuntary treatment requirements and procedures for individuals suffering from alcohol and other drug abuse; and imposing duties on the Department of Health and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Presuming the person has a reasonable benefit of recovery and the individual presents an imminent danger or imminent threat of danger to self, family or others as a result of alcohol and other drug abuse, or there exists a substantial likelihood of such a threat in the near future, a family member would be able to petition the Court of Common Pleas to initiate proceedings for in Read more
PITTSBURGH, Dec. 2 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny announced the state's heating assistance program, LIHEAP, is accepting applications for the winter.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides federal aid to eligible families to help pay winter heating bills and cover emergency heating equipment needs.
"LIHEAP ensures that qualified households can pay for their heating costs, such as gas, oil or electricity," Readshaw said. "Emergency funds are also available for households without heat or fuel, or those facing cut-off from a supplier.
"My staff can help complete the application."
Household income limits to qualify vary according to family size:
Household Size Maximum Income
The household income level increases by an additional $6,240 for each additional person.
"Since this program is based on federal money, the state budget impasse should not affect the funding for this program," Readshaw said.
Applications also can be completed online at www.compass.state.pa.us, and can be obtained at local county assistance offices, which can be found at www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/CAO-locations.aspx.
HARRISBURG, Nov. 16 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, and state Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery/Phila., announced today that they will host a private advance screening of the film “Spotlight” on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at the Midtown Cinema, 250 Reilly St. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and Turning Point are the event sponsors.
A complimentary reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., prior to the movie. Remarks will be offered by the sponsors and hosts in support of legislation that would modify the Pennsylvania statute of limitations to allow victims to seek civil action against abusers and the institutions that shield them.
“Spotlight” is the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child sexual abuse and cover-up within the local Boston Archdiocese.
More information about the event is available by contacting Rozzi’s Harrisburg office at (717) 783-3290. To reserve tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/private-advance-screening-of-spotlight-tickets-19499631924. Seating is limited.
HARRISBURG, Oct. 28 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, will host a flu shot clinic from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Nov. 5 at Concord Presbyterian Church, 1907 Brownsville Road, Pittsburgh, 15210.
Pneumonia shots also will be available.
"The earlier you can get a flu shot, the longer you are protected through the flu season," Readshaw said. "It is important to remember that flu is not just a nuisance. It can be a serious, even fatal, illness, especially for those young children, elderly and anyone who may have a weaker immune system."
While the flu vaccinations are not free, the costs are covered by all Medicare Part B plans as well as many other medical insurance plans. Vaccination recipients must bring their insurance cards when they get their shots.
Readshaw reminds people who may have the flu to see a doctor as quickly as possible. There are treatments which may lessen the severity of the illness if taken quickly enough.
EBENSBURG, April 8 – On the same day the governor’s spokesman was reiterating that "nothing has changed" regarding how he and other Democrats obtain constituent service, state Rep. Frank Burns was surveying the property of Chuck Onder, whose request for help had gone unheeded 10 days after being forwarded to the governor’s office. Unsurprising to Burns, he discovered that Ondery had a separate state-related problem resolved in just two days a year ago, when Burns and 10 other Democrats who voted with Republicans to end the 2015-16 budget impasse were permitted to deal directly with state agencies. Burns visited Ondery’s property Thursday, largely because his March 28 request for direction from the Department of Environmental Protection regarding his options to remedy a creek that floods his property was among the first impacted by the selective change imposed by Gov. Tom Wolf. "The governor and his press secretary keep saying ‘nothing has changed,’ but I’d like them to explain that to Mr. Ondery," Burns said. "He’s the guy being hurt by this childish political gamesmanship. It’s been 10 days and he hasn’t even received a courtesy call acknowledging receipt of his request." Burns said that since the Wolf administration changed the system after the budget vote – mandating that Burns’ constituent inquiries of this nature go through the governor’s office, Read more
HARRISBURG, April 8 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has introduced two bills designed to help restore Pennsylvanians' faith in their state government by requiring legislators to disclose any income received from outside employment and its amount. Current state law only requires elected officials and public employees to disclose the source of any income they've earned from jobs outside of their government position. H.B. 567 also would require them to list the amount earned from the outside work. House Bill 566 would limit all outside pay for state legislators to 35 percent of the base legislative salary. "There is the perception that Harrisburg is broken because it's too indebted to powerful and influential special interests. I believe we contribute to cynicism from Pennsylvania residents when we do not require outside income to be reported," DeLuca said. "The comprehensive financial disclosure and limits of outside income put forth in my bills will help public officials, employees and legislators avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest, while at the same time reassure the public that we are working for them, not the special interests.” DeLuca's income disclosure bill is modeled after a Hawaii law that requires public employees and officials to report a range for each outside source of income. Those ranges would be: $1,000 - $74,999; $75,000 - $99,999; $100,000 - $149,999; $150,000 - Read more
HARRISBURG, April 8 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today that he intends to introduce legislation that would require publishers to offer an identical digital equivalent for any college textbook sold within the state.
Matzie’s proposal, which he said would be officially introduced shortly, would allow Pennsylvania college students to realize significant savings by having the option to purchase a digital textbook. Matzie said publishers may also realize savings, as the cost in publishing and selling an electronic textbook is considerably less than a conventional book.
"I am always looking at ways to make higher education more affordable in Pennsylvania," Matzie said. "While the cost of tuition continues to increase at colleges and universities across the country, Pennsylvania should be focused on providing attainable, quality education that can attract students both from within the commonwealth’s borders and beyond."
Matzie said his proposal would also allow students to access course material on electronic devices that the majority of students already own and are comfortable with.
"Nearly 90 percent of college students already own a laptop or mobile device. These products are replacing traditional methods of print and defining how we receive information," Matzie said. "Under my proposal, students would still have the option to purchase a traditional textbook if that is their preference. But I am confident many students will find the convenience a Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 7 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, joined with state Rep. Nick Micarelli, R-Delaware, to sponsor two pieces of legislation to ensure that Pennsylvania is using its economic power to support Israel. Boyle said the bills would specifically prohibit the state from investing pensions or contracts with companies that engage in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The BDS movement is a global campaign designed to weaken the Israeli economy in an attempt to punish the government of the state of Israel for policy decisions it has made. “It is vital that the government of Pennsylvania does its part to support an important US ally, Israel,” Boyle said. “Protecting Israel has been a principle of our foreign policy. Consequently, economic actions such as boycotts and divestment should not be tolerated.” The first bill would prohibit commonwealth agencies from entering into contracts with persons who engage in boycotts against or divestment from Israel. Under this legislation, the Department of General Services would compile a list of firms and persons with stated BDS policies. The list would be updated every 180 days. DGS would also have to certify that an individual’s name does not appear on the list before a contract is signed. The second bill would require the State Treasurer, the State Employees’ Retirement System and Public School Employees’ Retirement System to divest from Read more
State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, issued the following statement after Gov. Tom Wolf announced his executive order prohibiting discrimination by state contractors against people who are lesbian, gay bisexual or transgender:
“I applaud Governor Tom Wolf for his decision to move forward and take positive action against sexual orientation and gender discrimination that is, frankly, an embarrassment to our state. By signing this executive order, Governor Wolf is attempting to lead from the front and set the right example that the legislature would be wise to follow.
State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, today announced plans to introduce a bill that will more clearly separate lobbying and campaign activities. Read more
EBENSBURG, April 7 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, today called on Gov. Tom Wolf to fund all school districts at levels called for in 2015-16 state budget legislation, instead of shepherding the lion’s share of $200 million in new funds to Philadelphia. Burns said Wolf, in doling out state basic education subsidy and Ready to Learn Block grant money, shortchanged 11 Cambria County school districts by nearly $600,000, ignoring levels called for by the legislation. The average cut among the county’s 12 school districts is over 30 percent. It’s a pattern that played out and has angered lawmakers in other parts of Pennsylvania as well, Burns said, as Wolf directed $76.8 million – a full 38 percent of the new funds – to Philadelphia. The governor is sending another $16.3 million to the Chester-Upland School District and $7.5 million to Pittsburgh. “The governor has unilaterally decided to send a little more than half of that $200 million in new education funding to those three urban school districts,” Burns said. “They’re getting that money at the expense of school districts like those in Cambria County and elsewhere, which the governor has decided will get less than spelled out in House Bills 1801 and 1327.” Only the Penn Cambria School District, which is getting 2 percent more money under the governor’s distribution plan, escaped the new-money decreases dictated by Wolf that range from a Read more
HARRISBURG, April 7 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, praised Gov. Tom Wolf for signing two executive orders on LGBT non-discrimination, including one that will expand protections to employees of state contractors. Wolf signed two orders today. One reaffirms existing protections against discrimination in the executive branch, where most state employees work. The other order will ban discrimination based on race, gender, creed, color, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression in the awarding, selection or performance of any contracts or grants issued by state agencies. Frankel said: "I am proud of Governor Wolf for acting to protect tens of thousands of people who work for state contractors, and to make sure LGBT Pennsylvanians' tax dollars aren't used to discriminate against them. It's wrong to fire someone simply because they're LGBT. Being gay or transgender has nothing to do with someone's ability to fix a car or a computer, for example. For about eight years, a consistent 70 percent of Pennsylvanians have supported updating state law to ban this type of discrimination against our family members, friends and neighbors. "At a time when some states like North Carolina and Mississippi are passing anti-LGBT laws, Governor Wolf is moving Pennsylvania forward and making our state more attractive and competitive for visitors, workers and businesses. Now the legislature needs to pass the bipartisan Pennsylvania Fairness Read more
SCRANTON, April 7 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, will sponsor a free shredding event for residents of the 113th Legislative District from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 16, in the Scranton High School/Stadium parking lot on Providence Road. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 7 – Concerned about the influence that special interests and advocacy groups have on elections, state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., plans to introduce a bill that would require disclosure of expenditures for political communications. "Everyone has the right to make their voices heard, but with the proliferation of political and issue advertising in the wake of the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, it's difficult to know who is behind the advertising," DeLissio said. "My legislation would not restrict those voices, but help level the playing field by improving transparency and accountability regarding the money spent to influence elections." DeLissio’s bill would require individuals, advocacy groups and special interests engaging in organized political communication to register with the Department of State and file regular disclosure reports. "This would be similar to the reports that candidates and political parties are already required to file during election cycles. The reports would list the names of people and entities that contribute to the sponsors of the advertising," she said. Under the bill, any advertisement or message that refers to a candidate or elected official would be considered "political communication," and if the message or advertisement was made within 60 days of an election, it automatically would be considered political communication, Read more
HARRISBURG, April 7 -- Responding to Gov. Tom Wolf's calls for reform, members of the House Democratic Caucus will begin introducing bills aimed at improving transparency in government and reducing the disproportionate influence special interests have in Pennsylvania politics. Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said in many cases, similar reform legislation was already introduced by House Democrats in this and in previous sessions. The new bills, he said, will ensure there is a comprehensive approach in place to push for better government and to begin fixing what he called a "broken Harrisburg." "Government in a democracy is designed to be deliberative, but it is also designed to work," Dermody said. "At this point, it doesn't in Pennsylvania. And all one needs to do is look at the failure of the General Assembly to show the political courage to address our budget crisis as an example of why Harrisburg needs to be reformed. “The special interests that are comfortable with, and in fact benefit from, the status quo are using a flood of money and the undue influence it gives them in our politics to block the will of the people." House Democratic leaders said the reform bills would help to better reveal and regulate special interest money that is being spent to influence elections and policy in Pennsylvania. The bills take a variety of approaches to reducing the effect of money and special interests in politics, and to restoring Read more
State Rep. Brandon Neuman will sponsor a free community shredding event from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 7, in the parking lot of his constituent service office at 1825 Washington Road in North Strabane Township. More information is available by calling Neuman's office at 724-743-7602. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 7 – The state House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee today held a public hearing at the state Capitol in Harrisburg on legislation sponsored by state Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, designed to expand community paramedicine treatment throughout the commonwealth and better control associated costs to patients. Bizzarro’s H.B. 1113 would direct the state Health Department to establish regulations to certify community paramedicine providers, allowing them to more widely treat patients in Pennsylvania. It would also require insurance coverage and medical reimbursement for services. "Community paramedicine has emerged as an effective option for patients, and already exists in areas like Erie, Pittsburgh, Altoona, Lancaster and Harrisburg," Bizzarro said. "For patients with chronic illnesses or who need follow-up medical care, for example, community paramedicine provides an efficient alternative to the emergency room or other arenas. Today’s hearing allowed us to hear more about how these services are already operating and what needs to be done to ensure the expansion of community paramedicine is most beneficial for Pennsylvanians." Under Bizzarro’s bill, emergency medical services (EMS) providers would be able to deliver health care in patients' own homes or in other appropriate settings. They would be permitted to administer services like health assessments, disease monitoring and Read more
Pennsylvania state Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, supports several ways to make government more transparent, including gift bans, campaign finance reform, and better lobbying oversight during a joint news conference with Gov. Tom Wolf in her district office April 7, 2016. She says the state needs to tackle the growing influence of money in elections, and help make sure all voters -- and not just the wealthiest -- are heard. Read more
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