PHILADELPHIA, May 4 – State Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila., will sponsor a free shredding event for residents of Northeast Philadelphia from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 20, at the Linden Avenue Boat Launch, located at Linden Avenue and the river. "Identity theft remains a constant threat in our modern world," Driscoll said. "That is why I am pleased to host this event again this year to offer a convenient way to safely dispose of confidential documents." Unwanted items that should be shredded include credit card statements, credit card applications, bank statements, canceled checks, income tax information, insurance records and retirement or pension fund information. Documents will be shredded on-site, and all material collected will be recycled. Residents are also encouraged to bring old televisions, computer monitors or other electronic equipment to be recycled in an environmentally friendly manner. More information is available by calling Driscoll's office at 215-281-3414 or email RepDriscoll@pahouse.net . Read more
HARRISBURG, May 5 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, introduced legislation that would help ease the reporting and fundraising burdens on club licensees under the Local Option Small Games of Chance Act. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 4 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., will host her next Policy Pow-Wow from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday, May 15 in her district office, 6511 Ridge Ave. The informal roundtable-style discussion will be on legislation related to the statute of limitations reform bill that would eliminate the criminal statute and expand the civil statute on future child sex crimes, and gun control legislation. Space is limited, so RSVPs are requested, which can be made by calling 215-482-8726 . “As I endeavor to continue my commitment to dialogue with constituents of the 194th Legislative District, I hope residents will find this format inviting and casual,” DeLissio said. “It is a pleasure sharing information with constituents, as well as learning from attendees.” Sara Stroman from Manayunk, who attended DeLissio’s Policy Pow Wow in April, said, “These Pow Wows provide a great opportunity to learn more about and give input on the policies that our state government is proposing. I appreciate that Pam actively and proactively seeks input from her constituents to aid in shaping her thinking on the issues.” The Policy Pow-Wows are BYOB – alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Light refreshments will be provided. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 4 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio will host her 64th town hall at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 17. Included in the town hall will be an update on the Transportation Department's Highway Safety Project for Henry Avenue that was initiated in 2012. “As a result of two community meetings hosted by my office, on October 8, 2015 and February 11, 2016, there is news to share from PennDOT regarding a timeline for safety improvements,” DeLissio said. “It is awesome to see the power of community input work to improve the conditions around us.” Other state legislative priorities also will be discussed, including an update on the state budget that is due on June 30. The town hall will be held in the Cook Wissahickon Elementary School Cafeteria, 201 E. Salaignac St., 19128. State legislative priorities and the state budget also will be discussed during the town hall. DeLissio’s town halls continue to attract constituents from all corners of the district and at each town hall about half the participants are attending their first town hall. As a first-time attendee at DeLissio’s April town hall meeting, Ruth Dubb from Bala Cynwyd said, “It was my first time at a town hall and it definitely will not be my last. I found it thorough, straightforward and informative. I was also impressed with how DeLissio respects civil discourse, as she does not represent one point of view and we should all be interested in Read more
HARRISBURG, May 4 – State Rep. Pamela DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., expressed concern that legislation passed by the House last week would make it easier for people and organizations to sue municipalities and leave taxpayers with the bill. DeLissio voted against H.B. 671 , which would give standing to almost anyone, regardless of adverse impact, to sue municipalities that have taken steps to protect their own citizens from gun abuse and violence. The bill would put municipalities on the hook for legal expenses if the plaintiff is successful, but would not require those taking legal action to cover expenses if the defendant, meaning the municipality, prevails. “Local government officials would be forced to weigh measures they believe protect their citizens versus the possibility of being sued. The bill would prevent municipal officials from doing what they believe is best for their communities and instead would put more power into the hands of those who would choose to sue including membership organizations that are based outside of Pennsylvania,” said DeLissio, who is vice chair of the PA SAFE Caucus, a group of legislators dedicated to reducing all types of violence in the community. House Bill 671 passed 134-53 and was forwarded to the Senate for consideration. “Instead of making it easier for lawsuits to bankrupt our towns, we should be working on real ways to reduce all types of violence, including gun violence,” DeLissio said. At Read more
WEST CHESTER, May 4 – Former West Chester mayor and council member, state Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, congratulated the West Chester Business Improvement District today for winning one of three 2017 Great American Main Street Awards from National Main Street Center Inc., a national nonprofit dedicated to commercial district preservation. “West Chester’s main street rebirth took vision, patience and persistence – add in lots of hard work and entrepreneurial spirit, diverse partners and an exceptional BID and today we celebrate a revitalized, vibrant downtown,” Comitta said. “I am proud to have been mayor and now state representative, so I can help champion all the good work of our BID, our diverse partners and all the joys of our beautiful downtown!” The West Chester BID was recognized because of its efforts over the last 17 years to preserve historic and cultural heritage while modernizing the area into a fine-dining destination. Those efforts include leading the effort that successfully brought West Chester’s business vacancy rate from 22 percent to 4 percent, while adding nearly 250 businesses and 1,000 jobs for the area. “West Chester has become a dining and cultural destination thanks to the vision, entrepreneurial energy, and years of hard work by our exceptional BID,” Comitta said. “I extend particular congratulations and thanks to Malcolm Johnstone and the BID Board. They harness and direct Read more
UPPER DARBY, May 3 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, will sponsor a community health fair from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 18 at Yeadon Presbyterian Church, 541 Holly Road in Yeadon. “In its seventh year, my community health fair is a perfect opportunity for residents of the 164 th Legislative District to receive free screenings – and get lots of health questions answered -- by making just one visit,” Davidson said. “I think it’s very important for the health and safety of my constituents who may not have access to health care that my office provides this service.” Medicare and Affordable Care Act experts will be on hand to answer questions about the federal health care programs. The health fair will also include: Free health screenings. Information on health wellness from providers, state and county agencies and non-profits. Door prizes and giveaways. For more information about the health fair, please call Maureen McGrory at 610-259-7016 or email email@example.com . Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 3 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced he will hold a town hall meeting to discuss upcoming legislation and critical issues facing the Commonwealth and communities. The meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 25 at the First United Methodist Church of God, 6001 Germantown Ave. “Part of my responsibilities as state representative is to keep people informed,” Kinsey said. “Town halls provide the perfect setting to allow me to update folks on the legislative process, to let them know what I am working on in Harrisburg, and for me to obtain vital feedback on what issues are important to my constituents.” Kinsey said he urges all constituents to attend, because of the importance of face-to-face communication in providing good government. “The best way that I can represent the 201 st District is by hearing the concerns of constituents, and I look forward to the opportunity to share that dialogue,” Kinsey said. “Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the meeting.” Kinsey will be joined by city and state officials, as well as representatives from the Police District, the Street Department, Licenses and Inspections, Philadelphia Gas Works and the Philadelphia Water Department, among other agencies. Read more
PITTSBURGH, May 3 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, co-chairman of the legislature's LGBT Equality Caucus, said President Donald Trump should permanently scrap reported plans to sign an anti-LGBT "right to discriminate" executive order, as he's expected to do Thursday . "Under the guise of 'religious liberty,' President Trump could try to create a right to discriminate against LGBT people 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. Our Constitution already protects freedom of religion, under the First Amendment the president recently said he wants to alter. But our Constitution and our federal and Pennsylvania laws don't yet protect LGBT Americans in the workplace, housing or public accommodations. "The president should get on the right side of history, drop the proposed executive order and instead support the bipartisan Equality Act that was reintroduced this week in Congress . Pennsylvania polls for the past eight years have shown consistent 70 percent support for providing our LGBT relatives, friends, neighbors and co-workers with the same protections as the rest of us. When Vice President Pence was governor of Indiana, public and business backlash forced him to backtrack quickly on a 'right to discriminate' law there – a lesson the Trump-Pence administration should learn from. "I'll soon be Read more
TOBYHANNA, May 3 – State Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the Pocono Mountain Public Library to discuss raising Pennsylvania’s minimum wage. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss, fair, family-sustaining wages in Pennsylvania. Working full time should not equal living in poverty and raising the minimum wage is a must. The people in my district work hard and working hard shouldn’t leave workers in poverty,” Madden said. State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, added: “Minimum wage workers deserve a boost so they can provide for their families. All states surrounding Pennsylvania have raised their wage and it’s time we give low-wage workers a boost, too. I thank Representative Madden for hosting today’s hearing and continuing to be a voice for working families.” The committee heard testimony from Sean Ramaley, deputy secretary for safety and labor – management relations, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry; a panel of business owners including Tarah Probst, owner of The Charcuterie and mayor of Stroudsburg Borough, and Lisa Diemer, owner of Pocono Soap and Kitchen Chemistry; and Mark Price, labor economist, Keystone Research Center. Hearing materials and video clips from today’s hearing will be available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more
HARRISBURG, May 3 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody remarked on the warning issued by Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Richard D. Flinn Jr. about deficiencies within a Republican budget plan. “The PEMA director offered a needed reality check for my House Republican colleagues who voted for a budget put together by their leadership in early April,” Dermody said. “Their bill poses a real danger to the state’s ability to respond to emergencies around the clock. “Crisis situations usually happen without warning and are rarely limited to normal business hours. The state must invest wisely in PEMA so its personnel can remain on watch 24 hours a day.” Dermody noted the House Republican budget, which passed without any Democratic votes, also would slash $4.7 million in disaster relief funds earmarked as a required state match for federal flood relief funds for households and businesses hurt by severe October flooding in Bradford, Centre, Lycoming and Sullivan counties. “Without that state money, we will lose considerable federal aid. It mystifies me that every Republican representing those four counties carelessly voted to cut this money, but they did,” he said. “Because of how federal and state dollars flow to emergency management agencies, the Republican budget cuts threaten the jobs of some county emergency staff, as well as the state employees who work to Read more
LEVITTOWN, May 3 – State Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, will host a free paper shredding event from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 13 in the Westaby Hall Parking Lot, 425 Hood Blvd., Fairless Hills. Documents will be shredded on site until noon or until the truck is full. The event is free, but those attending are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food donation that will be sent to a local food bank. Staples are OK, but paper clips cannot be accepted. There is a limit of two bags or boxes per person. All non-paper trash must be removed from boxes and bags. Read more
DREXEL HILL, May 3 – Delaware County Pre-K for PA this week named state Rep. Margo Davidson as a 2017 Pre-K Champion based on her work supporting early childhood education. Davidson was one of seven lawmakers honored during a ceremony Monday at Delco Early Learning Center. According to the group, Pre-K for PA Campaign identified Davidson because of her leadership and advocacy for greater access to high-quality pre-k in Pennsylvania communities. New state pre-k funding in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 state budgets was welcome news, as more than 6,000 income-eligible three- and four-year-olds were afforded access to programs such as Pre-K Counts and Head Start. Access to high-quality publicly funded pre-k must remain a priority for the commonwealth in the 2017-2018 state budget as more than 113,000 young children across the state lack access to this opportunity, the group wrote in a release. “Children’s brains experience the greatest amount of growth before they are 5 years old,” Davidson said. “We must invest any and all resources to them during this precious time. For my part, that includes money just as much as it includes a healthy diet full of vegetables and protein. “For every dollar we spend teaching children at a young age, we are saving seven dollars down the line on the chances for incarceration, illiteracy or joblessness. It is a privilege to accept this award, for doing something that I am morally bound to support. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 3 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D- Delaware, announced 300 district and Delaware County residents received help during her annual tax preparation event for local constituents. “I completely understand the confusion and frustration that can come with preparing tax filings, “Davidson said. Tax filing help days were Jan.25- April 15, on Wednesdays and Saturdays at Davidson’s 164 th Legislative District office, in order to help residents as they completed their 2016 tax documents. “Government should do all it can to help taxpayers through this annual process and I was happy to connect people with this free resource, Davidson said. Davidson said those who owe back taxes should now look into Pennsylvania’s Tax Amnesty Program. The state Department of Revenue will waive all penalties and half of the interest on eligible tax delinquencies for anyone who participates in the program. The Pennsylvania Tax Amnesty program is underway, but only for a limited time. Now through June 19, eligible individuals and businesses can apply and pay past-due state taxes to benefit from having all penalties waived and the interest cut by half. Individuals and businesses are eligible if they have unpaid or underpaid taxes as of the end of 2015 and unfiled tax returns for periods due on or before December 31, 2015. To apply visit www.backtax.pa.gov or call 844-PA-STATE-TAX (844-727-8283). Read more
HARRISBURG, May 3 – State Rep. Pamela DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., voted last week in favor of House Bill 1238 , a bill strengthening Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws. This bill passed the House with a vote of 167-20. “H.B.1238 gives voice and rights for animals who provide us companionship and service, but can’t speak for themselves,” DeLissio said. “I thank the bi-partisan group of legislators who joined me in bringing their voice to pass this bill.” H.B. 1238, among other reforms, includes Libre’s Law, which would make animal abuse a felony in the Commonwealth. Libre, a Boston terrier rescued from a Lancaster County farm after weeks of severe neglect, joined animal rights activists and other animals last week to rally and encourage state legislators to pass the bill. “This would not have been possible without the efforts of animal lovers and their furry friends from across the Commonwealth working together to push for these reforms,” DeLissio said. “Thank you to everyone who advocated for this bill in Harrisburg and in their communities. With your continued efforts I am optimistic Pennsylvania will finally join 47 other states in making animal abuse a felony. It is documented that abusers of animals are five times as likely to harm humans and by making animal abuse a felony we are hopefully preventing harm to people by these same abusers.” H.B. 1238 now heads Read more
PHILADELPHIA, May 2 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., will host the 190 th Legislative District's 2017 Spring Fling from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, 3500 Reservoir Drive, East Fairmount Park. The event will focus on healthy living for all ages. There will be healthy food choices available and exercise opportunities for young and old. "This is a great event for kids and people of all ages to start participating more in outdoor activities. Being active we can create a path to a healthier life and a healthier city,” Brown said. Children also will be able to participate in arts and crafts, a silly hat parade and face painting. "I want to use this event as a way to encourage people to get outside and be active," Brown added. Brown’s staff will be available to answer any state-related concerns constituents may have on a variety of state programs, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Local and state agencies also will be available onsite. The event is free and open to the public; RSVPs are suggested. For more information regarding the event, contact Brown’s constituent service office at (215) 879-6615. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own folding chairs. Read more
HARRISBURG, May 2 – State Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, will host her Children’s Resource Fair to celebrate summer safety and have fun from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at 1821 Fulton Street in Harrisburg. The fair will feature information about state services, free food, face painting, free prizes and more. State agencies and local organizations will be on hand to provide information on the summer programs available to kids. Kim and her staff also will be there to answer questions and provide information about the Children’s Health Insurance Program, obtaining birth certificates, applying for financial assistance for higher education and other state programs available to the children of the 103rd Legislative District. “It’s a pleasure to put on some fun and function this weekend for families in Harrisburg,” Kim said. “My office and staff are an extremely helpful resource in navigating state services, programs and benefits. I look forward to meeting as many constituents as possible.” Read more
FOLSOM, May 2 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, was recognized today as a 2017 Pre-K Champion by Delaware County Pre-K for PA for her leadership and advocacy for greater access to high quality pre-K in the Commonwealth. “It is an honor to be recognized as a Pre-K Champion,” Krueger-Braneky said. “I promise to continue to be a voice and advocate for our children and families by pushing for policies that expand access and increase the quality of pre-K for all children in the Commonwealth, including the $75 million increase in pre-K and Head Start funding included in Governor Wolf’s proposed budget.” The Pre-K for PA Campaign identified Krueger-Braneky and several other legislators as Pre-K Champions because of their support for new state pre-K funding in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 budgets, allowing 6,000 income-eligible 3- and 4-year-olds access to programs like Pre-K Counts and Head Start. Winners were encouraged at an award presentation ceremony to continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to make increasing access to high-quality, publicly-funded pre-K. While progress has been made, there are still more than 113,000 young children across the state who lack access to this opportunity. Other legislators honored include state Reps. Nick Miccarelli, Margo Davidson and JoAnna McClinton, as well as state Sens. Tom McGarrigle and Tom Killeen. Read more
OLYPHANT, May 2 – State Rep. Kevin Haggerty, D-Lackawanna, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on human services at his satellite office in Olyphant. Haggerty requested the hearing to give local groups the opportunity to discuss issues related to human services and to hear the latest happenings from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. “I am happy to host this House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss human services and how we can better serve our most vulnerable residents,” Haggerty said. “We heard valuable testimony from state and local testifiers about service needs and I look forward to using this information to make sure we develop and improve policies to efficiently and effectively serve constituents.” State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, added, “Representative Haggerty is a great advocate for those in need of human services and I thank him for hosting today’s hearing. It’s important that the department is given the tools it needs to help our most vulnerable citizens. We must continue to provide services to them and their families in a more efficient way.” The committee heard testimony from: Patricia Allen, director of Bureau of Program Support, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services; Don Barney, director of clinical services, Keystone Community Resources; Paul Emark, program participant, Keystone Community Read more
MONROEVILLE, May 1 – Besieged by daily stories and rumors of hate and separation, the Monroeville Interfaith Ministerium worked to bring community members together during a “Unity Day” gathering Sunday, April 30. Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny, delivered the event’s keynote address. “We are not here today to fight. We are not here to unseat a public official. And we are not here to declare some us-versus-them movement,” Markosek told the crowd gathered at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Monroeville. “Unity asks us to be mindful. It requires us to consider the opinions and feelings of others and to realize we are not that different from each other. “This gathering means people are not as aware of their neighbors as they could be. They are, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘disunited with themselves.’ It means some people feel threatened by what they are reading, seeing and hearing. Rumors are causing rifts in places where there should be none. “We are doubting each other in unprecedented ways that are confounding and frustrating.” However, Markosek, the Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and the state representative for the 25 th Legislative District for 34 years, said when people reunite, they will be stronger together. “When I started as a state lawmaker in 1983 to represent the good and hard-working people of this community, we had the advantage of not seeing or Read more
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