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Hohenstein issues statement on Phila. DA Krasner impeachment vote

Youth trans athletes need encouragement, inclusion + PA ABLE Savings Program + Primary Voting Schedule

(Mar 08, 2022)

A PA ABLE Savings Program account gives individuals with qualified disabilities (eligible individuals) and their families and friends a tax-free way to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The state and federal tax-free investment options are offered to encourage Eligible Individuals and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life. Read more

 

Hohenstein: Youth trans athletes need encouragement, inclusion

(Mar 07, 2022)

I miss coaching. Of all the changes in my life since I decided to run for public office, saying goodbye to the teams I coached was the hardest. From 2000 through 2016 I coached soccer for NEO, first my children’s teams and then my nephew’s. We won our share of championships. Newts field in Fishtown, was the site of two of our championship games. In the first one, our right-defender, Shay, came to the sideline, with her leg bleeding after a slide tackle. We got out a water bottle, washed it up. I told her she was a real Philly soccer player now because her blood had been spilled on the fabled cinders of Newts. I asked if she wanted to come out. “No, I’m good,” was the reply from this fierce 12-year-old. A few years later, we were back in Fishtown with my nephew’s team. The game went to penalties. My nephew was the goalie and he saved a couple of shots, but the key was when I told him he was taking one of our penalties. “Really?” The doubt was palpable in his voice. “I believe in you,” I told him. His shot hit the back of the net before the keeper even blinked. Newts has seen a lot of historic soccer, but for me, those two games are the most important. Belief in our kids is the point of playing youth sports. They learn lessons from coaches and from each other. Sometimes they teach us lessons. My younger child, Mars, taught me a lesson when they told me they didn’t want to play anymore. It was their choice, Read more

 

Special note on Ukraine + Weekly Update

(Mar 02, 2022)

The neighborhoods of the 177th include significant populations from the Ukraine and its neighbors. Many of my constituents feel the harm of the Russian invasion on a personal level. I join them in praying for the wellbeing of their family and friends. We are seeing images of war in Europe we have not seen in several generations. At this time, we must recognize that this is a war of aggression, engineered by an autocrat, Mr. Putin, against a democratically elected government in Ukraine. The annexation of Belarus is less overtly violent, but no less an attack on free, democratic societies. This is the time for us to come together in solidarity with all our eastern European community members, many of whom know the cost of fighting for freedom firsthand. Read more

 

Driver's Licenses For All + PHEAA Webinar Schedule

(Feb 23, 2022)

I am a sponsor of HB279, a bill which calls for Driver’s Licenses for All in Pennsylvania. This is a bill that would make the roads safer and provide an economic boost to our Commonwealth. It would return Pennsylvania law to 2011 and remove any reference to an individual’s U.S. immigration status as a requirement to receive a standard issue Pennsylvania driver’s license. Read more

 

Hohenstein: Drivers Licenses for All Make us Safer

(Feb 23, 2022)

I am a sponsor of HB279, a bill which calls for Drivers Licenses for All in Pennsylvania. This is a bill that will make the roads safer and provide an economic boost to our Commonwealth. It would return Pennsylvania law to 2011 and remove any reference to an individual’s US immigration status as a requirement to receive a standard issue Pennsylvania drivers license. Applicants would still need to prove their identity and provide either a Social Security (SS) or Tax Identification Number (TIN). It is a designed to open doors to people who already pay taxes and provide them with a degree of security as they pursue the American Dream. To be certain, I am supporting this legislation because of my history as an immigration attorney. During 25 years in active practice, I represented people in various stages of the immigration process. I carried men and women and their families forward from being undocumented to being U.S. citizens. Their paths were as different and varied as their countries of origin and there was no single “right way” to get full legal status. Some spent years in legal temporary status, some never had documents, some had a temporary protection that had to be renewed every year, some had asylum cases that took years to adjudicate, and some would boomerang between lawful and unlawful status based on the most recent decision in their immigration cases. If you are familiar with the concept of Purgatory, that is precisely the place where most Read more

 

We must do better balancing individual liberty and social accountability

(Feb 16, 2022)

Pennsylvania is the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution in more ways than one. Not only did we physically host the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the Quaker-inspired Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges formed the philosophical framework for our nation’s Supreme Law of the Land. In 1701, the Charter read, “no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences …” This document was where freedom of religion and many other civil liberties found their first foothold in the American spirit. Our own state constitution mirrors the federal one and has a history of being amended only when the issue is serious, and the final change is well considered. Now, we, who have followed William Penn, Ben Franklin, and other early legislators, have a responsibility to uphold that spirit, protecting the balance of individual liberty and social accountability. I fear that we are not doing that in the current climate, where constitutional amendments are now being produced like popcorn in a movie theater. We cannot fix a leaky faucet by tearing down the whole house. In the past few years, we have passed amendments to fundamentally change criminal law and to limit the governor’s emergency powers. The governor is the executive, duly elected to be the primary decisionmaker for Pennsylvania. He must have the ability to make those decisions, and sometimes needs to make them quickly Read more

 

Hohenstein: I know how it feels to be different

(Feb 14, 2022)

Along with my Republican colleague, Jason Ortitay, I am a prime sponsor of HB726 which will establish a Disability Inclusive Curriculum in Pennsylvania. I know how it feels to be different and excluded. I was 5 years old. I had learned to speak late, still could not read, and my parents and teachers were concerned. A hearing test showed I had a moderate hearing loss, so I was given a hearing aid. The earpiece, cord, and clunky mechanism strapped to my chest might as well have been a scarlet letter. When you combined that apparatus with big coke-bottle glasses for nearsightedness, to say I felt conspicuous is an understatement. Within months I showed improvement, and became a good enough student in school, college and then law school. All through that time, I remained plagued by my own sense of stigma. I only wore my hearing aid in educational settings, never in social ones. I learned to compensate for missing pieces of conversation and just got along. I shouldn’t have had to make this choice in order to avoid stigma. It was not until I was in law school that someone recommended I get binaural hearing aids (one in both ears as opposed to the solo aid I had always worn). The change was dramatic, my ability to interact and get the entire context of conversations and lessons was more complete than ever before. Improvements in sound quality over the years helped as well. Now, older and wiser, I wear my aids in both ears in almost every situation. My hearing loss is Read more

 

Students are at heart in disability-inclusive bill for Pa. schools

(Feb 11, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 11 – Lawmakers heard bipartisan testimony over a bill Thursday that would encourage disability-inclusive curriculum in schools across the commonwealth, ensuring that all Pennsylvania students see the lives of people with disabilities reflected in their schoolwork. The pair of legislators championing the plan, state Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., and H.B. 726 sponsor Republican House Special Education Subcommittee Chairman Jason Ortitay said that the testifiers made a clear case that representation matters and that students with disabilities excel when they see and learn from people who are like them. The concept of seeing one’s self represented in a role model fights the effects of exclusion and installs essential pride into learning minds, testifiers said. “When I was young, I wore a hearing aid that embarrassed me because of the way people treated me. Many people can relate to a feeling like this,” Hohenstein said, noting that one out of five people have a disability. “Now, when I look at kids who have colorful wheelchairs, and even hearing aids, my heart swells with pride for how far we’ve come. “This legislation could take us even further, so that students better see the ‘diversability’ in themselves and others.” The bill number “726” refers to July 26, 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. “Hopefully, this bill can be passed this Read more

 

Hohenstein: Wolf's final budget proposal underscores complicated time for PA

(Feb 09, 2022)

(Photo caption): In 2018, as part of his work as a DSP in Philadelphia, my brother Frank worked with his residents to make clay pottery. This type of hands-on dedication is one of the reasons I support DSPs and other frontline caregivers. Governor Wolf’s final budget proposal arrives during a complex time for the commonwealth. The pandemic continues to affect the lives of Pennsylvanians – impacting their health, the health of their loved ones, their job prospects, the care and education available for their children, and their access to goods and services in the economy. The economic recovery has fueled General Fund revenues that continue to exceed estimate by billions of dollars, but the disruption of the pandemic has shown widespread need and increased costs. With billions in remaining federal rescue dollars and a historic state surplus, simply banking these dollars and doing nothing for Pennsylvanians and our commonwealth’s economic growth – is not an option. The 2022/23 budget approaches the coming fiscal year by choosing opportunity over status quo and prioritizes our core ideals of investing in education at all levels; making Pennsylvania a better place to work and do business; supporting families and caregivers; and prioritizing seniors, veterans, and all vulnerable populations – all without raising taxes. I support the measures in the Governor’s budget Read more

 

Welcoming PA Caucus introduces bill to create Office of New Pennsylvanians

(Feb 09, 2022)

Joined by immigration advocates across Pennsylvania, members of the Welcoming PA Caucus unveiled legislation Wednesday to establish the Office of New Pennsylvanians. Read more

 

Kinsey seeks solutions for problems in Pa. prison system

(Jan 26, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 26 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., held a news conference today with House and Senate colleagues and prison-reform advocates to discuss legislation to help address systemic problems in Pennsylvania’s prison system. Kinsey was joined by House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Phila., House Minority Whip Jordan Harris, D-Phila., state Reps. Amen Brown, Danilo Burgos, Joe Hohenstein, Darisha Parker and Brian Sims, all D-Phila.; Tim Briggs, Napoleon Nelson, Ben Sanchez and Joe Webster, all D-Montgomery; Bob Brooks, R-Westmoreland/Allegheny; Gina Curry, D-Delaware; Manuel Guzman, D-Berks; Dianne Herrin, D-Chester; Carol Hill-Evans, D-York; Patty Kim, D-Dauphin; Emily Kinkead, D-Allegheny; Maureen Madden, D-Monroe; Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery; and Regina Young, D-Delaware/Phila.; along with state Sen. Sharif Street, D-Phila. and Anton Andrew from PA Prison Society. “Right now, in Pennsylvania and the entire United States, we have a prison system that does not work,” Kinsey said. “We must pass legislation to reform this system, so that those incarcerated have a chance to live dignified lives when they’re serving their sentence and when they’ve completed it.” The lawmakers are seeking enactment of several bills that would improve the prison system for incarcerated people and their families as well as save taxpayer dollars, including: Probation and Parole Reform: Earned Compliance Read more

 

Getting COVID-19 sucks

(Dec 14, 2021)

This week I learned what many of my constituents already knew – it is no fun getting COVID. Late Saturday evening, I began to experience mild symptoms typically associated with a head cold. Out of an abundance of caution, I tested for COVID-19 and received positive results Sunday, Dec. 12. Despite being fully vaccinated I contracted a breakthrough infection. I immediately notified my HR team and my district office to conduct contact tracing protocols and to receive proper testing if necessary. Earlier in the week I had tested negative after one of my district office staff tested positive with mild symptoms. Since my test, another staff person has also begun to have symptoms. As a result, we are going to operate the office remotely, with phone calls and emails the best ways to reach us. All of my staff, even those who have tested positive, have stepped up to continue the remote services just like we did in the early days of the pandemic. We didn’t miss a beat then, and we won’t now. We will not be seeing constituents in person at the office on Richmond Street until after the New Year to give everyone a chance to get well and be sure that we are fully clear of this round of the virus. Breakthrough infections happen. Everyone in my office is fully vaccinated and boosted. The symptoms we are experiencing now are mild and hopefully will continue to be mild. The vaccines worked for us, by keeping us all from having more Read more

 

Hohenstein issues statement on positive COVID-19 test

(Dec 13, 2021)

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 13 – State Rep. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., will move his district office operations to online and by phone only until further notice after he and one of his staff members recently tested positive for COVID-19. “My team and I will continue to offer services to constituents, both over the phone and by email, just as we did when our office was closed for in-person services earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hohenstein said. “We’ve decided on the in-person closure out of an abundance of caution, and we will reopen again as soon as it’s safe to do so. We plan to inform the community on our social media channels once the office reopens, and in the meantime we look forward to providing constituent services over the phone and over email.” Hohenstein’s office can be reached by phone at 215-744-2600 or by email at RepHohenstein@pahouse.net . Constituents may also use the contact form on his website to send messages or questions. Read more

 

Puppies, and Kittens, and Lizards, oh my!

(Dec 07, 2021)

My family loves our pit bull, Gertie. Drama, our German shepherd/cattle dog mix, found Gertie as a four-month-old puppy on March 17, 2016 under a pickup truck, emaciated, and scared out of her puppy mind. We brought her home, got her spayed and checked out by the vet. We welcomed her into our home. Doing the math, we figured out that Gertie was probably a holiday present for a family that was not ready for a dog. She was left on the street to fend for herself. Those first four months have left Gertie anxious and excitable – not a good combination in a 70-pound pit bull. Fortunately, my wife Brandi has infinite patience and we have worked through some serious ups and downs, training Gertie and eventually isolating her from most social contact. Today, Gertie is happy with her sister Drama, and brother, Chief Hopper (our tri-pawed rescued from 69 th Street Terminal, but that is a story for another piece) and all the cat cousins in our house. She is the right pet for our home, but she would not be for others. I have the honor of serving on the board of the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Team, which has about 18,000 animals through its doors annually. It serves three roles: as a rescue, providing veterinary care, and administering an adoption program. It is funded by the City of Philadelphia and handles this large caseload with a much lower budget than any other major city rescue and adoption shelter. Since its inception in 2012, ACCT Philly has Read more

 

Hohenstein announces $4.5 million in redevelopment grants for four area organizations, including for conversion of Old Port Richmond Power Plant to commercial/entertainment destination

(Dec 07, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 7 – State Rep. Joe Hohenstein today announced $4.5 million in grant funding for four area organizations, including $1 million to assist in converting the Old Port Richmond Power Plant into a commercial/entertainment destination. “These grant funds will go far in helping our community in several ways,” Hohenstein said. “The grant award for Frankel Management Company to convert Old Port Richmond Power Plant into a commercial and entertainment destination is fantastic for the city of Philadelphia, which will see a positive impact in the local economy as a result of this project because it’s going to add jobs and drive revenue. “I have been a supporter of the Old Port Richmond Power Plant project and wrote a letter of support back in March for the project to receive grant funding because I believe in its potential to have a tremendous positive impact,” Hohenstein added. “And the other grant awards in our district are sure to have a positive impact, as well.” The three other projects receiving funding in Hohenstein’s legislative district are: $1.5 million for Jacquin’s distillery, which is Pennsylvania’s oldest distillery. $1 million for the Arsenal. $1 million for Trinity Police Athletic League, which encompasses a police athletic league in Hohenstein’s district on Clearfield Street. The funding for these projects was awarded through the Redevelopment Assistance Read more

 

Reflection this holiday season: Our founding principles require us to welcome refugees

(Nov 30, 2021)

This holiday season, in reflecting on what kind of society we are, I think it makes sense to examine the guiding principles of our nation and Commonwealth that require us to welcome refugees into our communities. The protection of liberty, equal opportunity for all, and social responsibility make up our very essence. In short, our democracy is a celebration of humanity. This is reflected in our makeup: a melting pot of cultures, faces, and stories from every corner of the world, so rich in its diversity that no other place on earth comes close to matching it, save for the planet itself. Refugees from Afghanistan and Haiti seeking to relocate to the Commonwealth are doing so for reasons similar to those of many of our ancestors, experiences captured and immortalized by Emma Lazarus’ famous sonnet beckoning the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” At some point in the family history of many Pennsylvanians is an immigrant or refugee, traveling to this land in search of a better life. My own history includes ancestors from Germany and Ireland coming to Philadelphia more than 150 years ago. Many Americans share this special bond. The recent influx of refugees into the Commonwealth from Afghanistan is a continuation of this great tradition. Resettled Afghans bring with them a proud and storied history. Tempered by time and conflict, they are no strangers to great achievements and stubborn perseverance. Much like ours, contemporary Read more

 

Hohenstein announces $150,000 grant for Friends of Samuel Rec for renovations at Bernard Samuel Playground’s basketball court area

(Nov 19, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – State Rep. Joe Hohenstein announced the Commonwealth Financing Authority has awarded a $150,000 Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grant to Friends of Samuel Rec to be used to renovate the basketball courts at Bernard Samuel Playground. “You can learn a lot about life through the game of basketball, like how fundamental skills are tied to your ability to succeed, and how important it is to work with your team,” Hohenstein said. “I’m thrilled that $150,000 in grant funding will be returning to my district to renovate the basketball court area of Samuel Playground. I know that the investment will not only allow those who use the court to enrich their physical health but also help them make strides socially by teaching them about the value of hard work and teamwork.” The funding for the grant comes from Act 13 of 2012, which established the Marcellus Legacy Fund and allocates funds to the Commonwealth Financing Authority for planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, parks and beautification projects using the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program. The program allows funds to be used for projects which involve development, rehabilitation and improvements to public parks, recreation areas, greenways, trails and river conservation. Contact Hohenstein’s office at 215-744-2600 for more information about the grant. Read more

 

Hohenstein: Our Constitution is Not a Flat Lifeless Piece of Paper

(Nov 18, 2021)

Pa. state Rep. Joe Hohenstein opposes and moves to postpone the consideration of Senate Bill 565. This bill would end the requirements to carry concealed weapons and lowers the age from 21 to 18. Hohenstein says that individual liberty, equal rights for all, and accountability form the three dimensions of freedom. It is possible to attain the goals of the 2nd Amendment, ensuring a safe and free society. This legislation has only a one-dimensional look at freedom and would give us a more dangerous society. Read more

 

Now open for applications: Substance abuse, arts, and career/technical training funding opportunities

(Nov 17, 2021)

STATE PROGRAMS NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS: Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs: Substance Use Disorder Drop-In Centers (Funding Source: Federal Funding) Who Can Apply : Existing drop-in centers in Allegheny, Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. Single County Authorities (SCAs) are not eligible to apply, nor are DDAP-licensed treatment providers. Use : To expand drop-in center services for individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) in areas of the commonwealth experiencing high overdose deaths. Funds : Approximately two to three grants up to $650,000 each will be awarded. Application Deadline : December 13 More Information : Click on https://www.ddap.pa.gov/DDAPFunding/Pages/Funding-Opportunities.aspx . Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency: Pennsylvania Academic and Career/Technical Training (PACTT) Grants (Funding Source: General Fund) Who Can Apply : Residential facilities, community-based, and/or juvenile probation office providers that are PACTT Affiliates primarily serving adjudicated delinquent youth. Use : To advance academic and career/technical training among adjudicated youth receiving services while in residential facilities, from community-based providers, and through juvenile probation departments. Funds : Up to $75,000. Application Deadline : December 22 More Information Read more

 

The importance of open debate, especially with legislation that deals with gun laws and public safety

(Nov 16, 2021)

Freedom has three dimensions. Our Constitution is not a flat, lifeless piece of paper. It is a document that we have interpreted for more than 230 years. This week in Harrisburg, we are discussing the Constitutional right to carry a concealed, loaded weapon anywhere – without any accountability to fellow citizens – Senate Bill 565 . Some people call this “Constitutional carry” and others call it “permitless carry.” I believe the key difference is whether you have a flat, one dimensional view of the Constitution, or you can see all three elements of true freedom: individual liberty, equality, and accountability. This is a complicated issue. No matter which side of the issue you are on we all agree on that. We should have a debate, hear from all the different sides – people who feel safer with guns in their community and those who see guns as dangerous, fueling rises in suicide deaths and violence in our streets. In Harrisburg, that debate was cut short when the Republican supporters of SB565 moved to table all of the Democratic amendments to the bill. This means that no one was able to talk about what those amendments would do to make the bill better, to improve and balance the individual liberty to own a gun with the right to public safety. How we can we give life to the words of the Second Amendment? It reads: “ A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of Read more

 

Youth trans athletes need encouragement, inclusion + PA ABLE Savings Program + Primary Voting Schedule
Mar 08, 2022

Hohenstein: Youth trans athletes need encouragement, inclusion
Mar 07, 2022

Special note on Ukraine + Weekly Update
Mar 02, 2022

Driver's Licenses For All + PHEAA Webinar Schedule
Feb 23, 2022

Hohenstein: Drivers Licenses for All Make us Safer
Feb 23, 2022

We must do better balancing individual liberty and social accountability
Feb 16, 2022

Hohenstein: I know how it feels to be different
Feb 14, 2022

Students are at heart in disability-inclusive bill for Pa. schools
Feb 11, 2022

Hohenstein: Wolf's final budget proposal underscores complicated time for PA
Feb 09, 2022

Welcoming PA Caucus introduces bill to create Office of New Pennsylvanians
Feb 09, 2022

Kinsey seeks solutions for problems in Pa. prison system
Jan 26, 2022

Getting COVID-19 sucks
Dec 14, 2021

Hohenstein issues statement on positive COVID-19 test
Dec 13, 2021

Puppies, and Kittens, and Lizards, oh my!
Dec 07, 2021

Hohenstein announces $4.5 million in redevelopment grants for four area organizations, including for conversion of Old Port Richmond Power Plant to commercial/entertainment destination
Dec 07, 2021

Reflection this holiday season: Our founding principles require us to welcome refugees
Nov 30, 2021

Hohenstein announces $150,000 grant for Friends of Samuel Rec for renovations at Bernard Samuel Playground’s basketball court area
Nov 19, 2021

Hohenstein: Our Constitution is Not a Flat Lifeless Piece of Paper
Nov 18, 2021

Now open for applications: Substance abuse, arts, and career/technical training funding opportunities
Nov 17, 2021

The importance of open debate, especially with legislation that deals with gun laws and public safety
Nov 16, 2021