SCRANTON, Sept. 5 – Older residents with questions about Medicare or health insurance coverage should visit state Rep. Marty Flynn’s office during his monthly outreach next week. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 6 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., will join local clergy and community leaders during two community meetings and news conferences on the progress against gun violence in north central Philadelphia. The first meeting will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 7 at 2521 North 23 rd St. (23rd & Huntington). The second is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8 at 2901 North 12 th St. Community stakeholders adopted a number of Thomas’ recommendations released in late May and developed solutions to help children and youth have access to social and educational opportunities. Community leaders and organizations will unveil strategies to address the proliferation of violence in the district. Read more
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 6 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, released the following statement regarding President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program: “As has been the case far too often over the last eight months, I am disheartened and frankly, disgusted, over President Trump’s decision to end DACA and upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of hard-working, tax-paying young people in the United States. “This action is callous and showcases a vacuum of true leadership to address the needs of our society in the 21 st century. “In light of the president’s decision, I will lend my voice to other community leaders to call on Congress to pass a stand-alone DREAM Act that creates substantive, lasting and compassionate changes to immigration policy. “The numbers speak for themselves: Ending DACA means 800,000 young people, including 6,000 Pennsylvanians, who’ve spent the majority of their lives in the United States will be denied the right to live in the only country many of them have ever really known. It also means a loss to Pennsylvania of more than $350 million in gross domestic product from the labor and market participation of young people who earn their livelihoods and build a life here. “We need to speak out loudly for our values. If we, as a nation, believe in the ideals of growth and enterprise, then how do we benefit Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 6 – In an effort to ensure Pennsylvanians are ready when crisis strikes, state Reps. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, are pushing to make September 2017 Emergency Preparedness Month across the commonwealth. “It’s heartbreaking to watch the devastation unfold down south from Hurricane Harvey,” Kinsey said. “We want to make sure Pennsylvanians know about the tools at their disposal to properly prepare if a situation of that magnitude were to happen here.” House Resolution 448 encourages the public to take advantage of online resources offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ) and Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Agency ( PEMA ) to: Learn how to create an emergency plan. Acquire information on how to handle various disasters. “The resolution would act as a critical reminder to know how to protect yourself and your family before and during a time of emergency,” Hill-Evans explained. “Having a strategy in place ahead of time gives us a better chance of saving lives instead of losing them.” This would coincide with National Emergency Preparedness month, which emphasizes the importance of strengthening the security and resiliency of the United States through comprehensive planning for a wide range of hazards, including national disasters, cyber-attacks and terrorism. H.R. 448 is awaiting consideration in the House. Read more
HARRISBURG, Sept. 5 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody issued this statement regarding today’s House Republican news conference: “On June 30, a large bipartisan House majority passed a $32 billion General Fund budget to support state programs and services important to the people of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, this budget has not yet been paid for. For the last six weeks, a group of Republicans from central Pennsylvania tried to identify restricted receipts money in non-General Fund accounts. Now that we have their product, Democrats in the House will give it careful review. There are a host of unanswered questions. “At the outset of our review I question the legality of raiding accounts that are restricted by law for special purposes. Then there’s the larger question of whether their math is correct. Is this money truly available in the amounts they claim? I’m deeply concerned this plan would lead to destructive cuts in programs and services that Pennsylvanians need to have, such as education, health care and a half billion dollars cut in transportation. “I appreciate the effort made by this group and we’ll evaluate what they brought forward today. It will be revealing to see how the other 100 or so Republicans in the House react to it, as well. “Our perennial budget problems of the last decade resulted from the overuse of one-time gimmicks and faulty revenue estimates. Fantasy Read more
ABINGTON, Sept. 6 – State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, will host her annual senior fair from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 at Rydal Park, 1515 The Fairway in Jenkintown. The fair is free and includes lunch, door prizes and useful information and materials from local and regional organizations, as well as service providers for seniors. Seniors will have access to information on services and programs from over 50 exhibitors. Those interested can contact Dean’s office at 215-517-6800 for more information. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 1 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today applauded the decision to move a medical cannabis dispensary from a controversial location in Mount Airy: "After sustained public outcry from engaged community members and my office’s months of work with the governor’s office, I am extremely pleased to announce that the dispensary owner that sought to establish operations on Stenton Avenue in East Mt. Airy has been granted permission by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to relocate to a more suitable location in the area. "I share my neighbors’ concerns about the proposed dispensary site and agree that this business is not appropriate for a quiet, densely populated residential area. "As a strong supporter of medical cannabis, to quote one of my neighbors, my position has been from the beginning: 'good stuff, bad location.' "Where the dispensary goes will primarily be a city issue due to zoning regulations, and I look forward to working with any and all local elected officials with whom I share constituents in Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill and West Oak Lane who want fellow residents in northwest Philadelphia to have access to this vital medical treatment option as close to home as possible." ### (image credit: Google Maps) Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 31 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., recently honored 24 students from schools in the 181st Legislative District at his 27th annual State Representative Awards. Multiple students from public, charter and parochial schools in the 181st Legislative District were honored for academic excellence and contributions to their school and community. "These students have achieved academic excellence, which is all the more impressive because some of them have had to deal with violence, economic deprivation, homelessness or drugs in their community," Thomas said. The State Representative Awards have become a tradition in Thomas’ district, helping almost 2,500 students over the years. He established the awards 27 years ago to recognize the achievements of young people who live and go to school in the 181st District and achieve academic excellence despite difficult odds. Recipients are selected by teachers, administrators and parents from each of the public, private and parochial schools in the 181st District. Students were each awarded a certificate and a check to assist them with their continuing education. Several local businesses helped to fund the scholarships. The elementary and middle school graduates were awarded $100 each, and the high school graduates were awarded $250 each. The 2017 honorees are: High Schools Danielle Rice, Dobbins High School Tiana Pindle, Philadelphia Military Academy Natalia Tavares, George Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 31 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., announced that she will host her Strawberry Mansion Community Day Bike Ride at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 starting at 33rd and Dauphin streets. “I am excited to host the Strawberry Mansion Community Day Bike Ride in my district,” Bullock said. “The bike ride not only promotes the overall safety of my district, but it also encourages residents to stay fit and explore safe bike routes in our neighborhood. As the City of Philadelphia becomes a more bike-friendly city, I want to ensure that my constituents are able to take advantage of the opportunities that become available.” Registration for the event will take place between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. The bike ride will officially start at 10 a.m. Attendees are highly encouraged to bring their own bikes. There will be a limited number of bikes available for attendees 18 and older. For more information, contact Bullock’s constituent service office at 215-684-3738. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 31 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio will host her 67 th Town Hall meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14. The Town Hall will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the second floor community room at the Bala Cynwyd Library, 131 Old Lancaster Road. Town Hall meetings provide opportunities for dialogue from constituents on a variety of topics that are being considered by the state House. At the Sept. 14 meeting, discussion will focus on the state budget and the ongoing work to pass a revenue package to support the spending plan previously adopted for the current fiscal year. “One concern which may indeed be discussed is if a budget impasse is occurring, school districts and human services programs could be adversely impacted by the delay,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. “The dialogue at these events represents divergent views and I am pleased and proud discourse has always been civil,” DeLissio said. “I welcome all points of view, because I represent and learn from my constituents as much I hope they may gain from me.” “Town Hall meetings provide a valuable opportunity for me to hear directly from residents about the state issues that matter most to them, and they are a great way for me to share more about what’s happening in Harrisburg,” DeLissio said. “Anyone is welcome, whether they have attended before or would like to join us for the first time.” Read more
LEVITTOWN, Aug. 31 – State Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, will honor area veterans at his fourth annual Veterans Appreciation Dinner this evening. The dinner will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Westaby Hall, 425 Hood Blvd., Fairless Hills . Color Guard at tonight’s dinner will be provided by members of the Delaware Valley Vietnam Veterans along with a musical performance by Philly Rock & Soul. For questions about the event, contact Galloway's office at 215-943-7206 . Media coverage is invited. Read more
EBENSBURG, Aug. 31 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is urging municipalities to contact his office for help in applying for state grants to assist with traffic signal and rail freight upgrades. Burns said the grant programs, operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, are: The Green Light-Go Program, which provides approximately $40 million annually to assist municipalities with improvements and upgrades to their traffic signal operations, and will accept applications from Sept. 2 through Nov. 9. The 2017 Rail Transportation Assistance Program and Rail Freight Assistance Program, which provide financial assistance for investment in rail freight infrastructure, and will accept applications from Sept. 1 through Sept. 29. “This money is going to be awarded – but to get some of it, you’ve got to apply by the deadlines,” Burns said. “As an elected official, I’ve made it one of my missions to inform everyone in the 72 nd Legislative District of these grant opportunities and to offer my office’s help in the application process.” Toward that end, Burns recently replaced a retiring legislative staffer with Brittany Blackham, an experienced grant writer whose expertise in that area is being offered free to municipalities in Burns’ district. Anyone interested in obtaining grant-seeking help or direction is asked to contact Burns’ office at (814) 472-8021. Burns said additional Read more
WAYNESBURG, Aug. 30 – After four years of construction, state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, proudly cut the ribbon on a $15.1 million bridge project in Waynesburg today. “Thousands of drivers rely on the Freedom Bridge on a daily basis,” Snyder said. “Those using route 19/21 will now be able to get from one end of the community to the other without being forced to take a detour.” The project began in the spring of 2013 but ran about a year behind schedule because PennDOT had to not only replace the road bridge going over Ten Mile Creek but the former railroad overpass nearby in order to successfully expand traffic from two to four lanes. This created complications and extended the completion date. “Bridges and roadways deteriorate over time,” Snyder explained. “It’s my responsibility as an elected official to ensure transportation upgrades are top priority in order to keep our community safe and running efficiently.” Gulisek Construction LLC was the contractor for the project. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 30 – As state Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., continues his fight against lead poisoning in the commonwealth, he’s responding to Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent announcement that he supports universal testing of blood-lead levels in all Pennsylvania children under age 2. “While I respect the governor’s efforts, I wish he would have worked more closely with the legislature because he would have realized what he’s backing is what I’ve been fighting for over the last two legislative sessions,” Cruz said. Wolf is seeking analysis to determine who is at risk for lead poisoning and where kids with the highest and lowest blood-lead levels live, which is the exact purpose of legislation ( H.B. 666 ) introduced by Cruz earlier this session. The representative also proposed bills to increase testing in drinking water, daycares, and older rental properties where lead paint was likely used. Cruz is now urging the House Health Committee to take action on H.B. 666 in light of the governor’s support. “Support from Gov. Wolf is crucial in gaining traction through the legislature and getting bills up for a vote,” Cruz explained. “We could have been miles ahead in reaching our goal if a collaborative effort happened sooner.” According to the state Department of Health’s latest report on lead, only 28 percent of children aged 0-23 months were tested for lead in 2015. Testing rates varied from 12 Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 30 – A landmark overhaul of Pennsylvania’s animal protection laws went into effect this week, and state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, wants the public to understand the changes. Named after a Boston terrier puppy rescued from near death on a Lancaster County farm last summer, Libre’s Law will allow felony charges for first-time animal cruelty offenders. This is a first for the state. According to Humane PA, this level of punishment was usually used in cases of animal fighting or killings of endangered species. The new law also spells out the rules for tethering an animal. It specifically requires: A leash must be three times the length of the pet or 10 feet, whichever is longer. No tow or logged chain or pinch, choke, or prong collars used with a tether. A well-fitted collar and no open sores or wounds on the dog's body. The lead must be on a swivel and ideally a lead that has a coated cover to avoid getting tangled. The area where the pet is kept must be kept clear of excessive feces, with access to drinkable water and shade. No more than nine consecutive hours on a leash in a day's time. No more than 30 minutes tied up when temperatures are lower than 32 degrees or higher than 90 degrees. Anyone who tethers a dog outside in extreme weather or severely abuses a horse will face more than a summary offense. In the past, that’s all animal cruelty was considered, which Read more
CHESTER, Aug. 30 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland, D-Delaware, and the City of Chester will host a Family and Friends Community Day event from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2 at Memorial Park, Seventh and Engle streets, 19013. The workshop will provide attendees the opportunity to interact with local elected officials and first responders for a day of fun and games. Families and individuals who attend will be able to enjoy games, swimming, face painting, food and craft vendors, a DJ and music. Haircuts for the homeless will be offered as well. Kirkland and his staff will also be on hand to provide information about state government programs and services. For vending information, please contact Joy Taylor by calling 610-447-7724 . For more information about the event or assistance with state related issues, please call Kirkland’s office at 610-876-6420 or email Malcolm Yates at email@example.com . Read more
ERIE, Aug. 30 -- State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, received a great turnout for his fifth annual free Senior Fair & Older Living Expo Monday at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. “I am so proud to say we had at least 1,500 people attend the event,” Bizzarro said. “It just keeps growing and growing each year.” Dozens of local and state organizations and exhibitors provided health screenings, flu shots, veterans’ benefits information and other useful information for older residents. “There are resources offered for seniors that many of them may not even be aware of – and they learn about them for the first time at our expo,” Bizzarro explained. “Informing members of my community about important opportunities is what matters most to me.” Bizzarro will be hosting a similar event Friday, Sept. 15 at Our Lady of Lake Church in Edinboro from 10 a.m. until noon. https://youtu.be/nRr3GopUULg?list=PLjtqNtfs0bgX6evDUdDxKRGj6SSt-zw4e Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 29 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., today joined PennEnvironment to discuss the consequences of proposed cuts to clean water programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by the Trump administration. “Our state Department of Environmental Protection relies on 30 percent of its funding from the federal Environmental Protection Agency,” Bullock said. “This funding allows us to enforce regulations that keep our air and drinking water safe. Fifteen million people receive water from the Delaware River Basin and 1.5 million people alone receive water from the Schuylkill River.” Bullock joined Congressman Dwight Evans and Christine Knapp, the director for Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability, to call for full funding of the EPA to protect the Delaware River watershed and all of Pennsylvania’s waterways. “Water is life,” Bullock added. “If we are not able to ensure that the drinking water of our residents is safe, then we have a serious problem. The EPA must do its part and fund the DEP or millions of Pennsylvanians will be at risk.” ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 29 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today said that the Whiskey Springs and Bloody Skillet ATV trails will allow larger registered all-terrain-vehicles to use the trails in the 2017 riding season. The two trails in Sproul State Forest will allow vehicles up to 64 inches in width and weighing up to 1,800 lbs. This is a pilot program that will also allow the larger vehicles on the Susquehannock ATV Trail as well during the fall 2017 riding season that begins on the first day after the regular or extended deer season ends. The riding season closes April 1, 2018, or earlier, depending on weather conditions. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is responsible for the riding regulations and announced the pilot program today. “For quite some time, it has been my desire to see our state modernize its rules to allow for more legal ATV recreational opportunities,” Hanna said. “This policy change will bring more tourists to our communities and gives every rider an opportunity to enjoy Penn’s Woods. I commend DCNR for this decision and look forward to more positive changes to come.” Pennsylvania hosts 11 designated riding trails with a total length of almost 270 miles as well as trails in the Allegheny National Forest. Nine of the trails currently permit Class II ATVs, including those in the pilot program. Class II machines can measure up to 58 inches in length with a Read more
YORK, Aug. 29 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, today honored Central Market produce vendor Dennis Fitz with a House resolution honoring Produce Month in Pennsylvania. A copy of Hill-Evans’ H.R. 425, designating August 2017 as Pennsylvania Produce Month, was presented to him at Central Market. “The work Mr. Fitz does is essential to ensuring that Central Market is bringing fresh produce into the city, where people might otherwise not be able to get it,” Hill-Evans said. “His work – and the work of all Pennsylvania farmers, food vendors and related specialists – contributes greatly to our health and well-being in the commonwealth. “The state and our community are very appreciative of his commitment.” Pennsylvania has a long history of farming produce among its many agricultural products. With over 4,300 farm families managing approximately 55,000 acres of farmland producing more than 330,000 tons of vegetables each year, Pennsylvania owes a large debt of thanks and recognition to our farmers, Hill-Evans said. “These farms are responsible for providing healthy food options for Pennsylvanians, generating economic activity in their communities and promoting the diverse crops grown in the commonwealth,” she said. Pennsylvania is a leader in producing a variety of produce. The state is No. 1 in mushroom production as well as fourth in apple, strawberry, and pumpkin production. These Read more
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