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14 hearings were pretense for voter suppression laws

Driscoll bill to assist families of fallen first responders passes the House

(Oct 18, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila., applauded today’s House passage of his realty transfer tax legislation that would assist the family members of police, fire and other first responders who've died in the line of duty. "Thankfully, the number of families who lose a loved one as a first responder and therefore are eligible for the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Act benefits is relatively low," Driscoll said. "But relief from this tax burden for their beneficiaries will continue to show our appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice of Pennsylvania's first responders and their families." House Bill 932 would exclude a surviving spouse or minor children of a first responder who receive benefits under the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefit Act from paying the realty transfer tax, if their family home is sold within five years of the first responder's death. "First responders have made a tremendous commitment to our communities and are ready and willing to put their lives on the line every day," Driscoll said. "Offering their family this bit of relief is the least we can do to help repay that sacrifice." Driscoll’s legislation now awaits consideration in the Senate. Read more

 

Snyder legislation would increase broadband speeds dramatically

(Oct 04, 2016)

Rep. Pam Snyder has introduced legislation that would upgrade the state standard for broadband service, increasing broadband download and upload speeds exponentially for many rural residents and businesses. Read more

 

Schlossberg pushes proposals to allow seniors the opportunity to age in place

(Oct 04, 2016)

ALLENTOWN, Oct. 4 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, hosted a news conference today at Lehigh Valley Active Life to discuss two pieces of legislation he recently introduced that would offer older Pennsylvanians additional resources and enable them to receive health care while continuing to live in their homes. “Allowing a senior to age in place is good for the person and it is sensible public policy,” Schlossberg said. “Preserving an older Pennsylvanian’s opportunity to live in the independence of their home can offer between 72 and 74 percent savings when compared to the cost of a nursing facility and can significantly increase their quality of life.” House Bill 2371 would establish the Caregiver Tax Credit, which would allow taxpayers who qualify for the federal dependent care credit to apply for a tax credit against their state income tax liability. As of 2015, 23 other states have a similar tax credit in place. “As a state, we are getting older. In the past four years, our population over the age of 65 had increased by 8.9 percent and outpaced our overall population growth. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure that older Pennsylvanians have the tools and resources they need to live happy and full lives,” Schlossberg said. House Bill 2372 would establish the Livable Home Tax Credit, which would offer a tax credit for homeowners or construction contractors renovating or building senior-accessible Read more

 

Krueger-Braneky, labor and environmental leaders release study on job creation impact of cutting methane emissions in oil and gas industry

(Sep 27, 2016)

State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, joined Pennsylvania leaders today and released a first-of-its-kind report that estimates that thousands of jobs will be created in the United States by reducing methane emissions in the oil and gas industry. The U.S. EPA finalized standards to limit methane emissions from new and modified sources earlier this year. Read more

 

Putting retirement security within reach of every Pennsylvanian

(Sep 16, 2016)

Pennsylvanians looking for a more secure retirement -- and an easier way of getting there – would get that with the proposed Keystone Retirement Savings Plan. Read more

 

Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky hosts HDPC to study graduation exams and high-stakes testing

(Sep 12, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky hosted the House Democratic Policy Committee to her district for a public hearing on the how to improve standardized testing and graduation requirements. Krueger-Braneky says the system, including the Keystone Exams, is failing too many students who are otherwise educationally solid. Read more

 

Recycling more electronics focus of Flynn legislation

(Sep 09, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 9 – Electronics manufacturers would be required to recycle more of their devices, under legislation recently introduced by state Rep. Marty Flynn. Read more

 

Mullery hosts Policy Committee hearing on jobs in Pa.

(Sep 08, 2016)

NANTICOKE, Sept. 8 – The need for jobs and how to create them in Pennsylvania were the topics of state Rep. Gerald Mullery’s House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today in Nanticoke. "We are seeing many small businesses popping up throughout our region that are providing some employment opportunities, but it’s not enough," Mullery said. "We must find ways to attract larger businesses that will employ a large amount of people at one time." Testifiers included Scott Dunkleberger, deputy secretary for business financing, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development; Thomas Leary, president, Luzerne County Community College; Kenneth Okrepkie, regional manager, Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Joseph Boylan, vice chairman of economic development, Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce; Mary Malone, president, Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce; and W. Kevin O’Donnell, president, Greater Hazleton Can Do, Inc. Mullery noted that as of July 2016, the unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in the Wyoming Valley. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 5.6 percent compared to 4.9 percent nationwide. Read more

 

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

 

Driscoll bill to assist families of fallen first responders passes the House
Oct 18, 2016

Snyder legislation would increase broadband speeds dramatically
Oct 04, 2016

Schlossberg pushes proposals to allow seniors the opportunity to age in place
Oct 04, 2016

Krueger-Braneky, labor and environmental leaders release study on job creation impact of cutting methane emissions in oil and gas industry
Sep 27, 2016

Putting retirement security within reach of every Pennsylvanian
Sep 16, 2016

Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky hosts HDPC to study graduation exams and high-stakes testing
Sep 12, 2016

Recycling more electronics focus of Flynn legislation
Sep 09, 2016

Mullery hosts Policy Committee hearing on jobs in Pa.
Sep 08, 2016

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