HARRISBURG, Aug. 7 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced he will introduce legislation that would require the leaders of Pennsylvania’s executive and legislative branches to hold daily public hearings on the state budget whenever there is a budget impasse. The bill would require executive and legislative leaders to hold public hearings if comprehensive spending and revenue bills for the upcoming fiscal year have not been introduced by June 19. These leaders include the governor, state treasurer, secretary of revenue, auditor general, Independent Fiscal Office director, and majority and minority leadership for both the House and Senate. These individuals would be required to participate in hearings until such legislation is introduced. “It’s been six weeks after the House overwhelmingly passed a spending plan, and we still don’t know how we are going to pay for it,” Rabb said. “On Friday, our state treasurer had to extend to the Commonwealth a $750 million line of credit to prevent us from running out of money. We are only in the second month of the fiscal year and our schools and county agencies are already at risk of experiencing funding shortfalls. This is not responsible budgeting and it certainly is not how to run a government.” Rabb said he wants Pennsylvanians to see democracy in action and require all relevant parties work together to meet the needs of the Commonwealth. Hearings would be required to last at Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 7 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., will host Dennis M. Davin, secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, to discuss the history, development, and needs of Historic Germantown‘s 16 historic sites at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9 in northwest Philadelphia. Kinsey and Davin will tour four of the 16 historic houses, destinations, and museums in his district and other parts of northwest Philadelphia. They will first meet at Kinsey’s district office at 5952-54 Germantown Ave. Following the tour, Kinsey and Davin will meet with the directors of each historic site for a discussion on the significance of keeping the sites alive and preserving the nation’s history. The tour agenda is: 1 p.m. – Arrival at Kinsey’s office 1:15 p.m. – Travel to Historic Germantown for tour overview Trapeta B. Mayson , executive director, Historic Germantown 1:30 p.m. – Tour of historic sites Grumblethorpe Stenton Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion Johnson House 3 p.m. – Meeting at Historic Germantown, 5501 Germantown Ave., with historic site directors Media coverage is invited . ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 4 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio said the House of Representatives should convene soon to work on completing a state budget for 2017-18. “The state budget is indeed one of the most, if not the most, important responsibilities of the Pennsylvania General Assembly,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. “The state budget for the new fiscal year that began on July 1 is still not complete,” DeLissio said. “The legislature approved a spending plan on June 30, and Gov. Tom Wolf permitted that bill to become law without his signature on July 10. “Since that time, the House has convened one time on Saturday, July 22, and on that day we were in session for less than 10 minutes. The Sunday session was canceled,” DeLissio said. The Senate was in the week of July 24 and passed five code bills ( H.B.118 , administrative; H.B.178 , school; H.B. 542 , tax; H.B. 453 , fiscal; and H.B. 59 , human services). The votes for these bills can be found at www.legis.state.pa.us . “These bills are now in the House, and the bills are being reviewed and analyzed by House members,” DeLissio said. DeLissio said she reminds constituents that the devil is in the details and said it appears that the bills would have both positive and negative impact on citizens. For example, a Marcellus Shale tax is included but so are environmental regulatory changes that benefit the natural gas industry. Gambling expansion has been Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 4 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer has been appointed to the Labor and Economic Development Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures. “I look forward to working with lawmakers from across the country on the biggest concern for families – good jobs that pay good wages. Being part of a national working group focusing on labor and economic development means I have a real chance to improve working conditions and job opportunities for all,” said Schweyer, D-Lehigh. Schweyer is one of two House Democrats appointed by House Speaker Mike Turzai to serve on the committee, along with Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky of Montgomery County. “It’s a privilege to represent Pennsylvania on this national committee and I thank Speaker Turzai for giving me this opportunity,” Schweyer said. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 3 – State Rep. Kevin Haggerty, D-Lackawanna, is pleased with news that a New Jersey-based coffee manufacturer and distributor will call Dunmore home, bringing 130 jobs to Lackawanna County. Read more
PHILADELPHIA , Aug. 4 – State Rep. Emilio Vazquez, D-Phila., is inviting the community out to Ryan Howard Field at Hunting Park, 10th Street and Cayuga Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 to enjoy America’s favorite past-time in an effort to promote good sportsmanship. “Baseball is a great opportunity to endorse sportsmanship, which can get lost in the fame and glory,” Vazquez said. “In reality, it’s an important ingredient in building character, especially at a young age.” Vazquez is teaming up with the Sports Association of Chronicles of Santiago, which is based in the Dominican Republic. The group has changed lives both locally and internationally through the game of baseball since 1937. “Saturday will also be a time to recognize their continuous effort to make a difference in the community I serve,” Vazquez said. Participants will get to enjoy outdoor activities, including the chance to watch an exhibition baseball game at 11 a.m. If it is canceled because of inclement weather, it will not be rescheduled. Read more
Rep. Paul Costa reports that the Pittsburgh region is losing three films and hundreds of local jobs because of the state budget impasse directed by House Republican leadership. “Over $100 million in local investments are gone with the wind with the inaction by House Republican leadership," Costa said. Read more
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, today invited constituents to a discussion on the rising cost of health care and what direction the American health care system should take at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8 at Rodano’s Pizza, 53 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701. Read more
HAVERFORD, Aug. 3 – The natural gas industry spent $1.3 million lobbying the Pennsylvania General Assembly during the second quarter this year, state Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, announced today. The latest figures, based on a review of the quarterly lobbying reports filed by 43 gas companies in Pennsylvania, also show that those companies spent more than $35,000 in gifts to undisclosed recipients in the second quarter. Range Resources spent $166,420 in lobbing – the highest among drilling companies, followed closely by Marcellus Shale Coalition, who spent $154,033. The second quarter numbers raise the total lobbying expenditures to more than $2.7 million in 2017. According to Vitali, the gas industry has now spent over $65 million dollars lobbying Pennsylvania government in the past decade. These lobbying efforts along with campaign contributions have resulted in legislation favorable to the gas industry, Vitali said. Vitali said that a damaging provision contained in the proposed Pennsylvania Tax Code, which passed the Senate last week, would privatize the environmental permitting process and allow gas drillers and other applicants to seek permit approval from third parties rather than the Department of Environmental Protection. Another provision in the Tax Code bill would allow a politically appointed advisory committee to decide on air quality permits for unconventional gas well sites. This provision is a direct attack on Read more
EBENSBURG, Aug. 2 – As he’s voluntarily done before, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria , is again refusing to accept a state paycheck during the current budget stalemate – a position confirmed in a letter circulated today from the House comptroller. “This letter will confirm that my office is holding your paychecks from July 1 until the rest of the budget is passed,” wrote comptroller Mary-Jo Mullen in the Aug. 2 correspondence. Burns said that he’s traditionally gone without a paycheck as long as the state budget is unfinished, most notably during the nine-month impasse of 2015-16, because of a strong belief that legislators should set an example. “I firmly believe that if the legislature didn’t get paid until this work was done, we wouldn’t keep having these budget impasses,” Burns said. “I may be in the minority in thinking like this, but my conscience won’t let me accept a payday from the taxpayers as long as this fundamental part of our job remains unfinished.” Burns said it’s philosophically and morally disingenuous for the legislature to approve a spending plan by the July 1 fiscal year deadline, but fail to pass the necessary revenue-raising legislation to complete the package. “This abdication of a fundamental duty is something my constituents are very upset about, and rightly so,” Burns said. “To them, it’s not a Democratic thing or a Republican Read more
Rep. Dan Deasy's employment center Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 1 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., today joined students and activists to demand that Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education step in and save Cheyney University. Cheyney University, founded in 1837, is the nation’s first institution of higher learning for African Americans. The university faces financial struggles as funding has gone down and tuition has gone up. Since 2010, its enrollment has dropped by 50 percent from over 1,500 students to an estimated 746. If a solution is not formulated by Sept. 1, the university could lose its accreditation. “Each of us are here today because we have an obligation to fulfil: to save Cheyney University,” Kinsey said. “I am proud to stand here with my colleagues and friends as we demand that Cheyney receive fair and equitable funding. Cheyney University is our school, our system, and our responsibility. It’s up to us to save it.” While recent state budget conversations have been focused on securing funding for the Commonwealth’s state-related universities, Kinsey says legislators should focus on the 14 universities Pennsylvania actually owns. Since 2013, Cheyney University has had to borrow over $30.5 billion to stay solvent. If the university loses its accreditation, students would no longer be eligible for federal aid. Kinsey said this would be particularly devastating since nearly three-quarters of students are from low-income households and Read more
EBENSBURG, Aug. 1 – A state grant of $192,750 will bolster the pre-kindergarten education efforts of Community Action Partnership of Cambria County, state Rep. Frank Burns announced today. Burns, D-Cambria, said the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program funding flowing from the Pennsylvania Department of Education provides state funds to supplement federal allocations in the effort to expand high quality, pre-K services. “This money goes to existing Head Start grantees, such as our Community Action agency, to help them enroll additional 3- or 4-year-old children, or to expand full-day or full-year programs,” Burns said. “The value of getting an early start with education is well-documented, so any time our county secures additional funding for this purpose is cause for celebration.” Burns said participating Head Start programs have demonstrated the need for additional Head Start services in their service area; the ability to expand, either independently or in cooperation with a local school district, a licensed child care center or registered family child care home; the ability to comply with federal Head Start and state child care requirements for Head Start-provided extended day services, if applicable; and the ability to work collaboratively with child care, if a child care collaboration is used for extended day services. Read more
FILADELFIA, Julio 31 – El Representante Estatal Ángel Cruz, D-Phila., anunció que su oficina de distrito está equipada con contenedores de desechos biopeligrosos en los que los residentes pueden descartar adecuadamente jeringuillas encontradas en carreteras y espacios públicos. “Hemos registrado un aumento en el número de jeringuillas dejadas en lugares públicos y, respondiendo a la preocupación de muchos ciudadanos, decidí dar un primer paso para combatir este problema”, dijo Cruz. “Aunque la mayoría de las jeringuillas provenientes de los programas de intercambio son recogidas y descartadas de manera segura, miles son tiradas en los lugares que menos esperamos; lo que pone en riesgo la salud y la seguridad de los ciudadanos, incluyendo niños, personal de primera respuesta y hasta mascotas”. Los residentes del Distrito Legislativo 180 pueden desechar las jeringuillas entre 9 a.m. y 5 p.m. de lunes a viernes en la oficina del representante, localizada en 3503 N. B St., Unidad 7. “Cuando una persona sufre una herida ocasionada por una jeringuilla usada no hay manera de saber si quien la utilizó tenía alguna infección o enfermedad. Con esta campaña quiero asegurarme de que los ciudadanos saben qué hacer si encuentran jeringuillas en las calles”, añadió. Los contenedores de desechos biopeligrosos fueron Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 31 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., announced that his district office has acquired bio waste bins in which residents may properly dispose used needles found on the streets and in public places. “There’s been an observed increase in the number of syringes left on the street and in response to an increasing number of complaints and questions from concerned citizens, I’m taking a first step to combat the problem,” Cruz said. “Although, most of the used needles from exchange programs are collected and disposed of properly, every year thousands are carelessly discarded outside, creating hazards for the rest of the citizens, including children, first responders and even our pets.” Residents of the 180 th Legislative District can drop off needles between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday at Cruz’s office, 3503 N. B St., Unit 7. “When someone is injured by a needle that has been thrown away, there is no way of knowing whether the person who used it had an infection. That’s why we are starting this campaign, to ensure people know what to do in case they find used needles on the streets,” he said. The bio waste bins were provided by Prevention Point, a private nonprofit organization aimed at promoting health, empowerment and safety for communities affected by drug use and poverty. More information can be obtained calling Cruz’s office at (215) 291-5643. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 31 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas will hold her first Constituent District Day from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 at Tustin Recreation Center, 5901 W. Columbia Ave. This FREE event will feature activities for the entire family, including a basketball tournament, live music and entertainment, games, raffles, giveaways, food and refreshments. There will also be a number of different programs and groups that provide services to the community. “This event is about the people. I’m here serving as a state representative because they put their trust in me and it is not only my job, but my responsibility to cut the red tape and make the government more accessible to them,” Cephas said. “More than just fun for the whole family, I’ll meet with constituents one-on-one to make sure they know the broad range of services that my district office can help them obtain.” Cephas and her staff will provide assistance for constituents applying for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid, the Property Tax/Rent Rebate and other state government programs and benefits. “I hope I can meet more neighbors from my district to establish a dialogue, but more importantly, to keep the conversation open to better understand the issues and problems that concern them,” Cephas added. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, July 31 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., released the following statement recognizing Black Women’s Equal Pay Day: “I stand with my colleagues and friends as we speak out against the disparities that prevent Black women from receiving equal pay for equal work. “Today marks the day where Black women received the same pay that their white male colleagues received in 2016. They are forced to work an additional seven months to eventually receive the same pay for the same or similar jobs. In fact, Black women would have to work over 66 years to earn what a white man earns in 40 years. “We can no longer overlook the systemic barriers that cause this inequality based on gender and race, hurdles that inhibit Black women from thriving and achieving economic security. And the situation is exponentially worse when this discussion moves to policies and practices that continue to imperil Black women's ability to create financial wealth for themselves and their families. "My colleagues and I have fought for various solutions to address these issues, including proposals for increasing the minimum wage, providing women with paid leave and even prohibiting employers from firing women because they are pregnant or nursing. We must do more to correct this economic injustice.” ### Read more
State Representative Kevin Haggerty, D-Lackawanna, will attend a public meeting at the Lackawanna College to speak about property tax elimination on Wednesday, Aug. 2. Read more
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, today said he is pleased with the $1.95 million in supplemental federal allocations to expand high-quality pre-kindergarten and Head Start services for eligible children in Luzerne County. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 31 – As Pennsylvania deals with yet another frustrating budget impasse, state Rep. Kevin Boyle is looking forward, seeking ways to prevent the commonwealth from finding itself in a similar situation in the very near future. Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, plans on re-introducing a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution, requiring the General Assembly to stay in session until a state budget is adopted by both the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as signed into law by the governor. “As legislators, we owe it to our constituents to conduct the people's business without needless delays and to concentrate on passing a responsible, complete, and balanced budget for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians,” Boyle said. For this legislation to be added to the state Constitution, the bill would have to be voted and passed in two consecutive legislative sessions and then go to Pennsylvania voters in the form of a ballot question. “We are only one year removed from the historical 2015-2016 budget stalemate that lasted nearly nine months from July 2015 to March 2016,” Boyle said. “It appears the General Assembly hasn’t learned its lesson.” Boyle said it’s been weeks since the start of the fiscal year and Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai has continued pushing for irresponsible funding schemes, which, in turn, has prevented the rest of the representatives from formulating a feasible Read more
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