PHILADELPHIA, March 1 – State Rep. Chris Rabb is calling on his constituents to nominate a woman from the 200th Legislative District who is making in a difference in the community, home or at work. Rabb will honor these women during a luncheon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 15 at the Pleasant Recreation Center, 6757 Chew Ave., Philadelphia. The media is invited to attend. The luncheon also will provide an opportunity for attendees to learn about state-related programs that could benefit them and their families. Rabb said constituents can nominate a phenomenal woman by visiting his website at www.pahouse.com/Rabb , or by calling his office at 215-242-7300. The deadline for nominations is March 11. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 1 – A national nonprofit organization situated in West Mifflin is receiving a $45,000 state grant to help fund the group’s initiative of providing welcome home kits to at-risk veterans, announced state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny. Davis said Operation Troop Appreciation, located at 1200 Lebanon Road, has been selected by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to get the grant through the Veterans Trust Fund, which is replenished by generous Pennsylvanians who make a voluntary $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or photo ID, or renewing a vehicle registration. “Since becoming a nonprofit organization in July 2004, Operation Troop Appreciation – which we’re proud to have located in our district – has been a source of hope and appreciation for veterans abroad and for those returning home,” Davis said. “This selfless organization, which is completely run by volunteers, works tirelessly to make sure veterans have what they need while overseas and ensures veterans don’t end up on the streets once they return home. It’s with great appreciation and gratitude that I announce this grant for Operation Troop Appreciation.” Aside from grant money, funding for OTA comes by way of donations. Read more
ALLENTOWN, March 1 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer invites local veterans to take part in a support program on March 15 at his new district office location. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 1 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas announced today that St. Joseph’s University is receiving $11,836 to help fund its efforts to assist veterans. The grant money is part of the Veterans Trust Fund and will be used to support the school’s podcasts that highlight business topics of interest to women veterans and military spouses. “The commitment, dedication and sacrifice of our veterans has opened the door to freedoms that too many in this country take for granted. While we can never fully repay them for their service, this money is critical in supporting programs aimed at helping our nation’s heroes here at home,” Cephas said. “I commend Governor Tom Wolf for awarding these funds, and I share in his passion to putting veterans and their families first.” St. Joseph’s University was one of three organizations in Philadelphia that received VTF funding: Military Assistance Project: $49,600 to provide free legal services to veterans Veterans Multi-Service Center: $25,000 for its women veterans program A complete list of recipients can be found here . The VTF is funded by generous Pennsylvanians who voluntarily make a $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license, photo ID, or a motor vehicle registration. The VTF also receives proceeds that come from the sale of the Honoring Our Veterans license plate and private donations. Since the grant program began in 2013, more than Read more
HARRISBURG, March 1 – A veteran supporter and pioneer of the telemedicine concept, state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, introduced legislation to tap its full potential to transform and improve health care quality and accessibility. Readshaw’s bill would benefit all Pennsylvanians by giving their primary care physicians and health care specialists enhanced opportunities to better coordinate patient care regardless of distance – a particular advantage in medically underserved areas. “Telemedicine can not only provide better access to care in underserved parts of the state; it can be used to increase access in more populated areas as well,” said Readshaw, who has extensively researched the topic and spearheaded the effort to change existing law. “Currently, telemedicine provides care while saving money at the state Department of Corrections. “But it can also be utilized to give nursing home residents quicker, wider and better quality of care. It can be used to educate and provide health care to school-age children, including those in preschool. It can also provide an extra set of eyes watching over surgical patients in the recovery room. In short, whether inside health care facilities or inside our communities, telemedicine can revamp the way we experience health care.” Readshaw, who has authored similar bills in the past that have garnered bipartisan support, said he has partnered with state Rep. Jordan Harris, the Read more
HARRISBURG, March 1 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., today announced her new role as deputy Democratic Caucus chair for the 2019-20 legislative session. “I am honored to have been appointed to this newly created position. I want to thank House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Joanna McClinton for providing me the opportunity to play such an integral part in laying the groundwork for the future success of our caucus,” Cephas said. “From investing in our commercial corridors and creating good-paying jobs to addressing maternal mortality rates and pushing for criminal justice reform, I will use this platform to continue tackling critical issues facing Pennsylvania.” Cephas, who joins three other newly appointed deputy caucus chairs from around the commonwealth, is tasked with working closely with the 24 new members of the House Democratic Caucus to provide peer mentoring in various areas, such as legislative goals, district office outreach and constituent services. She will also collaborate with McClinton in preparing special informational presentations for legislators and encourage all members to attend daily meetings wherein strategy and legislation are discussed. “I am eager to sit down with my Democratic colleagues in the House to strategically and effectively promote our message and put families first by embracing our Plan for PA , which fights for good-paying jobs, affordable health care, and quality schools.” The Read more
EBENSBURG, March 1 – Municipalities, businesses, and economic development and public transportation agencies are among entities that state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is encouraging to apply for state grants related to improving transportation assets. Burns, who has made a priority of informing those eligible for grant opportunities, said grants from the CFA Multimodal Transportation Fund may be used for the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development. Projects must have a total cost of $100,000 or more, Burns said, and the maximum grant cannot exceed $3 million for any single project. Applications are being accepted today through July 31. “The CFA Multimodal Transportation Fund provides grants to encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of the commonwealth,” said Burns, who noted that this program is separate from PennDOT’s similarly-named Multimodal Program. Complete guidelines as well as application instructions for the CFA grant program may be found here: http://dced.pa.gov/programs/multimodal-transportation-fund/#.WJDKm3kzW70 Additional assistance is available from Burns’ Portage office at (814) 736-7339. Ask for grant writer Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – A state grant of $22,102 will bolster a local food bank’s ongoing efforts to address hunger and food insecurity among Mercer County’s veterans and military families, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, and state Sen. Michele Brooks, R-Crawford/Mercer/Erie/Warren, announced today. The grant from the state Veterans’ Trust Fund to Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County will go to support the organization’s MilitaryShare program — a special food distribution program that helps veterans and current military personnel. “The funding announced today is especially good news because it will help support a program that has been particularly successful in helping our area veterans,” Longietti said. “Supplies under the program are distributed discretely, outside the general public food distribution system, which helps veterans and their families maintain their pride and dignity. “The system also helps increase program participation for our county’s large number of veterans, which allows us to give back to these members of our community who have spent their lives in service to us.” Brooks agreed, adding, “This is another opportunity to assist our veterans, and I want to thank the Community Food Warehouse for their efforts, as well as the many citizens who so generously donated to the Veterans Trust Fund, by buying ‘Honoring Our Veterans’ license plates or donating Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 28 – State Representative Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss the place of mental health in substance use disorder treatment and recovery. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 6 at Friends Hospital, Scatterbrook Building Auditorium, 4641 E. Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia . The media and public are invited to attend. The freshmen legislator requested the hearing to bring together local officials and advocates to discuss how they can work together to provide better treatment to those with substance abuse problems and better assist with the path to successful and long-term recovery. 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 from State Agencies: Lynn Kovich , deputy secretary for the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Ellen DiDomenico , deputy secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Steven Datlof , board-certified psychiatrist and distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association Michael Blank , professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine 2:40 p.m. Panel Two: David Como, executive director, Northeast Community Center for Behavioral Health Read more
EBENSBURG, Feb. 28 – A nonprofit organization headquartered in Upper Yoder Township is receiving a $50,000 state grant to aid its rural veterans’ outreach project, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, announced today. Burns said Veteran Community Initiatives Inc., located at 727 Goucher St., has been selected by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to get the grant through the Veterans Trust Fund – which is replenished by generous Pennsylvanians who make a voluntary $3 donation when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or photo ID, or renewing a vehicle registration. Other sources of funding, according to Burns, are the sale of the state’s “Honoring Our Veterans” license plates as well as some private donations. “Since its 1993 inception, Veterans Community Initiatives has been dedicated to assisting, caring and advocating for our area’s veterans, and helping their families,” Burns said. “I’m hopeful this state funding will enable them to maintain and expand that mission.” Burns noted that VCI received the maximum $50,000 under the grant program. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 27 – State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would implement full-day kindergarten across the state. “Educating children in a positive, structured environment enhances their development,” Fitzgerald said. “All children deserve these benefits and the best chance at success.” House Bill 641 would require school board directors across the state to establish and maintain a full-time kindergarten program for children between ages 3 and 5. It would also develop a Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation Advisory Committee to develop plans and advise school districts on how to implement full-day kindergarten programs. The legislation would require school districts to establish their programs by the 2020-21 school year. Read more
HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, today released the following statement in response to the Allegheny County Health Department’s announcement that it will impose an enforcement order against U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works facilities for daily sulfur dioxide emissions after the December 2018 fire at the Clairton Coke Works site: “I’m encouraged to hear that the Allegheny County Health Department has imposed this order against U.S. Steel because the public’s health is of the highest priority. I’d also like to applaud the health department for using this tool to ensure Clean Air Standards are met. But I am disappointed to know that a major source of employment in our district has continued to expose the community and its employees to high levels of sulfur dioxide. “Unfortunately, U.S. Steel has continued to be in gross violation of its permit in recent years, and due to the company’s negligence, both the public and workers have suffered the consequences. The orders imposed today lay forth the building blocks to ensure a cleaner operation. “I call on U.S. Steel to take swift action and enact the proper policies and procedures that will rectify this problem and reign in the level of sulfur dioxide emissions to Clean Air standards." Read more
WILKES-BARRE, Feb. 28 – State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on affordable health care. Pashinski requested the meeting to discuss what is being done and still can be done to make health care affordable in Pennsylvania. He was joined by state legislators from across the state. “I asked for today’s hearing because many Pennsylvanians can’t afford and therefore don’t have access to health care, making obtaining quality services impossible for too many,” Pashinski said. “I thank my fellow House Democrats and health care experts for joining me today to examine policies to improve access, lower costs and improve the quality of health care in Pennsylvania.” “In addition to hosting today’s hearing, I am working to find solutions to these systemic problems by collecting co-sponsors for a resolution that I will be introducing next month directing the Joint State Government Committee to audit and examine the pharmaceutical industry in the commonwealth. If serious progress is going to be made on health care reform, we need to understand what’s working, what isn’t and what can we do to fix it. Stay tuned.” Hearing participants included: Dr. Anthony Aquilina, regional president, Geisinger Northeast Region; and Patrick Keenan, policy director, Pennsylvania Health Access Network. The meeting is one in a series held across the state Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 28 – State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Danilo Burgos, both D-Phila., are hosting a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss the health impacts of deep poverty and how to reverse the trend. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 at Warnock Village, 2850 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia. The media and public are invited to attend. The freshmen legislators requested the hearing to bring together local officials and advocates to discuss how they can work together to create better opportunities to lift Pennsylvanians out of poverty. They will be joined by legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2:00 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 2:10 p.m. Dr. Loren Robinson , Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Pennsylvania Department of Health 2:40 p.m. Octavia Howell , Officer, Philadelphia Research Initiative The Pew Charitable Trusts 3:10 p.m. Panel of Advocates 3:40 p.m. Closing Remarks The meeting is one in a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, which is focused on putting people first, good jobs, healthcare access, quality schools and jobs training, and a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com . More information about the Policy Committee is available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more
LANSDOWNE, Feb. 27 – State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, is hosting a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing titled, “The Quest for a Non-Toxic Workplace: Stopping Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct.” The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, March 4, at East Lansdowne Borough Hall, 155 Lexington Ave., Lansdowne, Pa. 19050. The media and public are invited to attend. Davidson requested the hearing to discuss how Pennsylvanians can work together to eradicate misconduct in the workplace. As a tireless advocate for those who’ve experienced discrimination and been victim of sexual misconduct, Davidson has repeatedly introduced and co-sponsored legislation addressing issues that will be among the topics discussed at the hearing. She will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 2:00 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 2:10 p.m. Morgan Williams, Assistant Chief Counsel, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission 2:40 p.m. Harold Goldner, Esq., Kraut Harris, P.C. 3:10 p.m. Panel of Advocates 3:50 p.m. Closing Remarks The meeting is one in a series held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first, good jobs, health care access, quality schools and jobs training, and a fair economy. Additional information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com . For more information about Read more
DUNMORE, Feb. 27 – State Rep. Kyle Mullins, D-Lackawanna, today hosted his first House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on state and local transportation issues at the Dunmore Community Center. Mullins was joined by state legislators from across the state including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “Improving our roads and public safety are paramount. Today’s discussion brought local and state officials together to discuss how working jointly to mend our roadways and bridges can give our economy a boost while making our community safer,” Mullins said. Sturla added: “I agree with Representative Mullins that this is a public safety and economic issue. As we work to find transportation dollars to fund these projects, it’s important that we find efficiencies in government. Money earmarked for transportation projects should be used for just that.” The committee heard testimony from Richard Roman, bureau director for Maintenance and Operations/interim District 4 executive, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; John Pocius, member of Coordinating Committee and Steve Pitoniak, chairman of Technical Committee, both from the Lackawanna/Luzerne Metropolitan Planning Organization; Bob Fiume, executive director, County of Lackawanna Transit System; Carl Beardsley, executive director, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport; Charlene Wagner Doyle, director of administration, Pennsylvania Northeast Read more
EBENSBURG, Feb. 27 – In the wake of Amazon being spurned by New York state and local officials, state Rep. Frank Burns has invited CEO Jeff Bezos to visit Cambria County to determine its unique suitability as a company headquarters. “Adding 25,000 jobs might not be a big deal in New York City, but I assure you that here in Pennsylvania, local and state officials will work with you in a positive and collaborative manner to create a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Burns wrote in a Feb. 22 letter to Bezos . Burns, D-Cambria, touted the area’s “work ethic that is second to none” and its surrounding “world-class universities” as reasons Bezos should consider it as a viable substitute location. “I realize Cambria County may not have had all of the aspects your company was looking for when it sought the perfect location for a new headquarters,” Burns wrote. “However, I believe Cambria County provides you with a unique marketing opportunity that will further cement your legacy.” Burns told Bezos that as the leader of one of the largest U.S. corporations, he has the power to “revitalize an entire region overnight” and could literally rebuild an area that has struggled to find an identity since the demise of steel mills, coal mines and factories. Burns, who has criticized U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other New York officials whose opposition to Amazon caused the company Read more
ALLENTOWN, Feb. 26 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee roundtable discussion at the Dubbs Memorial Community Center on protecting voting rights in Pennsylvania. The roundtable focused on a new legislative package from the House Democrats titled Your Vote Counts. The package includes provisions that would allow for early voting, additional time for absentee ballots to be submitted, time off to vote, and mail-in ballots. Schlossberg has a bill in the package that would allow voters to submit an updated signature for the voting book. Schlossberg was joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “We have an obligation to make the voting process accessible and free from undue hardships. Any efforts to obstruct democracy have to be dealt with. This package includes reasonable efforts to make voting more accessible in Pennsylvania,” Schlossberg said. Sturla added: “Pennsylvania had record voter turnout in the 2018 midterm election; 58 percent of registered voters cast their ballot. While it’s great to know that a record number of voters showed up for the midterm elections; I’d love to see all registered voters have their voices heard at the polls. Your Vote Counts is a way to improve voter turnout and help more Pennsylvanians take part in democracy.” Panelists who participated in the roundtable were Rev. Dr. Read more
SPRINGFIELD TWP., Feb. 26 – State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara and state Sen. Tim Kearney will host a REAL ID Town Hall from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 6 in the Springfield Township Building at 50 Powell Road. Notaries and representatives from PennDOT will be on-site to explain who needs REAL ID and answer questions and concerns. After Oct. 1, 2020 a REAL ID-compliant license or ID card, or a U.S. Passport or Military ID, will be necessary to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal facility. A REAL ID compliant driver’s license has enhanced security features required by federal legislation. REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards should be available beginning in March, according to PennDOT. To find out more, those interested can call O’Mara’s office at 610-544-9878. Read more
VANDERGRIFT, Feb. 26 – State Rep. Joseph Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, today said his offices in Vandergrift, Derry and Latrobe have state and federal income tax forms and applications for the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program available for residents. “February traditionally begins the peak period for filing personal income taxes before the April 15 deadline,” Petrarca said. “Our offices will also have applications for eligible residents to begin claiming rebates on property taxes or rent paid in 2018.” Petrarca noted claimants must reapply for rebates each year, since the rebates are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid annually. The deadline to apply is June 30, but it is routinely extended until the end of the year. Petrarca added that the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your rebate. The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2018 and met all other eligibility criteria. “We also want to remind residents to be on the lookout for scams and 'phishing' schemes in any emails or letters Read more
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