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House Democrats fight to keep renters, homeowners Safe at Home

Trumpism threatens judicial independence in Pennsylvania

(1 day ago)

The radical right agenda has infiltrated the Pennsylvania legislature and threatens the independence of our judiciary. We rely on a fair and independent judicial system to administer equal justice under the law, free from outside pressure and influence. But, as we approach a critically important election, that independence is on the line because of a politically motivated attempt to rig our courts. The most radicalized Republican members of the legislature reign over districts simply because they picked their constituents through gerrymandering. The lack of compromise, civility and gridlock in Harrisburg can be directly linked to gerrymandering. The same radicalized Republicans in control in Harrisburg are pushing H.B. 196, which would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to create judicial districts for our appellate courts, rather than elect them on a statewide basis. It’s a bad bill that shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the judiciary and its role in our society. Appellate court decisions impact the rights of all Pennsylvanians, from Erie to King of Prussia and everywhere in between. Appellate judges are elected to interpret our laws, not to represent any particular special interests or regional biases. Judges are to be free of influence and not bring their own agenda to the courts. Electing judges from districts drawn by radicalized politicians would make those judges increasingly beholden to special interests instead of the law, Read more

 

Matzie introduces bill to trace COVID-19 through wastewater

(Sep 18, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 18 – A bill introduced today by state Rep. Rob Matzie would establish a more effective way to trace and detect COVID-19 before it spreads by creating a system of testing for the virus in wastewater. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said his H.B. 2883 would establish the Targeted Outbreak Detection Act, creating a wastewater-testing program that is both cost-effective and more efficient than traditional methods of tracking the virus. “While temperature checks and crowd-size limits are helpful in slowing the spread of COVID-19, these techniques are not practical in the long term,” Matzie said. “Testing for the virus in wastewater would allow health authorities to know if the virus is present before people feel ill and inadvertently spread it, providing a critical way to contain clusters before major outbreaks occur.” Matzie said implementing COVID-19 wastewater tracing would be feasible and relatively simple because testing resources are already in place. “Most wastewater treatment systems are already required to perform routine testing of water samples,” Matzie said. “Sending a portion of those samples, on request, to a designated laboratory to test for the presence of COVID-19 would establish a critical early warning system that would arm health authorities with the data they need to better protect our communities.” Matzie said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is Read more

 

Kortz introduces bill to allow for civil penalty for driving without insurance

(Sep 17, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 17 – State Rep. Bill Kortz’s legislation would allow vehicle owners to pay a fine, verses facing license suspension, for driving without insurance, ensuring accidental lapses in insurance do not hinder a person’s ability to drive and earn a living. Kortz, D-Allegheny, said current law allows owners to pay a $500 civil penalty instead of facing a mandatory three-month vehicle registration suspension if the driver fails to maintain auto insurance. However, if the vehicle is operated without insurance, there isn’t a similar option. “House Bill 2478 would fix this issue by allowing owners who are able to show proof they bought auto insurance to pay the fine instead of serving a license suspension,” Kortz said. “This change would be a huge help to commercial drivers who face this three-month license suspension, even if the lapse in insurance occurred in their own personal vehicle.” Kortz added his bill would only allow owners to exercise this option once every five years. More information on the measure can be found at the following link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2019&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=2478 . Read more

 

Rep. Bizzarro resolution designates September 2020 ‘Light the Night Walk’ Month

(Sep 17, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 17 – The state House today unanimously adopted state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro’s H.R. 978 recognizing the importance of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s ‘Light the Night Walk’ events. Bizzarro, a leukemia survivor, introduced H.R. 978, which designates September 2020 as “Light the Night Walk Month” in Pennsylvania, raising awareness of blood cancers and support of survivors and their families. “Light the Night walks help to bring light to the darkness of cancer, showing support of those living with cancer and bringing awareness to blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma,” Bizzarro said. “These events are a community display of care to those living with cancer – and their families – and a way to remember those who lost their battle.” The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society reports the events have generated more than $1.3 billion to critical research initiatives aimed at identifying treatments and potential cures for blood cancers. As a result of COVID-19, 2020 Light the Night events will be held virtually. Bizzarro said he encourages those interested in participating to visit www.lightthenight.org for information. Read more

 

Boyle joins Wolf in calling for swift passage of legislation to ensure counties are prepared ahead of Nov. 3 general election

(Sep 15, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Kevin Boyle, D-Phila./Montgomery, today joined Gov. Tom Wolf in urging swift action on legislation that would provide the support county election officials need to make sure Pennsylvanians can vote safely and have their ballots timely counted. Boyle, Wolf and other public officials met in York today to outline the legislation the General Assembly should pass this month to improve the mail-in ballot process ahead of the Nov. 3 general election and give county officials the time they need to count ballots and return election results quickly. “The House State Government Committee is planning to meet this Wednesday to discuss legislation related to the election code. We have an opportunity in committee this week to make vital, time sensitive changes to allow counties more time to pre-canvass mail ballots so they can return election results timely on Election Day,” said Boyle, who serves as Democratic chairman of the committee. “Immediate action is needed to address the enormous volume of mail-in ballots expected to be cast. We need to ensure that Pennsylvania does not become a national embarrassment on Election Day. “To that end, I am introducing several amendments this week during committee, to expand counties’ ability to pre-canvass mail-in ballots, and to expand county residents’ eligibility to serve as poll workers.” Boyle said the committee is Read more

 

Cephas Discusses Fight to Pass Safe At Home Bills on CBS 21's Face the State

(Sep 14, 2020)

State Rep. Morgan Cephas discussed her fight to pass Safe At Home legislation to protect homeowners, renters and small mom and pop landlords on CBS 21's Face the State. Read more

 

Wheatley introduces legislation to help live music venues during pandemic

(Sep 14, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 14 – Hundreds of live music venues have been adversely impacted due to the pandemic – and many of them have been forced to close their doors – and state Rep. Jake Wheatley is spearheading an effort to assist the industry. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said his “Save our Stages” measure would earmark federal CARES dollars to create a fund to provide grants to these businesses and keep them afloat. “We have more than 200 of these independent music venues across our state, which last year alone generated nearly $1.4 billion in revenue and $238 million in direct economic impacts in our communities, sustaining our local restaurants and hotels,” Wheatley said. “This industry also provides employment to over 10,000 people statewide -- many who are now unemployed. For all these reasons, it’s vital we provide this much-needed support to ensure their doors remain open for all of us to patronize once this pandemic ends.” More information can be found by clicking this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=32418 . Read more

 

Burgos, Hohenstein and Isaacson join advocates to promote legislation to help undocumented individuals apply for a driver's license

(Sep 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 8 – State Rep. Danilo Burgos, along with state Reps. Joe Hohenstein, Mary Isaacson, all D-Phila., today joined the Driving PA Forward Coalition at the Saint Francis of Assisi Church to highlight their legislation to help undocumented individuals apply for a driver's license. “Our bill is about making Pennsylvania roads safer by requiring that all residents pass the mandatory written and vision examinations and road test to obtain a driver’s license,” Burgos said. “An additional benefit is that the revenue generated from application costs to PennDOT and purchases on car insurance policies would greatly benefit Pennsylvania’s economy -- a much needed relief as our economy struggles to gain stability in the wake of the pandemic.” Concurring with Burgos, Hohenstein pointed to immigrants comprising a substantial population of Pennsylvania’s workforce, especially as essential workers during the pandemic. "It’s not an exaggeration to say that immigrants have a large role in keeping our country running," Hohenstein said. "One in six people fulfilling essential roles during the pandemic is an immigrant. Many are our doctors, nurses and healthcare providers. Others are farm workers who sow, tend and harvest our food. Others prepare and serve us our food. All should have access to an official driver's license from the state in order to continue Read more

 

Rabb: We must remove roadblocks and allow undocumented people to get driver’s licenses, learner’s permits

(Sep 08, 2020)

State Rep. Chris Rabb called for support for legislation that would remove roadblocks preventing undocumented people from getting driver’s licenses and learner’s permits, making it impossible for them to legally drive. Read more

 

Sainato calls return to 50% capacity good news for local restaurants but questions alcohol service restrictions

(Sep 08, 2020)

NEW CASTLE, Sept. 8 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, said he is encouraged by news that restaurants may return to 50% indoor capacity beginning Sept. 21, subject to a self-certification requirement, but he questioned new and existing alcohol service restrictions he said could negate or dilute any positive economic impacts. “ We called on the governor to lift an overly broad, arbitrary rule that placed restaurants in an economic stranglehold, and we succeeded. The administration’s response abolishing the rule comes none too soon, with so many restaurants struggling to survive. Restoring the 50% capacity rule makes sense and will help our businesses get back on the path to economic vitality. “At the same time, the administration is keeping certain harmful restrictions in place, including a ban on bar service and a requirement that alcohol can only be served for on-premises consumption when in the same transaction as a meal. Those requirements – together with another that will require restaurants to stop serving alcohol by 10 p.m. – stand to counter many of the positive impacts achieved by restoring broader occupancy. “Restaurants depend on a robust after-dinner patronage, and many social and veterans’ clubs are not set up to serve food. Absent a sound, health-based justification, I would urge the governor to reconsider these restrictions.” Read more

 

McClinton calls on Senate to reform election bill and prevent disenfranchisement of voters ahead of November election

(Sep 08, 2020)

With exactly two months until the general election, state Rep. Joanna McClinton today called on the state Senate to reform legislation that would lead to voter suppression and prevent Pennsylvanians from casting their ballot safely. "This is arguably one of the biggest elections in our nation's history, and we have a responsibility as legislators to pass laws that ensure all Pennsylvanians have the tools to let their voices be heard without worry," said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. "Mail-in voting is a safe and secure way to vote amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and we should be concentrating on strengthening this process. Instead, the majority party, who decides on what we vote on, is focusing on hindering it with proposals that would cause confusion and create barriers." According to McClinton, H.B. 2626, which passed the House yesterday without her support, would make unnecessary, last-minute changes to mail-in voting and the election process, including measures to: Give counties less time to count ballots. Shorten the time period in which voters can request a mail-in ballot. Ban secure ballot drop boxes. Lift the county residency restriction on which party officials may observe inside polling places, raising concerns about voter intimidation and violence on Election Day. "With an influx of mail-in ballots in the June primary election, Read more

 

Rabb: College students should be able to terminate apartment leases without penalty if their school cancels on-campus instruction because of COVID-19

(Sep 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 8 – State Rep. Chris Rabb has introduced legislation to provide relief to college students trapped in a lease agreement if their college cancels on-campus instruction because of COVID-19. Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold briefing about “The Vanishing Trial” Thursday in Capitol

(Sep 04, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 4 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public briefing on “The Vanishing Trial” film and the implications of Pennsylvania’s harsh sentencing laws on plea bargaining and trials. The briefing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 in Room G-50 Irvis Office Building in Harrisburg. The media and public are urged to watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . Requested by state Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, the briefing will feature a showing of “The Vanishing Trial” and testimony from policy experts. Presenters will speak remotely while committee members will participate in person and remotely. Speakers will include: K. Celeste Trusty , Pennsylvania state policy director, FAMM. Marirosa Lamas , former superintendent, SCI-Chester. Chester Hollman , legal assistant, Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project. Nyssa Taylor , criminal justice policy counsel, ACLU-PA. Following the briefing, testimonies and full briefing video will be posted at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more

 

Comitta and McCarter introduce legislation to reduce carbon pollution from PA electric power sector at least 90% by 2040

(Sep 03, 2020)

“Because the federal government has abdicated its responsibility on climate change, it's up to the rest of us to take the lead in enacting equitable policies to mitigate the growing impacts of climate change,” McCarter said. Read more

 

Enough is enough: stopping gun violence takes a collaborative effort that must put children first

(Sep 03, 2020)

It may seem impossible, but Rep. Joanna McClinton explains in her latest op-ed the actions needed to stop the senseless gun violence plaguing Philadelphia. Read more

 

Let’s empower consumers by creating labeling standards, regulations for CBD

(Sep 02, 2020)

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is everywhere these days. We see it for sale in pharmacies, corner stores, grocery stores and online. Since the legalization of hemp at the federal and state levels, there has been some confusion regarding CBD, which is hemp’s most popular extract. With CBD’s popularity exploding due to its medicinal uses – treating conditions like epilepsy, chronic pain and anxiety – I believe that regulation of CBD is necessary. Although CBD has no psychoactive properties, there is currently no legal standard for what constitutes CBD, nor are there any labeling standards to inform consumers of exactly what they are purchasing. People should be able to make informed decisions about the items they’re purchasing. To address the issue, I will be introducing legislation that would legally define “hemp extract” to include CBD and direct the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to create labeling standards and other regulations to help inform and protect consumers who purchase or are considering purchasing products containing CBD. This legislation would help to end the confusion and mistrust surrounding CBD and the products in which it is used. Read more

 

Wheatley to introduce resolution to recognize September as ‘Hunger Action Month’ in Pa.

(Aug 31, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 31 – With one in nine Pennsylvanians struggling with hunger and the current COVID-19 pandemic leading more families and individuals toward food insecurity, state Rep. Jake Wheatley is urging all Pennsylvanians to play a role in helping those in need. To that end, Wheatley, D-Allegheny, plans to introduce a resolution that would recognize September as “Hunger Action Month.” “The current pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity issues across our state, and according to Feeding America, more than 1.4 million Pennsylvanians are experiencing severe hunger, and nearly 400,000 of those are children,” Wheatley said. “My goal with introducing this resolution is to shed light on the persistent problem of domestic hunger in our state and across the nation. “Every one of us can do something to help – whether it’s volunteering at your local food bank, donating to food pantries, or holding a food drive or raising money to help organizations providing food to those who desperately need our help.” While the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Women Infants and Children program feed millions in need across Pennsylvania and nationwide, many who are struggling with hunger are unlikely to qualify because they are either employed or have incomes slightly above the poverty line, Wheatley added. More details on his resolution can be found at the following link: Read more

 

House Democrats fight to keep renters, homeowners Safe at Home

(Aug 31, 2020)

The House Democratic Housing Working Group announced a package of bills to protect people across Pennsylvania as the state’s moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expires Read more

 

McClinton brings community residents, leaders, and police together to address recent surge in gun violence

(Aug 28, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 28 – Less than a week after a 23-year-old man was shot and killed in broad daylight, state Rep. Joanna McClinton brought community residents, leaders and law enforcement together Thursday night to address the recent surge in gun violence. “No one should fear for their life when they leave their home or be scared to let their child go outside to play,” said McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware. “However, when a person is gunned down in the middle of the day in our neighborhood, how can you not be alarmed? The gun violence is out of control, and it’s our responsibility to be proactive to stop the bloodshed.” Individuals from across the neighborhood joined McClinton for the outdoor conversation along Christian Street that included city councilmembers and the 18 th Police District, along with officials from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and state Sen. Anthony Williams’ office. “Stopping this culture of killing and strengthening public safety must include a collaborative effort involving elected officials, law enforcement, local leaders and the people who live here – especially our young people,” McClinton explained. “Gun violence is a community problem that requires a community solution.” McClinton added a critical step to reducing crime is by getting children on the right path from the beginning. She is currently working on legislation Read more

 

Fiedler, Davis, Cephas stand up for renters and homeowners facing payment challenges due to COVID-19

(Aug 26, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 26 – To help renters and homeowners struggling with payments as well as small landlords, today state Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler and Morgan Cephas, both D-Phila., and Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, introduced a measure that would expand the Pennsylvania Housing and Finance Agency’s Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program. “For too many renters and homeowners with mortgages the COVID-19 crisis has gone beyond a health emergency to a housing emergency, and it’s time for the state to step up and offer substantive relief,” Fiedler said. “Our proposal will cut the red tape and get the help into the pockets of the people who need it the most, and we hope it will move quickly through the legislature.” “A program people in need can’t access is worse than not having a program at all,” Davis said. “Everyone we’ve heard from made their voices clear – renters need help, homeowners in debt need help, small landlords need help, and they can’t wait any longer. We’re going to deliver that help and we know this need goes far beyond political parties and county lines.” Cephas agreed, saying, "As the COVID-19 crisis continues, so do the economic burdens for families struggling to pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads. Our legislation will help break down barriers and help ensure homeowners, small landlords and renters have access to financial relief that's Read more

 

Trumpism threatens judicial independence in Pennsylvania
1 day ago

Matzie introduces bill to trace COVID-19 through wastewater
Sep 18, 2020

Kortz introduces bill to allow for civil penalty for driving without insurance
Sep 17, 2020

Rep. Bizzarro resolution designates September 2020 ‘Light the Night Walk’ Month
Sep 17, 2020

Boyle joins Wolf in calling for swift passage of legislation to ensure counties are prepared ahead of Nov. 3 general election
Sep 15, 2020

Cephas Discusses Fight to Pass Safe At Home Bills on CBS 21's Face the State
Sep 14, 2020

Wheatley introduces legislation to help live music venues during pandemic
Sep 14, 2020

Burgos, Hohenstein and Isaacson join advocates to promote legislation to help undocumented individuals apply for a driver's license
Sep 08, 2020

Rabb: We must remove roadblocks and allow undocumented people to get driver’s licenses, learner’s permits
Sep 08, 2020

Sainato calls return to 50% capacity good news for local restaurants but questions alcohol service restrictions
Sep 08, 2020

McClinton calls on Senate to reform election bill and prevent disenfranchisement of voters ahead of November election
Sep 08, 2020

Rabb: College students should be able to terminate apartment leases without penalty if their school cancels on-campus instruction because of COVID-19
Sep 08, 2020

House Democratic Policy Committee to hold briefing about “The Vanishing Trial” Thursday in Capitol
Sep 04, 2020

Comitta and McCarter introduce legislation to reduce carbon pollution from PA electric power sector at least 90% by 2040
Sep 03, 2020

Enough is enough: stopping gun violence takes a collaborative effort that must put children first
Sep 03, 2020

Let’s empower consumers by creating labeling standards, regulations for CBD
Sep 02, 2020

Wheatley to introduce resolution to recognize September as ‘Hunger Action Month’ in Pa.
Aug 31, 2020

House Democrats fight to keep renters, homeowners Safe at Home
Aug 31, 2020

McClinton brings community residents, leaders, and police together to address recent surge in gun violence
Aug 28, 2020

Fiedler, Davis, Cephas stand up for renters and homeowners facing payment challenges due to COVID-19
Aug 26, 2020