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Johnson-Harrell, Policy Committee meet to discuss gun violence as a public health epidemic

Philadelphia House Delegation commends courage of police after six officers shot, calls for sensible gun reform to get guns off the street

(Aug 15, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation in the PA House of Representatives, along with delegation members, on Thursday commended the courage and service of the Philadelphia Police Department after six officers were shot, and others were injured during a shootout Wednesday. “These officers put their lives on the line every day that they go to work and serve their community,” Dawkins said. “They know the dangers they face when they put on their uniform, head out the door, leaving their families behind, to serve and protect us.” A gunman began firing shots around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when police were at a house in the 3700 block of North 15 th Street in the Tioga section of North Philadelphia to serve an arrest warrant, according to news reports . Six officers were shot, all of them were eventually treated at the hospital and released, and the gunman was taken into custody after a 71/2-hour standoff. “The officers who were injured in this heinous act will have the Philadelphia House Delegation’s full support as they recover,” Dawkins said, adding “We must do all we can to prevent such senseless acts of gun violence in the future. We must do more to keep guns off the streets and out of the hands of criminals.” Dawkins pointed to the more than two dozen gun reform measures that could be voted on today as steps to take to reduce gun violence and access to Read more

 

Gainey to host back-to-school backpack giveaway

(Aug 15, 2019)

Free backpack and school supplies available to students in K through 5 Read more

 

Hanbidge, Policy Committee look at Reducing HCBS Waiver Waitlist Times

(Aug 15, 2019)

LANSDALE, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery, held a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing today at the Towamencin Township Building to discuss reducing the Home- and Community-Based Services Waiver Waitlist. “I’m glad we are choosing to shine a spotlight on the HCBS waiver waitlist, which is standing in the way of over 13,000 Pennsylvanians from receiving essential support services,” Hanbidge said. “By waiving their right to institutional care, individuals with disabilities on the waiver waitlist are opting to save our commonwealth billions of dollars but often receive no critical support services in return for years. This is unacceptable. After hearing from many stakeholders and activists at my Policy Committee Hearing, I am encouraged that we can make reducing the HCBS Waiver Waitlist a reality.” Hanbidge requested the hearing to discuss ways to reduce the wait times for individuals with disabilities, and the most vulnerable amongst us. She was joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “Many of those on these waitlists are in desperate need of care and there should be no reason they have to wait for their support services that could potentially save their lives,” Sturla said. “I’m glad that Representative Hanbidge has worked with us to draw more attention to this backlog so that we might find a way to relieve it Read more

 

Sims commends first responders after North Philadelphia shooting

(Aug 15, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Brian Sims expressed his support for the Philadelphia Police Department and the medical professionals who rushed to help after six officers were hurt yesterday in a mass shooting. “My thoughts are with the first responders who jumped into action to prevent innocent bystanders from being hurt and the medical staff who worked swiftly to treat the officers who were injured,” Sims said. “This kind of violence needs to stop. We’ve seen 7 mass shootings in the city this year. There is no justifiable reason for one person to have that much fire power. It’s time we take real action to enact sensible gun legislation and make our streets safer.” Sims also commended Police Commissioner Ross and District Attorney Krasner for speaking with the suspect and convincing him to surrender and end the seven-hour standoff. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen that these incidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Nearby, 80 children were held in a daycare and Temple University was placed on lockdown. These mass shootings are affecting people at school, at the grocery store, at the movies, and at church. They’re causing trauma for people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. Enough is enough.” Read more

 

Youngblood commends authorities for bringing peaceful ending to standoff

(Aug 15, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 15 – Following a seven-hour police standoff in the Nicetown section of her district, state Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood is praising the authorities involved and their efforts to bring the incident to a peaceful conclusion. “I am thankful that the six officers who were injured during this horrific event are expected to recover, and that there were no fatalities within the police department. I am also glad that no residents were physically hurt during this long ordeal,” Youngblood said. “As terrible as the situation was, it could have been a lot worse, but the Philadelphia Police Department handled it with professionalism and remained vigilant throughout the standoff. “I also commend Police Commissioner Ross and District Attorney Krasner for participating in a phone call with the suspect and his attorney that led to the gunman surrendering and ending of the seven-hour standoff.” Youngblood added this incident only strengthens the continued call for commonsense gun reform in Pennsylvania. “Our community did not deserve to be on the receiving end of this act of violence. Our law enforcement, who are out on the streets serving and protecting our communities should be able to do so safely. This suspect has a criminal record and should not have had guns in his possession. He used them illegally to fight off police who were only doing their job in serving a warrant,” Youngblood stated. “The residents of Read more

 

Kenyatta calls for action following city’s 7th mass shooting this year

(Aug 15, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta on Thursday commended the bravery of Philadelphia Police Department officers and skill of medical professionals who were called to action after six police officers were shot Wednesday in Philadelphia’s seventh mass shooting this year. “I am grateful to the police commissioner and his officers, the mayor and district attorney for ending yesterday’s gun violence without any additional injury to the suspect, officers or the public,” Kenyatta said. “I was at the hospital last night for hours and saw the bravery of our officers and medical professionals firsthand. I also saw the anguish of having to deal with yet another shooting in our beloved city. North Philly is a beautiful community of hardworking folks and this is not why we should be receiving national media attention. “I am shocked by how much firepower was in that house and call again on Harrisburg and Washington to lay down the rigid ideology that has prevented action on this issue to date so we can finally do something about these guns. Our city, state and country are in crisis. Further delay would be criminal.” Read more

 

Burns meets with Amazon official at national summit, gets tour invite

(Aug 15, 2019)

EBENSBURG, Aug. 15 – Making inroads at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual summit, state Rep. Frank Burns got a firsthand look at Amazon’s distribution center process and an invite to tour one of the online retail giant’s Pennsylvania facilities. Once again, Republican Speaker of the House Mike Turzai appointed Burns to serve on the national Communication, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee in Nashville. “I didn’t go to Tennessee to just whistle Dixie; I was a man on a mission to make contacts and learn all I could about helping Cambria County with job creation,” said Burns, D-Cambria. Burns met with Amazon’s regional public policy manager Anya Malkov and discussed his letters to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, informing him of the availability of a Keystone Opportunity Zone in Cambria County and touting the area’s workforce and willingness to welcome investors. “We also talked about how some Amazon distribution centers are located in small-sized cities like those in my district, as long as they are close to highways,” Burns said. “I view that as an extremely positive piece of information – and to all the people who say, ‘it’s never going to happen,’ – this is something for them to chew on.” Burns said Malkov, who attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, offered to help arrange a tour of one of the Read more

 

Burns: Latest anti-bullying efforts to be presented Monday, Aug. 19

(Aug 15, 2019)

As part of his effort to stamp out bullying, state Rep. Frank Burns and Penn Cambria School District will discuss a one-year pilot program using free software supplied by a Johnstown-based firm, at a 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19 news conference at the Penn Cambria High School library, 401 Linden Ave., Cresson. Read more

 

Kenyatta, Dawkins condemn latest act of gun violence involving multiple officers

(Aug 14, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 14 – State Reps. Jason Dawkins and Malcolm Kenyatta, both D-Phila., tonight are reacting to the ongoing office involved shooting in North Philadelphia. Dawkins is chairman of the House Philadelphia Delegation while Kenyatta is vice chairman. “First and foremost my prayers are with the officers injured in today’s incident,” Kenyatta said. “I’m fervently praying for a speedy end to this situation. I urge folks in the area to stay indoors and follow police instructions. When our law enforcement agents put on their uniforms and go into the field every one of their families prays to not see headlines like we’re seeing today. There are far too many guns on our streets, and today’s incident is one more sober reminder of it.” Dawkins agreed. “As 80 children waited in place at a nearby daycare and Temple University went on lockdown, I not only thought of these young people and their families, I thought of all the lawmakers in Harrisburg and across the nation who for years have turned a blind eye to this anguish and devastation. While I pray for the injured officers and their families, and all of those affected by this ongoing standoff, I also strengthen my resolve to hold this state and our nation accountable for any more lives lost to senseless gun violence.” Dawkins, Kenyatta and a number of their colleagues recently called for an emergency session of the General Read more

 

Kinsey to host Unity in the Northwest Community event Aug. 16

(Aug 14, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., is inviting residents to a family-fun communitywide event he is holding Friday. Kinsey’s Unity in the Northwest Community will be held from 5 p.m.- 9 p.m. Friday, Aug.16 on the grounds of Germantown High School, along the 5900 block of Germantown Ave.,19144. “Unity in the Northwest Community is a community engagement affair which will bring local law enforcement, businesses, churches, local organizations, local elected officials, and the community together in a positive unified environment,” Kinsey said. “I look forward to a great event to promote community cohesion and to provide positive interactions between police and the northwest community!” Attendees will enjoy live music from local performers including Philadelphia’s own Breakwater Funk Band, Expressions of Soul, Alexi Paraschos, and many other performers. There will be scooter demonstrations by Verve S, a Silent Philly party, various vendors, and delicious food from food trucks. Unity in the Northwest Community is free and open to the public. Read more

 

Malagari, Policy Committee examine transportation infrastructure

(Aug 14, 2019)

In Montgomery County, and across the state, it’s crucial that our communities are interconnected. People need access to good jobs and health services, and this begins with investment in transportation infrastructure. Read more

 

Burns: Vigilance needed to ensure Ebensburg State Center stays open

(Aug 14, 2019)

EBENSBURG, Aug. 14 – As the lead public figure in the 2017 fight to keep Ebensburg State Center from closure amid a huge public outcry, state Rep. Frank Burns is urging continued vigilance upon learning that the Wolf administration plans to shutter similar centers in Luzerne and Venango counties. Burns, D-Cambria, said after the effort two years ago to close the Ebensburg center – which was providing specialized care for nearly 225 severely mentally and physically disabled adults, along with 700 jobs – Gov. Tom Wolf gave assurances that he wouldn’t close the facility through the 2018-19 fiscal year, which has now expired. “My radar screen has lit up like a pinball machine now that the plan to close Polk State Center in Venango County and White Haven State Center in Luzerne County has been revealed,” Burns said. “It’s an early warning system for those of us who were – and would again be – deeply disturbed at the prospect of losing the Ebensburg State Center forever.” Burns said closing such a vital facility would make no sense, given the upheaval it would cause in the lives of patients, families and employees. He also questioned why it would be necessary, given that the state just closed the books on a 2018-19 fiscal year with hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus. “If the state just got done stashing away $800 million in June, it doesn’t make sense to Read more

 

Lee to host environmental forum in Forest Hills

(Aug 14, 2019)

The public is invited to join Lee and local organizations to learn about local and global environmental concerns and how they can impact policy-making at the local and state level. Read more

 

Kortz supports Governor Wolf’s call for charter, cyber charter school oversight, overhaul of 1997 charter school law

(Aug 14, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, provided the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s call yesterday to overhaul the state’s charter school law: “I applaud and support the governor’s decision to take executive action to address the lack of fiscal and management accountability of charter and cyber charter schools in the commonwealth,” Kortz said. “I agree with him: the state’s charter school law in Pennsylvania is – indeed – one of the most fiscally irresponsible laws in the country. “The financial strain that has been placed on the schools in my district to support these charter schools is outrageous, and their operational costs are way out of alignment. One of the reasons why I voted ‘no’ on the 2019-2020 budget is because it did not include any remedies to address these concerns related to charter schools. These costs are draining vital funds away from our public schools and leading to steep hikes in property taxes for homeowners in my district. That is beyond unacceptable. “At a minimum, these schools must be made fiscally responsible and accountable to students, parents, and taxpayers, and these schools must also be audited on a regular basis to stay and remain in compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. “I support Governor Wolf’s efforts and look forward to working with him and my colleagues in Read more

 

Mullery opposed to White Haven closure

(Aug 14, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery is opposed to the closure of the White Haven Center, as announced today by the state Department of Human Services. Read more

 

Kenyatta, Policy Committee discuss environmental justice in disadvantaged communities

(Aug 13, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., held a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today at Lutheran Settlement House to discuss environmental justice. Kenyatta requested the hearing in his legislative district, the 181 st , to discuss environmental justice and health issues affecting Pennsylvanians, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. He was joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “In Philadelphia, many of our residents send their children to school buildings where lead paint poses a serious health risk, many of our residents are dealing with health issues related to air quality, and many of our residents are seeing daily the impact of pollution,” Kenyatta said. Sturla added, “People in our urban centers, especially those people in disadvantaged communities, are being put at risk by the environmental factors around them. Today’s hearing provided an opportunity for experts in the field to explore those risk factors and possible solutions.” Testifiers included Justin Dula, eastern regional coordinator for the Office of Environmental Justice, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Dr. Marilyn Howarth, director of community outreach and engagement, University of Pennsylvania’s Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology; Ebony Griffin, staff attorney for Environmental Justice, The Public Interest Read more

 

Ciresi supports Gov. Wolf’s Charter School Reforms

(Aug 13, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, applauded the executive action Gov. Tom Wolf announced today to reform Pennsylvania’s charter school law, and echoed his call for comprehensive charter school reform legislation. “Charter school costs have been growing at an unsustainable rate at the expense of PA taxpayers, and it’s time we got better results,” Ciresi said. “The outdated charter school law written in 1997 doesn’t fit the new reality of cyber charter education, and too many charter schools statewide underperform without any accountability to their students and our taxpayers. “The additional oversight Governor Wolf announced today, including holding charter schools to the same transparency and ethical standards as school districts, limiting enrollment at under-performing charter schools, providing more oversight of for-profit charter operators, and preventing charter schools from overcharging taxpayers are all commonsense measures that will give us greater confidence that taxpayer funds are being spent responsibly. “I have been actively working towards charter school reform in the legislature, including pushing for cyber charter funding reform, returning local control over charter funding to school districts, and ensuring accountability over how taxpayer money – $9.7 million just from my district – is spent through elected school board oversight. I am pleased to see the governor Read more

 

Charter school reforms supported by McNeill

(Aug 13, 2019)

ALLENTOWN, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, said she supports the charter school reform proposals announced today by Gov. Tom Wolf. Read more

 

Schweyer supports governor’s call to hold charter schools accountable

(Aug 13, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, offered the following remarks at today’s news conference hosted by Gov. Tom Wolf as he announced plans to reform charter schools in Pennsylvania by addressing accountability, cost, transparency, fairness and quality. Read more

 

Schlossberg issues statement on charter school reform

(Aug 13, 2019)

ALLENTOWN, Aug. 13 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D- Lehigh, issued the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s announcement today of his charter school reform strategy: "Governor Wolf's strong executive action will ensure that, for the first time, in a long time, the Allentown School District has a chance at long-term financial sustainability. “Payments to charter schools cost taxpayers in the Allentown School District $3 million in 1998-1999. That cost is now north of $62 million: a 20-fold increase in 20 years. How 1 out of every 6 dollars paid for by Allentown School District taxpayers is spent is completely out of the hands of the people elected as stewards of our resources. “Based upon estimates from the administration, this stands to save the taxpayers of the Allentown School District $10 million. While I have very proudly worked with Representative Peter Schweyer to secure additional funding for the Allentown School District, this action goes a step further by altering the circumstances which require that additional funding. ASD students should not have their futures determined by the political skill of those who represent them in the legislature. Rather than find emergency funding, I would rather reform the system which required emergency funding in the first place. Governor Wolf’s actions today will allow us to do just that. “I cannot understate the importance of these moves. As a result of what the Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation commends courage of police after six officers shot, calls for sensible gun reform to get guns off the street
Aug 15, 2019

Gainey to host back-to-school backpack giveaway
Aug 15, 2019

Hanbidge, Policy Committee look at Reducing HCBS Waiver Waitlist Times
Aug 15, 2019

Sims commends first responders after North Philadelphia shooting
Aug 15, 2019

Youngblood commends authorities for bringing peaceful ending to standoff
Aug 15, 2019

Kenyatta calls for action following city’s 7th mass shooting this year
Aug 15, 2019

Burns meets with Amazon official at national summit, gets tour invite
Aug 15, 2019

Burns: Latest anti-bullying efforts to be presented Monday, Aug. 19
Aug 15, 2019

Kenyatta, Dawkins condemn latest act of gun violence involving multiple officers
Aug 14, 2019

Kinsey to host Unity in the Northwest Community event Aug. 16
Aug 14, 2019

Malagari, Policy Committee examine transportation infrastructure
Aug 14, 2019

Burns: Vigilance needed to ensure Ebensburg State Center stays open
Aug 14, 2019

Lee to host environmental forum in Forest Hills
Aug 14, 2019

Kortz supports Governor Wolf’s call for charter, cyber charter school oversight, overhaul of 1997 charter school law
Aug 14, 2019

Mullery opposed to White Haven closure
Aug 14, 2019

Kenyatta, Policy Committee discuss environmental justice in disadvantaged communities
Aug 13, 2019

Ciresi supports Gov. Wolf’s Charter School Reforms
Aug 13, 2019

Charter school reforms supported by McNeill
Aug 13, 2019

Schweyer supports governor’s call to hold charter schools accountable
Aug 13, 2019

Schlossberg issues statement on charter school reform
Aug 13, 2019