PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., last week signed on to an amicus brief for a lawsuit over redistricting that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 3. “The lawsuit, Gill vs. Whitford , involves the practice of gerrymandering and how it has led to gridlock and extreme partisanship in many state legislatures and in Congress,” she said. In the suit, Wisconsin state officials are appealing a lower-court ruling that the state’s redistricting plan went to such extremes in its political gerrymandering that it violated protections given to voters by the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Holwell Shuster & Goldberg’s brief speaks for legislators across eight states, which, like all states, will undergo redistricting following the 2020 census. “I am one of two legislators from Pennsylvania who was interviewed for this brief, and I was proud to be asked for my perspective on how gerrymandering in Pennsylvania affects the legislative process,” DeLissio said. “One example of gerrymandering is our recent negotiation of our state budget. Gerrymandering has clearly contributed to the fact that we remain at a budget impasse. “It was an honor for me to have participated in this amicus brief for this historic occasion, as I believe redistricting is an issue of integral importance to our democracy.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, today said a House Republican revenue plan advanced late Wednesday is fiscally irresponsible and will lead to massive tax increases for local government, taxpayers, and future Pennsylvanians. “I voted ‘no’ to an irresponsible budget revenue plan that places our environment, our most needy, and our fiscal future at risk,” Dean said. “Pennsylvania must address a growing structural deficit with sustainable recurring revenues, like a severance tax on Marcellus shale. Instead, the House GOP passed a plan that relied on borrowing, raiding of necessary funds, and more gambling.” Dean said the House plan, approved largely along party lines Wednesday night, includes: $631 million raids to special funds that help pay for necessary programs involving addiction, environmental protections, business growth, public transportation and more; A risky and expensive plan to “sell” the next 10 years Tobacco Settlement Fund revenues, valued at approximately $3.5 billion, for a one-time payment of $1 billion—to be used for cash flow instead of tobacco cessation and health programs; Assumes $225 million in increased revenues from gaming, without a clear plan to achieve this increase; and Millions of dollars of transfers from the Liquor Control Board and Joint Underwriting Association, . “House Democrats, the State Senate—both Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio is holding two free shredding events for constituents to safely dispose of confidential, unwanted documents. The first event will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 23 in the Roxborough Municipal Lot, 514 Dupont St., 19128. Another will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, in the Magisterial District Court parking lot at 925 Montgomery Ave., Narberth. Availability is on a first-come basis. Shredding will take place at the designated times or until the truck is full. The events will be held rain or shine. There is a limit of four bags per household (standard storage/banker boxes or grocery bags). "Safe disposal of documents with personal information is one of the best defenses against identity theft,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. "Shredding also is a great way to dispose of unneeded paper in an environmentally friendly way, and I am happy to offer this service to my constituents." DeLissio said common types of unwanted items that should be shredded include credit card statements, credit card applications, bank statements, canceled checks, income tax information, insurance records and retirement or pension fund information. Shredding will be done on site and all shredded paper will be recycled. For more information, constituents can call DeLissio’s office at 215-482-8726. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, is hosting a Senior Fair for older Pennsylvanians to obtain their SEPTA Key photo ID cards from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22 at Northeast Regional Library, 2228 Cottman Ave., Philadelphia. “With this event I want to make sure our citizens take advantage of the SEPTA Key and many other state programs and benefits,” Boyle said. “Most of our seniors rely on SEPTA for transportation throughout the city and some of them don’t know that if they’re 65 or older, they can use SEPTA service free. All they need to do is bring a state-issued Photo ID and we’ll do the rest.” Boyle said local and state organizations and exhibitors will provide health resources and other information on credit and debt education, legal and social services for older residents. Boyle and his staff will be available to discuss how his office can help seniors access programs like the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program and prescription assistance through PACE and PACENET. Residents with questions or who need more information about the event are encouraged to call Boyle’s office at 215-695-1016. Read more
PHILDELPHIA, Sept. 14 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will join state Sen. Anthony Williams and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack for a resource fair designed to inform constituents about the possibilities of clearing their name from minor past convictions. The Re-entry Resource Fair: Pathways to Pardons and Expungements will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Francis J. Myers Recreation Center, 5800 Chester Ave., 19143. McClinton said constituents can learn how the pardon process works in Pennsylvania and how they can seek a pardon for past convictions. “Many people have fallen on hard times as a result of a minor conviction that keeps haunting them,” McClinton said. “I believe this workshop will help constituents find a way to clear that conviction from their name and set them on the right path.” McClinton added many local agencies will be on hand with valuable information that focuses on reentry. Anyone who is looking for an expungement for free should call Sen. Williams’ office at (215) 492-2980 to RSVP. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 14 – Following Wednesday’s House budget plan vote, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, released the following statement opposing its passage: "I voted ‘no’ on an irresponsible budget plan that puts Pennsylvania's economy at risk. Rather than finally bringing up a vote on a severance tax on Marcellus Shale, the House Republican leadership decided to cynically rebrand the existing impact fee as a severance tax, with no difference in policy or new revenue – a vote that passed along party lines. “In a farcical political ploy to claim that they have not raised taxes, the House GOP voted for a plan that raids restricted funds and literally makes up numbers. In a move that doesn't make a shred of financial sense, the approved bill auctions off future payments from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement – worth $2.9 billion – for the fire sale price of $1 billion, essentially giving away $1.9 billion in resources that provide health care for workers with disabilities, nursing home care, and home health care services that keep our seniors safe. “Here in Delaware County, employees and employers alike count on public transportation to get people to work. But my colleagues voted to cut $32 million from SEPTA, which will result in a 40 percent reduction in transit and Regional Rail service while raising fares across the system by 20 percent. This will devastate not Read more
Rep. Jake Wheatley reports that said a House Republican revenue plan advanced late Sept. 13 doubles down on the fiscal gimmickry that has created a $2.2 billion hole in Pennsylvania’s months-late budget. Read more
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, has announced that a project to transform land adjacent to a former manufactured gas plant into the Lower Broadway Recreation Complex may be on hold if state budget cuts proposed by some state lawmakers are instituted to Pennsylvania’s cleanup plan. Mullery said the planned project would include a park with athletic fields, a playground, walking trails, a skateboard park and marsh overlook. “Without necessary state funding, it puts our area in a precarious situation because the site needs to be transformed from an industrial blight area to a recreational site that we can all benefit from,” Mullery said. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) along with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), created Pennsylvania’s “Brownfields to Playfields” Pilot Program to clean up blighted areas. Each project receives a needs assessment, help in identifying appropriate assistance programs; education on sources and leveraging of funding; and streamlined coordination between state agencies, local governments, federal programs and private partners. “Environmental projects in my area will suffer greatly if the House Republican fiscal plan is passed,” Mullery said. We need to invest in our future landscape development now.” Read more
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 12 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, announced today that his "Readshaw’s Raiders" and motorcycle riders from Pennsylvania and surrounding states are preparing for their annual "Ride to Gettysburg." The trek from Harrisburg to Gettysburg is set to begin near the fountain outside the East Wing of the Capitol with a welcome ceremony at 12:15 p.m. and the ride departing at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23. Registration begins at 11 a.m. The annual event supports the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project, which Readshaw established in 1997. State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay has been appointed ride marshal for this year’s trip. Solobay, of Washington County, has also served as a member of the state House and the state Senate. "Once again, I am honored that so many riders will participate in this event, to show support for maintaining the Pennsylvania monuments that honor those who fought and in some cases died at the Battle of Gettysburg,” Readshaw said. “These riders are leaving their own legacy, which is that we haven’t forgotten the historical importance of Gettysburg and the great sacrifices made in a clash known as a Civil War turning point.” In addition to Solobay, state Reps. Bill Kortz, Bryan Barbin, Mark Keller and Jim Marshall – along with former state Rep. Teresa Forcier from Crawford County and her Motormaids – are expected to participate. Before the Read more
Rep. Dom Costa prepares legislation to update Pa.'s hate crimes law to protect citizens' mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity or someone’s actual or perceived ancestry. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 13 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., joined several House Democrats to express their outrage over President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. “I’m furious at the irresponsibility and cowardice of the President’s actions. Immigrants helped build this great country and now they’re left to suffer for no reason,” Cruz said. “800,000 Dreamers, nearly 6,000 of them just in Pennsylvania, currently benefit from DACA and will have their families ripped apart because of this decision by the Trump Administration.” In an effort to fight back, Cruz introduced House Resolution 491 that not only condemns the latest action against DACA but urges Congress to pass the Dream Act, which would provide a path to permanent legal residency for DACA participants. “This country is the only place they call home. With this action, the government is turning its back against people who came to the United States to achieve the American Dream, because that’s what our country is: the land of opportunities. I am beyond disappointed and I stand in solidarity with all the Dreamers in Pennsylvania and across the country. I’ll keep up the fight against this deplorable act,” Cruz said. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro deemed the president’s actions illegal and just last week joined more than a dozen attorneys general in filing a lawsuit Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 13 – A resolution designating Sept. 24-30 as “Rail Safety Week” in Pennsylvania, sponsored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, earned overwhelming House approval today. “Shockingly, in the United States, a person or vehicle is hit by a train about every three hours,” Matzie said. “We need a renewed dedication to saving lives near tracks and trains.” Matzie said the goals of H.R. 468 are to raise awareness across the commonwealth of the need for rail safety education and to empower the public to keep themselves safe near railroad tracks. “While gains have been made in highway-rail crossing safety, much more remains to be done,” Matzie said, noting that while crossing collisions plummeted by 83 percent over the past four decades, preliminary 2016 federal statistics show crossing fatalities rose nearly 14 percent, resulting in 265 deaths. Trespassing is an even bigger problem, Matzie said, as people are walking, exercising and taking pictures on or too close to railroad tracks. This resulted in 988 deaths and injuries – up nearly 15 percent from last year. Matzie’s resolution will run in conjunction with “U.S. Rail Safety Week,” with the common goal of reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and preventing trespassing on or near railroad tracks. Video of Rep. Matzie speaking on H.R. 468 is available HERE . Read more
GLENSIDE, Sept. 13 – State Rep. Steve McCarter will hold extended office hours from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 26 in his district office at 115 E. Glenside Ave., Suite 8. The extended hours will give constituents the opportunity to meet with staff after normal business hours for help with property tax/rent rebates, SEPTA Senior Key ID cards, birth and death certificates, PACE (the state’s prescription assistance program for seniors), PennDOT problems and other state government-related issues. U.S. Congressman Brendan Boyle’s office, which is in the same building in Suite 1, also will hold extended office hours from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday Sept. 26. His staff will be on hand to answer questions and address concerns involving the federal government, such as veterans’ benefits, federal student loans, Social Security and Medicare, passports and visas, and IRS issues. No appointments are necessary. Those interested should contact McCarter’s district office staff with any questions at (215) 572-5210 . Read more
State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, on Tuesday submitted a letter and a petition with over 1,100 resident signatures to PennDOT requesting weight restrictions for trucks traveling on SR-2071 (Main Street/Taylorsville Road/Yardley-Morrisville Road/Pine Grove Road) and SR-31 (River Road/Delaware Avenue) in Yardley and Lower Makefield. Warren personally delivered the package to the office of Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Leslie Richards. “As the state representative for the 31 st Legislative District, it is my responsibility to advocate for the safety of the residents, motorists and pedestrians on our state roads,” Warren said. “These two roads pass through residential neighborhoods and a downtown business district and receive an extraordinary amount of truck traffic.” Warren began the petition in July after hearing concerns from his constituents. Lower Makefield and Yardley officials and the Yardley Action Coalition for Traffic Safety helped raise awareness of the petition. Included with Warren’s letter and petition to PennDOT were written requests from Yardley Borough and Lower Makefield Township requesting that PennDOT perform a traffic study on the roads. There have been two recent accidents that involved trucks colliding into buildings on Yardley's Main Street. “Trucks cut through downtown to avoid the I-95 weigh station, the traffic on I-95 or the Route 1 toll bridge, or just because their GPS tells them to, Read more
Rep. Jake Wheatley, Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee, says House Democrats have a responsible budget plan that borrows less, relies on real revenues and can enacted before the state's coffers go bone dry. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 13 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced he will be introducing a bill that would require charities that solicit funds in Pennsylvania maintain minimum standards. DeLuca outlined the need for stronger regulations for charity expenses at a media event in the state Capitol. “I care very much about how much money charities are funneling towards research,” DeLuca said. “Unscrupulous organizations seize on the good will of the American people in order to enrich charity owners, managers and corporate fundraisers. “The intent of this bill is to prevent any charity from soliciting the citizens of this Commonwealth if a minimum of 65 percent of revenue is not dedicated to their programs. It is not my intent to harm non-profits, or keep them from fulfilling their mission.” House Bill 1669 will be introduced in the near future. The bill would prohibit charities that do not invest a minimum of 65 percent of revenue to their programs from soliciting in Pennsylvania. Under the bill, a charitable organization that fails to meet the 65 percent minimum would be prohibited from fundraising in Pennsylvania until the Pennsylvania Department of State verifies that they have reached that threshold. “Americans, by nature, tend to be very generous and supportive,” DeLuca said. “It is too easy for bad actors to abuse that generosity. We need a law that can guarantee Read more
As we mark Constitution Day on Sept. 17, Rep. Jake Wheatley invites everyone to learn how much we all know of the foundation of our freedoms. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 12 – State Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny and approximately two dozen Democratic House colleagues offered a new budget funding option during a media event in the Capitol Media Center this afternoon. The state is facing a possible credit downgrade if a balanced budget finance package is not in place by the end of the week. The Democratic plan builds on a package that passed the state Senate in July but has not been brought up for a vote in the House. House Republicans have been focusing on a plan that would balance the budget by a series of monetary moves that would weaken many existing agencies and programs. “Many of the Republican proposals would affect our battle against opioid abuse,” Gainey said. “Cutting money from the state’s Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund would affect prevention and treatment programs, including youth and workplace education. “Cutting money from the Human Services funding will affect our new Centers for Excellence that provide comprehensive health service to those dealing with substance abuse. “Cutting money to public safety will hurt our first responders as well as the Department of corrections, and we all have heard so many stories about our first responders saving lives with Narcan.” Credit agencies have reported that Pennsylvania is on a credit watch and could be downgraded as early as next week. It would be Read more
ABINGTON, Sept. 12 – State Rep. Madeleine Dean will host a telephone town hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19. She will also host an in-person town hall that weekend. For the telephone town hall, constituents will automatically receive a phone call at the start of the meeting at 7 p.m. To "attend" the meeting, constituents will be asked to stay on the phone. The meeting will consist of a live legislative update touching on major issues in the district and Harrisburg, as well as a question-and-answer period. On Saturday, Sept. 23, Dean, D-Montgomery, will host an in-person town hall from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Roslyn Giant Café, 2350 Susquehanna Road, Roslyn. Dean, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, will discuss the 2017-18 budget, legislative initiatives, and local projects. Registration for the telephone town hall can be made online using the website https://tthm.wufoo.com/forms/pa-house-madeleine-dean-teletownhall-signup/ . During the telephone town hall, constituents can listen in, ask questions and take part in polls through a touch-tone phone. Those who don’t have their questions answered on the phone can record them after the meeting, and they will be forwarded to Dean’s office. Constituents also can email a question before the telephone town hall to firstname.lastname@example.org . Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 12 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced that he will host a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Greater Philadelphia Health Action, Inc., 1401 S. 31st St., Philadelphia. Residents in the 186th Legislative District will have the opportunity to hear from Harris about legislative developments in Harrisburg that impact the district. There will be a Q&A portion of the town hall for residents to ask Harris questions directly. Harris and his staff will also be available to provide information on state-related resources available to residents. The meeting is open to the community, and constituents with questions should contact Harris’ district office at 215-952-3378. Media coverage is invited. ### Read more
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