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Philadelphia House Delegation: police accountability reforms are coming

State lawmakers representing Philadelphia welcome lawsuit against commonwealth, legislature for restricting gun-safety measures

(Oct 07, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 7 – State House lawmakers representing the House Philadelphia Delegation and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today pledged their full weight behind major legal action being taken against the commonwealth for preventing local governments from enacting their own gun-safety laws. The lawsuit filed by the city and private law firms on behalf of Pennsylvanians who have been impacted by gun violence was announced at a news conference in Philadelphia today. Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins and PLBC Chairman Stephen Kinsey said it was long past time for the many people who have been impacted by gun violence to receive true acknowledgement and justice for their pain. They said the delegations they lead have worked for years to enact sensible gun-safety measures in the state but have been hampered by a Republican majority legislature determined to give no one in the state the ability to reduce gun violence and save lives. “Philadelphia and municipalities across the state took action tragedy after tragedy on behalf of the residents they serve when the state would not, only to be met with callous laws specifically designed to prevent them from doing so,” Dawkins said. “I am equally tired of the hallow promises to help reduce gun violence being made by the Republican majority following each tragedy. They hold the power to move the commonsense gun safety legislation we put forward. Yet, they continue to deny 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

 

Dawkins announces $166,027 in grants to help local schools during COVID-19 pandemic

(Aug 26, 2020)

Ahead of the upcoming school year, state Rep. Jason Dawkins announced today $166,027 in grants are going to help local schools improve educational services for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dawkins, these state resources are part of the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Funds aimed at assisting schools and other educational agencies that are designated for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Funding is being provided to the following schools: Warren G. Harding Middle School: $88,811. James J. Sullivan Elementary School : $77,216. "During this public health crisis, safety must be the top priority," said Dawkins, D-Phila. "This funding will help our schools who need it most adapt to the challenges created by the coronavirus and allow quality learning to continue while putting the health and well-being of students and teachers first." 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 Read more

 

Police Reform Working Group issues statement on Vice President Pence’s visit with the Fraternal Order of Police

(Jul 09, 2020)

In response to Vice President Mike Pence visiting with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, the Police Reform Working Group, made up of state and county elected officials and advocates, released the following statement:“As members of the Police Reform Working Group, we believe that the path to achieving community safety and racial justice in Pennsylvania must be two-fold. First, we must improve our current system of policing through accountability, oversight, and tangible policy changes that will diminish instances of police brutality against all citizens, but especially against the Black community. Second, we must work with communities to transform and re-envision policing itself through bold systemic changes that center around those most impacted by police violence and structural racism. Read more

 

Action on police reform the first step, but many more to come

(Jun 30, 2020)

In response to the Pennsylvania Senate passing H.Bs. 1841 and 1910, state Reps. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., House Democratic whip, Joanna McClinton, D-Phila., House Democratic chair, Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., Philadelphia Delegation chairman, Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, Allegheny Delegation chairman, Dan Williams, D-Chester, Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, and Chris Rabb, D-Phila., released the following statement:“In Harrisburg, the legislative process can often be slow and grinding. However, in times of crisis, slow and grinding is unacceptable. The passage of these two police reform bills in only a month’s time reflects the fact that when people take to the streets and demand action from their elected officials, we as a General Assembly are capable of working deliberatively and quickly. Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation: police accountability reforms are coming

(Jun 30, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 30 – Today, state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., and chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation, announced that two police reform bills passed the Senate and sent to the governor’s desk for his signature. “It has been a group effort passing meaningful reforms to help better equip law enforcement to handle the mental and physical pressures of the job,” Dawkins said. “I am grateful to my colleagues in the House and everyone on the Police Reform Working Group for their tireless work organizing effective protests and championing these important bills.” House Bill 1910 would require officers to receive training to recognize the signs of child abuse and childhood trauma. It includes an amendment containing Dawkins’ own legislation that would require officers to undergo PTSD training after incidents involving deadly force. It also would allow commanding officers to request tests as needed, and the bill would call for increased training for officers to better understand PTSD. House Bill 1841 would require employers to disclose employment information to a law enforcement agency that is conducting a background investigation of an applicant, and to permit a court to compel the release of such employment information if the employer fails to comply. It also would free the applicant’s previous employers from civil liability for sharing employment information in good faith with a police Read more

 

Dawkins: Police reform bills pass House vote

(Jun 24, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced that H.B. 1910 and H.B. 1841 passed the House toda y. House Bill 1910, sponsored by state Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, would require police officers to receive training to recognize the signs of child abuse and childhood trauma. It includes an amendment containing Dawkins’ own legislation that would require officers to undergo PTSD training after incidents involving deadly force. It would also allow commanding officers to request tests as needed, and it calls for increased training for officers to better understand PTSD. “These reforms are long overdue,” Dawkins said. “The community should be served by officers who are mentally fit for the job and who have not shown a history of abusing power. This is a great first step to keep people safe, and to make sure law enforcement officers have the support they need. The collaborative efforts of many members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, Philadelphia Delegation and the House Democratic Caucus made this possible. We will need to continue this collaboration to achieve all we need to.” House Bill 1841, sponsored by state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, would require employers to disclose employment information to a law enforcement agency that is conducting a background investigation of an applicant, and to permit a court to compel the release of such employment information if the employer Read more

 

Philadelphia lawmakers lay out path for a ‘Just Recovery’ in Pa.

(Jun 18, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 18 – Philadelphia lawmakers today held a virtual news conference to lay out the steps the Pennsylvania legislature must take to create a just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the calls for racial justice demanded by Pennsylvanians across the state are acted on. State Sen. Vince Hughes and state Reps. Jordan Harris and Jason Dawkins each addressed aspects of a plan to ensure a living wage and a fair return to work for all Pennsylvanians, great schools and a superior education for all from pre-school through college; career and technical training; access to quality health care and testing; a roof over every head; tax cuts for working families to ensure no one is taxed into poverty; and safe voting options and integrity to guarantee every voice is heard and every vote is counted. The lawmakers said all of these things should be available to all Pennsylvanians, especially marginalized communities that have suffered most during the COVID-19 pandemic and at the hands of a systemic system of bigotry and racism in not just law enforcement, but also in education, health care, housing, wages and working conditions. “The current crisis, both the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest stemming from systemic racism, have shown that the way things were simply wasn’t working for too many Pennsylvanians,” Harris said. “We can’t go back to a broken system. Instead, we must reform nearly all aspects of our Read more

 

Dawkins: Police PTSD testing bill passes House Judiciary vote

(Jun 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 15 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced that his police reform legislation (H.B. 1551) was amended into H.B. 1910 today in the House Judiciary Committee, where it passed unanimously. House Bill 1910 would require officers to receive training to recognize the signs of child abuse and childhood trauma. Dawkins’ addition would require officers to undergo PTSD training after incidents involving deadly force. It would also allow commanding officers to request tests as needed, and it calls for increased training for officers to better understand PTSD. “Officers see unthinkable things on the job that could traumatize and desensitize anyone. I’m glad this important legislation is advancing so that we can make sure police officers are mentally fit to keep working safely,” Dawkins said. “This kind of direct action is how we will instill faith in police officers again, so our communities feel protected. There is more work to do and we are not backing down.” Read more

 

Kinsey, Dawkins to introduce bipartisan legislation outlawing use of chokeholds by law enforcement

(Jun 11, 2020)

In light of the death of George Floyd, another unarmed African American killed by a police officer – in this case, by one who applied unwarranted pressure to the victim’s airway for over eight minutes – Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairman state Rep. Stephen Kinsey and Philadelphia House Delegation Chairman state Rep. Jason Dawkins are introducing legislation to ban the use of chokeholds or any maneuver that could lead to asphyxia. Read more

 

Police Reform Working Group looks forward to working with Mayor Kenney

(Jun 09, 2020)

The Police Reform Working Group, a collection of elected officials and advocates working to bring accountability and transparency reforms to law enforcement, released the following statement in response to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s commitment to police reform: “To bring about true and meaningful law enforcement reform, we must work together with leaders at all levels of government so the voices of those we represent can be heard and forward-thinking change achieved. We’ve already had several conversations with Mayor Kenney’s administration and those discussions have been promising. We appreciate the mayor’s willingness to listen and believe that his announcement today is the first step in what will be a long, but productive, journey to reform. Read more

 

Dawkins, Philadelphia Delegation members protest police brutality

(Jun 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – Today, state Rep. Jason Dawkins and other members of the House Philadelphia Delegation joined a protest on the speaker’s rostrum against police brutality. “The recent death of George Floyd has served as a hurtful reminder of the injustices that exist throughout our society,” Dawkins said. “People in our communities are understandably sad and angry. We need to show people across the commonwealth that the House stands committed to ending racism across our state.” “The world we are fighting for- one with healthy, fully funded schools, healthcare, and housing for all, one where our government serves people over profits, where our neighborhoods experience safety without trauma and injustice- the only way that world is possible is if we dismantle the structural racism that upholds these current systems,” Rep. Fiedler, D-Phila. and delegation secretary, said. “For 13 days, folks have been protesting in the streets, demanding that we actually do something. Now we are here demanding the same thing,” Rep. Kenyatta, D-Phila., and delegation vice chairman, said. “We demand that we get meaningful police reform passed out of the Pennsylvania House. It’s the people’s house, and if we ain’t doing the people’s business, then we ain’t doing business.” Following the protest, House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, said he would welcome a special Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation leaders welcome Gov. Wolf’s action on police reform and accountability

(Jun 04, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 4 – Leaders of the House Philadelphia Delegation today praised Gov. Tom Wolf for acting on concerns raised by delegation members and Philadelphia public officials. On the heels of public protests in Philadelphia and across the nation following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Wolf today outlined a proposal to improve law enforcement relations with the community and strengthen training and accountability, especially as it relates to institutional racial targeting and discrimination by law enforcement. “Since May 25, the day a bad police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while other bad police officers stood by and did nothing, the nation and world have risen up in protest to say enough is enough and demand change,” said Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins, D-Phila. “Today, Governor Wolf has set Pennsylvania on a course to making that happen. I thank the governor for hearing our collective voices and working with us to address the concerns of the unheard. I am proud of the work that has been done by the Police Reform Working Group, who started working on these reforms long before Mr. Floyd sadly took his last breath.” The Police Reform Working Group, of which Dawkins is a member, includes state and local elected lawmakers, the chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, as well as several attorneys. Earlier this week the working group put Read more

 

Police Reform Working Group releases statement on progress toward reform

(Jun 04, 2020)

The Police Reform Working Group, a collection of elected officials and advocates working to bring accountability and transparency reforms to law enforcement, released the following statement on Gov. Tom Wolf’s adoption today of their request for a state-level deputy inspector general aimed at improving law enforcement conduct, as well as Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s, along with the Fraternal Order of Police’s, support of a confidential database to track complaints against police officers: Read more

 

Philadelphia elected officials call for state, local reform of community-police relationships

(Jun 02, 2020)

In the midst of civil unrest across Pennsylvania ignited by the murder of George Floyd, elected officials from Philadelphia introduced a series of much-needed reforms aimed at improving community/police relationships. Read more

 

Philadelphia House leaders applaud passage of $2.6 billion in CARES funding

(May 29, 2020)

House leaders from the Philadelphia Delegation led by Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, Democratic Chairwoman Joanna McClinton, Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins, and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Stephen Kinsey, today applauded the passage of legislation that would deliver $2.6 billion of federal coronavirus aid to Pennsylvania’s hardest hit communities and help small businesses, schools and seniors. Read more

 

Philly lawmakers outraged over GOP secrecy in positive COVID-19 case at state Capitol

(May 27, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 27 – State Reps. Jason Dawkins, Malcolm Kenyatta and Elizabeth Fiedler, all leaders of the Philadelphia Delegation in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, today said they were stunned upon learning the news that House Republican leaders kept secret the fact that a state legislator who worked among fellow lawmakers and staff tested positive for COVID-19. State Rep. Andrew Lewis, R-Dauphin, said in a news release today that he tested positive for COVID-19 on May 20 and informed the “House of Representatives” and the Republican Caucus human relations department. Lebanon County Republican Rep. Russ Diamond also said today he was aware of it on May 21. Dawkins said that while Republicans may have been informed of Lewis testing positive for the deadly virus, and while multiple Republican members went into self-quarantine as a result, not a single Democratic lawmaker was informed, including Democratic leadership. “To say I am outraged at this reckless behavior by House Republican leadership is an understatement,” said Dawkins, chairman of the delegation. “Any lawmaker or staff who came in contact with this representative during committee meetings and during House session was put at risk. And, in turn, they may have put their own families at risk. The withholding of this information is a blatant disregard of human life and the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed thousands of Read more

 

Philadelphia House leaders secure 100,000 face masks for Philadelphians working on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic

(May 14, 2020)

Calling it an example of working together for the greater good of Philadelphia, House leaders from the Philadelphia Delegation led by Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, Democratic Chairwoman Joanna McClinton, Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins, and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chairman Stephen Kinsey, announced today a partnership with Lowe’s that has delivered 100,000 essential face masks to frontline workers in Philadelphia. Read more

 

Democratic legislators applaud state Supreme Court decision to halt evictions

(Mar 18, 2020)

HARRISBURG, March 18 – Following the announcement that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would be halting all eviction notices, multiple House Democrats, who earlier in the day requested this halt, issued the following statement: “We’re extremely appreciative to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for showing judicious leadership in halting all evictions statewide through at least April 3 and possibly beyond depending on the COVID-19 pandemic. “As we continually urge Pennsylvanians to stay home out of great concern for their personal health as well as the health of their community, it’s unconscionable that they could still be evicted and thrown into a world of instability when stability is what they need most. This halting of evictions doesn’t only help the homeowner or lessee, it helps the entire community. “Far too many people are living paycheck to paycheck and now face the real situation of being out of work for an extended period of time. Ensuring they have a roof over their heads for the foreseeable future isn’t simply the right thing to do, it’s the moral thing to do.” The following House Democratic legislators signed on to a letter, which can be viewed here, requesting the Pennsylvania Supreme Court halt all eviction proceedings: Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny. Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, D-Phila. State Rep. Mary Isaacson, D-Phila. State Read more

 

Letter to Justice Saylor asking to suspend evictions

(Mar 18, 2020)

Letter to Chief Justice Saylor asking to expand a directive in Pennsylvania to include all foreclosures and evictions, beyond those processed through HUD. Read more

 

State lawmakers representing Philadelphia welcome lawsuit against commonwealth, legislature for restricting gun-safety measures
Oct 07, 2020

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

Dawkins announces $166,027 in grants to help local schools during COVID-19 pandemic
Aug 26, 2020

Police Reform Working Group issues statement on Vice President Pence’s visit with the Fraternal Order of Police
Jul 09, 2020

Action on police reform the first step, but many more to come
Jun 30, 2020

Philadelphia House Delegation: police accountability reforms are coming
Jun 30, 2020

Dawkins: Police reform bills pass House vote
Jun 24, 2020

Philadelphia lawmakers lay out path for a ‘Just Recovery’ in Pa.
Jun 18, 2020

Dawkins: Police PTSD testing bill passes House Judiciary vote
Jun 15, 2020

Kinsey, Dawkins to introduce bipartisan legislation outlawing use of chokeholds by law enforcement
Jun 11, 2020

Police Reform Working Group looks forward to working with Mayor Kenney
Jun 09, 2020

Dawkins, Philadelphia Delegation members protest police brutality
Jun 08, 2020

Philadelphia House Delegation leaders welcome Gov. Wolf’s action on police reform and accountability
Jun 04, 2020

Police Reform Working Group releases statement on progress toward reform
Jun 04, 2020

Philadelphia elected officials call for state, local reform of community-police relationships
Jun 02, 2020

Philadelphia House leaders applaud passage of $2.6 billion in CARES funding
May 29, 2020

Philly lawmakers outraged over GOP secrecy in positive COVID-19 case at state Capitol
May 27, 2020

Philadelphia House leaders secure 100,000 face masks for Philadelphians working on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic
May 14, 2020

Democratic legislators applaud state Supreme Court decision to halt evictions
Mar 18, 2020

Letter to Justice Saylor asking to suspend evictions
Mar 18, 2020