With time running out to provide a chance at justice for survivors of childhood sexual abuse through an emergency constitutional amendment, the House Democratic leadership team released the following statement calling on Republican leadership to commit to bringing the measure up for a vote on Monday:“In early February, Republican leadership made a public promise on the House floor to get an emergency constitutional amendment to the Senate and provide a chance at justice to the survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Due to their wavering and inaction this week, we’re now dangerously close to running out of time to get this in front of Pennsylvanians in the May Primary Election. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 11 – Trust and inclusive policies are key in getting COVID-19 vaccines distributed to communities of color and members of the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from multiple researchers, doctors and advocates on how to execute those strategies. Read more
ERIE, March 10 -- State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, announced that $66,578 has been designated for three organizations in Erie County to help with their security protections against possible hate crimes. Temple Anshe Hesed in Millcreek Township was awarded $20,498 under the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program , run by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The program is for non-profits that serve members of the community that could be targeted for hate crimes because of their race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion or other categories identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “After the Pittsburgh synagogue attack in 2018, the legislature moved swiftly to help protect places that could be next,” explained Bizzarro. “I was glad to vote in favor of it and see the benefits of that legislation come right here to Millcreek and Erie County.” In addition to the money award to Temple Anshe Hesed, $24,955 was awarded to the Islamic Association of Erie and $21,125 was awarded to Urban Erie Community Development Corporation. The money can be used to purchase equipment and technology, conduct trainings or be used on any other project that would help protect the safety and security of people. “As we see a rise in hate crimes across the country, it’s terrible to think of the possibility of an attack here where we live, especially at a house of worship,” Bizzarro said. “While I hope that horror never Read more
Three Erie County organizations have been awarded nearly $67,000 in an effort to prevent possible hate crimes, state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pat Harkins and Bob Merski (all D-Erie) announced Wednesday. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Reps. Donna Bullock and Stephen Kinsey will host a joint hearing of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and House Democratic Policy Committee this week to explore how communities of color have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more
Introduced by Reps. Ryan Bizzarro and Pam Snyder, the legislation would allow couples to register for a vaccination appointment at the same time, add any risk categories such as smoking or pre-existing medical conditions, a note for first responder or essential worker status, and how far the individual is willing to travel to secure a vaccine. Read more
Residents are frustrated with the vaccine distribution process. Many people who are eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1A still have not received it and when they try to sign up, they cannot even get on a waiting list for an appointment. Read more
Being pro-life means getting a vaccine as soon as you can and not worrying about the brand Read more
Some local representatives say if the $1.9 trillion COVID relief legislation becomes law, it would have an impact on people across the commonwealth. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 4 – In an effort to strengthen communities and provide stability for families, state Reps. Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe, and Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, reintroduced House Bill 730 that would establish a new savings account program for first-time homebuyers. The First-time Homebuyers Savings Accounts would allow account holders to make tax deductible contributions at a total of $50,000 over a 10-year period, with an annual contribution cap of $5,000 for single taxpayers and $10,000 for those filing a joint return. “Homeownership is an important part of establishing roots. It’s difficult to do that without having a healthy savings account and this bill would give Pennsylvanians a powerful tool to save and prepare for the homeownership experience,” said Brown. “This bill will also benefit younger Pennsylvanians and those who have yet to embark on the journey of homeownership.” Bizzarro added, “Rent costs are out of control. More and more people are looking to own and offering this savings program will give many the boost needed for hardworking people to achieve the stability that homeownership affords.” According to the National Association of Realtors and Home Ownership Matters, the program has the potential to boost home sales by 4,000 annually across the state and economic impacts are estimated at up to more than $68 million. “Homeownership is down to under 40 percent amongst the under 35 age group. Read more
Being pro-life means getting a vaccine as soon as you can and not worrying about the brand. This week we saw one of the most careless, irresponsible and anti-science statements made since the COVID-19 crisis began over a year ago – a statement that will certainly lead to more infections, more hospitalizations and more Americans dead. No, I’m not talking about Texas Governor Greg Abbott telling people to stop wearing masks even as cases in his state spike and as every single coronavirus variant known to medical science rages in Houston. I’m talking about the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh joining with the Catholic Conference of Bishops to tell Catholics to avoid the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine. A literal medical miracle crafted by hands guided with divine providence that is 85 percent effective against preventing severe illness in cases of COVID-19 infection, and 100 percent effective in preventing death in cases of COVID-19 infection. I am a life-long Catholic. I am also a childhood cancer survivor; a product of science and medical miracles. Many doctors wrote me off and told my parents they could do nothing more than keep me comfortable until I died. By the grace of God, clinical trials, modern medicine, and nothing short of a miracle—I am able to serve this commonwealth today. As a life-long Catholic, I cannot fathom how anyone can call themselves truly “pro-life” and tell a worried senior citizen or a Read more
Some in Harrisburg are trying to streamline the system. State Representative Ryan Bizzarro helped to draw up House Bill 633. If passed, the legislation would create a state wide portal for eligible people to sign up for the vaccine. Read more
This week we saw what was in my opinion one of the most careless, irresponsible and anti-science statements made since the COVID-19 crisis began over a year ago — a statement that could lead to more infections, more hospitalizations and more Americans dead. Read more
ERIE, March 3 -- State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro worked with Elks Lodge #67 to bring $20,000 in state grant funding back to Erie. The grant was awarded through the PA Small Water and Sewer Grant Program for a sewer water line repair on Elks Lodge #67’s property. “This funding will help offset the cost of this project for the Elks and allow them to focus on contributing to their community. I’m thrilled to have secured this grant and know it will keep the water and sewer lines functioning without interruption for years to come,” Bizzarro said. The Elks Lodge trustees first decided to pursue the project when the water and sewer lines became exposed. Trustees wanted to explore repair options before pipes froze or burst. The project was deemed necessary by an assessment from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Elks secured bids before settling on a contractor to complete the project. Bizzarro encourages organizations in search of grant opportunities to contact his office at 814-835-2880. Read more
Snyder, D-Jefferson, alluded to a Feb. 24 letter she and fellow Democratic state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro of Erie sent to Acting Health Secretary Allison Beam asking for other frontline workers to be included in the 1A grouping, such as educators and corrections officers. Snyder said she was disappointed the latter apparently will not be included in the updated priority listing. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 3 – State Rep. Nick Pisciottano, D-Allegheny, brought together school professionals, mental health advocates, human services professionals and legislators for a discussion on how resources can be allocated to better serve Pennsylvania students, during a PA House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today. Strengthening teachers and support staff was a natural part of the discussion that highlighted how the pandemic has exacerbated existing systemic issues with providing services to students, teachers and staff. “Our high school students have had to overcome so many challenges during the pandemic, including virtual schooling, a lack of real social interaction and constant disruptions to daily life during the most turbulent periods of growing up. It’s imperative we do all we can to support their mental health needs as they mature into young adults,” Pisciottano said. “This policy hearing was very helpful in hearing from a variety of experts on how state and local officials can best help students and work with our schools to give them the tools they need moving forward.” Michael Fiore, school social worker/home and school visitor for Council Rock School District, and Dr. Mike Ghilani, superintendent of West Jefferson Hills School District, shared the struggles students face and their efforts to make swift changes to policies and procedures that have had lifesaving impacts on students. Ghilani shared a tragic case Read more
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Diocese of Harrisburg announced its support for the position of the United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB)’s on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 2 – State House Rep. Nick Pisciottano, D-Allegheny, will host a virtual hearing to discuss the mental health of students during the current pandemic. The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 3. To view, the media and public can tune in to www.pahouse.com/policycommittee or the committee’s Facebook page -- @PADemPolicy. Media inquiries may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org . Pisciottano will be joined by committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro and Democratic Policy Committee members to focus on the mental health of our high school students, notably during the current pandemic. This meeting is part of a weekly series focused on education, ensuring a quality education for all Pennsylvania children. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 2 – State Reps. Pam Snyder and Ryan Bizzarro, who recently urged the Pennsylvania Department of Health to update the Phase 1A category of vaccine eligibility to include more at-risk populations, were thrilled to hear news that department will allow teachers and other education professionals to be included in that category. Governor Tom Wolf confirmed at today’s press conference related to COVID-19 recovery efforts and the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program. The official announcement from the Pa. Department of Health will come on Wednesday. Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Westmoreland, and Bizzarro, D-Erie, sent a letter last month to acting Pennsylvania Health Secretary Alison Beam urging her to include several at-risk populations –such as teachers, school personnel and corrections officers – into the Phase 1A category to receive the vaccine. That same letter also urged her to implement further changes regarding prioritization, including limiting smokers to only people 65 or older, which would put senior citizens and high-risk workers at the top of the list while still allowing at-risk smokers access. That letter was signed by more than 30 legislators. “This is certainly good news for our teachers and school staff, many of whom have had to be working in classrooms for some time and in close proximity to our young people and other staffers,” Snyder said. “However, we Read more
HARRISBURG, March 2 – The charter school crisis has only worsened through the COVID-19 pandemic and a public hearing hosted by state Rep. Mary Isaacson examined the statewide impact on public schools. "Our Pennsylvania Constitution requires that we provide for and maintain a thorough and efficient public education system," said Isaacson, D-Phila. "That constitutional mandate doesn't disappear when there's a global pandemic. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on school districts' budgets throughout our commonwealth, presenting new challenges to meet the constitutional mandate. Being able to have a discussion now with administrators on the front lines of dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and the charter school funding crisis was an important step in working toward solutions." The committee heard testimony from Uri Monson, CFO for the Philadelphia School District, and superintendents statewide including Dr. Shane Hotchkiss, Bermudian Springs School District and chair, Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators Legislative Committee; Ken Berlin, Wattsburg School District, Erie County; Richard Scaletta, General Mclane School District, Erie County; Dr. Brian Bliss, Solanco School District, Lancaster County; David Burkett, Fannett Metal School District, Franklin County; and Jim Estep, Mifflin County School District. “Testifiers were economically and geographically diverse, yet they could agree that the current approach Read more
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