Kinkead: Allegheny County DA Zappala’s actions are reprehensible and must be immediately addressed

(Jun 04, 2021)

PITTSBURGH, June 4 – State Rep. Emily Kinkead, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala’s public comments against Milton Raiford, a Black attorney who spoke out against racism in the criminal justice system. “It is undisputed that our criminal justice system has real, systemic and systematic issues of racism and Allegheny County is far from immune. DA Stephen Zappala’s decision not to address these issues but instead to instruct his staff not to offer plea deals to attorney Milton Raiford’s clients after he voiced concerns about these issues betrays public trust in their ability to receive equal justice in Allegheny County, not to mention violating attorney Raiford’s free speech rights. “To potentially punish clients because of the statements their attorney made is beyond reprehensible and must be addressed immediately. This latest action raises additional concerns as to how the district attorney’s office has conducted its business, notably in how it has treated clients of other attorneys, including those with whom DA Zappala may have disagreed, now or in the past. “Several of my colleagues in the state House and Senate today have joined me in signing a letter , urging DA Zappala to take immediate actions that would work to restore public confidence in the district attorney’s office, including rescinding the action taken against attorney Read more

 

Benham announces $15K grant to Hilltop Urban Farm

(May 10, 2021)

State Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today that Hilltop Urban Farm has received a $15,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture through the Pennsylvania Farm Bill’s Urban Agriculture Grant Program. Read more

 

Benham announces more than $228K in funding for safety, renovation projects in 36th District

(Apr 21, 2021)

State Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, announced today that a total of $229,392 in Commonwealth Financing Authority Multimodal and Act 13 funding has been awarded to two projects in the 36th District.   Read more

 

The PA Rescue Plan tackles long-term care for our most vulnerable

(Apr 21, 2021)

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed so many inequities in our country – from socio-economic to racial, medical conditions and age. These inequities existed long before the pandemic but have been laid bare over the past year in such a way that we can no longer refuse to address them. Our most vulnerable populations – seniors and people with disabilities – must have access to quality, affordable care. And that starts with support for the workforce charged with helping them. We know that, if given the choice, most seniors prefer to age in place from the comfort of their own homes. But as they age, the need may arise for assistance with day-to-day activities, transportation, medications and overall wellness. That’s where direct care workers make a huge difference. These workers are low-paid and often lack adequate health care and other benefits like sick or vacation leave. These jobs are also physically and emotionally demanding and are often characterized by heavy workloads, scheduling challenges, and limited training and career advancement prospects . Yet, these workers show up each day for their clients because they know someone is depending on them. In 2020, people 65 and older made up 19% of Pennsylvania’s population -- that is expected to grow to 22% by 2025 . The increase in our aging population will put additional pressure on our direct care workforce. However, the investment by the state in these important jobs remains persistently low. Read more

 

Letter to Gov. Wolf

(Apr 07, 2021)

I joined my colleagues in writing to Gov. Wolf to request he add prevailing wage standards to his solar energy plan. Read more

 

Spring Newsletter

(Apr 07, 2021)

Click to read the digital version of my Spring newsletter. Read more

 

Lawmakers: Legislation is hateful attempt to ignite culture war in Pa

(Apr 05, 2021)

Say proposed bill is disingenuous, harmful Read more

 

Benham: $100,000 grant awarded to local park project

(Apr 05, 2021)

Funding to help Baldwin Borough with Elm Leaf Park Phase III Read more

 

Pisciottano supports bill to protect patients, nurses

(Mar 29, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 29 – Ensuring patient safety and keeping nurses safe are the primary goals behind legislation supported by state Rep. Nick Pisciottano, D-Allegheny, and several members of the Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation. Pisciottano said the pandemic has brought serious safety concerns into the spotlight, as more nurses are being assigned an increasing number of patients, while at the same time, nurse staffing levels in hospitals continue to decline. House Bill 106, also known as the Patient Safety Act, would set appropriate nursing ratios for hospitals dependent upon the severity of the nursing unit’s patient needs. “As our state and nation begin to emerge from the pandemic, it’s critical we look at ways to improve our health systems and put procedures into place to enhance patient and workers’ safety,” said Pisciottano. “Our nurses and health care staff are doing all they can to help keep patients safe, and with the extra demands on their care during the current pandemic, we must join other states in instituting safe patient limits and create working conditions which protect the physical and mental health of our nurses. This measure would significantly raise the standards of care of patients while keeping our nurses safe.” A letter of support for the bill, signed by state Reps. Jessica Benham, Austin Davis, Dan Deasy, Emily Kinkead, Sara Read more

 

Allegheny County rental relief program now accepting applications

(Mar 15, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 15 – Financial assistance is now available to help Allegheny County residents struggling to pay rent or utilities during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a program that is partially funded by legislation members of the Allegheny County Democratic Delegation helped to pass. The Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance program has a total of $79.9 million to distribute to eligible county residents. Of that funding, $43 million came from Act 1 of 2021, which Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law last month. Eligibility requirements for the program include: having at least one person who qualifies for unemployment, has lost income or suffered financially due to COVID-19. being at risk of experiencing homelessness. having a total income below 80% of the Area Median Income for Allegheny County. ACDD Chairman state Rep. Austin Davis, as well as state Reps. Jessica Benham, Dan Deasy, Tony DeLuca, Dan Frankel, Ed Gainey, Sara Innamorato, Emily Kinkead, Anita Kulik, Summer Lee, Brandon Markosek, Robert Matzie, Dan Miller, Nick Pisciottano and Jake Wheatley, issued the following statement: “People living in Allegheny County have been struggling for over a year during this pandemic. This program has been a long time coming and helps provide direct relief to those who’ve been scrambling to pay their rent and bills during this Read more

 

Benham introduces legislation aimed at ensuring all Pennsylvanians safeguarded from pandemic debt

(Feb 17, 2021)

State Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, has introduced legislation that would ensure Pennsylvanians seeking care related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic wouldn’t face out-of-pocket expenses. Read more

 

Miller, Benham to introduce bill to create new Pa. Department of Accessibility and Inclusion

(Feb 10, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 10 – State Reps. Dan Miller and Jessica Benham, both D-Allegheny, are planning to introduce a bill that would create the Pennsylvania Department of Accessibility and Inclusion. “Nearly one in four Pennsylvanians have a disability, and despite the best intentions of many, most have only seen modest improvements in their lives and opportunities,” said Miller, a member of the House Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Caucus. “This department would be committed to providing government services and opportunities that are accessible to every Pennsylvanian.” Miller and Benham, who are both part of the Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation, said the bill would consolidate several existing programs under the new department. It would also create a cabinet-level secretary position in the governor’s administration. “Having a secretary dedicated to the needs of people with disabilities would go a long way in helping the governor’s office craft much-needed policies,” Benham said. “This is a way for Pennsylvania to make sure progress is made and that what matters to people with disabilities is considered.” Miller and Benham are seeking co-sponsors for their planned legislation. Read more

 

State lawmakers and advocates call for ‘People’s Budget’

(Feb 10, 2021)

Grassroots effort focuses on equity, inclusion and transparency Read more

 

State Grant Programs Now Open for Applications: Feb. 1 Update

(Feb 04, 2021)

New grant opportunities are available. Read more

 

Benham issues statement in response to Gov. Wolf’s budget

(Feb 03, 2021)

State Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, today released the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address: Read more

 

Benham: Equal is Not Equal

(Jan 28, 2021)

State Rep. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, calls today’s failure to adopt an amendment that would have provided discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ Pennsylvanians abhorrent. Read more

 

Troubleshooting PUA claims

(Jan 27, 2021)

Troubleshooting PUA claims Read more

 

Harris names deputy whips for 2021-22 legislative session

(Jan 26, 2021)

The PA House Democratic whip, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., today announced that state Reps. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny; Donna Bullock, D-Phila.; Danilo Burgos, D-Phila.; Morgan Cephas, D-Phila.; Patty Kim, D-Dauphin; Kyle Mullins, D-Lackawanna; Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh; Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery; Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington; and Jared Solomon, D-Phila., will serve as deputy whips for the 2021-22 legislative session. Read more

 

Benham Sworn In, Ready to Begin 1st Term as State Representative

(Jan 06, 2021)

Pa. state Rep. Jessica Benham has officially kicked off her first term in the Pa. House of Representatives after being sworn in as state representative of the 36th Legislative District. She explains her priorities and how she'll put her neighbors first. Read more

 

Email Update: 01/05/2021

(Jan 05, 2021)

It's Official! Today I became your state Rep. Read more