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Cephas and Ortitay introduce bipartisan legislation to ‘ban-the-box’ on applications for public colleges and universities

Cephas and Ortitay introduce bipartisan legislation to ‘ban-the-box’ on applications for public colleges and universities

(Oct 21, 2020)

In their ongoing efforts to eliminate obstacles and create higher education opportunities to those who need them most, state Reps. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., and Jason Ortitay, R-Allegheny/Washington, today introduced legislation to “ban-the-box” on applications for public colleges and universities. “How do we expect those who paid their debt to society to move forward and better themselves if we allow their criminal past to dictate their future? This reality is especially true in our Black and brown communities,” Cephas said. “Banning the box adds to my fight for real criminal justice reform. It would encourage not discourage formerly incarcerated individuals from wanting to go to college, earn a degree, and enter the workforce with the skills they need to land a good-paying job to support themselves and their family, while significantly decreasing their chances of recidivism.” During a virtual news conference, Cephas and Ortitay discussed their bipartisan effort (H.B. 2952) that would prevent public colleges or universities in Pennsylvania from inquiring about a student's criminal history, with the exception of certain criminal offenses, on the initial applications or at any other time during the admissions process. Under their legislation, after a student has been accepted, the university may make such inquiries for the purpose of offering supportive counseling and services, Read more

 

Cephas, Kenyatta and Innamorato hold hearing to discuss plan to help low-income tenants facing eviction amid COVID-19

(Oct 09, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 9 – In their ongoing efforts to keep people in their homes, state Reps. Morgan Cephas, Malcolm Kenyatta and Sara Innamorato held a public hearing today to discuss legal aid for tenants facing eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The three brought members of the House Democratic Policy Committee and experts together to discuss legislation they are introducing to provide legal representation to low-income tenants facing an eviction hearing. "A study from the Center for American Progress shows nearly 90% of landlords and property managers across the country have access to legal representation compared to just 10% of tenants. And in most eviction cases, tenants without representation lose," said Cephas, D-Phila. "This ultimately comes down to fairness and the need to prevent our most vulnerable neighbors from being tossed out on the street. Our plan aims to connect them with the quality protection they need to help keep a roof over their head, especially during this health crisis." “The CDC’s moratorium will only stave off evictions until the end of the year, but the threat of a large-scale housing crisis still looms, so we must act now,” said Kenyatta, D-Phila. “During these uncertain and incredibly stressful times in which medical experts are urging everyone to stay at home, Pennsylvanians should be able to take solace in having a home of their own to retreat to. Read more

 

10/9/20 – Legal Aid for Tenants Facing Eviction – Virtual

(Oct 09, 2020)

Materials from a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing held virtually and co-chaired by State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, Sara Innamorato and Morgan Cephas. Read more

 

Cephas, Bullock fight to pass gun violence prevention bill as Philly's homicide rate surges

(Oct 07, 2020)

With Philadelphia's homicide rate already surpassing the numbers from 2019, state Reps. Morgan Cephas and Donna Bullock are fighting to provide critical support for gun violence prevention. "Too many lives are being cut short because of this public health crisis, especially our young people," said Cephas, D-Phila. "We have a responsibility as legislators to connect our communities with the tools and resources they need to help stop the bloodshed. Part of that is expanding upon prevention ideas that have worked in strengthening neighborhood safety." Cephas said their bill ( H.B. 2717 ) would create a competitive grant program, known as the Violence Intervention Program, for municipalities that have been disproportionally impacted by gun violence. VIP grants would be awarded to eligible applicants from a fund of $30 million for three years and be administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to support, expand and replicate proven and effective community-based violence reduction initiatives. "Balloons and candles should signify a joyous occasion, but in my neighborhood, they are symbols of remembrance for the lives lost to gun violence," said Bullock, D-Phila. "As a mother of two young boys, I won't sit back and accept these constant shootings as the Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold virtual hearing Friday on legal aid for tenants facing eviction

(Oct 06, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 6 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on legal aid for tenants facing evictions. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 9. The media and public can watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . Requested by state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila; Morgan Cephas, D-Phila.; and Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny; the hearing will collect testimony from policy experts as they work on legislation to provide legal aid for tenants. Testifiers and legislators will speak remotely. Testifiers will include: Patrick Cicero , executive director, Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. John Pollock , staff attorney, Public Justice Center. Sam Chenkin , founder, Reclaim The Sector. Rasheedah Phillips , managing attorney of housing policy, Community Legal Services Inc. Bob Damewood , staff attorney, Regional Housing Legal Services. Kevin Quisenberry , legislative director, Community Justice Project. A. Michael Snyder , chancellor, Philadelphia Bar Association. Catherine Carr , civil gideon and access to justice task force co-chair, Philadelphia Bar Association. Following the hearing, testimonies and full hearing video will be posted at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more

 

Philly Restaurants Increase Indoor Capacity, SEPTA Changes & Other Updates

(Oct 02, 2020)

Check out my latest update for information about how COVID-19 cancelled legislative session and to ensure your mail-in ballot is counted. Read more

 

Cephas, Hughes and Jones team up to help get Philly counted, improve response rate

(Sep 29, 2020)

With a clear understanding of the importance of being counted, state Rep. Morgan Cephas is ramping up her efforts to improve Philadelphia's response rate to the 2020 Census. "With Philadelphia's response rate hovering just above 55%, we must act now to sound the alarm to our neighbors about not only filling out the census but making sure they understand why being counted is so critical to the 192nd Legislative District and the city of Philadelphia," explained Cephas, D-Phila. "This is about securing federal funds and investing in our priorities, like education, health care and assistance programs, while ensuring our neighborhoods are represented fairly in Harrisburg and Washington." Cephas teamed up with state Sen. Vincent Hughes and city Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. along with Philly Counts and the U.S. Census Bureau this past Saturday at Overbrook Plaza to assist people in completing the 2020 Census. "We must work together on all levels of government to capitalize on this opportunity to strengthen our communities, move our neighborhoods forward and put people first because this chance won't come for another 10 years," said Cephas. Cephas added this event would not have been possible without: Absalom Jones Foundation: donated masks to distribute. SHARE Food Program and Overbrook West Neighbors, Hestonville Civic Association: handed out 250 boxes food. Shred Read more

 

The Pa. Legislative Black Caucus condemns grand jury decision in slaying of Breonna Taylor, continues fight for police reform

(Sep 28, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 28 – Days after a Kentucky grand jury’s failure to indict one of the three police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor on charges related to her killing, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with PLBC members, said the decision is a grim reminder of how Black lives — more specifically Black women’s lives — are devalued. However, in the spirit of the esteemed PLBC’s core mission of dismantling systemic racism across the commonwealth, the caucus of legislators collectively vowed to use this pain to fuel their ongoing fight for racial justice and meaningful police reform. Kinsey, D-Phila., a father of four Black daughters, expressed that he is especially saddened. He also dissipated the attempts to vilify her memory by reflecting on Breonna’s life and her dedication to public service as a first responder on the frontlines of this pandemic. “I am a father of four Black daughters and my heart is breaking for Breonna and her family as she reflects my own girls. I see their brilliance, their strengths, and their vulnerabilities. It pains me to know that Black girls and women are denied protection and the privilege of being viewed as whole,” the chairman said. “I want to buck that narrative: Breonna was a caring young woman who had a bright future. She effortlessly juggled enjoying life and a Read more

 

Today’s House Democratic Policy Committee Hearing Postponed to October 9

(Sep 23, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 23 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced that the House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on legal aid for tenants facing evictions that was scheduled for 9 a.m. today has been moved to Friday, Oct. 9 due to the House being called into session on short notice. Requested by state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila, Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., and Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, the hearing will still be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Room G-50 Irvis Office Building in Harrisburg on Oct. 9. The media and public are urged to watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . Read more

 

Cephas helps more than 80 people complete 2020 Census, set to host similar events this week to ensure communities are counted

(Sep 21, 2020)

With Philadelphia reporting a low response rate, state Rep. Morgan Cephas is hosting another free event to help her neighbors complete the 2020 Census ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 22 outside her district office at 5921 Lancaster Ave in Philadelphia. "This opportunity only comes once every 10 years and time is running out for people to make sure they are counted," said Cephas, D-Phila. "At last check, Philadelphia's census response rate was around 55%, which is well less than Pennsylvania's rate of approximately 68%. I'm holding these free, accessible events to not only help my constituents fill out the form but educate them on what's at stake for every person that does not participate." Cephas applauded the more than 80 individuals who came out to Carroll Park to be counted this past Saturday for a similar census event she put together with state Sen. Vincent Hughes and Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. "When everyone is counted, we all benefit," Cephas explained. "I am proud to team up with community leaders on the federal, state and local levels to make sure Pennsylvanians don't miss out on our fair share of federal dollars to invest in schools, roads, health care, food security and assistance programs that so many families Read more

 

Cephas, Davis and Jones introduce bipartisan legislation to restore dignity for incarcerated women

(Sep 17, 2020)

State Reps. Morgan Cephas, Tina Davis and Mike Jones introduced bipartisan legislation today aimed at restoring dignity for incarcerated women across the commonwealth. “Everyone has rights, and this legislation is meant to strengthen the safety precautions and supports that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections already has for incarcerated individuals by making sure these policies stay in place for years to come,” said Cephas, D-Phila. “While we continue the conversation and action around criminal justice reform, we must remember our women and girls within the system. Many of our incarcerated individuals are mothers or expectant mothers who are the primary providers for their family. Restoring their dignity means ensuring they have the resources they need to take care of themselves, rehabilitate and get back to their loved ones. This bipartisan effort to protect lives is one we all should agree on.” The legislation ( H.B. 2875 ) would: Update current restraint laws to better document restraint use and protect the mental and physical wellbeing of pregnant women and their children. Prohibit restrictive housing for pregnant or postpartum women and detainees. Require all correctional institution employees who have contact with pregnant, incarcerated individuals to undergo comprehensive, professional training related to pregnancy, post-partum, and trauma-informed care. Create an Read more

 

Cephas Discusses Fight to Pass Safe At Home Bills on CBS 21's Face the State

(Sep 14, 2020)

State Rep. Morgan Cephas discussed her fight to pass Safe At Home legislation to protect homeowners, renters and small mom and pop landlords on CBS 21's Face the State. Read more

 

Philly Courts Temporarily Halt Evictions

(Sep 11, 2020)

As House Democrats fight to pass their Safe at Home legislation to help protect homeowners, renters and small "mom and pop" landlords, court officials in Philadelphia have put a hold on residential evictions in the city until Sept. 23. Read more

 

Cephas, Daley announce $23,518 grant to help St. Joseph’s University curb underage and dangerous drinking

(Sep 09, 2020)

State Reps. Morgan Cephas and Mary Jo Daley announced today that a $23,518 grant is going to help Saint Joseph's University reduce underage and reckless drinking. "Just like in our efforts to shut down stop-and-gos, curbing underage and reckless drinking can save lives and rid our neighborhoods of the violence that can come with it," said Cephas, D-Phila. "I will keep fighting to secure critical resources like this, which invest in educating our young people about the real-life risks of abusing alcohol and the need to set a responsible example for this generation and generations to come." The state funding is part of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's 2020-22 Alcohol Education Grant Program and, according to Cephas, will go toward a number of prevention initiatives, including: Social norms campaign. EVERFI AlcoholEdu. e-CHUG. e-TIPS University. PLCB conference. Safety App. "While it's inevitable that young adults in college test newly discovered freedoms, there are ways to do it safely, and programs like these at St. Joseph's help educate students to be more responsible in their actions," said Daley, D-Montgomery, who added that Plymouth Township Police Department and the CTC Wellness Foundation in Conshohocken each received $40,000 in PLCB grants Read more

 

Cephas helps community members complete the 2020 Census in ongoing effort to ensure everyone is counted

(Sep 09, 2020)

In her ongoing efforts to ensure everyone in her communities is counted, state Rep. Morgan Cephas on Tuesday helped local residents complete the 2020 Census ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline. "It's not just about showing people how to fill out the form but also educating them about what's at stake if they don't," said Cephas, D-Phila. "Census data is used to decide how billions in federal dollars are spent each year and, for every person who isn't counted, Pennsylvania stands to lose about $2,000 per person, per year. These are critical funds to invest in improving schools, roads, health care, food security and other assistance programs and services that so many of our most vulnerable neighbors rely on to live." According to Cephas, individuals came out to her West Philadelphia office to fill out their census form and get their questions answered, as well as receive free masks, hand sanitizer and important information about state-related programs. "This opportunity only comes once every 10 years and participation is paramount," explained Cephas. "At last check, the census response rate for our section of Philadelphia was just over 45%, which is extremely low. We must do better to ensure the 192nd Legislative District doesn't miss out on its fair share of resources that our communities need and deserve Read more

 

House Democrats fight to keep renters, homeowners Safe at Home

(Aug 31, 2020)

The House Democratic Housing Working Group announced a package of bills to protect people across Pennsylvania as the state’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expires Read more

 

Cephas Hosts Town Hall to Help Prepare Voters for Nov. Election

(Aug 27, 2020)

As Pennsylvania gears up to head to the polls, state Rep. Morgan Cephas hosted a virtual town hall Tuesday to connect her neighbors with information they needed to prepare for the upcoming general election. "Whether voting by mail or in person, I am encouraging everyone to devise their voting plan now to ensure they can cast their ballot safely and securely without worry," said Cephas, D-Phila. "We must come together and overcome attempts of voter suppression and reinforce how critical casting a ballot is in November to shaping the future of our city, state and country." As part of her Making Your Voice Count series, Cephas teamed up with Philadelphia City Commissioner Omar Sabir along with Philadelphia Local BMC 7048 to discuss mail-in voting, the critical role the United State Postal Service is playing and ways to get more young people involved in the election process. The U.S. Census Bureau also participated to remind individuals about the importance of taking part in the 2020 Census. "There is certainly more than one way to make your voice heard and that includes being counted," Cephas explained. "Right now, Philadelphia's response rate to the 2020 Census is hovering just over 50%, which is lower than Pennsylvania's overall rate of around 67%. It's crucial we increase this number to help ensure our communities don't miss out on our fair share of federal funding." Read more

 

Police Reform Working Group issues statement on House Republican Policy hearing on law enforcement; calls for further legislative action

(Aug 27, 2020)

The Police Reform Working Group, a collection of local and state elected officials and advocates, issued the following statement in response to a Pennsylvania House Republican Policy Committee hearing on law enforcement interactions with the community:“We appreciate the House Republican Policy Committee shining a light on how law enforcement interacts with communities around the state. This is a necessary discussion that is long overdue and it’s encouraging to hear presenters today acknowledge that police reform is necessary. Read more

 

Fiedler, Davis, Cephas stand up for renters and homeowners facing payment challenges due to COVID-19

(Aug 26, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 26 – To help renters and homeowners struggling with payments as well as small landlords, today state Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler and Morgan Cephas, both D-Phila., and Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, introduced a measure that would expand the Pennsylvania Housing and Finance Agency’s Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program. “For too many renters and homeowners with mortgages the COVID-19 crisis has gone beyond a health emergency to a housing emergency, and it’s time for the state to step up and offer substantive relief,” Fiedler said. “Our proposal will cut the red tape and get the help into the pockets of the people who need it the most, and we hope it will move quickly through the legislature.” “A program people in need can’t access is worse than not having a program at all,” Davis said. “Everyone we’ve heard from made their voices clear – renters need help, homeowners in debt need help, small landlords need help, and they can’t wait any longer. We’re going to deliver that help and we know this need goes far beyond political parties and county lines.” Cephas agreed, saying, "As the COVID-19 crisis continues, so do the economic burdens for families struggling to pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads. Our legislation will help break down barriers and help ensure homeowners, small landlords and renters have access to financial relief that's Read more

 

Cephas announces $98,000 in funding to help improve services at West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School

(Aug 26, 2020)

Ahead of the upcoming school year, state Rep. Morgan Cephas announced today $98,009 in grant funding is going to help West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School improve educational services for its students during the COVID-19 pandemic. "As the new school year approaches, the priority must be to ensure our young people have a safe learning environment," said Cephas, D-Phila. "This funding goes toward our ongoing efforts to provide schools with the tools they need to adapt to these unprecedented times and overcome educational challenges brought on by the coronavirus." According to Cephas, the state resources are part of Governor's Emergency Education Relief Funds aimed at helping education agencies, including school districts throughout the state, that are designated for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act authorizes governors to determine the educational use of GEER Funds. Under ESSA, states develop plans to designate schools for support based on student groups in key areas, including academic achievement, graduation rate and regular attendance. Student groups include race, economically disadvantaged, English language learners and students with disabilities. Grants were calculated based on elements of the federal Read more

 

Cephas and Ortitay introduce bipartisan legislation to ‘ban-the-box’ on applications for public colleges and universities
Oct 21, 2020

Cephas, Kenyatta and Innamorato hold hearing to discuss plan to help low-income tenants facing eviction amid COVID-19
Oct 09, 2020

10/9/20 – Legal Aid for Tenants Facing Eviction – Virtual
Oct 09, 2020

Cephas, Bullock fight to pass gun violence prevention bill as Philly's homicide rate surges
Oct 07, 2020

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold virtual hearing Friday on legal aid for tenants facing eviction
Oct 06, 2020

Philly Restaurants Increase Indoor Capacity, SEPTA Changes & Other Updates
Oct 02, 2020

Cephas, Hughes and Jones team up to help get Philly counted, improve response rate
Sep 29, 2020

The Pa. Legislative Black Caucus condemns grand jury decision in slaying of Breonna Taylor, continues fight for police reform
Sep 28, 2020

Today’s House Democratic Policy Committee Hearing Postponed to October 9
Sep 23, 2020

Cephas helps more than 80 people complete 2020 Census, set to host similar events this week to ensure communities are counted
Sep 21, 2020

Cephas, Davis and Jones introduce bipartisan legislation to restore dignity for incarcerated women
Sep 17, 2020

Cephas Discusses Fight to Pass Safe At Home Bills on CBS 21's Face the State
Sep 14, 2020

Philly Courts Temporarily Halt Evictions
Sep 11, 2020

Cephas, Daley announce $23,518 grant to help St. Joseph’s University curb underage and dangerous drinking
Sep 09, 2020

Cephas helps community members complete the 2020 Census in ongoing effort to ensure everyone is counted
Sep 09, 2020

House Democrats fight to keep renters, homeowners Safe at Home
Aug 31, 2020

Cephas Hosts Town Hall to Help Prepare Voters for Nov. Election
Aug 27, 2020

Police Reform Working Group issues statement on House Republican Policy hearing on law enforcement; calls for further legislative action
Aug 27, 2020

Fiedler, Davis, Cephas stand up for renters and homeowners facing payment challenges due to COVID-19
Aug 26, 2020

Cephas announces $98,000 in funding to help improve services at West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School
Aug 26, 2020