Harrisburg, March 18 – At a House Transportation Committee informational meeting earlier this week, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver, expressed his support for progress made on important infrastructure developments in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
At the meeting, Matzie directed multiple questions to testifier Ellen McLean, chief executive officer for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, about the current and future use of CNG vehicles in their fleet, and continued public transportation access to the Golden Triangle. McLean told Matzie that the port authority intends to maintain a diversified fleet composed of both traditional and CNG buses for the foreseeable future.
Matzie also expressed his concern over the possibility of new charges for passengers traveling from the stadiums to the Golden Triangle and was told that despite pending contract negotiations, the expectation is to continue the traditionally free rides.
Matzie also asked McLean about the future of Bus Rapid Transit, specifically as it related to the Golden Triangle-to-Oakland route. McLean informed him that one of the major hurdles to that initiative is implementing bus-dedicated lanes throughout the area, although progress continues with the project.
State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, will host his 12th annual Gettysburg Preservation Ball from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, March 21 in the state Capitol Rotunda.
The ball supports the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project founded in 1997 by Readshaw. He began the crusade after reading a newspaper report about the toll of time, weather and vandalism on the monuments at Gettysburg and the lack of federal funds for proper repairs and maintenance for the park's well-over 1,000 monuments, regimental markers and artillery displays. This event supports the Pennsylvania unit monuments honoring and erected by Pennsylvanians, including the monument for the Pittsburgh Division.
State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, today announced the agenda for the House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on education funding in Pennsylvania. The hearing will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, March 23 at the Barber National Institute, 100 Barber Place (136 East Ave.), Erie.
HARRISBURG, March 17 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today reminded his fellow veterans of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm that they qualify for a special one-time payment in honor of their service. To qualify for the bonus, veterans must have served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations between Aug. 2, 1990 and Aug. 31, 1991. “This bonus is intended to honor those who volunteered and fought in the first Gulf War to liberate Kuwait and force Saddam Hussein’s troops back to Iraq,” said Wheatley, a U.S. Marine combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm who received the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal. “I urge my fellow veterans who served in these operations to apply today so they don’t miss out on this 'thank you' for their service.” The program pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525 maximum. The deadline to apply is Aug. 31. For personnel whose death was related to illness or injury received in the line of duty in operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, there is an additional $5,000 available to the surviving family. Service members who were declared prisoners of war may also be eligible for an additional $5,000. So far, more than 11,000 Persian Gulf veterans have applied for the bonus program since its start in 2008. Pennsylvania’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is Read more
State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., has announced a series of upcoming events she will be hosting over the next three weeks. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 16 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., will soon hold his second town hall meeting of 2015 for residents of the 182nd Legislative District. The meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 25 at the Trinity Center for Urban Life, 22nd and Spruce streets, in partnership with the Center City Residents' Association. Sims will give a legislative update, talk about this session’s priorities, and take questions from the audience. "This is another opportunity to ask me about issues that matter to you so I can better represent you in Harrisburg," Sims said. Residents who plan to attend the town hall meeting can RSVP to Sims' office at 215-246-1501, on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1E12aAe or by email to RepSims@pahouse.net . The 182nd District includes Rittenhouse, Fitler and Logan squares, the Gayborhood and parts of Washington Square West, Bella Vista, Hawthorne, Graduate Hospital and Queen Village. Sims said, "New Governor Tom Wolf has proposed a bold plan to tackle the challenges former Governor Corbett left, including the need to restore vital school funding that was cut, a deficit of about $2 billion, and a drastic decline in Pennsylvania's job-creation record. The Wolf plan will and should be subject to public debate, and deserves full and fair consideration in Harrisburg. In addition, I will continue working with allies from both parties to reintroduce and co-sponsor legislation on Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – Centre County state Rep. Scott Conklin has been appointed to serve as the Democratic chairman of the Children and Youth Committee in the House of Representatives. “I’m honored and very excited to take on this job and contribute to the success of Governor Tom Wolf’s ambitious agenda to improve the lives of children,” Conklin said. Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said Conklin was a natural choice to lead the committee’s Democrats. “With his background as a former county commissioner, Representative Conklin is very familiar with how children and youth services are delivered through county agencies,” Dermody said. “Scott also was part of the concentrated and successful effort to improve Pennsylvania’s child protection laws in the last three years.” Conklin will work with the committee’s majority chairperson, Rep. Katharine Watson of Bucks County. “This House committee is known for the ability of members to put partisan differences aside and work productively for the protection and benefit of children,” Conklin said. “I look forward to continuing that tradition.” Conklin was first elected to the House in 2006 and currently is serving his fifth term. Read more
PITTSBURGH, March 13 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, announced he will hold his annual job fair to help connect residents with local employers.
The 2015 Job Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 27 at the Ross Community Center, 1000 Ross Municipal Drive.
HARRISBURG, March 13 –A resolution sponsored by state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, marks today as “K9 Veterans and Services Day” in Pennsylvania. Read more
State Rep. Rob Matzie joined state Rep. Dan Miller at his second annual Children and Youth Disability and Mental Health Summit. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus announced the PLBC will sponsor a Know Your Rights Symposium from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 31 at the Hamilton Health Center, 110 S. 17th St., Harrisburg. State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, a PLBC member who represents Harrisburg, is expected to join Brown at the event. "We have all heard the horror stories about violence occurring between police and members of various communities," Brown said. "The goal of this event is to inform citizens what their rights are and how to interact with police officers so that we don't have those incidents in Pennsylvania." The symposium will bring together representatives from the law enforcement community, including representatives from the Dauphin County District Attorney's office, and members of the legal/criminal defense field, including staff from the Dauphin County Public Defender's office. "The symposium participants will discuss what rights citizens have, how law enforcement interprets those rights and how both sides can work toward a positive interaction," Brown said. "The discussion will be highlighted with some role-playing activities to help those in attendance understand both their rights and their responsibilities when dealing with police officers." Light refreshments will be provided during the symposium. ### Read more
State Rep. Gerald Mullery announced that he will host a meeting to discuss local fishing and boating from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 26 at the Luzerne County Community College Educational Conference Center, 1333 S. Prospect St., Nanticoke.
HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, was sworn in Wednesday as a member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency for the 2015-16 legislative session. Petrarca was appointed to the commission by Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. "As Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, I welcome this appointment," Petrarca said. "It will give me another perspective on the Commonwealth's justice system and augment my decision-making on legislation before the committee." PCCD's mission is to enhance the quality and coordination of criminal and juvenile justice systems, to facilitate the delivery of services to crime victims and to increase the safety of communities. The commission also is responsible for overseeing the expenditure of the monetary penalty imposed on Penn State by the NCAA to aid the victims of child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania, according to Act 1 of 2013. "Working with the PCCD will let me explore different approaches to improving public safety. As a father, that goal is particularly important to me," he said. By law, the commission is comprised of representatives from all aspects of criminal justice, including Pennsylvania’s attorney general, state police commissioner, the state secretaries of Corrections and Human Services, members of the General Assembly, the governor’s victim advocate, law enforcement representatives, Read more
Thanking state, county and local agencies who participated in panel discussions and a resource fair, state Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, called the first day of his two-day Children and Youth Disability and Mental Health Summit a tremendous success. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 11 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, applauded Gov. Wolf's efforts to sustain the Main and Elm street programs within the state Department of Community and Economic Development in his proposed 2015-16 budget. The governor has proposed to restore $15 million to the Keystone Communities program, which includes the Main and Elm street programs. Former Gov. Corbett had cut $21 million from the Keystone programs. "It is encouraging to see how the administration values these programs," Freeman said. "In the last four years, the Keystone programs suffered devastating budget cuts, leaving insufficient funding to help rebuild communities. "DCED Acting Secretary Dennis Davin today touted these programs during his participation in the House Appropriations Committee budget hearings and said it was important for Pennsylvania to rebuild these programs to allow businesses and communities to work together to help communities thrive. "As Secretary Davin noted, these targeted investments can spur economic development and job creation," he said. Freeman has been a supporter of the Main Street program, a program that provides grants to help revitalize downtown commercial districts, and is the author of the corresponding Elm Street program, which focuses on revitalizing older, neighboring residential areas adjacent to downtowns. He also is Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee. "It's Read more
HARRISBURG, March 11 – Citing Philadelphia’s recent passage of a paid sick leave law, state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, has reintroduced legislation that would allow workers statewide to accrue paid sick leave. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 11 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, announced approval of a $6 million loan for the Pennsylvania Reinvestment Fund LLC from the Commonwealth Financing Authority. PRF is focusing on stimulating urban revitalization in Scranton and Bethlehem. The entity plans to help revitalize down business districts by creating mixed-use development and new commercial buildings through redeveloping vacant lots or underutilized buildings. “I’m pleased to see financial attention paid to maintaining Pennsylvania’s historic cities,” Flynn said. “With this investment, we hope the city will see a much-anticipated rebirth to bring jobs back into the city of Scranton.” In 2010, PRF redeveloped the previously vacant eight-story Connell Lofts into residential units, offices and retail space, providing residential growth and igniting renovation of the former Chamber of Commerce building two blocks away. Flynn said that by further developing Scranton’s downtown, PRF believes the city will entice students from nearby schools and colleges to ultimately establish residence. He believes these professional residents will attract businesses of all types, creating a self-sustaining urban area. PRF has several opportunities under analysis as potential 2015 projects in Scranton, including: • Historic rehabilitation/adaptive reuse of a former mill building. • Historic rehabilitation/adaptive reuse of a four-story Read more
HARRISBURG, March 10 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said that the Westmoreland County Department of Veterans Affairs is the recipient of a $12,400 state grant. The grant was awarded by the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs from the Pennsylvania Veterans' Trust Fund. "The funding will be used by the county to expand their existing outreach services for veterans," Petrarca said. Grants of up to $100,000 were available for new, innovative and expanded programs operated by county directors of Veterans Affairs or the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. The three areas of emphasis for these entities were health care enrollment, veteran outreach initiatives and veterans’ court initiatives within Pennsylvania at the community, county, regional or statewide level. This is the second year these grants have been awarded. In all, 12 Pennsylvania county directors of Veterans Affairs offices are to share $99,840 in grants. The funding comes from the Veterans' Trust Fund, which was established in 2012. It is funded by a voluntary $3 donation when applying for or renewing a driver's license, photo ID or vehicle registration, and the proceeds from the sale of Honoring our Veterans license plates. Read more
State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, hosted the House Democratic Policy Committee today at Curtis Hall to discuss the value of pre-K education funding and how to ensure it’s properly funded in Pennsylvania. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 10 – Following last week’s death of Philadelphia police officer Robert Wilson III in the line of duty, state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and the PLBC membership expressed condolences and personal sentiments to his family and friends. Wilson died Thursday evening after being shot in the head attempting to stop a robbery that began while he was inside a north Philadelphia video game store. "Police officer Robert Wilson III died while protecting his fellow Philadelphians," Brown said. "While the death of any public servant in the line of duty is a tragedy, his death is heartbreaking as he was already in the store when the robbery began. Video surveillance tapes show he protected others in the building by moving himself away from customers and clerks before confronting the two robbers, so they wouldn’t be in any line of fire. "The PLBC would like to recognize the life of this brave man and salute his eight years of service as a Philadelphia police officer. We also offer condolences to his family, including 10-year-old and 1-year-old sons who have lost their father, and the entire Philadelphia police community that grieves as well." Wilson was the first Philadelphia police officer to die from a gunshot in the line of duty since August 2012, when Officer Moses Walker was shot after finishing his shift. ### Read more
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