Rabb will host virtual town hall today on Native American history, racialized mascots and allyship; plans to introduce legislation to ban Native American mascots in schools

(Oct 14, 2021)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 14 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., is hosting a virtual town hall on Native American history, racialized mascots and allyship from 7 to 8 p.m. today, and has announced he will introduce legislation to ban Native American mascots in schools. “As a commonwealth borne of a colony that would not have existed without the Penn’s Treaty at Shackamaxon in 1683 between British immigrants and the Lenape Turtle Clan, Pennsylvania must commit itself to ending the extended era of collective disregard for indigenous heritage and egregious cultural appropriation,” Rabb said in a memo he circulated about the legislation he intends to introduce . Rabb noted that many public schools and sports teams across Pennsylvania use or refer to indigenous culture in their mascots and logos, and social science research has shown that derogatory mascots have a negative psychological and social impact on people with indigenous heritage. Department of Justice data shows that American Indians are more likely than people of other races to experience violence at the hands of someone of a different race, and it’s been well established that mascots, logos and the like that stereotype or fetishize Indigenous peoples highly correlates to the high suicide rate among Native youth. “At its core, the use of ‘Indian’ mascots is a denial of the personhood of Native peoples, which has real consequences,” Rabb’s memo said. Read more

 

Reps. Kenyatta, Cephas introduce legislation to ban Pennsylvania from imposing undue regulations on women’s reproductive health

(Oct 07, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 7 – State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Morgan Cephas, both D-Phila., are introducing legislation to prohibit PA from imposing undue regulations on women’s reproductive health. This legislation would protect the health care women get and their access to safe abortions. It also would prevent women from being denied the right to an abortion. “Abortion is health care, and health care is a human right,” Kenyatta said. “Abortion care should be able to be accessed without any barriers, and we should put that into law.” Cephas said, “Women’s reproductive health issues are a major problem in our country, with extreme laws or proposals across the nation to restrict reproductive healthcare. Women of color suffer from it the most.” Executive Director of Planned Parenthood of PA, Signe Espinoza, joined the lawmakers at a news conference yesterday at the state Capitol to discuss the importance of having this protection in Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Rabb introduces legislation to remove Columbus Day holiday, replace it with Election Day holiday

(Oct 07, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 7 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., has introduced legislation to remove Columbus Day as a holiday and replace it with a holiday on Election Day. “We ought to be naming holidays after people who deserve honor as determined by our collective values and collective lens,” Rabb said. “Christopher Columbus not only didn’t ‘discover’ America, his accidental landing in the Bahamas in 1492 led to a legacy of enslavement and genocide. “Celebrating a man who is connected to such atrocities might have been something people in power in the past were interested in doing, but now, people like me, people who want to lift the legacies of those from our history who deserve that recognition, want to right the wrongs of the past.” Rabb’s legislation would remove Columbus Day, which is observed on the second Monday in October (Oct. 11 this year), as a state holiday in exchange for adding a state holiday on Election Day, the first Tuesday in November (Nov. 2 this year). “If we want to acknowledge a day truly deserving of our collective respect, I can think of no better day than Election Day, when the masses, the people our government was designed to serve, take part in one of our most valuable democratic practices, and cast their ballots for the people who will represent them,” Rabb said. “The added benefit of making Election Day a holiday is that it makes the sacrosanct act of voting even Read more

 

Rabb announces parody legislation enforcing reproductive responsibility among men to highlight gendered double standards regarding reproductive rights

(Oct 04, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., has circulated a public memo promoting a forthcoming bill , inspired in part by Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s innovative TExAS Act , which seeks to enforce reproductive responsibility among men through a series of means. Rabb’s bill would require men to get a vasectomy within six weeks of having their third child or their 40 th birthday, whichever comes first; codify into state law a definition of “wrongful conception” to include when a person has demonstrated negligence toward preventing conception during intercourse; would allow Pennsylvanians to take civil action for unwanted pregnancies against men who wrongfully conceive a child with them or who do not comply with the statute; and it would provide a $10,000 reward for reporting to the proper authorities those scofflaws who have not complied with the statute in the allotted timeframe, allowing for Pennsylvanians to take civil action against “inseminators.” “As long as state legislatures continue to restrict the reproductive rights of cis women, trans men and non-binary people, there should be laws to address the responsibility of men who impregnate them,” Rabb said. “My sincere hope in introducing this legislation is that my colleagues in the General Assembly consider the egregiously gendered double standard when it comes to curtailing reproductive health care as it applies to women.” Read more

 

Rabb, Polinchock introduce bill to remove DUI penalties for legal medical cannabis use

(Sep 21, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 21 – State Reps. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., and Todd Polinchock, R-Bucks, have introduced legislation that would ensure the rights of the more than 500,000 medical cannabis patients in Pennsylvania, protecting them from DUI penalties. “I believe that people with a medical need for cannabis, who have acted courageously to seek help for their medical condition and have been granted use of medical cannabis, should be protected from DUI penalties for their legal medical cannabis use,” Rabb said. “I know I’m not the only lawmaker in the General Assembly who has been contacted by constituents concerned that their responsible use of medical cannabis may expose them to targeting by law enforcement when they drive. “A medical cannabis user can take a miniscule amount of medicine for their ailment and weeks later, with traces of cannabis still in their system, be subject to arrest on a DUI charge if pulled over — not because they’ve driven impaired, but because our state laws haven’t caught up with the science,” Rabb continued. “And, if you think you don’t know someone who falls into this category – a person who has been prescribed medical cannabis and who drives and is fearful of the potential DUI charge they could face – you’re wrong. I am a card-carrying medical cannabis patient, and I drive regularly, including in and around Philadelphia and to Harrisburg conducting the Read more

 

Cruz proposes bill to ban deceptive tactics in police interrogations

(Sep 07, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 7 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., has proposed a bill that would ban deceptive tactics in police interrogations. Under state law, police officers are permitted to use deceptive tactics to secure a confession or incriminating statement. Practices that attempt to get suspects to confess to a crime, even if they didn’t commit one, have become commonplace during custodial interrogations. This is due to the assumption that only the guilty would confess. “My legislation would prohibit law enforcement officers from using deceptive interrogation tactics against any individual suspected of a crime. No innocent suspect should be pressured into confessing to a crime they didn’t commit,” said Cruz. According to The Innocence Project, more than 30% of wrongful convictions that have been overturned by DNA evidence as a result of false confessions, were attributed largely to deceptive interrogation tactics. Cruz said that deceptive tactics do not ensure that any statement provided by the accused is valid. "Presenting false information and misleading a suspect can lead to the accused admitting to a crime they did not commit," he said, pointing to the recent case where three Philadelphia cops were charged for their role in the wrongful conviction of Anthony Wright. Wright was falsely convicted of rape and served a 25-year sentence. One of the factors that led to Wright’s conviction was that he signed a Read more

 

Brooks and Fiedler Demand Accountability in Response to District’s Mishandling of Flood Response

(Sep 02, 2021)

“The events this morning were not a trivial matter. As elected officials, and as parents and grandparents of Philadelphia public school students, we were extremely frustrated and disappointed at the District's mishandling of this morning's two-hour delay of school openings in response to widespread flooding. Like caregivers across the District, we received a notification at 8:40 a.m. that schools would be delayed by two hours. Start times vary across the district, with some starting at 7:30 a.m. or 8:30 a.m., and others at 9 a.m. This notification came not only after many schools had already started, but after many families had dropped their children off at school and gone to work. This flagrant disregard for caregivers — many of whom are already juggling multiple schedules, school start-times, and jobs — unnecessarily threw so many lives into further chaos during an already difficult time. “This last-minute decision made by the District is just one example of a pattern of disrespect for our school communities, poor planning, and poor communication with families across the city. This gross mishandling of a natural disaster comes on the heels of the District’s attempt to send students back into SLA Beeber, where active asbestos remediation efforts posed serious health risks to children and active construction would have required students to use portable, outdoor toilets. While SLA Beeber families organized and won a plan for a Read more

 

Women’s Health Caucus condemns Texas’ ban on abortion

(Sep 02, 2021)

Members of the Women’s Health Caucus said they want to remind Pennsylvanians that, while they are standing in solidarity with those negatively impacted by the new Texas law, abortion remains legal in Pennsylvania, and Gov. Wolf has guaranteed a veto if any restrictive legislation reaches his desk. Read more

 

Three House Dems to introduce legislation requiring eviction, foreclosure protections during COVID-19 emergency following U.S. Supreme Court ruling

(Aug 31, 2021)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 31 – Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler and Rick Krajewski, both D-Phila., and Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, will introduce legislation to protect Pennsylvanians struggling to stay housed during the ongoing COVID-19 emergency from evictions and foreclosures. “Hundreds of millions of dollars of unused Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds are still available to tenants and landlords who desperately need the funds,” Fiedler said. “That’s why we will be introducing legislation to protect tenants from evictions related to the COVID-19 emergency. We know that homeowners are still struggling, too, and we know that this legislation would put in place protections for homeowners facing mortgage foreclosure. “Our legislation would ensure that tenants and homeowners behind on their payments are connected with assistance programs before they are evicted – helping people stay in their home, assisting renters and landlords in paying their bills, and protecting individual and public health,” Fiedler added. Specifically, the bill would require landlords seeking to evict for nonpayment to first apply for Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds and provide tenants with information about the program in the tenant’s language of choice. It would require courts to grant a continuance of 60 days until the application for rental assistance is approved or denied. It would require mortgage servicers to stop foreclosure Read more

 

Bullock, Hanbidge legislation to require masks for PA schools, daycare centers

(Aug 31, 2021)

According to the CDC, multiple studies have shown that transmission rates within school settings – when prevention strategies are in place – are typically lower than community transmission levels. Read more

 

Kenyatta to unveil bill to modernize TANF at news conference Friday

(Aug 26, 2021)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 26 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., will hold a news conference unveiling a bill he will soon introduce that would modernize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program by increasing the monthly benefit amount to bring families up to 50% of the federal poverty level and out of deep poverty. The news conference will take place at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 27 in Kenyatta’s North Philadelphia district at Germantown and Lehigh Avenues, 19133 . Activists from Philadelphia Community Legal Services will join Kenyatta in his calls for passage of the legislation. Kenyatta’s bill would require that TANF benefits undergo an annual cost-of-living increase to keep pace with inflation and would ensure benefits continue to be effective at providing financial stability to more than 68,500 Pennsylvania families and children receiving cash assistance -- something he said would be a serious life-improving measure for families and their children’s futures. Kenyatta pointed to a report released this week by the Meet The Need Campaign that found that in 1990, Pennsylvania’s benefit of $403 covered 43% of the federal poverty level, but in 2020 the same benefit covered a mere 22%. Furthermore, when accounting for inflation in this period, the TANF benefit has decreased in spending power by more than 50%. State Sen. Katie Muth has also introduced companion legislation to Kenyatta’s bill in the state Senate. Media Read more

 

Cephas appointed to Pennvest board of directors

(Aug 26, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 26 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., today announced that she was recently appointed to the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, also known as Pennvest, and said she aims to address the longstanding environmental challenges that exist in underserved communities throughout Pennsylvania in her new role. “Over the years the presence of lead in our drinking water, the ongoing need to remediate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in water sources and the importance of repairing miles of old infrastructure throughout the commonwealth have been well-documented,” Cephas said. “With resources potentially coming from the federal government, now is a great time to be strategic by leveraging Pennvest resources to further expand economic and workforce development opportunities.” Since its inception, Pennvest has been committed to serving communities and residents of Pennsylvania by funding sewer, stormwater and drinking water projects throughout the commonwealth through low-cost financial assistance opportunities. These projects not only contribute to improving Pennsylvania's environment and the health of its people, but they also provide opportunities for economic growth and jobs for Pennsylvania's workers. "In my new role, I am excited to examine and approve projects that will create healthy and safe communities across Pennsylvania," Cephas said. Read more

 

Philadelphia House Delegation responds to opioid emergency declaration lapse

(Aug 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 25 – State Rep. and Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins today made the following statement on behalf of the delegation addressing the Republican denial of an extension on Gov. Tom Wolf’s opioid emergency declaration. “It is shameful that the majority party has decided to allow for the lapse of this very important designation. Opioid addiction is Pennsylvania’s other epidemic and was at one point moving in the right direction, with overdose deaths falling since 2018. But with COVID-19, opioid use is up again, but this time the Republican majority has decided to let the governor's opioid disaster declaration expire, setting up Pennsylvania for yet another healthcare war to wage in addition to COVID. It is shameful, particularly when we know things were working. The Republicans punishing Governor Wolf and trying to cut him out of this process does nothing for the many people who battle this every day. As our city has seen the harsh reality of this as much as any municipality in the commonwealth, it is with much regret that we are witnessing the dismantling of such an important declaration.” The declaration was first signed in January 2018 to help the commonwealth fight the deadly opioid and heroin epidemic and was renewed 15 times, most recently on Aug. 4. Since 2017, when naloxone was made available to first responders, more than 16,000 overdose reversals have been reported, close to 80 trainings conducted and Read more

 

Kenyatta aims to modernize TANF program on 25th anniversary in new bill

(Aug 20, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 20 – On the 25th anniversary of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., announced that he will introduce legislation this fall that would modernize the TANF program by increasing the monthly benefit amount to bring families up to 50% of the federal poverty level and out of deep poverty. By requiring that the benefits undergo an annual cost-of-living increase to keep pace with inflation, Kenyatta’s bill would ensure benefits continue to be effective at providing financial stability to the roughly 68,500 Pennsylvania families and children receiving cash assistance -- something he said would be a serious life-improving measure for families and their children’s futures. “Eradicating poverty is the moral and economic issue of our generation. No one, especially Pennsylvania’s children, should live in deep poverty, which has long-term effects on their health and well-being for their entire lives,” Kenyatta said. “TANF has served as a lifeline for so many families and children in need for a quarter of a century. As the cost of living increases, the monthly payments from TANF are ineffective at fulfilling the needs of Pennsylvanians relying on it to survive. I urge my colleagues in joining me in ensuring this lifeline meets the moment.” Kenyatta pointed to a report released this week from The Meet Need Campaign that found that in 1990, Pennsylvania’s Read more

 

Jobs and healthcare access focus of Temple Health Juniata Park Campus Tour Monday

(Aug 08, 2021)

PHILA., Aug. 8 – Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins is hosting the House Democratic Policy Committee for a tour and roundtable discussion of the former Cancer Centers of America facility, Temple Health's Juniata Park Campus. The tour will begin at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 9 at 1331 E. Wyoming Ave., Philadelphia. The hearing is open to the media and inquiries may be submitted to policy@pahouse.net . Chairman Dawkins will be joined by Policy Committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro and members of the House Democratic Policy Committee for a tour of their recently-purchased facility and discuss how the acquisition will impact patient care, healthcare access, and jobs in the region. Visit www.pahouse.com/policy for more information about this and other committee events. ### Read more

 

Carbon capture and Pennsylvania’s energy future focus of Wednesday hearing in Philadelphia

(Jul 20, 2021)

PHILADELPHIA, July 20 – Carbon capture and its place in limiting greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to the green economy will be explored at a hearing hosted by state Rep. Joe Hohenstein. The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 21 at the Port of Philadelphia, 3460 N. Delaware Ave., 19134. The media is invited to attend and media inquiries may be submitted via email to policy@pahouse.net . Hohenstein, D-Phila., will be joined by Vice Chair Mary Isaacson and members of the House Democratic Policy Committee to discuss nationwide efforts to support carbon capture and its impact on the economy and environment. Information about this and other House Democratic Policy Committee hearings can be found at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . ### CONTACT: Nicole Brunner The Office of State Representative Ryan Bizzarro Phone: 717-645-7316 Email: nbrunner@pahouse.net Read more

 

Prescription drug pricing reforms essential for public health, and economy

(Jul 12, 2021)

HARRISBURG, July 12 -- State Representatives Emily Kinkead and Eddie Day Pashinski today hosted a public hearing to discuss the need for drastic reforms to drive down the costs of prescription drugs for the well-being of Pennsylvanians who rely on medications for an improved quality of life. The hearing, a meeting of the Policy Committee’s Subcommittee on Progressive Policies for Working People, included testimony on how prescription drug pricing is calculated, some of the cost drivers and legislative action needed to regulate pricing. Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, chair of the subcommittee, and legislators from across the state joined both in person and online for the discussion. Sean Zmenkowski, a constituent services advisor for Rep. Kinkead, shared his experience as a type one diabetic reliant on insulin to survive and the career choices he has had to make in order to maintain access to life-sustaining medication. “Far too many Pennsylvanians have to make painful choices regarding life-saving medications – going without or rationing their medicine – either option is inexcusable,” said state Rep. Emily Kinkead, D-Allegheny. “I remain committed to working with my colleagues to come up with solutions, including a prescription drug importation program, to ensure the prescription drugs our residents need are accessible and affordable. It’s clear we need long-term solutions to help our residents, and we can make it happen.” Read more

 

Kinsey, Guzman to introduce bill that would mandate encoding ammunition for retail sale with serial numbers in Pa.

(Jul 01, 2021)

HARRISBURG, July 1 – State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Manuel Guzman today announced that they will soon introduce legislation that would mandate ammunition manufacturers to encode ammunition for retail sale with serial numbers, making the bullet a more useable piece of evidence for law enforcement to solve more crimes in the wake of increasing gun violence. The bill would also require manufacturers to provide the serial numbers to the Pennsylvania State Police, who would be responsible for keeping a database on all encoded ammunition sold in Pennsylvania and allow law enforcement to easily trace the ownership of any ammunition involved in a crime. “Our commonwealth has experienced an uptick in gun violence, and very few of these crimes have resulted in an arrest or conviction because all that’s left at the crime scene is a victim and spent shell-casings,” said Kinsey, D-Phila. “Our bill that would require every piece of ammunition sold in this state to be encoded with identifying serial numbers -- much like the guns they’re discharged from. It is time for us to keep track of these lethal weapons and ensure that we have the tools necessary to convict individuals who use their firearms for unlawful purposes.” “Police investigations involving firearms go cold over a lack of evidence too often,” said Guzman, D-Berks. “By encoding ammunition, we will provide a much-needed tool in the fight to reduce firearm Read more

 

Resolution calling for National Infrastructure Bank introduced in Pa. House

(Jun 30, 2021)

HARRISBURG, June 30 – State Reps. Ed Neilson, Mary Jo Daley, Eddie Day Pashinski and Joe Ciresi announced the introduction of a resolution urging Congress to establish a National Infrastructure Bank to repair, enhance and revolutionize the country’s infrastructure while creating 25 million living-wage jobs. "Throughout my entire professional career, I have been deeply rooted in the labor sector," Neilson, D-Phila., said. "I know the value of those jobs to the people who work in them, and I know how vital those jobs are to our economy and the well-being of our communities. Right now, our commonwealth's infrastructure is in crisis. A National Infrastructure Bank would allow us to support various industries , create jobs and address the issue of our aging and deteriorating infrastructure." The NIB would be a separate institution from the Federal Budget, set up as a government-sponsored lending, deposit-money bank, and capitalized with existing treasuries held by the public sector – not new tax dollars. According to the Coalition for a National Infrastructure Bank, this process of using government-backed private capital to finance these most-needed projects has been successfully used to restore our country’s economic stability four times throughout the U.S. history. Legislation – H.R. 3339 – has been introduced in Congress to create this NIB but has not yet been voted on. In Pennsylvania, H.R. 113 – with Read more

 

Philadelphia, Southeast House members call on WHYY board of directors for fair collective bargaining agreement, fair wages

(Jun 29, 2021)

PHILADELPHIA, June 29 – Twenty members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the Philadelphia and Southeast delegations sent a letter in support of the workers at public media station WHYY. The letter, sent to the CEO and the WHYY board of directors, called for a fair collective bargaining agreement, fair wages and predictable, fair work schedules. As public media consumers, lawmakers and Philadelphia region residents, the House members said WHYY clearly is a valuable piece of local community journalism for the region that needs to support its workers. A former WHYY reporter and producer, state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, D-Phila., said, “As a reporter at WHYY for a decade prior to being elected in 2018, I saw firsthand many of the conditions that workers are talking about. It’s unacceptable and troubling. Many of the current workers were my colleagues when I started as a freelance reporter at WHYY years ago. Today, my state House colleagues and I stand in solidarity with them. They are important, valuable parts of the news and information that consumers receive. It is their labor that has helped build WHYY’s brand; they deserve to be treated fairly and respectfully.” The letter, which was emailed to the WHYY leadership on Tuesday, and which Fiedler, the Philadelphia Delegation secretary, will hand deliver on Wednesday, can be found here . In the letter, members of the Philadelphia and Southeast delegations outline low Read more

 

Rabb will host virtual town hall today on Native American history, racialized mascots and allyship; plans to introduce legislation to ban Native American mascots in schools
Oct 14, 2021

Reps. Kenyatta, Cephas introduce legislation to ban Pennsylvania from imposing undue regulations on women’s reproductive health
Oct 07, 2021

Rabb introduces legislation to remove Columbus Day holiday, replace it with Election Day holiday
Oct 07, 2021

Rabb announces parody legislation enforcing reproductive responsibility among men to highlight gendered double standards regarding reproductive rights
Oct 04, 2021

Rabb, Polinchock introduce bill to remove DUI penalties for legal medical cannabis use
Sep 21, 2021

Cruz proposes bill to ban deceptive tactics in police interrogations
Sep 07, 2021

Brooks and Fiedler Demand Accountability in Response to District’s Mishandling of Flood Response
Sep 02, 2021

Women’s Health Caucus condemns Texas’ ban on abortion
Sep 02, 2021

Three House Dems to introduce legislation requiring eviction, foreclosure protections during COVID-19 emergency following U.S. Supreme Court ruling
Aug 31, 2021

Bullock, Hanbidge legislation to require masks for PA schools, daycare centers
Aug 31, 2021

Kenyatta to unveil bill to modernize TANF at news conference Friday
Aug 26, 2021

Cephas appointed to Pennvest board of directors
Aug 26, 2021

Philadelphia House Delegation responds to opioid emergency declaration lapse
Aug 25, 2021

Kenyatta aims to modernize TANF program on 25th anniversary in new bill
Aug 20, 2021

Jobs and healthcare access focus of Temple Health Juniata Park Campus Tour Monday
Aug 08, 2021

Carbon capture and Pennsylvania’s energy future focus of Wednesday hearing in Philadelphia
Jul 20, 2021

Prescription drug pricing reforms essential for public health, and economy
Jul 12, 2021

Kinsey, Guzman to introduce bill that would mandate encoding ammunition for retail sale with serial numbers in Pa.
Jul 01, 2021

Resolution calling for National Infrastructure Bank introduced in Pa. House
Jun 30, 2021

Philadelphia, Southeast House members call on WHYY board of directors for fair collective bargaining agreement, fair wages
Jun 29, 2021