HARRISBURG, July 14 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., joined her colleagues from both sides of the aisle to push for a reasonable measure to help bring in sustainable revenue for Pennsylvania – a severance tax on the extraction of Marcellus Shale resources. DeLissio signed a letter to House Speaker Mike Turzai urging him to bring to a vote a fair tax on Marcellus Shale. She also supported a discharge resolution calling on the House to bring up H.B. 113, a severance tax measure sponsored by Rep. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery. “With Pennsylvania’s credit ratings at risk, we cannot continue to borrow our way out of this fiscal crisis or to continue to use one-time transfers as we have for the past two administrations that I have been in office,” DeLissio said. “A fair severance tax is supported by an overwhelming number of Pennsylvania residents, and it would help us generate the recurring revenue that we desperately need.” DeLissio is a co-prime sponsor with colleague Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks, of H.B. 1401 , which would create a 3.2 percent severance tax on unconventional natural gas extraction, in addition to the existing impact fee. Pennsylvania is the only major gas-producing state that does not impose a severance, or drilling, tax. Support for a severance tax is growing on both sides of the aisle. House Bill 1401 has bipartisan co-sponsors, DeLissio said, and Republicans and Democrats signed the letter Read more
Rep. Pam Snyder is launching a two-pronged effort to expand availability of high-speed internet service with an appeal to Microsoft to include Pennsylvania in its broadband expansion effort and a four-bill legislative package. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 13 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will hold her 66 th Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. July 26 in the Wolcoff Auditorium at Roxborough Memorial Hospital , 5800 Ridge Ave. The meeting, which is open to all constituents, will focus on legislation DeLissio is proposing to improve Pennsylvania’s health care system, as well as discussing the complexities of the 2017-18 state budget. DeLissio will discuss a bill she will soon introduce to establish the Pennsylvania Health Care Plan. House Bill 1688 would result in better access to health care and will control costs. “Given the nationwide focus on how to best provide affordable health care, this is a perfect time to talk about what we can do to improve the system here in Pennsylvania,” DeLissio said. “This piece of legislation will allow access to care for all Pennsylvanians and provide a means to control costs. I am looking forward to the opportunity of sharing the details of the bill to help my constituents understand how a Single Payer Medicare For All Plan would be advantageous to the commonwealth.” DeLissio also will update community members with the latest on the state budget progress. “The state legislature adopted a spending package, but we still need to determine the revenue sources we will use to pay for it,” DeLissio said. “The legislature is asked to make difficult decisions in reconciling all of our citizens’ Read more
Rep. Jake Wheatley requests that the Republican leaders of the state House of Representatives return to Harrisburg and complete work on the overdue 2017-18 state budget. “I am requesting that the speaker of the House call the House back into session and keep working until we successfully vote on a revenue package that pays all of the bills of the commonwealth,” said Wheatley, Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee. Read more
ALLENTOWN, July 12 – Area veterans are invited to take part in a support program next week at the office of state Rep. Peter Schweyer. A representative from the American Legion will be in Schweyer's office -- 1912 S. Fourth St., Allentown -- from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, July 21 to provide information on services available to veterans and their families. The American Legion representatives are available to discuss pensions and other compensation, education, health care and death benefits. Legion membership is not required to take advantage of the help, but anyone interested in speaking to the advisers is recommended to schedule an appointment through Schweyer’s office at 610-791-6270. The help is available on the third Friday of every month at Schweyer’s office. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 12 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., said she is excited that the Samuel Gompers Elementary School, located in the 192nd Legislative District, has become part of the second cohort of neighborhood schools selected to become a community school. Community schools are public schools with a full-time coordinator who works with the entire school community to identify and meet the needs of the whole child. School coordinators attempt to address barriers students face at home and in school. This includes increasing access to medical services, expanding after-school programs, as well as providing opportunities for job training. Community schools ultimately identify resources to address the out-of-school needs of students to reduce the demands of school staff and to improve the academic performance of the students. “Samuel Gompers Elementary School being selected to become a community school is a victory for our community,” Cephas said. “This new partnership will bring in programs and resources needed to ensure that we are addressing the issues our children and their families face in a holistic way. With institutions like St. Joseph University and Science Leadership Academy High School in the immediate area, this opportunity has the potential to create a pipeline for our students to achieve academic success. Investments and strategic alignments like these are instrumental to improving the quality of our neighborhoods and finally gives Read more
Republicans in the General Assembly are using the budget process to attack Medicaid patients in Pennsylvania. While Gov. Wolf, Democrats and others in the state are scrambling to find a way to protect patients should the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act by Trump and Republicans in Washington succeed, Republicans in Pennsylvania are joining in that attack on tens of thousands of our residents. Republicans want to put families through more red tape to keep the health coverage that allows them to continue working and supporting their families. Administering the requirements proposed by Republicans will chew up already scarce state dollars we should be using for healthcare services. Increasing the cost burden for Medicaid patients will cause many of them to lose coverage because they can't afford it. That means higher rates of uninsured, more frequent chronic healthcare problems and more costly emergency room care that is expensive for hospitals and taxpayers. Higher premiums will punish many workers who work full time but don't make much money. It forces their families to choose between getting the health care they need, paying the rent or buying groceries. Requiring Medicaid patients to "lock-in" their plans adds another layer of bureaucracy and administrative costs that's a waste of money -- only 1% of patients switched their plans within the last year. Republicans have ignored proposals to save significant amounts of state money by Read more
HARRISBURG, July 11 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, along with the Berks County Sheriff’s Office, will host a free gun safety seminar from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Muhlenberg Township building, 210 George St., Reading. Participants in the seminar will discuss firearms safety, safe firearm storage, and laws pertaining to personal ownership, concealed carry and self-defense, plus more. The event is free for local adults. Children accompanied by a parent or guardian are also welcome to attend. Space is limited. Anyone interested in participating must pre-register by calling Rozzi’s district office at 610-921-8921. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 11 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced he’s hosting a free criminal record expungement and sealing clinic from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 25 at St. Mark’s Church, 4442 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia. “A sealed record can change a person’s quality of life and wellbeing almost instantly. It means more opportunities for employment, education and other benefits that in different circumstances would never become available,” Dawkins said. “This is another effort to give people with criminal record a second chance and deter recidivism.” Criminal record expungement allows a person convicted of a third-degree misdemeanor or a second-degree misdemeanor, if at least 10 years have passed, respectively, since they completed their sentence, to request the opportunity to appear before a judge and request an order for limited access of their criminal record. For more information, residents may contact Dawkins' office at 215-744-7901 . Read more
HARRISBURG, July 10 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, urged Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf today to veto S.B. 624, which would reduce protections to streams where coal companies seek to mine underneath them and would interfere with pending litigation. The bill passed the Senate today and is expected to be on the governor’s desk soon. “I urge you to veto this bill,” Vitali wrote in the letter . “The legislation is both unconstitutional and bad public policy.” Vitali said S.B. 624 violates Article III, Section 32 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which prohibits special legislation. Senate Bill 624 is directed at one particular coal company, CONSUL in one particular location, Ryerson Station State Park, he said. Introduced by Sen. Joseph Scarnati, R-Jefferson, the bill would directly affect a pending case before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB Docket No. 2014-072-B) relating to CONSOL Energy’s longwall mining activity in and near this Greene County state park. Vitali said the bill also violates Article I section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution (the Environmental Rights Amendment), as recently interpreted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Longwall mining activity by CONSOL energy under Ryerson Station State Park has already caused permanent damage to the park. In 2005, mining by CONSOL permanently damaged Duke Lake in the park. “In addition to Ryerson Station State Park, the bill Read more
UPPER DARBY, July 10 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, is hosting a senior services event from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, July 13 at Watkins Center, 326 Watkins Ave., Upper Darby . Davidson said there will be resources for senior citizens, refreshments and that her staff will be on-site to provide state services and free notary service. They also will be taking photos for the new SEPTA senior ID cards. "This is a great opportunity for seniors, their family members and caregivers to learn more about programs and services available to them in our community," Davidson said. This event is part of a series of Senior Celebration events Davidson is hosting throughout the 164 th District of Yeadon, Upper Darby, Millbourne, Lansdowne and East Lansdowne, in places where seniors live and meet including Simpson Gardens, Grace Court and Watkins Center, St. Alician Homes and Manor Care. For more information, please call Maureen McGrory at 610-259-7016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 10 – State Rep. Jared Solomon will hold a Small Business Summit from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 15 at Al-Sham Restaurant, 6738 Bustleton Ave., to provide constituents the tools to start or grow small businesses. "Over the past few months, many constituents have inquired about starting a business or expanding an existing one. In response to those inquiries, I decided to convene a summit to answer critical and practical questions about starting a business,” Solomon said. “There’s a wealth of resources available to help businesses that people aren’t aware of. This seminar will provide information on city, state and federal agencies and organizations that can help folks get on track and take advantage of these opportunities.” During the event, attendees will hear from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Philadelphia Department of Commerce and local entrepreneurs. In addition, state and local agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations will be on hand to provide information about how to start and sustain a business and grant programs available for small-business owners. "Small businesses drive the economy and informing constituents about what is involved in creating a small business could ultimately help drive jobs and grow our economy. I am a strong believer in empowerment and information dissemination. We need to support the development of small businesses and the Read more
HARRISBURG, July 10 – House Democratic leaders praised Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to let the state’s spending plan become law tonight without his signature. “We passed a good bill that invests money where it’s needed – education, protection of seniors and services for people in need, and wider treatment of heroin addiction. Now we’ve got to find a way to pay for it with real recurring revenue,” said Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “That work’s not done yet. We need to stay here and get it done. We have to do it in a responsible way to help the people of Pennsylvania.” House Appropriations Committee Democratic Chairman Joe Markosek said the Republican revenue package offered over the weekend fell short in a number of ways. “No more than 18 percent of their so-called ‘revenue package’ is actual recurring revenue, even if we accept some of their generous assumptions about what the new gaming taxes might raise,” Markosek said. “With a budget gap well above $2 billion, Republican leadership offered a plan that’s heavily reliant on borrowing more money and increasing state debt just to pay our current operating costs.” Democratic Whip Mike Hanna said the bipartisan commitment to improving education at all levels requires a similar bipartisan commitment to find real recurring revenue. “Democrats and Republicans need to compromise Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 8 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, released the following statement regarding the wave of racially motivated hate crimes in Philadelphia: “Yesterday in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, a noose was found hanging from a tree near 18th and Lombard streets. This is the second time in nearly two weeks that this has occurred. As an elected official whose district borders where the noose was found, and as chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislation Black Caucus, I immediately wanted to make an official statement. However, I couldn't. I couldn't because as a black man in Philadelphia, while I wanted to be outraged – while I wanted to be upset – I wasn't. More importantly, I wasn't even shocked. Instead, I thought ‘here we go again.’ Yes, here we go again. Again with domestic terrorists seeking to intimidate, frighten and frankly, terrify people of color – particularly African Americans. “There is no other reason for hanging a noose in 2017, unless your goal is to resurrect feelings of racial terror from the days of Emmitt Till. Or to incite fear from the days of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner. There is no other reason. Knowing this, it saddens me for it has been 53 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was championed. But then I’m reminded that it is 2017, and a black man with a license to carry a Read more
HARRISBURG, July 8 – The state House of Representatives today passed a measure that will require child abuse hotline information be posted in schools and hospitals, said Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio. House Bill 1232 would require K-12 schools to publicly display the statewide toll-free telephone number for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, known as ChildLine . The departments of Education, Health and Human Services shall make the poster available on their publicly accessible Internet websites. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., introduced an amendment that would also require hospitals to display the ChildLine number on a poster in high-traffic, public areas in a hospital’s emergency department. “ChildLine information needs to be easily accessible so that anyone needing to report suspected abuse can quickly find out how to do so. Hospitals, in addition to schools, are a natural place to post this information,” said DeLissio. “This measure is an easy step we can take to raise awareness and help protect children who may be victims of abuse.” DeLissio introduced the amendment after learning that there was no requirement in law to advertise the ChildLine number in any location and that HB1232 was the first time a requirement to display the number would be put in place. The number for the ChildLine and Abuse Registry Intake Unit is 800-932-0313 , available 24/7 to receive reports of suspected child abuse. DeLissio hopes posting Read more
Harrisburg, July 7 – A bill aimed at helping 1.2 million Pennsylvanians suffering from a rare disease is now law. House Bill 239, sponsored by Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, and Rep. Marcy Toepel, R-Montgomery, was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf today, which will create the Rare Disease Advisory Council. “It’s startling to hear about the thousands of rare diseases that are out there that many don’t even know about and go untreated,” Longietti said. “This council will help improve the lives of those suffering from a rare disease, which, in the end, is the most important feature." The Rare Disease Council will act as a partnership between patients and their families, medical providers, insurance groups and other agencies to support the needs of those dealing with these illnesses. In addition to health care professionals and industry and scientific representatives, the council will include both individuals suffering from a rare disease and parents of children with a rare disease. The council will be tasked with: Researching and determining the most appropriate method to collect rare disease data Identifying priorities relating to quality and cost effectiveness of access to treatment and other services Developing policy recommendations Creating strategies to raise public awareness Preparing and delivering a preliminary and comprehensive report of its findings "Recently, I heard from a constituent Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 6 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle announced that he will host breast cancer screenings at his Fox Chase office in late July. Boyle will partner with the Fox Chase Cancer Center to host his annual mobile mammography event outside of his district office at 9 a.m. Friday, July 21 at 7801 Hasbrook Ave. in Fox Chase. Those interested in receiving a breast screening are required to make an appointment. Appointments are available starting at 9 a.m. “I am pleased to partner with the Fox Chase Cancer Center to host my annual mobile mammography event,” Boyle said. “It is important that we make these services accessible to those who need them the most. These services are more important now than ever and are under attack if President Trump’s healthcare plan passes Congress. Under 'Trumpcare,' the costs for breast cancer screenings would drastically rise. One in eight American women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. This places them in serious jeopardy.” Additional requirements include: Must be 40 or older. Name and address of one of your doctors. Prescription from your doctor. May not be breast feeding nor have breast fed within the last nine months. Must not have had a breast cancer diagnosis within the past three years. Must not be under treatment for breast cancer. Must not have had a mammogram in 12 months. Must be able to board the van and stand while being examined. Read more
Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Tyson Foods Distribution Center will expand in Schuylkill County and create 114 new, full-time jobs. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 5 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced he will host a public safety meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 6 at Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley, 6300 Green St. Kinsey is partnering with the Duval Improvement Association, one of Philadelphia’s oldest community associations, to provide neighbors with strategies to keep the area safe. Attendees also will be able to meet Cpt. John Hearn, the new police captain for the 14th Police District. “It is important that we equip residents with the skills necessary to keep our communities safe,” Kinsey said. “No one knows our neighborhoods more than the people who live in them. That is why it is even more important that we work together to build healthy and sustaining communities. Meetings like these are important in establishing goals to create community change and seeing them through.” The meeting is open to the community, and constituents with questions should contact Kinsey’s office at 215-849-6592. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., said the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today hosted its annual scholarship reception. Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said the reception recognized nine Pennsylvania high school seniors and current undergraduate students of color as recipients of the PLBC scholarship program. “Since its establishment in 1973, the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus has been committed to serving the needs of people of color throughout Pennsylvania,” Harris said. “I am honored as chairman to host our seventh annual scholarship program. I firmly believe that we should not only make college more accessible, but also ourselves as elected officials. This scholarship program is about showing young people that we have their backs and to encourage them to be active in the political process.” The scholarship is intended to assist students with their college financial obligation and to foster a relationship between students and PLBC members. Recipients received a $1,000 scholarship to attend an accredited two- or four-year college or university in Pennsylvania. Exceptions apply for students attending any historically black college or university. “This year’s round of scholarship applicants was particularly competitive with many outstanding candidates,” Harris said. “Each applicant possessed outstanding academic achievements and leadership Read more
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