Harkins announces ‘Qualified Opportunity Zone’ nominations

(Apr 24, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 24 – State Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, announced today that five low-income communities in his district have been nominated as “Qualified Opportunity Zones” under a federal program that attracts private investors to distressed areas through tax incentives. “Attracting private investors would revitalize these communities in key ways,” Harkins said. “Investments in local businesses, real estate and other ventures can bring new job opportunities and improved housing, shopping and other benefits to the hardworking residents of these communities. That’s in line with our Democratic Plan for PA, which puts people first by focusing on the essentials that give Pennsylvania families a better life.” The nominations are part of a program administered by the U.S. Treasury Department under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Under the program, states may nominate a certain percentage of census tracts as Qualified Opportunity Zones. Private investors receive tax benefits for investing capital gains in these areas and adjacent tracts. Pennsylvania was given the opportunity to designate 300 low-income community tracts as opportunity zones. Final approval from the Treasury Department is expected in May. Read more

 

Harkins: Grant will help senior center expand programs

(Apr 23, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 23 – State Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, today announced that the John F. Kennedy Senior Center will receive a $56,551 grant from the state Department of Aging. “The grant will help this vital community center continue providing the programs and services our area seniors find so useful,” Harkins said. “The funds will also help the center revitalize and expand its programs to attract newcomers.” The John F. Kennedy Senior Center is one of 41 senior centers throughout the commonwealth that will receive a total of $2 million in 2017-18 Senior Community Center Grants. The funding, which comes from the Pennsylvania Lottery, helps centers provide programs and classes on nutrition, exercise, financial counseling and other areas. “Seniors are such an essential part of our community,” Harkins said. “This funding will help ensure that they have the resources they need to remain healthy, active and engaged.” Read more

 

Harkins bill would create online career resource center

(Apr 16, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 16 – State Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, today announced that the House Education Committee approved his bill that would improve the delivery of career and technical education information in the commonwealth through the creation of a centralized, online career resource center. “Although there are agencies in the commonwealth providing career and technical educational resources, there’s no central location for all of this information,” Harkins said. “My bill would require agencies offering these resources to develop and maintain a central database so that students making key decisions about their future would have the information they need at their fingertips. Helping young Pennsylvanians find and secure good jobs is part of our Democratic Plan for PA.” House Bill 2203 — part of a bipartisan CTE legislation package — would call on the departments of Education, Labor and Industry, and Agriculture to participate in developing and maintaining the career resource database. Among other things, the database would provide students, parents and educators with information on educational and career options, available CTE resources, and data and statistics on employment opportunities and compensation. “Students considering career choices face so many confusing questions and decisions,” Harkins said. “My bill would help make that process a little easier for students and the people who support and Read more

 

3/22/18 – Improving Community Health – Erie

(Mar 26, 2018)

Materials from roundtable discussion hosted by State Rep. Pat Harkins. Read more

 

3/20/18 – House Bill 1082 – Erie

(Mar 26, 2018)

Materials from roundtable discussion hosted by State Rep. Pat Harkins. Read more

 

Harkins leads House Democratic Policy Committee community health roundtable

(Mar 22, 2018)

ERIE, March 22 – In efforts to improve quality healthcare access, state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee roundtable discussion with local stakeholders and community experts. Harkins hosted the meeting to build off the Blue Zones Project presentation last November in Erie to explore what more the state can do to help improve community health metrics and initiatives. Harkins was joined by legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “Blue Zones are areas where people live the longest. If we can make it easier and more affordable for people to live healthy lifestyles, we can reduce medical costs and improve health and wellness for our communities. I’m excited to have hosted the Policy Committee today and look forward to continuing the discussion on adopting the Blue Zone practices for the well-being of Erie and our commonwealth,” Harkins said. Sturla added, “House Democrats’ Plan4PA is focused on putting people first and access to quality healthcare is a key component. I thank Representative Harkins and Health Committee Chairman Flo Fabrizio for their leadership on this issue statewide. I think much of today’s discussion can benefit communities across Pennsylvania and look forward to further discussion.” Panelists included: Melissa Lyon, director, Erie County Department of Health; Bill McCarthy, recently retired CEO of a large Read more

 

Harkins, House Democratic Policy Committee discuss workplace safety

(Mar 20, 2018)

ERIE, March 20 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee roundtable discussion on his H.B. 1082 that would improve workplace safety in Pennsylvania. Harkins requested the meeting to continue public discussion on “Jake’s Law” that he introduced in memory of Jake Schwab. State legislators from across the state, and Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, joined Harkins, local labor leaders and Schwab’s widow, Tiffany Schwab. “Extending safety standards that exist under OSHA regulations is a reasonable accommodation that should apply to public employees. I’m glad my colleagues from across the state could take part in today’s discussion on how we can help improve workplace safety to help avoid tragic incidents like the one that took Jake’s life,” Harkins said. Sturla added: “House Democrats' Plan4PA is focused on putting people first. Uniform safety standards would do just that. Accountability and prevention of future fatal incidents depend on it. Thank you to Representative Harkins for bringing awareness to the disparity in safety standards and I hope we can work together to move this legislation for the safety and well-being of workers across the state.” Panel participants included: Chad Trainer, legislative director, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO; Dave Henderson, director, AFSCME District Council 85; John Renwick, president, Amalgamated Transit Read more

 

Harkins to host House Democratic Policy Committee public roundtable to discuss Workplace Safety Tuesday in Erie

(Mar 15, 2018)

ERIE, March 15 –State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee roundtable discussion on his H.B. 1082 that would improve workplace safety in Pennsylvania. The public roundtable will take place at 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 20 at the Teamsters Local #397, 1344 East 11th St., Erie. Harkins requested the meeting to continue public discussion on “Jake’s Law” that he introduced in memory of Jake Schwab. State legislators from across the state, and Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, will take part in the roundtable. The current agenda is: 3 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 3:10 p.m. Discussion with Panelists: Rick Bloomingdale , president, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Dave Henderson , director, AFSCME District Council 85 John Renwick , president, Amalgamated Transit Union-Local 568 Diane Stein , labor advocate Tiffany Schwab , widow of Jake Schwab Jack Lee, Jr ., treasurer/director of land development/assistant roadmaster, Summit Township Board of Supervisors 4:50 p.m. Closing Remarks The roundtable is one in a series of meetings all over the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA that includes putting people first, good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. Visit planforpa.pahouse.com for additional information about the Plan4PA and www.pahouse.com/policycommittee for Policy Committee materials. The media and public are encouraged to attend. Read more

 

Harkins Studying Workforce Development

(Mar 06, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Pat Harkins attended a roundtable discussion with the House Democratic Policy Committee in Lancaster, Pa. to talk about ways that area is attacking workforce development to help the unemployed and underemployed find good, family-sustaining jobs. Read more

 

2018 Capitol Scenes Calendar

(Dec 18, 2017)

Click here and download Rep. Harkins' 2018 Capitol Scenes Calendar. Read more

 

Bizzarro, Harkins participate in ‘Pathways to Pardons’ event with Lt. Gov. Stack, corrections officials

(Nov 02, 2017)

ERIE, Nov. 2 – Joining forces with Lt. Gov. Mike Stack to help people learn about removing barriers after a minor criminal conviction , state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro and Patrick Harkins, both D-Erie, participated in a “Pathways to Pardons” event last night at the Martin Luther King Center. Stack, who chairs the state Board of Pardons, launched this initiative to improve Pennsylvania’s pardons process and educate ex-offenders on how to earn a second chance, by obtaining a pardon or the expungement of a past criminal conviction. “We all make mistakes in our lives, but when we reform our lives and want to get better jobs and reach our full potential, a pardon can help,” Stack said. “It gives people a second chance to write a new chapter in their lives.” Bizzarro said: “We heard from experts on pardons, along with representatives from the Department of Corrections, who explained how the process works and what the state Board of Pardons looks for in a successful applicant. This is valuable information to share with those who qualify and are interested in pursuing such relief.” Harkins said: “With this program, Pennsylvania is a national leader in using innovative and forward-thinking policies designed to transform criminal justice. We are helping people understand how they can remove an impediment that can linger and adversely affect them long after they have paid for any mistake they may have made.” Read more

 

What actually transpired regarding the funding for the Erie School District

(Oct 26, 2017)

Rep. Pat Harkins clarifies what actually transpired to secure needed funding for the Erie School District. Read more

 

Harkins: ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum gets $7,144 grant to fund operations

(Jun 01, 2017)

HARRISBURG, May 31 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, today announced the award of a $7,114 grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. Harkins said the Cultural and Historical Support Grant comes from a five-year-old program designed to strengthen Pennsylvania’s museum community, by supporting general operations of eligible museums and official county historical societies not supported by other state agency funding. “I’m pleased to see an important Erie County organization like ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum receive a share of this available state funding,” Harkins said. “This nonprofit organization has been a fixture in the historic cultural district of Erie’s downtown for two decades, providing children and families a fun and educational experience that includes math, science, art, culture, literacy and health.” The maximum any museum could receive under the program is $50,000, Harkins said. Harkins noted that the grants are available only to: Museums located in Pennsylvania with annual operating budgets exceeding $100,000 (excluding capital and in-kind services) and at least one full-time professional staff person. Official county historical societies designated as the official historical society for the county. Read more

 

Harkins bill would set safety rules for public employers

(Apr 26, 2017)

HARRISBURG, April 26 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, held a Capitol news conference this afternoon to announce the reintroduction of legislation he authored in direct response to the workplace accident and death of a Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority employee in 2014. House Bill 1082, the Jake Schwab Worker's Safety Bill, was first introduced in 2015 in memory of Erie resident Jake Schwab, a mechanic with EMTA who lost his life due to a workplace incident in November 2014. As a public transit authority, EMTA is exempted from OSHA regulations, so the details regarding the incident and any safety concerns that would have been raised through an OSHA review have been hard to track. Harkins pointed out that following the accident, Schwab’s family, and especially his widow, Tiffany, had to battle to receive any information on the accident, because under current law, "the insurance industry controls the investigation. Tiffany has been a real inspiration to me," he said. William Dando, legislative director, AFSCME Council 13, Harrisburg, highlighted the five states that have established OSHA-like protection for their public employees: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey and New York. "Creating an OSHA state plan for public employees is the right thing to do," Dando said. "We need to stop treating public employees like second-class citizens." Rick Bloomingdale, president of the Read more

 

Harkins, Policy Committee explore renewable energy in PA

(Mar 08, 2017)

ERIE, March 8 – The importance and benefits of biodiesel fuels, wind power and solar power in the state’s renewable energy portfolio was a key feature of today’s House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at SB3, requested by state Rep. Patrick Harkins. Harkins, D-Erie, asked for the hearing as a means for the public and legislators to gather insight on how to smoothly manage integration of renewables into the energy mix, while maximizing the burgeoning industry’s job-creation potential. “One thing that’s certain regarding our energy future is that demand is going to continue growing, which means there’s room at the power-generation table for long-established sources, as well as relatively new ones,” Harkins said. “We must make sure that the Erie area, as well as the state, does not miss out on any opportunity that could have a positive economic impact.” State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, the Policy Committee chairman who co-chaired the public hearing with Harkins, said the gathered testimony will be valuable in crafting meaningful state legislation. “Representative Harkins hosted a great hearing on how we can better utilize renewable energy sources,” Sturla said. “Renewable energy sources have the potential to create jobs and are less of a burden on our environment. Hearing from industry experts provided a greater understanding of how we can move forward to support these efforts.” Read more

 

Harkins announces grant for John F. Kennedy Senior Center

(Feb 22, 2017)

ERIE, Feb. 22 – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging announced a number of senior community center grants this afternoon. State Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, reports that the John F. Kennedy Senior Center will receive $129,239 for capital improvements. "I am thrilled to announce this grant to such an important part of our senior community," Harkins said. "This grant will allow the center to take care of long-overdue maintenance and upgrades, which have been bypassed so that the center could focus the majority of its funds on the critical programs they provide." The grant money will be used for a seven-part project that is expected to run from this September through April, 2018. The initial phase will upgrade the freezer, cooler and ice-maker for the kitchen. Future improvements include renovating the men's and women's gym restrooms to bring them in to ADA compliance, leveling and replacing the tile floor in the gymnasium, replacing some carpeting and re-doing some walls. The final part of the project, currently scheduled for next April, is the purchase and installation of an outdoor L.E.D. JFK Senior Center sign. "I look forward to the completion of these improvements and the long-term benefits for our senior community," Harkins said. ### Read more

 

Reps. Harkins and Bizzarro push for funding to reopen unemployment offices

(Feb 15, 2017)

State Reps. Ryan Bizzarro and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, have co-sponsored legislation ( H.B. 34 ), that would restore the full $57.5 million to reopen unemployment call centers and bring back all furloughed jobs. “People need their unemployment benefits to pay the mortgage, buy food and just to survive,” Bizzarro said. “Every day I am hearing from frustrated constituents who are spending upwards of six weeks, calling hundreds of times trying to get through to the call centers. The call center situation needs to be fixed fast because these people need their money.” "This has been a devastating problem for the entire state, affecting people in Erie and everywhere ,” Harkins said. “Our unemployed, who need the financial assistance to get by, are struggling to get their claims processed in a timely manner. We need to fix this immediately.” Bizzarro said House Labor and Industry and Appropriations committee hearings are scheduled. “How long can the state continue to operate under these circumstances by literally stringing along claimants?” Bizzarro said. Bizzarro said the legislation has bipartisan support in the House. Read more

 

Harkins takes oath to begin sixth term

(Jan 03, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, was sworn in today to a sixth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The swearing-in ceremony in the House chamber marked the beginning of the 201st legislative session. The state constitution mandates that the legislature convene at noon on the first Tuesday of January each year. The state House is scheduled to return to voting session in Harrisburg on Jan. 23. Harkins will renew his push for legislation to provide Occupational Safety and Health Administration job safety protection to public workers. The need for this legislation was inspired by Jake Schwab, a mechanic with the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority, who lost his life due to a workplace incident in 2014. "I will keep up the fight to protect our public employees while they are on the job," Harkins said. "It is unbelievable to me that public employees have less protection than private employees. "I will also continue to work with state Representatives Flo Fabrizio, Ryan Bizzarro and Curt Sonney to provide the necessary funding for the Erie School District. We have had extensive discussions with House Republican leadership and have communicated with the governor about the dire situation facing our students." Harkins' constituent service office is located at 460 E. 26th St. in Erie and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The telephone number is (814) 459-1949 . He can be Read more

 

Harkins: Safety Standards Should Apply to All Employees

(Sep 14, 2016)

Supporters came from across Pennsylvania for a hearing and rally on the Jake Schwab Worker's Safety Bill, introduced by Pa. state Rep. Pat Harkins. Schwab was killed while working for the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority. Harkins was shocked to find out that public sector employees are not protected by the same OSHA regulations that private sector companies are required to meet, and has introduced legislation to change that. Read more

 

Harkins transportation worker safety bill supported by unions

(Sep 14, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 14 – Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, participated in a news conference this afternoon rallying support for H.B. 1082, which Harkins introduced last year. House Bill 1082, the Jake Schwab Worker's Safety Bill, was introduced in memory of Erie resident Jake Schwab, a mechanic with the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority, who lost his life due to a workplace incident in November 2014. As a public transit authority, EMTA is exempted from Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, so the details regarding the incident and any safety concerns that would have been raised through an OSHA review have been hard to track. Harkins' bill would provide on-the-job safety protection to public employees by establishing OSHA-equivalent safety rules for public employers, including the commonwealth, all legal political subdivisions, public schools, transit systems and any nonprofit organizations currently exempt from OSHA standards. "What cost do you put on life," Harkins asked. "Going forward, there will be many opportunities for others to weigh in and make this a perfect bill. But I don't want to forget Jake Schwab. He was the impetus for this bill." The news conference followed a public hearing in Harrisburg of more than two hours, which was held by the House Labor and Industry Committee. The bill is currently under consideration in the committee. ### Read more

 

Harkins announces ‘Qualified Opportunity Zone’ nominations
Apr 24, 2018

Harkins: Grant will help senior center expand programs
Apr 23, 2018

Harkins bill would create online career resource center
Apr 16, 2018

3/22/18 – Improving Community Health – Erie
Mar 26, 2018

3/20/18 – House Bill 1082 – Erie
Mar 26, 2018

Harkins leads House Democratic Policy Committee community health roundtable
Mar 22, 2018

Harkins, House Democratic Policy Committee discuss workplace safety
Mar 20, 2018

Harkins to host House Democratic Policy Committee public roundtable to discuss Workplace Safety Tuesday in Erie
Mar 15, 2018

Harkins Studying Workforce Development
Mar 06, 2018

2018 Capitol Scenes Calendar
Dec 18, 2017

Bizzarro, Harkins participate in ‘Pathways to Pardons’ event with Lt. Gov. Stack, corrections officials
Nov 02, 2017

What actually transpired regarding the funding for the Erie School District
Oct 26, 2017

Harkins: ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum gets $7,144 grant to fund operations
Jun 01, 2017

Harkins bill would set safety rules for public employers
Apr 26, 2017

Harkins, Policy Committee explore renewable energy in PA
Mar 08, 2017

Harkins announces grant for John F. Kennedy Senior Center
Feb 22, 2017

Reps. Harkins and Bizzarro push for funding to reopen unemployment offices
Feb 15, 2017

Harkins takes oath to begin sixth term
Jan 03, 2017

Harkins: Safety Standards Should Apply to All Employees
Sep 14, 2016

Harkins transportation worker safety bill supported by unions
Sep 14, 2016