O’Mara attends White House meeting to discuss America’s gun violence epidemic

(Dec 18, 2023)

"Extreme Risk Protection Orders can be such an effective intervention measure for families who struggle like mine did, and ERPOs are proven to reduce the number of suicides in other states that enacted them," O'Mara said. Read more

 

Western Pa. lawmaker introduces legislation to bar employers from suspending healthcare benefits for striking workers

(Dec 15, 2023)

Rep. Lindsey Powell (D-Allegheny) introduced a bill this week to bar employers from suspending health care coverage for striking workers, citing the “disastrous effects” discontinuing coverage could have on employees and their families. Read more

 

Several Otten policy issues win big in Harrisburg this week

(Dec 15, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 15 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, marked several significant legislative achievements in Harrisburg this week, with committee hearings on two of her bills, another legislative proposal signed into law, and the passage of a resolution recognizing native Pennsylvanian Taylor Swift for her recent selection as TIME magazine’s Person of the Year. Otten also applauded several of the legislature’s collective accomplishments, as the General Assembly passed tax code and fiscal code bills containing multiple provisions to support working families. On Wednesday evening, the General Assembly passed and Gov. Josh Shapiro signed into law a school code bill authorizing funding for Otten’s student-teacher stipend program, which allocates $10 million in funding to help alleviate the statewide teacher shortage by providing stipends of up to $15,000 for prospective teachers during their student teaching semester. Otten’s proposal first passed the House in June with strong bipartisan support, and her proposal language was included in the state budget. “Student teaching stipends are an essential step in both addressing our teacher shortage and supporting every aspiring educator in Pennsylvania so they can join the workforce fully prepared to teach upon graduation,” Otten said. “I am excited to see this program enacted into law so that we can provide our student teachers Read more

 

Shusterman applauds final passage of bipartisan state budget

(Dec 14, 2023)

It’s truly an honor to have legislation I sponsored signed into law, especially since it will put more money back into the pockets of nearly a quarter million families and enable parents to return to the workforce. This is a historic investment in Pennsylvania families, and both sides of the aisle agree that it is the right thing to do. Read more

 

Historic bill to repudiate racially restricted deed covenants passes PA Senate

(Dec 14, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 14 – The Pennsylvania Senate made history Wednesday by unanimously passing state Rep. Justin Fleming’s legislation ( H.B. 1289 ) that would help rectify the legacy of biased housing practices by making it easier for property owners to repudiate discriminatory deed covenants. “The progress of racial, ethnic, and religious minority groups has been stifled by restrictive deed covenants and practices like redlining, resulting in massive inequality in wealth and home ownership rates,” Fleming said. “My legislation would help rectify this historic wrong by making it easy and affordable to repudiate discriminatory language from these documents.” A covenant stipulates what existing or future owners can and cannot do to a property. Racially discriminatory real estate covenants were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948 under the Shelley v. Kraemer decision, ruling that these covenants are unenforceable under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. In addition, the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited deed covenants that discriminate against protected classes. Although these covenants are no longer enforceable, Fleming said this harmful and discriminatory language still exists in many property deeds. Fleming’s bill impacts all restrictive covenants for classes of individuals covered under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and would allow a property owner – should they Read more

 

Matzie: House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee hears testimony on bills to protect water and wastewater ratepayers

(Dec 14, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 14 – The PA House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee heard testimony Wednesday about legislation that would impose more stringent requirements for the acquisition of municipal water and wastewater systems and bring more transparency to that process, Majority Chairman Rob Matzie announced. Matzie, D-Beaver, and several colleagues introduced the bill package to reform Act 12 – which was enacted in 2016 to change the way water and wastewater systems are valued for acquisition – to bring greater scrutiny and openness to these transactions. “Act 12 was originally created to give public utilities incentives to acquire failing or stressed municipal systems that could no longer provide safe, reliable service to customers, Matzie said. “Unfortunately, that’s not how the act is being used. Instead, municipalities and municipal authorities are exercising the provisions to sell healthy, well-operated systems at amounts much higher than their present value. Consumers end up footing the bill for those purchases through hugely inflated rates – without any improvement to services. “Even worse, the sales often happen with little notice to taxpayers or ratepayers, so the public is left in the dark about a pending sale until it’s too late. Our bill package would add needed guiderails to the act so that it Read more

 

Powell attends White House meeting on states’ efforts to reduce gun violence

(Dec 14, 2023)

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 14 – State Rep. Lindsay Powell, D-Allegheny, joined dozens of state lawmakers from across the country at the White House for a state legislative meeting on gun violence prevention. The meeting, hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris, included six key actions to help reduce gun violence at the state level: Establishing statewide offices dedicated to gun violence prevention. Investing in evidence-based solutions. Strengthening support for survivors. Implementing responsible gun ownership practices. Enhancing background checks. Establishing industry accountability and standards. “All Pennsylvanians deserve to feel safe in their communities, whether it be at home, school, work, a place of worship or at public gatherings,” Powell said. “I believe that it is the responsibility of the state legislature to protect the rights of our neighbors – the right to live without the fear and trauma of gun violence – and I am committed to commonsense policies to achieve that vision.” The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed two bills this year that are part of The Common Agenda to End Gun Violence package. They would create extreme risk protection orders and enact universal background checks . A bill to require the reporting of lost and stolen firearms failed to pass the House, while an additional bill to require guns to be safely stored in homes has not come up for a vote. Community Read more

 

PA House passes Isaacson bill to enhance protection for judges and judicial officers

(Dec 14, 2023)

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Wednesday passed state Rep. Mary Isaacson’s legislation to enhance protection for federal judges and judicial officers. This bill would prohibit disclosing the personally identifiable information of federal judges, judicial officers and their families when there is intent to cause harm or interrupt the person from carrying out their duties. “Threats and attempted violence against impartial judges not only cause harm to them but it damages our justice system and the foundations of our democracy,” Isaacson said. “We have seen varied threats against our democratic institutions too many times in recent years and we must protect judges to ensure that they can continue to uphold their duties both impartially and independently.” With this legislation, it would also be graded as a third-degree misdemeanor. "The justice system serves as a pillar of American Democracy. Threats and acts of violence against the judiciary branch affect each and everyone of us," state Rep. Anthony Bellmon, who helped author the bill, said. “As the number of threats against the judiciary continue to rise, we must ensure judges are protected from retaliation so that they can properly serve justice in our commonwealth." The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. Read more

 

Williams’ bill to help recruit more police officers heads to governor

(Dec 14, 2023)

Vacancies in the local police hurt our communities and put us all at risk. This measure will give our local police departments a tool to help solve their vacancies, but is only a piece of the puzzle as we need to do more. Read more

 

PA Senate passes HB666, allows Philadelphia Housing Authority to negotiate performance-based contracts

(Dec 14, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 14 – A bill ( H.B. 666 ) sponsored by state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., passed the Pennsylvania Senate Wednesday by vote of 43-7. This legislation would remove the requirement in the Housing Authorities Law that executive members of the Philadelphia Housing Authority be “at will” employees, enabling the PHA board to negotiate performance-based contracts and compensation arrangements. “This bill will bring the Philadelphia Housing Authority back into alignment with the other 89 public housing authorities in Pennsylvania,” Bullock said. “Once this legislation is in place, Philadelphia will be able to better retain talent, be competitive with other major cities and keep our public housing authority on its current upward trajectory.” The provisions requiring PHA executive members to be “at will” employees were primarily established in 2011 in response to governance issues with the city housing authority under a prior city administration and previous PHA board. The board was dissolved and the PHA was put in the hands of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under an administrative receivership until 2013. In the years since, the PHA and its board have operated to a high standard and earned back the trust of stakeholders, Bullock said. “I look forward to Gov. Josh Shapiro signing this legislation Read more

 

Powell introduces legislation to protect health care benefits for striking workers

(Dec 13, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 13 – State Rep. Lindsay Powell, D-Allegheny, has introduced a bill that would ensure Pennsylvania workers do not lose health care coverage while on strike. Powell’s legislation, H.B. 1911 , would prohibit employers in Pennsylvania from denying health care benefits to workers who are on strike and is co-sponsored by PA House Majority Whip Dan Miller, D-Allegheny. Nearly 159 million workers depend on health care coverage through their employers, according to a KFF survey from last year . As a result, employees often end up paying an annual average of more than $7,700 for single coverage and $22,000 for family coverage through COBRA during a strike’s duration. “Compelling employees to choose between job security and safeguarding their well-being and that of their families is a dire proposition,” Powell said. “My bill keeps essential health coverage in place until the employer and employees reach a mutual compromise.” “Stripping health care from workers who exercise their rights to collectively bargain places a tremendous burden on working families, especially those with children,” Miller added. “I want to thank Representative Powell for introducing this legislation, which along with other bills we have passed this year , aim to level the playing field between workers and large corporations so that workers can exercise their rights and have their voices heard.” House Bill 1911 Read more

 

Speed cameras will stay on Roosevelt Boulevard and be expanded to other parts of the city under Pa. bill

(Dec 13, 2023)

Authorization for a trial of the camera, which began operation on Roosevelt Blvd. in 2020, was set to expire Monday, Dec. 18. The bill also makes permanent the state’s use of automated speed enforcement in highway work zones. Read more

 

Cephas, Davis laud final passage of Dignity for Incarcerated Women legislation

(Dec 13, 2023)

The bill creates important protections, including restricting shackling and solitary confinement; providing trauma informed care training of corrections officers interacting with pregnant and postpartum women; and providing up to three days of post-delivery bonding time between a mother and newborn child, among other protections. As the number of pregnant or postpartum incarcerated women rise, we must ensure they have the support that they and their babies need. Read more

 

Pittsburgh-area public officials cheer passage of dental bills

(Dec 12, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 12 – Majority House Health Committee Chairman Dan Frankel joined colleagues to celebrate a major step forward Tuesday for legislation that would allow access to dental care for thousands of Pennsylvanians. “When you are unable to get the dental care you need, all of the outcomes get worse and worse. Lapses in dental care can make it difficult to eat or talk, and they lead to serious health conditions. Pain from lapses in dental care can make it difficult to function at all,” said Frankel, D-Allegheny. “It’s nothing less than immoral to allow this necessary care to remain out of reach.” House Bill 1585 , introduced by Frankel, would establish teledentistry in Pennsylvania and require insurance plans to cover it, and H.B. 1417 would restore dental coverage under the state Medical Assistance program after cuts in 2011 eliminated services like root canals, periodontal disease work and emergency exams. Both bills passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. House Bill 1417 was introduced by then-Rep. Sara Innamorato, who cheered the votes from Pittsburgh, where she is preparing to take office as the Allegheny County Executive. “Everyone deserves access to quality health care, which includes dental health care. Pennsylvanians who utilize Medical Assistance are suffering because they cannot access the oral care they need,” Innamorato said. “Moving forward, Medical Read more

 

PA House passes bill to restore Medicaid coverage for dental services

(Dec 12, 2023)

Bipartisan legislation would provide dental benefits to Medical Assistance recipients Read more

 

House passes H.R. 279 to extend emergency disaster proclamation for I-95

(Dec 12, 2023)

Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 279 , authored by state Rep. Anthony Bellmon, D-Phila., to further extend the emergency disaster proclamation for I-95 and allow work to rebuild the overpass that collapsed due to fire to continue. “The I-95 bridge collapse has had a major effect on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the entire northeast United States,” Bellmon said. “We must extend the governor’s emergency declaration to ensure the bridge gets the proper reconstruction it needs so that we don’t witness another catastrophe happen to it, and so travelers can be safe driving on it.” Last June, a tanker truck carrying gasoline lost control as it attempted to exit the highway. It caught fire after the crash causing the north and southbound lanes of I-95 to require reconstruction for an undetermined amount of time. Gov. Josh Shapiro declared a disaster emergency proclamation on June 12, the day after the accident. The first extension was contained in S.R. 136, introduced by state Sen Jimmy Dillion, which extended the proclamation until Nov. 1. That was followed by another extension by offered by state Rep. Pat Gallagher, H.R. 197. The disaster declaration allows the state to continue to access emergency funding and follow streamlined rules for repair work. “I am thankful for my House and Senate colleagues for making the reconstruction of I-95 a priority this legislative session.” Said Read more

 

Krajewski kinship bill unanimously passes PA Senate

(Dec 11, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 11 – Legislation ( H.B. 1058 ) introduced by state Rep. Rick Krajewski, D-Phila., passed the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously today and will now head to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s desk to be signed into law. “My bill would ensure that kinship care providers – like grandparents, and family friends – are fully considered during child custody proceedings,” Krajewski said. “It’s a commonsense reform that will have a major positive impact on vulnerable youth, preventing community displacement and trauma.” H.B. 1058 would make child custody proceedings more inclusive of potential kinship care providers by requiring courts to solicit and consider the opinions of those who engaged with family finding and kinship care programs. While living with kin minimizes childhood trauma and increases well-being , fewer than 42% of children receiving care in the state are placed in a kinship home. “As advocates of kinship care for youth in Pennsylvania, we believe this bill would strengthen support systems for young people in the child welfare system,” said Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia in a joint letter of support for the bill. “No child should be unnecessarily placed in a county youth agency,” Krajewski said. “I appreciate Senate lawmakers coming together to Read more

 

Kim applauds passage of Senate bill to extend PACE/PACENET benefits

(Dec 11, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 11 – Majority Chair of the House Aging & Older Adult Services Committee Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, applauded the House’s passage of legislation (SB 607) to extend the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment moratorium when determining eligibility for the state’s prescription drug programs for seniors. The legislation is identical to Kim’s H.B. 1184, which passed the House unanimously on June 13. “Like my bill, the Senate’s legislation would provide critical safeguards to Pennsylvania's seniors’ health and wellness by ensuring they can continue to access essential medications through the PACE and PACENET programs without undue financial burdens,” Kim said. “The bill would enable nearly 29,400 more seniors to remain eligible for these lifesaving programs.” Currently, PACE and PACENET programs benefit approximately 231,000 older Pennsylvanians, offering critical support and access to vital medications. When Social Security COLA increases occur, some older Pennsylvanians discover they exceed income eligibility thresholds and are no longer eligible for these programs. Thanks to the last extension in 2021, approximately 10,000 PACE and PACENET cardholders were able to retain their benefits despite Social Security COLA increases. That moratorium is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2023. “It is of the utmost urgency that we extend the moratorium as soon as possible as time is Read more

 

Isaacson secures $317,444 in grants from Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission

(Dec 11, 2023)

State Rep. Mary Isaacson, D-Phila., secured Cultural and Historical Support grants from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to 14 organizations in her legislative district that have committed to preserving Philadelphia’s rich and unique history. “In our history is the lessons and triumphs that carve out our identity and shape our narrative,” Isaacson said. “I’m thrilled to fight for these important museums and historical societies that help preserve our history and guide us through the future.” The organizations receiving funding are: American Philosophical Society – $33,879. Arch Street Meeting House Preservation Trust – $4,000. Christ Church Preservation – $7,632. Historic Philadelphia – $30,646. Independence Seaport Museum – $33,879. Museum of the American Revolution – $33,879. National Constitution Center – $33,879. National Liberty Museum – $32,982. Philadelphia Fire Dept. Historical Corporation – $4,000. Philadelphia Society for Preservation of Landmarks – $15,580. Science History Institute - $33,979. The Athenaeum of Philadelphia – $13,252. The Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia – $5,978. The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History – $33,879. The goal of the Cultural and Historical Support Grant program is to strengthen Pennsylvania’s museum community Read more

 

Gergely’s bill to enhance quality of donated plasma in PA passes House unanimously

(Dec 11, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 11 – State Rep. Matthew R. Gergely’s bill that would ensure plasma donated throughout Pennsylvania is suitable for subsequent use in health and medical forums passed the state House of Representatives unanimously. The legislation (H.B. 1795 ) would require that source plasma specifically, undergoes extensive testing upon donation and before it is ultimately integrated into essential pharmaceuticals. Gergely’s bill, co-sponsored by state Rep. Tim Briggs of Montgomery County, would also allow more focus to be devoted to developing such pharmaceuticals by eliminating a signification portion of subsequent testing conducted in labs during the clinical development phase. “Having several source plasma centers local to the citizens I represent is a big part of why it’s such a priority for me. Safeguarding healthy and viable plasma will save lives and enhance quality of life throughout the 35th District and the Commonwealth at large,” said Gergely, D-Allegheny. “Thank you to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for moving this commitment to human welfare a step closer to reality.” “Plasma is a lifeline for countless individuals battling critical conditions. This proposed legislation aims to optimize this life-saving resource, ensuring its safety while expediting its availability for pharmaceutical use,” Briggs added. “Collaborating on this bill underscores our dedication to advancing Read more

 

O’Mara attends White House meeting to discuss America’s gun violence epidemic
Dec 18, 2023

Western Pa. lawmaker introduces legislation to bar employers from suspending healthcare benefits for striking workers
Dec 15, 2023

Several Otten policy issues win big in Harrisburg this week
Dec 15, 2023

Shusterman applauds final passage of bipartisan state budget
Dec 14, 2023

Historic bill to repudiate racially restricted deed covenants passes PA Senate
Dec 14, 2023

Matzie: House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee hears testimony on bills to protect water and wastewater ratepayers
Dec 14, 2023

Powell attends White House meeting on states’ efforts to reduce gun violence
Dec 14, 2023

PA House passes Isaacson bill to enhance protection for judges and judicial officers
Dec 14, 2023

Williams’ bill to help recruit more police officers heads to governor
Dec 14, 2023

PA Senate passes HB666, allows Philadelphia Housing Authority to negotiate performance-based contracts
Dec 14, 2023

Powell introduces legislation to protect health care benefits for striking workers
Dec 13, 2023

Speed cameras will stay on Roosevelt Boulevard and be expanded to other parts of the city under Pa. bill
Dec 13, 2023

Cephas, Davis laud final passage of Dignity for Incarcerated Women legislation
Dec 13, 2023

Pittsburgh-area public officials cheer passage of dental bills
Dec 12, 2023

PA House passes bill to restore Medicaid coverage for dental services
Dec 12, 2023

House passes H.R. 279 to extend emergency disaster proclamation for I-95
Dec 12, 2023

Krajewski kinship bill unanimously passes PA Senate
Dec 11, 2023

Kim applauds passage of Senate bill to extend PACE/PACENET benefits
Dec 11, 2023

Isaacson secures $317,444 in grants from Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission
Dec 11, 2023

Gergely’s bill to enhance quality of donated plasma in PA passes House unanimously
Dec 11, 2023