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House Democrats touring the state to talk with the people about the Pennsylvania Rescue Plan

Pa. House GOP leaders, Trump White House double down on formula for failure

(Oct 11, 2017)

Rep. Jake Wheatley, Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee, says the House Republican Caucus needs adult supervision for Its formula for failure on the months-late state budget. Read more

 

DeLissio introduces bill to provide health care at lower cost

(Oct 06, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 6 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., reintroduced legislation this week that would provide health care coverage in Pennsylvania at a lower cost and with freedom to choose health care providers because the concept of “networks” would go away. House Bill 1688 would establish the Pennsylvania Health Care Plan, a blueprint of bold steps that would result in a healthier citizenry without the financial burden that many people currently experience with high deductibles and premiums, DeLissio said. “Given the nationwide focus on how to best provide affordable health care, this legislation is timelier than ever,” DeLissio said. This or similar legislation has been introduced in Pennsylvania since 2005.” Starting this year, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) allows states the option to innovate with their own health care plan as long as the proposed plan is more economical and efficient. This proposed legislation meets that criteria and improves upon the current health care system in many ways, DeLissio said. “This legislation preserves the private practice of medicine and it would ensure the cost-effective delivery of covered services that range from catastrophic care to wellness and preventative care. Health care providers would have autonomy over patient care,” DeLissio said. Currently, health care practitioners often have to vigorously defend their Read more

 

Wheatley: Latest House GOP budget defies logic, fiscal responsibility

(Sep 13, 2017)

Rep. Jake Wheatley reports that said a House Republican revenue plan advanced late Sept. 13 doubles down on the fiscal gimmickry that has created a $2.2 billion hole in Pennsylvania’s months-late budget. Read more

 

Wheatley helps unveil House Democratic budget alternative

(Sep 13, 2017)

Rep. Jake Wheatley, Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee, says House Democrats have a responsible budget plan that borrows less, relies on real revenues and can enacted before the state's coffers go bone dry. Read more

 

DeLuca introduces bill to ban unscrupulous charities

(Sep 13, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 13 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced he will be introducing a bill that would require charities that solicit funds in Pennsylvania maintain minimum standards. DeLuca outlined the need for stronger regulations for charity expenses at a media event in the state Capitol. “I care very much about how much money charities are funneling towards research,” DeLuca said. “Unscrupulous organizations seize on the good will of the American people in order to enrich charity owners, managers and corporate fundraisers. “The intent of this bill is to prevent any charity from soliciting the citizens of this Commonwealth if a minimum of 65 percent of revenue is not dedicated to their programs. It is not my intent to harm non-profits, or keep them from fulfilling their mission.” House Bill 1669 will be introduced in the near future. The bill would prohibit charities that do not invest a minimum of 65 percent of revenue to their programs from soliciting in Pennsylvania. Under the bill, a charitable organization that fails to meet the 65 percent minimum would be prohibited from fundraising in Pennsylvania until the Pennsylvania Department of State verifies that they have reached that threshold. “Americans, by nature, tend to be very generous and supportive,” DeLuca said. “It is too easy for bad actors to abuse that generosity. We need a law that can guarantee Read more

 

Rabb pushes bill that upholds DACA while keeping communities safer

(Sep 08, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 8 – The fate of the immigration program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) currently lies in the hands of Congress, as state Rep. Chris Rabb fights to protect thousands of undocumented families in Pennsylvania, while, at the same time, helping law enforcement keep communities safer. “I am furious about the President’s decision to end the DACA program,” Rabb said. “My main focus now is to do what’s in my power to ensure families aren’t torn apart here in Pennsylvania.” Rabb introduced House Bill 1604 , also known as the Police and Community Safety Act, which would protect DREAMers, their parents, and other undocumented residents who live in the commonwealth. The proposal would also allow state and local police officers to concentrate on their priority of protecting residents from violent offenders and not be responsible for immigration enforcement unless directed by a federal court order. “Research proves working with federal immigration enforcement made it difficult for local police departments to do their jobs,” Rabb explained. “If a witness or victim was in the country with an expired visa, he/she was less likely to cooperate for fear of being forced out of their home and separated from their loved ones.” Rabb pointed out the legal and financial burdens that weigh down on already cash-strapped police agencies when officers erroneously detain U.S. citizens at the Read more

 

Cruz condemns Trump administration’s decision to end DACA

(Sep 08, 2017)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 8 – State Rep. Ángel Cruz, D-Phila., today announced that he plans to introduce a resolution condemning the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and urging Congress to pass S.B. 1615 sponsored by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), known as the Dream Act of 2017. “In Pennsylvania, nearly 6,000 Dreamers benefit from DACA. The Trump administration’s decision to end the program by March 2018 will not only affect Dreamers throughout the country, but also hurt our economy by losing revenue and labor force,” Cruz said. “We’re talking about our farm workers, our nurses, our teachers and our engineers. This country is the only place they call home. With this action, the government is turning its back against people who came to the United States to reach the American Dream, because that’s what our country is: the land of opportunities. I am beyond disappointed and I stand in solidarity with all the Dreamers in Pennsylvania and across the country. I’ll keep up the fight against this deplorable act.” DACA provides temporary deportation deferral to individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as children, known as “Dreamers,” who pass vetting so they may live, study and work legally in the only country they know as home. The program was authorized in 2012 by then President Obama as a compromise between his administration Read more

 

OPINION: Latest Republican budget plan burns us all

(Sep 07, 2017)

On Tuesday, in the Capitol of the state home to the most famous unstoppable mine fire in the world, 17 House Republicans proposed cutting coal-mine and industrial site clean-up funds to avoid taxing drillers and energy companies. The irony only pales to the absurdity and recklessness of the entire plan. Also filed under heartless, mindless and gutless: Proposed cuts to the Compulsive and Problem Gambling Treatment Fund while attempting to expand gambling across the state; Cuts to the Job Training Fund, Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, Industrial Development Fund and Manufacturing Fund as the rust belt creeps farther across the state; A suggested raid on the Motor License Fund – which is made up of money drivers already paid to fix roads and bridges that are in historic disrepair. Republican budgeting has become little more than a bonfire of tea party schemes that will consume Pennsylvania, its resources, air, water, health and economy before it burns out. Soon in Pennsylvania, it won’t take an actual fire to destroy a community. It will just take not learning from one. Read more

 

Pennsylvania in free-fall: What another GOP gimmick budget would look like

(Sep 01, 2017)

This week, a group of House Republicans met in Harrisburg in private to try to sell their colleagues on a plan that provides no stable, dependable revenues for the $32 billion budget their leaders and many of them voted for in June, but calls for raiding and transferring money from other state accounts. As with other gimmick budgets offered by Republicans in the past, the numbers don't add up -- they cannot close a $2.3 billion budget gap with spare change they claim they've found under the couch cushions. If this group of Republicans refuses to act responsibly when they get back to Harrisburg, the budget will have to be brought into balance by cutting spending that doesn't involve federal programs or other mandated services. Those cuts won't be in areas Republicans like to call "waste, fraud and abuse." We're talking about schools, universities, health programs and public safety. Here are just some of the discouraging examples of what across-the-board cuts to non-mandatory spending could look like: State-related universities like Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln don't get funded. Expect higher tuition increases and support for Pennsylvania farmers through veterinary research and the state's Ag Extension program to disappear. Hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to elementary and high school classrooms turn back the clock and return us to the Tom Corbett-Republican school funding Read more

 

Dawkins to introduce legislation requiring PTSD testing for law enforcement

(Aug 29, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 29 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today said he is currently seeking co-sponsors for his legislation that would assist with maintaining the mental health of law enforcement officers in the commonwealth. The legislation would require police officers to undergo Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder evaluations every other year and within 30 days of an incident in which lethal force is used. “Being in law enforcement is a very demanding and stressful job. These brave men and women put their lives on the line every day to keep our families and communities safe,” Dawkins said. “That demand can certainly take a toll on a police officer mentally and with dangerous consequences.” Dawkins noted there are numerous incidents that can cause PTSD in police officers, such as hostage situations, dangerous drug busts, fatal crashes, and other cases that involve serious injury or death to the people involved in the incident. Other stressful situations that could trigger PTSD include working long hours, handling people’s attitudes, waiting for the next call and not knowing how the situation will play out, and even politics within the police department. “While many of these factors seem to be a part of the job, the repeated exposure can be unhealthy for a police officer,” Dawkins said. “Many times, they suffer in silence and rein in their own emotions to serve the community. “By requiring our law enforcement Read more

 

Frankel, Wheatley, colleagues, faith leaders call for action on Pa. hate-crimes legislation

(Aug 21, 2017)

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 21 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, colleagues and faith leaders held a news conference today at Freedom Corner to discuss the aftermath of the Charlottesville, Va., domestic terror attack and to call for action on hate-crimes legislation in Pennsylvania ( H.B. 505 / S.B. 96 ). "The hatred and ugliness displayed by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, which culminated in murder, has been followed by a lack of leadership from the White House. So it is more important than ever that state and local leaders and all people of good will do what we can. In Pennsylvania, one of the the most important things we can do is to restore several protections that were only struck from our hate-crimes law on a technicality," Frankel said. "These protections were added in 2002 on a bipartisan basis and were struck from the hate-crime law by the state Supreme Court in 2008 not on the merits, but only because of the state Constitution's single-subject rule for bills. The state House and Senate should vote on legislation that would restore the inclusion of actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, and gender or gender identity. The law currently covers hate crimes committed because of the victim's race, color, religion or national origin." State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said, "It's fitting that we are at Freedom Corner today, since this has been a Read more

 

Future Pa. jobs depend on adjustments to automation, retail losses

(Aug 14, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – To plan for Pennsylvania’s future economy, state Rep. Mike Schlossberg said comprehensive studies should be undertaken to look at the effects of robots and automation and the collapse of retail jobs. “We owe it to Pennsylvania’s workers to help them secure good jobs. Pennsylvania has a proud history of manufacturing with jobs that provide family-sustaining wages. How those jobs change and what opportunities exist in manufacturing will determine the security of so many Pennsylvanians,” said Schlossberg, D-Lehigh. The lawmaker said the economy has undergone seismic shifts and evidence points to those shifts continuing for the foreseeable future. “We need to better understand how these shifts affect Pennsylvania. To plan for the future, we need to understand what jobs currently anchoring communities will not exist, what new skills workers will need to compete in the changing economy, the demand for services and how tax revenue will change,” he said. Every day, emerging technologies are seeking to improve people’s lives. For the most part, these technologies are attempting to make tasks more efficient and convenient. Yet, these technologies often come at a price, creating special challenges to workers vulnerable to job displacement. Some scholars are predicting a massive labor reorganization, similar to what the world experienced during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Some researchers Read more

 

Rabb to introduce bill to create more transparent and accountable Pa. budget process

(Aug 07, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 7 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., announced he will introduce legislation that would require the leaders of Pennsylvania’s executive and legislative branches to hold daily public hearings on the state budget whenever there is a budget impasse. The bill would require executive and legislative leaders to hold public hearings if comprehensive spending and revenue bills for the upcoming fiscal year have not been introduced by June 19. These leaders include the governor, state treasurer, secretary of revenue, auditor general, Independent Fiscal Office director, and majority and minority leadership for both the House and Senate. These individuals would be required to participate in hearings until such legislation is introduced. “It’s been six weeks after the House overwhelmingly passed a spending plan, and we still don’t know how we are going to pay for it,” Rabb said. “On Friday, our state treasurer had to extend to the Commonwealth a $750 million line of credit to prevent us from running out of money. We are only in the second month of the fiscal year and our schools and county agencies are already at risk of experiencing funding shortfalls. This is not responsible budgeting and it certainly is not how to run a government.” Rabb said he wants Pennsylvanians to see democracy in action and require all relevant parties work together to meet the needs of the Commonwealth. Hearings would be required to last at Read more

 

Boyle to re-introduce legislation to prevent future Pa. budget delays

(Jul 31, 2017)

HARRISBURG, July 31 – As Pennsylvania deals with yet another frustrating budget impasse, state Rep. Kevin Boyle is looking forward, seeking ways to prevent the commonwealth from finding itself in a similar situation in the very near future. Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, plans on re-introducing a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution, requiring the General Assembly to stay in session until a state budget is adopted by both the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as signed into law by the governor. “As legislators, we owe it to our constituents to conduct the people's business without needless delays and to concentrate on passing a responsible, complete, and balanced budget for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians,” Boyle said. For this legislation to be added to the state Constitution, the bill would have to be voted and passed in two consecutive legislative sessions and then go to Pennsylvania voters in the form of a ballot question. “We are only one year removed from the historical 2015-2016 budget stalemate that lasted nearly nine months from July 2015 to March 2016,” Boyle said. “It appears the General Assembly hasn’t learned its lesson.” Boyle said it’s been weeks since the start of the fiscal year and Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai has continued pushing for irresponsible funding schemes, which, in turn, has prevented the rest of the representatives from formulating a feasible Read more

 

Rabb introduces first-of-its-kind legislation to reverse school-to-prison pipeline in Pennsylvania

(Jul 27, 2017)

HARRISBURG, July 27 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., said he introduced legislation to create a charitable trust that would help Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable youth from becoming innocent casualties of mass incarceration. “Our most neglected young people continue to be devastated by the school-to-prison pipeline at alarming rates. There are more than 81,000 Pennsylvania children with a parent in a prison,” Rabb said. “That absence, which some psychologists have compared to the death of a parent, through the formative years can have many harmful effects on a child.” House Bill 1674 proposes the creation of the First Chance Trust Fund to provide support services and scholarship opportunities to young people from neighborhoods with the highest rates of incarceration across the state. The trust would not require the use of taxpayer dollars. Instead, it would be funded by a 1 percent surcharge on all vendors that have a contract with the Department of Corrections exceeding $5 million and by private, tax-deductible donations. Other state agencies also would have the option to include such a provision in their contracts. “Studies have consistently shown that investing in educational opportunities can significantly reduce the potential for future incarceration. We need to make these investments, especially within our most disadvantaged communities,” he said. Corrections anticipates it would generate $500,000 to $1 million Read more

 

Bipartisan effort to enact Homeless Bill of Rights in Pennsylvania

(Jul 25, 2017)

HARRISBURG, July 25 – State Reps. Isabella Fitzgerald, D-Phila., and Thomas Murt, R-Montgomery/Phila., announced they introduced legislation to enact a “Homeless Bill of Rights” to protect fundamental civil and human rights of homeless people. “Homelessness continues to be an issue in many communities across the Commonwealth. Local codes that outlaw loitering, vagrancy, sitting or lying on the sidewalk, begging, eating in public, and other behaviors disproportionately affect homeless people,” Fitzgerald said. Fitzgerald said House Bill 1664 would protect the homeless population’s rights to move freely in public spaces, and receive equal treatment by all government agencies, employers and health care providers. The legislation would also shield their right to vote and the confidentiality of personal records and information. “Homelessness involves not only individuals but entire families. On any given day, over 15,000 Pennsylvanians are known to be homeless. During one school year, our education system serves approximately 13,000 homeless children,” she added. Murt emphasized there are key rights the homeless population needs to have protected. The Homeless Bill of Rights would establish that no person should suffer unnecessarily, be denied basic rights or be subject to unfair discrimination based on their homeless status. “As the burdens of joblessness grow and the pressures on public resources increase, we have Read more

 

Bizzarro: Saturday House session amounts to total eclipse of reason

(Jul 22, 2017)

Rep. Ryan Bizzarro said Saturday’s House session, purportedly called to consider a 21-day-late revenue package for the new state budget, amounted to a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. “Perhaps Saturday’s debacle will move House Republicans to start working with others,” Bizzarro said. Read more

 

DeLissio urges vote on shale tax

(Jul 14, 2017)

HARRISBURG, July 14 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., joined her colleagues from both sides of the aisle to push for a reasonable measure to help bring in sustainable revenue for Pennsylvania – a severance tax on the extraction of Marcellus Shale resources. DeLissio signed a letter to House Speaker Mike Turzai urging him to bring to a vote a fair tax on Marcellus Shale. She also supported a discharge resolution calling on the House to bring up H.B. 113, a severance tax measure sponsored by Rep. Kate Harper, R-Montgomery. “With Pennsylvania’s credit ratings at risk, we cannot continue to borrow our way out of this fiscal crisis or to continue to use one-time transfers as we have for the past two administrations that I have been in office,” DeLissio said. “A fair severance tax is supported by an overwhelming number of Pennsylvania residents, and it would help us generate the recurring revenue that we desperately need.” DeLissio is a co-prime sponsor with colleague Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bucks, of H.B. 1401 , which would create a 3.2 percent severance tax on unconventional natural gas extraction, in addition to the existing impact fee. Pennsylvania is the only major gas-producing state that does not impose a severance, or drilling, tax. Support for a severance tax is growing on both sides of the aisle. House Bill 1401 has bipartisan co-sponsors, DeLissio said, and Republicans and Democrats signed the letter Read more

 

Snyder launching two-pronged campaign to improve broadband internet service

(Jul 13, 2017)

Rep. Pam Snyder is launching a two-pronged effort to expand availability of high-speed internet service with an appeal to Microsoft to include Pennsylvania in its broadband expansion effort and a four-bill legislative package. Read more

 

Wheatley calls on House GOP leaders to return to work and complete budget

(Jul 12, 2017)

Rep. Jake Wheatley requests that the Republican leaders of the state House of Representatives return to Harrisburg and complete work on the overdue 2017-18 state budget. “I am requesting that the speaker of the House call the House back into session and keep working until we successfully vote on a revenue package that pays all of the bills of the commonwealth,” said Wheatley, Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee. Read more

 

Pa. House GOP leaders, Trump White House double down on formula for failure
Oct 11, 2017

DeLissio introduces bill to provide health care at lower cost
Oct 06, 2017

Wheatley: Latest House GOP budget defies logic, fiscal responsibility
Sep 13, 2017

Wheatley helps unveil House Democratic budget alternative
Sep 13, 2017

DeLuca introduces bill to ban unscrupulous charities
Sep 13, 2017

Rabb pushes bill that upholds DACA while keeping communities safer
Sep 08, 2017

Cruz condemns Trump administration’s decision to end DACA
Sep 08, 2017

OPINION: Latest Republican budget plan burns us all
Sep 07, 2017

Pennsylvania in free-fall: What another GOP gimmick budget would look like
Sep 01, 2017

Dawkins to introduce legislation requiring PTSD testing for law enforcement
Aug 29, 2017

Frankel, Wheatley, colleagues, faith leaders call for action on Pa. hate-crimes legislation
Aug 21, 2017

Future Pa. jobs depend on adjustments to automation, retail losses
Aug 14, 2017

Rabb to introduce bill to create more transparent and accountable Pa. budget process
Aug 07, 2017

Boyle to re-introduce legislation to prevent future Pa. budget delays
Jul 31, 2017

Rabb introduces first-of-its-kind legislation to reverse school-to-prison pipeline in Pennsylvania
Jul 27, 2017

Bipartisan effort to enact Homeless Bill of Rights in Pennsylvania
Jul 25, 2017

Bizzarro: Saturday House session amounts to total eclipse of reason
Jul 22, 2017

DeLissio urges vote on shale tax
Jul 14, 2017

Snyder launching two-pronged campaign to improve broadband internet service
Jul 13, 2017

Wheatley calls on House GOP leaders to return to work and complete budget
Jul 12, 2017