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House Democrats fight to keep renters, homeowners Safe at Home

Ciresi legislation aims to improve PA students’ living standards

(Aug 11, 2020)

“A student’s first off-campus apartment is an exciting and crucial step in his or her growth, but most student tenants are unaware of their rights as tenants or what to do if they experience an unsafe condition in their apartment,” Ciresi said. “This leads too many of our young people living in unsafe conditions or being treated unfairly by landlords.” Read more

 

Ciresi, Snyder seek to assist small businesses in reopening safely through new grant program

(Aug 10, 2020)

House Bill 2790 would cover small businesses that have been financially harmed by the pandemic, focusing on “mom and pop”-style businesses most in need. The grants would help protect against, educate about, and prevent future waves of the virus, the legislators said. Read more

 

Delaware County lawmakers call for investigation into violence against Black Lives Matter supporters

(Aug 07, 2020)

HARRISBURG (August 7, 2020) – Today, a group of state lawmakers from Delaware County called for District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer to investigate violence and intimidation aimed at Black Lives Matter supporters during a march in Ridley Township on Saturday, August 1 st . State Sens. Tim Kearney and Anthony Williams as well as State Reps. Leanne Krueger, Margo Davidson, David Delloso, Brian Kirkland, and Joanna McClinton signed the letter, which details how peaceful protesters were met with violence and intimidation by a group of counter-protesters. The letter calls for Delaware County’s District Attorney to investigate the counter-protesters’ actions and the Ridley Township Police Department’s response. “I was proud to participate in the Black Lives Matter protest and stand with people of all races and all ages against systemic racism,” said Sen. Tim Kearney . “But I was disturbed by the hate and intimidation that I witnessed firsthand from counter-protesters. We are better than that. We need to make sure our community feels safe when peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.” “I join others across our community in expressing horror that this demonstration of love and support for Black lives was met by a menacing group with a mission to taunt and intimidate peaceful protesters,” said Rep. Leanne Krueger . “Instead of actively protecting the First Amendment rights of our Read more

 

Rabb introduces bill to compensate exonerees

(Aug 05, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 5 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., has introduced House Bill 2745, which provides for an annual payment from the Commonwealth to an exoneree for every year that exoneree was wrongfully incarcerated. Read more

 

New Ciresi legislation promotes cost-saving local government cooperation

(Aug 04, 2020)

“With strained budgets, local governments and school districts throughout Pennsylvania are looking for ways to provide necessary services without raising taxes,” Ciresi said. “We have a real opportunity to improve local government and reduce property taxes through back-office reform and shared services, allowing us to do more with less while keeping our local representation and community identity." Read more

 

Davidson supports Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine

(Jul 29, 2020)

State Rep. Margo Davidson said she supports Pennsylvania’s secretary of health, Dr. Rachel Levine, in the wake of hateful transphobic comments, public actions and social media posts directed at the LGBTQ+ community. Read more

 

Snyder to introduce measure to provide vital broadband access

(Jul 28, 2020)

CARMICHAELS, July 28 – With more Pennsylvanians working from home and more schools providing online education during the current pandemic, broadband access is a necessity, and state Rep. Pam Snyder said her forthcoming bill would provide the vital infrastructure to ensure access to all residents. Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, said her measure would provide $50 million from the federal CARES Act to expand access to broadband internet through the creation of a grant program overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. DCED would determine unserved and underserved areas of the state and award grants under the program, she added. “Reliable broadband access is needed regardless of where you live in our state, and we know that several areas across Pennsylvania are falling behind, and that is unacceptable,” Snyder said. “Fair and equal access is a goal I have been working toward for some time, and now, more than ever, as we continue to work through this pandemic, this access is vital to our everyday lives.” More information on her pending legislation can be found at this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=32181 Read more

 

Breastfeeding isn’t just healthy for mother and child; it’s good for the environment

(Jul 28, 2020)

During my time as a state representative, I’ve been a strong advocate for the benefits of breastfeeding, and I continue my work to protect employees who are breastfeeding and to generally focus more attention on this subject. Read more

 

Rep. Wheatley to introduce bill to give restaurants, bars, taverns a break on penalties, fees for sales tax payments, including liquor tax

(Jul 27, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 27 – In an effort to help restaurants, bars and taverns impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, state Rep. Jake Wheatley has announced he will soon introduce legislation that would eliminate penalties and fees for delayed sales tax payments and provide a grace period for paying the 6% liquor sales tax for these businesses. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said the businesses, who lost significant amounts of revenue after closing their doors for months to help prevent the spread of the virus, deserve this break. “It’s imperative that restaurants, bars and taverns be given a financial break for being responsible and doing their part during the state’s emergency declaration,” Wheatley said. “With many of these businesses beginning the process of reopening, removing these additional fees would give them some additional breathing room and go a long way to help them recover from their losses and get back on their feet.” Back in May, Wheatley and state Rep. Dan Deasy, also D-Allegheny, sent a letter to the governor , requesting that liquor license fees be waived for restaurants and bars due to the devastating financial impacts they’ve experienced due to the pandemic. More information on his pending legislation can be found at this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=32170 Read more

 

House Democrats working for more government transparency

(Jul 27, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 27 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, Democratic Whip Jordan Harris and Democratic Appropriations Chairman Matt Bradford welcomed the decision by Gov. Tom Wolf to let an open records measure become law and said the legislature should pass other pending bills to bring additional transparency to Pennsylvania government. More than a year ago, House Democrats proposed bills to add new dimensions of openness to state government, including: Comprehensive campaign finance reform, including better disclosure of groups or individuals responsible for independent expenditures made in support of candidates (H.B. 795 sponsored by Dermody). Tighter limits and better reporting of gifts to public officials and employees from special-interest lobbyists seeking to gain unfair advantages (H.B. 1291 sponsored by Rep. Tina Davis). Improvements to voting and election processes (more than a dozen bills were introduced by multiple Democrats, including a comprehensive omnibus measure, H.B. 1560, sponsored by Rep. Chris Rabb). A bill to prohibit lobbyists from also working as paid campaign consultants (H.B. 1421 sponsored by Rep. Tina Davis). “At the start of the pandemic, under truly extraordinary circumstances, the Wolf administration had to delay responding to Right-To-Know inquiries,” Dermody said. “However, since May they have again been responding to these requests. “Governor Read more

 

Relief to restaurants, bars & clubs to help workers a top priority in House Democratic legislative package

(Jul 27, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 27 -- Citing the distressing impacts COVID-19 is having on Pennsylvania’s restaurant industry and a recent Yelp survey showing more than half of restaurants could close permanently due to the virus’ impact, Democrats in Harrisburg have crafted a legislative package aimed at providing relief to community business owners and the workers that cook and serve our food. The package includes nine bills that would provide grants to local restaurants, bars and clubs, reduce and eliminate specific licensing fees, extend discounts to licensees and protect businesses by guaranteeing their insurance pays out in future emergencies. These efforts will provide direct relief to an industry of Pennsylvania businesses the virus has hit hard, House Democratic leaders said. Restrictions put in place have been necessary in the state’s response to COVID-19. The leaders said they recognize the hardship the virus has continued to place on the restaurant industry. Restaurants have served as the backdrop of many life occasions and special moments and they need support more now than ever. The House Democratic package includes: Earmarking CARES grant funding from the federal government to be directed to small, community restaurants instead of national chains to ensure those dollars are invested back into the region. ( Rep. Joe Ciresi, Montgomery County & Rep. Tina Davis, Bucks County ) Earmarking CARES grant Read more

 

Legislation banning peace officers from engaging in sexual activity with people in their custody signed into law

(Jul 23, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 23 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., celebrated Thursday after a measure he authored banning police officers from engaging in sexual activity with people in their custody was signed into law, but said more must be done to further protect people in police custody. “It is unconscionable that we needed a law to prevent police officers from sexually assaulting people in their custody,” Rabb said. “But as we are seeing more clearly today than ever before, substantial reforms are needed to protect people who come into contact with police officers, and we cannot take that fact for granted.” Rabb said the legislation signed into law on Thursday banning police officers from engaging in sexual activity with people in their custody was fast-tracked in the state Senate through the tireless advocacy of his colleague, state Sen. Katie Muth. He also praised state Sen. Larry Farnese, who introduced a version of Rabb’s original bill , which was added as an amendment to the legislation that was enacted on Thursday. But further action to pass H.B. 2709 – which would protect people who are being sexually trafficked and end up in police custody from deceitful acts by some law enforcement – is needed, Rabb said. Rabb recently introduced the legislation with state Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila. Rabb has credited engaged and passionate community members, especially young people, for the progress that has been made Read more

 

Kenyatta condemns hate targeting transgendered Pennsylvanians

(Jul 23, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 23 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta condemned the Bloomsburg Fair mocking state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine and pointed out that the transphobic remarks relay to ongoing violence against trans people. “Dr. Levine is an exemplary public servant as she continues to lead our commonwealth through these uncertain times in a dignified manner. Those pivoting to transphobic slandering to undermine her leadership, which has proven to save lives, reveal a deep seeded and ugly hatred against the trans community. “These so-called jokes at the expense of trans identities invalidates the humanity of trans people and greenlights depraving violence against them. That violence has been often been directed at trans women, and even more often, specifically Black transwomen. Transphobia coupled with misogynoir has resulted in the brutal slaughtering of six Black transwomen nationwide in the span of a few months -- one of which happened right here in our commonwealth in my hometown of Philadelphia. “These latest murders are why we must actively condemn transphobia in every form, including ‘jokes’ at fairs. We must also hold perpetrators of hatred accountable to convey the message that Pennsylvania will not tolerate hatred!” Kenyatta, D-Phila., is the first openly gay man of color in Pennsylvania history serve in the General Assembly. He has been a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and Read more

 

Wheatley: Legislation would address systemic racism, address poorer health conditions, economic outcomes among people of color in Pa.

(Jul 21, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, July 21 – Calling it a dire public health crisis, state Rep. Jake Wheatley has announced his intent to introduce a bill to address racial inequities among Black, Brown and Indigenous communities in Pennsylvania. “Study after study continues to show definitive links between higher rates of chronic health conditions, like high blood pressure and diabetes, among our Black, Latino and Native American residents,” said Wheatley, D-Allegheny. “Racism is truly a public health problem, leading to higher levels of stress and significantly reduced access to medical and social services, among other impacts, resulting in increased levels of disease, disability, and death. As we continue to demand changes to address systemic racism in Pennsylvania and across the nation, we must also respond to this public health crisis – because lives are truly at stake.” Wheatley’s legislation would create a racial equity task force within the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. This task force would oversee the review of policies and provide recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly on efforts focused on reducing the disparities between people of color and white residents statewide. More information on the bill can be found at the following link: Read more

 

Hazard pay grants now available to support frontline workers

(Jul 17, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 17 – Workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic could see hazard pay through funding advocated for by the Pennsylvania House Democrats. Eligible employers can now apply for $50 million in available grants to offer hazard pay to frontline workers in life-sustaining industries. Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus has fought to support frontline workers and worked to ensure federal CARES Act dollars were allocated as part of the state budget package. Businesses in the following industries are eligible to apply for the grant funding: Health care and social assistance Food manufacturing Food retail facilities Public transit and ground passenger transportation Security services Janitorial services to buildings and dwellings More information on the grants is available here . Since the very beginning of the pandemic, and during 2020-21 budget negotiations, House Democrats have advocated for fair compensation and protections for frontline workers. Democratic state representatives from across Pennsylvania lauded the opening of the new grant program. Northeast Region Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe : "I am a strong advocate for better wages and conditions for all workers. During times of financial uncertainty, hazard pay is crucial for all frontline workers facing increased exposure to the COVID-19 Read more

 

Rep. Kenyatta celebrates $50 million in hazard pay grant funding for Pa. frontline workers

(Jul 17, 2020)

HARRISBURGH, July 17 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta said his fight to guarantee Pennsylvanians working on the frontlines during the fatal COVID-19 pandemic are afforded increased wages has finally been accomplished with Gov. Tom Wolf recently announcing the availability of $50 million in grant funding to help employers provide hazard pay to employees in life-sustaining occupations. Kenyatta, D-Phila., called the program a sincere expression of appreciation for the sacrifices of frontline employees, and an overall win for workers’ rights. “I am proud of Governor Wolf’s support in our demands to prioritize Pennsylvania frontline workers in any mitigation efforts during this crisis,” Kenyatta said. “It is their labor that has sustained countless communities across our commonwealth throughout the pandemic. Providing this funding for hazard pay transcends the hollow ‘thank you,’ and explicitly demonstrates our appreciation for their service by guaranteeing that they are properly compensated.” From the start of this crisis, Kenyatta boasts a solid track record of championing protections for the rights and safety of Pennsylvania’s essential workers. In May, the lawmaker stood in solidarity with Temple health care workers on the picket line in his district. Last month, in a video that has since gone viral , Kenyatta challenged booing Republicans in the House chamber about Read more

 

Ciresi calls for investigation into PA charter schools receiving PPP payments

(Jul 16, 2020)

“Pennsylvania taxpayers deserve to know that their tax dollars are spent responsibly and that the funding of a government program is used for its intended purpose. It is therefore important to determine how charter schools were able to justify and obtain these forgivable loans, and whether taxpayer funds from all sources are being used for their legally intended purposes by recipient charter schools and management organizations.” Read more

 

Rep. Bizzarro bill would give school districts flexibility with required instructional days in cases of disaster, emergency declarations

(Jul 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 15 -- In an effort to gives schools the flexibility to prioritize student and faculty safety during disaster and emergency declarations, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro introduced legislation that would give school districts the authority needed to adjust the 180-day instruction requirement. In the case of disaster or emergency declaration by the governor, House Bill 2704 would authorize individual school districts to request an exemption from the 180-day requirement. The bill would permit brick and mortar schools to include virtual education days in meeting the 180-day requirement. “Pennsylvania’s school districts need flexibility to quickly respond to emergent situations. Student safety and quality learning opportunities should remain at the forefront of decision making. My bill would allow schools to include online learning days as part of the 180-day requirement,” explained Bizzarro. “If necessary, they would also have the ability to reduce the number of required instructional days.” If enacted, a school district would submit an exemption request to the Pa. Department of Education for consideration. The Pa. Secretary of Education would then decide if the school district made bona fide effort to provide a reasonable number of instruction days. “A statewide response is not always reasonable and can put more children at a disadvantage. For example, each region of the state has Read more

 

House Democratic leaders urge U.S. senators to support HEROES Act

(Jul 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 15 – Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, Democratic Whip Jordan Harris and Democratic Appropriations Chairman Matt Bradford, on behalf of the entire Pa. House Democratic Caucus, today sent a letter to U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., urging them to support the HEROES Act. The U.S. House of Representatives in May passed the HEROES Act to provide much-needed continued relief to Americans through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the U.S. Senate has failed to take action. The full letter is as follows: Dear Senator Casey and Senator Toomey: It has been nearly two months since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act to support Americans as they weather the unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the Senate has failed to take action on this important legislation. With cases rising across the country and again in Pennsylvania -- creating an even more serious strain on our health care systems and testing capacity as we move toward fall -- federal leadership is desperately needed to help Pennsylvanians get the care they need and the protections they deserve. In May, the Pennsylvania General Assembly worked with Governor Tom Wolf to pass an interim, partial budget, but the fate of many essential services depends on your actions to provide additional support to states. The budgetary challenge caused by the coronavirus pandemic is Read more

 

Schlossberg mental health bill to help first responders heads to governor

(Jul 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 15 -- Bipartisan legislation introduced by state Reps. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, and Frank Farry, R-Bucks, that would establish an emergency responder mental wellness and stress management program in Pennsylvania is headed to the governor’s desk. Read more

 

Ciresi legislation aims to improve PA students’ living standards
Aug 11, 2020

Ciresi, Snyder seek to assist small businesses in reopening safely through new grant program
Aug 10, 2020

Delaware County lawmakers call for investigation into violence against Black Lives Matter supporters
Aug 07, 2020

Rabb introduces bill to compensate exonerees
Aug 05, 2020

New Ciresi legislation promotes cost-saving local government cooperation
Aug 04, 2020

Davidson supports Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine
Jul 29, 2020

Snyder to introduce measure to provide vital broadband access
Jul 28, 2020

Breastfeeding isn’t just healthy for mother and child; it’s good for the environment
Jul 28, 2020

Rep. Wheatley to introduce bill to give restaurants, bars, taverns a break on penalties, fees for sales tax payments, including liquor tax
Jul 27, 2020

House Democrats working for more government transparency
Jul 27, 2020

Relief to restaurants, bars & clubs to help workers a top priority in House Democratic legislative package
Jul 27, 2020

Legislation banning peace officers from engaging in sexual activity with people in their custody signed into law
Jul 23, 2020

Kenyatta condemns hate targeting transgendered Pennsylvanians
Jul 23, 2020

Wheatley: Legislation would address systemic racism, address poorer health conditions, economic outcomes among people of color in Pa.
Jul 21, 2020

Hazard pay grants now available to support frontline workers
Jul 17, 2020

Rep. Kenyatta celebrates $50 million in hazard pay grant funding for Pa. frontline workers
Jul 17, 2020

Ciresi calls for investigation into PA charter schools receiving PPP payments
Jul 16, 2020

Rep. Bizzarro bill would give school districts flexibility with required instructional days in cases of disaster, emergency declarations
Jul 15, 2020

House Democratic leaders urge U.S. senators to support HEROES Act
Jul 15, 2020

Schlossberg mental health bill to help first responders heads to governor
Jul 15, 2020