HARRISBURG, Jan. 8 – State Rep. Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, introduced two proposals among a package of House rule improvements sponsored by Democrats. Webster proposed a rule change that would guarantee a debate and an up-or-down committee vote for any bill with 20 co-sponsors from each party. Under his second plan, committees would have the same proportional representation as the House. For example, proportional representation would create an 11-to-nine majority in a 20-member committee. “The people believe that their government is broken and think the special interests matter more than regular citizens, and we wanted to change that,” Webster said. “The Republican majority made it clear – they wanted the status quo, and if we refused to go along, they were prepared to make it even harder for the will of the people to ever become the law of the state.” Other rules improvements House Democrats are pushing for include: Preventing partisan committee chairs from blocking votes on popular bills; Requiring bills with wide bipartisan support, including measures sponsored by more than 102 House members, to get an up-or-down vote by the full House; Giving members the chance to get a priority bill debated in committee; Ensuring that the makeup of House committees reflects the voters’ will; Allowing committee members to vote to choose a chairperson on merit, instead of awarding positions by seniority alone; Ending Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has been reappointed to the post of Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee. “This committee is tasked with overseeing a wide range of products that cover most people’s daily lives, such as life, health and auto insurance," DeLuca said. "As Democratic chairman, I will continue to keep a close watch on consumer protections, notably as they relate to health care, including the Affordable Care Act. With many Pennsylvanians concerned about their access to quality health care, I will support efforts to ensure our residents have access to the services they deserve, including measures to protect their coverage for pre-existing conditions and banning arbitrary annual/lifetime health insurance coverage limits. “To that end, I am planning to introduce legislation with Representative Dan Frankel to safeguard essential health benefits, such as maternity care, mental health and prescription drugs, from federal interference. “High prescription drug costs also remain a concern across the commonwealth. I will urge the committee to look into the issues involved in drug pricing, including how the role of pharmacy benefit managers plays out in these costs. While health insurers still pay a significant share of drug costs, constituents are still seeing increases in their insurance premiums each year related to prescription coverage.” DeLuca has held chairmanship of the Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, was reappointed by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody to serve as the minority chairman for the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee for the 2019-20 legislative session. “I am honored to serve as the Democratic chairman for the House Tourism and Recreation Development Committee,” Longietti said. "Tourism is not only important statewide, but it also is an important part of the economy of Mercer County. Many visitors enjoy outdoor activities at Buhl Park and Shenango Lake. Arts and culture festivals such as WaterFire Sharon draw tens of thousands of people from throughout the region. Attractions such as the Buhl Mansion, Tara, A Country Inn, and the Prime Outlets in Grove City bring in travelers from other states and even internationally. As a state, we can help promote these and other tourism assets which enrich our communities while providing family-supporting jobs." Tourism is a major industry in the commonwealth, bringing in $40 billion in revenue annually and supporting more than 490,000 jobs. “I have served on this committee since I was first elected to the legislature and I know the importance of investing in tourism for the commonwealth. When we effectively promote and support the variety of tourism assets that Pennsylvania provides, such as those locally, more people visit and we see an increase in income, jobs and tax revenue. This incredibly important Read more
State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, will retain a top position on the influential state House Finance Committee, as he was today named its Democratic chairman for another two-year term. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – As he begins his 22nd term in office, state Rep. Thomas Caltagirone announced today he’s been named the new Democratic chairman of the House Urban Affairs Committee for the 2019-2020 legislative session. “This position will allow me to bring issues facing our urban communities, like Reading, to the forefront, which means addressing blighted areas, ensuring our neighborhoods are safe, and creating affordable housing,” Caltagirone, D-Berks, said. “I’m honored to hold this chairmanship and excited to get to work.” The Urban Affairs Committee oversees bills pertaining to the general governance of Pennsylvania’s cities and most-populated counties – and the operations of housing and redevelopment agencies; municipal authorities; and common-interest ownership communities such as condominiums, real estate cooperatives and planned communities. Additionally, the committee handles legislation related to manufactured housing and economic and community development. The committee has a long history of working to develop measures to eradicate blight and stimulate the commercial and residential revitalization of the state’s older communities. Read more
State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, has been appointed Democratic chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee for the 2019-2020 legislative session. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila., was appointed Democratic chairman of the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee today by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. "I'm honored to serve as chairman of this committee and I’m excited to start tackling a wide variety of issues,” Boyle said. “I also look forward to establishing more bipartisan cooperation in this session with the new Republican committee chairman, Representative Garth Everett.” The committee addresses issues such as voting rights, discrimination, government reform and redistricting. The committee is also responsible for lobbying disclosure, state agency procurement and labor agreements, campaign finance and election laws. Boyle represents the 172nd Legislative District, which includes part of Montgomery County and part of Philadelphia County. Constituents can visit his website at www.pahouse.com/Boyle for information on various state-related services and programs. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Dan Deasy, D-Allegheny, was appointed today as Democratic chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. This is Deasy’s first committee chairman appointment. “I’m elated to have been appointed as Democratic chair of the House Liquor Control Committee,” Deasy said. “I’d like to thank House leadership for this assignment, and I’m eager to get to work and do what we can – in bipartisan fashion – to further progress the state’s Liquor Code, adequately enforce liquor licensing and keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.” The House Liquor Control Committee reviews and deliberates all legislation involving the state’s Liquor Code and oversees operations of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which includes liquor enforcement and licensing. Deasy represents the 27th Legislative District, which includes part of Wards 19, 20 and 28 in the City of Pittsburgh, and the boroughs of Crafton, Green Tree, Ingram, McKees Rocks and Thornburg. Constituents can visit his website at www.pahouse.com/Deasy for information on various state-related services and programs. They can also visit www.twitter.com/RepDeasy for important state and regional information. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – The Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation (ACHDD) today proudly announced that seven of its 16 members were appointed to key chair positions on House committees that handle major issues in western Pennsylvania and the state as a whole. State Rep. Dan Miller, chair of the ACHDD for the 2019-20 legislative session, noted the importance of the delegation’s appointments. “The ACHDD and its members take their responsibilities very seriously,” Miller said. “As Democrats, we will continue to prioritize family sustaining jobs, access to quality health care, and investments in education, and having so many of our members in the Caucus leadership will only aid in achieving those goals. Allegheny County will continue to be well-represented.” The newly appointed chairs and their committees include: Rep. Dan Deasy , Liquor Control Committee. Rep. Tony DeLuca , Insurance Committee. Rep. Dan Frankel , Health Committee. Rep. Bill Kortz , Game and Fisheries Committee. Rep. Rob Matzie , Consumer Affairs Committee. Rep. Harry Readshaw , Professional Licensure Committee. Rep. Jake Wheatley , Finance Committee. The appointments were announced by state Rep. Frank Dermody, also a member of the ACHDD, who recently was unanimously re-elected as the House Democratic Caucus leader. First-time chairs include Matzie, Kortz and Deasy. All leadership positions are determined every two years. The ACHDDs website, Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, was reappointed by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody to serve as the minority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee for the 2019-20 legislative session. This will be the ninth year that Sainato has served as the Democratic chair of the VAEP committee. Sainato was sworn in on Jan. 1 to his 13 th term as state representative for the 9 th Legislative District. “I am honored to be reappointed to serve as minority chair for the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee,” Sainato said. “The work that this committee does is vital to our veterans, our first responders and our communities as a whole and I’m proud to continue serving them and the residents of Lawrence County.” The committee reviews legislation that affects veterans and military-related issues, as well as emergency response and disaster preparedness in Pennsylvania. Under Sainato’s leadership, the PA Veterans Trust Fund, the PA Veterans Foundation and the PA Veterans Registry have been established. In October 2018, Sainato received the Pennsylvania Meritorious Service Award at Fort Indiantown Gap, an award recognizing meritorious service for the commonwealth while holding a position of great responsibility. "I also was pleased to serve on the SR 6 Commission last session, which was tasked with coming up with ways to preserve and grow our fire and EMS Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. John Galloway was named the Democratic Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, one of the standing committees assigned to consider legislation before it advances to the full House. “I’m honored to chair this committee as we work toward an economy that works for everyone in Pennsylvania,” said Galloway, D-Bucks. “We must create more jobs that allow hard-working Pennsylvanians to support their families and make sure we are looking out for the best interests of residents – not the best interests of big corporations.” The House Commerce Committee reviews and deliberates on legislation involving the banking industry and financial services industries, economic development agencies and programs, and housing agencies and programs, as well as provides legislative oversight for regulations proposed for those areas of the economy. Galloway, who was recently sworn in to his seventh term representing the 140 th District, previously served as Democratic chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., has been reappointed as the Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee for the 2019-20 session. “What a wonderful honor it is to have the privilege of chairing this committee once again. I always look forward to shaping our educational environment into one that helps foster growth and positive learning,” Roebuck said. “Over the years as chairman, I have established a good working relationship with the Republican House and Senate Education chairmen, and I believe that we will continue to work together in order to achieve more for our students and their futures. Specifically, I want to work on safety in our classrooms, ensuring that our students can focus on their studies and our teachers on teaching, rather than outside risks. Bullying is an increasing concern for parents and their children. We need progressive, student focused legislation that supports our children and their continued success in this fast-paced, technologically advanced market.” During the past year as the chairman of the Pennsylvania House Education Committee, Roebuck has fought for fair basic education funding; called for major investments in public schools; advanced legislation out of committee to improve access to career and technical education programs; hosted policy committee hearings on college affordability; introduced legislation pushing for free and affordable college options and charter school Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, was named Democratic minority chairman of the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee today by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as chairman of the Judiciary Committee,” Briggs said. “As chairman of this vital committee, I will be a more progressive voice, fighting for legislation to increase responsible gun safety proposals and criminal justice reforms in the Commonwealth.” “I look forward to building on the progress made last session – including the passage of clean slate legislation – over the next two years as we develop legislative solutions to the greatest challenges facing Pennsylvania’s judicial system.” The committee reviews all legislation relating to aspects of the civil and criminal court systems, law enforcement and corrections. The committee also oversees the state police, Attorney General's Office, Department of Corrections, State Ethics Commission, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission, among others. The committee also is responsible for evaluating prison staffing and inmate populations and housing conditions. Prior to becoming chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Briggs served on the committee for four years and was the Democratic chairman of the Read more
Freeman reappointed Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, has been reappointed Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. Freeman has served as the Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee since 2006. He authored legislation that created the state’s Elm Street program, which assists older urban residential areas in revitalizing their neighborhoods. He was also one of the leaders in the Municipalities Planning Code revisions enacted in 2000 that became Acts 67 and 68 of that year. “I am extremely honored to serve as Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee since 2006,” Freeman said. “I have many shared goals with local governments to implement legislation that would benefit the communities of Pennsylvania." The 136 th Legislative District includes Easton, all of Williams and parts Lower Saucon and Palmer townships, and the boroughs of Freemansburg, Glendon, Hellertown Read more
WHITEHALL, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, today announced her office will host its monthly veterans outreach program on Jan. 28. 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. Jan 28 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 are encouraged to schedule an appointment through McNeill’s office at 610-266-1273 . A specialist from the American Legion is normally scheduled for assistance in McNeill’s office on the third Monday of each month. This month’s event will be held on Jan. 28 due to McNeill’s offices being closed on Jan. 21 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Read more
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, has again been named Democratic chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee by Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “It’s a tremendous honor to again be the chairman of a committee that is so invested in our commonwealth,” Pashinski said. “Agriculture is Pennsylvania’s top industry and impacts every Pennsylvanian’s daily life whether they realize it or not." Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., will host two information sessions to discuss Medicare benefits changes starting in 2019. The events will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 18 and Feb. 4 at his district office, 3503 North B St., Philadelphia, 19134. “Medicare provides critical health benefits for thousands of seniors in Philadelphia. And whether they’re new to the program or are already enrolled, 2019 will bring many changes. With this event, we will make sure that seniors are up to date with premiums, prescription and therapy costs, deductibles, home health care, and many other topics so they can get the most out of their coverage,” Cruz said. Cruz’s staff will be on-site providing information and answering questions on the state-related concerns people may have. For more information, contact Cruz’s office at (215) 291-5643. Read more
Democratic committee chairmen named HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody today named the Democratic minority chairmen of the standing committees which are assigned to consider legislation before it advances to the full House. Rep. Matt Bradford of Montgomery County was chosen separately by a November vote of all the Democratic members to be chairman of the Appropriations Committee. The House Democratic chairmen for the 2019-20 session are: Aging and Older Adult Services: Rep. Steve Samuelson, 135th Legislative District, Northampton County. Agriculture and Rural Affairs: Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, 121st Legislative District, Luzerne County. Children and Youth: Rep. Joseph Petrarca, 55th Legislative District, Westmoreland, Armstrong and Indiana counties. Commerce: Rep. John Galloway, 140th Legislative District, Bucks County. Consumer Affairs: Rep. Rob Matzie, 16th Legislative District, Beaver and Allegheny counties. Education: Rep. James Roebuck, 188th Legislative District, Philadelphia County. Environmental Resources and Energy: Rep. Greg Vitali, 166th Legislative District, Delaware and Montgomery counties. Finance: Rep. Jake Wheatley, 19th Legislative District, Allegheny County. Game and Fisheries: Rep. William Kortz, 38th Legislative District, Allegheny County. Gaming Oversight: Rep. Scott Conklin, 77th Legislative District, Centre County. Health: Rep. Dan Frankel, 23rd Legislative Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 4 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will hold her 80 th Town Hall meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 th at Cathedral Village, 600 E. Cathedral Road, 19128. At this “Pam Unplugged” gathering, DeLissio said, “I look forward to sharing with constituents my involvement over the past few months to change the House Rules, which is an underlying reason for much of the unfinished business in Harrisburg. The House Rules also contribute to how the ‘cards’ end up stacked not in favor of citizens, but in favor of special interest groups with significant financial influence. “As a result of important unfinished business session after session, there has been a focused effort to ensure that the Pennsylvania House Rules provide a fair and square opportunity for legislation such as redistricting reform and updating and improving our voting systems and campaign finance reform, etc. to reach the governor’s desk,” DeLissio said. Pennsylvania is ranked very low when it comes to legislative fairness. “This town hall will be an opportunity for constituents to hear how state government works in reality, instead of in theory, and what some of us are doing to instill oversight and change. Our goal is a fair and square government in 2019-2020,” DeLissio said. DeLissio’s stated goals for her Town Halls include informing constituents about how the legislative process Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 4 – State Rep. Pam DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., is preparing to again squeeze her way into the Pennsylvania Farm Show this year by participating in the Celebrity Milking Contest on Friday, Jan. 11th at 2:30 p.m. "The Pennsylvania Farm Show is one of my favorite events of the year," DeLissio said. "The Celebrity Milking Contest is all good, clean fun, and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and pant legs with an eye toward capturing the number one ribbon, all the while bringing much-deserved attention to the state's number one industry.” DeLissio has served for seven years as a member of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and is a city gal, so she brings a different perspective to the country table. She said she is proud as a peacock about her district’s agricultural delights, from local farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture programs, to producers who are part of the PA Preferred program and the many Philadelphia-based urban farms that contribute to a strong, sustainable local food system. The 194 th legislative district is home to the only agricultural high school in the state; only one of three in the nation. "Even though I represent a surburban/urban area, legislators and folks around the commonwealth always tell me how impressed they are with my passion and pride for Philadelphia’s contributions and interests in Pennsylvania’s number one industry," Read more
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