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Philadelphia House Delegation: police accountability reforms are coming

Dawkins supports school district’s improvement actions

(Feb 22, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 22 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., voiced his support today for reforms recently ordered by the School District of Philadelphia in 11 area schools intended to improve academic performance and student attendance. The schools were identified last October by the district as needing immediate academic attention and additional support to provide their students with high-quality learning opportunities. Two of the schools, Harding Middle School and John Marshall Elementary School, operate in Dawkins’ district. Harding is one of seven schools selected to receive investments of up to $1 million for school-specific improvement plans designed to keep and hire the best teachers, as well as work to increase engagement with school communities and parents. Harding’s self-developed improvement plan will use technology and personalized learning to reach their goals of increasing student attendance and achievement in math and literacy. “These interventions are an important step towards ensuring children have access to the best educational opportunities possible. I’m particularly enthusiastic that using technology and individualized learning plans are both points of emphasis for improving academic performance and student attendance,” Dawkins said. In addition to the planned investment in Harding, the school district will move three schools, including John Marshall, into the district’s Turnaround Network. The goal of the Read more

 

Dawkins, Grove seek bipartisan task force on Pa. juvenile life sentences

(Feb 06, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 6 – State Reps. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., and Seth Grove, R-York, will reintroduce their bipartisan resolution that would establish a task force on juvenile life sentences. Grove said, "With the U.S. Supreme Court ruling a life sentence for juveniles is cruel and unusual punishment, we as a state must develop policies to address it. I appreciate Representative Dawkins' leadership on this issue and look forward to working with him on ensuring we as a state can develop policies which conform to the court’s rulings." Dawkins said, "Pennsylvania faces a greater challenge than most states in complying with the Supreme Court's rulings, since our state is home to nearly 500 of the nation’s 2,000 'juvenile lifers.' I thank Representative Grove for his commitment to working in a bipartisan way on this vital criminal justice issue." In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life without parole sentences for people who were under 18 at the time of the offense are unconstitutional, and in January 2016, the court ruled in Montgomery v. Louisiana that its decision in Miller must be applied retroactively. The proposed task force would undertake a thorough and comprehensive review of laws, court decisions, policies and procedures. The lawmakers said this would ensure an efficient appeals and post-conviction relief process that would provide just and fair sentences that are Read more

 

Dawkins Legislative Priorities in New Session

(Jan 04, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins discusses his priorities for Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania after taking the Oath of Office for the 2017-18 legislative session. Read more

 

Dawkins sworn into second term in House of Representatives

(Jan 03, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., was sworn into office today during a ceremony at the Capitol for a second term as representative for the 179th Legislative District.The swearing-in ceremony marks the beginning of the 201st session of the General Assembly. The oath of office will be administered by Northampton County Judge Craig Dally. Read more

 

Dawkins elected vice chairman of Philadelphia Delegation in Pa. House

(Nov 15, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 15 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., has been elected as vice chairman of the Philadelphia County Delegation for the 2017-18 legislative session. Dawkins, who was elected to his second term representing the 179th Legislative District last week, was voted to the leadership post by fellow Philadelphia legislators from the Pennsylvania House. He will join the leadership team of delegation Chairwoman Rep. Maria Donatucci and Secretary/Treasurer Joanna McClinton. All three members are newly elected to these positions, which Dawkins said is a benefit. "We bring fresh energy to the leadership of the Philadelphia Delegation," Dawkins said. "I am looking forward to working with all the members of the delegation to move Philadelphia forward." ### Read more

 

Dawkins: Let Judges Judge

(Sep 29, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins took to the House floor to oppose legislation changing mandatory minimum sentences for criminal acts. Dawkins feels strongly that locally elected judges should be left to decide each criminal case based on the facts and circumstances, and not have their judgment overridden by the legislature. Read more

 

Neilson and Dawkins fight to give poll workers a raise for Election Day

(Sep 21, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Reps. Ed Neilson and Jason Dawkins, both D-Phila., urged their colleagues in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to amend legislation under consideration today to raise the minimum pay for poll workers on Election Day. Neilson’s amendment would have increased the minimum compensation for individuals serving as judges or inspectors of election from $75 to $150. Clerks and machine operators would have seen their minimum compensation raise from $70 to $140. “The hard-working men and women who serve our communities on Election Day are a vital component in preserving our democracy,” Neilson said. “Without them, the integrity and efficacy of our elections would be nonexistent.” Dawkins’ amendment would have set a fixed rate of pay for judges of election, inspectors of election, clerks and machine operators at a minimum of $10.10 per hour. "Poll workers have not seen a pay increase in 10 years, while legislators in Harrisburg get one every year," Dawkins said. "This is unfair, and the time has come to provide fair pay to the people who serve our communities and make sure our elections run effectively and efficiently." Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley said she was disheartened to see efforts to ensure fair wages for hard-working poll workers throughout the state defeated. “One must consider the rationale of the legislators who voted no. Would they work a 14-hour day and earn $6.78 per hour as an inspector of election, or $7.14 Read more

 

Fall 2016 Newsletter

(Sep 14, 2016)

Fall 2016 Newsletter Read more

 

Reps Kinsey and Dawkins hear testimony to extend parole eligibility for life sentences

(Sep 13, 2016)

State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Jason Dawkins, both D-Phila.,co-chaired a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on legislation, H.B. 2135 , introduced by Dawkins, which would abolish life without parole in Pennsylvania and extend parole eligibility to people sentenced to life imprisonment. Kinsey said the bill would allow the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole to consider the circumstances of each inmate serving a life sentence. “So many people could be impacted by House Bill 2135 that I think it is important for us, as legislators, to hear from our constituents on this very important matter,” Kinsey said. “Today’s hearing highlights the need for prison sentencing reform. A continuum review of profiling, mandatory minimum sentences, prison overcrowding, halfway houses, drug and alcohol treatment, and life sentences need to be a part of this discussion. Representatives Kinsey and Dawkins are strong advocates of reform and I thank them for hosting today’s hearing,” said committee Chairman Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. "Those sentenced to life in Pennsylvania have no chance of release, even if their age or health make it extremely unlikely that they will ever reoffend," Dawkins said. "Not only is this an injustice to those who are incarcerated and have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation, it also is fiscally irresponsible to require taxpayers to foot the bill for sentences that are longer than Read more

 

Dawkins announces Second Annual Frankford Community Day

(Aug 09, 2016)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 9 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today announced the second annual Frankford Community Day and Gospel Concert Series, which will be held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13 at the Gambrel Playground, 1900 Wakeling St., Frankford. “I'm very excited to bring the community together and meet new people in my district," Dawkins said. “We will have something for everyone, so bring your entire family.” Dawkins said the event will feature carnival games, a dunk tank, moon bounces, water slides, live music and a book bag giveaway for children. Representatives from local and state agencies will also be available to provide information about a variety of social services. Free refreshments also will be served. For more information, contact Dawkins’ constituent service office at 215-744-7901 . ### Read more

 

Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program deadline extended to Dec. 31

(Jun 30, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, said the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 has been extended from June 30 to Dec. 31. Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older qualify for the benefits under the program. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income and any COLAs are excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates can boost the amount up to $975. "This vital program benefits thousands of Pennsylvania seniors, and my office welcomes anyone who needs help completing an application or finding out if they’re eligible,” Dawkins said. Dawkins’s office is located at 4915 Frankford Avenue. Constituents can also contact the office at (215) 744-7901 . The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is one of five programs supported by the Pennsylvania Lottery. Since the program’s 1971 inception, older and disabled adults have received more than $5.6 billion in property tax and rent relief. The expanded portion of the rebate program is paid for with revenue from slots gaming. For more information about the program, go to www.revenue.pa.gov . Read more

 

Dawkins Supports Reforming Life Sentences

(Jun 23, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Jason Dawkins comments on the importance of reforming life sentences for certain inmates, giving them a chance to have a parole hearing when certain criteria are met. Read more

 

Dawkins bill would create task force to study juvenile life sentences

(Jun 08, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today introduced legislation that would establish the Task Force on Juvenile Life Sentences. Dawkins said the task force would develop recommendations on how to best handle appeals and applications for post-conviction relief from the hundreds of people who were sentenced to mandatory life without parole when they were under 18. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life without parole sentences for people who were under 18 at the time of the offense are unconstitutional. Then, on Jan. 25, 2016, the court ruled in Montgomery v. Louisiana that its decision in Miller must be applied retroactively. Dawkins says that this creates a greater challenge for Pennsylvania to comply with Miller and Montgomery than most states, as it is home to nearly 500 of the nation’s 2,000 "juvenile lifers." "My legislation calls for a thorough and comprehensive review of laws, court decisions, policies and procedures," Dawkins said. "This will ensure an efficient appeals and post-conviction relief process that will provide just and fair sentences that are in line with the Supreme Court's rulings in Miller v. Alabama and Montgomery v. Louisiana ." The task force would be comprised of 11 experts knowledgeable and experienced in issues relating to criminal appeals, post-conviction relief, and the appropriate sentencing of youth offenders. It would be Read more

 

Dawkins bill would eliminate life without parole sentences

(Jun 07, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 7 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., introduced legislation that would abolish sentences of life without parole in Pennsylvania and extend parole eligibility to those already sentenced to life imprisonment. Specifically, Dawkins’s bill would permit a person sentenced to life imprisonment to be released on parole after spending at least 15 years in prison. It also would extend parole eligibility retroactively to those sentenced before the legislation's effective date. Dawkins said that all life sentences in Pennsylvania are imposed without the possibility of parole, which means that people sentenced to life imprisonment may not be considered for parole, no matter how much they have reformed themselves and no matter how unlikely they are to reoffend. "Those sentenced to life in Pennsylvania have no chance of release, even if their age or health make it extremely unlikely that they will ever reoffend," Dawkins said. "Not only is this an injustice to those who are incarcerated and have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation, it also is fiscally irresponsible to require taxpayers to foot the bill for sentences that are longer than necessary." Dawkins added that his bill would not grant a right to parole, and that the Board of Probation and Parole would continue to thoroughly examine parole requests. "The Board of Probation and Parole will continue to carefully consider requests for parole. This bill Read more

 

Bill to waive fees for identification cards assigned to Transportation Committee

(May 03, 2016)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., announced today that his bill, H.B. 2033 , that would require the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to waive the fee for identification cards for applicants that are low-income, disabled, or experiencing homelessness was assigned to the House Transportation Committee for consideration. The current application fee for an identification card is $28.50. Dawkins said the cost can be prohibitively expensive to those Pennsylvanians who are struggling to get by, and lacking proper identification can be an immense barrier to accessing employment, educational opportunities, financial services, and government programs. Waiving this fee, while having little effect on PennDOT’s revenue, will have a profound impact on those for whom a government-issued photo ID would otherwise be out of reach. “Ensuring that all Pennsylvanians have access to a government-issued photo ID is critical,” Dawkins said. “You need an ID to get a job or an apartment, enroll in school, or open a bank account. We need to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens aren’t needlessly held back simply because they can’t afford such a high fee.” ### Read more

 

Area ambulance companies receive nearly $29,000 in state grants

(Apr 21, 2016)

PHILADELPHIA, April 21 -- State Reps. Mike Driscoll, Ed Neilson, Jason Dawkins and Kevin Boyle announced today that four ambulance companies in Northeast Philadelphia are sharing nearly $29,000 in state grants. "First responders are essential to public safety, and these grants provide them with resources so they can remain more focused on saving lives than on raising funds," Driscoll said. "These men and women make a tremendous sacrifice, and I applaud their service to our communities." The grants are from Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program and were awarded in February. In all, 2,538 grants were awarded statewide. The grants are partly funded from gaming revenue. "Northeast Philadelphia relies on these ambulance companies and their volunteers to be there for us when every second counts," Neilson said. "These grants will help them continue to provide this invaluable services to our community." Grant recipients and amounts awarded in Northeast Philadelphia are as follows: • Northeast First Aid Corps – $7,202 • Burholme First Aid Corps Inc. – $7,202 • Rhawnhurst Bustleton Ambulance Association Inc. – $7,202 • Wissinoming Volunteer First Aid Corps – $7,202 "Serving on the front lines whenever there is a fire, accident or other calamity, these essential service providers are among the most worthy recipients of state aid," Dawkins said. "These funds will allow them to continue their mission of providing life-saving services for our Read more

 

Dawkins: Invest in the Future of Pa

(Mar 20, 2016)

Pa. House Rep. Jason Dawkins wonders where the support is for public education and human services. Dawkins speaks in favor of Gov. Wolf's proposal to increase funding for education, lower and eliminate property taxes, make industry pair their fair share and fix the structural shortfall in the state budget. Read more

 

State tax credits to help finance new shopping center

(Mar 20, 2016)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today announced the award of $7 million in state tax credits to aid construction of a new $29 million shopping center at Harbison Avenue and Tulip Street. Known as Shoppes at Wissinoming, the 110,000-square-foot project will include a Shoprite Supermarket as the anchor tenant, plus space for retail stores and restaurants. “This is great news for our area,” Dawkins said. “I am committed to providing the 179 th District with the resources it needs to support healthy food options and family-sustaining jobs. Shoprite will bring fresh food and produce to our area, which we have been lacking for a long time. The project and new businesses will also create hundreds of jobs, and help move our community forward.” Shoppes at Wissinoming is expected to support 250 full-time jobs during 18 months of construction and create 300 permanent, full-time jobs once completed and fully occupied. Shoprite is expected to employ more than 200 full- and part-time workers who will be offered benefits, job training and career advancement opportunities. ### Read more

 

Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms available at my office

(Feb 15, 2016)

Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more

 

Winter 2016 Newsletter

(Feb 12, 2016)

Winter 2016 Newsletter Read more