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Enduring racial inequity in Pa. requires systemic solutions, including reparations: Rep. Chris Rabb

(19 hours ago)

It is hard to look at our state as a commonwealth when what has been most common in our history is the exploitation and marginalization of Black people in all facets of life as fomented or condoned by our legislature, courts and state agencies.For these reasons, and because systemic problems require systemic solutions, the legislation I am introducing will focus solely on the culpability of Pennsylvania in systemic racism against its Black residents. The same government that created these enduring injustices must be the one responsible for solving the societal damage it caused. Read more

 

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta joins Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows Cohort 7

(Mar 01, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 1 – Pennsylvania state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., has been selected to participate in the seventh cohort of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program, an elite group of national, senior-level policy leaders who have the knowledge, skill, and desire to be effective, equity-minded education policymakers at the state level. The program is an initiative of The Hunt Institute, an education policy nonprofit founded in 2001 by former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt. Kenyatta will join 29 other senior-level elected officials from across the country in Cohort 7, bringing the total number of Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows to 141, which includes former Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale (Cohort 2). Fellows represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and the program currently boasts six sitting governors: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox. "In order to ensure that our systems are supporting families, we have to strengthen our schools and classrooms to provide our children with a high-quality education,” Kenyatta said. “As I continue to fight on behalf of all working people, I look forward to learning from The Hunt Institute and engaging with this bipartisan group of policymakers from across the country." The program is named for renowned education governors Jim Hunt and Tom Kean. Read more

 

Rep. Driscoll assigned to House committee leadership

(Mar 01, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 1 – State Rep. Michael Driscoll, D-Phila., today announced he has been appointed to serve as Democratic secretary of the PA House Commerce Committee. The committee appointment is for the 2021-22 session of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “My experience in the private sector and in public service -- working in business development and as deputy secretary of the Department of General Services under Governor Bob Casey Sr. – give me a carefully crafted set of skills that will guide me in my current role as secretary of the House Commerce Committee,” Driscoll said. “With the economic impacts from the pandemic in addition to the regular needs of Pennsylvania businesses, it’s critical that we, as members of this committee, ensure that state government wholly works for the people. I look forward to getting to work to see this goal through in this leadership role.” In addition to his Commerce Committee leadership post, Driscoll is also a member of the House Finance, Gaming Oversight, Insurance and Democratic Policy committees. Driscoll, who is currently serving in his fourth legislative term, said this leadership position and membership on other standing committees will assist him in furthering his ongoing fight for economic fairness and empowerment through quality education, and fostering an economy that allows recent college Read more

 

Krajewski introduces legislation to help struggling families stay in their homes

(Feb 22, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 22 – Holding fast to his belief that housing is a human right, state Rep. Rick Krajewski, D-Phila., has introduced legislation to help struggling families stay in their homes. “Shelter is a necessity,” Krajewski said. “A person’s ability to keep a roof over their head, over their children’s heads, is tied directly to their ability to stay safe, to stay healthy. People who are struggling to make ends meet should not have to forfeit their home and with it their health and safety. And that’s why I’m introducing this legislation, so that homeowners have another option to stay in their homes, even in financially trying times.” The legislation, which Krajewski introduced with state Reps. Jared Solomon and Morgan Cephas, both D-Phila., would allow a mortgage modification to be finalized in advance of the payment of municipal liens assessed on a property. Current state law requires lien satisfaction before a mortgage modification can be finalized. Krajewski said the legislation would make it easier for financially struggling homeowners to modify their mortgage to help them get back on their feet. “In addition to it being the right thing to do,” Krajewski noted, “helping struggling families to stay in their homes helps the community as a whole. It keeps people who have a vested interest in their community’s well-being in the community.” Krajewski said the Pennsylvania Read more

 

McClinton names housing advocate to PHFA board

(Feb 19, 2021)

“Helping people to buy homes and remain in homes is crucial to building stronger communities at any time, and even more during this pandemic,” McClinton said. “It’s the central mission of PHFA and I cannot think of a better person to move this work forward than Markita Morris-Louis.” Read more

 

Protecting the Delaware River Basin focus of House Democratic Policy Committee hearing Monday

(Feb 19, 2021)

HA RRISBURG, Feb. 19 -- At the request of state Rep. Mary Isaacson, the PA House Democratic Policy Committee will host a virtual hearing to discuss the Delaware River Basin and the value it brings beyond the region. The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 22 and can be viewed at www.pahouse.com/policy or the committee’s Facebook page -- @PADemPolicy. The public and media are encouraged to tune in and can submit questions to policy@pahouse.net . Chairman Ryan Bizzarro, Isaacson and members of the Democratic Policy Committee will discuss the health of the Delaware River Basin, the resources and economic activity it generates, and state and federal efforts to improve water quality. Isaacson serves the 175th Legislative District representing the River Wards along the Delaware River from Old Richmond to Queen Village and has taken an active role in preserving and enhancing the economic and environmental vitality of the Delaware River Basin. Read more

 

Reps. Kenyatta and Burgos to host free COVID-19 testing in North Philadelphia

(Feb 17, 2021)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 17 – State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Danilo Burgos, both D-Phila, are teaming up to provide free COVID-19 testing in North Philadelphia, with the goal of offsetting the disparities in testing among Black and Latino communities in Philadelphia. The free testing will be provided in partnership with Latino Connection and funded by the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, and will take place on Feb. 20 and March 6, both on a Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Norris Square Park, 2100 N. Howard St., 19122 . Spanish-speaking staff and volunteers will also be on-site. Kenyatta and Burgos pointed to a report that found that race and ethnicity data for COVID-19 cases are widely unaccounted for in Pennsylvania, especially in Philadelphia. The lag, they said, undercuts the severity of survivability outcomes of both groups. For Latinos, specifically, despite only making up 6% of the population in Pennsylvania, they disproportionately make up 11% of COVID-19 deaths when applying weighted population distributions, according to a study found on the Centers for Disease Control’s website. The lawmakers also said Blacks and Latinos not only remain severely underrepresented in data for cases — collected through testing — but also in the vaccine rollout. Kenyatta, who has put dismantling poverty and systemic racism at the forefront of his legislative agenda, said the pandemic has exacerbated Read more

 

Cephas participates in joint policy hearing on maternal mortality

(Feb 11, 2021)

At the request of PA Women’s Health Caucus chairs Sen. Judy Schwank (D- Berks), Sen. Amanda Cappelletti (D- Delaware/Montgomery), Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D- Montgomery), and Rep. Morgan Cephas (D- Philadelphia), the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee joined the House Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual public hearing to discuss maternal health amidst COVID-19. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have been deeply concerned about both the physical and mental health of mothers and families experiencing childbirth and caring for babies in the shadow of COVID-19,” Schwank said. “We must ensure that mothers and babies are receiving the best care possible and are receiving the support and services they need to maintain a healthy life during and after this pandemic.” Cappelletti continued, “Women, particularly women of color, have been the most detrimentally impacted by this pandemic. Not only must they navigate health and safety for themselves, but they are often tasked as the primary caregivers and providers for their children and family. As we discuss all aspects of healthcare and the impact COVID-19 has had on women, we must ensure that women’s health and the health of their children are not left out of this conversation.” Dr. Richard Beigi, an OB-GYN practitioner and president of UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital, spoke about the many concerns that pregnant women have had about getting the COVID-19 Read more

 

Let’s work for – not against – women’s health in 2021-22

(Feb 11, 2021)

In the Women’s Health Caucus, we listen to women. We know that whether Republican, Democrat, Independent or other; whether wealthy, poor or middle class; whether residing in the city, the suburbs or rural Pennsylvania; whether young or old; there are real issues affecting women’s free choice, financial well-being and life itself. Read more

 

Rabb joins Fund Our Facilities Coalition in calling for remedy to building concerns as schools reopen

(Feb 08, 2021)

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., has joined his voice with the chorus of lawmakers, unions and advocacy groups calling for Philadelphia School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. and Mayor Jim Kenney to devote themselves to remedying building concerns as soon as possible. “I support the reopening of our schools as soon as the School District of Philadelphia plan conforms with science, is based in reality and is informed by the substantive input of all stakeholders,” Rabb said. A letter from Fund Our Facilities Coalition, signed by 31 lawmakers and community leaders, cited the longstanding hazardous conditions in School District of Philadelphia buildings, which have caused devastating health issues, including cancer, asthma and other breathing issues before COVID-19 became an issue. “Philadelphia families deserve to have complete confidence that their lives will not be put at risk when they enter a Philadelphia public school building: that remains true as relates to lead and asbestos, and now in the face of a devastating pandemic, it is doubly true as relates to the deadly COVID-19,” the letter says. “… We call for the District and the city to devote themselves to transparency about decision making and to completely remedying building concerns before proceeding to reopen schools.” Rabb, a longtime advocate for fair funding for public schools so that every child in every school district Read more

 

Rabb ranked top Pa. legislator by ACLU-PA for civil rights and civil liberties-related voting record

(Feb 05, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 5 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., said he has been ranked No. 1 among lawmakers for his legislative voting record on issues related to civil rights and civil liberties in the ACLU-PA’s recently released Legislative Scorecard. “Standing up for the human rights, civil rights and civil liberties is one of my priorities in life – in my role as son, father and neighbor, as well as in my role as state representative, elected to serve the best interests of the people in my community who rely on me to be their voice in Harrisburg,” Rabb said. “Being named by the ACLU-PA as the top lawmaker in the state for my record on how I voted on these critical issues is a tremendous honor, one I share with the people of my district who have entrusted me with the responsibilities of serving them.” Elizabeth Randol, legislative director of ACLU of Pennsylvania, commended Rabb’s leadership and encouraged other lawmakers to consider their responsibility when it comes to standing up for people’s rights. “State legislators play a critical role in protecting the rights of all Pennsylvanians,” Randol said. “With the highest score in the General Assembly last session on the ACLU-PA Legislative Scorecard , Representative Rabb has shown true leadership in protecting and advancing civil liberties in the commonwealth. As we start a new legislative session, we hope more legislators will work alongside us, Read more

 

Krajewski appointed to Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing

(Feb 04, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 4 – State Rep. Rick Krajewski, D-Phila., has been appointed to the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, a role he hopes will allow him to promote equity and fairness in Pennsylvania’s justice system. “Shaping our justice system into one that is truly just – where antiquated, unfair and often inhumane practices are put into the rearview – is one of my core missions as a member of my community, as someone who has worked as a community organizer and now, in my role as a state representative,” Krajewski said. “I am honored to be chosen for this appointment, and I am focused and determined to use this opportunity to make progress in transforming the justice system from one that is carceral to one that promotes compassion and healing.” Krajewski , elected in 2020 to represent the 188 th Legislative District in Philadelphia, was recommended for the appointment to the commission by House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton, who held the post before she became House Democratic leader. "The fact that Representative Krajewski shares my commitment and passion to enact substantial criminal justice reform makes him a natural fit to take my seat on the PA Commission on Sentencing," said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. "There's no doubt in my mind that he will continue moving our fight forward to establish a just and equitable justice system that works for everyone." Created in 1978 by the Read more

 

Cephas calls governor's budget proposal a major step toward creating a more equitable Pennsylvania for working families

(Feb 03, 2021)

State Rep. Morgan Cephas is applauding Gov. Tom Wolf's budget proposal for Pennsylvania, calling it a major step toward building a more equitable society for all working families especially communities of color amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "Since the beginning of this health crisis, we've seen firsthand how this deadly virus has adversely impacted children, women, local businesses and working families across the commonwealth. The governor's budget plan would help remove many of these unnecessary barriers by implementing substantial change using an equitable lens, starting with a massive tax break for the working class. "First-and-foremost, a quality education provides a strong foundation for a child's future and should never be based on zip code but be accessible to all students. By making historic investments in our public schools and funneling all of it through the fair funding formula, we help close the digital divide and ensure children on our side of City Avenue receive the same resources as everyone else, giving them the best chance to succeed whether they're learning at home or in the classroom. "Along those same lines, the fact this proposal devotes ample funding to workforce development programs aids in our ongoing efforts to connect our young people with the skills they need to get a job and provide for themselves in a global economy. However, it must be good paying Read more

 

Philadelphia Delegation members call for resignation of city health department commissioner

(Jan 29, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 29 – Members of the Philadelphia House Democratic Delegation have called for the resignation of Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley after the alleged problems with the city’s contracted vaccine organizer Philly Fighting COVID, according to the delegation’s chairman, state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila. “While in the crisis of our lifetime, the ball was dropped and left Philadelphians at risk, both for their personal information and their personal safety,” Dawkins said. “Dr. Farley has worked hard for Philadelphia, but in a moment when people’s lives are in jeopardy and when the world is watching, we cannot have such horrible decisions putting the lives and health of our citizens so at risk. The loss of the public’s trust requires that we have a change at the department. Things need to change to ensure everyone has a sense of security moving forward.” “The missteps and missed opportunities that we have seen from Philadelphia’s health department have been many,” said state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., “and in the middle of the deadliest health crisis in global history we can’t afford anymore. Commissioner Farley worked incredibly hard on testing but has unfortunately not met the moment in regard to quickly getting out the vaccine in an equitable way. And the Philly Fighting COVID debacle has become a national stain on the city. I Read more

 

Philadelphia House Democratic Delegation responds to allegations against Philly Fighting COVID

(Jan 28, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 28 – The Philadelphia House Democratic Delegation sent a letter today to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley demanding answers to the COVID-19 vaccine problems between the city and Philly Fighting COVID, the organization tasked with administering vaccines to Philadelphia residents, according to the delegation’s chairman, state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila. “This is a completely unacceptable turn of events,” Dawkins said. “The people of Philadelphia have relied on the city to ensure they are able to access vaccines in this critical time, and if this organization is who was designated to do the job, not only did they fail to vaccinate but also failed the people of the city by then compromising their personal information. What’s worse, to then learn the organization’s CEO was allegedly taking vaccine home. If this is true, it is completely unacceptable. How did this organization even get chosen to administer the city’s plan? It is disturbing and upsetting, and answers must be given. We all have a right to know.” “People in my district are struggling to get the vaccine while this guy is taking them home,” said state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila. “I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me that what he did was illegal, and he needs to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.” Kenyatta represents the 181st Legislative Read more

 

Rabb votes ‘No’ on H.B. 14, saying legislation that would amend PA constitution should have a public hearing in that term

(Jan 27, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 27 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., today voted against a measure that would allow victims of childhood sexual abuse for whom the statute of limitations has expired a two-year window during which they could file a civil lawsuit, saying he does not take issue with the objective of the legislation, rather that legislation that would amend the state constitution should have a public hearing. “I am elated at the passage of the House Bill 14, however, I’m saddened that I had to vote against it – not because I opposed the bill itself, but due to my consistent outcry against running legislation that amends the state constitution without the majority caucus convening at least one public hearing in each legislative term in which such legislation is introduced,” Rabb said. “Integrity matters most when the stakes are highest. I take no joy in being the only Democrat in the House to vote against my colleague, Representative Mark Rozzi’s bill. He’s a man I have sat next to for four years on the House floor. His personal story of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest has both enraged me and opened my eyes to the evil that we as a society have permitted to endure for generations. “This is a bittersweet moment for me as someone who supports victims’ rights – and this legislation in particular – and who believes that process matters, too,” Rabb said. “Whether a bill Read more

 

Tell the Philadelphia Department of Public Health you want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine

(Jan 26, 2021)

Philadelphians now have a way to tell the Department of Public Health that they want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Residents are encouraged to provide contact information and some limited personal information on the City’s website — phila.gov/vaccineinterest — which is available in English and Spanish. Those who complete the interest form will be contacted later by the Department of Public Health or one of the City’s many vaccine partners when they can schedule an appointment. The information collected on this form is protected using the same level of security as other health information maintained by the Department of Public Health and is completely secure. Due to extremely limited vaccine supply at this time, residents cannot set appointments using this website. Furthermore, it may take weeks or months before residents will be able to schedule appointments. However, by registering on the phila.gov/vaccineinterest website, residents can ensure that they will be notified when the vaccine becomes available to them. Read more

 

Reps. Pisciottano and Brown introduce effort to increase stipend for veterans

(Jan 25, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 25 – State Reps. Nick Pisciottano and Amen Brown are leading an effort to boost the state stipend for veterans who are blind, paralyzed or amputees due to their military service. The $150 monthly stipend has not seen an increase for more than two decades. Pisciottano, D-Allegheny, and Brown, D-Philadelphia, said they plan on introducing legislation that would increase the monthly stipend disabled veterans receive to $200 per month. Based on rising costs and inflation, the current $150 a month these veterans receive is worth about $98 a month, reflecting a 34% decrease in value. “These men and women gave so much in service to our country and to keep each one of us safe, including the loss of their sight and their mobility,” said Pisciottano. “Each one of them who suffered life-altering, debilitating injuries is truly deserving of a long-overdue increase to this benefit, a benefit that is well within our state’s budgetary means. I’m proud to partner with Representative Brown to make this happen and I anticipate more of our colleagues will sign on to support this worthwhile effort to provide this assistance to our disabled veterans.” “Our veterans deserve our deep gratitude and a salute for their service and for keeping our imperfect democratic republic safe.” Brown said. “However, what veterans deserve – and need more – is real, tangible assistance from our state and federal Read more

 

Hohenstein announces $100 million low-interest loan to help protect the Delaware River

(Jan 21, 2021)

State Rep. Joe Hohenstein announced today that Philadelphia will receive more than $100 million in state funding to build a new treatment facility aimed at protecting the Delaware River and its surrounding communities. Hohenstein said a $100.11 million low-interest loan was approved by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, commonly known as Pennvest, and will be used to construct a new 300-million-gallon-per-day preliminary treatment facility that includes: A diversion structure to reroute wastewater from existing sewer interceptors. New screening and grit removal systems. Tie-in conduit to connect to existing primary sedimentation tanks. "The Delaware River is a critical resource that so many across the city rely on, especially for drinking water," said Hohenstein, D-Phila. "This funding builds upon our efforts to protect it and its aquatic wildlife by helping prevent untreated sewage runoff from contaminating the river during storms. I will continue working to secure similar funding to ensure the safety of our local waterways." Pennvest serves the communities and residents of Pennsylvania by funding sewer, stormwater and drinking water projects. More information can be found on Pennvest's website . Read more

 

Cephas applauds nearly $8 million in federal stimulus funding going to help West Philly students during COVID-19 pandemic

(Jan 20, 2021)

State Rep. Morgan Cephas is applauding approximately $7.99 million in federal stimulus funds awarded to help strengthen services for students in several of her local schools impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cephas said the financial resources will support food programs, technological improvements and other educational services. The funding will be distributed as follows: West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School: $2.21 million. Ad Prima Charter School: $2.14 million. Universal Bluford Charter School: $1.84 million. Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School: $1.8 million. "Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, I've been working to bridge the digital divide to ensure students in the 192nd Legislative District have access to the same reliable internet and school resources their peers have in neighboring communities," said Cephas, D-Phila. "Every child deserves a quality education no matter where they live or where they're learning, and this federal stimulus funding helps move us closer to that reality." The federal relief is provided by the bipartisan Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund passed by Congress in December. This round of funding included $2.2 billion in funding distributed to K-12 school Read more

 

Enduring racial inequity in Pa. requires systemic solutions, including reparations: Rep. Chris Rabb
19 hours ago

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta joins Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows Cohort 7
Mar 01, 2021

Rep. Driscoll assigned to House committee leadership
Mar 01, 2021

Krajewski introduces legislation to help struggling families stay in their homes
Feb 22, 2021

McClinton names housing advocate to PHFA board
Feb 19, 2021

Protecting the Delaware River Basin focus of House Democratic Policy Committee hearing Monday
Feb 19, 2021

Reps. Kenyatta and Burgos to host free COVID-19 testing in North Philadelphia
Feb 17, 2021

Cephas participates in joint policy hearing on maternal mortality
Feb 11, 2021

Let’s work for – not against – women’s health in 2021-22
Feb 11, 2021

Rabb joins Fund Our Facilities Coalition in calling for remedy to building concerns as schools reopen
Feb 08, 2021

Rabb ranked top Pa. legislator by ACLU-PA for civil rights and civil liberties-related voting record
Feb 05, 2021

Krajewski appointed to Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing
Feb 04, 2021

Cephas calls governor's budget proposal a major step toward creating a more equitable Pennsylvania for working families
Feb 03, 2021

Philadelphia Delegation members call for resignation of city health department commissioner
Jan 29, 2021

Philadelphia House Democratic Delegation responds to allegations against Philly Fighting COVID
Jan 28, 2021

Rabb votes ‘No’ on H.B. 14, saying legislation that would amend PA constitution should have a public hearing in that term
Jan 27, 2021

Tell the Philadelphia Department of Public Health you want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
Jan 26, 2021

Reps. Pisciottano and Brown introduce effort to increase stipend for veterans
Jan 25, 2021

Hohenstein announces $100 million low-interest loan to help protect the Delaware River
Jan 21, 2021

Cephas applauds nearly $8 million in federal stimulus funding going to help West Philly students during COVID-19 pandemic
Jan 20, 2021