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.
Rep. Pam Snyder reports that a 2016-17 spending plan sent to the governor is a workable compromise on key issues such as education funding, taxes, human services and funding programs and services to counter the opioid addiction epidemic. Rep. Snyder said the $31.6 billion plan features an additional $250 million investment in education, with $200 million more for basic education, $25 million more for pre-K, $5 million more for Head Start and $20 million more for special education. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, and chairwoman of the Philadelphia County Delegation to the House of Representatives, issued the following statement after the House passed the state budget bill today: “I am hopeful that today’s bipartisan support of Senate Bill 1073 means that Pennsylvania will soon have a balanced, timely budget. Our schools and human service organizations, especially those in Philadelphia, cannot afford another lengthy and irresponsible budget impasse. “As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have had some time to reflect on the fiscal spending plan. While the legislation will not solve all of the state’s financial woes, especially in such a difficult budget year, it will go a long way in supporting our students and vulnerable residents. “Pennsylvania’s schools will receive an increase of $250 million overall from the previous fiscal year, which is welcome news. This figure includes $200 million for K-12, $30 million for pre-K and Head Start, and a $20 million increase for special education. As a result, the School District of Philadelphia would receive a basic education funding increase of $47,067,862, or 4.6 percent, and a special education funding boost of $3,210,990, or 2.4 percent. “Philadelphia’s students have gone far too long with fewer teachers, extracurricular activities and support staff. We have a constitutional obligation to provide Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Marty Flynn said he voted for the 2016-17 state budget because of the $250 million pre-K through 12th grade education funding increase. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 -- The General Assembly finalized a bipartisan, on-time 2016-17 spending bill this evening and sent the budget legislation to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature. The $31.53 billion budget bill (S.B. 1073) boosts funding for education at all levels and avoids broad-based tax increases, House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said. "In a year when Pennsylvania is facing significant challenges and limited resources, I believe this is a good budget," Dermody said. "It's certainly not perfect, but Democrats and Republicans worked together to pass a budget that moves Pennsylvania forward on meeting those challenges," he said. "We did it on time and we did it in a way that is balanced." The House initially passed the budget bill two days ago with a $250 million increase for pre-K-through-12 education, including $200 million for K-12, $30 million for pre-K and Head Start, and $20 million for special education. The Senate on Wednesday added an additional $40 million for higher education at Pennsylvania's state-owned, state-related and community colleges. "House Democrats have been pushing to restore basic and higher education for the past several years," House Appropriations Committee Chairman Joe Markosek said. "Higher education received a 5 percent increase last year, and we are happy the General Assembly was able to find a way to provide another increase for those schools and for PHEAA student aid. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Ed Gainey said he voted for the 2016-17 state budget because it begins to address the opioid addiction crisis devastating families across Pennsylvania and it starts to fund the new medical marijuana program. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today supported the passage of a state budget plan that funds education at record levels, without a broad-based tax increase.
“While I will be the first to admit that this budget isn’t perfect, it is a solid step in the right direction especially for our schools and students,” Matzie said. “After the protracted impasse of last year, it is refreshing to see this compromise, especially as it contains historic education funding but doesn’t add to our structural deficit.”
Senate Bill 1073 includes a $250 million increase for pre-K through 12 education funding, including $200 million for K-12, $30 million for pre-K and Head Start, and a $20 million increase for special education.
“The spending plan that’s now on its way to Governor Tom Wolf is a workable compromise that will invest in our state without relying on a sales or income tax increase,” Matzie said.
Matzie said the bill also would provide funding for three additional Pennsylvania State Police cadet classes; transfer millions from the Oil and Gas Fund to the General Fund to give money to conservation programs, Growing Greener, and the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund; and dedicate $15 million to combat heroin and opioid addiction, including funds for emergency addiction treatment and behavioral health services.
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, said the new state budget is far from perfect but does contain some positive items. "The new budget does include $250 million more for K-12 education, including a $200 million increase in the basic education subsidy, although this still leaves state classroom funding for schools below the level of six years ago. We are still digging out from four years of Corbett-Republican cuts that hit lower-income districts like Philadelphia the hardest," Roebuck said. Roebuck also welcomed the new budget's 2.5 percent increase in funding for higher education, including two historically black universities in Pennsylvania, Cheyney and Lincoln universities, both located in the Philadelphia suburbs. The new budget package also includes larger increases for two scholarship programs. It provides a $163,000 increase, or 30 percent more, for the Bond-Hill scholarship program, which helps students at Cheyney and Lincoln, and a $288,000 increase, or nearly 19 percent more, for Cheyney's Keystone Honors Academy. ### Read more
State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, will vote tonight to pass S.B. 1073, the general appropriations bill for Pennsylvania’s fiscal year that begins tomorrow.
“This budget represents a true compromise between Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, and Governor Wolf’s office,” Longietti said. “It provides a solid investment in our education system, including basic, special and higher education, without a broad-based tax increase that hits our working families hardest.”
PITTSBURGH, June 30 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, will host a public forum on heroin and opioid addiction with area law enforcement, health care professionals, and drug and addiction specialists from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 27 to discuss ways to work together to combat the epidemic. The forum will take place in the Sharpsburg Borough Building, 1611 Main St., Sharpsburg, 15215. Confirmed featured speakers include: Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis Latika D. Davis-Jones, Allegheny County Department of Human Services Allegheny Health Network Center for Inclusion Health Director Stuart Fisk Alice Bell, overdose prevention project coordinator, Prevention Point Pittsburgh. Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen will discuss PROJECT D.U.M.P., an initiative that he started to help residents safely eliminate unused and expired narcotic medications. Magisterial District Judge Elissa M. Lang, local municipal law enforcement officers and emergency medical specialists also will attend to answer questions on a local level. A sworn Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office evidence technician also will be available at this event to take any medications that you no longer need and dispose of them. All seized medications are legally disposed of through evidence destruction orders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin and opioid overdoses are the leading causes of Read more
EBENSBURG, June 30 – In a July 8 ceremony organized by state Rep. Frank Burns, the family of a state police trooper killed in the line of duty in February 1982 will be recognized at a dedication for the Trooper Herbert A. Wirfel Memorial Bridge, which spans U.S. Route 219 on Tower Road in Croyle Township. The ceremony will take place 11 a.m. Friday, July 8 at New Germany Grove Hall, 1635 New Germany Road, Summerhill. Burns’ H.B. 1371, signed into law in June, was responsible for naming the bridge in honor of Wirfel, who was patrolling U.S. Route 22 in Cambria County when an unidentified vehicle ran through the radar zone at 72 mph. During a pursuit waged in unfavorable weather and road conditions, Wirfel’s vehicle struck a snow drift partially covering the passing lane and skidded off the highway into a frozen snow bank. The 20-year state police veteran was pronounced dead at the scene at age 45, leaving a wife and seven children. The national anthem will be sung by Bridget Anne Wirfel; speakers will include Allan Wirfel, state Sen. John Wozniak and state police Trooper Scott Urban; and a musical tribute will be performed by retired U.S. Navy musician Matthew Wirfel. The Pennsylvania State Police Ceremonial Unit will be on hand to present colors. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, said the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31. Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older qualify for the benefits under the program. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income and any COLAs are excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates can boost the amount up to $975. "This vital program benefits thousands of Pennsylvania seniors, and my office welcomes anyone who needs help completing an application or finding out if they’re eligible,” Dawkins said. Dawkins’s office is located at 4915 Frankford Avenue. Constituents can also contact the office at (215) 744-7901 . The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is one of five programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since the program’s 1971 inception, older and disabled adults have received more than $5.6 billion in property tax and rent relief. The expanded portion of the rebate program is paid for with revenue from slots gaming. For more information about the program, go to www.revenue.pa.gov . Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 – A bill to extend a grant program for volunteer fire companies and EMS providers is on its way to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature, said state Rep. Chris Sainato, Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. House Bill 1877, which unanimously passed the House of Representatives on concurrence with the Senate, will extend the Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Services Grant Program until June 30, 2020. It was set to expire today. “Many of our local volunteer fire companies and EMS providers heavily rely on these grants in addition to fundraising events they hold to pay for necessary equipment and training,” Sainato said. “With extension of this program, these grants will help them continue to provide invaluable services to our communities.” Sainato said the annual mandated funding amount for the program is $30 million. The program is funded by gaming revenue. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today voted to send a final state budget plan to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk that boosts school funding, targets the heroin and opioid addiction crisis, and protects taxpayers from broad-based tax increases. "This budget isn’t necessarily ideal, but it does make strong investments in education and human services during a particularly tough fiscal year," Bizzarro said. "I believe the bipartisan compromise we were able to achieve was necessary to help ensure Pennsylvania will soon have a budget on the books." Under Senate Bill 1073 , basic education would receive a $200 million increase from the previous fiscal year, while special education funding would increase $20 million. As a result, Bizzarro said area school districts are set to receive the following increases: Basic Education Special Education General McLane: $148,439, 1.4 percent $15,239, 1.1 percent Millcreek Township: $493,433, 3.6 percent $50,123, 1.4 percent Erie City: $3,373,571, 5.6 percent $234,418, 2.4 percent "Our schools have been cash-strapped for far too long," Bizzarro said. "This budget will help to restore some of the cuts made by the previous administration so that we can provide the quality education our students deserve." Higher education, including schools like Edinboro University, would receive a 2.5 percent increase in Read more
HARRISBURG, June 29 – The state House of Representatives today adopted a resolution sponsored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, that urges the federal government to lift the ban on sports betting.
“Just last week, the National Hockey League announced the awarding of a franchise to the City of Las Vegas,” Matzie said. “This shows just how drastically public opinion and policy has shifted over time and should deliver the killing blow to the notion that professional athletics cannot coexist with legal sports wagering.”
House Resolution 619, which was adopted by a vote of 140-59, urges Congress to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 which prohibits sports betting in every state except Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware.
“Pennsylvania responsibly oversees and regulates various forms of gaming throughout the state including the lottery, slot machines and horse racing. But an arbitrary law, which hasn’t been revisited by the federal government in more than two decades, prevents us from seriously considering sports betting,” Matzie said. “While discussions would be needed about how sports betting would work in the Pennsylvania, I think it verges on ridiculous that the federal government would prevent us from even exploring the option.”
If the federal government lifts the ban, any state with authorized, license and regulated casino gaming would have the authority to legalize sports betting at its licensed facilities.
“I would f Read more
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