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McClinton, Kinsey to introduce legislation to increase opportunities for pardons in Pennsylvania

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(Feb 13, 2020)

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(Feb 12, 2020)

From criminal justice reform to bringing critical resources to our communities, take a look at what we have accomplished for the 191st Legislative District. Read more


PLBC urges Judicial Conduct Review Board to investigate Allegheny County judge

(Feb 12, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 12 – Following Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Mark Tranquilli being reassigned on Tuesday to summary appeals after allegedly calling a Black female juror “Aunt Jemima” and making other racist remarks toward her, members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus are now urging the Judicial Conduct Review Board to investigate. Leading the effort are PLBC members representing Allegheny County, who condemned Tranquilli’s comments as another manifestation of a broken criminal justice system that systemically targets black and brown people. “The alleged comments made by Judge Mark Tranquilli are alarming on multiple fronts,” said state Rep. Austin Davis, who represents the 35 th Legislative District in Allegheny County. “On one hand we have an individual tasked with upholding the law to the highest extent but who clearly harbors bias and judgment toward defendants before a verdict is even reached. On the other hand, we have a judge who harbors an even stronger bias toward people of color, both of which are a recipe for disaster and an injustice to our community. I’m calling on the Judicial Conduct Review Board to do a thorough investigation into this matter.” State Rep. Edward C. Gainey, who represents the 24 th Legislative District, also in Allegheny County, echoed similar sentiments. “Our society is based on the belief that justice is blind – that regardless of race, color Read more


House Democrats embrace Wolf’s vision for Pennsylvania

(Feb 04, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 4 – House Democratic leaders praised the 2020-21 budget proposal outlined today by Gov. Tom Wolf, saying it closely tracks the Democratic Caucus’ own policy agenda, the Plan For Pennsylvania . “Governor Wolf is showing the way to make Pennsylvania a better place to live, learn and work,” said Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “House Democrats are matching his vision with our plan for affordable health care, quality schools, good jobs, a safe and healthy environment, and justice for all people.” Wolf’s budget proposal includes heavy investment in public schools and early childhood education, as well a new workforce initiative to prepare more workers for in-demand jobs. Wolf proposed a new scholarship program to help students in the State System of Higher Education avoid crushing student debt. “This budget is a bold approach to fixing some of Pennsylvania’s most pressing issues, including reducing gun violence, increasing the minimum wage, ensuring our schools are safe places for our children to learn and addressing the rising cost of higher education,” said Democratic Whip Jordan Harris. “I’m especially glad to see Governor Wolf address the student debt crisis. Education is the elevator out of poverty and considering Pennsylvania’s students have the highest level of student loan debt in the nation, that elevator is essentially broken. The legislature must act to address this Read more


McClinton, Kinsey to introduce legislation to increase opportunities for pardons in Pennsylvania

(Jan 31, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 30 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today announced that she and Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., will soon introduce legislation to increase pardon opportunities for individuals currently serving a sentence of life in prison. House Bill 2262 would do away with the requirement for a unanimous vote by the state Board of Pardons, and instead, replace it with a required simple majority vote. This vote is needed in order to recommend a pardon or commutation of a sentence to the governor for final approval. “Criminal justice reform is front and center on the minds of legislators in Harrisburg and people all across the commonwealth,” McClinton said. “One way we can truly seek reform is to offer hope to persons who have served decades in prison and no longer pose a threat to their communities. By lowering the threshold to a three-fifths vote of the pardons board to recommend pardon or commutation to the governor, Pennsylvania can show that it is truly leading by example when it comes to reforming our criminal justice system.” “In 1995, the Pennsylvania Constitution was amended to require a unanimous vote by the pardons board. I believe we’ve come a long way in understanding that we must do more in order to provide true opportunities for rehabilitated offenders to be pardoned or have their sentences commuted,” Kinsey said. “Ultimately, the final decision will still lay with Read more


Dawkins and Philadelphia Delegation applaud Gov. Wolf’s budget allocation to address lead, asbestos issues in schools

(Jan 29, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 29 – Members of the House Democratic Philadelphia Delegation, led by Rep. Jason Dawkins, today applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to include funding to address lead issues in public schools, including those in Philadelphia, in the budget. “Our children deserve to learn, and our teachers deserve to teach, in schools that don’t make them sick,” said Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation. “This is something that we can all agree on. But for far too long, our children, teachers and anyone else who has entered school buildings in Philadelphia have taken their own lives into their hands because often lead and asbestos were lurking inside. “My delegation colleagues and I are overjoyed at the news that Governor Wolf will be making investments in lead and asbestos remediation projects in our schools. Finally, we can take the steps to make our school buildings safe places to learn and to teach,” Dawkins said. “After so many of us have fought for so long to bring attention to this crisis, we are so grateful that Governor Wolf is making this a priority.” Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., secretary of the Philadelphia Delegation, agreed that it’s great news Wolf plans to prioritize the funding to allow schools to get rid of toxins. “We won’t rest until this money is a reality,” Fiedler added. “Every single Pennsylvania student Read more


McClinton partners with community leaders for day of service

(Jan 22, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 22 – This week, state Rep. Joanna McClinton hosted a day of service in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. McClinton partnered with President Judge Idee Fox and Judge Sierra Thomas Street, as well as members of New Options More Opportunities Youth Program and the Mural Arts Restorative Justice Guild for the community service event. “It’s incredible to be able to gather judges, court staff, probation officers, probationers and young people from our community together for a service project, especially in honor of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” McClinton said. “When people of all backgrounds come together to help the next generation of students, we’re seeing criminal justice reform in action. I’m excited to continue to break down barriers that exist within the justice system throughout the year.” Participants worked together to repaint the gymnasium at William C. Longstreth Elementary School in Southwest Philly. Photos from the event can be viewed here . Read more


McClinton: Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations were successful

(Jan 21, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton welcomed constituents to two community events in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. First, she hosted a day of service at Penn Wood Middle School. Then, McClinton held a Delaware County expungement clinic. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left a legacy of service and giving back that we can all take inspiration from,” McClinton said. “The holiday is the perfect reminder to be present in our community and make sure that our students are taken care of and that people are given a second chance to build the lives they deserve.” At Penn Wood Middle School, students volunteered to create supply bags for a local shelter. Students were empowered to bring their individual talents to the fight for equality. McClinton was joined by state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams for the expungement clinic, where more than 35 constituents participated. Additional support was provided by Legal Aid of Southeastern PA. “Dr. King once said, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ It is truly an injustice that a criminal record can prevent one from getting a job, housing and other opportunities,” McClinton said. “I will continue to fight to change the laws to expand expungement access and offer these programs throughout the year.” Read more


McClinton invites residents to join in serving their communities on MLK Day

(Jan 16, 2020)

Pa. state Rep. Joanna McClinton reflects on the words and wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and invites residents to join her for community service events on Saturday and Monday in honor of Dr. King’s legacy. Read more


300+ seniors participate in McClinton’s 5th Annual Holiday Health & Fitness Expo

(Dec 20, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 20 – More than 300 people participated in state Rep. Joanna McClinton’s fifth annual Celebrate the Season with Seniors: Holiday Health and Fitness Expo at Motivation High School. “We hold this event every year to connect our wisest neighbors with quality care, critical resources, and a fun time to help them live their best lives,” said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “This is just another way we’re working to give back and bring our communities closer together during the holidays.” Participants enjoyed a delicious lunch with access to more than 30 vendors that provided free wellness services, fitness opportunities and entertainment, including: Health screenings: Mercy Health System, Main Line Health and Sayre Health Center. Cost-saving assistance: SEPTA, AARP, Connect One Health, Philadelphia Electric Co. (PECO) and Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW). Musical performances: Cornerstone Christian Academy Children’s Choir and Philadelphia Police Ofc. Shamssadeen Baukman, 18 th Police District. Exercise class: BeautiFitStrong. McClinton attributed the success of this year’s expo to the devoted volunteers, including students from Motivation High School, NSA Multicultural Academy and KIPP West Philadelphia Preparty School, along with the commitment of Oak Street Health, Compassionate Care Provider, Humana, Dedicated Senior Medical Center, and Always Read more


McClinton applauds passage of important criminal justice reform legislation

(Dec 19, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 19 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, lauded the passage this week of three major pieces of criminal justice reform legislation that she co-authored. The House passed the following: House Bill 440, which provides for the automatic expungement of an individual’s record after an unconditional pardon or full acquittal. Senate Bills 500 and 501, known as the Justice Reinvestment Initiative 2 package. House Resolution 619, which calls for a study on the funding of indigent criminal defense. “Last year, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle came together to pass important reforms that would allow individuals to challenge unjust convictions more easily,” McClinton said. “Now we are building on that progress to make the criminal justice system fairer at all levels of the process.” McClinton introduced H.B. 440 with Rep. Tedd C. Nesbit, R-Mercer/Butler. The bill would provide an opportunity to expunge an individual’s record if they have been unconditionally pardoned or fully acquitted of all charges. The House passed the bill unanimously on Wednesday and it now heads to the Senate for consideration. “I hope the Senate will see fit to move this important legislation to the governor’s desk so that we can remove unnecessary hurdles to get people back on their feet and into the workforce after a pardon or full acquittal,” McClinton. On Read more


McClinton: Criminal justice reform moves forward

(Dec 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 10 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, said the House Judiciary Committee on Monday cleared her legislation to build on the progress made so far in reforming Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system. The committee passed House Bill 440 and adopted House Resolution 619 among 10 bills considered during the special meeting focused on criminal justice. “Last year, my colleagues on both sides of the aisle came together to pass important reforms to the Post-Conviction Relief act and establish fairer DNA statutes that would allow individuals to challenge unjust convictions more easily,” McClinton said. “Now we want to build on that progress and allow eligible individuals to expunge their records, so they can continue to find jobs and housing.” McClinton introduced H.B. 440 with Rep. Tedd C. Nesbit, R-Mercer/Butler. The bill would provide an opportunity to expunge an individual’s record if they have been unconditionally pardoned or fully acquitted of all charges, based on the same conduct or arising from the same alleged criminal episode. The commonwealth would receive notice of a potential expungement and would have an opportunity to object and conduct a hearing. McClinton also introduced House Resolution 619, which would direct the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study collecting data about funding and caseloads for criminal defense in Read more


McClinton announces $1M grant award for local school district

(Dec 05, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 5 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila., chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus, announced that a $1 million grant has been awarded to the William Penn School District. “For the second year in a row, I’m grateful and humbled to have played a part in securing this important Ready to Learn grant funding for the William Penn School District,” McClinton said. “We know that children in lower Delaware County are underserved due to unfair education funding. This grant is a step in the right direction toward fixing that imbalance.” The funds were awarded as part of the Ready to Learn Block Grant program through the Department of Education. The grant is intended to help schools establish, maintain, or expand academic programs in alignment with commonwealth education standards. “Every dollar of extra funding for William Penn School District will make a world of difference,” McClinton said. “The Ready to Learn grants can be used to fund such pivotal areas as pre-K, STEM learning, teacher training, and full-day kindergarten.” McClinton said she worked with her House and Senate colleagues to secure the grant funding. While she praised Gov. Tom Wolf for his continued commitment to funding basic education in Pennsylvania, McClinton said there’s still more work to be done. “To be clear, I am very excited that William Penn School District will have this additional funding at their Read more


Winter 2019 Newsletter

(Dec 03, 2019)

Read my Winter 2019 Newsletter! Read more


Summer 2019 Newsletter

(Dec 03, 2019)

Read my Summer 2019 Newsletter! Read more


PLBC lauds accreditation for Cheyney University

(Nov 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 26 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statements after the announcement of Cheyney University receiving accreditation: “The retention of Cheyney University’s accreditation is not only welcoming news for the university, but also for African American students here in the commonwealth and across the country. The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus has historically worked with Cheyney University over the years and is committed to doing what we can to foster the education process and success of all people across the commonwealth. With this accreditation, Cheyney University will remain a viable educational resource to students now and for years to come. I’m proud of the work our legislative leaders have done to support the efforts of Cheyney University and thank the leadership of Cheyney’s President Aaron Walton along with Governor Tom Wolf, Senate Appropriation Chairman Vincent Hughes, House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, House Democratic Education Chairman Jim Roebuck,” said Rep. Stephen Kinsey, PLBC Chairman. “As a former chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, the PLBC and I were very involved in investigating and helping to form solutions to right the ship at Cheyney and I’m proud that that same passion has been continued by current PLBC Chairman Stephen Kinsey and his leadership team. Collectively, we’ve been working with leaders in state Read more


McClinton applauds passage of legislation outlawing sexual extortion

(Nov 21, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today applauded the passage of bipartisan legislation she co-sponsored, which would outlaw sexual extortion in Pennsylvania and empower law enforcement and victim services organizations to help victims of this serious sex crime who previously fell between the cracks. “Finally, victims of this horrific crime will have an avenue to seek justice and perpetrators of sexual extortion – which the Department of Justice has said is the most significantly growing threat to children – can be held accountable,” McClinton said. “I am elated to see this legislation receive bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and I look forward to seeing Governor Wolf sign it into law.” McClinton introduced H.B. 1402 with Rep. Tedd C. Nesbit, R-Mercer/Butler. The House passed it unanimously in June. The Senate unanimously passed the bill on Wednesday after making small improvements to the legislation. Today, the House unanimously passed the bill on concurrence, and it’s headed to Wolf’s desk for his signature. McClinton said previously that by specifically adding sexual extortion as a crime, we can protect individuals from people in power who demand sexual acts, images or videos from victims, usually for something of value to the victim. “Now, would-be perpetrators will not be able to lord intimate photos or other Read more


McClinton announces $80K tax credit for ACHIEVEability

(Nov 18, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 18 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, announced Monday that an $80,000 state tax credit been awarded to ACHIEVEability. “Programs that serve our community by helping our residents get stable employment are doing awesome work,” McClinton said. “This $80,000 will allow ACHIEVEability to make investments in this community that are returned many times over through its WorkSmart West Philly program, which aims to connect people with stable employment. “More than 25% of families in the 191 st Legislative District are living below the poverty line,” McClinton added. “This award will mark the first step toward positive change for many of those families by helping people get connected to workforce development programming, job coaching and other services that will allow them to join the workforce.” The tax credit announced Monday is through the Neighborhood Assistance Program, or NAP, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. It’s intended to encourage businesses to invest in projects which improve distressed areas or support neighborhood conservation. For more information about the NAP funding, visit the DCED site online . ### Read more


McClinton honors veterans, connects them with veterans’ services during annual Veterans Expo

(Nov 12, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 12 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton honored 37 veterans at her annual Veterans Expo Friday, including a World War II veteran, a Korean War veteran and veterans who served in the Vietnam, Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq wars, during her annual Veterans Expo ahead of Veterans Day. “How do you say thank you to people who were willing to sacrifice their lives for your freedom?” McClinton said. “Words aren’t enough. In fact, I don’t know that we can adequately thank these brave veterans for their service to our country. But I want them to know that no matter how many years -- no matter how many decades – have passed since they returned home or since they last wore their service uniform, I will never forget what they gave. That’s what my annual Veterans Expo is about; it’s a gesture of gratitude, an acknowledgement for all they have done and an opportunity to connect them to invaluable resources.” McClinton’s Veterans Expo, sponsored by Humana and AmeriHealth Caritas, was held at Myers Recreation Center on Friday, Nov. 8. Information about veterans’ benefits was available and 15 health and wellness and veterans service organizations were in attendance, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Minority Veterans, AARP, Aetna and the University of Pennsylvania. Representatives from the offices of U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon and state Sen. Anthony H. Williams Read more