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Freeman bill would require auditor general to examine legislature's expenses

(Dec 21, 2017)

State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, is urging the legislature to take up legislation he has introduced ( H.B. 1257 ) which would require the Pennsylvania auditor general to audit the financial affairs of the General Assembly and its legislative service agencies. “In light of recent revelations regarding settlements being paid out, my legislation is very timely,” Freeman said. “I think it is in the best interest of the people of Pennsylvania that we have greater transparency and more accountability as to how the legislature spends taxpayers’ money.” As it now stands, the General Assembly is audited by a certified public accountant hired by the Legislative Audit Advisory Commission. Freeman said that under his bill, the auditor general would be required to perform annual audits of the legislature’s finances and would be permitted to perform special audits if deemed necessary as well. Copies of the audits would be provided to the president pro tempore of the Senate, minority leader of the Senate, speaker of the House and minority leader of the House. “We continually talk of the need for greater financial transparency in government, so this is a chance for us to open the books and reveal just how taxpayers’ money is being spent by the legislature,” Freeman said. Freeman said the completed copies of the audits would then be available to the public. Freeman introduced H.B. 1257 in April and has introduced it in Read more

 

2018 Capitol Scenes Calendar

(Dec 18, 2017)

Please download and enjoy this free 2018 calendar featuring seasonal photos of our beautiful state Capitol. Read more

 

Rep. Freeman: $278,000 to Northampton County for community revitalization

(Dec 13, 2017)

State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, announced that the city of Easton and Hellertown Borough has received a total of $278,000 in state funding through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Freeman said the Community Conservation Partnerships Program allows the public and private sector to work together to make neighborhoods and business areas economically strong. The grant awards are as follows: The city of Easton - $100,000 for rehabilitation and further development of Centre Square Park. Work will include renovation of a pedestrian plaza and pedestrian walk ways; installation of lighting; ADA access; landscaping, and other related site improvements. Hellertown Borough - $178,000 Rehabilitation of Dimmick Park. Work will include installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing; construction of storm water management measures; ADA access, landscaping, and other related site improvements. "These grants mean a great deal to communities for projects without placing the additional cost onto local taxpayers," Freeman said. The program is administered by DCNR. The Community Conservation Partnerships Program is designed to help local governments and recreation and conservation organizations with funding to help with projects related to parks, conservation and recreation Read more

 

Rep. Freeman reintroduces bill to make health insurance more affordable with state-offered health insurance for individuals and businesses

(Dec 13, 2017)

State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, has introduced legislation that would make health insurance more affordable for Pennsylvanians by permitting the State Workers’ Insurance Fund to sell health insurance. The State Workers' Insurance Fund within the Department of Labor and Industry was established by law many years ago to provide a workers' compensation program for Pennsylvania businesses that could not access workers' comp insurance in the private sector. It is only permitted to sell workers' compensation insurance. Freeman's bill would expand its offerings to include health insurance. "By allowing SWIF to offer health insurance, it would make a quality insurance product available to Pennsylvanians at a lower cost than current rates because of its lower administrative overhead, and it would create more competition within the health insurance market," Freeman said. "In addition, by making this available in the market, it would serve as a yardstick by which to measure the fairness of rates charged by private health insurance companies. "Health insurance rates are increasing considerably. I believe that this proposal will effectively bring health care policies back to an affordable range for the average Pennsylvanian. It would offer a less costly alternative to the current private health plans offered today," he said. Freeman said this new ability would not be an extra cost to taxpayers; the Read more

 

Rep. Freeman announces $155,000 state grant for Dimmick Park in Hellertown

(Nov 14, 2017)

State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, today announced $155,000 in state funding has been awarded for a project in his legislative district. Hellertown was awarded the grant to rehabilitate the heavily used play area in Dimmick Park. The borough intends to expand the playground area to accommodate new fencing, playground surface and gate. The sidewalk and handicapped access to the playground will also be improved and the play area expanded. “The park is heavily used by adults and children on a daily basis and is a vital component of the community so this funding will be put to good use for upgrades,” Freeman said. “The play area is in the corner of Dimmick Park which is near the ball fields and is used heavily by families on athletic game days as well as throughout the week.” The state funding was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, an independent agent created by the legislature to administer a variety of the state’s economic stimulus initiatives. The funding was made available through the local share account established in the state gaming law. Read more

 

Rep. Freeman bill to extend participation in Main Street program sent to full House

(Jun 30, 2017)

Members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Local Government Committee unanimously approved legislation ( H.B. 1450 ) sponsored by state Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, that would allow communities to extend their participation in the Main Street program an additional five years, for up to 10 years. Currently, a community is limited to only five years in the program. The legislation now goes to the full House for consideration. Freeman said the state Department of Community and Economic Development could grant a period of up to an additional five years for administrative costs associated with employing a Main Street manager, if it determines that it would be beneficial to the community in reaching its revitalization goals. “The time period of only five years is often too short for Main Street programs to thrive and succeed in their objectives,” Freeman said. “Under my bill communities would be given up to an additional five years for a total of 10 years. My bill would provide Main Street communities with more time and, in turn, be able to fully implement a revitalization and enhancement strategy for downtown commercial areas. “Too often a community’s Main Street initiative just gets started with implementing its revitalization plan when the funding ends, undermining the ability to realize the plan’s objectives,” Freeman said. “My legislation would give the department the Read more

 

Freeman: We Need a Severance Tax Now

(Jun 23, 2017)

Pa. state Rep. Bob Freeman joined the CLEAR Coalition and labor leaders from the Lehigh Valley for a rally calling for a severance tax on natural gas extraction to help balance this year's budget and provide a future source of revenue for the Commonwealth. Read more

 

Freeman introduces bill to allow longer participation in Main Street program

(May 24, 2017)

State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, has introduced legislation (H.B. 1450) that would allow communities to extend their participation in the Main Street Program an additional five years, for up to 10 years in Pennsylvania. Currently, a community is limited to only five years in the program. Freeman said the state Department of Community and Economic Development would grant a period of up to an additional five years for administrative costs associated with the hiring of a Main Street manager, if it determines that it would be beneficial to the community in reaching its revitalization goals. “I feel the time period of only five years is often too short for Main Street programs to thrive and succeed in their objectives,” Freeman said. “Under my bill communities would be given an additional five years for a total of 10 years. My bill would provide Main Street communities with more time and, in turn, be able to fully implement a revitalization and enhancement strategy for downtown commercial areas.” The Main Street Act was created to provide grants for commercial downtown revitalization efforts, including infrastructure improvements, marketing and promoting the established commercial downtown within the Main Street area and façade grants, all under the direction of a Main Street manager. Currently, grants for a maximum of five years may be made to support and implement the efforts. Freeman said the legislation Read more

 

Freeman introduces bill to establish tutoring program in Pennsylvania schools

(May 24, 2017)

State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, has introduced legislation designed to institute a tutoring program where 11 th - and 12 th -grade students could tutor elementary school-aged children for academic credit. Freeman said his legislation (H.B. 1449) would require the state Board of Education to establish an in-house tutoring program in Pennsylvania school districts, which would allow students in 11 th and 12 th grades to tutor pupils in grades one to six and receive academic credit for their tutoring. “The benefits of high school students tutoring elementary students is abundant,” Freeman said. “Tutoring can increase good study habits, improve academic performance, boost self-esteem and can put students in charge of their own learning process and pass that knowledge onto the children. The students being tutored get the extra attention they need to improve their academic performance and are typically more receptive to learning from a high school student they look up to.” Freeman said school districts would be able to implement the program at little or no cost to taxpayers and it would foster a sense of community and pride in students. “Tutoring is the most cost effective way to enhance academic performance for both the student being tutored and the student who serves as tutor,” Freeman said. The legislation is expected to be referred to the House Education Read more

 

Freeman proposal would have state auditor general examine the legislature’s expenses

(Apr 20, 2017)

State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, has introduced two bills that would require the state’s auditor general to annually audit the General Assembly’s expenses and its legislative services agencies. Freeman said the legislation is being introduced as both a bill and an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution to address any concerns regarding the constitutionality of having an executive branch office audit the legislature’s finances. The Northampton County legislator said completed copies of the audits would then be available to the public. “We need to have greater transparency and more accountability as to how the legislature spends taxpayers’ money,” Freeman said. "An outside, unbiased auditor, such as the state’s auditor general, should be reviewing our expenses and issuing a report instead of a company that we pay to perform an internal audit on ourselves.” As it now stands, the General Assembly is audited by a certified public accountant hired by the Legislative Audit Advisory Commission. Freeman said the auditor general recently held a news conference offering his department’s services to leaders of the Senate and House to help increase openness. “We continually talk of financial transparency, so this is a chance for us to open the books and reveal just how taxpayers’ money is being spent by the legislature,” Freeman said. After the audits, Freeman’s bills would Read more

 

Freeman announces $3.4 million Pennvest investment for Easton Suburban Water Authority

(Apr 19, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 19 – State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, announced today a $3.4 million investment through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority. The over $3 million low-interest loan would allow the Easton Suburban Water Authority, which serves parts of Northampton County, to replace approximately 1.6 miles of distribution piping, and install control valves, hydrants and service laterals. "The Easton Suburban Water Authority's existing distribution facilities serve a population of 96,000 and are in need of upgrading. It’s no longer able to supply reliable water pressure during peak demand or meet recommended fire flows," Freeman said. While consistent with land use and farmland preservation efforts, this project would provide a number of major advantages. Our area would benefit from the prevention of further deterioration within its water supply and protection against health hazards. It would also improve documented low flows for drinking water and fire flow uses. Pennvest provides low-interest loans for the design, engineering and construction of publicly and privately owned drinking water distribution and treatment facilities, storm water conveyance and wastewater treatment and collection systems. Read more

 

136th District receiving $296,000 in state funding

(Mar 30, 2017)

HARRISBURG, March 30 -- State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, today announced Easton and Hellertown Borough will benefit from a share in $296,000 in state funding awarded to the district. Read more

 

McCarter joined by legislators, advocacy groups to announce formation of Climate Caucus

(Jan 25, 2017)

Citing the very real threat posed by climate change, state Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, was joined today by legislators and advocacy groups to announce the formation of the bicameral Climate Caucus. Read more

 

Freeman reappointed chairman of House Local Government Committee for the Democrats

(Jan 06, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, this week was reappointed Democratic chairman of the House Local Government Committee. Read more

 

Freeman ready for new term in Pa. House

(Jan 03, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, was sworn in today at the state Capitol to begin his 16th two-year term representing the 136th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Read more

 

136th District receiving $1.7 million in state funding

(Dec 06, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 6 - State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, today announced Easton will benefit from a share in $1.7 million in state funding awarded to the district. Read more

 

Easton gets $1 million in state funding for N. 4th St. parking deck

(Nov 23, 2016)

EASTON, Nov. 23 – Easton is set to construct its second new parking deck in two years thanks to $1 million in state funding announced today by state Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, and approved by Gov. Tom Wolf. According to Freeman, the city was awarded $1 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding to assist in the construction of a 350-car parking garage at North Fourth Street to accommodate the growing economy and population in downtown Easton. "This state grant funding is a key piece in responding to Easton’s downtown rebirth over the past several years, including the recent improvements made to the Easton Public Market, museums, festivals and downtown shopping," Freeman said. "This project will benefit the economic development efforts of Easton and help more residents find parking as they visit downtown. I am delighted to see these funds approved for this important project." The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a statewide economic development program that provides grants to local communities for the construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. Read more

 

Your Report from Rep. Robert Freeman: Fall 2016

(Sep 12, 2016)

My Fall 2016 newsletter is now available. Read more

 

136th District beneficiary of nearly $4 million in state funding

(Jul 01, 2016)

HARRISBURG, July 1 – State Rep. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, said Easton, Hellertown and Williams Township will benefit from a share in $3.96 million in state funding awarded to the district. "This funding is great news for Lafayette College, the city of Easton and its school district, Hellertown and Williams Township," Freeman said. "Through these grants, these entities can move forward on important projects for the region -- projects that are designed to enhance safety or protect the environment." The projects and awards are as follows: Lafayette College in Easton will receive $1.1 million for its travelways improvement plan from the state's Multimodal Transportation Fund, which provides grants to enhance communities, improve pedestrian safety and boost transit revitalization. Easton will receive $128,697 to improve pedestrian walkability and bicycle safety along the 13 th Street corridor from the Multimodal fund; and $250,000 from the state's Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program to erect a pedestrian bridge on the 2.5-mile Karl Stirney Arts Trail to connect the trail to the Simon Silk Mill. The greenways program promotes greenways, recreational space, open space, trails, parks and river conservation. Easton Area School District will receive $2 million to renovate the K-5 th grade Paxinosa Elementary School into a high performance building, complete with LED lighting, lighting occupancy sensor, low-flow water Read more

 

Your Report from Rep. Robert Freeman: Winter 2015-16

(Feb 25, 2016)

My Winter 2015-16 newsletter is now available. Read more

 

Freeman bill would require auditor general to examine legislature's expenses
Dec 21, 2017

2018 Capitol Scenes Calendar
Dec 18, 2017

Rep. Freeman: $278,000 to Northampton County for community revitalization
Dec 13, 2017

Rep. Freeman reintroduces bill to make health insurance more affordable with state-offered health insurance for individuals and businesses
Dec 13, 2017

Rep. Freeman announces $155,000 state grant for Dimmick Park in Hellertown
Nov 14, 2017

Rep. Freeman bill to extend participation in Main Street program sent to full House
Jun 30, 2017

Freeman: We Need a Severance Tax Now
Jun 23, 2017

Freeman introduces bill to allow longer participation in Main Street program
May 24, 2017

Freeman introduces bill to establish tutoring program in Pennsylvania schools
May 24, 2017

Freeman proposal would have state auditor general examine the legislature’s expenses
Apr 20, 2017

Freeman announces $3.4 million Pennvest investment for Easton Suburban Water Authority
Apr 19, 2017

136th District receiving $296,000 in state funding
Mar 30, 2017

McCarter joined by legislators, advocacy groups to announce formation of Climate Caucus
Jan 25, 2017

Freeman reappointed chairman of House Local Government Committee for the Democrats
Jan 06, 2017

Freeman ready for new term in Pa. House
Jan 03, 2017

136th District receiving $1.7 million in state funding
Dec 06, 2016

Easton gets $1 million in state funding for N. 4th St. parking deck
Nov 23, 2016

Your Report from Rep. Robert Freeman: Fall 2016
Sep 12, 2016

136th District beneficiary of nearly $4 million in state funding
Jul 01, 2016

Your Report from Rep. Robert Freeman: Winter 2015-16
Feb 25, 2016