PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will co-host a weekly radio program from 11 a.m. to noon every Thursday on radio station WTTM, 1680 AM. The program, entitled "Voices from the Inside," will focus on the state's prison system and reducing crime. McClinton will be joined by co-hosts state Rep. Leslie Acosta, D-Phila., Esteban Cabrera and author Hugh Taft-Morales. "I am excited to have this opportunity to discuss our criminal justice system," McClinton said. "This new program will offer a voice to those currently incarcerated and will promote the sharing of ideas between prisoners and us on the outside. Thanks to Rep. Acosta, who developed the idea and invited me to participate in such a meaningful program. "By meeting those currently in prison, I hope that the listeners will understand the need for changes and improvements in our current system. We need to establish more humane methods to house our prisoners and work with them so they can be rehabilitated and can return to society and contribute. We waste so much money incarcerating those who have committed minor offenses and by locking them up for extended periods of time, we make it harder for them to blend back in to society and hold a meaningful job. "Additionally, we will be discussing community programs which may reduce violence and crime." The program will air live at 11 a.m. every Thursday on 1680 AM, and it can also Read more
State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on 21 st century jobs at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 at the Manufacturer & Business Association, Forum Room, 2171 W. 38 th St. House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will co-chair the hearing. Bizzarro requested the hearing to further explore what more can be done to increase job creation in the region. The hearing agenda is as follows: 4 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 4:10 p.m. Panel One: Brian Slawin , Ben Franklin Paretnership NW Regional Director and Portfolio Manager Dr. Valerica Vlad , professor of economics, Penn State Behrend Maggie Horne , director of Small Business Development Center, Gannon University 4:50 p.m. Panel Two: Sean Fedorko , co-founder, Radius CoWork Beth Zimmer , co-Founder and managing director, Innovation Collaborative Matt Wiertel, director of business development, Velocity Network 5:30 p.m. Closing remarks Read more
State Rep. Neal P. Goodman has reintroduced legislation that would allow Pennsylvania veterans to participate in a state prescription drug assistance program if a state veterans’ benefit or federal disability payment puts them over the income limit. Read more
State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on 21 st century jobs at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 at the Manufacturer & Business Association, Forum Room, 2171 W. 38 th St. House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will co-chair the hearing. Bizzarro requested the hearing to further explore what more can be done to increase job creation in the region. The hearing agenda is as follows: 4 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 4:10 p.m. Panel One: Brian Slawin , Ben Franklin Paretnership NW Regional Director and Portfolio Manager Dr. Valerica Vlad , professor of economics, Penn State Behrend Maggie Horne , director of Small Business Development Center, Gannon University 4:50 p.m. Panel Two: Sean Fedorko , co-founder, Radius CoWork Beth Zimmerman , co-Founder and managing director, Innovation Collaborative Matt Wiertel, director of business development, Velocity Network 5:30 p.m. Closing remarks Read more
I am cordially inviting veterans from all U.S. military branches to my 2017 Veterans Expo from 9 a.m. to noon, Thursday, April 27 at the Rainbow Gardens, 220 Waldameer Park Road in Erie. Join me for my first Veterans Expo . My free event will feature dozens of area vendors offering a variety of veterans’ services, including VA claims reporting and employment opportunities, as well as legal and financial programs. Information will also be available on state services and programs benefiting veterans and your families, including: Veterans Assistance Program information Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications And much more! Stop in to meet my staff and me, and enjoy light refreshments and great door prizes. For more information about the event, contact my office at (814) 835-2880. Throughout American history, the U.S. military has continually led the response to protect liberty and restore freedom in nearly every corner of the globe. Our servicemen and women, both past and present, are undoubtedly heroes, and as such deserve our thanks, our respect and our assistance. Veterans’ issues are expanding both in number and complexity, and managing their widespread needs has become more challenging, and that is why I am offering a free expo for all veterans in order to address veterans’ issues appropriately and thoroughly. Every veteran deserves to have his or her needs Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 28 – State Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila./Delaware, chair of the Philadelphia Delegation to the House of Representatives, released the following statement today with fellow members of the delegation in response to the criminal acts committed at the Mount Carmel Cemetery, which is located in the legislative district of Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila.: "To say the Philadelphia Delegation condemns this hate crime is an understatement,” Donatucci said. “It does not matter if it happened in Pittsburgh, Pittston or Pitcairn, the delegation would stand behind the sentiment. "This is the kind of senseless, futile act that can bring a community to its knees, but the last few days have shown the opposite: people are rising up. "The efforts of Representative Solomon are to be commended and shown as an example of how to collectively work together and take a stand against prejudice and hate, and the delegation is proud to stand in lockstep with him," she said. State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said, "The members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus condemn the hate crimes that are on the rise lately, including the disgusting vandalism at a Philadelphia Jewish cemetery, the threats to several Jewish community centers in Pennsylvania and the horrific shooting of two Indians in Kansas and another man who came to their aid. "We stand with our Jewish Read more
State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, announced today that a total of $2.27 million in liquid fuels payments will be released to help municipalities in the 156th Legislative District maintain roads and bridges. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 28 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, said today, "The members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus condemn the hate crimes that are on the rise lately, including the disgusting vandalism at a Philadelphia Jewish cemetery, the threats to several Jewish community centers in Pennsylvania and the horrific shooting of two Indians in Kansas and another man who came to their aid. "We stand with our Jewish and Indian brothers and sisters, and all who have been victimized by these acts of hate. An attack on one is an attack on all, and those responsible for these acts must be brought to justice." ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – Angered by the hateful and cheap attacks on Jewish property throughout Pennsylvania, state Rep. Joe Markosek, D-Allegheny, reiterated his stand against racism today and said the cowards who vandalized property and forced evacuations must be caught and punished. “Pennsylvania is the Keystone State, but these acts of hate are the exact opposite of what unity and cohesion are about,” Markosek, the Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said during a break in annual budget hearings. “And, they are the exact opposite of what I believe.” Hundreds of headstones in the Mount Caramel Cemetery in Philadelphia were toppled while bomb threats were phoned into Jewish community centers in Harrisburg and York, plus to JCCs in 10 other states. “These are politically charged times, but the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and private memorials to deceased loved ones is an outrage that must not be allowed to happen,” Markosek said. “We must be united and raise our voices against this and all kinds of insolence, racism and hate. We must not become the divided nation some now want us to be, or think we have become,” he said. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is seeking applicants from the 72 nd District for the Pennsylvania Legislative Appointment Initiative (LAI), which allows each state legislator to appoint a student from his district as a commonwealth scholar for admission to Valley Forge Military College. Any high school senior residing in the 72 nd District with a minimum high school GPA of 2.50 and a combined verbal and math SAT score of 1000 (or an ACT Score of 17) is eligible to apply. Interested students should contact Burns’ offices for an application. The deadline to apply this year is April 1. A student awarded the LAI Scholarship may receive the award for up to two years. The maximum amount awarded is $12,000 per year. “I encourage any eligible high school seniors to apply for the LAI through my office. The Valley Forge Military College uniquely prepares their cadets to be responsible citizens and leaders,” Burns said. “This is also a valuable opportunity to showcase our talented high school seniors throughout the district.” Interested students can check with their school guidance counselor for an application. Applications are also available in Burns’ district offices . Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – State Reps. Jason Dawkins and Morgan Cephas, both D-Phila., plan to introduce a bill that would require funeral homes to provide pricing information when requested and post that information on their website, if they have one, in an effort to assist and protect grieving families. "No grieving family should be required to spend lengthy hours of their time researching the cost of providing funeral services for their loved one," Dawkins said. "This legislation would allow families more time to focus on mourning their loss and celebrating the life of the deceased while providing peace of mind that they aren’t being taken advantage of." The bill would require funeral directors to provide a written or printed list of prices and goods offered at the beginning of any conversation about prices, professional services offered and goods. The lists also would include preparation of the body, use of facilities, use of automotive equipment and casket options. Cephas said, "During the loss of a loved one, it can be very difficult for some to manage dealing with their grief and for many in my district, the financial hardship that comes along with final expenses. Too often during this vulnerable time people are taken advantage of by bad actors who lack transparency in disseminating information to individuals and families. This legislation works to provide consumers with additional information needed to make cognizant decisions Read more
PITTSBURGH, Feb. 28 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, released the following statement today in regard to the recent acts of vandalism and terroristic threats made against Jewish institutions: "In the strongest possible way, I condemn these cowardly and hateful acts of terrorism aimed at Jewish cemeteries and Jewish Community Centers. These kinds of actions have one despicable purpose: to spread fear throughout our communities. "We’ve had enough. "Let me be clear: hatred of this kind has no place in Pittsburgh, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or anywhere else in the world. Just yesterday, there were reportedly more than 90 anti-Semitic threats or acts of aggression reported across the country. While there’s no doubt that these acts have been committed by a small minority of people, it does not change the fact that we must speak up against this kind of intolerance and fear-mongering. "In the very near future, I plan to sponsor a resolution with my Jewish colleagues in the General Assembly condemning these acts of vandalism and terror. It is my hope that this resolution will run in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives when we return to session in March. "In the meantime, I am confident that the dedicated men and women in law enforcement will soon bring those responsible to justice." ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 28 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., held a Public Sector Job Fair on Thursday, Feb. 23 at the former Wakisha School, continuing his efforts to connect constituents with family-sustaining job opportunities. More than 26 employers from city, state and federal agencies participated in the fair, with over 150 attendees applying for jobs. Attendees were able to participate in workshops on expungement of criminal records by Community Legal Services, with the Free Library of Philadelphia tech-mobile on site to help process those applications. Staff from Pennsylvania CareerLink were also on hand to help with resume writing and provide follow-up services. “Working families and the middle class are the engines of our economy,” Thomas said. “I always have and will continue to work to connect constituents with family-sustaining job opportunities through events like our Public Sector Job Fair.” Several people were offered jobs at the fair and others are being given a second interview. One such position filled was a crane operator with the Department of Transportation. “I am thrilled that members of the community were able to not only learn about employment opportunities, but some also received job offers and second interviews on the spot,” Thomas said. February’s Public Sector Job Fair is one of two annual job fairs held by Thomas who also holds a Private Sector Job Fair each October. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 27 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, introduced H.B. 661 today, which would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to establish a media literacy curriculum for Pennsylvania’s students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12, in an effort to combat the rise of fake news on social media during the 2016 General Election. “This legislation would prepare Pennsylvania’s students with the critical thinking skills and knowledge to evaluate the accuracy of news stories on social media and other sources for themselves,” Briggs said. “During this past election cycle, it’s undeniable that we saw a rise in fake news on social media that put misinformation out into the public sphere for the purpose of misleading voters.” If passed, H.B. 661 would require the Department of Education, in consultation with the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, to develop a media literacy curriculum within 6 months of the bill’s effective date. According to the bill, the curriculum may include, but is not limited to: developing critical thinking skills; understanding how media messages shape culture and society; identifying targeted marketing strategies; naming techniques of persuasion; recognizing bias and misinformation; discovering parts of a story that are not being told; evaluating media messages based on personal experiences and skills. “It is imperative the next generation of Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 27 – State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas, D-Phila., hosted an awards reception to announce the winners of his Black History Essay Contest.
At the event, which took place last week in his district office, the four winners of the essay contest were announced. Thomas presented each of the winning students with a tablet for them to use to further their educational career.
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 27 – In keeping with her legislative priorities, state Rep. Morgan Cephas announced she will host a town hall meeting for residents of the 192nd Legislative District. The meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 at the Shephard Recreation Center, 5700 Haverford Ave., Philadelphia, 19131. Cephas said she and a panel of state, city and local officials will discuss several topics, such as the outlook and goals for the district, a public safety neighborhood review, a status update on nuisance liquor establishments and plans to address them, and a plan to strengthen neighborhood schools. “The purpose of this event is to provide a platform for community residents to learn about various resources available to them at the state and local level,” Cephas said. “It is also an opportunity for them to learn about my agenda for working toward a better quality of life for constituents who live in the 192nd legislative district.” Cephas added the attendees for the town hall meeting will be officials from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Enforcement, the Mayor’s Office of Education and the 19th Police District. Local organizations and vendors also will be there with resources to share. For more information, constituents can call Cephas’ district office at (215)-879-6625. Read more
PHILADELPHIA: Feb. 26 -- State Rep. Jared Solomon, D-Phila., issued the following statement in response to the criminal vandalism at Mount Carmel Cemetery. "I am truly shocked, saddened and outraged by the criminal vandalism that occurred at the Mount Carmel Cemetery today, in the Wissinoming part of my district. My heart goes out to the families who discovered the head stones of their loved ones desecrated by this act of hate and intolerance. After an act of such cowardice, I urge the perpetrators to do the brave thing and come forward and turn themselves in to the authorities. Should they not, I pledge to do everything in my power to help support the Philadelphia Police and the great officers of the 15th District in bringing them to justice. "For me representing the most diverse district in the Pennsylvania State Legislature that includes Mount Carmel, this heinous crime hits especially close to home. Just yesterday, I brought constituents of all races, religions, ethnicities and nationalities together for a hopeful forum about how to celebrate the rich diversity of our community. The energy was tangible, the ideas innovative, and the spirit warm and collaborative. We all left hopeful and committed to surmounting the barriers that too often divide us. "The juxtaposition of yesterday's hope and positivity with this morning's hate and prejudice underscores the scale of our task, and the resolve and determination we must have if we are to succeed. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 24 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, hosted an Energy Forum for local residents as a way to learn more about weatherization, how to save on energy costs and energy-saving techniques.
The forum was held Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the 18th District Police Station, 5510 Pine St. and was integrated into the station's monthly Captain's meeting.
"A big show of gratitude goes out to the station for sponsoring the forum and recognizing the significance of the event," McClinton said. "In particular, I'd like to thank Police Captain Robin Wimberly and Community Relations Officer Michael Davis for hosting us." Read more
More than $52,000 in grants will be available to three volunteer fire companies and one volunteer ambulance company from West Chester who applied for the funds through the Fire Company/Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program, state Rep. Carolyn Comitta announced today. Initiated in 2000, and funded by gaming revenue, the program is open to all fire companies, volunteer ambulance services and volunteer rescue squads in Pennsylvania. Grant awards can be used for construction or repair of facilities, purchase or repair of equipment, debt reduction and training. “These monies will be of great aid to the three volunteer fire companies and volunteer emergency ambulance company in West Chester,” said Comitta. “It’s just one example of the ways that we can offer funding support to the 100 percent volunteer and 100 percent certified services that are so vital to our public safety. At a time when many volunteer fire companies and emergency service organizations are struggling to survive in Pennsylvania, these programs enable many to grow and thrive, not to mention provide first-class protection for all citizens across the commonwealth.” According to Comitta, the following received award notification from the program: First West Chester Fire Company, $15,000; Flame Fire Company No. 3, $15,000; Good Will Fire Co. No. 2 , $15,000; and Good Fellowship Club of Chester County, Inc. (EMS). $7448.21. In total, some $30 Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 24 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., said he was relieved to learn at a House Appropriations Committee budget hearing that the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education currently has no plans to close Cheyney University.
At the hearing, Frank Brogan, chancellor of the State System of Higher Education, reassured Kinsey that the PASSHE board is currently focused on putting the struggling historically black university on a path to a sustainable future and that there were no plans to close the institution.
“After years of unequal funding, I am glad to see that Chancellor Brogan is clearly committed to ensuring a bright future for Cheyney University,” Kinsey said. “This historic African-American institution of higher learning has gone through some tough financial time recently and has often gotten the short end of the stick. But investing in this unique institution’s future is sure to pay dividends for countless students and the state for many years to come.”
Kinsey also asked Brogan multiple questions about enrollment trends at PASSHE schools and the search for a permanent president for Cheyney University.
“I applaud Chancellor Brogan and the PASSHE board for focusing on opportunities to grow and advance our state schools,” Kinsey said. “As a strong supporter of education, I firmly believe that our system of state schools is an invaluable asset to the state.”
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