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Howard joins in announcing new state task force to strengthen juvenile justice system

Cephas introduces legislation to lower maternal mortality rates

(Dec 18, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 18 – In her continued effort to bring awareness to the disproportionate number of deaths of women of color during and after childbirth in the commonwealth, state Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., announced she has introduced a package of bills aimed at addressing maternal mortality rates. “Pennsylvania has seen an increasing, disturbing trend in pregnancy-related deaths, with 11.4 deaths per 100,000 live births from 2012 to 2016. For women of color during that time period, that rate was more than double, at 27.2 per 100,000 live births. This is a clear indication that regardless of income and education levels, women of color are at an even greater risk than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications,” Cephas said. The bills introduced by Cephas are: H.B. 2107 – Would add severe maternal morbidity to the list of reportable events within the Pennsylvania Department of Health. H.B. 2108 – Would extend Medicaid coverage for pregnancy related and postpartum medical assistance. H.B. 2109 – Would extend Medicaid coverage to doula services and create a Doula Advisory Board. H.B. 2110 – Would require training to address implicit bias and culture competency that impact care and quality of care for patients of color, including women of color during pregnancy and childbirth. “While the death of any mother is a tragedy, Read more

 

Howard joins in announcing new state task force to strengthen juvenile justice system

(Dec 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 16 – Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, this morning joined Gov. Tom Wolf, justices and fellow legislators at a news conference with Pew Charitable Trusts on the creation of a Juvenile Justice Task Force, which will develop a report on steps the Commonwealth can take to strengthen the juvenile justice system. “This task force is a great step towards a safe, healthy and well-educated future for the children of Pennsylvania,” Howard said. “When it comes to the welfare of Pennsylvania’s youth—and to improving our communities across the commonwealth—there is much work to be done. This data-driven task force is the way forward, and I look forward to taking up its recommendations. “I am committed to supporting the membership of this task force in any way I can to develop and pass evidence-based recommendations that will ensure that our systems are fair, equitable and responsive to all youth.” Joining Howard and Wolf were Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, the Hon. Kim Berkeley Clark, the Hon. Douglas Reichley, Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia/Delaware, Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, and Sen. Mike Regan, R-Cumberland. Read more

 

Cephas to introduce legislation to protect older Pennsylvanians

(Dec 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Dec. 16 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., announced she is introducing legislation designed to protect older Pennsylvanians from abuse while living in assisted living and long-term care facilities. “No one deserves to be a victim of abuse, and that’s certain for our commonwealth’s aging population,” Cephas said. “Our seniors have worked their entire lives to provide for and raise their families while making significant contributions to their community. They should not be denied the appropriate level of care and compassion that they deserve.” The two bills, known as the Assisted Living and Long-Term Care Resident Bill of Rights, would explicitly convey the needs and rights of residents, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, age or ethnicity, and ensure these needs are met. Some of these needs include mail privacy, access to health care, free from restraints, right to privacy, access to the local ombudsman, and the right to live free from neglect, intimidation and physical or verbal abuse. “While these things seem to be obvious, abuse against older Pennsylvanians is a far too common reality. More than 18,000 cases of abuse were reported between 2016 and 2017. For people of color and marginalized communities, the magnitudes of abuse are higher,” Cephas said. “My legislation would help address one of the most alarming health concerns Read more

 

Rep. Kirkland appointed to Gov. Wolf’s Special Council on Gun Violence

(Dec 04, 2019)

“I’m honored by the appointment, and I take very seriously the epidemic of gun violence in our commonwealth,” Kirkland said. Read more

 

Joint HDPC-PLBC hearing examines how to fight blight, decrease homelessness

(Dec 02, 2019)

State Rep. Tom Caltagirone, D-Berks, today hosted a joint House Democratic Policy Committee and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus public hearing on affordable housing. Read more

 

Caltagirone to host joint HDPC-PLBC hearing on affordable housing Monday in Reading

(Nov 26, 2019)

State Rep. Tom Caltagirone, D-Berks, announced he will host a joint House Democratic Policy Committee and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus public hearing on affordable housing on Monday, Dec. 2 in Reading. Read more

 

Fitzgerald introduces legislation to protect gun owners, promote public safety

(Nov 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 25 – State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald, D-Phila., announced she has introduced a series of bills designated to protect law-abiding gun owners, children and residents in the commonwealth. “It’s unfortunate that anyone could potentially become a victim to gun violence here in Pennsylvania. Whether accidental or intentional, one life lost is one too many. We must put commonsense legislation in place to prevent senseless killings from occurring in the future,” Fitzgerald said. “My three bills would preserve the rights of Pennsylvanians who are carrying guns legally, safeguard our children from being killed accidentally and enforce a ‘cooling-off’ period for a person who may have experienced an unpleasant incident in their life and who looks to potentially commit an act of violence.” The bills introduced by Fitzgerald are: H.B. 2076 – Would require driver’s licenses and photo identification cards to indicate a person possesses a concealed carry permit. H.B. 2077 – Would require all firearms be safely stored whenever they are not in use. H.B. 2078 – Would establish a 72-hour waiting period for purchases of semi-automatic assault rifles. Fitzgerald is a member of the PA SAFE Caucus , which is made up of 70 members of the PA House and Senate who believe in reducing all types of violence in society through Read more

 

McClinton applauds passage of legislation outlawing sexual extortion

(Nov 21, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, today applauded the passage of bipartisan legislation she co-sponsored, which would outlaw sexual extortion in Pennsylvania and empower law enforcement and victim services organizations to help victims of this serious sex crime who previously fell between the cracks. “Finally, victims of this horrific crime will have an avenue to seek justice and perpetrators of sexual extortion – which the Department of Justice has said is the most significantly growing threat to children – can be held accountable,” McClinton said. “I am elated to see this legislation receive bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and I look forward to seeing Governor Wolf sign it into law.” McClinton introduced H.B. 1402 with Rep. Tedd C. Nesbit, R-Mercer/Butler. The House passed it unanimously in June. The Senate unanimously passed the bill on Wednesday after making small improvements to the legislation. Today, the House unanimously passed the bill on concurrence, and it’s headed to Wolf’s desk for his signature. McClinton said previously that by specifically adding sexual extortion as a crime, we can protect individuals from people in power who demand sexual acts, images or videos from victims, usually for something of value to the victim. “Now, would-be perpetrators will not be able to lord intimate photos or other Read more

 

House unanimously adopts Bizzarro resolution designating Nov. 22 Veterans Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day

(Nov 21, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21 – State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro announced the unanimous passage of his House Resolution 608 designating Nov. 22, 2019 as Veterans Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day. Bizzarro, D-Erie, championed the resolution to draw attention to the heroes communities across Pennsylvania have lost as well as those who may continue to be lost if this public health epidemic goes unaddressed. The date further serves as a reminder of the estimated 22 veterans who die by suicide daily. “Our nation’s veterans have served our country and we have an obligation to serve and support them. I want each and every veteran to know there are resources available to help them heal from the scars of war,” expressed Bizzarro. The resolution urges family members and care providers to initiate free and confidential conversations with Veterans Health Administration Providers via the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, online at veteranscrisisline.net/chat or via text to 838255. “The United States loses more than 8,000 veterans to suicide each year. That is more than the number of veterans who died in combat deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq combined. We have to work earnestly to make sure these men and women who have given our nation so much know there is no shame in seeking help and make it easy for vets and their families to reach out,” Bizzarro explained. “In an effort to be a Read more

 

Legislators, advocates help raise awareness for bone marrow donor need

(Nov 19, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – Inspired by a Pennsylvania teen who is in need of a bone marrow transplant, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, hosted a news conference to bring attention to the crucial need of bone marrow donors, especially people of color. Kinsey was joined by Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila.; Rep. Carol Hill-Evans; Sarah Speed, a cancer mom; and Michael Garbin from Be the Match. The news conference was held in honor of Juwan Adams, a senior at Abington Senior High School who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and who is currently waiting for a donor match. “At a 23% match rate currently, there is a crucial need for bone marrow donors among African Americans,” Kinsey said. “Juwan’s story is one of several that must be heard. Many of our young people are battling life changing diseases and require so much more than basic medical care. It’s important that everyone looks into being a donor if their health permits them, so they can be a hero for those who need and await lifesaving procedures.” Farnese said, “My father suffered from cancer and was the recipient of a bone marrow transplant, so I know how important these lifesaving registrations are. I hope that today’s event brings awareness about how easy it is to register and encourages my colleagues in Harrisburg and my constituents back home to sign up Read more

 

Driscoll introduces legislation to help protect Pa. workers, businesses

(Oct 31, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 31 – State Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila., today announced he has introduced legislation that would help protect Pennsylvania employers and their workers from payroll processing fraud. House Bill 1976 would require a payroll processing company operating in the commonwealth to be fiscally bonded to cover any financial mistakes or fraudulent activity. The businesses served by the payroll processor would be protected in the event of errors or criminal activity. “Pennsylvanians work hard, and they should not have to worry whether the proper taxes are being taken out of their paychecks. Yet, there are some payroll processors that could create errors, resulting in both workers and employers paying in the end,” Driscoll said. “My legislation is designed to help avoid such issues and make the processors be responsible for their financial mistakes.” Under the legislation, the processing company would have to report annually to the Department of Revenue to ensure proper bond coverage is maintained. If found to not have proper coverage, a payroll processor would be fined $1,000 for the first offense and $5,000 for each subsequent offense. Read more

 

Isaacson to introduce legislation to regulate lead in playground areas

(Oct 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 30 – In the wake of published reports spotlighting the high levels of lead on playground equipment and in soil, state Rep. Mary Isaacson, D-Phila., is introducing legislation that would help reduce those toxic levels. The legislation would lower the acceptable limit of lead in playground soil in Pennsylvania to 200 parts per million. Currently, the limit is 400 parts per million as set in federal regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency. “Philadelphia has a serious lead issue and as a result, our children are facing serious health risks. Lead has no place where we live, where our kids go to schools and especially where they play,” Isaacson said. “My legislation is just one way to help lower the health hazards of lead while helping families keep their children safe and healthy.” In September, Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Department reportedly closed the Monkiewitz Playground along with Hieztman and Samuels recreation centers due to elevated levels of lead found in the soil. The department had also reportedly shut down the athletic field at Chew Playground for similar reasons in June. Isaacson noted she has also introduced legislation ( H.B. 79 ) that would require all children in Pennsylvania to be tested for lead at ages one and two. Read more

 

Philadelphia legislators oppose bill that eliminates straight ticket voting

(Oct 29, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 29 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation, released the following statement on behalf of a majority of delegation members who are against S.B. 421 , which would eliminate the straight ticket voting option in Pennsylvania. “The majority of the Philadelphia House Delegation is deeply concerned with the elimination of straight ticket voting. The governor’s office has touted Senate Bill 421 as the most comprehensive change to the way people vote in Pennsylvania since suffrage. While members of the Philadelphia Delegation have supported and do support many of the individual pieces contained within Senate Bill 421, the short timeline as well as lack of funding and big picture planning make it impossible for Philadelphia to implement these changes in time for the 2020 primary and general elections. Many of our constituents already face large challenges participating in the voting process, whether they have physical disabilities or access issues, and without funding to educate voters about the dramatic change, we cannot in good conscience support this legislation. “Governor Wolf released a statement in which he agreed with our concerns on July 5: ‘This policy choice removes a convenient voting option which is used by voters of any party affiliation. To implement such a change, particularly as new machines are being used for the first time, could lead to voter Read more

 

Kenyatta selected for NCSL Task Force on Cybersecurity

(Oct 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 25 – As part of his ongoing fight to protect the commonwealth’s cyber infrastructure, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta announced he has been selected as a Pennsylvania representative to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ bipartisan Executive Committee Task Force on Cybersecurity. The NCSL task force brings together state lawmakers, legislative staff and other stakeholders to discuss how state legislatures can create sound frameworks for protecting against, responding to, and prosecuting perpetrators of cyberattacks. “I am honored to have been chosen to sit on this important committee. It’s no secret that cyberattacks are not only a major concern in Pennsylvania, but across the entire country. With everyone constantly connected on their phones, computers and other electronic devices, the amount of potential attacks will only increase,” Kenyatta said. “I look forward to working with members on the task force to learn what’s being done in other states to protect citizens from cyberattacks and bring that back to craft legislation on strengthening safeguards here in Pennsylvania.” Kenyatta is the prime sponsor of H.B. 225 , which would create a Cybersecurity Innovation Commission to safeguard Pennsylvania’s data by conducting cybersecurity audits, improving security and privacy standards and analyzing the protocols. According to the Read more

 

Davis: Increase to first-responder loan program passes House

(Oct 23, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 23 – State Rep. Tina Davis today applauded her House colleagues for unanimously passing H.B. 1816 , her plan to increase the amount of money that emergency response units can borrow for critical equipment through the Volunteer Loan Assistance program. The VLAP provides low-interest loans to volunteer fire companies and emergency medical services so that they may purchase up-to-date equipment and vehicles and maintain and upgrade their facilities. The 10% increase in loan limits set forth by the bill address the rate of inflation. The maximum limit on loans was last raised in 2013. “Current loan limits have restrained vital fire companies and emergency medical services,” said Davis, D-Bucks. “As a result, these organizations are spending too much time fundraising because VLAP’s loan rates haven’t increased with the rate of inflation. “This bill would provide these vital organizations with the ability to buy or upgrade essential equipment and maintain facilities across the state.” In addition, the bill would annually increase all loan limits by the inflation rate from the previous year to ensure that fire companies and emergency medical services have lasting access to financial assistance. “Having to go to the legislature every couple of years to raise loan rates is inefficient, as we know the rate of inflation is going to increase,” Davis said. “This bill Read more

 

House Democrats stand with union workers for manufacturing jobs

(Oct 21, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 21 − House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said members today welcomed United Auto Workers Local 677, currently striking for job security, benefits and wages at Mack Trucks manufacturing plants, to speak about the ongoing battle to rebuild the middle class. “We couldn’t be prouder to stand in solidarity with these hard-working Pennsylvanians as they fight to make sure the economy helps everyone, not just the corporate executives down in North Carolina,” Dermody said. “You can’t sustain the middle class without these workers on the job, and we’re ready to do what we can to support them.” Dermody said the workers were invited by Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, home of the United Auto Workers Local 677, whose members work at Mack Trucks facilities throughout Pennsylvania. “There’s nothing more American than a Mack truck, unless you’re talking about a union job that pays a wage you can raise a family on, offers benefits to support that family, and makes sure every worker has a chance to retire and let a new worker join the team,” Schweyer said. “These men and women want to get back to work, the local managers want these hard-working professionals back on the lines, and the greater Allentown area needs these people shopping and supporting local businesses. I have their backs 100 percent.” “It’s been nearly 40 years since a Read more

 

Driscoll bill to assist families of fallen first responders passes House

(Oct 21, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Mike Driscoll, D-Phila., applauded today’s House passage of his realty transfer tax legislation that would assist the family members of police, fire and other first responders who've died in the line of duty. "Thankfully, the number of families who lose a loved one as a first responder and therefore are eligible for the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Act benefits is relatively low," Driscoll said. "But relief from this tax burden for their beneficiaries will continue to show our appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice of Pennsylvania's first responders and their families." House Bill 269 would exclude a surviving spouse or minor children of a first responder who receive benefits under the Emergency and Law Enforcement Personnel Death Benefit Act from paying the realty transfer tax, if their family home is sold within five years of the first responder's death. "First responders have made a tremendous commitment to our communities and are ready and willing to put their lives on the line every day," Driscoll said. "Offering their family this bit of relief is the least we can do to help repay that sacrifice." Driscoll’s legislation now awaits consideration in the Senate. Read more

 

Daley, Policy Committee discuss Waters of Pennsylvania

(Oct 21, 2019)

“With over 85,000 miles of rivers and streams and 99,000 acres of lakes, our state features some of the nation’s most beautiful and bountiful waterways. With that abundance, though, comes crucial challenges that we must face together in order to keep our waters clean and pollutant-free.” Read more

 

Sappey, Policy Committee examine stormwater management and infrastructure

(Oct 16, 2019)

State Rep. Christina Sappey, D-Chester, hosted a House Policy Committee hearing at the East Bradford Township Building on severe weather’s impact on infrastructure and stormwater management. Read more

 

House Democratic Leader Applauds Governor’s Action on Climate Crisis

(Oct 04, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 − House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s Executive Order directing Pennsylvania to begin the process to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. RGGI is a market-based collaboration among nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change while generating economic growth. “The governor is demonstrating the leadership Pennsylvanians are looking for from their elected officials to address the climate crisis,” Dermody said. “ A long-range plan to reduce carbon emissions will also significantly reduce other toxic air pollutants that cause asthma and disproportionately impact the health of children the elderly and the poor. The House Democratic Caucus will continue to work with Governor Wolf to ensure our air is clean and electricity prices remain affordable.” Read more

 

Cephas introduces legislation to lower maternal mortality rates
Dec 18, 2019

Howard joins in announcing new state task force to strengthen juvenile justice system
Dec 17, 2019

Cephas to introduce legislation to protect older Pennsylvanians
Dec 16, 2019

Rep. Kirkland appointed to Gov. Wolf’s Special Council on Gun Violence
Dec 04, 2019

Joint HDPC-PLBC hearing examines how to fight blight, decrease homelessness
Dec 02, 2019

Caltagirone to host joint HDPC-PLBC hearing on affordable housing Monday in Reading
Nov 26, 2019

Fitzgerald introduces legislation to protect gun owners, promote public safety
Nov 25, 2019

McClinton applauds passage of legislation outlawing sexual extortion
Nov 21, 2019

House unanimously adopts Bizzarro resolution designating Nov. 22 Veterans Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day
Nov 21, 2019

Legislators, advocates help raise awareness for bone marrow donor need
Nov 19, 2019

Driscoll introduces legislation to help protect Pa. workers, businesses
Oct 31, 2019

Isaacson to introduce legislation to regulate lead in playground areas
Oct 30, 2019

Philadelphia legislators oppose bill that eliminates straight ticket voting
Oct 29, 2019

Kenyatta selected for NCSL Task Force on Cybersecurity
Oct 25, 2019

Davis: Increase to first-responder loan program passes House
Oct 23, 2019

House Democrats stand with union workers for manufacturing jobs
Oct 21, 2019

Driscoll bill to assist families of fallen first responders passes House
Oct 21, 2019

Daley, Policy Committee discuss Waters of Pennsylvania
Oct 21, 2019

Sappey, Policy Committee examine stormwater management and infrastructure
Oct 16, 2019

House Democratic Leader Applauds Governor’s Action on Climate Crisis
Oct 04, 2019