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House Democrats demand accountability for Republican election lies

Briggs: Delay school start times

(Sep 08, 2016)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Sept. 8 – As the new school year gets under way, state Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, is urging his colleagues in the General Assembly to seriously consider his legislation that would study the effects of a later start time to the school day for high school students in Pennsylvania. "Teens don’t get as much sleep as they should. While this is nothing new, and in fact science suggests their changing bodies are at least partly responsible, we should be doing everything in our power to allow them to get the 8½ - 9½ hours of sleep they need to be properly rested," Briggs said. Read more

 

Schweyer, Schlossberg chair Policy Committee hearing on raising the minimum wage in Pa.

(Sep 06, 2016)

ALLENTOWN, Sept. 6 – The need to increase the minimum wage in Pennsylvania was the topic of state Reps. Peter Schweyer and Mike Schlossberg’s House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today in Allentown. Both Schweyer and Schlossberg say they support raising the minimum wage in the state to $10.10. “Working families in the Lehigh Valley and across the commonwealth need a minimum wage that is a livable wage in order to provide the basic necessities without having to struggle or work several jobs to make ends meet.” said Schweyer, D-Lehigh. “Pennsylvania is long overdue to raise the minimum wage. “I am a co-sponsor of House Bill 250, which will provide the needed increase in the minimum wage. We need to get this bill through the legislature, hopefully during the fall session, so the governor can sign it into law.” “Raising the minimum wage is a moral imperative. Workers need to be able to take care of themselves and their families,” said Schlossberg, D-Lehigh. “I believe it is long past time to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage and index it with inflation. The economic recovery after the Great Recession has been greatly slowed by limited wage growth for far too many workers. “This proposal would raise the wages of 1.2 million Pennsylvania workers and help to boost the state economy with $1.8 billion in new wages.” “Thanks to Representatives Schweyer and Schlossberg for Read more

 

Cruz to push tow truck operator accountability bill

(Aug 25, 2016)

In light of recent controversy over possibly illegally towed vehicles in Philadelphia, state Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., said there is no better time than now for the House to take up his House Bill 550, which would increase tow truck operator accountability. Read more

 

Bullock, Sturla co-host meeting on Fair Chance Housing

(Jul 20, 2016)

PHILADELPHIA, July 20 – State Rep. Donna Bullock and House Democratic Policy Chairman Mike Sturla today hosted a public hearing on Bullock’s Fair Chance Housing legislation, which would prohibit landlords from asking certain questions about a tenant’s criminal background. Bullock, D-Phila., said that her legislation would model a recent policy change within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that disregards criminal records as a condition for housing approval. "Too often, individuals who have criminal histories – and have turned a new leaf – find it difficult to find adequate housing," Bullock said. "As a basic right, and a condition of successful recovery, access to housing should not be based on one’s prior violations or indiscretions." "Our neighbor Ohio has had success with programs aimed at assisting those with arrest histories," Bullock said. "The nationwide recidivism rate is 49.7 percent; Ohio’s is 27.5 percent. My proposal is a modest pivot toward changing how the commonwealth rehabilitates those with arrest histories." "I applaud Rep. Bullock for her dedication to helping those looking to make a fresh start," said Sturla, D-Lancaster. "Access to housing is a basic need. Discriminating against those looking to get back on their feet and reintegrate in to society only serves to make them feel as though they need to turn back to old Read more

 

Bullock to host Policy Committee hearing on Fair Chance Housing Wednesday in Philadelphia

(Jul 18, 2016)

PHILADELPHIA, July 18 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on her Fair Chance Housing legislation, which would prohibit landlords from asking certain questions about a tenant’s criminal background, at 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 20 in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building cafe (corner of Fairmount and Pennsylvania avenues). Requested by Bullock, the hearing will be co-chaired by House Democratic Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. Bullock said that her legislation would model a recent policy change within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that disregards criminal records as a condition for housing approval. The hearing agenda is as follows: 3 p.m. Welcome and opening remarks 3:10 p.m. Panel One: Phyllis Chamberlain, executive director, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania Angela McIver, CEO, Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania 3:40 p.m. Panel Two: Rasheedah Phillips, managing attorney, Community Legal Services Patricia McGlone, social worker/community education coordinator, Community Legal Services 4:10 p.m. Dina Schlossberg, deputy director/senior attorney for multi-family housing, Regional Housing Legal Services 4:30 p.m. Closing remarks Read more

 

Burns introduces bill to make assault on police a hate crime

(Jul 12, 2016)

HARRISBURG, July 12 – Buoyed by its swift netting of 11 co-sponsors in one day, state Rep. Frank Burns has introduced his legislation to elevate assault on police, corrections, probation and parole officers to hate-crime status. In the works weeks before the tragic Dallas sniper attack that killed five police officers and wounded seven others, H.B. 2261 would fulfill Burns’ vision of creating added deterrence. It would put employment as a law enforcement officer on par with race, color, religion and national origin as covered classes under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law. The legislation would make an attack against one of the listed law enforcement officers an offense one degree higher than it currently is; for example, a second-degree misdemeanor would become a first-degree misdemeanor. “I’ve already heard from a few outside of my district who aren’t happy with this legislation, but I believe it’s necessary to send a clear, unwavering signal of support for those who risk their lives to protect us,” Burns said. “Their job is dangerous enough as it is. If we expect police to go to work every day with an intentional target on their back, then it won’t be long before no one will want to be a police officer.” As there is nothing partisan about the goal of H.B. 2261, Burns said the bill has strong bipartisan support and deserves to move swiftly through the legislative committee approval Read more

 

Boyle’s prisoner transport vehicle bill signed by governor

(Jul 12, 2016)

HARRISBURG, July 12 – A bill giving emergency vehicle designation to Philadelphia Prison System prisoner transport units sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila./Montco., was signed into law by Governor Wolf on Friday, July 8. "My bill, H.B. 898 , is important because this designation allows prisoner transport units to operate using flashing lights when transferring prisoners," Boyle said. "There is no doubt this will reduce risks associated with prisoner transfers." Due to the vast State Road prison complex, prisoners are transported across Northeast Philadelphia every day. All of these transfers can potentially lead to problems if there are traffic issues or one of the prisoner transport units gets into an accident. Boyle explained that prison transports are subject to high-volume traffic, which poses a risk when moving prisoners from location to location. Also, the complex infrastructure of the City of Philadelphia makes it necessary for prisoner transport units to have a clear path to facilities. The bill also allows high ranking fire department officials, such as a fire chief or assistant in chief, to use flashing lights when responding to emergencies in both fire department and privately-owned vehicles. "I am thrilled that this bill is finally a law because it will definitely make Philadelphia’s streets safer," Boyle said. ### Read more

 

2016-17 Fiscal Year Budget first in five years to cover costs

(Jun 30, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D- Lancaster, released the following statement following the passage of the 2016-17 Fiscal Year Budget: “This is the first budget in five years, assuming we can get the revenue, which does not increase the structural budget deficit. While it doesn’t reduce the existing deficit, at least it doesn’t continue the practice of spending more than we have in the state coffers. “I still have some concerns including the practice of stealing money from the Motor License Fund, a total of $814 million this year. This budget increases money to basic education, but does not solve the problems of inequity in funding those schools. It removes some people with disabilities off of waiting lists for services; however, there is still a five year waiting list for people hoping to access services. Can you imagine if we ran other parts of our government this way? “I challenge those who refused to support this budget with the excuse that they wanted more cuts to propose what specifically they would like to cut and not just rely on the blanket statement of identifying ‘waste, fraud and abuse’. Propose specifically which classes they’d like to cut from school curriculum, how many prisoners to let out of jail or how many seniors to kick out of nursing home care facilities. The frivolous claim to find dollars where they do not exist is simply not enough and has not been enough for Read more

 

Snyder: Budget not ideal, but a solid step forward for Pennsylvania

(Jun 30, 2016)

Rep. Pam Snyder reports that a 2016-17 spending plan sent to the governor is a workable compromise on key issues such as education funding, taxes, human services and funding programs and services to counter the opioid addiction epidemic. Rep. Snyder said the $31.6 billion plan features an additional $250 million investment in education, with $200 million more for basic education, $25 million more for pre-K, $5 million more for Head Start and $20 million more for special education. Read more

 

Longietti will vote to support basic, special and higher education

(Jun 30, 2016)

State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, will vote tonight to pass S.B. 1073, the general appropriations bill for Pennsylvania’s fiscal year that begins tomorrow. “This budget represents a true compromise between Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, and Governor Wolf’s office,” Longietti said. “It provides a solid investment in our education system, including basic, special and higher education, without a broad-based tax increase that hits our working families hardest.” Read more

 

Pashinski urges Senate action to help grandparents raising grandchildren

(Jun 27, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, today held a Capitol news conference to request the Senate move on his bill that would help benefit grandparents who are the sole caregivers of their grandchildren in Pennsylvania. House Bill 662, which has been in the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee for more than a year, would create a Kinship Navigator Pilot Program to determine the needs of kinship caregivers, focusing on grandparents raising grandchildren, and assess the feasibility of establishing a statewide Kinship Navigator Program. Pashinski said there are more than 240,000 children in Pennsylvania who are being taken care of by family members. Of those children, 191,000 are being raised by 80,000 grandparents. "These grandparents face many challenges raising their grandchildren including no support network, no access to legal service or direction to service organizations, and no information on relief funds and rehabilitation services for grandparents and grandchildren," he said. "On average, it costs $27 a day to keep a child in foster care in Pennsylvania, which adds up to nearly $2 billion a year. The grandparents who are raising their grandchildren are saving the taxpayers serious money, so these grandparents deserve some reasonable assistance." Pashinski said he has provided a resource on his legislative webpage ( www.pahouse.com/Pashinski ) that provides links to resources and information on Read more

 

Rep. Bizzarro: Opioid crisis requires immediate legislative action

(Jun 24, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 23 – State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, today joined Gov. Tom Wolf and a large group of bipartisan legislators at a Capitol news conference to detail upcoming work to combat Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis. “Unfortunately, opioid and heroin addiction are ravaging communities in every part of the commonwealth,” Bizzarro said. “Pennsylvanians of all races, religions and incomes are affected. If we don’t act now, a situation that’s already pretty dire will get even worse.” In the Rotunda, the governor, along with House leaders, announced the possibility of a special legislative session in the fall to prompt further action on the opioid crisis, in addition to several joint House Democratic and Republican Policy Committee hearings focused on the issue throughout the summer. The governor also outlined the recommendations from the Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation. A pair of legislative recommendations, H.B. 1737 and H.R. 590 , recently passed the House. Other recommendations include requiring doctors and pharmacists to attend three hours of opioid and addiction-related training before obtaining relevant licenses and requiring insurance plans to provide access to abuse-deterrent opioid drugs. “It’s heartbreaking to hear from people in our communities who’ve lost loved ones to this growing epidemic,” Bizzarro said. “The legislature has taken Read more

 

Kinsey: Opioid epidemic at critical stage

(Jun 24, 2016)

State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., joined Gov. Tom Wolf and House leaders for a Capitol news conference to highlight details of a joint effort to combat the opioid and heroin crisis across Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Gainey calls for more funding to address Pa.’s opioid crisis

(Jun 24, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 23 – State Rep. Ed Gainey today joined his House colleagues and Gov. Tom Wolf at a bipartisan Capitol news conference highlighting efforts that have been completed and initiatives that will take place in the coming months to address the state’s devastating opioid crisis. Per H.R. 659, which was adopted by the House in 2014, a Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation was created under the direction of the Joint State Government Commission. The group issued 15 recommendations that were turned into legislation, several of which have passed the House or been undertaken through administrative action. "As one of the four co-chairmen of the bipartisan, bicameral Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education Caucus , I want to thank members of the Task Force for their hard work on this very serious issue. I also want to thank Governor Wolf and the many representatives and senators who have held roundtable discussions across the commonwealth, allowing us to hear firsthand from those who have been affected by this health crisis," said Gainey, D-Allegheny. "I want to thank those who have testified and told their personal stories at these meetings. By letting others know what they’ve gone through, hopefully others can see that treatment is important and necessary, and either they will reach out for help, or their family and friends will reach out to get them the help they need to move on with Read more

 

Matzie: Bipartisan effort is our only option in ending opioid crisis

(Jun 23, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 23 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, joined Gov. Tom Wolf and a group of bipartisan legislators today for a Capitol news conference to highlight details of a joint effort to combat the opioid and heroin crisis in the state. In the Rotunda, Democratic Leader Frank Dermody joined Speaker of the House Mike Turzai, Majority Leader David Reed and other House members to announce the completion of recommendations from the Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation. “For the past several years, the General Assembly has been focused on the opioid and heroin crisis gripping our state,” Matzie said. “While there is still much to do to wipe this scourge from our communities, today represents progress in that fight. The recommendations from the task force will make a real difference in ending this crisis.” The Task Force and Advisory Committee on Opioid Prescription Drug Proliferation, which was created through the adoption of a resolution in 2014, made several legislative recommendations, including H.B. 1737 and H.R. 590, both of were recently approved by the House. Also announced at the news conference was a special legislative session focused on the opioid crisis, which is expected to be convened in September. “This issue isn’t a partisan one. Individuals from all across our state and from all walks of life have fallen victim to addiction,” Matzie said. “As a member of the Health Committee, I have seen members from bo Read more

 

Frankel, Sims hail bipartisan Pa. Senate action on nondiscrimination bill

(Jun 22, 2016)

State Reps. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Brian Sims, D-Phila., praised today's bipartisan, historic state Senate committee vote that sent a nondiscrimination bill to the full Senate. Read more

 

Bipartisan effort to pass wine and liquor modernization brings optimism for budget as deadline approaches

(Jun 10, 2016)

Bipartisan budget negotiations continued in Harrisburg this week with major action on legislation that will help close Pennsylvania’s budget deficit and increase consumer convenience with wine and liquor sales in the state. Gov. Wolf signed the wine and liquor modernization bill (H.B. 1690) into law on Wednesday. It allows wine to be sold in many more locations, including grocery stores that already sell beer, and permits the direct shipment of wine by licensed producers to consumers at their homes. The law also gives the Liquor Control Board more flexibility to set competitive prices, offer discounts and set state liquor store hours in ways that are more convenient for consumers, including Sundays and holidays. The measure is projected to increase state revenues by almost $150 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1. House Democrats are encouraged by the bipartisan, bicameral negotiations that took the wine and spirits convenience bill across the finish line. The General Assembly and Gov. Wolf must continue to work together to finalize a 2016-17 budget that is truly balanced , fixes the more than $1.5 billion deficit, pays the bills, supports human services and invests in education at all levels. If this week’s teamwork and collaboration is any indication, Pennsylvania will not be forced into a repeat of last year and will head down the path that starts to fix a broken Harrisburg and rightly puts people before politics. You can help move Read more

 

Sturla unveils plan that would generate $245 million annually for state budget and water-related programs

(Jun 06, 2016)

HARRISBURG, June 6 – At a Capitol news conference today, state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced he is introducing House Bill 2114, known as the Pennsylvania Water Resource Act. The Pennsylvania Water Resource Act would enact a water resource fee on 4.4 billion gallons of daily water withdrawals in Pennsylvania that has the potential to generate $245 million annually, based on current usage rates. The bill would exempt the 1.5 billion gallons of daily water withdrawals for agricultural and municipal water usages. “The Pennsylvania Constitution makes it clear that Pennsylvania’s public natural resources belong to the people of the commonwealth. This bill ensures that entities that are currently using our water for free would pay a nominal fee that will be used to fund water-related programs and projects while freeing up money for the General Assembly to close structural deficits in the state budget,” Sturla said. Water withdrawn from commonwealth waterways in excess of 10,000 gallons a day is already required to be reported to the Department of Environmental Protection. House Bill 2114 would result in a charge of 1/100th of a cent per gallon if water is withdrawn for use and eventually returned to the source. Water withdrawn and not returned beyond 10,000 gallons a day would be charged 1/10th of a cent per gallon. Revenue generated from H.B. 2144 would be used to fund water-related programs and general governmental operations in the Read more

 

Snyder: Bill would boost local highway maintenance

(Jun 03, 2016)

Rep. Pam Snyder's House Bill 2123 would provide fairer reimbursements to localities maintaining roadways once part of the state highway system. The reimbursement rate, which hasn’t been increased in 10 years, would increase the maintenance payment from the state Transportation Department to $6,000 a mile from $4,000. Read more

 

Krueger-Braneky appointed to bipartisan panel to address massive Pa. school construction and renovation 'logjam'

(Jun 01, 2016)

State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, announced today that she has been appointed to the Public School Building Construction and Reconstruction Advisory Committee, also known as the PlanCon Committee, to work in a bipartisan way to review and make recommendations for a new PlanCon program. Read more

 

Briggs: Delay school start times
Sep 08, 2016

Schweyer, Schlossberg chair Policy Committee hearing on raising the minimum wage in Pa.
Sep 06, 2016

Cruz to push tow truck operator accountability bill
Aug 25, 2016

Bullock, Sturla co-host meeting on Fair Chance Housing
Jul 20, 2016

Bullock to host Policy Committee hearing on Fair Chance Housing Wednesday in Philadelphia
Jul 18, 2016

Burns introduces bill to make assault on police a hate crime
Jul 12, 2016

Boyle’s prisoner transport vehicle bill signed by governor
Jul 12, 2016

2016-17 Fiscal Year Budget first in five years to cover costs
Jun 30, 2016

Snyder: Budget not ideal, but a solid step forward for Pennsylvania
Jun 30, 2016

Longietti will vote to support basic, special and higher education
Jun 30, 2016

Pashinski urges Senate action to help grandparents raising grandchildren
Jun 27, 2016

Rep. Bizzarro: Opioid crisis requires immediate legislative action
Jun 24, 2016

Kinsey: Opioid epidemic at critical stage
Jun 24, 2016

Gainey calls for more funding to address Pa.’s opioid crisis
Jun 24, 2016

Matzie: Bipartisan effort is our only option in ending opioid crisis
Jun 23, 2016

Frankel, Sims hail bipartisan Pa. Senate action on nondiscrimination bill
Jun 22, 2016

Bipartisan effort to pass wine and liquor modernization brings optimism for budget as deadline approaches
Jun 10, 2016

Sturla unveils plan that would generate $245 million annually for state budget and water-related programs
Jun 06, 2016

Snyder: Bill would boost local highway maintenance
Jun 03, 2016

Krueger-Braneky appointed to bipartisan panel to address massive Pa. school construction and renovation 'logjam'
Jun 01, 2016