Equal Pay Law passes PA House

(May 06, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – A bill ( H.B. 98 ) introduced by state Reps. Donna Bullock, Melissa Shusterman and Jenn O’Mara known as the Equal Pay Law, which would expand protections against wage discrimination, was passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today. The legislation would prohibit employers from discriminating and paying workers less because of their gender, race or ethnicity. It would also add protections for retaliation and increase monetary penalties from $50-$200 to $2,500-$5,000 in cases where employers discharge or discriminate against an employee for filing a complaint. And, the legislators said, it would enhance pay transparency by requiring employers to include the expected compensation or the range for any position the employer publicly advertises as a job opening and to a prospective employee applying for employment upon reasonable request. “It’s well known that women, and especially women of color, have been insufficiently paid in the workplace. This is despite doing the same tasks, performing the same jobs, and sometimes doing them much better than our counterparts,” said Bullock, D-Phila. “This is a step toward economic justice. We moved this legislation forward to ensure all Pennsylvania workers receive equal pay for equal work and eradicate wage disparity once and for all. It's time for the Senate to do the same.” Read more

 

Kim plan empowers Pennie enrollees with grants for premiums, expenses

(May 06, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – Individuals who buy health insurance through Pennie could receive a new state subsidy to help pay for their insurance premiums under a proposal introduced by state Rep. Patty Kim, chair of the PA House Insurance Committee. Today, that proposal, H.B. 2234, was favorably voted out of that committee and is ready for a full House vote. Pennie provides excellent health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who fall outside of traditional work-related coverage options, Kim said, but many families still struggle to meet their deductibles or pay their premiums. More than two-thirds of uninsured people who applied for, but did not purchase, Pennie coverage said it was too expensive. And many Pennie plans have deductibles over $10,000. However, according to Federal Reserve data, 13% of adults are unable to pay a $400 unexpected expense at any given time – meaning many Pennie customers cannot afford their coverage. “We can lift struggling workers up to manage the rising costs of health care with a program that empowers them to pay their bills,” said Kim, D-Dauphin/Cumberland. “From a public policy perspective, small, targeted programs can deliver a difference in people’s lives.” Kim’s proposal answers Gov. Josh Shapiro’s call to create a pilot program giving Pennsylvanians cash subsidies so they can buy health insurance through Read more

 

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus praises state boards for new policy to protect LGBTQ+ youth

(May 03, 2024)

Celebrating the five state boards -- the state boards of Nursing, the Medicine, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors, Psychology and Osteopathic Medicine -- who all voted recently to adopt new statements of policy opposing the use of conversion therapy on minors in Pennsylvania, members of the Pennsylvania House LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus issued the following statement: “The LGBTQ+ community often faces a troubling disparity, where accessing appropriate health care can be tainted by discrimination, misunderstanding and systemic barriers. This new policy, adopted throughout the state, validates what advocates have been saying for decades about the dangers of conversion therapy, and sends a clear message that we will not let hatred masquerade as medical treatment here in Pennsylvania.” The new policies notify licensees that all five boards consider the use of conversion therapy to be unprofessional, harmful conduct that may subject any licensee engaging in it to administrative discipline. They said that conversion therapy refers to any practice that seeks or purports to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. “The LGBTQ+ community's experience with health care must reflect inclusivity, respect, and understanding, ensuring every individual receives the quality care they deserve, free from discrimination or bias." Read more

 

House passes Conklin bill to boost funding for minority-owned businesses

(May 02, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – The House yesterday passed legislation introduced by state Rep. Scott Conklin that would help Pennsylvania’s minority-owned businesses secure the capital they need to grow and remain competitive. Conklin, who is majority chairman of the Pennsylvania House Commerce Committee, said he introduced H.B. 2202 – which would establish the Minority Business Development Program to provide low-interest loans and equity financing to ethnic-owned businesses – to get vital resources flowing to traditionally underserved business communities. “Minority-owned businesses have a critical role to play in Pennsylvania, but for too long, they have faced financing hurdles that have prevented them from growing and expanding,” Conklin said. “It’s time to level the playing field by connecting these businesses with the resources they need to thrive. Doing so creates jobs, adds healthy competition, grows our local and state economies, and empowers business owners to give back to their communities. It’s a win-win all around.” The fund established by Conklin’s bill would provide eligible businesses with means ranging from $3 million for one or more projects to a maximum of $5 million for up to three projects. Minority-owned businesses in counties of the First or Second Class would be eligible for a maximum of $10 million per applicant. The funds would be used as equity and Read more

 

House OKs Madden bill to require employers to post discrimination policies

(May 02, 2024)

“By ensuring that policies are readily available for employees and supervisors to read, it is our hope that far fewer instances of discrimination and harassment will occur,” Madden said. Read more

 

Freeman bill to help craft breweries, distilleries passes Pa. House

(May 02, 2024)

Craft breweries and distilleries in PA that provide on-premises consumption could remain open past midnight on New Year's Eve and one other designated day a year. Read more

 

Spurred by student protests, Rabb highlights legislation to prohibit law enforcement use of crowd control agents

(May 02, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – Prompted by disturbing reports of law enforcement using excess force to disperse protestors on college campuses across the country, state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., is highlighting legislation ( H.B. 1107 ) that would prohibit law enforcement from using crowd control agents, such as chemical weapons and rubber bullets, to quell crowds. This legislation would prohibit the use of chemical weapons by law enforcement, including all types of tear gas, pepper spray, pepper balls, mace and any other crowd control agents composed of chemical compounds intended to cause some form of harm to a person. “As we’ve seen time and again, if you give law enforcement tools to inflict force, they will use them to excess. They did during the George Floyd protests and they are doing so today,” Rabb said. “The only way to prevent this is to prohibit the use entirely. These internationally recognized weapons of war have absolutely no place being used against American citizens peacefully protesting injustice and exercising their constitutionally protected rights.” Until summer 2020 amid the Black Lives Matter protests, the Philadelphia Police Department had not used chemical agents since 1985, Rabb said. Tear gas and pepper spray are both considered ‘riot control agents.’ They are toxic chemicals that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes as Read more

 

Conklin issues statement on need to reform PIAA playoff system

(May 01, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 1 – Following his Pennsylvania Capitol news conference yesterday with school sports officials and student athletes, state Rep. Scott Conklin issued these remarks to shed further light on why Pennsylvania’s approach to school sports competitions should be reformed to model other states that recognize the difference between national all-star teams in private schools (non-boundary schools) and the teams in public schools (boundary schools): “In Pennsylvania, private schools are not restricted as to where they can recruit student athletes, whereas public schools may only recruit within the school district’s geographical location. “This allows private schools to create all-star teams that are providing an unfair advantage over public schools in playoffs. It’s not just about winning a championship. It’s about life opportunities – including scholarships and recruitment for college sports and professional sports – that our public school students are losing out on. “K-12 sports should be about teaching values and competitiveness, giving children a second option that keeps them in school, and allowing opportunities for a brighter future. “I am not against non-boundary schools. They provide many young athletes a chance for a better future, which is great. The change I am proposing would not reduce the opportunities for private school students, but would introduce Read more

 

House passes Conklin bill to allow pre-canvassing of mail and absentee ballots up to seven days before election

(May 01, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 1 – The House today took a major step toward ensuring smoother, more efficient administration of elections in Pennsylvania by passing state Rep. Scott Conklin’s H.B. 847 , which would allow pre-canvassing of mail and absentee ballots to begin up to seven days before an election. Conklin, D-Centre, said an earlier start to pre-canvassing – which involves inspecting and opening envelopes containing ballots; removing them from the envelops; and counting, computing and tallying the votes (but not reporting or publishing those votes) – is needed to address delays and frustration arising under the current law, which does not permit election workers to start the process until 7 a.m. on Election Day. “Free and fair elections are at the very heart of our democracy, but ensuring that they run smoothly and efficiently requires vigilance – and sometimes action – on our part when changing circumstances demand it,” Conklin said. “ Five years ago, Pennsylvania expanded the use of mail and absentee ballots, resulting in a dramatic increase in these ballots. It was a great move that increased voter participation, but it also created some unwanted administrative issues. “As mail ballots have increased, county election board workers from all over the state have been telling us that the current system is unworkable and that they simply don’t have enough time Read more

 

Gergely’s bill to advance PA health care initiative becomes law

(May 01, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 1 – State Rep. Matthew R. Gergely’s bill to protect plasma donated throughout Pennsylvania and preserve its suitability for use in health and medical forums has been signed into law by Gov. Josh Shapiro at the state Capitol. Act No. 6 of 2024 , formerly H.B. 1795, requires that source plasma undergoes extensive testing upon donation and before it is ultimately integrated into essential pharmaceuticals The new law, co-sponsored by state Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, also allows 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. “Not only am I thrilled that my bill is officially on the books in PA, I’m thrilled to help put a positive step forward into place for Pennsylvanians who depend on donated plasma. Safeguarding their health is crucial, and I’m grateful to Gov. Shapiro for getting this legislation across the finishing line.” said Gergely, D-Allegheny. “Having been in office for a little over a year, I’m proud to be able to facilitate the passage of this bill and work with the Pennsylvania House and Senate and the governor.” “We're thrilled to join the governor in signing this bill and providing a beacon of hope for those facing serious medical challenges,” Briggs added. “Let's celebrate this milestone together and continue to fight for real Read more

 

Warren legislation to protect consumers, insurance brokers passes PA House

(May 01, 2024)

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE State Rep. Perry Warren D-Bucks County www.pahouse.com/ Warren Warren legislation to protect consumers, insurance brokers passes PA House HARRISBURG, April 30 – State Rep. Perry Warren’s bipartisan bill that would codify the surplus insurance lines fee structure for personal surplus lines transactions passed the PA House unanimously this week. House Bill 2096 now heads to the PA Senate for consideration. The surplus lines insurance market serves customers who need rare, specialty or high-risk coverage unavailable on the regular market in Pennsylvania. High-risk flood insurance is one common example. Insurance agents selling surplus lines insurance typically receive a smaller commission than they would with regular insurance. To ensure that Pennsylvania insurance agents can afford to serve this specialty insurance market, the bill would both permit and cap the fee that a Pennsylvania insurance agent can charge for placing a surplus lines insurance policy. “This legislation creates a win-win situation for both consumers and their insurance agents,” Warren said. “Consumers get to keep their insurance when there is not a product available in the Pennsylvania admitted market, and Read more

 

Consumer Protection Committee approves bill to set energy efficiency and water conservation standards for appliances sold in Pa.

(May 01, 2024)

HARRISBURG, May 1 – The House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee yesterday approved H.B. 1615 , which would set energy efficiency and water conservation standards for new residential and commercial appliances sold in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced. “This is a good, commonsense bill that will benefit consumers,” Matzie said. “Nobody has to replace anything, nobody has to buy anything, nothing is banned. Appliances meeting these standards are already on the market and competitively priced. Implementing the standards for new appliances sold here in Pennsylvania could save consumers nearly $250 million annually on their utility bills by 2030.” The bill passed by a vote of 17-8. The committee also heard testimony on H.B. 1977 , which would require businesses to clearly post notice of any surcharges on credit and debit card transactions in a location easily visible to consumers, and H.B. 2186 , which would help protect consumers from gift card scams by requiring retailers to post signs warning consumers about these scams and train employees on how to identify and respond to gift card fraud. “Today’s hearing was an important consumer protection hearing addressing fees when it comes to using your credit or debit card at a point of sale as well as the gift card scams that are happening, not only here in Read more

 

Powell’s bill to prohibit remote stalking passes Pa. House

(Apr 30, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 30 – State Rep. Lindsay Powell’s bill that would ban tracking via a feature on devices manufactured by Apple Inc. passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today. The legislation, H.B. 416 , would forbid the use of AirTags for any nefarious motive, with an emphasis on remote stalking. Bad actors have utilized AirTags to put trackers on vehicles and pinpoint the location of their victims. “Stalking in any form directly or indirectly impacts far too many residents in our state, country and worldwide. Not only that, the consistent advent of new technologies has made life even more perilous for people subjected to this crime,” Powell, D-Allegheny, said. “This bill would help neighbors stay safer across the commonwealth and keep them on level ground with people seeking to do them harm.” Multiple plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple in December of 2022 for remote stalking and despite the company’s attempt to dismiss the case, it is moving forward. AirTags, launched more than three years ago, is intended to help individuals find items that are often misplaced, such as keys, wallets or bookbags. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration. Read more

 

Conklin, PA sports officials highlight need for PIAA competition reform

(Apr 30, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 30 – State Rep. Scott Conklin joined school sports officials and student athletes at the Pennsylvania Capitol today to urge support for his proposal that would better protect players in Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association competitions. Conklin – whose H.B. 1983 would allow the PIAA to establish alternative playoffs and championships for boundary and non-boundary schools – spoke about how the current system jeopardizes student safety by pitting public school teams against private, charter and parochial school teams that are often larger and better equipped. “By leaving public schools no option but to compete against larger, more powerful teams recruited by private schools, the PIAA’s current system is putting student athletes from public schools at a huge disadvantage before they even set foot on the field,” Conklin said. “It’s a system that sets kids up for failure, sends the wrong message and – worst of all – exposes them to the risk of serious injury. “We need to reform the playoff rules by allowing the PIAA to set up alternate playoff systems and championships for boundary and non-boundary schools. Having separate playoffs would not hurt the element of competition – it would merely ensure those contests are waged on a level playing field.” Hall of Fame Football Coach Jim Cantafio and Bald Eagle Athletic Director Doug Read more

 

House committee OKs Haddock bill to protect food processing workers

(Apr 30, 2024)

“This commonsense approach to workplace safety would ensure that not only is the food we put on our tables safe, but the workers are as well," Haddock said. Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation praises increased transparency by PA State Police

(Apr 29, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 29 – The Philadelphia House Delegation today applauded the Pennsylvania State Police for following up on their promise to expand the use of body cameras to the officers in Troop K serving the Philadelphia region. During a public hearing with the House Appropriations Committee on the 2024-25 state budget in early March, State Police Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris assured the committee that resources would be expedited to Southeastern PA for body camera recordings to be implemented on all officers. “Transparency is critical in officer-involved incidents. The cameras now worn by Troop K and used in their vehicles will assist in that transparency and create accountability in the unfortunate use of force,” said delegation chairwoman Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila. “This is about protecting our communities and protecting officers, giving everyone a little more peace of mind when issues arise.” House Majority Appropriations Committee Chairman Jordan Harris, D-Phila, recounted the pledge to expedite body cameras by PSP leadership during the committee’s public hearings on the state budget. “On March 4, 2024, the Appropriations Committee met with the Pennsylvania State Police for their budget hearing. This hearing immediately followed high-profile incidents with the PSP in our region; Commissioner Paris assured me and the committee that they would expedite resources to have Read more

 

Mayes bill to provide maternal and newborn supply kits advances in PA House

(Apr 29, 2024)

Legislation would establish state resource program for new parents Read more

 

House Housing & Community Development and Local Government committees to hold affordable housing meeting on Wednesday

(Apr 29, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 29 – State Reps. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, announced today that they will be co-chairing an informational meeting of the Housing & Community Development and Local Government committees on increasing the affordable housing supply at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 1 in the Capitol Complex’s Room 523 Irvis Office Building. The meeting will feature a presentation by Alex Horowitz, director of Pew Charitable Trusts’ Housing Policy Initiative, about the nationwide challenges and opportunities of expanding the supply of affordable housing. Jacob Fisher, chair of the Pennsylvania Developers’ Council, will also make brief remarks. Sturla, who chairs the Housing & Community Development Committee, and Freeman, who chairs the Local Government Committee, called this meeting to collect more information about how other states are handling the affordable housing crisis. This meeting is open to the media and public. A live stream will be available at www.pahouse.com/live . Read more

 

Warren’s bipartisan bill to end live pigeon shoots approved by committee

(Apr 29, 2024)

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE State Rep. Perry Warren D-Bucks County www.pahouse.com/ Warren Warren’s bipartisan bill to end live pigeon shoots approved by committee HARRISBURG, April 29 – A bipartisan bill that would prohibit live pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania was approved today by the PA House Judiciary Committee. Noting that Pennsylvania has already outlawed other forms of animal cruelty, Warren introduced the legislation ( H.B. 2139 ) , which now heads to the full House for consideration. “Dog fighting, cock fighting and greyhound racing have already been prohibited in Pennsylvania,” Warren said. “In 2017 even possessing the implements to raise or train an animal for death in the name of gambling became illegal. Yet, pigeon shoots are presently exempted from Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty law.” There is still at least one regularly scheduled live pigeon shoot in Pennsylvania, which takes place annually in Bucks County. Unlike regular hunting in the wild, the pigeons involved in these events are raised in captivity specifically to get shot, with very little sport involved for the humans participating. “Thank you to Representative Perry Warren and the Animal Protection Caucus for their leadership to finally end these barbaric contests in Read more

 

Fleming helped Lower Paxton Township secure $1.2 million transportation funding award

(Apr 26, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 25 – State Rep. Justin Fleming, D-Dauphin, said he helped Lower Paxton Township secure a competitive grant award of more than $1.18 million from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to extend the township’s sidewalk network. “This investment in Lower Paxton Township will help enhance quality of life in the township by increasing pedestrian safety,” Fleming said. “The funding will be used to extend the township’s sidewalk network to make important connections between neighborhoods and key destinations such as the Lower Paxton Township Municipal Center, Central Dauphin Middle School, and many neighborhood-serving businesses. This is a smart use of our taxpayer dollars to strengthen the connections in our community and provide easier access to critical services.” Fleming added that the new sidewalk connections will include all necessary signage, ADA-accessible ramps and crosswalks, and will narrow the width of the roadway on Prince Street, which will act as a traffic calming feature, and improve pedestrian safety. The grant award comes from the Surface Transportation Block Grant program Set-Aside, also known as the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TA Set-Aside). The grant funds projects that improve the accessibility of biking and walking paths and amenities, pedestrian access to public transportation, community improvement activities, environmental mitigation projects and trails. Read more

 

Equal Pay Law passes PA House
May 06, 2024

Kim plan empowers Pennie enrollees with grants for premiums, expenses
May 06, 2024

LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus praises state boards for new policy to protect LGBTQ+ youth
May 03, 2024

House passes Conklin bill to boost funding for minority-owned businesses
May 02, 2024

House OKs Madden bill to require employers to post discrimination policies
May 02, 2024

Freeman bill to help craft breweries, distilleries passes Pa. House
May 02, 2024

Spurred by student protests, Rabb highlights legislation to prohibit law enforcement use of crowd control agents
May 02, 2024

Conklin issues statement on need to reform PIAA playoff system
May 01, 2024

House passes Conklin bill to allow pre-canvassing of mail and absentee ballots up to seven days before election
May 01, 2024

Gergely’s bill to advance PA health care initiative becomes law
May 01, 2024

Warren legislation to protect consumers, insurance brokers passes PA House
May 01, 2024

Consumer Protection Committee approves bill to set energy efficiency and water conservation standards for appliances sold in Pa.
May 01, 2024

Powell’s bill to prohibit remote stalking passes Pa. House
Apr 30, 2024

Conklin, PA sports officials highlight need for PIAA competition reform
Apr 30, 2024

House committee OKs Haddock bill to protect food processing workers
Apr 30, 2024

Philadelphia House Delegation praises increased transparency by PA State Police
Apr 29, 2024

Mayes bill to provide maternal and newborn supply kits advances in PA House
Apr 29, 2024

House Housing & Community Development and Local Government committees to hold affordable housing meeting on Wednesday
Apr 29, 2024

Warren’s bipartisan bill to end live pigeon shoots approved by committee
Apr 29, 2024

Fleming helped Lower Paxton Township secure $1.2 million transportation funding award
Apr 26, 2024