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House Democrats fight to keep renters, homeowners Safe at Home

Pennsylvania needs a 'Just Recovery' -- see what House Democrats are doing to ensure an economic recovery that works for everyone

(Jun 18, 2020)

It’s long past time Pennsylvania worked for everyone, and House Democrats are committed to making it happen. It’s time to focus on What Pennsylvania Needs: A Recovery for Everyone. We want everyone to thrive because we’re all in this together. The COVID-19 emergency forced a stopgap budget through in May. We need to fix it and make sure our recovery leaves no one behind and does it fairly and with justice. Our economy should work for everybody and not just the well-connected. Legislators must finish this budget and ensure that every one of us can care for our families, earn a fair return for our work, and secure health care, housing and a good education. That’s what Pennsylvania needs to ensure recovery from the pandemic-created recession. It’s time to embrace a new path forward for all Pennsylvanians. Here is what PA House Democrats will be fighting for: A FAIR DAY’S PAY FOR A HARD DAY’S WORK The COVID-19 pandemic has put it into the sharpest focus in decades: our frontline essential workers in hospitals, long-term care homes, grocery stores, food services and countless other industries aren’t getting paid a fair wage. They’re not getting it because some politicians have tried to divide us. The PA House Democratic Caucus is determined to work together, not just to protect and reward frontline workers during this crisis, but to ensure that everyone -- with no exceptions --can secure fair pay, a safe Read more

 

Kortz: Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh awarded funding for projects to address state’s response to COVID-19 pandemic challenges

(Jun 17, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 17 – Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have been awarded nearly $100,000 in funding through the Manufacturing PA Innovation Program COVID-19 Challenge to help the state in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state Rep. Bill Kortz announced. Kortz, D-Allegheny, said both universities were awarded funding for the following projects: University of Pittsburgh was awarded $25,000 through its partnership with Du-Co Ceramics Co. for its Rapid Manufacturing of Polymer-Derived Ceramic Films for Respirator project. The university also received $25,000 for its work with The ExOne Co. for its Reusable N95 Filters via Metal Binder-Jet 3D Printing project. Carnegie Mellon, through its partnership with Allegheny Health Network, was awarded $24,986 for its Scalable Manufacturing of Nasopharyngeal Swabs to Address Pennsylvania’s Need for COVID-19 Testing project. In addition, Carnegie Mellon was awarded $25,000 for its work with the University of Pittsburgh for its Accelerating the Availability of a COVID-19 Vaccine by Mass Spectrometry Characterization of Immunogens project. “We have great institutions of higher learning across our state, and this innovative program provides them the opportunity to help our first responders and health care providers with the resources they need, now and in the weeks to come,” said Kortz. The program, developed through the Pennsylvania Department of Read more

 

Rabb to join virtual Juneteenth roundtable June 19

(Jun 16, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 16 – State Rep. Chris Rabb will speak about the effort to reform Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system, including recent movement on legislation that would improve police accountability, during a virtual roundtable event at 1 p.m. Friday, June 19. “It is gut-wrenching that in 2020 – 155 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation – we must fight so hard for justice,” Rabb said. “It is devastating that there are Americans out there who can watch a video of police killing a Black man named George Floyd and continue to resist that police accountability is necessary instead of looking for solutions to a very obvious problem. “But I am hopeful that soon, meaningful legislation addressing police violence will be enacted into law, since a couple of bills aimed at police accountability and training were recently unanimously voted out of the House Judiciary Committee,” Rabb said. “I believe that it is possible to use legislation to address systemic issues of racism, and I am committed to doing just that.” Rabb will join For Our Future Pennsylvania for an in-depth virtual town hall about the state of criminal justice reform in Pennsylvania at 1 p.m. on Friday. The discussion will happen on Zoom, and people interested may RSVP online at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/join-us-juneteenth-roundtable-for-justice/?source=Event%20Build__email_org_rsvp-invite . Read more

 

Lawmakers call for vote on PA LGBTQ+ civil rights bill

(Jun 16, 2020)

Today, members of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus sent a letter requesting a committee vote for H.B 1404 Read more

 

Kenyatta presents first check from his newly launched microgrant program for businesses impacted by civil unrest

(Jun 16, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, June 16 – In efforts to repair damage to local businesses in the wake of days of civil unrest across the city, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., along with members of the local business community in his 181 st Legislative District, on Friday presented a $500 check to one affected business owner. Kenyatta presented the check to Rich Kim, a COVID-19 survivor and community contributor, to assist him with repairs to his property that was destroyed in a fire during the first night of the recent uprisings on May 31. Funding for the check, the first of many, was made available through a newly launched microgrant program created by Kenyatta and Richie Juniors and administered by Beech Companies. “Rich has endured so much over these last few months. He and his family have suffered from both the health and economic impacts of the pandemic and have now faced the brunt of the recent uprising,” Kenyatta said. “Rich has been an asset to this vibrant community. He has donated food to residents in need and our first responders. I am proud of Temple University, Beech Companies, and Richie for stepping up to make this funding possible to pay it forward to the Kim family on their road to recovery. “We will continue this initiative because small businesses are the backbone of our communities and it’s crucial that we do more to foster their growth,” Kenyatta added. Read more

 

Kenyatta calls US Supreme Court ruling a major victory for civil rights in America

(Jun 16, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 16 – Minutes after the United States Supreme upheld that Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 that bars sex discrimination also provides protections for sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta issued an emotional statement, calling the decision a major victory in the fight for civil rights for LGBTQ Americans: “I’m still collecting my thoughts and fighting back tears, but the Supreme Court’s Title VII decision is a powerful moment for progress and the LGBTQ community,” Kenyatta said. “America has never lived up to its creed — ever. All men and women have been created equal but have never been treated equally or protected equally under the law. This decision changes that. “Three weeks ago, I told my coming out story on the House floor and today I can say confidently to our LGBTQ kids that you matter and who you are will not limit your possibility,” he said. Kenyatta, D-Phila, the first openly gay man of color to serve in the General Assembly in Pennsylvania’s history and a member of the governor’s LGBTQ Affairs Commission, expressed hopefulness that the court’s ruling will further elevate the visibility of LGBTQ Americans to better assess and mitigate their plights. He pointed to a bill he introduced months prior to the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision that would Read more

 

Wheatley applauds state’s efforts to update state contracting process to improve opportunities for diverse businesses

(Jun 16, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, June 16 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to improve opportunities for minority, women, LGBT, veteran and disabled-owned businesses to compete for state contracts. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said the governor’s changes, part of his Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities in Commonwealth Procurement and in Pennsylvania’s Economy executive order, would accomplish the following: Each competitive state procurement would use goal setting for small diverse businesses, with the intent of achieving a 26.3% state contract spending with SDBs. This would replace the previous scoring process used by the Pennsylvania Department of General Services to evaluate submitted proposals for construction projects over $300,000 (as of June 15) and for goods and services solicitations over $250,000 (beginning Aug. 17). DGS will set a goal of 4.6 percent of state contract spending to veteran-owned businesses through its Veteran Business Enterprise program, as recommended by the 2018 Statewide Disparity Study , which examined disparities in the state’s contracting system and made improvement recommendations. State agencies will be required to have at least 15% of their contract spending to go to eligible, state-certified small businesses through the Small Business Reserve program under DGS. This program helps all qualified businesses to compete as prime contractors on state contracting Read more

 

House lawmakers: Fight for equality not over with historic SCOTUS ruling

(Jun 15, 2020)

Nondiscrimination protections need to include housing, public accommodations, other areas Read more

 

Readshaw police background bill approved in committee

(Jun 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 15 – A measure requiring law enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough background investigation on potential new hires was approved by the state House Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Harry Readshaw announced. Readshaw, D-Allegheny, said H.B. 1841 would require law enforcement agencies to conduct the investigation on an applicant for employment as a police officer or for a position leading to employment as a police officer before the applicant can be hired. It also compels a candidate’s present or former employers to disclose such information. This includes both law enforcement agencies and all other types of employers. “While an individual must undergo a background check to be certified as a municipal police officer with the Municipal Police Officers’ Training and Education Committee, what some might not know is that a law enforcement agency is not required by law to turn over employment history on a present or former employee to another agency looking to hire that officer. Law enforcement agencies often fear civil liability in turning over this information,” Readshaw said. “This is a problem, because the hiring agency might not know about past misconduct at other law enforcement agencies or other job positions. I am pleased that my bill is moving forward because employers will be protected from liability for disclosing employment information in good faith, and police departments will be able to get Read more

 

Davidson calls on Delco police officer to step down

(Jun 12, 2020)

State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, today issued a statement denouncing police officer Sgt. Robert “Skippy” Carroll, a Delaware County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27 1st vice president, for his recent posts on social media. Read more

 

Burgos stomps out disaster declaration termination rumors

(Jun 11, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 11 – State Rep. Danilo Burgos, D-Phila., today issued a statement quelling the misinformation that Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency disaster declaration was eliminated. Burgos’ statement follows a widespread rumor claiming that the passage of H.R. 836 – a resolution that only aims to end the declaration – in the House and Senate means that the legislation has now become law. “My office has received many, many calls asking about the validity of this hearsay, while some also have taken to blindly sharing an image that erroneously declares that the declaration has been terminated because it passed both chambers,” Burgos said. “To dispel those rumors, I want to make it clear that the emergency declaration disaster is still in effect and all Pennsylvanians are still required to follow the guidelines set by the state Department of Health to continue to help curb spreading the virus. This especially means wearing masks and practicing proper social distancing while out in public and running essential errands.” Burgos reiterated that the resolution’s passage does not make it a law and highlighted the dire consequences that H.R. 836 carries. “It requires a signature by the governor to be binding, and Governor Wolf has adamantly expressed that he intends to veto the resolution because it not only puts countless lives at risk, but it also stands to inflict Read more

 

Snyder: Measure to honor local fallen heroes passes House

(Jun 10, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 10 – A bill that includes designations to honor three local men who died while serving their country and their community passed unanimously in the House today, state Rep. Pam Snyder announced. Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, said H.B. 1510 included the following designations in honor of Greene County Sheriff Brian Tennant, Pfc. Joseph Frank Duda of Brownsville, Fayette County, and Cpl. Denny Ray Easter, also from Fayette County: A bridge on S.R. 2003, also known as South Porter Street over the South Fork Tenmile Creek in Waynesburg, Greene County, as the Sheriff Brian A. Tennant Memorial Bridge. Ten years ago, Tennant saved several lives from a house fire and was later elected sheriff in Greene County for two terms. Tennant passed away last year at 35. The interchange of S.R. 43, also known as the Mon-Fayette Expressway, with U.S. Route 40, known as Exit 22, in Redstone Township, Fayette County, as the Pfc. Joseph Frank Duda Memorial Interchange. Duda of Brownsville served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Duda was a member of the 1 st Battalion, 7 th Marines, 3 rd Marine Brigade, and the Fleet Marine Force aboard the USS Fuller. He died in the line of duty on Jan. 9, 1944. The interchange of U.S. Route 40 with S.R. 4035, also known as Market Street and Spring Street in Brownsville, Fayette County, as the Cpl. Denny Ray Easter Memorial Interchange. Easter joined the U.S. Army in 1970 and served Read more

 

State lawmakers announce grants to strengthen Berks County

(Jun 10, 2020)

State lawmakers Reps. Tom Caltagirone, Mark Rozzi and Sen. Judy Schwank today announced state grants from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency have been approved for two programs in Berks County. Read more

 

Galloway Introduces two COVID-19-related financial services bills

(Jun 10, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 10 – State Rep. John Galloway, D-Bucks, announced that his Covid-19 related bills, which would waive penalties for early CD withdrawals during COVID-19 (H.B. 2580) and would waive fees for remote banking and ATM charges during COVID-19 (H.B. 2581), were both introduced and referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee on Monday. “Families across Pennsylvania have been hard hit financially from the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Galloway said. “My bills are aimed at alleviating the pains that have ensued by removing penalties from early withdrawals of CDs and by making it illegal for financial institutions to charge fees for remote transactions or uses of ATMs. “If they were enacted, both bills would be in effect until 90 days after the COVID-19 disaster emergency declaration issued by the governor has expired.” Galloway said that CDs, or a certificates of deposit, are popular products offered by banks and credit unions because they provide higher interest rates in exchange for leaving a lump-sum deposit untouched for a period of 6 months to 3 or more years.. At the end of the term, known as the maturity date, the depositor can withdraw his or her funds penalty free, and with a few dollars in earned interest on top of the initial deposit. According to Galloway, CDs are a safer and more conservative way for people to invest their money than Read more

 

Southeast Delegation issues statement supporting protests against racial injustice

(Jun 09, 2020)

The House Democratic Southeast Delegation today issued the following statement in response to the death of George Floyd and ongoing protests against racial injustice. Read more

 

Kenyatta, colleagues take House chamber to demand action on police reform

(Jun 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – At the start of today’s House session, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., and other members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with numerous House Democratic colleagues, took control of the speaker’s rostrum to demand action on 19 bills from the House and Senate that would address police reform across the commonwealth. “For 13 days, folks have been protesting in the streets, demanding that we actually do something. Now we are here demanding that you actually do something,” Kenyatta said to House Republican leadership. “You should come up from your seats, come up here and demand that we don’t get to business as usual,” He told his white House colleagues. “That we don’t get the same speeches and lip service. We demand that we get meaningful police reform passed out of the Pennsylvania House. It’s the people’s house, and if we ain’t doing the people’s business, then we ain’t doing business." He expanded on why immediate action is crucial, saying, “We can’t go back to normal. The folks in our districts cannot allow us to come back home and say that we introduced a bill. They need movement. They need movement." Kenyatta’s call-to-action speech is in response to rallies and protests that have swept the nation following the highly publicized death of George Floyd, who was killed Read more

 

Briggs, as Democratic House Judiciary chairman, calls for action on police reform bills

(Jun 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, supported calls for a special session to take action on police reform legislation. “Since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we’ve seen communities around Pennsylvania and the rest of the country come together in peaceful protests to speak out against systemic racism resulting in the loss of innocent black lives. These calls for justice are happening around the world, as well as up the street – and even in the House chamber,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery. “Our communities are demanding change. We must act now, and we must move legislation that will make meaningful reforms and strengthen police-community relations.” Democratic lawmakers have proposed numerous reform measures , which include outlawing the use of police chokeholds, improving access to police video footage, and improving oversight and accountability for law enforcement. The House Judiciary Committee will be at the forefront in considering many of these reform proposals. “ For too long, my Republican colleagues have allowed numerous reform bills to languish without bringing them up for action. We can’t wait any longer,” Briggs said. “I support calls from the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus to vote on these bills now, and I’ll urge my Republican colleagues to bring these measures up for a vote swiftly.” Read more

 

Petrarca: Bill would ensure child welfare workers and service providers have access to personal protective equipment

(Jun 05, 2020)

VANDERGRIFT, June 5 – Child welfare personnel and service providers are in significant need of personal protective equipment, and state Rep. Joseph Petrarca will soon introduce legislation to ensure they have vital access. Petrarca, D-Westmoreland/Armstrong/Indiana, said his bill would provide additional funding to county welfare agencies and service providers to assist them in purchasing the PPE they need to conduct their work during the current pandemic. “We know that during this time, it’s vital to take steps to protect ourselves and others from this virus, and that includes wearing masks and other types of protective personal equipment,” Petrarca said. “I understand that this restricted face-to-face contact can be challenging for staff and the youth they serve, but it’s necessary to prevent the spread of this virus and also protect those who are vulnerable, including those with compromised immune systems.” More information can be found at this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=31911 . Read more

 

Davis legislation would create grace periods for insurance premium payments during a disaster emergency

(Jun 05, 2020)

LEVITTOWN, June 5 – State Rep. Tina Davis has announced that she will be introducing legislation that would require insurance companies to provide a 90-day grace period for the payment of insurance premiums during a disaster emergency. “Many Pennsylvanians have lost their jobs or had to close their businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are now struggling to pay their bills,” Davis said. “People shouldn’t have their insurance canceled because of an inability to keep up with insurance premiums during this period of unprecedented economic hardship . By requiring insurance companies to provide a 90-day grace period for insurance premium payments during a disaster emergency, my legislation would protect Pennsylvanians from having their insurance terminated at a time they need it most.” Currently, Pennsylvania has only recommended insurers grant a grace period to policy holders during the pandemic. Davis said that many states have required such grace periods in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in the aftermath of natural disasters. Residents with questions should contact Davis’ office by phone at 267-580-2660 or email ( repdavis@pahouse.net ). Read more

 

Police Reform Working Group releases statement on progress toward reform

(Jun 04, 2020)

The Police Reform Working Group, a collection of elected officials and advocates working to bring accountability and transparency reforms to law enforcement, released the following statement on Gov. Tom Wolf’s adoption today of their request for a state-level deputy inspector general aimed at improving law enforcement conduct, as well as Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s, along with the Fraternal Order of Police’s, support of a confidential database to track complaints against police officers: Read more

 

Pennsylvania needs a 'Just Recovery' -- see what House Democrats are doing to ensure an economic recovery that works for everyone
Jun 18, 2020

Kortz: Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh awarded funding for projects to address state’s response to COVID-19 pandemic challenges
Jun 17, 2020

Rabb to join virtual Juneteenth roundtable June 19
Jun 16, 2020

Lawmakers call for vote on PA LGBTQ+ civil rights bill
Jun 16, 2020

Kenyatta presents first check from his newly launched microgrant program for businesses impacted by civil unrest
Jun 16, 2020

Kenyatta calls US Supreme Court ruling a major victory for civil rights in America
Jun 16, 2020

Wheatley applauds state’s efforts to update state contracting process to improve opportunities for diverse businesses
Jun 16, 2020

House lawmakers: Fight for equality not over with historic SCOTUS ruling
Jun 15, 2020

Readshaw police background bill approved in committee
Jun 15, 2020

Davidson calls on Delco police officer to step down
Jun 12, 2020

Burgos stomps out disaster declaration termination rumors
Jun 11, 2020

Snyder: Measure to honor local fallen heroes passes House
Jun 10, 2020

State lawmakers announce grants to strengthen Berks County
Jun 10, 2020

Galloway Introduces two COVID-19-related financial services bills
Jun 10, 2020

Southeast Delegation issues statement supporting protests against racial injustice
Jun 09, 2020

Kenyatta, colleagues take House chamber to demand action on police reform
Jun 08, 2020

Briggs, as Democratic House Judiciary chairman, calls for action on police reform bills
Jun 08, 2020

Petrarca: Bill would ensure child welfare workers and service providers have access to personal protective equipment
Jun 05, 2020

Davis legislation would create grace periods for insurance premium payments during a disaster emergency
Jun 05, 2020

Police Reform Working Group releases statement on progress toward reform
Jun 04, 2020