HARRISBURG, April 24 – An area senior center will receive an $82,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, announced today. The grant to Vintage Inc., will help the center continue providing vital programs and services for area residents. “Our seniors enrich our community in so many ways,” Gainey said. “It’s essential that we keep them engaged and thriving, both mentally and physically. Area centers like Vintage function as a gateway, providing access to programs on health, nutrition, financial counseling and other topics. This funding will not only help the center continue its current programs, but also develop new ones to attract more area seniors.” Vintage is one of 41 senior centers throughout the state that will receive a total of $2 million in 2017-18 Senior Community Center Grants. Funding for the grants comes from the Pennsylvania Lottery. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 24 – A plan to stem the climate of sexual harassment and discrimination inside the Capitol would be part of a bipartisan package of bills to protect workers across the state, state Rep. Leanne Krueger Braneky testified today before the House Labor and Industry Committee. Her H.B. 1965, which is prime co-sponsored by state Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Luzerne, would clearly define sexual harassment in state law, install a bicameral nonpartisan Office of Compliance, require elected officials to reimburse taxpayer settlements for sexual harassment, and establish standard procedures to investigate claims made within the General Assembly. The changes are clearly needed following the discovery of assault allegations and secret taxpayer-footed payouts for cases against legislators who were accused of sexual assault and harassment over decades, Krueger-Braneky said. “I started working on this bill six months ago after publicly sharing that I am one of the over 80 percent of women who have experienced sexual harassment,” said Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware. “After I shared my own story, women who work in this Capitol started to come to me to share their stories, and I learned that many of the alleged perpetrators were legislators. I heard stories from women who were discouraged from ever filing a complaint in the first place, stories from women who faced retaliation, and stories from women who believed legislators would never be held Read more
HARRISBURG, April 24 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that he will introduce legislation in the near future that would require transparency in all school district personnel separation and settlement agreements. “School districts pay their employees with public tax dollars, and Pennsylvania taxpayers have the right to know how their money is being spent,” DeLuca said. “Just as elected officials should be held accountable and remain transparent with their finances and other benefits, so should school districts. Both need to be good stewards of the public funds.” DeLuca’s proposal would prohibit school districts—unless otherwise ordered by a court—from entering into agreements that contain confidentiality clauses barring disclosure of the terms reached with departing staff. He said the measure is needed to ensure continued trust and confidence in the state’s public officials. “Too often these agreements are conditioned on the terms being kept from the public,” DeLuca said. “Making deals that are closed off from public scrutiny creates doubt as to what is being done. The bill I’m planning to introduce would mandate that school personnel actions be made in the light of day, not in secret. I’m urging my colleagues to join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.” Read more
HARRISBURG, April 24 – State Rep. Margo Davidson today told members of the House Labor and Industry Committee that Pennsylvanians need her H.B. 2286 , which would extend the statute of limitations for filing complaints with the state’s Human Relations Commission. H.B. 2286 would extend the statute of limitations for filing a complaint with the HRC from 180 days to two years and provide plaintiffs a right to trial by jury. It also would provide that punitive damages and the award of attorney fees would be granted to a prevailing plaintiff. “This bill would ensure that victims and survivors have laws that represent substance in this fight against volatile workplace environments,” said Davidson, D-Delaware. “This bill also helps the many victims who hesitate to come forward due to fear of retaliation and fear of not being heard or believed. Workplace safety includes creating a culture where every employee feels safe and comfortable going to work.” Davidson presented testimony on her bill during a special Labor and Industry Committee hearing that examined a package of bills to reduce workplace discrimination and sexual harassment across the commonwealth. Davidson also referenced her #TimesUp legislation, which would expand the authority of the state Ethics Commission to investigate and take action on allegations of sexual harassment perpetrated by elected officials on all levels – including state and Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 24 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., today hosted a public hearing on gun violence and domestic abuse issues at the Northeast Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Dawkins was joined by House Democratic Policy Committee chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and legislators from across the state to discuss how to reduce gun violence, protect victims of abuse and Dawkins' H.B. 2097 to create a statewide notification system to alert victims of domestic violence, the general public, and law enforcement agencies when a known domestic violence abuser attempts to purchase or transfer a gun at a licensed firearms dealer. “We have a responsibility to help protect victims of abuse. I am glad my colleagues could be a part of this open discussion with those who provide services to victims of abuse to understand the drastic need for our intervention,” Dawkins said. Sturla added, “Rep. Dawkins’ legislation is a great step in protecting victims of abuse. Victims and law enforcement have every right to be notified when perpetrators are arming themselves so that they can be on alert.” Testifiers included: Julie Brancroft, director of public affairs, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Patty McGlone, social worker and community education coordinator, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia; and Susan Pearlstein, supervising attorney of Family Law Unit, Read more
State Rep. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, today testified before members of the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee on her legislation that would strengthen protections against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Madden’s legislation would ensure that all workers across the state are safeguarded. Currently, coverage under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act only applies to employees with four or more employees. “My legislation would protect everyone -- 314,000 more workers, including full-time nannies, housekeepers and other domestic workers, independent contractors and interns -- from workplace harassment and abuse,” Madden said. "For far too long we have left these hardworking employees vulnerable and I plan to defend them.” Madden said small companies and the employees that are instrumental in making those companies successful, are at the heart of Pennsylvania’s economy. She said thousands of employees are without legal protections against sexual harassment and discrimination. “Victims of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination are traumatized, and in many cases scarred for life. My legislation intends to change that scenario,” Madden said. According to the 2015 census, there are approximately 153,000 companies with four or fewer employees. Read more
CHESTER, April 24 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland, D-Delaware, announced today a $21,863 state grant for Senior Community Services' Chester Senior Center. The grant, which will go toward renovations and improvements throughout the senior center, comes from Pennsylvania Lottery proceeds. “With many worthy senior programs and homes across the commonwealth to choose from, Chester Senior Center’s selection for this competitive grant reflects highly on its skilled management,” Kirkland said. “Congratulations are in order, and I look forward to helping bring more state investment for seniors in Chester.” Chester Senior Center was one of 41 senior centers throughout the commonwealth to receive a Department of Aging 2017-18 Senior Community Center Grant. Total investment across the state this round totals $2 million in funding from the Pennsylvania Lottery. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 24 – State Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, announced today that five low-income communities in his district have been nominated as “Qualified Opportunity Zones” under a federal program that attracts private investors to distressed areas through tax incentives. “Attracting private investors would revitalize these communities in key ways,” Harkins said. “Investments in local businesses, real estate and other ventures can bring new job opportunities and improved housing, shopping and other benefits to the hardworking residents of these communities. That’s in line with our Democratic Plan for PA, which puts people first by focusing on the essentials that give Pennsylvania families a better life.” The nominations are part of a program administered by the U.S. Treasury Department under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Under the program, states may nominate a certain percentage of census tracts as Qualified Opportunity Zones. Private investors receive tax benefits for investing capital gains in these areas and adjacent tracts. Pennsylvania was given the opportunity to designate 300 low-income community tracts as opportunity zones. Final approval from the Treasury Department is expected in May. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 24 – As he recognizes the importance of Earth Week, state Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., is not only fighting for clean energy, but also is pushing for stricter safety regulations for the natural gas drillers. He said he is planning to introduce legislation that would require well operators to release an annual report laying out the specific impacts their natural gas extraction technique, best known as fracking, is having on the surrounding communities. The information would include: The amount a well operator spent or has agreed to pay for temporary water supplies for affected residents; The impact of operations on infrastructure and public resources, such as sources of public drinking water supplies, roads, bridges, and publicly owned parks and wildlife areas; and The number of nondisclosure agreements a well operator has signed with individuals. “This dangerous and unconventional procedure has triggered unnecessary accidents at the expense of innocent lives for more than a decade,” Rabb said. “The public has a right to know the risks associated with fracking and well operators need to be held accountable for these hazards.” The public would have access to these reports through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s website . Rabb added, “The best way to eliminate these risks is to look towards the future by utilizing clean energy resources that not only provide little risk but Read more
HARRISBURG, April 24 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today announced Centre County will receive $382,213 in grant funding through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s 2017 Community Development Block Grant Program. Hanna said the county will use the funding to administer two projects; replacing a water main in Millheim Borough and improving handicap access in two Bellefonte Borough parks. “This funding is vital to replacing outdated infrastructure and improving the quality of life in our community,” Hanna said. “I was happy to support the Centre County commissioners in this regard.” “The commissioners use CDBG awards to garner additional funding to meet important needs throughout the community,” county Administrator Margaret Gray said. “The commissioners approved the contract this morning and expressed appreciation to our federal and state legislators for this critical funding. The county will now begin the process of executing and returning the signed contract to the department.” Hanna said Clinton and Centre counties have been fortunate to receive significant CDBG funding over the years and this award is no exception. “As a legislator, it is important to me to ensure taxpayer dollars are used wisely and reinvested back into our community,” Hanna said. “The economic improvements we make today are sure to have lasting impacts in our community for many, many Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 24 – State Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Phila., and the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office are partnering to help people dispose safely of unneeded prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 28 at Cruz's district office, 3503 N. B St., Unit 7 (corner of B and Tioga streets). "You can turn in your unused or expired medications -- no questions asked – for safe disposal," Cruz said. For more information, please call Cruz’s office at (215) 291-5643. ### Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 24 – As part of the House Democratic Caucus’ Plan4PA, state Rep. Brian Sims, D-Phila., will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on House Bill 1243 calling for equal pay regardless of gender or other factors. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, April 27 at the Kimmel Center, Hamilton Gardens, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 . Sims requested the hearing to spark discussion on strengthening the Equal Pay Law to provide additional protections for all employees and to ensure wages are based on education, training and experience. The measure is part of House Democrats’ Plan4Pam focusing on putting People First with good jobs and family sustaining wages. Sims will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 10:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 10:10 a.m. Panel One: Susan Carty , President, League of Women Voters Pennsylvania Heather Arnet , CEO, Women & Girls Foundation Barbara Price , Public Policy Co-Chair, American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Pennsylvania Terry Fromson , Managing Attorney, Women’s Law Project 10:50 a.m. Panel Two: Andrea Mead , Chief of Staff to the First Lady, Office of Governor Tom Wolf Rebecca Rhynhart , Philadelphia City Controller Melissa Robbins , Delegate, Pennsylvania NOW 11:20 a.m. Closing Remarks Read more
HARRISBURG, April 24 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, today announced the House Democratic Policy Committee will host a public hearing on food banks. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, April 30 in the House Democratic Caucus Room, 418 Main Capitol Building. Sturla, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee, will bring together state legislators from across the state and stakeholders to discuss the importance of food banks and food security. State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, Democratic chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee will also attend the hearing. The hearing will be streamed live at www.pahouse.com . The current agenda is: 10 a.m. Welcome and opening remarks 10:10 a.m. Panel on Agriculture and the Charitable Food System – Addressing Food Surplus: Erin Smith Wachter , director of advocacy and public policy, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank; Andy Figart , sales and marketing manager, Hess Brother’s Fruit Co.; and Deborah Bentzel , associate director for community food systems, The Food Trust. 10:50 a.m. Panel on Public-Private Partnerships: Eric Saunders , executive director, New Hope Ministries; and Maria Welch , senior wellness specialist, Geisinger Fresh Food Pharmacy and Geisinger Health Plan. 11:20 a.m. Closing remarks The meeting is one in a series held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA that includes putting people first, good jobs, Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 24 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., announced the House Labor and Industry Committee will meet at 10 a.m. today to discuss proposed legislation to better protect victims of sexual harassment and abuse. “The recent stories from around the country and right here in the legislature show that sexual harassment and abuse have been overlooked for far too long,” Cephas said. “It’s long past time that we step up to protect victims and ensure that sexual harassment and assault is not only taken seriously, but that both men and women feel safe enough to come forward as soon as possible. This committee hearing is the first step.” Live video of the hearing will be streamed at www.pahouse.com/live . Read more
State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, will visit the Crispus Attucks Early Learning Center, 50 E. Boundary Ave. York, at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 26 to present a copy of H.R. 806, declaring April 16-20, 2018, as “Week of the Young Child” in Pennsylvania. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 23 – State Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Clinton/Centre, today announced the City of Lock Haven is expected to receive $30,000 in grant funding through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Early Intervention Program. Hanna said the city will use the funds to develop and implement a five-year financial management plan and operational strategy. “This project enhances Gov. Tom Wolf’s efforts to revitalize and grow communities in Pennsylvania,” Hanna said. “I was happy to support the city and am pleased to see that our community is contributing towards this greater statewide effort.” According to DCED, projects of this nature significantly improve the capability of local governments to deliver services more efficiently and effectively, and work to promote growth and community improvements. “Any program that works to improve our community deserves our wholehearted support,” Hanna said. “As I have stated many times, the economic improvements we make today will have lasting impacts in our communities for years to come.” The city must now complete all applicable program requirements and comply with any special conditions contained within their contract in order to begin the requisition of project funds. While the Department of Labor and Industry has final authority to make all prevailing wage applicability determinations, prevailing wage appears not to be Read more
PHILADELPHIA, April 23 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., will host a landlord-tenant clinic from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 26 at his district office, 4667 Paul St., 19124. “I encourage everyone facing possible eviction, habitability problems, rent increases or other landlord-tenant issues to attend this clinic. We’ll have staff from the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia offering free consultations,” Dawkins said. The Public Interest Law Center will also provide information about tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities, relevant housing laws, and basic information about the court process for tenants. An RSVP is required. More information is available by calling Dawkins' office at 215-744-7901. Read more
State Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich is working with local community leaders, volunteers and businesses to organize a regional spring cleanup event to remove litter and winter debris from roadsides, creeks and riverbanks, and parks and recreation areas in Taylor, Moosic and Old Forge. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 23 – State Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, today announced that the John F. Kennedy Senior Center will receive a $56,551 grant from the state Department of Aging. “The grant will help this vital community center continue providing the programs and services our area seniors find so useful,” Harkins said. “The funds will also help the center revitalize and expand its programs to attract newcomers.” The John F. Kennedy Senior Center is one of 41 senior centers throughout the commonwealth that will receive a total of $2 million in 2017-18 Senior Community Center Grants. The funding, which comes from the Pennsylvania Lottery, helps centers provide programs and classes on nutrition, exercise, financial counseling and other areas. “Seniors are such an essential part of our community,” Harkins said. “This funding will help ensure that they have the resources they need to remain healthy, active and engaged.” Read more
PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 23 – State Rep. Emilio Vazquez, D-Phila, will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on alcohol poisoning prevention and education. The public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 26 at Temple University, Shusterman Hall, 1834 Liacouras Walk, Philadelphia. Vazquez requested the hearing to learn more about prevention and education efforts to reduce alcohol poisoning. The proposal would strengthen House Democrats’ Plan4PA, specifically putting people first with policies that improve health and wellness and public safety. Vazquez will be joined by state legislators from across the state, including Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. The current agenda is: 10:00 a.m. Welcome and opening remarks 10:10 a.m. Panel One: Mary Ciammeti , founder, the CTC Wellness Foundation dba “Don’t Stall, Just Call” Dr. Robert McNamara , professor and chair of emergency medicine, Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine 10:45 a.m. Panel Two: Stephanie Ives , dean of students, Temple University Eileen Behr , vice president of public safety/chief of police, Drexel University 11:20 a.m. Closing remarks The meeting is one in a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA that includes putting people first, good jobs, quality schools and fair taxes. Visit planforpa.pahouse.com for additional information about the Plan4PA Read more
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