Kinsey bill to honor K. Leroy Irvis approved by House committee

HARRISBURG, June 28 – Today, H.B. 651, introduced by state Reps. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and Patty Kim, D-Dauphin/Cumberland, was unanimously approved by the House State Government Committee and will head to the full House for future consideration.

Kinsey’s bill would rename the South Lawn of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex as the “Irvis Equality Circle,” in honor of K. Leroy Irvis, who was the first Black speaker of the Pennsylvania House, and of any state legislature in the country’s history since Reconstruction. The Harrisburg community through the “Gathering at the Crossroads” commissioned a monument that now sits outside of the Irvis Office Building on the South Lawn in honor of the old 8th Ward and the work that Speaker Irvis was able to do while serving in the legislature from 1958 to 1988.

The South Lawn sits outside of the K. Leroy Irvis Building. It is bordered by Walnut Street and Commonwealth Avenue.

“Speaker Irvis was an important trailblazer in our state’s history, and it’s only right that we continue to honor his legacy,” Kinsey said. “I’m glad to see this bill move out of committee. Now I hope to see my House colleagues vote to honor Speaker Irvis and everything he’s meant to our commonwealth.”

“The “Irvis Equality Circle” will remind us that we must protect our fundamental right to vote with vigilance for our own sakes, for our children and in remembrance of the sacrifices our forebears made to secure it,” Kim said.