MONROEVILLE , March 11 – State Rep. Brandon Markosek, D-Allegheny, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public forum to discuss transportation in Allegheny County and throughout the state. The forum will be held at 2 p.m . Thursday, March 14 at the Monroeville Municipal Building, Council Chambers, 2700 Monroeville Blvd. The media and public are invited to attend. Markosek requested the hearing to discuss how state and local governments could improve public safety and the economy by investing in transportation improvement projects. He will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 2:10 p.m. Panel one: Cheryl Moon Sirianni, District 11 executive, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Charles Duncan, director of legislative affairs, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission 2:40 p.m. Panel two: Katharine Kellemen, CEO, Port Authority of Allegheny County Mary Ann Bucci, executive director, Port of Pittsburgh Commission 3:10 p.m. Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County executive 3:30 p.m. Panel three: Richard Barcaskey, executive director, Constructors Association of Western PA Chris Petrone, legislative director, Local 66 IUOE Dan Laird, project management/legislative outreach coordinator, A&A Consultants 4:20 p.m. Closing remarks The meeting is one in a series Read more
HARRISBURG, March 11 – Pennsylvania lawmakers representing 11 House districts and three Senatorial districts across Chester and Delaware counties have signed a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf asking him to impose a moratorium on the transmission of natural gas liquids products through the Mariner East pipeline system until the mandated protocols are in place for local responders to properly manage a pipeline emergency. Chester County Emergency Services and local school districts along the pipeline, including Downingtown Area School District, Rose Tree Media School District and West Chester Area School District have requested Energy Transfer Partners' subsidiary SPLP to provide its Emergency Response Plan for the Mariner East project, which the responders and school districts need to complete their comprehensive All Hazards Emergency Response Plans and fulfill their statutory requirements under Title 35 of state law . The letter urges Wolf to preserve the health, welfare and safety of constituents who live, work and raise their families in the high-consequence areas of Chester and Delaware counties within the impact radius of Mariner East. “We have pipelines currently transporting highly volatile products through our communities, and our local first responders are not able to adequately plan their emergency response or mitigate our risk because the operator has failed to cooperate with repeated requests for their Emergency Response Plan,” said Read more
SPRINGFIELD TWP., March 7 – State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, D-Delaware, invites residents of the 165 th Legislative District to participate in a telephone town hall at 7 p.m. on March 14. Residents of her district will receive a phone call at 7 p.m. and will be asked to stay on the phone if they want to attend. “I’m excited to connect with the people I represent through my first telephone town hall,” O’Mara said. “I’m looking forward to hearing from as many people as possible. This is a time for me to answer questions and address concerns about state government issues and programs, all while residents are able to stay in the comfort of their home.” She also noted that accessibility is a priority for her office and hosting events like this allows her to reach residents regardless of location and ability to travel. O’Mara said that she encourages people who want to ensure that they receive a call to visit this link . She explained that people will have the opportunity to ask her questions about the governor’s proposed budget, her legislative priorities and offer their opinions about issues being debated in Harrisburg through instant polls. Anyone with questions can contact O’Mara’s office at 610-544-9878. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 11 – The House of Representatives today unanimously adopted a resolution designating March 10-16 as “Sunshine Week” in Pennsylvania, according to the resolution’s author, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny. House Resolution 111 highlights the importance of government transparency and public access to official documents and agency meetings. “Democracy depends, first and foremost, on the active, informed participation of the people,” Matzie said. “Access to information guides citizens’ decisions and lets them know how their tax dollars are being spent. It helps them determine who they want to represent them, and it empowers them to decide when action or change is necessary. Most importantly, it ensures that people share in the power that comes with knowledge. “Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act and Right to Know Law protect and promote public access to information by ensuring that government meetings remain open to the public and that key documents and reports be made available to citizens. The laws are also indispensable to the press’s work of uncovering information that brings transparency to government decision-making and keeps leaders accountable to the people,” Matzie said. Matzie noted that Sunshine Week is scheduled to coincide each year with the birthday of James Madison — father of the U.S. Constitution and author of the Bill of Rights, which established the Read more
GLENSIDE, March 11 – State Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, will hold special extended office hours from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 20 at his district office, 115 E. Glenside Ave., Suite 8, Glenside, PA 19038. “It’s important that constituents who are unable to visit during normal working hours have full access to state and federal government services,” said McCarter, D-Montgomery. McCarter’s staff will be on-hand to help with property tax and rent rebates, SEPTA Senior Key ID cards, unclaimed property searches, birth and death certificate requests, PACE, PennDOT problems and all other state government-related issues. No appointments are necessary. Read more
WHITEHALL, March 11 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, today announced her office will host its monthly veterans outreach program on March 18. A veteran’s outreach specialist from the American Legion will be present in McNeill’s office – 1080 Schadt Ave. – from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 18 to discuss programs and services available for veterans and their families, as well as the application process for the different services. The specialist also will be available to discuss pensions, other forms of compensations, educational opportunities, health care and benefits. Legion membership is not required to take advantage of this help. Those interested in meeting with the adviser must schedule an appointment through McNeill’s office at 610-266-1273 . A representative from the American Legion is regularly scheduled for assistance in McNeill’s office on the third Monday of each month. Read more
LATROBE, March 11 – A Latrobe-based manufacturing company will benefit from a collaborative state program designed to connect manufacturing companies and research institutions with the best and brightest graduate and undergraduate students, state Rep. Joe Petrarca announced today. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said Kennametal in Latrobe and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh have established a partnership through the Manufacturing PA Initiative fellowship program. This program works by connecting university students with local manufacturers. Once paired, the students begin working on a research project to develop new technologies and promote innovation, added Petrarca. “These partnerships are a win-win for everyone involved,” said Petrarca. “Kennametal benefits through the students’ research in technology and innovation, and students gain valuable, hands-on experience, with the goal of this experience leading to a successful career in the manufacturing industry.” A total of 17 projects were announced, each designed to advance innovation in a variety of manufacturing sectors, including steel production, advanced medical and aerospace. Carnegie Mellon University is one of eight universities taking part in the fellowship program. For more information, please visit the Manufacturing PA Innovation Program website: http://manufacturingpa.org/projects/index.html Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 8 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Philadelphia, will host her 82 nd Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. March 28 at Falls Ridge Community Room, 4349 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, 19129. The 82 nd Town Hall’s primary topic will be criminal justice reform and will feature guest speaker Elizabeth Randol. Topics to be covered include ending cash bail, holding prosecutors accountable, reforming probation and parole, sentencing reform and stopping attempts by the state legislature to reinstate mandatory minimums. A speaker representing differing views is also being identified to participate. Randol is the legislative director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania and has wide-ranging experience in higher education, nonprofits, and in public and private sector positions. The Town Hall is easily accessible by bus routes 9 and 61, and there is plenty of free parking in the lot off of Merrick Street. DeLissio hopes for another packed house. Her Town Hall meetings are regularly well attended. “I am always thrilled to see so many familiar faces and to have the opportunity to meet new constituents who have taken the time to come out to share and learn with me. My Town Halls always energize me because I highly value the dialogue with my constituents,” DeLissio said. As always, folks from all parts of the 194 th Legislative District are welcome, and more information can be obtained by calling DeLissio’s office at 215-482-8726 or Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 8 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will hold two free shredding events for constituents of the 194 th Legislative District to safely dispose of confidential, unwanted documents. The next two shred events are scheduled as follows: Saturday, April 13, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. in the parking lot behind Magisterial District Court, 925 Montgomery Ave., Narberth Saturday, May 11, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. in the Roxborough Municipal Lot, 514 Dupont St., Philadelphia. The events will be held rain or shine. There is a limit of four bags per household (standard storage/banker boxes or grocery bags) and will conclude at 11 a.m. sharp. "Safe disposal of documents with personal information is one of the best defenses against identity theft,” DeLissio said. "Shredding also is a great way to dispose of unneeded paper in an environmentally friendly way, and I am happy to offer this service to my constituents." DeLissio said common types of unwanted items that should be shredded include credit card statements, credit card applications, bank and investment statements, canceled checks, income tax information, insurance and health records and retirement or pension fund information. All shredding is done on site, and shredded paper will be recycled. Those who would like more information can call DeLissio’s office at 215-482-8726. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 8 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., has accepted an invitation to participate with the Council of State Governments Healthy States: What Works National Task Force. The task force appointment is for a two-year period that begins immediately and will conclude Dec. 31, 2020. In addition to other state leaders, DeLissio will work closely with health experts and private-sector partners to identify and promote new approaches to state health policy challenges that will culminate in the publishing of a policy framework to be distributed to all U.S. states and territories. There will be a total of four task force subcommittees composed of a team of 12 state leaders. The subcommittees will address the topics: What’s Next? Leveraging Innovation; State Health Systems ROI; Capacity, Preparedness and Resiliency; and Interventions to Save Lives. DeLissio will serve as a co-chair of the subcommittee State Health Systems ROI. This subcommittee will focus on how states can best create and/or reform state healthcare systems to improve return on investment. The initiative features four scheduled meetings. The first meeting is slated for June 17-19 in Lexington, Kentucky. DeLissio has been identified as a strong voice for advancing results in Pennsylvania. CSG believes DeLissio will be able to contribute valuable information and be integral in advancing and developing comprehensive public policy solutions to healthcare challenges Read more
COATESVILLE, March 8 – The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority announced plans Thursday to return its regional rail service to Coatesville in the near future, and Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, joins with SEPTA, PennDOT and other local officials in a commitment to ensure the new train station is completed as soon as possible. SEPTA Service to Coatesville was discontinued in 1996, and population increases in the city and across Chester County have prompted plans to reinvest in this transportation opportunity, Williams and other officials said. Williams , elected last fall to represent the 74 th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, expressed gratitude to SEPTA and Chester County Commissioners for their diligent work on restoring service to Coatesville. “Residents in our district have been requesting the return of SEPTA service for a long time, and I’m excited for this opportunity,” Williams said. “Our residents deserve it. My deepest appreciation goes out to SEPTA general manager Jeff Knueppel and all parties whose hard work and determination has helped us reach this point in the process, and I look forward to contributing to helping us reach our ultimate goal of service restoration in Coatesville.” Williams said he’s partnering with Coatesville City Council, Chester County government, SEPTA and PennDOT to initiate this service as soon as possible and to extend SEPTA service to Read more
HARRISBURG, March 8 – Municipal governments would have an additional tool to fight blight and combat absentee landlords under legislation recently introduced by state Rep. Gerald Mullery. Read more
WEST CHESTER (March 5, 2019) – State Senator Andy Dinniman, State Representative Danielle Friel Otten, fellow lawmakers, community groups, residents, and families from across Pennsylvania will hold a Rally for Pipeline Safety and Environmental Protection on Tuesday, March 19 at 10 a.m. in the Main Capitol Rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg. At the rally, residents will lobby for the passage of a package of comprehensive pipeline safety bills introduced by Dinniman and others in the wake of various environmental violations, public safety concerns, geologic problems, threats to private property and water rights, and other wide-ranging quality-of-life issues brought on by Sunoco/ETP’s controversial Mariner East project. “Mariner East may have brought area residents together and opened our eyes to the lack of strong pipeline public safety and environmental protection regulations in Pennsylvania, but this is a statewide issue and one that demands real, immediate and lasting reform,” Dinniman, who serves on the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee said. “Residents are coming to Harrisburg by the busload on March 19 to demand immediate relief and real action from the legislature so that no one in Pennsylvania will have to have their home and their safety held hostage by a pipeline project again.” The rally is being coordinated by volunteers from nearly 50 organizations across the Commonwealth. Local residents Read more
CENTRE COUNTY, March 8 – Over $620,000 in funding is available through a state program to reimburse farmers for costs related to erosion, sediment, and soil nutrient management, state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, announced today. The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Agricultural Planning Reimbursement Program provides agricultural operators and landowners with up to $6,000 to reimburse them for fees they’ve paid to technical experts to create long-term management plans designed to improve soil and herd health and implement cost-effective uses of farm resources. “Agriculture is one of our strongest industries in Centre County, with nearly 1,200 farms encompassing more than 162,000 acres,” said Conklin. “This program can assist farmers with the costs they’ve paid to implement plans designed to keep their farm land and herd stock viable and productive for years to come.” The deadline for farmers to register for the reimbursement program is April 1. More information is available at this link: http://files.dep.state.pa.us/Water/ChesapeakeBayOffice/Ag page/3020-FM-CBO0003a_APRP_Registration_Form_Cover_Sheet_2018_2019.pdf Read more
EBENSBURG, March 8 – Over $620,000 in funding is available through a state program that reimburses farmers for costs related to erosion, sediment, and soil nutrient management, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, announced today. The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Agricultural Planning Reimbursement Program provides agricultural operators and landowners with up to $6,000 to reimburse them for fees they’ve paid to technical experts to create long-term management plans designed to improve soil and herd health and implement cost-effective uses of farm resources. “Agriculture is one of our state’s strongest industries, with more than 59,000 farm families across Pennsylvania,” said Burns. “This program can help farmers in Cambria County and statewide recoup the costs they’ve paid to implement plans to keep their land and herd stocks viable and productive for generations to come.” The deadline for farmers to register for the reimbursement program is April 1. More information is available at this link: http://files.dep.state.pa.us/Water/ChesapeakeBayOffice/Ag page/3020-FM-CBO0003a_APRP_Registration_Form_Cover_Sheet_2018_2019.pdf If you choose to apply, please contact Brittany E. Blackham, grants and development specialist, at Burns’ Portage office at (814) 736-7339 for proposal assistance. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 7 – State Rep. Jared Solomon today joined community and business leaders to award a $70,000 donation to Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association from tax credits approved by the Neighborhood Assistance Program. The organization received the funding for its continued efforts to embrace diversity in the lower northeast part of Philadelphia by focusing on early childhood literacy, workforce development and place making. “I am fortunate to have such a capable and competent partner in my district as OCCCDA,” said Solomon, D-Phila. “I am thrilled to have supported their effort to obtain support via DCED and local leaders and partners to better serve children, families and businesses in our community.” He made the announcement at The Exchange at Oxford Circle alongside officials with M&T Bank, Univest, Kinder Academy and the Department of Community and Economic Development, who all played key roles in securing the funds. “At OCCCDA we are thankful to DCED and Univest, M&T Bank, and Kinder Academy, our tax credit partners, for supporting our efforts in the Oxford Circle community to provide better education, a playground at the local Carnell Elementary School, jobs through our new thrift store, The Exchange, and helping beautify our community with banners and more trash cans,” said Pearl Wang-Herrera, the executive director of OCCCDA. NAP provides tax credits to businesses that donate Read more
HARRISBURG, March 7 – State Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, said he is pleased that 140,000 full- and part-time students in his legislative district have received $4,216 million in Pennsylvania High Education Assistance Agency grants for the 2018-19 award year. Flynn, a member of the state House Appropriations Committee, said every dollar appropriated by the General Assembly goes to students, since PHEAA pays all the costs to administer all state programs that the General Assembly has legislated, at no expense to taxpayers. “I am proud of the financial awards given to students in my district in helping them pursue their goals of higher education,” Flynn said. “Education of any kind is a significant contributor towards improving our quality of life and we need to invest more.” Flynn said the financial aid assistance to the 113 th Legislative District includes: Institutional Assistance Grants Program, $541,398 Ready to Succeed Scholarship Program, $18,900 Pennsylvania State Grant Program, $2.7 million Public Service Initiatives are as follows: PHEAA’S Cost to Administer State Programs, $142,815 PA State Grant Supplement, $751,265 Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program, $16,488 Flynn said for the upcoming year, PHEAA Board of Directors has requested $398 million for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, which is a $95 million increase over the Commonwealth’s previous Read more
ERIE, March 7 – State grants totaling nearly $2.4 million went to assist 844 students in the state’s 3rd Legislative District, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced today. The awards were made under the Pennsylvania State Grant Program, which assists eligible Pennsylvania students who demonstrate financial need in pursuing higher education. "Our students are the future of Erie, and one of the most essential investments the state can make,” Bizzarro said. “Our district is home to so many talented young Pennsylvanians who want only to learn, to flourish, and to start productive careers here in the region. The financial challenges of higher education can be a major obstacle to that. It’s great to know state funds are helping our area students defray the costs as they reap the benefits.” Bizzarro noted that the grants were funded by an appropriation from the General Assembly, which provided the program $273 million for the 2018-19 award year. To supplement that amount, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency – which administers the grant program – committed $101 million from its reserves. The combined funding set the maximum grant award at $4,123 to approximately 140,000 full- and part-time, qualifying students. In addition to the state grants, 21 students in the district received more than $36,000 from the Ready to Succeed Scholarship Program, and 23 students received nearly $88,000 from the Read more
HARRISBURG, March 7 – A bill introduced today by state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, would safeguard Pennsylvania’s elections by mandating the use of paper ballots in place of the current electronic systems that are vulnerable to hacking. Matzie said the move is essential to protect the integrity of the state’s elections. “Nothing is more fundamental to our democracy than the right to vote, but equally important is ensuring that those votes are counted, and counted accurately. Any interference with our election process undermines the most important principle of a free society – the people’s right to choose who represents them,” Matzie said. “Unfortunately, the results of an independent, bipartisan study recently showed that Pennsylvania’s elections are particularly at risk because a majority of our voting machines are susceptible to hacking and manipulation. Similarly concerning is the fact that there is no computer-based solution to hacking. Technology cannot protect the integrity of our elections. “We need to accept that sometimes, the solution lies in simplicity: We need to take a step back and implement a paper ballot system in Pennsylvania. It’s close to foolproof, it’s safe from hackers, and it’s working effectively in 21 other states.” Matzie said H.B. 765 would mandate that all Pennsylvania counties switch to all-paper ballots. He pointed out that any costs Read more
ERIE, March 7 – A “Second Chance Expo” in Erie next week will provide employment opportunities for local job seekers – and in particular those with prior nonviolent misdemeanor convictions who are seeking to reenter the job market, according to the event’s host, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie. The expo, which will feature speakers and a job fair, will be held from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at the Blasco Library’s Community Classroom, 160 E. Front St., Erie, PA 16507. Merski said he is hosting the event as part of a bipartisan effort to build on the momentum generated by the state’s recent clean slate law. “Last year, the commonwealth enacted a first-of-its-kind law that allows Pennsylvanians with nonviolent misdemeanor convictions to have those records sealed if they've stayed out of trouble for 10 years and paid all fines,” Merski said. “The new law recognizes the many talented, hardworking people who’ve made mistakes in life, paid their dues and now want only to return to being productive members of society. “By helping these job seekers get back on a track for success, we’re doing more than giving them a fresh start. We’re helping them reestablish themselves as productive members of the community. We’re helping their families, who will benefit from their support. And we’re helping our community by adding residents whose labor and income will stimulate the Read more
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