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PLBC condemns S.B. 1166

Wheatley introduces “Return Your Rights” legislation

(Oct 16, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley has introduced a measure designed to end the cycle of branding nonviolent offenders, who have paid their debt to society, for their past mistakes. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, says H.B. 2942 would ensure their full rights as citizens are restored, provided they have served their time and paid all fines, fees and restitution. His bill would allow offenders to vote while in prison and once they are released. In addition, Wheatley’s measure would provide for the expungement of nonviolent felonies under the state’s The Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act and allow nonviolent offenders who have completed their sentence and paid any fines or related costs to obtain a firearm license. “When nonviolent offenders serve their time and have paid their debt to society, sadly it’s not uncommon for them to be subsequently denied basic rights and privileges that many of us take for granted,” said Wheatley. “While we’ve made some strides in recent years to implement meaningful criminal justice reforms, including the passage of clean slate legislation in 2018, we can and must do more. They deserve a second chance.” More information on the bill can be found at the following link: https://legis-pahofr.msappproxy.net/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=30908 Read more

 

How video gambling companies profit off communities of color

(Oct 09, 2020)

As community activists and public officials call for a change in how resources are provided to communities of color throughout the Commonwealth, some members of the state legislature are still looking into policies that exploit low-income and minority neighborhoods. The most recent example is the fast-tracking of legislation that would create thousands of mini casinos and slots parlors on every street corner in cities across the state. This is simply a proliferation of gambling that historically targets poor and largely minority communities. My colleagues and I on both sides of the political aisle are working hard to address policies that rethink how we fund and operate policing in our communities and how we can better reinvest public tax dollars back into programs that lift up minority neighborhoods. This includes investments in public education, economic development and health care. But, as the General Assembly finally begins to address the systemic issues and inequities that plague communities of color, some in the legislature are pushing for expanded gambling that will have major consequences in our neighborhoods. Even as the eyes of the world have been opened to the injustices and inequities facing people of color, a coalition of out-of-sate video gambling companies are looking to expand their predatory practices and bring tens of thousands of video gambling devices into bars, restaurants and grocery stores. These machines Read more

 

State lawmakers representing Philadelphia welcome lawsuit against commonwealth, legislature for restricting gun-safety measures

(Oct 07, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 7 – State House lawmakers representing the House Philadelphia Delegation and Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today pledged their full weight behind major legal action being taken against the commonwealth for preventing local governments from enacting their own gun-safety laws. The lawsuit filed by the city and private law firms on behalf of Pennsylvanians who have been impacted by gun violence was announced at a news conference in Philadelphia today. Philadelphia Delegation Chairman Jason Dawkins and PLBC Chairman Stephen Kinsey said it was long past time for the many people who have been impacted by gun violence to receive true acknowledgement and justice for their pain. They said the delegations they lead have worked for years to enact sensible gun-safety measures in the state but have been hampered by a Republican majority legislature determined to give no one in the state the ability to reduce gun violence and save lives. “Philadelphia and municipalities across the state took action tragedy after tragedy on behalf of the residents they serve when the state would not, only to be met with callous laws specifically designed to prevent them from doing so,” Dawkins said. “I am equally tired of the hallow promises to help reduce gun violence being made by the Republican majority following each tragedy. They hold the power to move the commonsense gun safety legislation we put forward. Yet, they continue to deny Read more

 

The Pa. Legislative Black Caucus condemns grand jury decision in slaying of Breonna Taylor, continues fight for police reform

(Sep 28, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 28 – Days after a Kentucky grand jury’s failure to indict one of the three police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor on charges related to her killing, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, along with PLBC members, said the decision is a grim reminder of how Black lives — more specifically Black women’s lives — are devalued. However, in the spirit of the esteemed PLBC’s core mission of dismantling systemic racism across the commonwealth, the caucus of legislators collectively vowed to use this pain to fuel their ongoing fight for racial justice and meaningful police reform. Kinsey, D-Phila., a father of four Black daughters, expressed that he is especially saddened. He also dissipated the attempts to vilify her memory by reflecting on Breonna’s life and her dedication to public service as a first responder on the frontlines of this pandemic. “I am a father of four Black daughters and my heart is breaking for Breonna and her family as she reflects my own girls. I see their brilliance, their strengths, and their vulnerabilities. It pains me to know that Black girls and women are denied protection and the privilege of being viewed as whole,” the chairman said. “I want to buck that narrative: Breonna was a caring young woman who had a bright future. She effortlessly juggled enjoying life and a Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee-PA Legislative Black Caucus to hold sixth hearing on Police Reform Friday in Capitol

(Sep 22, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 22 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will hold its sixth hearing on police reform and community solutions. Read more

 

8/20/20 – Police Reform - Harrisburg

(Aug 20, 2020)

Materials from a public hearing held jointly with the House Democratic Policy Committee in the Capitol and co-chaired by State Rep. Patty Kim. Read more

 

8/19/20 – Police Reform - Harrisburg

(Aug 19, 2020)

Materials from a public hearing held jointly with the House Democratic Policy Committee in the Capitol and co-chaired by State Rep. Ed Gainey. Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee, PA Legislative Black Caucus to hold fifth hearing on Police Reform Thursday in Capitol

(Aug 18, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 18 –State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will hold its fifth hearing Thursday on police reform and community solutions. Requested by state Rep. Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, HDPC Chairman Sturla and PLBC Chairman Kinsey said this hearing will focus on the Harrisburg region. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 20 in Room G-50 Irvis Office Building in Harrisburg. The media and public are urged to watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . Testifiers and members will participate in-person and remotely. Testifiers will include: Brenton Lipscomb, community activist, Black Lives Matter Kevin Dolphin, founder and CEO, Breaking the Chainz Inc. Jonathan Lee, associate professor and professor-in-charge of Criminal Justice Program, Penn State Harrisburg, School of Public Affairs Stephen Bishop, senior associate, Juvenile Justice Strategy Group at The Annie E. Casey Foundation Juan Colon, national director of Opioids and Illegal Drug Solutions, SAS Institute Following the hearing, testimony and full hearing video will be posted at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . ### Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee/PA Legislative Black Caucus to hold fourth hearing on Police Reform Wednesday in Capitol

(Aug 17, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 17 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila, announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will hold a fourth hearing on police reform. HDPC Chair Sturla and PLBC Chair Kinsey said the hearing will focus on the Pittsburgh region. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19 in Room G-50 Irvis Office Building in Harrisburg. The media and public are urged to watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . Testifiers will participate remotely while members participate in-person and remotely. Testifiers will include: Michelle Kenney , mother of Antwon Rose and director of the Antwon Rose II Foundation. Jasiri X , co-founder and CEO, 1Hood Media. Rose Price , community activist. Tameka Hatcher , educational outreach/police training program coordinator, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. Alphonse Gerhardstein , board member, National Police Accountability Project. Following the hearing, testimonies and full hearing video will be posted at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . ### Read more

 

Kinsey, Webster and PLBC members amplify call to remove Montco Commissioner Joe Gale

(Aug 13, 2020)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Aug. 13 – State Reps. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus; and Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, along with PLBC members state Reps. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, and Patty Kim, D-Dauphin, today participated in a “Free from Hate” news conference led by PA Women Rise at the West Norriton Municipal Center. The group’s “Free from Hate” platform was centered around increased demands for the ousting of Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph Gale for his comments earlier this summer referring to people involved in the Black Lives Matter movement as terrorists. To further amplify their demands, the state legislators unveiled Webster’s H.R. 920 , which would impeach Gale and which Webster introduced in response to the offensive statement. “In our quest to free our communities of hate, we must condemn actors like Commissioner Gale who used his official capacity to perpetuate hate by vilifying residents’ calls for equality and justice,” Kinsey said. “Instead of being an active agent of change in upholding those calls, Gale chose to side with the powers of oppression. His actions demonstrate his complacency with injustice, making him unfit to serve the public, and for that, Gale must be removed immediately.” Concurring with Kinsey, Webster acknowledged the solidarity among lawmakers and community members, and also Read more

 

Wheatley: Minority-owned businesses need vital help, support now

(Aug 11, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 11 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding urgent help needed for minority-owned businesses: “I hear the anger and frustration from my local business owners, especially those who are considered to be historically disadvantaged, for the lack of support they’ve received during the ongoing pandemic. And frankly, I don’t blame them. “Our minority-owned businesses are hurting, and they are among the most severely impacted and the ones who need help now to stay in business. These same business owners are also anticipating significant decreases in revenue in the next year. “In the last decade, minority businesses accounted for more than 50% of the 2 million new businesses nationwide, creating nearly 5 million jobs. At present, there are now more than 4 million minority-owned companies in the U.S., with annual sales totaling close to $700 billion. But despite that growth, major disparities remain when it comes to their access to capital and other business opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic has made that disparity even worse. Furthermore, national figures show that half of black-owned businesses nationwide will close permanently due to the pandemic. “This is unacceptable. “This week, the second round of grant applications through the COVID-19 Relief PA Statewide Small Business Assistance Program were announced. This program, which is designed to support Read more

 

Delaware County lawmakers call for investigation into violence against Black Lives Matter supporters

(Aug 07, 2020)

HARRISBURG (August 7, 2020) – Today, a group of state lawmakers from Delaware County called for District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer to investigate violence and intimidation aimed at Black Lives Matter supporters during a march in Ridley Township on Saturday, August 1 st . State Sens. Tim Kearney and Anthony Williams as well as State Reps. Leanne Krueger, Margo Davidson, David Delloso, Brian Kirkland, and Joanna McClinton signed the letter, which details how peaceful protesters were met with violence and intimidation by a group of counter-protesters. The letter calls for Delaware County’s District Attorney to investigate the counter-protesters’ actions and the Ridley Township Police Department’s response. “I was proud to participate in the Black Lives Matter protest and stand with people of all races and all ages against systemic racism,” said Sen. Tim Kearney . “But I was disturbed by the hate and intimidation that I witnessed firsthand from counter-protesters. We are better than that. We need to make sure our community feels safe when peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.” “I join others across our community in expressing horror that this demonstration of love and support for Black lives was met by a menacing group with a mission to taunt and intimidate peaceful protesters,” said Rep. Leanne Krueger . “Instead of actively protecting the First Amendment rights of our Read more

 

8/5/20 – Police Reform – Harrisburg

(Aug 05, 2020)

Materials from a public hearing held jointly with the House Democratic Policy Committee in the Capitol and co-chaired by State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans. Read more

 

Historically Black Colleges in Pa. awarded $3M to resume operations safely

(Aug 04, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 4 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today said they are encouraged by the recent award of $3 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania. Kinsey leads the PLBC as its chairman. According to the lawmakers, Lincoln University was awarded $2.25 million and Cheyney University was awarded $750,000 to aid school administrators in creating safe and healthy learning environments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “The students at Lincoln and Cheyney universities are shining examples of leadership in an otherwise difficult world,” said state Rep. Jim Roebuck, Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee and PLBC member. “This funding will help administrators to continue the excellent education and opportunities they normally provide, while doing so safely,” In late spring, Kinsey and the PLBC encouraged state and federal officials to not only recognize racial and ethnic groups in coronavirus data but also prioritize funding for Black and brown communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. “While there have been longstanding racial and economic disparities in education, the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the danger to communities of color,” Kinsey said. “We in the PLBC were very discouraged by the disproportionate number of coronavirus cases and deaths affecting people of Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee-PA Legislative Black Caucus to hold third hearing on Police Reform Wednesday in Capitol

(Aug 03, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 3 – State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will hold its third hearing on police reform. The hearing will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6 in Room G-50 Irvis Office Building in the Capitol Complex. The media and public are invited to watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . Requested by state Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, HDPC Chair Sturla and PLBC Chair Kinsey said this hearing will focus on the York region. Testifiers and members will participate in person and remotely. Testifiers will include: Police Commissioner Osborne (Moe) Robinson , City of York Police Department. Police Chief Timothy Damon , York Area Regional Police Department and president of York County Chief of Police Association. Bishop Carl Scott , Bible Tabernacle Christian Center and former president of Black Ministers Association of York County. Pastor Dr. Ramona Kinard , Wheatfield Church of the Living God and BMAYC vice president. Senior Pastor Bill Kerney , Covenant Family Ministries and BMAYC president. Rev. Aaron Anderson , CEO of Logos Academy and BMAYC member. Following the hearing, testimonies and full hearing video will be posted at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . ### Read more

 

7/28/20 – Police Reform – Harrisburg

(Jul 28, 2020)

Materials from a public hearing held jointly with the House Democratic Policy Committee in the Capitol and co-chaired by State Rep. Pete Schweyer. Read more

 

Schweyer holds joint PA Legislative Black Caucus/House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on police reform

(Jul 28, 2020)

Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh requested the House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on police reform to discuss police reforms that can apply to smaller cities like Allentown in addition to those being considered for larger metropolitan regions. Schweyer was joined by state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila, and chairman of the PA Legislative Black Caucus, state legislators from across the state and several local community leaders. Read more

 

Kinsey, PLBC denounce racism and bigotry in all forms

(Jul 27, 2020)

PHILADELPHIA, July 27 -- State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today called for unity in working to eliminate all forms of racism and prejudice in Pennsylvania and beyond. “At a time when our fellow Americans – of all races, nationalities and religions – are marching together and demonstrating for equal treatment and the end of systemic racism against Black communities and people of color, the PLBC stands firm in its position that racism and bigotry should not be tolerated in any form, including anti-Semitism,” said Kinsey, D-Phila. “Our society includes people of all races and religions, so we must work together to understand one another’s history and struggles and stand together against those who spew their hate and engage in harassment. Unintentional racism and bigotry due to ignorance of one another is part of the problem. I and the PLBC are committed to working together to ensure equality and an end to hate and prejudice in all its ugly forms.” Read more

 

House Democratic Policy Committee/PA Legislative Black Caucus to hold second hearing on Police Reform Tuesday in Capitol

(Jul 24, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 24 –State Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila, announced today that the House Democratic Policy Committee and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus will hold a second hearing on police reform. Requested by state Rep. Pete Schweyer, D-Lehigh, HDPC Chair Sturla and PLBC Chair Kinsey said this hearing will focus on the Allentown region. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 28 in Room G-50 Irvis Office Building in Harrisburg. The media and public are urged to watch the livestream at www.pahouse.com/live . Testifiers will participate remotely while members participate in-person and remotely. Testifiers will include: Chief Glenn Grantiz, Jr., Allentown Police Department Justan Parker, founder, Black Lives Matter to the Lehigh Valley Maegen Lierena, executive director, Make The Road Pennsylvania Nasheera Brown, student, Louise E. Dieruff High School Adrian Shanker, founder and executve director, Bradbury-Sullivan LBGT Community Center Following the hearing, testimonies and full hearing video will be posted at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . Read more

 

7/21/20 - Police Reform - Harrisburg

(Jul 21, 2020)

Materials from a public hearing held jointly with the House Democratic Policy Committee. Read more

 

Wheatley introduces “Return Your Rights” legislation
Oct 16, 2020

How video gambling companies profit off communities of color
Oct 09, 2020

State lawmakers representing Philadelphia welcome lawsuit against commonwealth, legislature for restricting gun-safety measures
Oct 07, 2020

The Pa. Legislative Black Caucus condemns grand jury decision in slaying of Breonna Taylor, continues fight for police reform
Sep 28, 2020

House Democratic Policy Committee-PA Legislative Black Caucus to hold sixth hearing on Police Reform Friday in Capitol
Sep 22, 2020

8/20/20 – Police Reform - Harrisburg
Aug 20, 2020

8/19/20 – Police Reform - Harrisburg
Aug 19, 2020

House Democratic Policy Committee, PA Legislative Black Caucus to hold fifth hearing on Police Reform Thursday in Capitol
Aug 18, 2020

House Democratic Policy Committee/PA Legislative Black Caucus to hold fourth hearing on Police Reform Wednesday in Capitol
Aug 17, 2020

Kinsey, Webster and PLBC members amplify call to remove Montco Commissioner Joe Gale
Aug 13, 2020

Wheatley: Minority-owned businesses need vital help, support now
Aug 11, 2020

Delaware County lawmakers call for investigation into violence against Black Lives Matter supporters
Aug 07, 2020

8/5/20 – Police Reform – Harrisburg
Aug 05, 2020

Historically Black Colleges in Pa. awarded $3M to resume operations safely
Aug 04, 2020

House Democratic Policy Committee-PA Legislative Black Caucus to hold third hearing on Police Reform Wednesday in Capitol
Aug 03, 2020

7/28/20 – Police Reform – Harrisburg
Jul 28, 2020

Schweyer holds joint PA Legislative Black Caucus/House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on police reform
Jul 28, 2020

Kinsey, PLBC denounce racism and bigotry in all forms
Jul 27, 2020

House Democratic Policy Committee/PA Legislative Black Caucus to hold second hearing on Police Reform Tuesday in Capitol
Jul 24, 2020

7/21/20 - Police Reform - Harrisburg
Jul 21, 2020