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

 

Pennsylvania lawmakers lead introduction of bipartisan bill removing lead in Pa. schools’ drinking water

(Dec 11, 2023)

State Reps. Roni Green and Tarik Khan, both D-Phila., and other state representatives will circulate a co-sponsorship memo next week for a bipartisan House bill addressing lead contamination in drinking water in Pennsylvania schools. They are being joined by state Reps. Abby Major, R-Armstrong/Westmoreland; Jim Haddock, D-Lackawanna/Luzerne; Jason Ortitay, R-Allegheny/Washington; and Joe Hogan, R-Bucks, as prime co-sponsors of this bill. “This legislation corrects a longstanding problem within our schools across the commonwealth,” Green said. “Children have a right to be in a safe environment, have clean drinking water, and maximize their learning journey free from harm and hazardous particles. It’s unacceptable to still have children being exposed to lead while in school. Our bill ensures that all Pennsylvania children’s rights are respected and that our children can be safe from lead exposure in school.” Green pointed out that this legislation is like a bill passed last year by the Philadelphia City Council and signed into law. This legislation would require the replacement of old drinking fountains with lead-filtering water stations by 2025 and direct funding to help school districts achieve this goal. The other sponsors noted their support for the bill. “As a state representative, one of my top priorities is keeping the children in my community safe,” Haddock said. “This bill will help schools in Read more

 

House committee will consider legislative package to amend Act 12 requirements for sale of water & wastewater systems

(Dec 07, 2023)

The package of bills is designed to place much-needed guiderails on Act 12 of 2016, which made significant changes to the way water and wastewater systems are valued for acquisition. Read more

 

Warren Legislation Combating the Rising Cost of Flood Insurance Signed into Law

(Dec 05, 2023)

BUCKS COUNTY − December 4, 2023 − Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Representative Perry Warren (D-31) joined Governor Josh Shapiro today in Yardley Borough for the bill signing of House Bill 735, establishing a task force to address rising flood insurance premiums. “After a devastating storm this summer dropped a month’s worth of rain in a span of just two hours and flash flooding swept cars off of roads, and flooded homes, schools, and businesses in Bucks County, my Administration was on the ground immediately, providing assistance to rescue and recovery efforts, set up detours, and keep people safe,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Chaired by Insurance Commissioner Mike Humphreys, the task force established by HB 735 will bring together leaders from my Administration and the Legislature to closely review the needs of our communities who are at an increased risk of flooding. They’ll identify the kinds of programs that would make sure flood insurance is accessible and affordable for the Pennsylvanians who need it – and recommend the best courses of action our Commonwealth can take to help increase the number of Pennsylvanians protected by flood insurance.” “Eight years ago, I introduced what was then HB 1299 which was the precursor for HB 735, to help Pennsylvanians living in flood zones with flood insurance premiums,” said Senator Santarsiero. “Then, as now, residents in neighborhoods along the Read more

 

Fleming presents $100K check to Central PA Food Bank to Support Its Mission

(Nov 28, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 28 – State Rep. Justin Fleming today presented a $100,000 check from the PA Department of Human Services to Joe Arthur, CEO of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, to support its efforts to eliminate food insecurity in the region. “Despite the fact we live in the richest country in the world, thousands of Pennsylvanians don’t know where or when their next meal is coming from,” Fleming said. “This state grant money will support the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in its life-supporting mission ensuring everyone in our region has access to the food needed to lead a healthy, productive life. With the expiration of pandemic funding, our charitable organizations like the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank will be struggling to meet demand for the basic necessities of life like food. I strongly encourage residents to donate their time and money this holiday season so that their neighbors and their families don’t go hungry this winter.” Central Pennsylvania Food Bank CEO Joe Arthur thanked Fleming for the check, saying, “There is a huge demand for food from the charitable network right now, with many of our agency partners now serving more neighbors than they were at the height of the pandemic.” Arthur added, “Rep. Fleming’s strong leadership and this additional support from DHS helps us to advance our mission and continue to provide healthy meals for our neighbors in needs in Read more

 

Fiedler, Hanbidge celebrate signing of Pelvic Exam Consent bill

(Nov 27, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 27 – Today, state Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler , D-Phila., and Liz Hanbidge , D-Montgomery, joined Gov. Josh Shapiro for the ceremonial signing of H.B. 507 , which requires medical facilities in Pennsylvania to obtain consent before performing pelvic, prostate or rectal exams on anesthetized patients. The bill was officially signed into law on Nov. 21 by Shapiro as Act 31 of 2023. "Patients in Pennsylvania will finally have the right to make decisions about exams performed on their bodies while under anesthesia. This legislation ensures informed consent for invasive pelvic and rectal exams, at last giving patients the decision-making power that we all deserve about our own bodies,” Fiedler said. “I’m grateful to my colleague, Representative Hanbidge, for her work on this bill, and I thank Governor Shapiro for signing it into law.” “Performing a pelvic, rectal or prostate exam unknowingly on an anesthetized patient isn’t only invasive, but it’s also a breach of trust. Our legislation abolishes this archaic practice, thereby strengthening the trust that Pennsylvanians have in medical professionals, protecting bodily autonomy and highlighting the importance of consent,” Hanbidge said. “Patients expecting to go under anesthesia should never have to worry about being objectified for ‘learning purposes,’ and now thanks to my co-sponsor Representative Fiedler, Read more

 

Ciresi announces $147,500 in state tax credits for Pottstown revitalization

(Nov 22, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 22 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery, announced today that the state had approved $147,500 in Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits to assist Genesis Housing Corp. in its investment in revitalizing blighted properties in Pottstown. “These state tax credits will help continue the important work of Genesis Housing Corp. in fighting blight and maintaining affordable housing in Pottstown,” Ciresi said. “This work will keep at-risk homeowners in safe and decent housing while revitalizing the communities around them. At a time when affordable housing is increasingly hard to find, this investment is important and will make meaningful impacts in people’s lives. I thank DCED, Genesis Housing Corp., and their business partners for making this investment in Pottstown.” The investment will assist Genesis Housing Corporation’s rehabilitation projects in Pottstown: $80,000 will be used to address neighborhood revitalization through mostly smaller scale improvement projects, housing rehab and facade grants. This money will support exterior renovations, housing counseling services, improved community access to gardens, and support for community improvement programs. $67,500 will be used to continue the Pottstown Homeowner Property Rehab Program to provide rehab grants for at-risk populations. This program will provide eligible low-income homeowners with grants and technical assistance for critical home repairs, Read more

 

Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus announces the addition of new members to the group

(Nov 21, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – The Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus announced today the addition of three new members. Chairman Danilo Burgos explained that the new members, Reps. Lindsay Powell, D-Allegheny, and Heather Boyd and Carol Kazeem, both D-Delaware, will bring a wealth of experience, passion and dedication to the Latino Caucus. “Their diverse backgrounds and perspectives will contribute significantly to our ongoing efforts to advocate for the interests and well-being of Pennsylvania's Latino community,” Burgos said. "Their commitment to fostering inclusivity and addressing the unique challenges faced by the Latino community will undoubtedly enhance the impact of our collective advocacy. We are building a more inclusive and equitable future for all Pennsylvanians," he added. Kazeem said that the only way to address issues relevant to the Latino population is to through a collective effort. “I believe the Latino Caucus understands the challenges and concerns of the community and is continually igniting changes,” Kazeem said. “I am glad to be part of this great force and I am looking forward to engaging in advocacy of policies that would ensure the progress of all Latinos in the commonwealth.” Boyd expressed similar sentiments and highlighted her excitement on becoming an active member of the PA Latino Caucus. “It is an honor to join the Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Read more

 

Khan Diabetes Awareness Month Resolution adopted by House

(Nov 21, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – A resolution (H.R. 141) designating November 2023 as “Diabetes Awareness Month,” has been adopted by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The resolution was introduced by state Reps. Tarik Khan, D-Phila., and Donna Oberlander, R-Armstrong. More than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians have been diagnosed with diabetes; that’s 11% of the state’s adult population ( Microsoft Word - ADV_2021_State_Fact_sheets_all.docx (diabetes.org) . “One out of every two Pennsylvania adults have diabetes or prediabetes, and nearly 20% of all adults have diabetes but don’t know about it yet,” said Khan, who is a doctorally-prepared nurse practitioner. “Creating awareness about diabetes is critical, and this bipartisan resolution helps us to educate Pennsylvanians on the need to get tested for diabetes and manage the disease if they have it.” A video about the resolution can be found here: ( https://youtu.be/x8LX97kgKU0 ). “As co-chair of the Diabetes Caucus, I was pleased to have the resolution declaring November as Diabetes Awareness Month pass the House of Representatives,” said Oberlander. “The prevalence of diabetes and the increase in both Type 1 or Type 2 makes it essential to educate and spread awareness to the signs and symptoms so that our constituents can get tested and treatment for better health.” Monica Billger, American Read more

 

Bill establishing lifetime substance abuse recovery grant program approved by PA House Human Services Committee

(Nov 16, 2023)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 16 – A bill ( H.B. 1650 ) co-sponsored by Reps. Joe Hohenstein, D-Phila., and Jim Gregory, R-Hollidaysburg, that would establish the Lifetime Recovery from Substance Abuse Grant Program was approved this week by the House Human Services Committee with bipartisan support. “This bill recognizes that the scourge of addiction is something that carries throughout the state and is impacting the lives of all of our constituents, neighbors, friends and families,” Hohenstein said. “Treatment and support for people living with addiction is something that lasts a lifetime, and we need to be able to provide people with the tools for getting and keeping jobs, getting housing and receiving peer recovery support in a way that sustains for a lifetime.” The grant program would assist in the development, expansion and improvement of the system of recovery support service delivery in the commonwealth. Recovery support providers offer critical services to those in recovery from substance abuse, including providing peer support, family support, mentoring services, housing and assistance in finding gainful employment. “This will provide support for thousands of Pennsylvanians in recovery so that they can return to their families, friends and the life they were intended to have,” Gregory said. Read more

 

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

Pennsylvania lawmakers lead introduction of bipartisan bill removing lead in Pa. schools’ drinking water
Dec 11, 2023

House committee will consider legislative package to amend Act 12 requirements for sale of water & wastewater systems
Dec 07, 2023

Warren Legislation Combating the Rising Cost of Flood Insurance Signed into Law
Dec 05, 2023

Fleming presents $100K check to Central PA Food Bank to Support Its Mission
Nov 28, 2023

Fiedler, Hanbidge celebrate signing of Pelvic Exam Consent bill
Nov 27, 2023

Ciresi announces $147,500 in state tax credits for Pottstown revitalization
Nov 22, 2023

Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus announces the addition of new members to the group
Nov 21, 2023

Khan Diabetes Awareness Month Resolution adopted by House
Nov 21, 2023

Bill establishing lifetime substance abuse recovery grant program approved by PA House Human Services Committee
Nov 16, 2023