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Rep. Williams, Policy Committee discuss fair education funding

(Aug 12, 2019)

Williams requested the hearing to discuss ways to improve the allocation of educating funds for school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Boyle seeks co-sponsors for legislation to ban large capacity ammunition magazines in Pa.

(Aug 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 12 – Following mass shootings in the U.S. reportedly involving large capacity ammunition magazines, state Rep. Kevin Boyle announced he is seeking co-sponsors for his legislation that would prohibit this type of magazine in Pennsylvania. The legislation would ban the sale, offering and exposing for sale, use, purchase, possession and control of a large capacity ammunition magazine – which is defined as an automatic ammunition feeding device capable of accepting more than 15 rounds of ammunition or five shotgun shells. “In some cases, large capacity ammunition magazines can hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition and can be used in any semi-automatic firearm that accepts a detachable magazine. Because of this, many automatic and semi-automatic firearms could increasingly become lethal,” Boyle said. “While this type of magazine is illegal to use for hunting in the commonwealth, it is not illegal to use for other purposes. I don’t see the need for allowing it in Pennsylvania.” Under this legislation, Pennsylvania would join nine states and the District of Columbia in prohibiting this type of magazine. Boyle noted that large capacity ammunition magazines were used in the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Shortly after those shootings, Boyle and some fellow colleagues held a news conference to urge Gov. Tom Wolf to convene a special session of the House and Senate to address gun violence in the Read more

 

Hanbidge to host Policy Committee hearing on Reducing HCBS Waiver Waitlist Thursday in Lansdale

(Aug 12, 2019)

LANSDALE, Aug. 12 – State Rep. Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery, announced she will be hosting a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on reducing the Home- and Community-Based Services Waiver Waitlist. Hanbidge requested the hearing in order to address constituents’ concerns about the length of the HCBS waitlist since there are currently over 13,000 Pennsylvanians with disabilities waiting to receive essential support services. She will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The hearing will be held on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. at the Towamencin Township Building, 1090 Troxel Road, Lansdale, PA 19446. The media and public are invited to attend. The current agenda is: 10:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 10:10 a.m. Jeremy Yale , Director of Bureau Policy and Quality Management, Office of Development Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services 10:40 a.m. Panel of Advocates: Sheila Stasko , Director, PA Waiting List Campaign Paul Stengle , Chief Executive Officer, The Arc Alliance Celia Feinstein , Executive Director, Temple Institute of Disabilities 11:30 a.m. Closing Remarks For more information, call Hanbidge’s district office at 610-277-3230. This hearing is among a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing health care access, Read more

 

Malagari to host policy hearing on transportation infrastructure Wednesday in Souderton

(Aug 09, 2019)

State Rep. Steve Malagari will host a policy hearing to discuss ways to improve transportation infrastructure for Pennsylvania. The hearing will include testifiers from SEPTA, PennDOT and local municipalities. Read more

 

Boyle, legislators call for special session to address gun violence (with video)

(Aug 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 7 – Following the recent deadly shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, state Reps. Kevin Boyle, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Danielle Friel Otten were joined by other legislators to call on Gov. Tom Wolf to convene a special session of the House and Senate to address gun violence in the commonwealth. “From Ohio to Texas, California to Pennsylvania, one shooting is one too many. People should not have to fear for their lives by just walking out of their house, going to the store or attending an event in their community. These tragedies are beyond commonplace,” Boyle said. “The continuous lack of action and the thoughts and prayers mentality must be a thing of the past. We can no longer stand idly by and watch communities and families being torn apart by these senseless acts of violence. The time to act on commonsense gun reform in Pennsylvania must be now.” Boyle added there is legislation pending in both the House and Senate that includes bills to ban assault weapons, close the loophole for gun background checks, and adopt Extreme Risk Protective Orders that equip families, law enforcement, and the courts to temporarily restrict access to guns for people at risk of violence to themselves or others. Kenyatta stated that the ongoing gun violence in Pennsylvania, particularly in Philadelphia, has become a public epidemic. Kenyatta said, “I’ve sat with way too many families who have lost loved ones to gun Read more

 

Dermody: We CAN move beyond words to bipartisan action on gun safety

(Aug 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 5 – PA House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody released the following statement today in response to the mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio: “As we mourn another weekend of gun violence across the nation and here in Pennsylvania, we need to identify action we can and should take to make our communities safer. “We need a stronger and more comprehensive system of background checks at the national and state level to make sure we preserve the rights of lawful gun owners while getting rid of the loopholes that put weapons in the hands of the people who are prohibited from having them legally or because they pose a clear danger to themselves and others. “And, we must address the sickness of hate in our society. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue, but one that all reasonable people and public officials agree on and can act on; the strong bipartisan response our legislature took to the Tree of Life shooting earlier this session demonstrates that. House Democrats are ready to work at the state level with national and local officials to move beyond words and toward meaningful action that brings about real change for the safety and well-being of our families and communities.” Read more

 

Webster hosts community discussion on Revitalizing Main Street

(Jul 25, 2019)

EAGLEVILLE, July 24 – State Rep. Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, today hosted a legislative committee hearing on Revitalizing Main Street at the Lower Providence Township Building. Webster requested the meeting to bring the community together to discuss prospective development on Ridge Pike, otherwise known as Main Street. He was joined by House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and other state representatives from all over the state. “Main Street, from Norristown to Pottstown, is one of our area’s major roadways. By working together to revitalize it, we can develop a thriving business district to boost economic activity and create interest for families moving into our neighborhoods,” said Webster. “Community input is critical, and I was glad to provide a forum for the various stakeholders to come together and discuss future plans.” Sturla added: “As we look for ways to grow our economy and create more good jobs for Pennsylvanians, it’s important that we work with local officials to learn how the state can better support community development efforts.” Local officials from Collegeville, Lower Providence, Skippack, West Norriton, Upper Providence, the Montgomery County Planning Commission and transportation organization GVF participated and spoke about what has already been accomplished on Main Street, what is needed for future development, and their vision for what can be accomplished going Read more

 

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

(Jul 24, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, July 23 – State Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, D-Phila., today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on Gun Violence as a Public Health Epidemic. Johnson-Harrell requested the hearing to discuss what more the state can do to reduce gun violence deaths and provide stronger support for community activists. Testifiers and lawmakers looked at potential solutions to the violence affecting Philadelphia. Johnson-Harrell was joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “Today’s testifiers provided a lot of very useful insight for tackling the gun violence problem in Philadelphia and I’m thankful for their input,” Johnson-Harrell said. “When we have open dialogue about the causes and drivers of these issues, we can better craft solutions that will ensure safer streets for our families. In the city, gun violence is on the rise and it’s reaching a boiling point. We need to make sure that local officials and community organizers are fully educated and equipped to solve this problem.” Sturla added: “No one should feel unsafe where they live. We need to make sure we’re protecting the most vulnerable among us and that includes children who are living in neighborhoods rife with gun violence.” The committee heard testimony from Lawrence Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney; Richard Ross, Commissioner of Read more

 

Ciresi introduces bill to help heirs access unclaimed property

(Jul 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 17 – State Rep. Joe Ciresi has introduced legislation that would make it easier for a deceased person’s relatives to claim the deceased's property the state is holding. The Pennsylvania treasury holds more than $3 billion in unclaimed property, such as uncashed checks, lost stocks or bonds, or closed bank accounts. But because of an inconsistency in law, some categories of relatives have a harder time legitimately claiming that property on behalf of their deceased relatives. “As constituents visit my office for help with unclaimed property searches, we’ve seen this problem arise, so we worked with the state Treasurer's Office to find a solution,” said Ciresi, D-Montgomery. Certain close relatives of a deceased person – surviving spouse, child, parent, sibling – can file for unclaimed property using a notarized sworn relationship affidavit, which saves them the effort and expense of having to open or re-open the deceased’s estate. But other relatives – grandchildren, nephews, nieces and others – are not included in that section of law and cannot claim by affidavit even if they are the closest surviving relative. “The dollar value of the unclaimed property might not make it worthwhile for a relative to open or re-open their relative’s estate. So that money will remain with the state treasury, unclaimed, and the problem will just get worse with time,” Ciresi said. Read more

 

Burns and McNeill introduce bills to mandate death reporting requirements

(Jul 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 15 – Nursing home and other adult care facilities would be held accountable for all resident deaths under legislation introduced this week by state Reps. Frank Burns and Jeanne McNeill. House Bills 1713 and 1714 would increase oversight of nursing homes, assisting living residences and personal care homes by requiring them to report all deaths – regardless of cause – to the county coroner. The coroner would then determine, based on interviews with the facility and a review of the deceased resident’s medical history, if a formal investigation is warranted. If it is, the legislation would ensure coroners have access to the information they need to do their jobs. “Far too many times, we see the disturbing headlines of an older adult who died at a nursing home or other senior care residence, due to neglect or abuse,” Burns said. “Currently, these facilities only have to report a death if staff deem it suspicious, such as a homicide or accident. Allowing administrators to police themselves opens the door for unscrupulous owners or staff to hide signs of inadequate care that could have led to that senior’s death.” "This oversight is truly needed in these facilities to ensure our vulnerable older aduluts are protected and being provided the best care possible," McNeill said. "Our seniors deserve dignity and respect, and our legislation will provide a crucial layer of protection and Read more

 

Dermody says new law will lower insurance costs for thousands

(Jul 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 2 – Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and his Republican counterpart Bryan Cutler today joined Gov. Tom Wolf as he signed their legislation to establish a state-based health insurance exchange for Pennsylvania consumers. “This new law’s going to help more than 400,000 people who struggle to afford good health insurance for themselves and their families. The work to get this finished was a fantastic example of bipartisan action to do something good for people who can use it,” Dermody said. Consumers who now purchase individual or family health insurance on the federal health exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act will be able to buy the same product from an exchange based in Pennsylvania. The state Insurance Department will be able to manage the marketplace more efficiently than the federal exchange, with the savings invested into an innovative reinsurance program for high-risk patients. “This is going to result in lower health insurance premiums for thousands of state residents,” Dermody said. He noted that because the new state entity will be a full partnership with the federal government, it requires no new taxes or assessments. Dermody praised the bipartisan effort which led to Wolf signing the new law today and thanked Republican Leader Cutler for teaming with Dermody to push the bill through quickly in June. He said Reps. Tony DeLuca and Tina Pickett, the chairs of the House Insurance Committee, also Read more

 

Snyder: PA Farm Bill package signed into law

(Jul 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 1 – The PA Farm Bill, a $24 million comprehensive investment into the state’s agriculture industry, was signed into law today by Gov. Tom Wolf, state Rep. Pam Snyder announced. Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, a prime sponsor of H.B. 1520 , which will create a grant program to reimburse federal meat inspection costs for small or new processors, said the PA Farm Bill will set our state on a course for a bright, prosperous agriculture future. “Agriculture is our number one industry, and the PA Farm Bill will allow us to support our farmers in several ways, including business development, the expansion of job opportunities, and provide them with additional resources to promote our products through the PA Preferred program,” Snyder said. “I am very pleased that the PA Farm Bill will help our farmers now and for generations to come.” Additional measures in the PA Farm Bill include: the creation of a state-level specialty crop block grant program to encourage the farming and cultivation of high-priority crops, such as hemp, hops, honey and hardwoods. the development of a $2 million Agriculture Business Development Center to support business planning and related services for farmers. the establishment of the PA Farm to School Grant Program to support increased nutrition and agriculture education. a $4 million Pennsylvania Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account to provide quick responses Read more

 

Millions of criminal records slated for automatic sealing on anniversary of historic Clean Slate Act

(Jun 28, 2019)

oined by Gov. Tom Wolf, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and advocates, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., spoke today on the importance of the initiation of automatic criminal record sealing on the one-year anniversary of Pennsylvania’s Clean Slate Act becoming law.“Today represents the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work and collaboration between Representative Sheryl Delozier, me and countless other legislators and advocates who are looking to help those who have paid their debt to society truly get their second chance,” Harris said. “This first-of-its-kind legislation put Pennsylvania on the map as a national leader in positive criminal justice reform and shows that we’re serious about the benefits criminal justice reform has for all taxpayers.” Read more

 

Dawkins, Street call for life-without-parole reform in Pa.

(Jun 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 26 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins and Sen. Sharif Street, both D-Phila., were joined by their colleagues to push for criminal justice reform by giving some people who are serving life without parole a second chance. “We are locking away so many positive role models that could diffuse a lot of the crime that we are seeing throughout this nation and throughout this world,” Dawkins said. “There are some powerful stories being told of experience. These lessons are the one thing young people are missing. If they have the chance to hear the experience of the folks who spent 25, 35 or even 45 years behind bars, they may make different decisions about their lives.” House Bill 135, sponsored by Dawkins, would provide a chance for people to get parole after serving 25 or 35 years of a life sentence, regardless of their crime. They would go before the Board of Probation and Parole and would be released on parole if they deserve it and do not present a safety risk to the public. Dawkins added people convicted of murdering a law enforcement officer would not be eligible. The legislation also would create an Office of Reentry program to assist those who are released under the new eligibility standards. Street, who has a companion bill ( S.B. 942 ) in the state Senate, said their legislation highlights the growing need to reform parole for lifers in the commonwealth. “The economic and moral imperatives of this reform are clear. Read more

 

Youngblood: 'What are we waiting for? Now is the time to put Tubman on the $20 bill.'

(Jun 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 26 – Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood is calling on President Donald Trump, Congress, and the U.S. Treasury to stop stalling and act now to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. “More than four years ago, the American people were asked who they wanted to see on the $20 bill,” Youngblood said. “Overwhelmingly, they chose American heroine Harriet Tubman. What are we waiting for? Now is the time to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.” The current administration has delayed the process to put Tubman on the $20 currency, apparently for no good reason, according to Youngblood. Her H.R. 433 would urge U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, along with Trump and Congress to continue with the original plan to place Tubman on the redesigned $20 bill by 2020. In June 2015, then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced a redesign of the $10 bill, and called on the American people to nominate someone worthy of the honor of being placed on that currency. In an open letter Lew penned less than a year later , he credited a powerful response from more than one million Americans for his decision to direct the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to accelerate plans for the redesign of not just the $10 bill, but also the $5 and $20 bills. It was then that Lew announced Tubman would be placed on the $20 bill. He said final concepts for those redesigns would be unveiled in 2020, to coincide with the 100 th anniversary of the passage of the 19 th Read more

 

Kortz: Budget bill doesn't go far enough in education, transportation

(Jun 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 25 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, provided the following statement regarding his “no” vote on H.B. 790 today, the state’s General Appropriations bill: “While I am grateful for the funds devoted to education, including basic, special and pre-k education, it doesn’t go far enough to address the financial challenges school districts in my region are facing related to charter and cyber charter schools. “Instead of placing nearly $300 million in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, more of those funds should have been placed into education. We need to do more to halt property tax increases, and this bill does nothing to address that. “I also have concerns about the state’s school safety grant program, as contained in the budget bill. Last year, the schools in my district did not receive any funds, and out of the $45 million that is earmarked for the program this year, I am still not getting a clear answer as to whether they will this year. “This bill also contains significant transportation funding cuts, to the tune of $366 million, despite the fact that we have nearly 3,000 structurally deficient bridges across our state. That figure also includes $111 million in cuts to mass transit, which will hurt many of my residents who rely on reliable transportation.” “We can and should do better for the people of Pennsylvania.” Read more

 

Ullman: Doylestown’s first Pride Parade: A celebration of diversity and inclusivity

(Jun 25, 2019)

I was tremendously proud to attend Doylestown’s first Pride Festival this weekend. Proud of the dynamic community effort to pull together this event in seven intense months of brainstorming, planning, and follow through. Proud of the hundreds and hundreds of attendees who came from near and far to celebrate our diverse voices. Proud of our young people, many from the Rainbow Room, whose joyous voices are unstoppable instruments of social change. Proud of our seniors, who give testimony to the LGBTQ community’s past and incredible progress, men and women for whom the brutality that sparked the Stonewall Riots and the tragedy of the AIDS epidemic are not historical events but integral parts of their life stories. Proud of our police officers who handled protestors respectfully and professionally so that First Amendment rights were protected while this joyful celebration went on all around them. Proud of elected officials like our Mayor, Ron Strouse, and my colleagues in the State House, past and present, who are actively working to expand legal protections and privileges to the LGBTQ community so that one day soon we will ALL be equal in the eyes of the law. Many local, municipal, cultural and non-profit organizations came together to put on this 3-day celebration of the LGBTQ community. We owe the organizers and supporters a huge debt of gratitude for putting on this event: Discover Doylestown, the Borough of Doylestown, Borough Council, Delaware Read more

 

O’Mara bill to fund Veterans’ Trust Fund unanimously passes through House

(Jun 20, 2019)

According to the DMVA, increasing the voluntary contribution amount will nearly double the Veterans’ Trust Fund’s annual revenue to nearly $3 million. Read more

 

Snyder announces passage of broadband bill

(Jun 20, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 20 – A bill to direct the state to take inventory of communications assets with the goal of providing broadband access to areas of the commonwealth without reliable service passed unanimously in the House today, state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington announced. “All Pennsylvanians, whether they live in an urban or rural area, should have access to reliable and affordable broadband service. It will allow more of our residents to have access to telemedicine, to take online courses, and to help our agriculture sector better compete,” Snyder said. “I’ve been advocating for expanded broadband service for three years, and I am pleased that House Bill 305 is moving forward." The bill would require the state Department of General Services to conduct a thorough inventory of all state department, agency, commission or institution-owned communication towers, poles, bridges and facilities to leverage existing assets to provide access to areas without broadband service. Snyder said two additional measures related to broadband access are pending further action. House Resolution 63 , which would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct an audit of – and investigation into – the compliance by non-rural telecommunications carriers with previously enacted broadband telecommunications laws, is in the Consumer Affairs Committee. House Resolution 64 , which would establish a bipartisan, Read more

 

Legislators call for action following weekend of gun violence in Philadelphia

(Jun 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 17 – The Philadelphia Delegation of the General Assembly released the following the statement following a weekend in which 28 victims were involved in 19 shootings leaving five dead in the city: “Father’s Day weekend, in which 28 Philadelphians were shot, opened a wound of gun violence that we can’t let fester. Our constituents and our city deserve a safe environment, and it’s imperative that we have all hands-on deck from various levels of government to deal with this issue. “With that in mind, we’re asking Governor Tom Wolf, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Mayor Jim Kenney and District Attorney Larry Krasner to work together in a coordinated way to reduce the scourge of gun violence in our city. We’re also asking Mayor Kenney to issue an executive order to formulate an emergency response in Philadelphia to facilitate these coordinated efforts. There is no more time for thoughts and prayers. We need action before we unnecessarily lose more life in our city. “This weekend can’t set the tone for what this summer will be like in Philadelphia. More and more, these incidents are impacting our teenagers and young adults, and until we have concrete steps to take to address this public health epidemic the number of victims will only continue to rise. We look forward to working together with all parties to find a resolution to this epidemic that works for the city now, not later.” Read more

 

Rep. Williams, Policy Committee discuss fair education funding
Aug 12, 2019

Boyle seeks co-sponsors for legislation to ban large capacity ammunition magazines in Pa.
Aug 12, 2019

Hanbidge to host Policy Committee hearing on Reducing HCBS Waiver Waitlist Thursday in Lansdale
Aug 12, 2019

Malagari to host policy hearing on transportation infrastructure Wednesday in Souderton
Aug 09, 2019

Boyle, legislators call for special session to address gun violence (with video)
Aug 07, 2019

Dermody: We CAN move beyond words to bipartisan action on gun safety
Aug 05, 2019

Webster hosts community discussion on Revitalizing Main Street
Jul 25, 2019

Johnson-Harrell, Policy Committee meet to discuss gun violence as a public health epidemic
Jul 24, 2019

Ciresi introduces bill to help heirs access unclaimed property
Jul 17, 2019

Burns and McNeill introduce bills to mandate death reporting requirements
Jul 15, 2019

Dermody says new law will lower insurance costs for thousands
Jul 02, 2019

Snyder: PA Farm Bill package signed into law
Jul 01, 2019

Millions of criminal records slated for automatic sealing on anniversary of historic Clean Slate Act
Jun 28, 2019

Dawkins, Street call for life-without-parole reform in Pa.
Jun 26, 2019

Youngblood: 'What are we waiting for? Now is the time to put Tubman on the $20 bill.'
Jun 26, 2019

Kortz: Budget bill doesn't go far enough in education, transportation
Jun 25, 2019

Ullman: Doylestown’s first Pride Parade: A celebration of diversity and inclusivity
Jun 25, 2019

O’Mara bill to fund Veterans’ Trust Fund unanimously passes through House
Jun 20, 2019

Snyder announces passage of broadband bill
Jun 20, 2019

Legislators call for action following weekend of gun violence in Philadelphia
Jun 17, 2019