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House members to introduce resolution honoring Congressman John Lewis

Harris Stands Behind New Plan to Put Philly Families First

(Jan 17, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris joined his colleagues with the Philadelphia House Delegation to unveil a new comprehensive plan that addresses poverty, tackles criminal justice reform, and puts Philadelphia families first. Read more


Philadelphia Delegation announces its legislative platform for 2019-20

(Jan 16, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 16 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, along with delegation members today announced their legislative agenda during a news conference at the state Capitol. The delegation said its top priorities for working toward a better Philadelphia include investing in education and schools, criminal justice reform, health care for all, strengthening commercial coordinators, and alternative energy methods. "We are joining forces to work as one unit for the betterment of all Philadelphians, and that begins with fighting for what our constituents need the most,” Dawkins said. "We are also focused on making sure that everyone gets a fair shot and equal treatment." “Last session we worked in bipartisan fashion to get clean slate legislation signed into law and bring real criminal justice reform to those who need it,” said Rep. Jordan Harris, the Democratic Whip. “Now, we must continue fighting for further reform to reduce recidivism and allow Pennsylvanians who have paid their debit to society to pursue a productive path to citizenry.” “For too long our criminal justice system has been an injustice system for the mentally ill, the poor, and people of color,” said Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. “While we’ve made progress, our prisons remain overcrowded, inmates mistreated, and mental health problems ignored. I stand with my Philadelphia colleagues to address Read more


Harris, Donatucci praise opening of Rowhouse Grocery in Point Breeze

(Jan 11, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 11 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., joined state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila., in praising the opening of a new grocery store in the Point Breeze section of Philadelphia to help an underserved community access affordable, healthy food options. “The opening of this store is truly welcoming news. The city is overwhelmed with food deserts and for people who live in these areas, they may not have the means to travel to get access to fresh foods and produce,” Donatucci said. “I applaud Rowhouse Grocery for providing healthy options in this community.” “This grocery store comes in at a time when there’s more focus than ever before on healthy eating, yet many of our constituents simply don’t have access to the fresh fruits, vegetables and meats they need,” Harris said. “If the products aren’t accessible or affordable to the people we represent, then they simply don’t exist to them. I hope that Rowhouse Grocery gives an opportunity for people to explore meals that are nutritious, yet still affordable.” A food desert is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a location without easy access to fresh, health and affordable foods. People who live in food deserts tend to consume foods that are higher in cholesterol, sugar and fat. Rowhouse Grocery is located at 1713 McKean St. in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia. Sections of Point Breeze are represented by Read more


Harris names deputy whips for 2019-20 legislative session

(Jan 09, 2019)

State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., today named Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, Rep. Pam DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., Rep. Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, and Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene, as deputy whips for the 2019-20 legislative session. Read more


PLBC statement on Mummer’s Parade

(Jan 03, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statements after seeing reports of racist behavior at the Mummer’s Parade: “The issue we are seeing here is a history of controversial characters and portrayals,” said state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila, chairman of the PLBC. “The actions of those involved was intended as a form of comedy, but many viewers on the outside of the event believe it was in poor taste. We want to work on educating the public about how these actions can affect those around them, and how we might be able to better work for the future by working together on this parade as a whole community. The PLBC will continue our fight against acts of racism and fight for non-discriminatory legislation that updates the laws to help combat racism and racist behavior. Even if we cannot defeat it altogether, we should have better laws in place to discourage hateful practices and better educate the public.” “It doesn’t matter if it’s blackface or a black face, racial insensitivity has no place in Philadelphia,” said state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., former chairman of the PLBC and House Democratic Whip. “Sadly, this Parade has a tradition of racial insensitivity at best and racism at worst. It’s high time the sponsors and all others involved take a deliberate look at the messages being put forth by the parade. I look forward to joining other Read more


Harris sworn in for fourth term as state representative

(Jan 01, 2019)

During a ceremony at the state Capitol to open the 203rd legislative session, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., took the oath of office to begin his fourth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and first term as the Democratic whip. “I’m honored to have my constituents’ trust to remain their state representative for another two years,” Harris said. “I will continue to stand up for the voiceless and the powerless while expanding on the work that my staff and I accomplished for the 186th Legislative District.” Read more


Harris Recaps 2018 Accomplishments

(Dec 28, 2018)

Pa. House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris recaps major victories in 2018 involving criminal justice reform, gun violence safety, and community improvements. Read more


Harris names Bizzarro, Solomon chief deputy whips, Bullock assistant whip

(Dec 28, 2018)

State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., announced today that he has named state Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, and Jared Solomon, D-Phila., as chief deputy whips and state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., as his assistant whip for the 2019-20 legislative session. Read more


Rep. Harris Holds Bicycle Giveaway

(Dec 27, 2018)

PA State Rep. Jordan Harris provided bicycles and smiles at his Bike 186th Giveaway. This is the 6th year that Rep. Harris has held this event in his community. In that time he has given more than 1200 neighborhood children the gift of a bicycle for Christmas. Read more


Taking Clean Slate Nationwide as First Step

(Dec 03, 2018)

Host and KYW Newsradio community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg asks the burning questions about the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill supported by President Donald Trump. Jordan Harris, Pa. State Rep- 186th Dist., Jules Epstein, law professor at Temple University and Sameerah Shabazz, policy director at Ardella's House walk us through the issues from a local perspective. Read more


Harris works to take clean slate movement nationwide

(Nov 16, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 16 – This week, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., attended two roundtable events with the Center for American Progress to announce the launch of a national bipartisan clean slate campaign. On Thursday, Harris joined the group to discuss how automated record-cleaning would help to reverse both the immediate and long-term consequences that criminal records impose on future education, employment and housing opportunities. “So many people have done what was legally required of them, but have been unable to become fully productive citizens again,” Harris said. “Taking this movement nationwide will improve the economy, create jobs and provide hope to those who had a criminal conviction from decades past and have turned their lives around.” Today, Harris joined the group for a discussion on how to harness technology to close the second-chance gap without legislation. Harris said this campaign seeks to undo the effects of one-sided policy that has been in place across the country for decades. Currently, one in three Americans has a criminal record and is subject to 50,000 potential restrictions on jobs, housing, credit and other basics. These events come one month after Harris lauded Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Delaware, for introducing H.R. 6677 , which would automatically seal a person’s federal record if they have been convicted of a nonviolent offense under Read more


Harris chosen to be Democratic Whip

(Nov 13, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 13 – State Rep. Jordan Harris was elected today to be Democratic whip of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives during the 2019-20 session. Harris has represented the 186 th District in Philadelphia since first being elected to the House in 2012. “I am ecstatic to serve in this new post and to have a larger role in shaping the agenda of the House Democratic Caucus,” Harris said. “I’m thankful to my colleagues for placing their trust in me. “I look forward to building on what the current leadership team has done. The general election results highlighted the strength and diversity of our caucus. The future is very bright for Democrats in Pennsylvania.” The whip is responsible for making sure that Democratic members attend session and generally understand the specifics of legislation and procedural votes in the House. Harris currently chairs the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and he will be the first African-American to serve as whip since Rep. K. Leroy Irvis in the 1970s. Read more


PA Dept. of Corrections Secretary answers your questions

(Nov 09, 2018)

The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus recently hosted a Town Hall Meeting with PA Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel to discuss the recent lockdowns and its police changes within the prison system. Secretary Wetzel provided answers to the following submitted questions. His responses are in bold . Your new mail and visiting policies will severely affect my family. I feel hopeless that I cannot now send my brother a photo of a family event with a personal message written on it. A photo is a visit from a loved one far away. A photo speaks a thousand works, a scanned image does not. A scanned image is boot leg. I pay for the photos not a bootleg. Thank you for your comment. Although a duplicate of the photo is not on photo paper, the image copied is identical, in color and would capture any message that is written on it. In addition, we are pursuing the ability to send photos electronically on the tablets as well as other methods. This year (in Feb 2018), the PA DOC’s contract with GTL has an incentivized revenue structure; the more revenue from music, email, games, and books the DOC can get prisoners to generate from purchases, the higher the DOC’s commission rate. The contract was signed 6 months before the new policy that makes e-books people’s primary access point to reading materials. Why is the DOC profiting off limiting book access? E-books are not the primary access point to reading. It was an option that inmates had Read more


Heating aid via LIHEAP now open

(Nov 01, 2018)

The 2018-2019 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP – is accepting applications for heating assistance grants. LIHEAP offers cash grants of $200 to $1,000 that are sent directly to the utility company to defray heating costs for eligible households, and crisis benefits of up to $600 for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Remember: These are grants and do not have to be repaid. This season’s income guidelines for both LIHEAP cash and crisis grants are $18,210 for an individual, $24,690 for couples and increases for each additional person in the household. Please click here for more LIHEAP information. Please consider visiting my office if you need help filing a LIHEAP application. Besides my office, LIHEAP information is available by: Contacting local County Assistance offices by phone or in person. Calling the LIHEAP Client Helpline at 1-866-857-7095 or PA Relay at 711 for the hearing impaired. Applying online at https://www.compass.state.pa.us . Read more


Harris lauds National Clean Slate legislation introduced in Congress

(Oct 03, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 3 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., today lauded H.R. 6677 , legislation that would automatically seal a person’s federal record if they have been convicted of a nonviolent offense under section 404 of the Controlled Substances Act and any federal nonviolent offense, including marijuana. The legislation, introduced by Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Delaware, would allow individuals to petition the United States Courts to seal records for nonviolent offenses that are not automatically sealed, and to appeal within two years if the initial request was denied. Harris co-authored the Pennsylvania Clean Slate law . The first of its kind in the nation, this law will automatic seal records with second or third-degree misdemeanor offenses and charges that resulted in non-convictions. “This federal legislation is long overdue - for too long we have only been tough on crime. This approach has cost Pennsylvania and the U.S. billions of dollars and has taken an unnecessary toll on the lives of countless numbers of our citizens who have paid their legal debt to society but still find themselves locked out of a path to productive citizenry,” Harris said. “This bill supports the constitutional premise that our nation’s punitive actions are not cruel and unusual. I believe that a lifetime consequence for a youthful indiscretion is just that, both cruel and unusual. I commend Representative Rochester Blunt for asking Read more


Harris Working for Good Jobs

(Sep 26, 2018)

Chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, state Rep. Jordan Harris, is working with the Pa. Public Utilities Commission to help people find good jobs in the utility sector with the website http://www.pautilitycareers.com. Read more


Harris: Punishment Does Not Fit the Crime

(Sep 25, 2018)

Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris argues in a meeting of the House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee that a bill which would level a felony charge for criminal trespass in a critical infrastructure facility equates that crime to premeditated murder which seems unjust. Read more


PLBC applauds state funding for gun violence reduction initiatives

(Sep 07, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 7 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus applauded the announcement made today by Gov. Tom Wolf that more than $1.5 million in funding will be allocated across the commonwealth to help reduce gun violence. "The crisis created by the illegal gun violence epidemic cannot be averted without those on the frontlines of this fight having access to the resources and tools needed to do the work of healing those affected,” said state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., PLBC chairman. “The PLBC is proud to stand with Governor Wolf as we begin to ensure that our communities have the support and tools needed to begin to address this public health crisis." “The PLBC has been working hard to address gun violence in our community as a public health issue, because we understood that resources follow public health concerns. Today’s grant is a result of our collective work with Governor Wolf, city officials, and local advocates,” said state Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chair of the PLBC. “As a member of the School Safety and Security Committee, I hope to bring more resources to Philadelphia to address gun violence in and around our schools.” “It is no secret there is a gun violence epidemic in the commonwealth. From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and all points in between, shootings are taking lives one or two at a time, destroying our communities and families,” said state Rep. Chris Read more


Joint state legislative hearing at SCI-Dallas focuses on prison reform

(Aug 23, 2018)

DALLAS, Aug. 23 – A joint state House-Senate Democratic Legislative Policy Committee hearing was held Wednesday at the State Correctional Institute in Luzerne County to discuss proposals aimed at reforming the state’s justice and prison systems. Held at SCI-Dallas at the request of Rep. Jordan Harris, Rep. Donna Bullock and Sen. Sharif Street, all D-Phila., the hearing focused on S.B. 942 that would provide the possibility of parole for model prisoners serving life sentences. The legislation would enable someone sentenced to life imprisonment to be considered for parole after spending at least 15 years in prison. The state Board of Probation and Parole could still reject parole requests from those who do not deserve it or pose a safety risk to the public. Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., has introduced companion legislation ( H.B. 135 ) in the House of Representatives. Harris, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and co-sponsor of the recently-enacted clean slate law, said: “Yesterday's policy hearing and tour of SCI-Dallas was a historic moment. Both House and Senate Democratic Policy committees along with the PLBC joined to hear from a group of constituents often forgotten about. In this time of fiscal crisis, it's the legislature's responsibility to ensure that we are good stewards of taxpayer dollars. There is much cost saving that can come from the Department of Corrections while keeping communities safe. Lengthy yet Read more


PLBC helps Cheyney University establish new research institute

(Jul 31, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, July 31 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, has released the following statement on today's announcement of a new research institute at Cheyney University: "I would like to congratulate Cheyney University on its establishing the Institute for the Contemporary African American Experience at the campus. The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus was pleased to play the leading role in bringing the Starbucks Foundation and Cheyney together, and we hope this partnership will benefit everyone involved. "Today's announcement is a welcome one as it shows that Cheyney, our nation's first historically black college or university (HBCU), and a jewel of the Pennsylvania system, is on its way back to prominence. This Institute for the Contemporary African American Experience will serve as not only a think tank for the African American community but also a place where implementable solutions are developed. What better place than Cheyney for such an endeavor? "Thank you to our Governor Tom Wolf, Chair of the Board of Governors for the State System Cynthia Shapira, Chair of the Council of Trustees Robert Bogle, Cheyney President Aaron Walton and all other partners and supporters. Most importantly, thank you to the students, faculty, staff and alumni who have never given up on Cheyney University, a university that will not die, for its value in the African American community and the Read more