Featured News

Davidson: House hearing shows clear safeguards in Pa. voter registration

Approps Chair Bradford Says Performance-Based Budgeting Will ‘Help Drive Results’ for PA Taxpayers

(Jan 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 24 – To help drive better results for Pennsylvanians, the Democratic chairman of one of the state’s most influential budgeting oversight committees said today he believes the new performance-based budgeting effort will make a difference. “This new effort to link expected outcomes or results with specific programs will help to improve efficiencies and ensure that the money hardworking women and men send to Harrisburg is being used in the best way,” Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery), the Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said today as the first-ever round of performance-based budgeting hearings concluded. “Performance-based budgeting will mean improved transparency and it addresses the common criticism of ‘wasteful government spending’ or ‘excessive budget growth’,” Bradford said. “Performance-based budgeting helps to drive results,” the chairman said, “and that’s what taxpayers want and deserve.” Pennsylvania, like other states, has had a degree of performance-based budgeting in its budget-making process, but this new effort, which now involves the Independent Fiscal Office and public hearings to review proposed outcomes, heightens the policy’s impact. This new process came into being in 2017 when the governor signed the Performance-Based Budgeting and Tax Credit Efficiency Act (Act 48) into law. Read more

 

Sims condemns SCOTUS decision on transgender military ban

(Jan 22, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 22 – State Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s transgender military ban: “I am disgusted by the Court’s decision, but I am not surprised. Verdicts like this are exactly why special interests and the far-right took the unprecedented action of blocking former President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court for 293 days. “In the months and years to follow, the Supreme Court will issue countless more decisions which will impact nearly every imaginable aspect of our nation. With each decision, it is critically important to remember the genesis of this era in our nation’s history. “As the son of two lieutenant colonels, I’ve witnessed the dedication and sacrifice exhibited by our service members all across our nation. I cannot fathom the pain and indignity our transgender military members feel in the wake of this morning’s unconscionable decision. “It is equally important to note that the commander in chief who issued this order not only evaded military service during the Vietnam War but also is under investigation for conspiring with a hostile foreign power to elevate his own interests over those of our nation. “We owe these soldiers and veterans our gratitude as well as our commitment to ensuring that this shameful moment in our history is never repeated again. This ban has been Read more

 

House Democratic leaders’ statement on Karen Coates

(Jan 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 18 – House Democratic leaders issued a statement after learning of the passing of Karen Coates, chief of staff to the House Speaker. “Karen had a brilliant life and career. It ended far too soon. All of us in the House of Representatives will deeply miss her presence and her wise counsel. When tempers flared and legislative battles got hot, Karen had a way of keeping all of us grounded so that we could find some sort of agreement. “There’s not a single Pennsylvania law passed in recent years that Karen Coates did not help to shape. She was a natural leader and an integral part of the House staff who helped us get through our toughest moments. “We grieve with all of her loved ones and with the House members and staff to whom she meant so much. This is a terrible loss not only for the House, but for our commonwealth.” Read more

 

Shusterman named Deputy Freshman Whip

(Jan 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman was named Deputy Whip for the House Democratic Caucus, the first freshman legislator to earn the title. “The freshman class of representatives is full of extraordinary leaders,” said Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery. “It is a strong and diverse group. I look forward to using this role to work with my freshman colleagues and listen to them so we can achieve our goals together.” Shusterman was appointed by House Democratic Whip Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila. “Pennsylvanians sent a historically diverse group of first term legislators to Harrisburg,” Harris said. “I look forward to working with Representative Shusterman to integrate the freshman members into the House as we push forward an agenda to benefit citizens across the commonwealth.” The whip is considered the second-in-command in the caucus and is responsible for making sure that Democratic members attend session and generally understand the specifics of legislation and procedural votes in the House. The deputy whips serve to assist the whip on the House floor in ensuring members are present for votes and in tallying support prior to a vote. “My constituents are looking for me to bring a new level of transparency and reform to our state government,” Shusterman said. “I will use this leadership position to help meet their expectations.” Shusterman, who took office Jan. 1 as Read more

 

Philadelphia Delegation announces its legislative platform for 2019-20

(Jan 16, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, along with delegation members today announced their legislative agenda during a news conference at the state Capitol. The delegation said its top priorities for working toward a better Philadelphia include investing in education and schools, criminal justice reform, health care for all, strengthening commercial coordinators, and alternative energy methods. "We are joining forces to work as one unit for the betterment of all Philadelphians, and that begins with fighting for what our constituents need the most,” Dawkins said. "We are also focused on making sure that everyone gets a fair shot and equal treatment." “Last session we worked in bipartisan fashion to get clean slate legislation signed into law and bring real criminal justice reform to those who need it,” said Rep. Jordan Harris, the Democratic Whip. “Now, we must continue fighting for further reform to reduce recidivism and allow Pennsylvanians who have paid their debit to society to pursue a productive path to citizenry.” “For too long our criminal justice system has been an injustice system for the mentally ill, the poor, and people of color,” said Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. “While we’ve made progress, our prisons remain overcrowded, inmates mistreated, and mental health problems ignored. I stand with my Philadelphia colleagues to address Read more

 

Pa. House Democrats want to make sure Your Vote Counts

(Jan 14, 2019)

American democracy started here in 1776, but in 2019 special interests have too much power that should belong to the voters. House Democrats have a plan to increase voter turnout, make it easier for citizens to register to vote and to cast a ballot, and restore peoples’ faith in their elections. Together, we'll take Pennsylvania from one of the toughest states in which to vote to one of the easiest for a voter to be heard. Read more

 

OP-ED: Health care must remain accessible and affordable in PA

(Jan 11, 2019)

The Affordable Care Act, which finally made affordable, quality health insurance a reality for tens of millions of Americans and their families, has faced constant threats since it was passed by Congress in 2010, despite its success in reducing the rate of uninsured people in Pennsylvania and other states to the lowest level in history. The ACA expanded Medicaid, prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and placing annual and lifetime spending limits on coverage, and finally gives people who don't have health insurance through work an opportunity to purchase the coverage they and their families need at a price they can afford. Every insurance plan sold under the ACA must include 10 essential health benefits. Those include, among other things, emergency services, maternity and newborn care, pediatric services, mental health and substance abuse services, and chronic disease management. These services are vital to keeping individuals and families healthy, and our communities safe. The ACA also prohibits insurance companies from placing annual and lifetime dollar limits on your care. Before the ACA, these kinds of limits often left patients suffering from severe or chronic medical conditions with no coverage, no care, and no recourse. Health insurance plans should pay for the care you need when you need it. The Affordable Care Act finally made that a reality for Read more

 

Pa. House Democrats clean up Valley Forge National Park amid federal government shutdown

(Jan 11, 2019)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Jan. 11 – Four freshman Democratic state representatives spent Thursday morning picking up trash at Valley Forge National Park, helping to keep the historic site beautiful during the ongoing federal government shutdown. State Reps. Joe Ciresi, Kristine Howard, Melissa Shusterman and Joe Webster were joined by the staffs of U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Chester/Berks, and state Sen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery, at the National Memorial Arch. The newly sworn-in lawmakers said President Trump’s partial government shutdown means more than 800,000 hardworking Americans, including those who usually keep Valley Forge National Park looking spectacular, are furloughed and entering a financial bind. Friday, which was supposed to be a payday for federal employees, instead marks the record-tying 21 st day of the shutdown. For national parks, that means nobody on site to collect trash or service restrooms. So the four first-time Pa. representatives came together at Valley Forge to take a stand and lend some helping hands. “This is really about true public service and stepping up when there is a need in the community,” said Ciresi, who’s asked members of his staff to volunteer at least once a month with a service organization of their choice. “I didn’t run for office to sit at a desk in Harrisburg. Valley Forge is near all of our districts, so it’s up to us and all of you to help keep it beautiful.” Added Read more

 

Record Breaking Number of Women now in House Democratic Caucus and Increasingly in Leadership Roles

(Jan 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 – Pennsylvania House Democrats start the 2019-20 session with more women than ever before in their ranks and with women holding key leadership roles, including Rep. Margo Davidson chairing the 33-member Southeast Delegation and Rep. Joanna McClinton and Rep. Rosita Youngblood being elected as the Democratic Caucus Chair and Secretary respectively. These advances are built on the historic gains made in recent elections and demonstrate House Democrats’ commitment to inclusiveness and respect for the will of the voters. Rep. Frank Dermody, the Democratic leader, and Davidson and Rep. Tina Davis, co-chairs of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus, said the 29 Democratic women now serving in the House are a vital source of strength and leadership for the Democratic Caucus. “When I entered the House there were only about eight women in our caucus. We’ve worked incredibly hard to change that and today, that number is 29 and represents a 38 percent increase from last term alone,” said Davidson who represents Delaware County and also serves as the co-chair of the bipartisan Ladies of the House Caucus. “While we are disappointed that there are no current female chairs, we understand the rules of the House and we are confident that many female legislators will be given the opportunity to serve as both vice chairs and subcommittee chairs during this session. These positions have also been historically Read more

 

Harris names deputy whips for 2019-20 legislative session

(Jan 09, 2019)

State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., today named Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, Rep. Pam DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, and Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene, as deputy whips for the 2019-20 legislative session. Read more

 

Vitali named Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee

(Jan 08, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 8 – State Rep. Greg Vitali was recently named Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for the 2019-20 session. “We must address the serious threats facing our environment,” said Vitali, D-Delaware/Montgomery. “My focus in the legislature has been on environmental policy, and I look forward to the challenge of chairing this committee.” The committee majority chairman is state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler. Vitali said his priorities include increasing funding for the Department of Environmental Protection, reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, and dealing with the climate change impacts of the threatened closing of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. Vitali previously served as a member of the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for 24 years, spending the last four of those years as chairman. Read more

 

Webster proposes House rules changes for a more transparent government

(Jan 08, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 8 – State Rep. Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, introduced two proposals among a package of House rule improvements sponsored by Democrats. Webster proposed a rule change that would guarantee a debate and an up-or-down committee vote for any bill with 20 co-sponsors from each party. Under his second plan, committees would have the same proportional representation as the House. For example, proportional representation would create an 11-to-nine majority in a 20-member committee. “The people believe that their government is broken and think the special interests matter more than regular citizens, and we wanted to change that,” Webster said. “The Republican majority made it clear – they wanted the status quo, and if we refused to go along, they were prepared to make it even harder for the will of the people to ever become the law of the state.” Other rules improvements House Democrats are pushing for include: Preventing partisan committee chairs from blocking votes on popular bills; Requiring bills with wide bipartisan support, including measures sponsored by more than 102 House members, to get an up-or-down vote by the full House; Giving members the chance to get a priority bill debated in committee; Ensuring that the makeup of House committees reflects the voters’ will; Allowing committee members to vote to choose a chairperson on merit, instead of awarding positions by seniority alone; Ending Read more

 

Longietti reappointed Democratic chairman of House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee

(Jan 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, was reappointed by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody to serve as the minority chairman for the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee for the 2019-20 legislative session. “I am honored to serve as the Democratic chairman for the House Tourism and Recreation Development Committee,” Longietti said. "Tourism is not only important statewide, but it also is an important part of the economy of Mercer County. Many visitors enjoy outdoor activities at Buhl Park and Shenango Lake. Arts and culture festivals such as WaterFire Sharon draw tens of thousands of people from throughout the region. Attractions such as the Buhl Mansion, Tara, A Country Inn, and the Prime Outlets in Grove City bring in travelers from other states and even internationally. As a state, we can help promote these and other tourism assets which enrich our communities while providing family-supporting jobs." Tourism is a major industry in the commonwealth, bringing in $40 billion in revenue annually and supporting more than 490,000 jobs. “I have served on this committee since I was first elected to the legislature and I know the importance of investing in tourism for the commonwealth. When we effectively promote and support the variety of tourism assets that Pennsylvania provides, such as those locally, more people visit and we see an increase in income, jobs and tax revenue. This incredibly important Read more

 

Sainato reappointed as Democratic chairman of Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee

(Jan 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, was reappointed by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody to serve as the minority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee for the 2019-20 legislative session. This will be the ninth year that Sainato has served as the Democratic chair of the VAEP committee. Sainato was sworn in on Jan. 1 to his 13 th term as state representative for the 9 th Legislative District. “I am honored to be reappointed to serve as minority chair for the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee,” Sainato said. “The work that this committee does is vital to our veterans, our first responders and our communities as a whole and I’m proud to continue serving them and the residents of Lawrence County.” The committee reviews legislation that affects veterans and military-related issues, as well as emergency response and disaster preparedness in Pennsylvania. Under Sainato’s leadership, the PA Veterans Trust Fund, the PA Veterans Foundation and the PA Veterans Registry have been established. In October 2018, Sainato received the Pennsylvania Meritorious Service Award at Fort Indiantown Gap, an award recognizing meritorious service for the commonwealth while holding a position of great responsibility. "I also was pleased to serve on the SR 6 Commission last session, which was tasked with coming up with ways to preserve and grow our fire and EMS Read more

 

Galloway named Democratic chairman of House Commerce Committee

(Jan 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – State Rep. John Galloway was named the Democratic Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, one of the standing committees assigned to consider legislation before it advances to the full House. “I’m honored to chair this committee as we work toward an economy that works for everyone in Pennsylvania,” said Galloway, D-Bucks. “We must create more jobs that allow hard-working Pennsylvanians to support their families and make sure we are looking out for the best interests of residents – not the best interests of big corporations.” The House Commerce Committee reviews and deliberates on legislation involving the banking industry and financial services industries, economic development agencies and programs, and housing agencies and programs, as well as provides legislative oversight for regulations proposed for those areas of the economy. Galloway, who was recently sworn in to his seventh term representing the 140 th District, previously served as Democratic chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee. Read more

 

Harris names Bizzarro, Solomon chief deputy whips, Bullock assistant whip

(Dec 28, 2018)

State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., announced today that he has named state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, and Jared Solomon, D-Phila., as chief deputy whips and state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., as his assistant whip for the 2019-20 legislative session. Read more

 

Philadelphia Delegation lauds passage of Federal First Step Act

(Dec 19, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 19 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation in the House of Representatives, applauded the passage of “First Step Act,” which is designed to reform the criminal justice system and ease punitive prison sentences at the federal level. “The First Step Act will change criminal justice reform in the United States as we know it. Even though there is lot more to accomplish when it comes to criminal justice reform, this is definitely a step in the right direction,” Dawkins said. “This legislation was long overdue – for too long we have only been tough on crime. It is past time to take a step back and reevaluate what works better for our communities, our states and the nation. “I’m glad to see action on mandatory minimums. As we all know they drive up the cost of the system by imposing longer prison terms on more offenders, in many cases nonviolent offenders, and they provide little enhancement to public safety. “Pennsylvania took the lead on criminal justice reform in the nation, when we passed the Clean Slate legislation and we’re eager to see more change happen across the country.” The U.S Senate passed the “First Step Act” (87-12) last night. The House is expected to take up the Senate version of the bill at a later date. The House passed a similar version of the bill back in May by a wide margin, 360-59. Read more

 

Good Jobs, Affordable Health Care, Quality Schools & a Fair Economy. House Democrats Put People First with Plan For PA

(Nov 30, 2018)

Pennsylvania needs elected leaders who will put people first and work together to build a strong economy that works for all of us. For too long we’ve seen working families struggle while corporations and wealthy special interests get the breaks. House Democrats are fighting for Good Jobs, Affordable Health Care, Quality Schools and A Fair Economy. By standing together we can change the direction of our state. Read more

 

Bradford elected as Democratic state House Appropriations Committee chairman

(Nov 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 14 – State Representative Matt Bradford, D-Montgomery, announced that he was elected into House Democratic Caucus leadership as Democratic Appropriations Committee chairman for the 2019-20 legislative session. “It’s an honor to be elected to serve as Appropriations chairman,” Bradford said. “During most of my time in the legislature, I’ve had the privilege of serving on the Appropriations committee. I learned during those years that a budget is a statement of values – almost all matters of public policy come down to the matter of funding, and that’s where you see government’s priorities. I look forward to playing even more of a role in crafting those priorities.” He joins the new Pennsylvania House Democratic leadership team comprising Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, Whip Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, Administrator Neal Goodman, D-Schuykill, Secretary Rosita Youngblood, D-Philadelphia, Caucus Chair Joanna McClinton, D-Delaware/Phila., and Democratic Policy Committee Chair Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The Appropriations Committee meets regularly while the House is in session to consider fiscal-related matters and conducts budget hearings each spring to review and evaluate the governor's executive budget proposal. In accordance with House rules, the committee also evaluates legislative proposals for fiscal implications prior to voting a bill out of committee. The committee plays a Read more

 

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus selects new leadership

(Nov 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 14 – Calling it a great opportunity to continue to be the voice for African-Americans and minorities across the commonwealth, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., was elected Wednesday to serve as the chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. “Being chosen by my colleagues to serve as the chairman of the PLBC is truly an honor. It is a tremendous responsibility that I will not take lightly,” Kinsey said. “It is the job of the PLBC to be a voice for African-Americans and people of color across Pennsylvania. As we have witnessed in recent years, minorities are facing injustice and discrimination more than ever, not only in the commonwealth but across our nation. I look forward to advancing the discussion to ensure African-Americans and people of color are equally respected and represented in Pennsylvania.” The PLBC leadership team is further made up of Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chairwoman; Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, secretary; and Rep.-elect Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, treasurer. “I am honored to be reelected as vice chairwoman of the PLBC and will continue working to create opportunities and reduce barriers for black Pennsylvanians,” Bullock said. “I will keep having tough conversations with my colleagues in the House to make sure that our communities are heard and that legislation and policies from Harrisburg are inclusive of all communities.” “I am extremely honored Read more

 

Approps Chair Bradford Says Performance-Based Budgeting Will ‘Help Drive Results’ for PA Taxpayers
Jan 24, 2019

Sims condemns SCOTUS decision on transgender military ban
Jan 22, 2019

House Democratic leaders’ statement on Karen Coates
Jan 17, 2019

Shusterman named Deputy Freshman Whip
Jan 17, 2019

Philadelphia Delegation announces its legislative platform for 2019-20
Jan 16, 2019

Pa. House Democrats want to make sure Your Vote Counts
Jan 14, 2019

OP-ED: Health care must remain accessible and affordable in PA
Jan 11, 2019

Pa. House Democrats clean up Valley Forge National Park amid federal government shutdown
Jan 11, 2019

Record Breaking Number of Women now in House Democratic Caucus and Increasingly in Leadership Roles
Jan 10, 2019

Harris names deputy whips for 2019-20 legislative session
Jan 09, 2019

Vitali named Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee
Jan 08, 2019

Webster proposes House rules changes for a more transparent government
Jan 08, 2019

Longietti reappointed Democratic chairman of House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee
Jan 07, 2019

Sainato reappointed as Democratic chairman of Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee
Jan 07, 2019

Galloway named Democratic chairman of House Commerce Committee
Jan 07, 2019

Harris names Bizzarro, Solomon chief deputy whips, Bullock assistant whip
Dec 28, 2018

Philadelphia Delegation lauds passage of Federal First Step Act
Dec 19, 2018

Good Jobs, Affordable Health Care, Quality Schools & a Fair Economy. House Democrats Put People First with Plan For PA
Nov 30, 2018

Bradford elected as Democratic state House Appropriations Committee chairman
Nov 14, 2018

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus selects new leadership
Nov 14, 2018