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Innamorato and Struzzi introduce bill to expand access to syringe services programs

(Jun 01, 2023)

HARRISBURG, June 1 – State Reps. Sara Innamorato, D-Allegheny, and Jim Struzzi, R-Indiana, introduced legislation today ( H.B. 1245 ) that would increase access to syringe services programs throughout Pennsylvania. The legislators said SSPs supply access to clean syringes and other medical supplies, dispose of needles, provide referrals to drug treatment, test for diseases, make naloxone available, and furnish other health services. These programs are part of a harm reduction approach to addressing the opioid epidemic. While SSPs currently run in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, SSPs are illegal throughout the rest of Pennsylvania under current law. The legislation would allow local service providers to establish SSPs and bring in federal dollars to fund these lifesaving programs. “SSPs are evidence-based public health policies proven to save lives and prevent the spread of communicable disease, but they are illegal to operate in the majority of the counties across this Commonwealth.,” Innamorato said. “With the opioid settlement money coming to the state and localities, we need to ensure that public health agencies have all the data-backed tools to keep people who use drugs safe and connected to support networks.” “I’m hoping this legislation follows the same path as my bill to legalize fentanyl test strips which became law last year,” added Struzzi, who authored Act 111 of 2022 . “Pennsylvania’s rates Read more

Salisbury bill bans lobbyist involvement in political campaigns

(May 30, 2023)

HARRISBURG, May 30 – State Rep. Abigail Salisbury, D-Allegheny, introduced legislation today that would prohibit lobbyists from running state candidates’ political campaigns and then lobbying those same candidates once they are elected. “Lobbyists have whispered into the ears of political candidates, shaped their agendas and gotten rich while doing so for far too long,” Salisbury said. “My bill would put campaign control back into the hands of candidates and refocus elected officials’ attention on their constituents, not on pleasing lobbyists who also run campaigns.” Salisbury’s legislation ( H.B. 1223 ) also prohibits campaign consultants from lobbying state employees who work in the candidates’ offices. Read more

Salisbury introduces bill to help communities apply for grants

(May 25, 2023)

HARRISBURG, May 25 – State Rep. Abigail Salisbury, D-Allegheny, introduced legislation today that would aid communities that lack grant writing capacity. The legislation ( H.B. 1216 ) would create a Municipal Grant Assistance Program within the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development . Eligible municipalities would be able to access free grant writing services to when seeking state funding and would receive instruction in writing future grant proposals. “The current system perpetuates structural inequalities among communities by favoring those municipalities which already have the funding to pay for grant writing services,” Salisbury said. “My bill provides an escape from the chicken-egg loop wherein local governments literally cannot afford to get money from the state.” Salisbury developed the bill after receiving feedback from local elected officials in her district that they were struggling to access state funding programs. Read more

Anti-hate crimes legislation clears Judiciary Committee, heads for House consideration

(May 24, 2023)

HARRISBURG, May 24 – Legislation to expand and strengthen Pennsylvania’s anti-hate crimes statutes was approved by the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, marking the first legislative step forward in two decades to address the universally recognized increase in hate-based crimes. Reps. Dan Frankel and Napoleon Nelson, original sponsors of the four-bill package, applauded their committee colleagues' support and vowed to keep advocating for the legislation until it becomes law. “Hate crimes are on the rise, and every day that Pennsylvania’s laws are left unequipped to deal with them is a day that those who would use violence and intimidation to diminish our vulnerable communities are further emboldened,” Frankel said. “Today, the House Judiciary Committee voted for a commonwealth that stands with vulnerable communities and aspires to promote diversity and tolerance.” Frankel noted that once the bills become law, Pennsylvania will join the majority of states that acknowledge the growing scourge of attacks on Americans for who they are, how they look or who they love. Nelson said, “This legislative package is of vital importance. As hate crimes increase across the country, we must protect those who are most vulnerable. I’m happy to have sponsored these pieces of legislation and look forward to doing more to ensure that everyone – regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual Read more

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Rep. Jessica Benham: Federal agency could help Alzheimer’s patients

(May 24, 2023)

Last summer, my grandmother passed away after years of living with Alzheimer’s disease. If you’ve lost a loved one to this disease or know someone who has, then you’re familiar with the long and cruel journey both the patient and their families have walked. Read more

PA lawmakers form Progressive Caucus

(May 23, 2023)

Focusing on prioritizing people over profit, fighting social inequality Read more

Frankel, Bellmon applaud House passage of gun safety measures

(May 22, 2023)

“Today, for the first time in years, Pennsylvania House members were given the opportunity to take a position on legislation to protect Pennsylvanians from gun violence, and I am overjoyed to find that we have bipartisan support for serious, research-backed policy solutions that will save lives,” Frankel said. Read more

Mt. Lebanon receives $200,000 state grant for fire training facility

(May 18, 2023)

Facility will support training for south hills firefighters Read more

Allegheny House Dems: $324,000 awarded to Senior Community Centers

(May 18, 2023)

State grants fund improvements at four local senior centers Read more

Salisbury’s first bill introduced in the House

(May 15, 2023)

HARRISBURG, May 15 – State Rep. Abigail Salisbury, D-Allegheny, formally introduced her first bill today as a Pennsylvania state representative, legislation that would help communities address the problem of blighted and abandoned properties. The legislation ( H.B. 1163 ) would update current property law to allow communities to make blighted or abandoned properties subject to potential acquisition by land banks. Owners of such properties would be granted a set amount of time to make the repairs needed to reverse the designation and could appeal the designation. "In my five years as a borough council member, I saw firsthand how these neglected properties can become safety hazards and sources of frustration for communities. As a council member, however, my ability to help neighbors deal with problem properties was often limited by what the law allowed,” Salisbury said. “My goal with this legislation is to add another tool to local governments' toolboxes and help put properties back to productive use. My bill delivers a ‘use it or lose it’ message to urge property owners into action and improve communities' ability to address blight.” Salisbury said her legislation does not require land banks to acquire properties designated as abandoned and/or distressed. Read more