House Democratic Leaders Praise Governor Shapiro’s Plan to Build a Student-first Streamlined Higher Education System

(Jan 26, 2024)

House Democratic Leaders' statement on Gov. Josh Shapiro’s plan to build a student-first streamlined higher education system to ensure higher education is affordable and accessible to all.   Read more

 

Guzman to chair the Central PA Delegation

(Jan 25, 2024)

READING, Jan. 25 – State Rep. Manny Guzman today announced that he has been appointed to serve as chair of the Pennsylvania House Central Pennsylvania Democratic Delegation. Guzman indicated that he is overjoyed with the appointment as it represents a new platform to amplify his efforts for the region, as well as represents a vote of trust from his colleagues. “My colleagues in Harrisburg know that I am a tireless and persistent advocate for the needs and wants of my district here in Reading and Berks County,” he said. “l am looking forward to continuing to be that voice not only for Reading and Berks County, but for all the members of the Central PA Delegation,” he added. “I am ready to embrace the new challenges and responsibilities that this position entails.” The legislator also explained the fact that he is now chair of the Central PA Delegation can be seen as a positive indicator of the Latino community advancement in the Commonwealth. “As a proud Latino, I feel that I reflect a growing, diverse community. I want to make it easier for kids in Reading and all across the state to see themselves in roles like this one; I want to empower them through my work,” he said. “I hope that seeing someone who looks just like them, who attended their school and ran around on the same playgrounds, will encourage them Read more

 

Matzie introduces bill to tackle problems with how schools are classified for athletic competition

(Jan 24, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 24 – As the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association meets to consider the Aliquippa School District’s appeal of the PIAA’s decision to bump Aliquippa High School’s football team to a 5A classification, state Rep. Rob Matzie today introduced legislation to resolve problems with the way Pennsylvania’s 1,400 public, private and charter schools are classified to compete in athletic competitions. Matzie – who is vice chairman and the longest-serving member of the Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee – said he introduced H.B. 1972 to address longstanding concerns that PIAA’s procedure for classifying schools places student athletes in harm’s way and skews competitions in favor of wealthier schools and those with larger enrollment numbers. “When the PIAA determines the athletic level at which our high schools compete, they use a competition classification formula based on enrollment, success and transfers,” Matzie said. “Based on the formula, PIAA can force schools to move up a classification. But there is a dangerous flaw in PIAA’s formula that they have been stubbornly unwilling to address. “When considering enrollment as part of the formula, schools that voluntarily play up in a higher classification are pigeonholed by the PIAA into that higher classification used for the formula – regardless of the school’s Read more

 

Shapiro signs Krajewski kinship care legislation H.B. 1058 into law

(Jan 24, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 24 – Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro today signed into law Act 48 , introduced as H.B. 1058 by Rep. Rick Krajewski, D-Phila., which makes 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. “Countless relatives and caregivers provide full-time nurturing and protection for children who cannot safely remain in the care of their biological parents,” said Kari King, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. “It has been an honor to work with Rep. Krajewski on policy that prioritizes kinship placements, which will allow more children and youth to be raised by and connected to their family.” “Community Legal Services commends Rep. Krajewski and Gov. Shapiro for this new legislation that champions kinship care for Pennsylvania children. Giving families a voice in child welfare proceedings means that more relatives will have a chance to step forward to care for children who might otherwise be placed in foster care,” said Kathleen Creamer, managing attorney for the Family Advocacy Unit at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. “Every child deserves to be with their own family whenever possible, and this legislation will help make Pennsylvania a national leader in supporting kinship placement.” Read more

 

Grant Memo: Cultural, Educational, Environmental, Public Safety, and Redevelopment Opportunities For Your District

(Jan 23, 2024)

NEWLY LISTED PROGRAMS Conservation and Natural Resources: Community Conservation Partnerships Program Who May Apply: counties, municipalities, municipal agencies, nonprofit organizations, state heritage areas, prequalified land trusts, for-profit organizations (for some grant types). Use: Funds may be used for projects related to parks, recreation, and conservation, including, but not limited to, park and recreation rehabilitation and development, recreation and conservation planning, trail planning and construction, land acquisition and conservation, river access and conservation, community and riparian tree planting, and regional and statewide partnerships to better develop and manage resources. Funds: Funds for this program come from a mix of state and federal sources, including the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, the Environmental Stewardship Fund, the Snowmobile Restricted Account, the All-Terrain Vehicle Restricted Account, and more. The 2023 funding round provided over $52 million in awards. Application Deadline: April 3, 2024 More information: DCNR Website Community and Economic Development: COVID-19 ARPA PA Multi-Purpose Community Facilities Program Who May Apply: Units of local government and community anchor institutions ( as defined in Act 96 of 2021 ). Use: Funding is to be used for community projects that construct, acquire, or improve facilities (shared office space, recreation centers, schools, libraries, etc.) Read more

 

State lawmakers roll out legislation to facilitate safe abortion access

(Jan 22, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 22 – Today, on the 51st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade , state Rep. Tarik Khan, D-Philadelphia, hosted a news conference at the state Capitol announcing the introduction of legislation regarding abortion rights. Rep. Khan was joined by fellow legislators and abortion-rights advocates. The legislation aims to remove unnecessary obstacles to safe abortion access by eliminating the requirement that abortion facilities meet the same regulations as ambulatory surgical centers. It would also remove the excessive mandate that abortion providers maintain admitting privileges or have transfer agreements at hospitals, which only blocks access to care. The legislators who have also prime-sponsored Khan’s bill are state Reps. La'Tasha D. Mayes, D-Allegheny; Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery; Mary Issacson, D-Phila.; Gina H. Curry, D-Delaware; Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester; Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester; Tara Probst, D-Monroe/Pike; Heather Boyd, D-Delaware; Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery; Leanne Krueger, D-Delaware; and Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Philadelphia. "As a nurse, I know that restrictive abortion laws do not lower abortion rates — they just make them less safe," Khan said. "We must remove any unnecessary requirements from facilities that provide this care. Our bill increases access to safe abortion by increasing people's access to safe abortion Read more

 

House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee hears testimony on Matzie bill to improve utility customer payment plans

(Jan 18, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 18 – The PA House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee yesterday heard testimony on legislation ( House Bill 1077 ) by the committee’s majority chairman, state Rep. Rob Matzie, that would re-authorize and reform Pennsylvania’s utility shutoff protection statute. Matzie said he introduced the legislation because Chapter 14 – which provides utility consumers with protections in areas such as delinquent account collections and service shutoffs – is expiring at the end of 2024 and must be both re-authorized and improved. “For 20 years, Chapter 14 has set the framework for consumer protection between a public utility and its customers, and the law has been a success,” Matzie said. “But as we address re-authorizing the law, we also need to examine how it can be improved to better meet the needs of consumers struggling to pay their utility bills. “Yesterday, we heard testimony from the PUC chairman that giving the commission greater flexibility to set longer repayment terms and create other, more manageable plan options would allow more consumers to stay connected to critical services while preventing defaults that shift the burden onto other consumers. “As the committee continues deliberating, I’m looking forward to working with fellow members and with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to shape a Read more

 

House Judiciary approves Cephas/Kenyatta bill to end ‘ghost guns’

(Jan 17, 2024)

Today, the PA House Judiciary Committee approved a measure sponsored by state Reps. Morgan Cephas and Malcolm Kenyatta, both D-Phila., aimed at ending the proliferation of “ghost guns” in Pennsylvania Read more

 

Rabb: $42,500 in state grants awarded to local park

(Jan 16, 2024)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced today that Mt. Airy Playground received $42,500 in state grant funding from the Commonwealth Financing Authority through the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program. “I am thrilled to see the state make investments in our community with our tax dollars in a tangible way,” Rabb said. “Playgrounds are a great place for children to learn, interact with each other and develop social skills, and are a great place for families to bond and communities to grow. I look forward to seeing the completed project.” Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program projects involve development, rehabilitation and improvements to public parks, recreation areas, greenways, trails and river conservation. Grants can be awarded for up to $250,000 for any project. A 15% match of the total project cost is required. Read more

 

PA Legislative Latino Caucus to join forces with Make the Road PA on behalf of immigrants across Pennsylvania

(Jan 12, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 12 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus today announced that the group will be joining ‘Pennsylvania Welcomes Immigrants,’ a pro-immigrant rally organized by Make the Road Pennsylvania. The rally, supported by the Woori Center, Free Migration Project and Pennsylvania Policy Center, is set for noon Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 144 N. Seventh St., Allentown , and is expected to be attended by community leaders, state officials and local advocacy groups. State Rep. Danilo Burgos, chairman of the Latino Caucus, explained that the group will take a stand against the recent introduction of an anti-immigrant legislative package by state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh). “We are determined to put a halt to any actions aimed at terrorizing and harming immigrants in Pennsylvania. We wholeheartedly condemn the promotion of these and any other anti-immigration bills. We want to expose the damaging effects of manipulative rhetoric like the one that Representative Mackenzie has sadly embraced,” Burgos said. “It is time to recognize the numerous contributions of all immigrants to our economy and culture; it’s time to acknowledge their rights,” Burgos added. “We are glad to have found in Make the Road a solid ally in our crusade to welcome and protect immigrants’ families in the state. We are looking forward to continuing Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation commends appointment of Pedro Rosario, first ever Latino deputy police commissioner in the city

(Jan 12, 2024)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 12 – Members of the Philadelphia House Delegation today expressed their satisfaction for the appointment of Pedro Rosario, a 29-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department who will serve as deputy commissioner of the department’s Kensington Initiative. “Winds of change keep blowing in Philadelphia and we cannot be more excited about the outcome,” said Rep. Morgan Cephas, chairwoman of the delegation. “Mayor Cherelle Parker started strong. She is not only vowing to fight the overdose crisis and the drug market in Kensington; Parker is taking the bull by the horns. The designation of Rosario to work on specific duties in Kensington is a bold action that has our wholehearted support,” she added. Rep. Jose Giral, who represents the180 th Legislative District in the Kensington area, is confident that Rosario will be an effective commissioner, based on Rosario’s expertise and solid credentials. Giral witnessed his work firsthand while Rosario was assigned to the 24 th Police District. “I have known Pedro Rosario for a long time. I met him while I was a member of the Police Advisory Commission and this conferred me the opportunity to work hand in hand with him and the 24 th Police District,” Giral said. “Rosario is boots on the ground from day one because he knows exactly all the particulars of the issues impacting our Read more

 

2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®): What You Need to Know:  

(Jan 12, 2024)

2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ® ): What You Need to Know: There are major changes to the 2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA ® ) form. The new FAFSA form is now available. On average, it takes about 30 minutes to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be completed online at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. The 2024–25 FAFSA form will expand eligibility for federal student aid. What You Can Do Now : Watch the “2024–25 FAFSA FAQs” playlist to better for a look at what has changed on the new form. Use the Federal Student Aid Estimator to get an estimate of what your aid could be once the FAFSA is completed. If you did not submit a 2023–24 FAFSA form, make sure to create your StudentAid.gov account —and remember your username and password so you can access and submit the 2024–25 FAFSA form when it’s available. Find out if your parent(s) or spouse will need to be contributors (contribute their info on your FAFSA form). If your parent(s) or spouse will need to contribute to your form, make sure each contributor creates their own StudentAid.gov account . Watch our “Preparing for the FAFSA Form” to better understand what information and documents you’ll need to complete the FAFSA form. 2024–25 FAFSA ® Deadlines : Read more

 

Schlossberg: BEF Commission report builds on Level Up proposal for permanent solution

(Jan 11, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 11 – Today, Pennsylvania’s Basic Education Funding Commission delivered a report recommending significant investments to close the gaps between schools and deliver property tax relief to homeowners shouldering the largest burdens. State Rep. Mike Schlossberg released the following statement: “The majority report approved by the commission recognizes what my Level Up proposals attempted to resolve: Pennsylvania’s poorest school districts need more support from the Commonwealth to better serve our students. With an antiquated school funding system that relies on local property taxes to pay for education, districts with lower property values are always going to struggle to fulfill their obligations. It results in higher property taxes for homeowners and small businesses and short-changes students. By increasing the state’s share of funding to those struggling districts, allocating resources to new school construction, and providing property tax relief for homeowners, we can set a stronger, new course for Pennsylvania’s students. Level Up took a few big steps in addressing those issues, but it was never a permanent solution. Implementing this report IS the permanent solution. “I would like to take a moment to thank Education Committee chair Representative Pete Schweyer for his work and leadership on behalf of the House. With Senator Nick Miller also on the commission, the Read more

 

House Democratic Leaders laud significant, targeted investments proposed in education funding report

(Jan 11, 2024)

Pennsylvania House Democratic Leaders today issued the following statement on a report and recommendations passed by the Basic Education Funding Commission today: Read more

 

RACP, Health, Environmental, Public Safety, Transportation, and Redevelopment Opportunities

(Jan 09, 2024)

NEWLY LISTED PROGRAMS Commission on Crime and Delinquency: PAYS Survey Design Consultant Who May Apply: Applicants must meet the qualifications listed in the program guidelines, but any non-profit, for-profit, or academic organization is eligible. Use: The primary purpose of this project is to contract with an expert in the practice of surveying youth and adolescents to help inform necessary and appropriate revisions to the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS). Funds: Funding is provided through the State Violence and Delinquency Prevention Program stream. PCCD expects to fund one grant not to exceed $200,000. Application Deadline: February 12, 2024 More information: PCCD Website Commission on Crime and Delinquency: Oversight of the 2025 and 2027 PAYS Administrations Who May Apply: Applicants must demonstrate their ability to conduct the tasks outlined in the program guidelines, but non-profits, for-profits, institutions of higher education, or others are eligible. Use: The primary purpose of this project is to provide direct oversight of the administration of the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) for the 2025 and 2027 survey administration periods. Funds: Funding is provided through the State Violence and Delinquency Prevention Program stream. PCCD expects to fund one grant not to exceed $125,000. Application Deadline: February 12, 2024 More information: PCCD Website Commission on Crime and Delinquency: 2024/25 Justice Assistance Grant Read more

 

Khan leads a bipartisan group of state legislators to introduce infrastructure bill designed to help local governments update municipal facilities

(Jan 09, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 9 – State Rep. Tarik Khan, D-Phila., led a bipartisan group of state representatives in announcing plans today to introduce legislation calling for a grant program to assist municipalities with making essential renovations to municipal facilities. Khan was inspired by his retired civil engineer father, Zia Khan, a municipal employee who spent his life building and renovating municipal buildings in Philadelphia. “We have many well-loved buildings in our communities, like our libraries, rec centers, and police and fire stations. These buildings need some love back in return,” said Khan. “We believe our bipartisan bill is a win-win-win. A win for the community who get services in these buildings, a win for the workers who serve in these buildings, and a win for our labor community who will be repairing and renovating these buildings.” Named the "Public Facilities Infrastructure Grant Program," this program would provide municipalities with funding to help maintain, repair, renovate and reconstruct municipal buildings and facilities, public libraries, and recreational facilities. The bill has prevailing wage protections for workers and will require at least a 50% match for each grant application. State Rep. Alec Ryncavage, R-Luzerne, who also is a co-prime sponsor of this legislation, said he feels strongly about the need to revitalize and Read more

 

Kenyatta introduces bill package recognizing Jan. 6 as Democracy Observance Day in Pennsylvania

(Jan 05, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 – On the eve of the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, raid on the U.S. Capitol Building by domestic terrorists, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., introduced a legislative package that would recognize Jan. 6 as Democracy Observance Day in Pennsylvania. “Everyone should remember January 6 as a day that shook our nation and democracy to its core,” Kenyatta said. “We must remember – not forget – what happen that day, why it happened, and the individuals who fed into the lies that led to this dark day in American history.” Kenyatta’s legislative package includes three bills: H.R. 287: This would amend the Legal Holiday Law to establish Jan. 6 as Democracy Observance Day in Pennsylvania. H.B. 1946: This legislation would amend the Banking Code to establish Jan. 6 as Democracy Observance Day in our state. H.B. 1945: This is a resolution urging Congress to declare Jan. 6 as Democracy Observance Day for Education, Remembrance and Vigilance. Kenyatta said this legislation would also serve as a reminder of what happens when elected officials feed into claims and opinions rather than facts, and how their actions influence those around them and in their respective communities. “We had 60-plus – 60-plus – House members sign a letter to throw out Pennsylvania votes. We had top officials Read more

 

Matzie to introduce legislation to examine PIAA policy, practices, finances and structure with view toward comprehensive overhaul

(Jan 05, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 – State Rep. Rob Matzie announced today that he will be introducing legislation to analyze the policy, practices, finances and structure of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, with an eye toward overhauling how the PIAA operates and makes decisions. Matzie, who is the vice chairman and longest-serving member of the Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee, said he is introducing his legislation in response to his and other lawmakers’ concerns – particularly involving the ways in which PIAA classifies schools for competition – that can impact the fairness of those competitions and endanger student athlete safety. “This is an issue we worked on two years ago, but after Aliquippa was successful in their appeal, I believed the issue was solved,” Matzie said. “The board, in reversing the initial decision, gave the impression that they would be open to changes to the formula. They indeed did, making it worse by removing player safety as a consideration. Now that this issue has reared its ugly head again, it’s time for the legislature to act.” Matzie said that because of a flaw in the classification formula that PIAA uses to determine the athletic levels at which high schools will complete, schools like Aliquippa that voluntarily play up in a higher classification are then pigeonholed by the association into that Read more

 

Guzman touts win in establishing Spanish language option for Nurse Aide Assessment

(Jan 04, 2024)

READING, Jan. 4 – State Rep. Manny Guzman today announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has updated its policy to allow candidates for the Nurse Aide Assessment to take the written oral exam in English or Spanish. The change, which went into effect Wednesday, comes as a result of continuing efforts led by Guzman who had previously introduced legislation that would remove the barrier for people who do not speak English as their first language. “Time after time, I have witnessed how Hispanics are forced to climb unnecessary ladders to achieve their goals,” said Guzman, D-Berks. “Information or services that are critical to them are only provided in English. We need to understand that this is a preventable limitation for hundreds of families in Pennsylvania.” Violet Emory, executive director of the Tec Centro Berks (BLWDC) praised Guzman’s determination and unwavering support in championing this cause on behalf of students at Tec Centro Berks, and students across the entire state. “Guzman’s dedication to leveling the playing field for students with diverse linguistic backgrounds reflects a deep understanding of the importance of equal opportunities in education,” Emory said. “This initiative will undoubtedly have a profound and lasting effect on the workforce in Berks County, opening doors for individuals who may have faced Read more

 

Freeman lease-to-purchase bill would expand affordable home ownership

(Jan 03, 2024)

"One such model, the lease-to-purchase mortgage, allows a household to rent a home for a period before taking on the mortgage and ownership of the property with a portion of each month’s rent set aside in an escrow account and used to cover the down payment and closing costs," Freeman said. Read more

 

House Democratic Leaders Praise Governor Shapiro’s Plan to Build a Student-first Streamlined Higher Education System
Jan 26, 2024

Guzman to chair the Central PA Delegation
Jan 25, 2024

Matzie introduces bill to tackle problems with how schools are classified for athletic competition
Jan 24, 2024

Shapiro signs Krajewski kinship care legislation H.B. 1058 into law
Jan 24, 2024

Grant Memo: Cultural, Educational, Environmental, Public Safety, and Redevelopment Opportunities For Your District
Jan 23, 2024

State lawmakers roll out legislation to facilitate safe abortion access
Jan 22, 2024

House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee hears testimony on Matzie bill to improve utility customer payment plans
Jan 18, 2024

House Judiciary approves Cephas/Kenyatta bill to end ‘ghost guns’
Jan 17, 2024

Rabb: $42,500 in state grants awarded to local park
Jan 16, 2024

PA Legislative Latino Caucus to join forces with Make the Road PA on behalf of immigrants across Pennsylvania
Jan 12, 2024

Philadelphia House Delegation commends appointment of Pedro Rosario, first ever Latino deputy police commissioner in the city
Jan 12, 2024

2024–25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®): What You Need to Know:  
Jan 12, 2024

Schlossberg: BEF Commission report builds on Level Up proposal for permanent solution
Jan 11, 2024

House Democratic Leaders laud significant, targeted investments proposed in education funding report
Jan 11, 2024

RACP, Health, Environmental, Public Safety, Transportation, and Redevelopment Opportunities
Jan 09, 2024

Khan leads a bipartisan group of state legislators to introduce infrastructure bill designed to help local governments update municipal facilities
Jan 09, 2024

Kenyatta introduces bill package recognizing Jan. 6 as Democracy Observance Day in Pennsylvania
Jan 05, 2024

Matzie to introduce legislation to examine PIAA policy, practices, finances and structure with view toward comprehensive overhaul
Jan 05, 2024

Guzman touts win in establishing Spanish language option for Nurse Aide Assessment
Jan 04, 2024

Freeman lease-to-purchase bill would expand affordable home ownership
Jan 03, 2024