Rep. Pam Snyder and the Greene County Commissioners are teaming up to sponsor a free community shredding event on Saturday, May 9, for the safe disposal of unwanted, confidential documents. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Greene County Fairgrounds.
HARRISBURG, May 6 – State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, will participate in community town hall meeting about riots and race at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, May 9 at Beulah Baptist Church, 100 Livingston Street, Steelton. Kim will serve as a panelist and will help facilitate the conversation among the adults and youth in attendance. “Too often we just talk to our youth without allowing them to express themselves and their feelings,” Kim said. “This forum will give area youth a voice to discuss very important issues surrounding race and the recent riots in Baltimore.” Beulah Baptist Church Pastor Phillip T. Deal said the purpose of the event is “to increase the awareness that clergy and churches are committed to promoting peace, protecting life and ensuring justice is integral to our faith and community.” Kim will be joined on the panel by Cornelius Johnson, Susquehanna Township Health Officer; James Carter, a community activist; and Lawrence Claiborne, a youth worker. Four youths will also serve as panelists. For more information contact Rep. Kim’s Capitol office at 717-783-9342. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, May 7 – State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, announced that she is hosting an ex-offender resource town hall meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 14 at the Hamilton Health Center, 110 S. 17 th St . Kim said that Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel will be the keynote speaker at the event, which aims to help ex-offenders make the most of their lives. "I hope my town hall will provide ex-offenders with tools to expand their opportunities and help reduce the recidivism rate in the commonwealth,” Kim said. The town hall will include: An update on legislation to expunge past “non-violent” charges. A question-and-answer session with a panel of leaders helping ex-offenders. Vendors with job resource information. For more information contact Kim’s Steelton office at 717-986-1673. ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 7 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., will host the 190 th Legislative District Image Awards from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, at the Christian Stronghold Church 4701 Lancaster Ave., Philadelphia. The theme of this year’s awards ceremony is “Women working together for change.” “I am proud to have this opportunity to honor local women for their efforts in our community every day,” Brown said. “Too many times, the real heroes who are fighting every day to make our neighborhoods a better place get overlooked when it is time to say, 'Thank you!'” The Mission Statement for the awards is “To recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of African American Women living in the 190 th Legislative District located in West and parts of North Philadelphia.” Approximately 190 local women who have been active in the community were nominated and will receive certificates acknowledging their contributions to the city. This year’s honorees come from all walks of life and careers, from pastors and educators to municipal workers and community volunteers. The winners are cited under various categories; among them are: integrity, strength, wisdom, courage and humanity. ### Read more
UPPER DARBY – Area veterans will have the opportunity to learn more about benefits and services available to them at a free veterans fair hosted by state Rep. Margo Davidson. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, June 18 at the East Lansdowne Borough Hall, 155 Lexington Ave., East Lansdowne. Davidson said the offerings include real estate tax exemptions for veterans with disabilities, emergency financial assistance for veterans and their families, a tuition gratuity for veterans and their family members seeking higher education, bonus programs for veterans of the first Persian Gulf War, and more. More details to come. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, May 6 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, said he has introduced legislation that would allow retirees from federal civil service who do not receive Social Security to qualify for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Schweyer said he authored the legislation following a conversation with a constituent. “Many retirees of federal service do not receive Social Security benefits. Instead, they paid more into their retirement plan,” Schweyer said. “Because of this, they are at a disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. “Every senior in Pennsylvania deserves to receive as much assistance as they can following their years of dedicated service to the federal government.” House Bill 1162 would add federal civil service retirees to the list of people who can deduct 50 percent of their income in order to become eligible for this rebate program. Schweyer said this bill would provide the same measure of fairness to this group of retirees that has been given to retirees of the railroad industry. While both groups of retirees are not eligible for Social Security, railroad retirees are able to determine eligibility for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Read more
State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, said today that the state House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation that would update Pennsylvania’s domestic relations law as it pertains to support and custody of children conceived by rape or incest.
Current state law makes terminating a rapist's parental rights complicated and could result in a rapist retaining custody of the child. If a victim is able to convince a court to terminate parental rights, the perpetrator also is relieved of his duty to financially support the child.
HARRISBURG, May 6 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has announced he will be introducing a bill which would prohibit public employees from campaign activities while using sick time. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for a public employee to campaign, canvass or plan election or political fundraising events while using sick time granted by their employer. Other activities which would be prohibited include circulating nomination petitions or papers and participating in an organized telephone campaign in an effort to influence the outcome of an election. "I want to ensure that sick time, including time taken under the Family Medical Leave Act, is used for its intended purpose," DeLuca said. "This bill is a common-sense approach to ensure that our public employees are not abusing the sick time they have earned for non-medical purposes. "This bill would also give the taxpayers, whose money pays these employees, extra assurances that their tax dollars are going toward a public benefit, not a candidate." Employees found guilty of violating this ban could face fines of up to $1,000 and up to a year in prison. DeLuca will be introducing the bill shortly and it is expected to be assigned to a committee for further consideration. ### Read more
Legislation amended by state Rep. Neal P. Goodman to ensure benefits veterans receive from Pennsylvania do not disqualify them from participating in the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program today passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Read more
UPPER DARBY, May 5 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, will sponsor a community health fair from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 21 at the Chapel of the Good Shepard, 654 Church Lane, Yeadon. “My community health fair is a perfect opportunity for residents of the 164 th Legislative District to receive free screening tests – and get lots of health questions answered -- by making just one visit,” Davidson said. “I think it’s very important for the health and safety of my constituents who may not have access to health care that my office provides this service.” There will be information on the Affordable Care Act, and an expert will be available to answer all of your questions about the federal health care program. The health fair will also include: Free health screenings. Information on health wellness from providers, state and county agencies and non-profits. Door prizes and giveaways. Free refreshments. For more information about the health fair, please call Maureen McGrory at 610-259-7016 or email email@example.com . ### Read more
State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., today called on his colleagues in the Senate to make significant changes to legislation recently passed from the House that would update the 911 emergency communication law.
House Bill 911, which passed the House Monday 134-59, would increase 911 surcharges on monthly phone bills to fund county call centers across the commonwealth and force municipalities to join county or regional call centers. Thomas said he has concerns about the legislation because it does not reflect the needs of Philadelphia.
"Philadelphia has the largest, and most efficient 911 call center in the state. It handles over 3 million calls each and every year," Thomas said. "However, it is also the most underfunded call center in the state and this bill in its current form would only exacerbate that issue."
Thomas said it was unacceptable that the bill's funding formula is not based on the volume of 911 calls received by a call center and the population it serves. Thomas said he was also concerned that the legislation in its current form does not give Philadelphia a standing seat on the 911 Board.
"As the only first-class city in the state, Philadelphia deserves a voice on the 911 Board," Thomas said. "While every municipality has its own needs, the size of the city and its status as a major tourist attraction is unique in the state and should be reflected on the board."
Thomas said he also believed a five-year sunset date would greatly improve the le Read more
HARRISBURG, May 5 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously adopted a resolution authored by state Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, to raise awareness about mental health issues.
"Anxiety, depression and addiction are no more about faith or weakness than a broken bone is just in somebody's mind," Schlossberg said. "One in two Americans will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their life, but only 30 to 40 percent will seek treatment. That is why efforts like this are so important to reduce the stigma and spread the message that mental illness can be cured."
HARRISBURG, May 5 – State Rep. Thomas Caltagirone, D-Berks, announced that the House of Representatives adopted H.R. 221 , his resolution designating May 7, 2015 as the "National Day of Prayer" in Pennsylvania. "This is a day to set aside to pray for our state and our country," Caltagirone said. "It is a time to put politics away." The National Day of Prayer is observed annually on the first Thursday in May. The day was first established as an annual event in 1952 by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress. "This annual event was created to encourage all citizens to pray for our leaders, communities, families and each other, and for national healing, reconciliation and unity," Caltagirone said. This is a time to uphold the rich history of prayer in our state and I'm proud to be leading the effort." Caltagirone said the resolution received unanimous support by the House. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 5 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., and the Coalition for Life Equality held a news conference Monday at the Enterprise Center to discuss recent events in Baltimore surrounding the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Brown was joined at the podium by state Reps. Ronald G. Waters, D-Phila./Delaware and Mark Cohen, D-Phila; state Sen. Anthony Williams, the Rev. Robert Shine, president of the Pennsylvania Statewide Coalition of Black Clergy, Paula Peebles, president of the National Action Network of Pennsylvania, Rochelle Bilal, president of the Guardian Civic League, attorney Michael Coard and Rev. Dr. Steve Avinger, senior pastor, Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church, Philadelphia. "What we as a nation have come to clearly recognize following the days of Ferguson is that the level of trust between the community and police is virtually nonexistent or tenuous at best, particularly in communities of color," Brown said. "However, the protests, fervor and collective frustration that we all witnessed last week in Baltimore is the byproduct of something deeper than just a lack of trust. "What many in the city of Baltimore and other communities of color suffer from is an utter lack of investment and commitment by their local, statewide and federal governing bodies. "If we take nothing else away from the death of the late Mr. Gray, it should be that we explore the prospect Read more
HARRISBURG, May 4 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, released the following statement after legislation passed the House that would increase 911 surcharges on monthly phone bills and force municipalities such as Allentown and Bethlehem to join a regional call center: Read more
Rep. Pam Snyder has introduced legislation that would extend the state’s Lemon Law protections to motorcycle buyers. Under Pennsylvania’s Lemon Law, manufacturers must replace, repurchase or compensate vehicle owners for defects that substantially impair its use, value or safety at no cost to the purchaser. "The reasonable protections available for vehicle owners should apply to motorcycle owners," Snyder said. "If a new motorcycle is in the repair shop for 30 days during the first year of ownership through no fault of the owner, then the rider deserves a fair shake and a new deal." Read more
HARRISBURG, May 4 – State Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, today introduced two pieces of legislation to provide more options for consumers while promoting Pennsylvania’s thriving craft spirit industry. House Bill 39 would allow limited distilleries to obtain a special permit to use at farmers' markets and food expos. With the permit, these distilleries would be able to offer tastings and sell their products for consumers to purchase. Costa said these special permits would be similar to the permits currently issued to limited wineries. House Bill 38 would expand the number of satellite locations for limited distilleries from two to five off-premise sites. The increase would permit the distilleries to have the same number of locations as Pennsylvania’s limited wineries. Costa said the legislation spotlights this fast-growing business in the commonwealth. “These two bills would provide these small businesses with the additional exposure they need to market their products,” Costa said. “The distillery industry has grown at a rapid rate over the past few years and we need to keep the momentum going by promoting these businesses in the commonwealth." In 2012, there were only four limited distilleries in Pennsylvania. Today, there are 26. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 1 – Pennsylvania state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., announced today that she attended a public hearing headed by the House Health and Judiciary committees on medical marijuana Wednesday in Pittsburgh. The meeting was the third of three legislative public hearings statewide on the subject and featured expert testimony from doctors and leaders on state law, as well as experts from other states that have implemented laws related to recommending cannabis under certain conditions. “The testimony was enlightening, and I look forward to learning more as the legislation could come before the Health Committee this session,” said DeLissio, a member of the House Health Committee. “There are passionate views on both sides of the debate, and on the matter of its application, purported benefits and the details of the law itself. “How medical cannabis would be regulated and governed needs to be carefully vetted. There are 23 states and the District of Columbia where the use of medical cannabis is legal. I look forward to continuing to explore the pros and cons of legalizing this substance." Senate Bill 3 has been voted out of committee and a full Senate vote is anticipated in the next several weeks. DeLissio said that constituents are always welcome to voice their opinions and thoughts on matters that are state-related at her town halls, which she holds monthly. The next town hall will be held at 7 p.m. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 29 – – As Baltimore begins the process of recovering from this week's destruction, state Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and its membership expressed dismay on behalf of the city, its residents, and the family and friends of the late Freddie Gray. On Monday afternoon, following Gray's funeral, violence spread throughout the city, an unfortunate occurrence that overshadowed the message that peaceful protesters set out to convey to Baltimore and the entire nation: that black lives matter and are equally deserving of dignity and respect. "It really gives you a greater sense of perspective to see this happen so close to Pennsylvania," Brown said. "It is critically important that we look beneath the surface to determine what systemic issues are fueling such widespread outrage. The fact that a young man’s spine was severed while in police custody is on its face a matter of grave concern. However, what is clear is that it was not this incident alone that sparked Monday afternoon’s events; rather, it is the cumulative effect of the many injustices that have occurred across the nation involving law enforcement. "The PLBC is dedicated to finding real solutions to the issues that plague our cities and minority populations. It is imperative that we build a bridge between the public and law enforcement to create a level of trust that has been lacking Read more
WILKINSBURG, April 29 – State Rep. Ed Gainey and the House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from several local education officials about the status of pre-K funding in Pennsylvania during a public hearing at Hosanna House. Gainey requested the hearing and served as co-chairman with HDPC Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. "Every child deserves a quality education regardless of where they live, and it’s vitally important that we reach these students at an early age," said Gainey, D-Allegheny. "Representative Gainey realizes that an investment in early childhood education is an investment in Pennsylvania’s future. Today’s panelists made it clear that a quality start to education will give Pennsylvania’s children the best chance at a successful future," Sturla said. Testifiers expressed overwhelming support for Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposal to increase funding for early childhood education by $120 million in the 2015-16 state budget. Following questioning from Sturla, Michelle Figlar, executive director of Pittsburgh Association for the Education of the Young Child, agreed that the investment would still fall short of providing for all families and noted that an additional 100,000 children would be left unserved. Figlar estimates that a $120 million annual increase over the next five years would allow early childhood educators to reach all Pennsylvania children. State Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny, Read more
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