HARRISBURG, March 13 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., plans to introduce a "sanctuary commonwealth" bill to keep families together and maintain trust between Pennsylvania police and the communities they serve. Rabb's legislation would bar Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies from using agency or department funds, facilities, property, equipment or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes. "Some in Harrisburg are busy attacking sanctuary cities again, even though sanctuary cities create safer communities. Our communities are more stable when families are stable -- separating family members destabilizes our communities. Attacking sanctuary cities will not make us safer, as immigrants, both documented and not, are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the U.S.," Rabb said. "Pennsylvania and America are at our best when we live up to our founding principles and reject the outrageous rhetoric being spouted by too many in Harrisburg and Washington," he said. Rabb said his bill would take the burden and cost of enforcing federal immigration law off local and state police in Pennsylvania. "Instead of getting 'bad dudes' off our streets, the Trump administration's stepped-up raids are often rounding up people for relatively minor offenses or civil immigration law infractions and breaking up families,” Rabb said. "My sanctuary Read more
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, was elected Northeast Delegation vice chairman for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Democratic Caucus. Mullery will serve in the post for the 2017-18 legislative session. “I look forward to continuing to work on the issues that affect citizens throughout northeastern Pennsylvania,” Mullery said. Just recently, members of the delegation were instrumental in keeping two state prisons open in Luzerne and Schuylkill counties. They had been on the list of five state prisons that were being considered for closure by Gov. Tom Wolf. Members composed an online signature writing campaign, held hearings and conducted local meetings in their districts about the prison situation. “Members of the delegation showed solidarity and made a strong case to keep both prisons open at a Senate policy hearing held in Harrisburg,” Mullery said. Mullery said members of the delegation work well together and he remains committed to fight for his constituents’ needs and concerns. The Northeast Democratic Delegation consists of House members from Berks, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill counties. Read more
State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, today said the House adopted his resolution (H.R. 102) to designate March as Brain Injury Awareness Month in the commonwealth. “ Brain injuries greatly impact the lives of individuals who have experienced them, as well as their families and loved ones in ways that are nearly impossible to quantify. Bringing attention to these injuries, along with the measures people can take to avoid them, is very important,” Schweyer said. The Brain Inquiry Association of Pennsylvania reports that 245,621 people are living with a brain injury, with 25,975 Pennsylvania children having a brain injury each year. Additionally, 8,612 residents across the commonwealth sustain long-term or life-long disabilities from a brain injury. Additionally, the association reports that 49,505 people are seen in the emergency room each year following a brain injury, with an estimated 2,223 dying from their injury. “Pennsylvania is fortunate to have a number of first-class hospitals and rehabilitation centers that offer treatment and therapy to those who have suffered from traumatic brain injuries. This resolution is also meant to recognize the miraculous work that those professionals do every day,” Schweyer said. “We must continue ongoing research in brain injuries, as well as treatment and support for patients in recovery,” Schweyer said. Read more
With a significant winter snowstorm predicted to impact the area, state Rep. Kevin Haggerty D-Lackawanna, announced that he and his staff are coordinating with volunteers to provide assistance through Wednesday, March 15. “Governor Wolf just signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency ahead of the snowstorm that we’re anticipating for northeastern PA,” Haggerty said. “Most people should stay home and stay safe during the storm. But we also know medical personnel, emergency responders and others have to stay on the job and we want to help.” In anticipation of snowfall amounts predicted to reach more than a foot, Haggerty will be operating storm assistance services via his offices, including the Olyphant satellite office, with aid available 24-hours during the storm, and he will work with volunteers to offer transportation and provide food to those who might not have access to it because of the adverse conditions. “We’re here to help,” Haggerty said. “We'll have four-wheel drive vehicles to get essential personnel to the job and to get food and water to you, should there be an emergency. We’re also accepting volunteers who are interested in assisting us, as well. "However, please remember that in cases of medical emergencies, one should always call 9-1-1.” For more information about volunteering, or if you are in need of necessary transportation during the storm, Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – A bipartisan group of legislators from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today rallied to prevent individuals with disabilities from being forced to sit in the community and leave day programs and sheltered workshops where they are comfortable. Following the rally, the House Human Services Committee conducted a hearing on the topic to gather more information. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) proposed changing how it administers its home- and community-based waivers. To be eligible, individuals with disabilities would be forced to spend time in the community away from sheltered workshops and day programs where they currently go. The initial proposal would have required individuals to spend 75 percent of their time in the community, rather than being segregated at day programs or sheltered workshops. This requirement left many day programs and sheltered workshops wondering how they would continue to operate if individuals can only participate essentially one day out of five. While an alternate proposal to have individuals spend 25 percent of their time in the community has been advanced, some unanswered questions remain. “All Americans deserve the right to work and should have the liberty to keep a job they love,” said Rep. Eric Nelson (R-Westmoreland). “We need more people working, not less. Clelian Heights and the Blind Association in my legislative district meet the needs of individuals with Read more
SCRANTON, March 13 – Area veterans are invited to take part in the monthly support program next week at the office of state Rep. Marty Flynn. A representative from the American Legion Service Office Outreach program will be in Flynn's office -- Jay's Commons, 409 N. Main Ave., Scranton -- from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 22 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 Flynn’s office at 570-342-4348 . Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – State Rep. Michael Driscoll, D-Phila., announced he has introduced H.R. 143, designating March 2017 as “Irish-American Heritage Month” in Pennsylvania. The resolution’s co-sponsors include Reps. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, Kevin Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, and Tim Hennessey, R-Chester/Montgomery. “Irish Americans have made immeasurable contributions to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our nation as a whole,” Driscoll said. “They have been and continue to be political, religious, cultural and artistic leaders. In American history, soldiers who were born in Ireland or of Irish descent were major contributors the Continental Army under George Washington’s command during the American Revolution, while an Irish immigrant, John Barry, is credited as the Father of the American Navy for his service as captain of the Continental Navy.” Celebration of Irish heritage is a long-standing tradition in the commonwealth, which hosts among the largest and oldest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country each year. Irish heritage parades will be celebrated from Philadelphia, where their parade has taken place since 1791, to Scranton, which hosts the second-largest St. Patrick’s parade in the country. “As a proud Irish-American myself, it is an honor to co-sponsor a resolution recognizing the impact Irish-Americans have been making since before our country’s founding. Thank you to my Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 10 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will hold her 62nd town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 23, in the Mifflin Elementary School Auditorium, 3624 Conrad St., Philadelphia. “We will discuss the legislative process, how and why legislation moves or stalls, and the channels a bill must take in order to become law,” DeLissio said. “The legislative process in Pennsylvania has many steps and discussing how decisions are made in the capitol is a topic that I want to share with constituents. “I look forward to this town hall as an opportunity to dialogue with my constituents about current legislative priorities. “Understanding the legislative process and where to go to get legislative updates on bills that are important to you is integral to knowing how to advocate and help advance legislation. DeLissio said that this town hall is perfect timing for those seeking to become actively engaged in governmental issues, or those seeking to learn more about current Pennsylvania legislative priorities. Best practices for being proactive and involved will be shared. Street parking is available. If traveling by bus, the school is on routes 9 and 32. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 10 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., testified today before Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on the Disabled and Persons with Special Needs about Pennsylvania’s Health Choices program. At the hearing, Dawkins spoke about the state Department of Human Services procurement process for managed-care organizations. "Between the initial RFP and today, the process has been plagued by litigation, cancelled awards, scoring errors and lack of transparency," Dawkins said. "I have two primary concerns with these developments. First, that they run counter to some of the early lessons we’ve learned through the roll-out of the Medicaid expansion. And second, that this saga demonstrates the urgent need for reform to the way our state conducts procurement." Dawkins expressed concern that the process could impact health outcomes for patients, and increase costs for taxpayers. He also called for reforms to the procurement process. "The opaque nature of the department's requirements and scoring process has been cause for significant concern. It has resulted in the process being interrupted and contested by numerous parties at multiple stages. And even at this late date, the awards are being questioned," Dawkins said. "I am also troubled by the role the Commonwealth’s policy towards small and diverse business enterprises played in this process. This was reportedly one of the metrics that Read more
Calling it a disservice to the constituents they both share, state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, urged Congressmen Pat Meehan to vote against the TrumpCare plan being rushed through Congress. Read more
State Rep. Carolyn Comitta will host an open house event at her district constituent service office, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 24. Her district office, which is open now, is located at 21 W. Washington St., Suite A. The 156 th Legislative District includes West Chester Borough, West Goshen, East Goshen, Westtown, Birmingham and Thornbury/Chester County. This open house event is an opportunity to meet Comitta and her staff and to learn about the services they provide locally. All are invited to this free event. Light refreshments will be served and no RSVP is required. Parking is also available. “I’m excited to welcome residents of the 156 th and for them to know we are here for them,” Comitta said. “We can assist with all state-related business, and refer out when necessary, so we encourage constituents to come in or contact us anytime.” Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 10 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today announced that the Annie Halenbake Ross Library was awarded a $44,445 grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund. According to the department, 27 libraries have been awarded grants this year totaling $5.9 million. “Libraries are important partners in sustainability,” Hanna said. “It is important to provide our libraries with the resources necessary to support our community needs.” Hanna said the library intends to use the grant funding to refurbish windows with efficient glass, replace the entrance glass doors and replace current lighting with LED. “Our libraries provide valuable learning experiences for all ages,” Hanna said. “I am happy to see the Annie Halenbake Ross Library receive funding to help make much-needed improvements that will work to increase energy efficiency and, in turn, minimize heating and cooling costs.” Bill Reynolds, Maintenance Facilities Manager and Supervisor of the Annie Halenbake Ross Library said he believes this local library which serves the citizens of the City of Lock Haven and, even more, the majority of all residents of the boroughs and townships that comprise the greater population of Clinton County, will continue to provide and make available valuable resources and services without charge to all residents of the county. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Rep. Neal P. Goodman has reintroduced legislation that would establish a "Made in PA" program to encourage Pennsylvanians to buy products made in the commonwealth.
Calling it paramount to restore proper funding to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, testified before the House Appropriations Committee today highlighting numerous statistics and consequences that show the agency’s ability to protect Pennsylvania’s environment is being severely handicapped. Read more
Calling it a dangerous proposition that hasn’t been properly vetted, state Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, was joined today by House and Senate Democrats, as well as officials from Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration, to call on Pennsylvania’s congressional Republicans to reject the Trumpcare plan that would devastate Pennsylvania by increasing the deficit and most importantly, leaving millions without access to adequate health care. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, today urged members of the House Appropriations Committee to include in its ongoing state budget negotiations a strong funding plan to address the consequences of natural-gas drilling on the environment and public safety. Comitta made those remarks before members of the House Appropriations Committee, which today concluded three weeks of public hearings on Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 state budget. Comitta said while there are myriad concerns to address in the annual state budget, including adequate investments in schools and job training initiatives, a great concern in her Chester County legislative district is the natural-gas pipeline infrastructure and its effect on environmental and public safety. She encouraged the committee to ensure adequate funding for the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and for the legislature to remain focused on it. “Right now, pipelines are coming through our state, passing by our homes, our businesses and our schools,” Comitta told the committee. “It is essential that we have oversight of construction, inspection and maintenance of these pipelines, and that we have highly trained professionals working on the installation and maintenance of these pipelines. It is essential that our municipalities and emergency responders plan and train for accidents, and take into Read more
MT. LEBANON, March 9 – State Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, announced today he will host his fourth annual Children and Youth Disability and Mental Health Summit in Pittsburgh on March 22, 23 and 24 at Beth El Congregation, 1900 Cochran Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15220. Due to the event’s overwhelming popularity, the summit has expanded from two to three days. The Support Services Resource fair will be open on March 22 and 23, and the Employment & Transition Resource Fair on March 24. Additionally, the summit will offer more than 30 hours of informative workshops and breakout sessions. "We will again be combining the traditional resource fair event with seminars over all three days on a variety of current and critical topics in the fields of disability and mental health that can provide important information and open discussions on topics that will benefit parents, young adults, and professionals alike," Miller said. "Continuing education credits will be offered for professionals including lawyers, teachers and social workers." Miller is partnering with The PEAL Center and its 11th annual Inclusion Conference on Wednesday. Keynote speaker Sue Swenson, the president-elect of Inclusion International, served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. Ted Dallas, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, will open Thursday's program at 9 a.m. with his keynote address. Thursday's program concludes with the third Read more
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