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Johnson-Harrell, Policy Committee meet to discuss gun violence as a public health epidemic

Bizzarro learns to fight the blaze at Allegheny County Fire Academy

(Sep 04, 2019)

ERIE, Sept. 4 – As a member of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, recently took part in course and field exercises at the committee’s tour of the Allegheny County Fire Academy. The academy tour involved Bizzarro running into burning buildings, climbing ladders and putting out fires. The Erie legislator said he has a whole new appreciation for Pennsylvania’s hardworking volunteer and paid firefighters. “Today, we’re getting hands-on experience of what they have to go through every single day,” Bizzarro said. “I had the privilege of suiting up in full fire-fighting gear and practicing many of the procedures and tactics that firefighters use to respond to fires and emergencies throughout the state. It was challenging and exhilarating and helped me gain a whole new level of gratitude for those who are constantly on call.” The Allegheny County Fire Academy offers fire, rescue, hazardous materials and terrorism training to emergency service personnel and private industry emergency response teams. Bizzarro and the committee discussed what legislators can do at the state and federal levels to improve public safety efforts and ensure firefighters have the resources needed to respond to emergent situations. “I’ve always been a strong advocate for the women and men who fulfill the calling to run into these most dangerous situations,” Bizzarro said. Read more

 

Fiedler, Policy Committee examine school building toxic conditions and emergency funding

(Sep 04, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 4 – State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on toxic conditions in school buildings and emergency funding at the Horace Furness High School. Fiedler requested the hearing to discuss what more the state can do to improve conditions in Philadelphia schools for students and staff. The hearing ended with a tour of the high school to see the conditions firsthand. Legislators from across the state joined Fiedler, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “Nearly half of the school buildings in Philadelphia are decades old with antiquated systems, including heating, cooling, lighting and electrical. These basic comforts are in dire need of replacement. In addition, these buildings have mold and other hazards that are creating serious health problems for our children,” Fiedler said. “We need to come up with policies that will ensure our schools receive adequate funding, so our children receive a quality education in hazard-free and safe environments.” Sturla added, “The children in Philadelphia and throughout the commonwealth should not have to learn in unhealthy and outdated conditions. The House Democratic Caucus seeks to provide all students with a high-quality education, so they are prepared to either go on to an institution of higher education or to join the workforce. I thank Representative Fiedler for her leadership in spotlighting Read more

 

Longietti: Grant of nearly $30,000 to bolster South Pymatuning traffic safety

(Sep 04, 2019)

HERMITAGE, Sept. 4 – A $29,785 grant will fund two traffic safety improvement projects in South Pymatuning Township, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today. Longietti noted that the funding – which comes from fines collected under the state’s Automated Red Light Enforcement program – will support projects to install guiderails protecting motorists along Cascade Street and Shadow Drive and to erect safety signage warning motorists turning onto or merging from State Route 302/Tamarack Drive. “I’m delighted that we were successful in our efforts to obtain this funding,” Longietti said. “South Pymatuning is home to Dean Foods’ largest milk processing plant, and its 200 employees and multiple trucks make heavy use of State Route 302/Tamarack Drive, creating potentially dangerous traffic patterns entering and exiting the most heavily traveled portion of the township. “Funds from this grant will allow the township to erect signs warning motorists who are turning from Shadow Drive onto State Route 302/Tamarack Drive or merging from 302 onto Buckeye Drive that opposing traffic – including dairy trucks – is not required to stop at those intersections. The grant will also allow for installation of guiderails to protect motorists from steep embankments alongside nearby Shadow Drive and Cascade Street. Motorist safety is our No. 1 priority.” Longietti noted that the guiderail project will Read more

 

Burns supports proposed rate decrease for Peoples Natural Gas

(Sep 04, 2019)

EBENSBURG, Sept. 4 – As part of his ongoing efforts to advocate for all Cambria County residents, state Rep. Frank Burns has sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, formally supporting Peoples Natural Gas Co.'s proposed rate decrease and encouraging the PUC to quickly approve the utility’s request. Burns, D-Cambria, said under an agreement negotiated this summer, residential customers would see an 8.6% drop in their monthly gas bills, beginning Oct. 1. “Many Cambria County residents will benefit from this rate reduction, including those who are struggling to make ends meet,” Burns said. “The average customer could see a reduction in their bill of about $7 dollars each month. During these challenging economic times, this kind of savings is very meaningful to them.” In April, Burns encouraged residents to attend public hearings hosted by the PUC on a proposed rate increase from Peoples Natural Gas. “When you speak up and make your voice heard, you get results,” Burns added. “I will continue to support and fight for all Cambria County residents – both locally and in Harrisburg –because it’s the right thing to do.” Read more

 

Cephas touts Wolf Administration for winning $2.25 million grant to reduce maternal mortality rates

(Sep 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 4 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., vice chair of the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus, today applauded the Wolf administration for securing a $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support efforts in decreasing maternal deaths in Pennsylvania. Cephas wrote letters of support for the CDC grant that will fund the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee, a multidisciplinary committee tasked with addressing the pressing issue of growing maternal mortality rates across the commonwealth. “Nearly a thousand women die from pregnancy-related complications each year across the country and many of these deaths were preventable. It’s also a problem here in our commonwealth,” Cephas said. “I am proud that Pennsylvania was awarded this grant to protect women, mothers, infants and their families.” Cephas has been a staunch advocate for addressing the rise in pregnancy-related deaths. She has coordinated meetings with stakeholders and the five delivery hospitals in the Philadelphia area to discuss potential solutions, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing, and sat on two panels to better assess the issue. In these discussions, Cephas said she also wanted to bring awareness to racial disparities and mental health issues as contributors to the increase in maternal deaths. “Black women are four times more likely to die from Read more

 

Hanbidge to introduce bill requiring insurers to cover EpiPen injections for children

(Sep 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 4 – State Rep. Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery, has announced her partnership with Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, to introduce legislation that would require insurance companies in Pennsylvania to cover EpiPen injections for children with allergies. Hanbidge’s announcement comes shortly after Illinois became the first state in the nation to pass and enact such bipartisan legislation. “It’s unconscionable to think that we have the means available to us to save children’s lives, but that this life-saving treatment is becoming more unaffordable and, therefore, more inaccessible to the average Pennsylvanian,” Hanbidge said. “With our legislation, insurance companies in Pennsylvania would be required to cover the cost of doctor-prescribed, medically necessary epinephrine pens for children under the age of 18. Profits cannot come before the health and well-being of our children. As an advocate for children, I’m fighting to ensure Pennsylvania becomes the second state to require coverage of this life-saving intervention for our children.” Hanbidge noted that more than 100,000 Pennsylvania children suffer from some form of food or insect allergy and more than 1,000 of those children have an allergy so severe that exposure could be fatal. Although some insurance companies do cover the costs of EpiPen injections, many low-cost, short-term insurance plans that low-income families rely on do not cover these Read more

 

DeLissio’s 88th Town Hall: The Merit Selection of Judges

(Sep 04, 2019)

“Judges make life-altering decisions that impact our lives. I look forward to the dialogue about whether we should be selecting our judges differently than we are now.” Read more

 

Briggs, Policy Committee examine gun safety legislation

(Sep 03, 2019)

KING OF PRUSSIA, Sept. 3 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on gun safety legislation. Briggs requested the hearing to discuss several bills: H.B 525, to require the safe storage of firearms; H.B. 673, to require universal background checks; and H.B. 1288, to require the reporting of lost or stolen firearms. Testifiers from the law enforcement, medical and social services communities discussed the bills. Briggs was joined by legislators from across the state. “We have to do something to curb the gun violence that is affecting communities throughout Pennsylvania – and we can,” said Briggs, D-Montgomery and Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “Today’s hearing was an opportunity to really examine these bills so that we’re prepared to take action when the House returns to session. I’m grateful to the testifiers who helped us explore these issues today, and I’ve urged Judiciary Chairman Rob Kauffman to swiftly bring these bills up for a vote in committee.” The legislators were joined by U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-PA, who testified from the federal perspective. “America’s gun violence epidemic claims more than 100 lives every day, and our communities have had enough. They know that the safety of our families, friends and neighbors is on the line – and that it’s time to implement common-sense gun safety Read more

 

Longietti reappointed to Special Education Funding Commission

(Sep 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 3 – Continuing his efforts to ensure that Pennsylvania’s special education students receive the resources they need to succeed, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced that he has been reappointed to sit on the House Special Education Funding Commission as it reconvenes this year to review its funding formula. First established in 2012, the commission developed a formula for determining how special education funding is distributed to school districts throughout the commonwealth. Longietti noted that the formula – which took effect for the 2014-15 fiscal year – dramatically changed how funding decisions were made. “Before the commission was established, funding for special education students was based on bare assumptions and general estimates that often failed to reflect real-world numbers and needs,” Longietti said. “The formula developed by the commission and later adopted into law factors in the actual number of students needing services in each district, the different levels of services needed, and the amount of funding needed relative to regular education students. “The result is a better way to allocate funding that treats districts fairly, eliminates guesswork, trims waste, and delivers services where they are actually needed. But like any formula that is based on real-world circumstances, the numbers, categories and criteria may need to be adjusted to keep pace with changing times and Read more

 

Otten and Muth to hold series of town halls this month

(Sep 03, 2019)

EXTON, Sept. 3 – State Rep. Danielle Friel Otten, D-Chester, will hold three town hall meetings this month to address topics such as the cost of living, youth mental health and more. Sen. Katie Muth will co-host two of the three meetings. Town halls will take place on the following days: 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 at the East Pikeland Township Building with Muth. 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 at Henrietta Hankin Library Annex. 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26 at Brandywine Wallace Elementary School with Muth. “I encourage my constituents to come out prepared with questions or concerns so we can have a productive discussion and attendees can leave feeling much more informed about their state legislature,” Otten said. “We’ll be covering topics that are important to the community and me, so I want to ensure everyone’s voice is heard at each meeting. When constituents express their views in an open forum like this, I can make better decisions on behalf of this community in Harrisburg.” “Coming together to discuss the issues that matter to our area is an important part of civic engagement and why I enjoy having the opportunity to host town hall meetings such as these. I look forward to hearing the questions and topics community members wish to discuss as it helps Representative Otten and me better understand how we can best serve those we’ve been elected to represent,” Muth said. Constituents can call Otten’s Read more

 

Roebuck commends governor’s commitment to charter school reform

(Sep 03, 2019)

State Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., and Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, released the following statement applauding Gov. Tom Wolf’s most recent charter school reform plan: “While I do support charter schools, I believe major revisions are needed to the 22-year-old law regarding the governance, financing and accountability of charter and cyber charter schools. “My mission has been to ensure that the original intent of the charter school law, which asserts that charter schools were to be innovative and to offer policies to be replicated, continues to be upheld in order to protect students and taxpayers. But we have not yet seen one substantial report that charter schools have created any educational model which could be replicated by other public schools. “Now, thanks to Governor Tom Wolf, with whom I am working closely, the charter schools will have to meet more requirements to improve accountability and transparency. “Over the past several legislative sessions I have pushed initiatives that would improve and strengthen charter school accountability. Most recently, we have introduced several individual bills calling on our colleagues who are concerned with public education in our state to move forward several measures, including imposing limits on fees charged for organizational management to making sure funds collected by charter schools for special education match the actual cost of Read more

 

Comitta to host two REAL ID information sessions this month

(Sep 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 3 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, will host two informational events on REAL ID this month presented by a representative from PennDOT. These free events will include a short presentation and a Q&A session. The two events will take place at the following times, dates and locations: 10 a.m. to noon, Monday, Sept. 9 at West Chester Area Senior Center, 530 E. Union St., West Chester, 19382 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26 at G.A. Stetson Middle School, 1060 Wilmington Pike, West Chester, 19382 “REAL ID can be a confusing and intimidating topic to approach, so I’m happy to help my constituents see if it’s something that would be right for them,” Comitta said. “My office and I are always here to help with any state-related matter, so please reach out to me if you cannot attend one of the presentations but would like detailed information on Pennsylvania’s REAL ID.” Constituents can call Comitta’s office at (610) 696-4990 with any questions. ### Read more

 

Rep. Howard tours West Whiteland pipeline sites, talks safety

(Sep 03, 2019)

WEST WHITELAND, September 3 – State Rep. Kristine Howard (D-Chester) toured several active and dormant pipeline construction sites around West Whiteland Township today. The tour highlighted drilling procedures, as well as the safety mechanisms put in place by the township, the county, various regulatory agencies and the operators themselves. The tour, conducted by Township officials, broke down three procedures for laying pipes below the ground – trench, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and boring. The tour also covered the various levels of quality assurance in place to prevent corrosion and leaks. “We need to make the switch to alternative fuels,” Rep. Howard said, “but as we make that transition, we must ensure our current pipeline infrastructure is safe. To that end, township officials meet regularly with operators, inspecting each site, to keep our community safe. To be clear, I am and always will be on the side of my constituents, but while these pipeline operators are here, I will work with my county and township counterparts to ensure these operators are good neighbors.” Read more

 

Medicare help set for Sept. 9 at Flynn’s office

(Sep 03, 2019)

SCRANTON, Sept. 3 – Older residents with questions about Medicare or health insurance coverage should visit state Rep. Marty Flynn’s office during his monthly outreach next week. Read more

 

DeLissio announces two free fall shredding events for her district

(Aug 30, 2019)

All shredding occurs on site, is brought back to the Proshred facility, baled and sent to a recycling company, where it is made into new paper products. Read more

 

DeLissio’s Senior Expo scheduled for Sept. 26 at Roxborough Memorial Hospital

(Aug 30, 2019)

"Seniors are active and vital members of the community, and I am excited about presenting many opportunities to stay or become engaged with the community in which we live, work and play." Read more

 

Street renamed after the late former Rep. Frank L. Oliver

(Aug 30, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 30 – State Rep. Donna Bullock was joined today by Sen. Sharif Street, former Sen. Shirley Kitchen and local ward leaders to rename a portion of 29th Street, between Master Street and Thompson Street, as the Frank L. Oliver Memorial Highway. “Frank was a pioneer and staple of this community. During his time as state representative, he played an active role as an advocate for minority hiring and inclusion, affordable housing and criminal justice reform,” Bullock said. “His inspirational fight to protect our most vulnerable populations ended in much-needed laws being passed.” The designation came to light after a bill was enacted ( S.B. 1156 ) that included Bullock’s amendment for the renaming. “With the designation of 29th Street as the Frank L. Oliver Memorial Highway, we honor Frank’s contributions and remind everyone of his hard work and dedication to the people of Philadelphia,” Bullock said. Frank L. Oliver represented the 195th Legislative District from 1973 to 2010 and retired as the most senior African-American elected official in the commonwealth and the longest-serving member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly with 37 years of service. During his tenure in the state legislature, he introduced legislation that enhanced First Amendment freedoms and benefits for women and minority civil service employees. Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $18,000 in funding to benefit homeless children in Erie City School District

(Aug 30, 2019)

ERIE, Aug. 30 – Fifty-two students in the Erie City School District will benefit from $18,605 in funding serving homeless children and displaced youth. The money comes from a federally funded program created to assist local educational agencies serving homeless children and youth displaced by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, or the 2017 California wildfires. “This funding is great news for students in our district whose families are facing extremely difficult circumstances that have disrupted their lives,” Harkins said. “As legislators, we want to do everything in our power to make sure all kids in Erie city schools have an equal chance to learn.” Merski agreed, noting, “As a former teacher, I’ve seen how difficult it can be for kids to learn and achieve when they’re facing homelessness or poverty. This funding should bring a measure of hope and peace of mind to these students that will reduce their stress and uncertainty and allow them to get back to the business of learning and thriving.” Grants were awarded to 17 school districts throughout Pennsylvania with displaced students ranging from 28 to 495 children. Read more

 

Rabb introduces state-based slavery reparations bill on 400th anniversary of enslaved Africans arriving to North America

(Aug 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 30 – State Rep. Christopher Rabb, D-Phila., introduced legislation that would establish a reparations plan to combat systemic racism impacting Pennsylvanians of African descent on the 400 th anniversary of enslaved Africans arriving to Virginia in 1619. “For many other disenfranchised groups, the United States government has provided reparations and our commonwealth must follow suit,” Rabb said. “I am proud to introduce this bill for our commonwealth to atone for its role in this heinous institution that has resulted in generations of systemic racism bolstered by public policy and culture practice statewide.” Rabb said that slavery in Pennsylvania has been documented as early as 1639, with Philadelphia becoming the region’s largest port for importing enslaved Africans. “Many of the colonists who settled Pennsylvania tolerated slavery, including William Penn who owned 12 enslaved people. These people were responsible for building his colonial estate, Pennsbury Manor. Additionally, despite the Gradual Emancipation Act, passed in 1780, no enslaved person was ever emancipated, with many living and dying in bondage,” Rabb said. “Pennsylvania has always been a willing enabler of the subjugation of an entire race of people and this subjugation has been maintained statewide through institutional racism.” The bill outlines a state-based reparations plan that would have four parts: A formal Read more

 

Davis to host ninth annual Senior Expo this Thursday, Sept. 5

(Aug 29, 2019)

LEVITTOWN, Aug. 29 – State Rep. Tina Davis will host her ninth annual Senior Expo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 5 at Bristol Township Senior Center. Due to construction, Davis is asking attendees to park at St. Mary Church, 2026 Bath Road, Bristol, PA 19007, where a shuttle will take them to the Expo. “This free and fun event provides older adults with the opportunity to easily get information about the array of services and programs available for them,” said Davis, D-Bucks. Davis and her staff will join representatives from state and local agencies offering information geared toward older adults. The Bristol Township Police will also be on site to collect unused prescription drugs for proper disposal. Call Davis’ office at 267-580-2660 for more information. Read more

 

Bizzarro learns to fight the blaze at Allegheny County Fire Academy
Sep 04, 2019

Fiedler, Policy Committee examine school building toxic conditions and emergency funding
Sep 04, 2019

Longietti: Grant of nearly $30,000 to bolster South Pymatuning traffic safety
Sep 04, 2019

Burns supports proposed rate decrease for Peoples Natural Gas
Sep 04, 2019

Cephas touts Wolf Administration for winning $2.25 million grant to reduce maternal mortality rates
Sep 04, 2019

Hanbidge to introduce bill requiring insurers to cover EpiPen injections for children
Sep 04, 2019

DeLissio’s 88th Town Hall: The Merit Selection of Judges
Sep 04, 2019

Briggs, Policy Committee examine gun safety legislation
Sep 03, 2019

Longietti reappointed to Special Education Funding Commission
Sep 03, 2019

Otten and Muth to hold series of town halls this month
Sep 03, 2019

Roebuck commends governor’s commitment to charter school reform
Sep 03, 2019

Comitta to host two REAL ID information sessions this month
Sep 03, 2019

Rep. Howard tours West Whiteland pipeline sites, talks safety
Sep 03, 2019

Medicare help set for Sept. 9 at Flynn’s office
Sep 03, 2019

DeLissio announces two free fall shredding events for her district
Aug 30, 2019

DeLissio’s Senior Expo scheduled for Sept. 26 at Roxborough Memorial Hospital
Aug 30, 2019

Street renamed after the late former Rep. Frank L. Oliver
Aug 30, 2019

Harkins, Merski: More than $18,000 in funding to benefit homeless children in Erie City School District
Aug 30, 2019

Rabb introduces state-based slavery reparations bill on 400th anniversary of enslaved Africans arriving to North America
Aug 30, 2019

Davis to host ninth annual Senior Expo this Thursday, Sept. 5
Aug 29, 2019