HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman was named Deputy Whip for the House Democratic Caucus, the first freshman legislator to earn the title. “The freshman class of representatives is full of extraordinary leaders,” said Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery. “It is a strong and diverse group. I look forward to using this role to work with my freshman colleagues and listen to them so we can achieve our goals together.” Shusterman was appointed by House Democratic Whip Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila. “Pennsylvanians sent a historically diverse group of first term legislators to Harrisburg,” Harris said. “I look forward to working with Representative Shusterman to integrate the freshman members into the House as we push forward an agenda to benefit citizens across the commonwealth.” The whip is considered the second-in-command in the caucus and is responsible for making sure that Democratic members attend session and generally understand the specifics of legislation and procedural votes in the House. The deputy whips serve to assist the whip on the House floor in ensuring members are present for votes and in tallying support prior to a vote. “My constituents are looking for me to bring a new level of transparency and reform to our state government,” Shusterman said. “I will use this leadership position to help meet their expectations.” Shusterman, who took office Jan. 1 as Read more
SCRANTON, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, today announced the Scranton School District will receive $35,000 in state grants for computer science classes and instructor training. Provided under the PAsmart initiative, funding will be provided to Scranton High School, West Scranton High School and South Scranton Intermediate School. The grants are targeted at schools with limited or no computer science offerings for students and are designed to meet the needs of individual school districts to guide students’ education. “Grants like this are incredibly important to ensure our students are learning necessary skills needed to take on the world around them,” Flynn said. “As the workforce around us changes, proficiency in technology and computer science skills are a must.” Funding can be used for a variety of reasons, including staff training, certification exam reimbursements as well as eligible hardware and products purchases for products to implement computer science teachings in the classroom. “I want to thank Governor Tom Wolf and his administration’s dedication to diverse investments in education to ensuring a developed and skilled workforce will continue to move Pennsylvania forward,” Flynn said. To learn more about the PAsmart initiative and the recipients of the targeted grants, click here . Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, today announced several schools and an intermediate unit in his district are recipients of PAsmart targeted grants. The following school districts – for the corresponding schools -- each received $35,000 in funding for programs under the PAsmart initiative : Apollo-Ridge School District: Apollo-Ridge Elementary School, Apollo-Ridge Middle School, Apollo-Ridge High School. Blairsville-Saltsburg School District: Saltsburg Elementary School, Saltsburg Middle-High School. Derry Area School District: Derry Area Middle School and Derry Area High School. Kiski Area School District: Kiski Area Upper Elementary. Leechburg Area School District: Leechburg High School. The Armstrong Regional Intermediate Unit 28, which provides services and support for schools in Indiana and Armstrong counties, received $35,000 in funding for programs in the following schools: Homer Center Elementary School, Penns Manor Elementary School, Penns Manor Junior/Senior High School, Indiana Area Junior High School and Indiana Area Senior High School. “These state funds will go a long way to prepare our students for the future demands of an ever-changing workforce,” Petrarca said. “This investment ensures they will have the vital computer science and technology skills to succeed and provides the right support and training for our teachers to guide Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – Lawrence County students will see an exciting addition to the curricula thanks to a series of $35,000 targeted grants provided through the PAsmart initiative, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced today. The grants will fund the training and equipment needed to ready educators and students to embrace the new, tech-oriented classes. “This is such exciting news, because the funding will open up entirely new avenues of learning for our students,” Sainato said. “And the best part is that students of all ages will benefit. Computer science isn’t just about coding. It’s about teaching kids of all ages how to think in more logical, problem-solving ways. It’s also about equipping older students with the technical skills they’ll use in future work settings. It’s about readying a new generation on multiple levels.” Sainato noted that the grants will go to the following districts: New Castle Area School District Shenango Area School District Mohawk Area School District Laurel School District The $35,000 maximum awarded to each district will fund up to $10,500 for professional development allowing teachers to learn computer science standards and how to incorporate them into the curriculum and up to $24,500 for eligible hardware, products and training to implement computer science education in the classroom. The funding is part of a package of $8.7 million in Read more
WHITEHALL, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, announced today that Catasauqua School District and Salisbury Township School District are recipients of PA Smart Targeted Grants. Catasauqua School District received $35,000 in funding for programs at Sheckler Elementary, Catasauqua Middle and Catasauqua High Schools, while Salisbury Township District also has received $35,000 in funding for programs at Salisbury Middle School, Western Elementary School and Harry S. Truman Elementary School. “It is critical we provide our children with the tools necessary to succeed,” McNeill said. “As our world around us rapidly changes and progresses, so too must the ways in which we teach our students. I am excited to see the positive impact these grants and their subsequent programs will have on our community’s schools.” Targeted to schools with limited or no computer science offerings for students, the grants are designed to help school districts implement computer science programs into their curriculum. Funding can be used for a variety of reasons, including staff training and certification exam reimbursements, as well as eligible hardware and purchases for products to implement computer science teachings in the classroom. McNeill noted her thanks to Gov. Tom Wolf and his administration’s dedication to meeting the 21 st century demands of Pennsylvania’s educational system. A full list of Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, today announced three school districts and an intermediate unit are the recipients of PAsmart targeted grants. The following school districts – for the corresponding schools – each received $35,000 in funding for programs under the PAsmart initiative : Central Greene School District: Waynesburg Central Elementary School Jefferson-Morgan School District: Jefferson-Morgan Elementary School West Greene School District: West Greene Elementary Center, West Greene Junior Senior High School. Intermediate Unit 1, which includes campuses at Colonial and Waynesburg, also received $35,000 in funding under the program. “This investment will help prepare our children with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in an ever-changing world,” Snyder said. “As technology advances, we will continue to need a well-trained workforce to meet the demands of businesses. Today’s announcement represents a true investment in our future workforce.” Targeted to schools with limited or no computer science offerings for students, the grants are designed to help school districts implement computer science programs into their curriculum. Funding can be used for a variety of reasons, including staff training, certification exam reimbursements as well as eligible hardware and products purchases for products to implement computer science teachings in Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – Computer science classes and teacher training in the Bald Eagle Area and Philipsburg-Osceola school districts will be enhanced by $70,000 in state grants announced today by state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre. Conklin said each of the districts will receive $35,000 under the PAsmart initiative, which has made Pennsylvania No. 2 in the nation for investing in K-12 STEM and computer science education. “For our students to be equipped to handle many jobs of the future, proficiency in technology and its related field of computer science is an absolute must,” Conklin said. “These grants, which fund equipment purchases and staff development, represent a wise state investment in helping develop a skilled workforce.” Conklin said Bald Eagle Area and Philipsburg-Osceola are among this round of targeted grant recipients, which include 221 school districts, two career and technical centers, 18 charter and cyber charter schools, and eight intermediate units – each of which is receiving the maximum $35,000. Read more
EBENSBURG, Jan. 17 – In the first-ever state grants of their kind, state Rep. Frank Burns today announced a combined $70,000 is coming to the Central Cambria and Penn Cambria school districts to expand computer science classes and teacher training. Burns, D-Cambria, said each of the districts will receive $35,000 under the PAsmart initiative, which has made Pennsylvania No. 2 in the nation for investing in K-12 STEM and computer science education. “These targeted grants are designed to help schools significantly boost their computer science offerings through equipment purchases and staff development,” Burns said. “We all know that ever-changing technology is rapidly altering our economy at the local, state and national levels. Our students must be computer science-proficient in order to keep pace.” Burns said Central Cambria and Penn Cambria are among this round of targeted grant recipients, which include 221 school districts, two career and technical centers, 18 charter and cyber charter schools, and eight intermediate units – each of which are receiving $35,000 Read more
BLUE BELL, Jan. 17 – State Reps. Liz Hanbidge and Steve Malagari, both D-Montgomery, along with state Sen. Maria Collett, D-Montgomery/Bucks, will host a “Home Heating Workshop” from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 in the North Wales Borough Hall, 300 School St., North Wales. The workshop is open to the public and will include representatives from the PA Department of Human Services who will discuss Universal Service Programs such as the Customer Assistance Program, LIHEAP grants, the CARES program, Smart Comfort, and the Dollar Energy Fund. “I’m excited to partner with my fellow newly-elected officials and the DHS to offer this workshop to ensure all Montgomery County residents are able to stay warm this winter without sacrificing their budget,” Hanbidge said. “Pennsylvania offers many affordable and excellent services that can improve the health and safety of our families, and it’s important that we, as elected officials, inform our communities about how we can make government work for us.” Staff will also be on hand to assist with registering for LIHEAP. “With the height of the winter season approaching, it is crucial that our residents are able to stay warm,” Malagari said. “I am glad that along with my colleagues, we will help create awareness of the LIHEAP program and help to provide a resource for those struggling to heat their homes.” LIHEAP offers cash grants of Read more
EBENSBURG, Jan. 16 – Maintaining his House Democratic leadership role, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, today was unanimously re-elected chairman of the Northwest Delegation. Burns’ peers in the region gave him a second term at the helm of the delegation, whose members coalesce around ideas, legislation and strategy of mutual benefit to them and the people they represent. “I am humbled and appreciative at the vote of confidence demonstrated by today’s action,” Burns said. “As a delegation, we’ve strived to present a united front on key issues. We’ll continue doing that, to amplify our voice in Harrisburg as we fight for issues of mutual importance.” Burns said he looks forward to cultivating a strong working relationship with the rest of the Northwest Delegation leadership team: Vice Chairman Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, Treasurer Rep. Robert Merski and Secretary Rep. Pat Harkins, all of whom are Democrats from Erie County. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Bob Merski will be taking on a leadership role as he starts his first term in the House: Merski announced today that he has been elected treasurer of the House Democratic Northwest Delegation. “I’m honored and excited to be a part of the group’s leadership,” Merski said. “The delegation is key to providing a unified voice on the issues that matter to our region’s working families. It’s a way for us to join forces as legislators and bring attention to goals, interests and challenges that are shared by families throughout our area of the state. Collective voices speak louder, and being a part of that effort is a terrific opportunity.” Merski added that he is looking forward to strategizing with other members of the Northwest leadership team, including chairman Rep. Frank Burns of Cambria County; vice chairman Rep. Ryan Bizzarro of Erie County; and secretary Rep. Pat Harkins, also of Erie County. Read more
State Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, is pleased the Hospice House and inpatient hospice services in Monroe County will resume operation upon approvals and staffing the facility. Representatives of Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono and an advisory committee of community members who formed to assess the facility’s future made the announcement today after a 90-day review which concluded that reopening the facility for local inpatient services would be in the area’s best interest. "Monroe County's first and only hospice center, built by the people, for the people, is finally re-opening its doors,” Madden said. “The residents expressed sadness and anger when the hospice closed, and protested over the loss of such a vital part of the community. Their voices have been heard and this needed facility and its services again will be available to the community." Madden said the opening of the East Brown Street facility in East Stroudsburg is dependent upon regulatory approvals from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and how quickly staff can be hired. The committee also recommended building referrals and increased community awareness throughout Monroe County and northeast Pennsylvania. In addition, the facility will hold an open house as efforts to resume inpatient services continue. Madden said formal evaluations every six months and a review every two years will be conducted. Planning also continues to display Read more
Rep. Ed Gainey was joined Wednesday in the chamber of the state House of Representatives by fellow legislators of all races, genders and creeds as they paid tribute to the American civil rights leader, who would have turned 90 this year. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, along with delegation members today announced their legislative agenda during a news conference at the state Capitol. The delegation said its top priorities for working toward a better Philadelphia include investing in education and schools, criminal justice reform, health care for all, strengthening commercial coordinators, and alternative energy methods. "We are joining forces to work as one unit for the betterment of all Philadelphians, and that begins with fighting for what our constituents need the most,” Dawkins said. "We are also focused on making sure that everyone gets a fair shot and equal treatment." “Last session we worked in bipartisan fashion to get clean slate legislation signed into law and bring real criminal justice reform to those who need it,” said Rep. Jordan Harris, the Democratic Whip. “Now, we must continue fighting for further reform to reduce recidivism and allow Pennsylvanians who have paid their debit to society to pursue a productive path to citizenry.” “For too long our criminal justice system has been an injustice system for the mentally ill, the poor, and people of color,” said Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. “While we’ve made progress, our prisons remain overcrowded, inmates mistreated, and mental health problems ignored. I stand with my Philadelphia colleagues to address Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – Attending Gov. Tom Wolf’s inauguration today, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, said he was encouraged by the priorities the governor expressed for his second term. “I’m excited for Governor Wolf’s second term,” Merski said. “His address today – and particularly his emphasis on education, workforce development and jobs – made clear that the commonwealth’s working families are front and center in his agenda. It’s good to know that we share the same central priority – a commitment to the needs of Pennsylvania’s families – because we accomplish more when we work toward a shared agenda. “I was especially glad to hear the governor emphasize the importance of investing in our schools. From my years as an Erie educator, I understand the critical role education – from pre-K through career training and higher education – plays in equipping our next generation to take on the demands of the modern workforce. It’s good to know we’ll be working together to enact laws and promote programs that give our kids the start they need so they can stay and raise families in the state, invest back into the economy and ensure that the commonwealth continues to prosper. “Being at the state Capitol for the inauguration also reminded me how fortunate I feel to be representing the people of Erie, and how I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and start Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery, announced that she is proposing new legislation that would make voting more accessible to all Pennsylvanians. The bill would allow an election official to bring a paper ballot – or portable voting machine when available – to any voter outside the physical polling place who has a physical, emotional, intellectual, or developmental disability or short-term inability that would preclude them from easily accessing voting machines. “Just as voting is central to our democratic process, accessibility should become central to the voting process,” said Hanbidge. “It is critical that we enhance accessibility at the voting booth and work to eliminate as many obstacles as possible by minimizing the physical challenges voters face on their way to the ballot box.” Hanbidge said that she’s proposing this bill, her first piece of legislation, to protect every Pennsylvanians’ constitutional right to vote. “Voting is a right and a privilege, and we should treat it as such,” said Hanbidge. “We need to make participation in our government as accessible as possible to as many Pennsylvanians as possible.” Hanbidge’s bill is part of a package of bills, called Your Vote Counts , proposed by PA House Democrats. The package is meant to break down barriers to voting and make it easier for citizens to participate in elections. Hanbidge and her Read more
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, will bring the House Democratic Policy Committee to her legislative district to discuss how government and businesses can work together to enhance neighborhoods and ensure all residents benefit from development coming to their communities. Read more
BRADDOCK, Jan. 15 – State Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on wage growth in Pennsylvania. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17 at Unity Baptist Church, 420 Fifth St., Braddock. The media and public are invited to attend. Lee requested the hearing to discuss increasing the minimum wage, establishing a living wage, how wage boards can help create truly fair wages for all workers and other suggestions for wage growth in the Commonwealth. She will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 2:10 p.m. Jennifer Berrier , deputy secretary for Safety and Labor-Management Relations, Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry 2:40 p.m. Panel One: Chad Trainer , legislative director, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Steve Kelly , member, 32BJ Shirley Jones , member, SEIU Healthcare PA Clive March , member, SEIU Healthcare PA John Mutchka , dietary worker, UPMC Presbyterian Hospital 3:20 p.m. Panel Two: David Madland, Ph.D. , senior fellow, Center for American Progress Logan Bialik , graduate student assistant, University of Pittsburgh 3:50 p.m. Closing Remarks For more information about the Policy Committee, go to www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – Continuing her ascension into key positions, state Rep. Pam Snyder was today unanimously elected chairperson of the Southwest Delegation of the House Democratic Caucus. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Snyder being named a House Democratic deputy whip, whose duties revolve around ensuring members are present for votes and in tallying support prior to a vote. As she tackles her fourth term, Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, will also now be tasked with devising strategy and promoting ideas on a regional basis – a platform and challenge she said she embraces with great gusto. “Being elected by my surrounding peers to lead the charge on issues of collective importance is a responsibility I do not take lightly,” Snyder said. “I intend to help set and guide our agenda, with a keen focus on what benefits all of us and the people we represent.” First and foremost for Snyder is an expanded push to bring reliable broadband internet into rural areas, a signature effort she’s led in recent years with palpable successes, including a role as co-founder of the legislature’s Broadband Caucus and the governor’s formation of a state Office of Broadband Initiatives. “As I assume leadership of the Southwest Delegation, I’ll be keeping expanded broadband front and center in our discussions, along with other important issues,” Snyder said. “Job creation and Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 15 – State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware, will host an open house from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 for the grand opening of her district office at 905 W. Sproul Road, Suite 203 in Springfield and is inviting residents and families to attend. Residents can expect light refreshments, as well as the chance to meet O’Mara and learn about her legislative priorities for the 165 th District. Interested residents can RSVP to email@example.com . “I want residents to know that I am working for them both in Harrisburg and here at home,” O’Mara said. “I’m looking forward to meeting constituents and learning how my office and I can assist them with state government-related matters. “I’ve been hard at work, getting our services up and running so that I’m able to assist constituents. My office is officially set up to provide SEPTA key cards for seniors so they can ride for free and I’ve been attending local county commissioner meetings to learn about the issues facing our community.” O’Mara also has established two mobile offices in addition to her district office. Residents of Wayne can visit her office at 301 Iven Ave. on the first Thursday of every month from noon to 4 p.m. and residents of Morton can visit her office at 500 Highland Ave. on the third Thursday of every month from noon to 4 p.m. Services that O’Mara’s offices can help assist with include Read more
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