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Philadelphia House Delegation: police accountability reforms are coming

Dawkins introduces bill to designate Officer Gary Frank Skerski Memorial Bridge

(Sep 12, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 12 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., has announced plans to introduce legislation that would designate a bridge on a portion of State Route 1005, also known as Castor Avenue, as the Officer Gary Frank Skerski Memorial Bridge. Officer Gary Frank Skerski was shot and killed in the line of duty on May 6, 2006, while responding to a reported armed robbery at a café near the intersection of Arrott and Adams avenues in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. “We always name bridges after presidents and generals, and that is well and good," said Dawkins. “But this man was a hero in the truest sense of the word. He devoted and gave his life to protect our people. We will always remember his sacrifice and we will work to keep his legacy alive.” Officer Skerski had served with the Philadelphia Police Department for 16 years and was assigned to the 15th District. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, the League of Sacred Heart of Jesus, and was a parishioner of Saint Adalbert Roman Catholic Church in Port Richmond. Reps. Angel Cruz and John Taylor are co-sponsors of the bill. Dawkins said he is hopeful of swift House passage. Read more

 

Dawkins to host Autism Parent Café on Sept. 23

(Sep 07, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 7 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., will host an Autism Parent Café from 10 a.m. noon Saturday, Sept. 23 at his district office, 4667 Paul St., Philadelphia . “Stigma towards autism has often been difficult to tackle because it affects everyone differently and because our society is full of stereotypes. With a better understanding, we can defeat those stereotypes and improve the lives of affected families,” said Dawkins. “This event is aimed at gathering information and developing solutions to increase the chances of effective support, lower incidents of bullying at school and amplify employment opportunities, so people with autism can thrive taking part in our society.” The event is family friendly and will feature resources for parents, caretakers and educators: How communities can get involved to support families affected by autism. Meet and discuss challenges, celebrate success and share knowledge. Connect with other parents, autism support groups and agencies. Dawkins and his staff will provide assistance on any state-related issue constituents may have. More information about the event is available by calling Dawkins’ office at (215)744-7901. Read more

 

Confederate monument removals: The Great Distractor

(Sep 06, 2017)

It has been impossible to avoid the news on the contentious debate surrounding the removal of confederate memorial statues. Citizens have been asked to organize and mobilize until these statues, and the discriminatory and bigoted views they represent, are removed. I believe that these actions, while desperately needed, stop short of calling out the larger and more systemic need for change in our communities. As a result, we must create a deeper and much more wide-reaching change than the mere removal of a statue or monument. We could focus not on viewing confederate memorials as divisive monuments, but instead use them as reminders to apply ourselves as minority citizens. These statues should be used as symbolic motivators to create the change we know we so desperately need to see in our community. When we hear of confederate heroes and stories of southern heritage, we cannot become enveloped in anger. Instead, we must reflect inward and ask how we are making ourselves and our community better. Frederick Douglass once said that “learning will forever unfit an individual to be a slave.” As trite and clichéd as it may sound, knowledge is power. If ignorance constrains us, then knowledge is what allows us to break free from our shackles, both physically and metaphorically. That freedom is a naked threat to those who wish to preserve the status quo and maintain power balances as they currently exist in America. This threat, this fear of an educated Read more

 

Dawkins to introduce legislation requiring PTSD testing for law enforcement

(Aug 29, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 29 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today said he is currently seeking co-sponsors for his legislation that would assist with maintaining the mental health of law enforcement officers in the commonwealth. The legislation would require police officers to undergo Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder evaluations every other year and within 30 days of an incident in which lethal force is used. “Being in law enforcement is a very demanding and stressful job. These brave men and women put their lives on the line every day to keep our families and communities safe,” Dawkins said. “That demand can certainly take a toll on a police officer mentally and with dangerous consequences.” Dawkins noted there are numerous incidents that can cause PTSD in police officers, such as hostage situations, dangerous drug busts, fatal crashes, and other cases that involve serious injury or death to the people involved in the incident. Other stressful situations that could trigger PTSD include working long hours, handling people’s attitudes, waiting for the next call and not knowing how the situation will play out, and even politics within the police department. “While many of these factors seem to be a part of the job, the repeated exposure can be unhealthy for a police officer,” Dawkins said. “Many times, they suffer in silence and rein in their own emotions to serve the community. “By requiring our law enforcement Read more

 

Dawkins sponsoring Women’s Health Fair on Sept. 9

(Aug 15, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., will sponsor a Women’s Health Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Northeast Frankford Boys and Girls Club, 1709 Kinsey St. “My women’s health fair is a perfect opportunity for women of the 179 th Legislative District to get routine checkups that can help them stay healthy and reach their wellness goals. Attendees will receive free screenings – and get lots of health questions answered -- by making just one visit,” Dawkins said. “I think it’s very important for the health and safety of my constituents who may not have access to health care that my office provides this type of event.” The health fair will feature services from a wide range of health-related fields, including: Cancer care Health insurance Behavioral health Medical equipment Women’s-issues-focused counseling Opioid addiction help Sexual violence prevention Fitness Dawkins and his staff will provide assistance for constituents applying for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid and the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. Local and state organizations will also be available on site. For more information about the health fair, please call Dawkins’ office at (215)744-7901 or visit www.pahouse.com/Dawkins . Read more

 

Dawkins announces Third Annual Frankford Community Day

(Jul 24, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, July 24 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins has announced that he will host his third annual Frankford Community Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12 at the Gambrel Playground, 1900 Wakeling St., Frankford. “I am excited to host my third annual community day in Frankford,” Dawkins said. “For the past two years, I have been able to bring my community together and provide them with various resources to meet their needs. I look forward to this year’s event, meeting my neighbors face-to-face, and addressing any issues they have.” Dawkins said the free event will feature carnival and video games, as well as live entertainment. Represetatives from local and state agencies will also be available to provide information about a variety of social services. Guests include Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, State Senator Christine Tartaglione, Congressman Brendan Boyle, the 23 rd Ward of Philadelphia, the Frankford Community Development Corporation and more. Free refreshments also will be served. For more information, contact Dawkins’ constituent service office at 215-744-7901 ### Read more

 

Dawkins to host criminal record expungement and sealing clinic

(Jul 11, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, July 11 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced he’s hosting a free criminal record expungement and sealing clinic from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 25 at St. Mark’s Church, 4442 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia. “A sealed record can change a person’s quality of life and wellbeing almost instantly. It means more opportunities for employment, education and other benefits that in different circumstances would never become available,” Dawkins said. “This is another effort to give people with criminal record a second chance and deter recidivism.” Criminal record expungement allows a person convicted of a third-degree misdemeanor or a second-degree misdemeanor, if at least 10 years have passed, respectively, since they completed their sentence, to request the opportunity to appear before a judge and request an order for limited access of their criminal record. For more information, residents may contact Dawkins' office at 215-744-7901 . Read more

 

Dawkins Strikes a Blow to Stop and Gos

(Jun 27, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins voted to increase penalties and enforcement against nuisance bars, commonly referred to as “Stop and Gos,” that are a burden on many Philadelphia neighborhoods, dragging down business corridors, hurting communities and lowering quality of life for families. Read more

 

Dawkins applauds House passage of bill to address 'stop and go' nuisances

(Jun 27, 2017)

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., applauded today's House passage of a bill that would address "stop and go" nuisance alcohol-selling businesses in Philadelphia. "I co-sponsored House Bill 1547 because I feel that greater control and a positive benefit to the commonwealth would result from giving local governments and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's Bureau of Licensing the ability to designate areas as saturated nuisance markets," Dawkins said. Under the bill, the LCB would look at the number of citations, police incidents, objections to liquor license renewals and conditional license agreements of eatery and restaurant licensees to determine if a zip code area should be deemed a saturated nuisance market location. In neighborhoods designated as saturated nuisance market areas, violations would be subject to enhanced penalties, fines and suspensions, and the Liquor Control Board would be able to remove licenses from those areas. Saturated nuisance market areas also would have added community input and would be subject to additional conditions such as transaction scan devices and enhanced food preparation requirements. The bill goes to the state Senate for consideration. ### Read more

 

Rep. Dawkins Spring 2017 Newsletter

(Jun 12, 2017)

Thank you for the opportunity to continue serving as your State Representative, it is truly an honor! I continue to focus my work on issues that I believe best represent the concerns and values we share as residents of Philadelphia. Understanding that the population of non-English speakers continues to increase, I've decided to include Spanish language information in my newsletter and contribute to make Pennsylvania a welcoming and inclusive place to live. Read more

 

Dawkins: Shots & Slots No Good for Philly

(Jun 08, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins speaks against expanding gaming in Pennsylvania. This legislation would potentially allow "Stop and Gos" in Philadelphia neighborhoods to add Video Gaming Terminals, further deteriorating the quality of life in the surrounding communities. Read more

 

Dawkins condemns gambling expansion bill

(Jun 08, 2017)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., voted against legislation that would dramatically expand gambling in Pennsylvania. Dawkins said the expansion would not only saturate the gambling market at the expense of the Pennsylvania Lottery and the senior citizens programs it supports, it would further threaten the safety and quality of life of residents in the neighborhoods he serves and throughout Philadelphia. House Bill 271 includes authorizing up to 30,000 locations for video gaming terminals at licensed liquor retailers and establishments by the end of 2018 and 40,000 by 2020, as well as gambling tablets or “iGaming” at Pennsylvania’s six international airports, including Philadelphia. Dawkins added the "stop and go" liquor businesses that have been such a problem in Philadelphia would be eligible and that there is no distribution formula for ensuring that Philadelphia neighborhoods are not saddled with the majority of machines. “My concern is about the stop and go locations. It is a fact that 75 percent of gamblers have a drinking disorder. We have a saturation of stop and go’s in Philadelphia and this constitutes another challenge for us,” Dawkins said. “When you live in communities like mine, when you see poverty, addiction and opioid abuse, you can’t understand how we are putting another potential problem in our city. “It’s impossible not to think about our Read more

 

Dawkins Securing ADA Compliance for Recovery Houses

(Jun 07, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins authored legislation that would require drug & alcohol recovery houses to be compliant with ADA requirements. Dawkins' legislation was offered as an amendment to a bill in a larger package addressing the state's opioid epidemic. Read more

 

Recovery-house bill that includes Dawkins’ amendment passes House

(Jun 07, 2017)

HARRISBURG, June 7 – The state House of Representatives today passed a bill (H.B. 119) that includes an amendment by Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., which would ensure that all drug and alcohol recovery houses in Pennsylvania comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Dawkins’ amendment would prohibit drug and alcohol recovery houses throughout Pennsylvania from discriminating against people with a physical or mental disability, including substance abuse disorders. "I am happy to see that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is finally taking the issue of drug recovery seriously," Dawkins said. "I would like to thank Representative Kaufer for bringing the bill forward and for the opportunity to bring all of the new recovery houses in the Commonwealth in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990." To receive taxpayer funding and be deemed compliant, drug and alcohol recovery houses would have to meet the new standards set forth within the bill by the amendment. "Drug and alcohol recovery houses shelter and treat our most vulnerable residents," Dawkins said. "We have to make sure that they meet the same standards of accessibility as other medical facilities throughout the Commonwealth. This amendment would help to ensure that." The bill now goes to the state Senate. Read more

 

Dawkins introduces bill to eliminate state government language barriers

(Apr 19, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 19 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., introduced a bill to require state departments and agencies, elected row offices, and the General Assembly to craft language access plans to better serve Pennsylvania residents with a limited ability to speak or write in English. House Bill 1241 would require these language access plans to identify all languages spoken by at least 3 percent of the population they serve, and provide vital documents and informational materials in those languages. It also requires that oral, in-person interpretive services be provided in languages encountered at least weekly. “All Pennsylvanians should have equal access to their government,” Dawkins said. “Our departments and agencies cannot fulfill their missions if there are 500,000 people in the state they can’t communicate with. This is a matter of protecting our residents’ health, rights and well-being.” The bill would require state agencies to submit their language access plans to the secretary of administration, who would provide central coordination and technical assistance. The secretary also would make these plans available online for the public to review. In addition to entities under the authority of the governor, the attorney general, auditor general and treasurer as well as the state House and Senate would be required to publish and implement language access plans under the bill. “As the population of non-English Read more

 

Dawkins denounces H.B. 741 for reviving unconstitutional mandatory minimums

(Mar 21, 2017)

HARRISBURG, March 21 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., voiced his strong opposition to H.B. 741, which aims to revive mandatory minimum sentences for a number of drug-related offenses. The bill was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee today. "Bringing back mandatory minimums for non-violent drug offenses is bad policy, and the majority of the public supports putting this era behind us," Dawkins said. "We need to ensure that judges can use their discretion and expertise to best serve the public in each case that comes before their court, instead of making demands from Harrisburg." House Bill 741 seeks to revive mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes that were ruled unconstitutional in cases before both the Pennsylvania and U.S. supreme courts. It also would increase sentences for certain offenses. "We need to face head on the challenges that our communities face with drugs and addiction," Dawkins said. "Increasing the prison population and placing greater strain on the Commonwealth’s budget will only make it harder to deliver the solutions that our constituents are demanding." Dawkins has been a leader on criminal justice issues in the House, where he has spoken out against mandatory minimums and introduced legislation to bring needed reforms to the state’s sentencing laws. ### Read more

 

Dawkins testifies at Philadelphia City Council hearing on Pa.'s Health Choices program

(Mar 10, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, March 10 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., testified today before Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on the Disabled and Persons with Special Needs about Pennsylvania’s Health Choices program. At the hearing, Dawkins spoke about the state Department of Human Services procurement process for managed-care organizations. "Between the initial RFP and today, the process has been plagued by litigation, cancelled awards, scoring errors and lack of transparency," Dawkins said. "I have two primary concerns with these developments. First, that they run counter to some of the early lessons we’ve learned through the roll-out of the Medicaid expansion. And second, that this saga demonstrates the urgent need for reform to the way our state conducts procurement." Dawkins expressed concern that the process could impact health outcomes for patients, and increase costs for taxpayers. He also called for reforms to the procurement process. "The opaque nature of the department's requirements and scoring process has been cause for significant concern. It has resulted in the process being interrupted and contested by numerous parties at multiple stages. And even at this late date, the awards are being questioned," Dawkins said. "I am also troubled by the role the Commonwealth’s policy towards small and diverse business enterprises played in this process. This was reportedly one of the metrics that Read more

 

Dawkins condemns DA’s decision to seek life without parole for juveniles

(Mar 06, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, March 6 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., voiced his strong opposition to District Attorney Seth Williams’ decision to seek life without parole sentences in at least three cases with juvenile defendants. “Last year, District Attorney Williams did what was right, and announced that he would no longer pursue life without parole for those under 18 years old,” Dawkins said. “It is disheartening to see him go back on his word, and I condemn in the strongest terms his decision to revive a punishment the Supreme Court has called cruel and unusual.” In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory sentences of life without parole for juvenile offenders violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The court later held in Montgomery v. Louisiana that its decision in Miller applied retroactively. Dawkins said as the courts began resentencing hearings, Williams announced that his office “will not be asking for cases going forward for life without the possibility of parole for people under the age of 18” in order “to give all of these individuals some light at the end of the tunnel.” “I hope that the district attorney returns to his original position, and provides these individuals – whose decades in prison began in their teenage years – what he once called ‘some light at the end of the tunnel,’” Dawkins said. Read more

 

Dawkins supports Wolf’s choice for deputy secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities

(Mar 02, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, March 2 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila, voiced his support today for Gov. Tom Wolf’s appointment of Kerry L. Kirkland to serve as the deputy secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities in the Pennsylvania Department of General Services. “I have introduced legislation to modify our state’s procurement system to encourage the participation of women and minority-owned enterprises, and I’ve worked with Governor Wolf on his administration’s reform efforts,” Dawkins said. “The creation of this position, designed to facilitate the governor’s efforts to improve state contracting for minority businesses, is a great step in the right direction. Deputy Secretary Kirkland’s experience in the public and private sectors make him an ideal choice, and I look forward to working with him.” According to the governor’s office, Deputy Secretary Kirkland will serve as the senior public official to represent and advise the administration and the department on all matters related to the development of statewide policies and programs to substantially increase the participation of small diverse businesses (SDBs) and small businesses (SBs) in commonwealth contracting and in Pennsylvania’s overall economy. In the 2015-16 session, Dawkins introduced H.B. 2166, which would amend the Procurement Code to encourage the participation of minority and women-owned Read more

 

Dawkins, Cephas to introduce bill to help grieving families

(Feb 28, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 28 – State Reps. Jason Dawkins and Morgan Cephas, both D-Phila., plan to introduce a bill that would require funeral homes to provide pricing information when requested and post that information on their website, if they have one, in an effort to assist and protect grieving families. "No grieving family should be required to spend lengthy hours of their time researching the cost of providing funeral services for their loved one," Dawkins said. "This legislation would allow families more time to focus on mourning their loss and celebrating the life of the deceased while providing peace of mind that they aren’t being taken advantage of." The bill would require funeral directors to provide a written or printed list of prices and goods offered at the beginning of any conversation about prices, professional services offered and goods. The lists also would include preparation of the body, use of facilities, use of automotive equipment and casket options. Cephas said, "During the loss of a loved one, it can be very difficult for some to manage dealing with their grief and for many in my district, the financial hardship that comes along with final expenses. Too often during this vulnerable time people are taken advantage of by bad actors who lack transparency in disseminating information to individuals and families. This legislation works to provide consumers with additional information needed to make cognizant decisions Read more

 

Dawkins introduces bill to designate Officer Gary Frank Skerski Memorial Bridge
Sep 12, 2017

Dawkins to host Autism Parent Café on Sept. 23
Sep 07, 2017

Confederate monument removals: The Great Distractor
Sep 06, 2017

Dawkins to introduce legislation requiring PTSD testing for law enforcement
Aug 29, 2017

Dawkins sponsoring Women’s Health Fair on Sept. 9
Aug 15, 2017

Dawkins announces Third Annual Frankford Community Day
Jul 24, 2017

Dawkins to host criminal record expungement and sealing clinic
Jul 11, 2017

Dawkins Strikes a Blow to Stop and Gos
Jun 27, 2017

Dawkins applauds House passage of bill to address 'stop and go' nuisances
Jun 27, 2017

Rep. Dawkins Spring 2017 Newsletter
Jun 12, 2017

Dawkins: Shots & Slots No Good for Philly
Jun 08, 2017

Dawkins condemns gambling expansion bill
Jun 08, 2017

Dawkins Securing ADA Compliance for Recovery Houses
Jun 07, 2017

Recovery-house bill that includes Dawkins’ amendment passes House
Jun 07, 2017

Dawkins introduces bill to eliminate state government language barriers
Apr 19, 2017

Dawkins denounces H.B. 741 for reviving unconstitutional mandatory minimums
Mar 21, 2017

Dawkins testifies at Philadelphia City Council hearing on Pa.'s Health Choices program
Mar 10, 2017

Dawkins condemns DA’s decision to seek life without parole for juveniles
Mar 06, 2017

Dawkins supports Wolf’s choice for deputy secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities
Mar 02, 2017

Dawkins, Cephas to introduce bill to help grieving families
Feb 28, 2017