HARRISBURG, April 9 – State Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, today said that several transit routes will be affected for an undetermined amount of time following Saturday’s partial collapse of state Route 30 in East Pittsburgh. “The unfortunate collapse of the roadway will severely impact the transit routes in and around the affected area,” Costa said. “While details of the road collapse continue to roll in, my office will work toward ensuring the public has the most up-to-date information as it becomes available.” Costa said riders of seven bus routes should expect delays this week, as it is anticipated that detoured traffic will add to travel times on many nearby roads, including Port Authority bus routes. The routes most likely to be affected include routes 55, 59, 68, P68, 69, P69 and P76. Some stops on Route 55 Glassport will not be served during this time, including: Inbound: Port Perry and Clyde, Clyde and Lincoln (a temporary stop at East Pittsburgh-McKeesport Boulevard and Navy-Marine Way will be implemented). Outbound: Clyde and Port Perry, Port Perry and East Pittsburgh-McKeesport Boulevard (a temporary stop at East Pittsburgh-McKeesport Boulevard and Port Perry will be implemented). Riders of Route 55 Glassport should note the route also is detoured in three spots due to a local waterline break. In addition, some stops on Route P76 Lincoln Highway also will not be served during this time, including: Read more
HARRISBURG, April 9 – State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Ron Marsico urging him to bring specific gun safety legislation up for an immediate vote. In the letter, Vitali urged votes on H.B. 1400, which would expand background checks for sales and exchanges made at gun shows, on the internet and between private parties; H.B. 1872, which would ban deadly multi-burst trigger activators including bump stocks; and S.B. 501, which passed the Senate to protect domestic violence victims by requiring relinquishment of firearms for parties involved in protection from abuse orders and convictions of domestic violence crimes. House bills 1400 and 1872 each have more than 60 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. “At a time when 96 Americans die daily from gun violence, our citizens are looking to us as legislators to take action to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and keep weapons of war off of our streets,” Vitali wrote in the letter. “I urge you to take meaningful action against gun violence by bringing all three of these bills up for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee.” A copy of the letter can be viewed here . Vitali also is a co-sponsor of the following gun-related bills: H.B. 194 – Assault weapons ban. H.B. 832 – Mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms. H.B. 2112 – Ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. H.B. 2109 – Read more
SCRANTON, April 9 – A staffer from state Rep. Marty Flynn's office will provide outreach assistance next week in South Abington Township. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 9 – State Rep. Emilio Vazquez, D-Phila., today welcomed the CTC Wellness Foundation to the state Capitol to honor the foundation for creating the “Don’t Stall, Just Call” alcohol poisoning education program. Following the death of her son Christian Ciammetti from alcohol poisoning, Mary Ciammetti created the “Don’t Stall, Just Call” program. This program aims to educate students and families on the dangers of binge drinking, the symptoms of alcohol poisoning and Pennsylvania’s medical amnesty law. The program has been presented to more than 13,000 people to date. “I was excited to honor the CTC Wellness Foundation at our state Capitol for its commitment to ensuring that students and their families are equipped with the knowledge and resources to prevent alcohol-related deaths,” Vazquez said. “Mary Ciammetti was able to transform a personal tragedy into an educational movement for countless young people. I thank her for her commitment to keeping our children safe.” To learn more about “Don’t Stall, Just Call” and for a list of safe drinking tips, you can visit the foundation's website here . ### Read more
HARRISBURG, April 9 – A component of the effort by state Rep. Pam Snyder and her partner in pushing for expansion of rural broadband, state Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, was approved today by the House Education Committee. Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, said H.R. 431, which calls for an audit of the state’s Education Technology Fund, has now cleared a critical hurdle on its path to a House vote. “Our resolution calls for this fund, which is administered by the Education Department, to be audited by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s office,” Snyder said. “The E-Fund, as it is known, is a six-year education technology program financed by non-rural telecommunications carriers. We want to make sure it’s operating as intended.” Upon completion of the audit, the resolution put forth by Snyder and Phillips-Hill also calls for DePasquale to share his findings with the General Assembly. Snyder and Phillips-Hill, R-York, who have led the House effort to bring high-speed internet to unserved and underserved rural areas, have introduced a four-bill package to accomplish that goal. The other parts are: H.R. 429, which establishes a special bipartisan, bicameral legislative commission to recommend improvements to the deployment of high-speed broadband services in unserved and underserved areas; H.R. 430, which directs the Joint State Government Commission to conduct an in-depth investigation and audit into the Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 9 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., announced that she has been selected to serve on the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board. “I am excited to be able to continue my commitment to Pennsylvania by developing the best ecosystem to create new jobs based on industry trends across the commonwealth,” Cephas said. “My priority is to strengthen the pipeline into family-sustaining jobs through workforce development opportunities. It remains critical that we work with area stakeholders from the public and private sector to ensure we lift people out of poverty by creating a workforce prepared for the 21st Century economy.” The Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board is a policy advisor on building a strong workforce development system aligned with state education policies and economic development goals. Its members represent a cross-section of business executives, labor officials, education leaders, economic development practitioners, local elected officials and cabinet secretaries. House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, who made the appointment, said, "Giving people the skills and pathways to find better job opportunities is one of Morgan Cephas' highest priorities. She understands the benefits this kind of investment will bring." More information is available by contacting Cephas’ constituent service office at 215-879-6625. Read more
WHITEHALL, April 9 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill and state Sen. Lisa Boscola invite area senior citizens to their upcoming senior fair. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 9 – The House Judiciary Committee will start five days of public safety hearings Monday on state gun laws and gun violence, according to state Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, who is a member of the committee. Three pieces of legislation Costa co-sponsored, introduced or supports will be among the topics of discussion, including: House Bill 1872 : Legislation that would update the state’s definition of “offensive weapons” to include “multiburst trigger activators,” including items such as bump stocks. House Bill 1400 : This measure would require background checks on the purchase of all firearms, including those purchased at gun shows. Senate Bill 501 : An initiative that would remove third-party safekeeping as an option for a defendant ordered by the court to surrender their firearms, weapons and ammunition. “The safety of all Pennsylvanians is a top priority for me and my colleagues at the Capitol, which makes these hearings vital to accomplishing that goal,” Costa said. “I look forward to hearing from those who are passionate about the issue, as well as from those who are witnesses to it.” Costa said in addition to exploring ways to better protect the public from violence, he’s eyeing proposals that would ensure law enforcement and other first responders aren’t outgunned or unprepared when responding to the scene of a violence-related incident. He co-authored the bill Read more
State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., attended a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing held at the request of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and Congressman Dwight Evans, D-Phila., on the importance and challenges of increasing access to healthy food options and dairy in various communities throughout Pennsylvania. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 6 – Forty-two people have been charged after a statewide insurance fraud sweep by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section, Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced today. DeLuca, who is chairman of the House Insurance Committee, credits the investigators’ diligence in rooting out the fraud. “I applaud the efforts of our state fraud investigators, whose zealous work culminated in these charges,” DeLuca said. “People think of insurance fraud as a victimless crime, but in reality, it impacts all of us by squandering resources and forcing premiums up. These arrests are a victory for honest citizens of the commonwealth.” The people involved are from Eastern, Central and Western sections of Pennsylvania and are charged with common forms of insurance fraud, including automobile insurance fraud and property insurance fraud. The investigators made the sweep during the month of March. A complete list of those charged is available at www.attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/ . DeLuca praised the attorney general office’s monthly fraud sweeps as a great enforcement tool. “High insurance rates hurt all ratepayers, particularly home and automobile owners,” he said. “Rooting out fraud is one of the best ways to make sure rates are fair for everyone in the commonwealth.” Since January 2017, the Insurance Fraud Section has charged 244 people with insurance fraud in Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 6 – As part of House Democrats’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at Temple University on House Bill 962 , which would create the Safe Campuses Act. Donatucci requested this hearing to collect public input on the legislation. Members of the Policy Committee from all over the state, including Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, attended today’s hearing. Donatucci said, “Our legislation would require all post-secondary schools, colleges and universities in the state to adopt policies and establish programs to make students, staff and officials aware of the risks of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Now more than ever, it is time for our higher education institutions to take action. ” Sturla added, “I commend Representative Donatucci for being a leader on this issue of making college campuses safer for all students while raising important awareness. House Democrats’ Plan4PA advocates for quality schools and student safety is vital.” Testifiers included: Stephanie Ives, Dean of Students, Temple University; Penelope Ettinger, Executive Director, Network of Victim Assistance; and Monique Howard, Executive Director, Women Organized Against Rape. Today’s hearing materials will be available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Additional information on House Democrats’ Plan4PA is available at planforpa.pahouse.com Read more
HARRISBURG, April 6 – State Rep. Perry Warren joined Gov. Tom Wolf and House and Senate Democrats Thursday to support a legislative package to strengthen protections against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace in Pennsylvania. The package, introduced at a news conference in Philadelphia, includes bills aimed at sexual harassment and discrimination protections, legal system reforms and state government reforms. Proposals include banning mandatory non-disclosure agreements in cases of sexual harassment and assault; extending discrimination protections to all employees, regardless of the size of the employer or type of job; passing the PA Fairness Act, to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression; extending the statute of limitations for victims to file a complaint; and investing additional money for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission to investigate discrimination and harassment. “Passage of this package of bills will help ensure that our citizens feel comfortable going to work, and that employees have the resources and support they need if they do feel discriminated against or harassed,” said Warren, D-Bucks. “This is remedial and preventive legislation that will help us better protect people who have been subject to discrimination and harassment and will help eliminate future discrimination and harassment.” Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 6 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., today announced that A Road to Success will receive a $56,080 grant to support pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs in the Overbrook Park community. The grant is one of 61 – totaling $3.5 million – awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry through local workforce development boards across the state. These grants are designed to support businesses, industry associations, chambers of commerce, training providers, career and technical centers, and intermediaries interested in sponsoring registered apprenticeship programs. “Apprenticeship programs teach much more than just how to do a job, or how to achieve a qualification. Becoming an apprentice is a lifestyle choice that provides the opportunity to learn how to succeed through a career. I’m honored to be part of this achievement for A Road to Success and I look forward to continue supporting these initiatives,” Cephas said. Apprenticeship programs in the state are approved through the Apprenticeship and Training Office, which was created in March 2016 to support and expand apprenticeship opportunities into non-traditional industries and occupations statewide, increase the overall number of apprentices and educate the public about the merits of apprenticeship. Read more
State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, joined fellow House and Senate Democrats today to announce legislation that would strengthen protections against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace across Pennsylvania. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 5 – In an effort to prevent sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, state Rep. Mike O’Brien, D-Phila., today announced his plans to introduce legislation that would amend Pennsylvania’s Whistleblower Law. O’Brien made the announcement following a news conference hosted by Gov. Tom Wolf at Temple University. His bill is a part of a larger package of legislation introduced by House and Senate Democrats aimed at curtailing workplace discrimination. “Far too often, employees are afraid to speak up about crimes and violations in the workplace for fear of employer retaliation,” O’Brien said. “This allows sexual harassment, workplace harassment and discrimination to run amuck. My legislation would provide whistleblowers with the assurance they need to come forward in a timely manner and report inappropriate behavior.” O’Brien’s legislation would extend the amount of time employees have to file a complaint against an employer from 180 days to two years. It would also provide individuals with the right to a trial by jury, as well as the recovery of punitive damages. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, April 5 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, is welcoming Gov. Tom Wolf's renewed call to strengthen Pennsylvania's non-discrimination law. Frankel is the lead House sponsor of the Pennsylvania Fairness Act ( H.B. 1410 ), which would include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the types of discrimination banned statewide in the workplace, housing and public accommodations. "I appreciate Governor Wolf's continued strong support for including LGBT Pennsylvanians in the protections of our state law,” Frankel said. “Many Pennsylvanians are stunned when they learn state or federal law doesn't already protect LGBT people in in the workplace, in housing and public accommodations such as being able to eat in a restaurant or to get a hotel room like everyone else. “Polls have shown consistent 70 percent support for this in Pennsylvania for eight years, and it's the right thing to do. It has bipartisan support in the legislature, and there should be hearings and votes on it." Wolf also gave his support today to several other bills that would improve the state's non-discrimination law, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. The proposals include: updating the law to require postings by employers that refer specifically to sexual harassment, to be introduced by state Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny; expanding the law to cover all employers and to include domestic workers Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 5 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., said he welcomed Gov. Tom Wolf's support for his legislation that would strengthen Pennsylvania's non-discrimination law. Rabb plans to introduce a bill that would update the law to include interns in the definition of "employee" and to require employers to provide training on discrimination, harassment and retaliation prevention. "We can't allow discrimination or harassment to take place against any employee. Interns are often the most vulnerable, since they are just starting out in their careers and don't want to risk getting a bad reference," Rabb said. 'I appreciate Governor Wolf's support for my bill and other proposed updates to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act." Rabb also supports other non-discrimination bills that Wolf backed at a news conference today in Philadelphia. Those bills include: The Pennsylvania Fairness Act (H.B. 1410), which would include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the types of discrimination banned statewide in the workplace, housing and public accommodations. Updating the law to require postings by employers that refer specifically to sexual harassment; and Expanding the law to cover all employers and to include domestic workers and independent contractors; and A bill by Rep. Mike O'Brien, D-Phila., that would update the Whistleblower Law to include a right to trial by jury and punitive Read more
HARRISBURG, April 5 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, today said he will introduce legislation to improve workplace conditions in Pennsylvania by giving employees clearer descriptions of unacceptable behavior, including sexual harassment. “There is no place for harassment in any workplace – and no man or woman should ever be the victim of discrimination,” Costa said. “By highlighting employees’ rights and outlining what behaviors are unacceptable, workers will be able to more easily identify and report harassment and discrimination on the job.” Costa’s legislation would amend the state’s Human Relations Act to require employers to update Employment Fair Practices notices to include descriptions and examples of unlawful discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and retaliation. The measure, supported by Gov. Tom Wolf, is part of a broad package of bills being introduced by Pennsylvania House and Senate Democrats to end all types of discrimination in the workplace. “We must strengthen protections against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and I’m confident my legislation will help further that goal,” Costa said. Costa, chairman of the House Committee on Ethics, is expected to introduce his legislation in the House in the near future. Read more
MEDIA, April 5 – State Rep. Greg Vitali joined lawmakers and organizers from Delaware County United for Sensible Gun Policy at the county courthouse steps today to call for the advancement of H.B. 1400, for universal background checks on gun sales in Pennsylvania, and H.B. 1872, a statewide ban on multiburst trigger activators, including bump stocks. Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery, is a cosponsor of both bills and said he hopes that the legislation will receive prompt votes following a set of public hearings on gun bills slated for next week in Harrisburg. “The issue of gun violence prevention has hit its tipping point, and it’s time these commonsense bills become law,” he said. “Expanded background checks for gun shows and private sales are widely supported by Pennsylvanians. A ban on devices designed to turn rifles into illegal machine guns is also supported by most Americans, especially since one was used in the Las Vegas shooting in October, our nation’s most deadly mass shooting. “The reaction to the most recent mass shooting in Parkland has shed much-needed light on the dark affairs that suppress the passage of sensible gun safety laws, and we lawmakers are here to pressure leaders in the Capitol so we can vote in the interests of our constituents.” The public hearings, called for by the House Judiciary Committee, will take place Monday through Thursday. Vitali also is a cosponsor of the following Read more
HARRISBURG, April 5 – As part of a package of reforms aimed at reducing workplace discrimination and sexual harassment, state Rep. Pam Snyder will introduce legislation to require lobbyists to complete ethics and discrimination training and hold them accountable for violations. Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, wants to update the Lobbyist Disclosure Act to include those provisions, making them a condition of registering as a lobbyist in Pennsylvania. “The state Capitol must be free of sexual harassment and discrimination for employees and the public,” Snyder said. “Times are changing – thankfully – and with that shift, we need to make sure all of our applicable laws change at the same pace.” Snyder said that since lobbyists are tightly woven into the daily fabric of the Capitol and state government, they and their behavior should not remain immune from training requirements and potential liabilities. “Lobbyists should be held to the same standards as the public officials and employees they seek to influence,” Snyder said. Snyder’s forthcoming legislation is one piece of a comprehensive package of bills on workplace discrimination and sexual harassment being put forth by House and Senate Democrats. Read more
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