House Democratic Leaders call on Republicans to honor promise to survivors of childhood sexual abuse

(Mar 19, 2021)

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

 

Lee: Cash bail reforms needed to address racial inequities, public health and safety

(Mar 18, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 18 – State Rep. Summer Lee today hosted a hearing of the Subcommittee on Progressive Policies for Working People, bringing together advocates statewide to highlight the need for eliminating cash bail in Pennsylvania. The hearing’s first panel included Larry Krasner, district attorney, city of Philadelphia; Bethany Hallam, at-large member, Allegheny County Council; Jessica Lopez, community activist and Lancaster County resident; and Muhammad “MAN-E” Ali Nasir, community activist and co-founder of Jailbreak PGH. Krasner highlighted reforms Philadelphia implemented that resulted in public health and safety improvements through the pandemic and called for reforms at the state level. Hallam, Lopez and Nasir shared their personal experiences with cash bail that exposed systemic racism and traumatic practices that ignored the presumption of innocence and implemented punitive detainment practices. Lee, D-Allegheny, said, “While we must eliminate debtors’ prisons, we cannot replace it with other pre-trial practices and conditions that impose unjust and harmful physical and financial barriers for folks who -- until convicted by a jury of their peers -- are presumed innocent! We have to proceed with caution to ensure we're not replacing one harm with another. Today’s discussion clearly showed the benefits to eliminating cash bail and making the system more fair and equitable.” “Cash bail punishes Read more

 

Krajewski and Lee to discuss incarcerated parents’ rights at Friday’s Policy subcommittee hearing

(Mar 17, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 17 – State Reps. Rick Krajewski and Summer Lee will host a virtual hearing of the House Democratic Policy Committee’s Subcommittee on Progressive Policies for Working People where the rights of incarcerated parents will be the focus. Read more

 

Lee, House Democratic Policy Committee to talk cash bail reforms during Thursday virtual hearing

(Mar 16, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, will host a virtual House Democratic Policy Committee hearing this week where the impacts of cash bail will be discussed with experts including those personally impacted by the practice. The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 18. 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 policy@pahouse.net . Lee will be joined by committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro and Democratic Policy Committee members to discuss why cash bail reforms are necessary, how they have been harmful to communities and to learn consider more effective alternatives. Read more

 

Breaking down information barriers key to supporting communities of color through COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine efforts

(Mar 11, 2021)

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

 

Rep. Bizzarro: $67K to bolster security efforts in Erie County

(Mar 10, 2021)

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

 

COVID-19 impact on communities of color focus of public hearing Thursday

(Mar 09, 2021)

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

 

Residents frustrated trying to get COVID-19 Vaccine

(Mar 08, 2021)

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

 

Brown, Bizzarro take bipartisan approach to empowering first-time homebuyers

(Mar 04, 2021)

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

 

Pro-life is Pro-vaccine

(Mar 04, 2021)

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

 

Rep. Bizzarro announces $20,000 grant for local waterline project

(Mar 03, 2021)

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: Teachers expected to be moved into 1A vaccination phase

(Mar 03, 2021)

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

 

Pisciottano chairs roundtable discussion on improving mental health for high school students

(Mar 03, 2021)

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

 

Mental health of students the focus of Wednesday’s virtual House Democratic Policy Committee hearing

(Mar 02, 2021)

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 policy@pahouse.net . 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

 

Snyder and Bizzarro laud news of decision to include teachers, educators in priority 1A phase for vaccine

(Mar 02, 2021)

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

 

Reforms needed to address Charter Crisis

(Mar 02, 2021)

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

 

House Democratic Policy Committee: funding and consistency would improve student outcomes

(Mar 02, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 2 -- State Reps. Liz Fiedler and Rick Krajewski hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing Monday to highlight how an education budget focused on the people could best impact Pennsylvania students, especially the neediest populations. The committee heard testimony from a panel of pre-k advocates, including Shalonda Spencer, director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Trying Together; Damaris Alvarado-Rodriguez, CEO of Children's Playhouse Early Learning Center; and De’Wayne Drummond, president, Mantua Civic Association Parent Engagement Specialist, Head Start at Philadelphia School District. The panel shared concerns regarding workforce retention, low pay and the need for additional funding so they can increase pay for workers. The panel also described the devastating mental and emotional toll COVID-19 has taken on them, and on childcare center workers and families. They called for renewed investment in the care and education of Pennsylvania’s youngest residents. “I am deeply invested in the equitable education of Pennsylvania’s children from birth on up. As a mother, it’s personal for me and as a legislator, it’s my mission to ensure our children have access to high-quality care and education,” Fiedler explained. “We must draw a line and refuse to let some children be viewed as less valuable than others by the General Assembly. That starts by valuing the labor of the Read more

 

COVID-19 vaccine registry in Pa. is critical

(Mar 02, 2021)

The legislation, co-authored by state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, and Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, would direct the department to establish and maintain the registry and provide access to providers who register to access the registry. Read more

 

COVID vaccine phase 1A expands throughout the commonwealth to include more at risk populations

(Mar 02, 2021)

The 1A COVID vaccine category is expanding throughout the commonwealth to include more at risk populations. Read more

 

COVID/Charter Crisis focus of Tuesday’s virtual House Democratic Policy Committee hearing

(Mar 01, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 1 -- House Democratic Policy Committee Vice Chair Mary Isaacson, D-Philadelphia, will host a virtual hearing to discuss the charter school crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 2 . 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 policy@pahouse.net . Isaacson will be joined by committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro and Democratic Policy Committee members to examine the impact charter school enrollment during the COVID-19 pandemic has had on public school budgets. The meeting is one in a series collecting information that will help Pennsylvania better recover from COVID-19 and improve access to quality education. Read more

 

House Democratic Leaders call on Republicans to honor promise to survivors of childhood sexual abuse
Mar 19, 2021

Lee: Cash bail reforms needed to address racial inequities, public health and safety
Mar 18, 2021

Krajewski and Lee to discuss incarcerated parents’ rights at Friday’s Policy subcommittee hearing
Mar 17, 2021

Lee, House Democratic Policy Committee to talk cash bail reforms during Thursday virtual hearing
Mar 16, 2021

Breaking down information barriers key to supporting communities of color through COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine efforts
Mar 11, 2021

Rep. Bizzarro: $67K to bolster security efforts in Erie County
Mar 10, 2021

COVID-19 impact on communities of color focus of public hearing Thursday
Mar 09, 2021

Residents frustrated trying to get COVID-19 Vaccine
Mar 08, 2021

Brown, Bizzarro take bipartisan approach to empowering first-time homebuyers
Mar 04, 2021

Pro-life is Pro-vaccine
Mar 04, 2021

Rep. Bizzarro announces $20,000 grant for local waterline project
Mar 03, 2021

Snyder: Teachers expected to be moved into 1A vaccination phase
Mar 03, 2021

Pisciottano chairs roundtable discussion on improving mental health for high school students
Mar 03, 2021

Mental health of students the focus of Wednesday’s virtual House Democratic Policy Committee hearing
Mar 02, 2021

Snyder and Bizzarro laud news of decision to include teachers, educators in priority 1A phase for vaccine
Mar 02, 2021

Reforms needed to address Charter Crisis
Mar 02, 2021

House Democratic Policy Committee: funding and consistency would improve student outcomes
Mar 02, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine registry in Pa. is critical
Mar 02, 2021

COVID vaccine phase 1A expands throughout the commonwealth to include more at risk populations
Mar 02, 2021

COVID/Charter Crisis focus of Tuesday’s virtual House Democratic Policy Committee hearing
Mar 01, 2021