HARRISBURG, March 13 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg today joined several of his House colleagues and mental health advocates for a Capitol news conference to discuss the relationship between mental health and school safety. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – March 11 through March 17 will be recognized as “ Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania following today’s House’s adoption of a resolution introduced by Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny. “My co-chairman of the House MS Caucus – Representative Marguerite Quinn of Bucks County –and I can’t thank members of the House enough for unanimously adopting House Resolution 726, which recognizes the week of March 11 as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week,” Matzie said. “This disease affects many families, including my own. The House’s action today and in years past is a testament to our ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the impact of this debilitating disease.” Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and most times disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system by disrupting the flow of information to the body and brain. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, paralysis, balance problems, blindness and depression. The severity of the disease differs from patient to patient, but about 90 percent of those diagnosed with MS will experience relapse-remitting symptoms, which means a patient can go long periods of time without any complications from the disease. Data also suggests women appear to be more susceptible to the disease than men, noting women between the ages of 20 and 40 are the most at-risk for a positive diagnosis. “I urge all Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, announced today that he will introduce legislation that would authorize $15 million in funding to modernize the state’s education system by allowing students to learn high-skill careers in real-world settings. “Now more than ever, our state’s economic health depends on a well-educated and highly skilled workforce,” Davis said. “We need to modernize our education system to deliver the kind of specialized training our young workers need to compete in a 21st-century job market.” Davis said his bill would allow colleges and universities to partner with employers and labor organizations to form training programs for today’s high-skill jobs. The programs would enable students to gain real-world experience by earning college credits and industrial credentials through work-based learning in high-demand, high-growth occupations. “Devoting resources to strengthening career and tech-ed training pays off on so many levels,” Davis said. “It readies a new generation of workers to compete and succeed, and it helps rebuild our middle class by opening new doors in terms of wage growth and career advancement. Beyond that, it helps all of Pennsylvania by allowing workers to stay here, raise families and invest back into the local economy. The bottom line is, it just makes economic sense.” Davis’ bill would also authorize $8 million in funding for Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – The House today unanimously adopted Rep. Rob Matzie’s H.R. 676, recognizing March 11, 2018, as Charter Day in Pennsylvania. The resolution commemorates the charter England’s King Charles II granted William Penn on March 4, 1681, defining the land that is now Pennsylvania. The resolution also recognizes the early form of constitution written by Penn—the Frame of Government of Pennsylvania—for its enduring contribution to democratic principles. “Penn understood the danger of a ruler assuming absolute power, and he created a framework that would protect individual liberties such as freedom of worship,” said Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny. “His far-thinking vision for a free, democratic commonwealth is still relevant today.” In addition to guaranteeing freedom of worship and providing a framework for challenging unconstitutional laws, the frame provided for other important checks on governmental power by limiting capital punishment and permitting the assembly to request impeachment of the governor. The charter document, sometimes referred to as the state’s “birth certificate,” is hand-printed on animal skin and still bears the likeness of King Charles II. It will be on exhibit March 9-16 at The State Museum of Pennsylvania. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – Flanked by like-minded legislators and key advocates, state Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, today emceed a Capitol news conference that sought to put any link between mental health and school shootings in proper context. Miller and other participants stressed the need to discuss that relationship in a way that will not add to stigma or reinforce negative stereotypes, noting that the roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population with a mental health issue should not unjustly shoulder blame for all acts of school violence. “Those of us who’ve been involved in the fight for parity, acceptance and support have come too far to allow any backsliding in the public’s perceptions of mental health,” Miller said. “The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, may have served as a catalyst for a larger discussion – a very important discussion at that – but our conversation needs properly tailored and addressed in an appropriate manner.” State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, who has openly and poignantly discussed his personal battle against depression, said, "We need to change the conversation surrounding mental health. The simple truth is that those who suffer from mental illness are far more likely to be a victim of violence than a perpetrator. That being said, if we want to deal with mental illness, we need to create programs and funding streams that actually address their issues." Tricia Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, announced today that Lock Haven University was awarded $30,000 in “It’s On Us PA” grant funding administered by the Department of Education to help combat sexual violence on campus. In 2016, Pennsylvania joined the national “It’s On Us” campaign as more men and women were coming forward with allegations of harassment and assault. Hanna said he hopes LHU will utilize this funding to implement new policies and position themselves as a leader by developing best practices that can be replicated across the state. “Funding totaling over $950,000 was awarded to 39 postsecondary institutions across the state,” Hanna said. “I’m very happy to see that LHU has taken this issue so seriously and that they have taken necessary steps toward addressing these problems and protecting our students on campus.” According to the Department of Education, the “It’s On Us PA” campaign brings together students, families, community members, teachers and school administrators to play a role in ending campus sexual assault. The movement has allowed individuals to feel safe enough to talk more openly about sexual violence and pledge to be part of the solution. Hanna said he applauds Gov. Tom Wolf for joining this national campaign to foster discussions around the commonwealth about ways to combat campus sexual assaults. Programs or Read more
HARRISBURG, March 13 – State Rep. Michael Driscoll, D-Phila., announced he has introduced H.R. 706 , designating March 2018 as “Irish-American Heritage Month” in Pennsylvania. “Since the founding of this great nation, American citizens of Irish descent have been responsible for many significant contributions both within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States. Today, they continue to thrive and excel in many spheres of human endeavor, from academia to business and beyond,” Driscoll said. 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 will be celebrated from Philadelphia, where the city's parade first took place in 1771, 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 co-sponsors for their show of support and for extending their best wishes to the Irish community with House Resolution 706,” Driscoll said. The resolution’s co-sponsors include Reps. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, Kevin Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, and Tim Hennessey, R-Chester/Montgomery. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, today announced that two companies in the 3 rd Legislative District received over $9,000 in state funding through Pennsylvania’s premier incumbent worker training program, WEDnetPA . Disabled Veteran Solutions , a nationally recognized provider of business and customer relationship management services, received $7,718 in funding. Micro Mold Co. Inc. , a precision mold manufacturer, was awarded $1,700. “I’m excited to announce the securing of these funds for two reputable businesses that are providing jobs and additional training to those in the Erie region,” Bizzarro said. “Additionally, the work done by WEDnetPA remains consistent with what House Democrats are trying to accomplish with our Plan for PA initiative by putting a strong and continued emphasis on workforce development.” WEDnetPA provides qualified employers training for new and existing employees. This training allows companies to remain competitive while keeping employee skills current and relevant. The funding can be used for a wide range of training that falls under Essential Skills training or Advanced Technology training . Essential Skills training provides instruction in general skills needed to be successful in the workplace. Advanced Technology training provides instruction in high-tech and advanced manufacturing subjects. WEDnetPA’s network of 26 community colleges, state system Read more
McNeill: Saquon Barkley Day in Pennsylvania Wednesday State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, has announced that Saquon Barkley of Coplay, Lehigh County will be recognized with a resolution (H.R .697 ) 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 14 by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. McNeill said immediately after the resolution presentation, Barkley will be available to the news media outside the Governor’s Reception Room, 2 nd Floor Main Capitol. Media coverage is invited . Read more
SCRANTON, March 12 – A staff member from state Rep. Marty Flynn's office will provide outreach assistance from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, March 21 at the Clarks Green Borough Building, 104 N. Abington Road. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, hosted an entrepreneurial inclusion summit and business mixer on Monday at the Capitol in Harrisburg . The annual event recognized Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Day. It kicked off with a news conference with Wheatley and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Jordan Harris, D-Phila. “As the House Finance Committee Democratic chairman, supporting and providing fairness and equal opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses is important to me,” said Wheatley. “Having an open dialogue between business owners, service agencies and legislators is a good way to keep the lines of communication open about how we can provide them with better resources and support.” The MWDBE program is designed to encourage minority, women and other disadvantaged business owners to bid for and compete in state and local government bidding opportunities. Harris said, "We believe it's important for businesses owned by people of color, women and disadvantaged people to have a fair shot at competing for state contracts that their tax dollars fund." Additional speakers included Brian A. Hudson Sr., the executive director and CEO of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, and Curt Topper, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of General Services. Following the news conference, participants were invited to attend a networking lunch, and work group Read more
HARRISBURG, March 12 – Parents of school bullies would be on the hook for up to a $500 fine and possible community service requirement under legislation being proposed by state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, in an attempt to curb the problem of students taunting and terrorizing their peers. “Bullying is underreported and often unaddressed in any meaningful way,” said Burns, who made it his mission to visit classrooms throughout his district last year to talk about bullying and have students sign an anti-bullying pledge. “When it’s not addressed, bullying can escalate quickly from taunts and hurtful online posts to physical assaults and—in worst cases—suicide. Holding students, parents and officials at all levels accountable is the only way to put an end to this scourge.” Burns’ bold parental accountability measure—one of a package of three bills Burns plans to introduce shortly—would require schools to notify parents each time their child bullies another child. After the first incident, parents would be told what action the school took. After a second incident, parents would be required to take a parenting class on bullying and would be asked to attend a bullying resolution conference. But if a student bullies a third time or more in the same school year, Burns’ bill would ensure that the bully’s parents receive a court citation and the related stiff penalty of a fine up to $500 Read more
To assist grandparents who have sole caregiving responsibilities for their grandchildren, Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, and Rep. Kathy Watson, R-Bucks, today discussed legislation at the state Capitol that would give grandparents better access to already existing resources.An estimated 82,000 grandparents are the sole caregivers for the nearly 89,000 grandchildren in Pennsylvania. That number is increasing due to the devastating opioid crisis across the commonwealth. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 9 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will host a free SEPTA Key Senior Photo ID Card event to help seniors in the 194th Legislative District obtain their ID card to use for SEPTA travel. The event will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 28 at DeLissio’s district office, 6511 Ridge Ave. This event is in addition to the weekly SEPTA photo appointments that the office has been hosting since August 2016. This is by appointment only for residents of the 194 th who are 65 or older and have yet to get their SEPTA Key ID photo taken. Those constituents can call the district office at 215-482-8726 . In collaboration with SEPTA, many legislators’ district offices are assisting with the rollout of the SEPTA Key Senior ID Cards by taking photos and sending the information to SEPTA. SEPTA processes the ID cards and then mails the card directly to residents a few weeks later. “My staff is known for their fun and painless photo ops, as we have been providing this constituent service to ensure a smooth and efficient experience,” DeLissio said. “Our office has taken well over 2,400 photos so far, and we look forward to many more!” To participate, seniors must bring at least one appropriate form of identification including, but not limited to: a birth certificate, Pennsylvania driver’s license, passport, or a statement of age verification from the U.S. Social Security Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 9 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will hold her 71st Town Hall at 7 p.m. Monday, March 19 in the Community Room at Falls Ridge, located at 4349 Ridge Ave. DeLissio will continue the discussion that began at her 70 th Town Hall, which focused on the governor’s budget proposal and the legislature’s budget process, and discuss H.B. 153, a constitutional amendment to reduce the size of the House chamber in the state legislature. “The topic of H.B.153, whether or not size matters when it comes to our state legislature, was on our agenda for last month’s town hall but due to such vigorous dialogue on the budget process and the congressional redistricting remedial map, we ran out of time,” DeLissio said. “I look forward to updating constituents on where we are in the budget process after House Appropriations Committee hearings ended this week. We will also discuss the potential impacts of H.B. 153 if it were to be passed and enacted. “We will also review the status of a number of bills that have been introduced on gun safety. “Speaking with my constituents energizes me. Constituent input and feedback is important to me, and I look forward to hearing from those who participate. As always, I am happy to take your questions about state policy and discuss your concerns.” More information can be obtained by calling DeLissio’s office at (215) 482-8726 . Read more
HARRISBURG, March 8 – State Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, joined by other legislators, will host a “Mental Health and School Safety” news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 13 in the Capitol Media Center. Spurred in part by national reaction to the recent school shooting tragedy in Parkland, Fla., the legislators want to ensure that any aspect of mental health discussed in relation to school violence is appropriately tailored and addressed in way that will not increase stigma or reinforce negative stereotypes. While they agree this is a very important discussion to have, the legislators also want to underscore that too many have fought too hard for parity, acceptance and support to allow the roughly 20 percent of U.S. residents with a mental health issue to unjustly shoulder the blame for all acts of school violence. Additionally, participants intend to stress the reality that people with a mental health issue are much more likely to be victims of crime than its perpetrators. Participating legislators will be joined by spokespeople from key stakeholder groups, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association. In addition to Miller, state Reps. Mike Schlossberg, Tom Murt, Gene DiGirolamo, Jason Ortitay and Judy Ward are among those expected to attend. Media coverage is invited. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 8 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, announced that he will host his first two open houses at his district offices later this month. The first open house will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 21 at Davis’ Munhall office, located at 3910 Main St., Suite 6. The phone number is (412) 476-3046. The second open house will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 28 at Davis’ Clairton Office, located at 551 Ravensburg Blvd. The phone number is (412) 233-2505. Light refreshments will be served at both events. “I’m so excited to get a concentrated chance to meet local residents and hear what’s on their minds,” Davis said. “My job as a representative is to serve the needs of my constituents, and that starts with listening to their thoughts and concerns.” Davis said that in addition to getting to know his constituents better, he hopes the open houses will provide a chance for visitors to learn more about him and his staff. “These meet-and-greet events will be a great opportunity for area residents to get to know me and my staff and also to make new friends in the community,” he said. “I encourage everyone to attend.” You can watch a clip of Davis discussing the upcoming events here . You can also learn more about Davis and see photos of his swearing-in ceremony in his first newsletter, which is available online here . Read more
HARRISBURG, March 8 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, announced today that Native Creations Landscape Services received a $94,750 grant from the Riparian Forest Buffer Grant Program. This funding is administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Hanna said Native Creations Landscape Services will use the funding to construct approximately 16 acres of multi-functional riparian forest buffers along waterways in the West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed located in both Centre and Clinton counties. Work will include landowner outreach and engagement, buffer plantings and post-planting establishment, and project sign and other related site improvements. "Riparian forest buffers improve local water quality and wildlife habitat and reduce nutrient and sediment pollution,” Hanna said. “This grant will allow Native Creations Landscape Services to better protect our waterways.” DCNR’s Riparian Forest Buffer Grant Program provides financial assistance to identify locations in need of riparian forested buffers and to design, establish, monitor and maintain those buffers. Pennsylvania has a goal of planting 95,000 acres of stream buffers by 2025. Maintaining and restoring buffers along rivers and streams is a key strategy for improving water quality and aquatic habitat. Through two previous grant rounds, DCNR has provided nearly $1.4 million statewide for stream buffers. Buffer grants Read more
HARRISBURG, March 8 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today said that his town hall meeting held Wednesday night provided residents with an opportunity to get their voices heard. “Since 1991, I have been honored to represent residents of Clinton and Centre counties,” Hanna said. “Being able to hear from multiple constituents at one time affords me the opportunity to better understand what’s important to them, which is always enlightening.” Hanna said a small crowd of constituents attended the event at the Milesburg Community Center and over 100 people viewed the live stream through Facebook. The following topics were discussed throughout the 90-minute event: Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2018-19 budget proposal, property taxes, Marcellus shale, school safety and security, the opioid epidemic, medical marijuana, agricultural issues, municipal concerns, transportation issues, the Game Commission, redistricting, gift bans and residential energy assistance concerns. “Having a small crowd in attendance tonight was nice,” Hanna said. “It allowed for constituents to feel comfortable, ask multiple questions and fully engage in the conversation. It also provided an opportunity to spend more time digging a little deeper into the issues affecting our everyday lives.” Hanna said he wants to thank everyone for participating either in person or online and reminds residents that he and his staff are always available to Read more
YORK, March 7 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the York City School District Administration Building on fair education funding in Pennsylvania. Members of the House Democratic Policy Committee hearing, including Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, joined Hill-Evans for the discussion how funding education in an equitable manner will benefit students, educators and the commonwealth as a whole. “All Pennsylvania children should have access to a quality education experience, regardless of their zip code. It’s important we continue to have these meaningful discussions across the state to determine how fair and equitable education funding from the state can help our school districts and benefit our community,” Hill-Evans said. Sturla added, “As a member of the Basic Education Funding Commission, I had the opportunity to play a role in crafting the formula that’s currently in place. While the formula is a step in the right direction, it only applies to new money. It’s important that we continue to work on ways to make sure to improve funding to future generations.” Hearing testifiers included Dr. Eric Holmes, superintendent, York City School District; Richard Snodgrass, business manager, York City School District; Dr. Larry Redding, acting superintendent, York Suburban School District; Dolores McCraken, President, PSEA; and John Callahan, Chief Advocacy Officer, Read more
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