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The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus congratulates Biden and Harris on historic win

Rep. Williams welcomes affordable housing initiatives in Coatesville

(Nov 18, 2019)

COATESVILLE, Nov. 18 – State Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, commends both Gov. Tom Wolf and Habitat for Humanity of Chester County after Wolf announced late last week a $12,750 tax credit for the nonprofit organization for its work in Coatesville. The announcement from Wolf was part of $26.5 million in funding “through the Neighborhood Assistance Program to promote community participation and collaborations among nonprofits, businesses and residents” in distressed or low-income areas. For Habitat for Humanity in Coatesville, that means that the organization – currently the only nonprofit in Chester County serving low- and very low-income families – will soon complete a 46-home single family housing development. “Adequate and affordable housing is a key issue for residents in the 74 th Legislative District,” Williams said. “I welcome all projects that can help to address this inequity, and I thank Gov. Wolf for helping fund the Habitat for Humanity project that helps care for my constituents.” According to the project details, low-income families in Coatesville are faced with high rental rates and limited opportunities for homeownership, which negatively affect the city’s growth and development. However, through volunteer labor and financial and in-kind donations from private and public sources, Habitat for Humanity is soon completing its 46-home project, with one home soon finishing Read more

 

Rep. Kirkland announces nearly $100K in parks and recreation grants for local municipalities

(Nov 15, 2019)

CHESTER, Nov. 15 – State Rep. Brian Kirkland, D-Delaware, announced two grants totaling $97,800 awarded to communities in his 159 th Legislative District to be used toward parks and recreation improvements. The grants are among dozens awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on Thursday through its Community Conservation Partnerships Program. Within Kirkland’s district in Delaware County, $57,800 was awarded for rehabilitation and further development of Upland County Park in Upland, plus $40,000 to Upper Chichester Township to prepare a Comprehensive Recreation, Park and Open Space Plan. “This is outstanding news for both Upland Borough and Upper Chichester, as our local parks and recreation sites provide a necessary sense of community,” Kirkland said. “I’m glad both municipalities will benefit from this funding to improve and develop these spaces.” At Upland County Park, the funding will help construct a seating of walls, pedestrian walkways, parking area and stormwater management measure, plus the installation of fitness stations and play equipment with required safety surfacing. Additionally, there are site improvements planned related to ADA access, landscaping and more. The Community Conservation Partnerships Program assists local governments, recreation and conservation organizations with funding for projects related to conservation, parks and recreation, including Read more

 

Williams cheers $40K grant for Minch Park rehabilitation in Parkesburg

(Nov 14, 2019)

PARKESBURG, Nov. 14 – State Rep. Dan Williams, D-Chester, announced a $40,000 grant has been awarded to Parkesburg Borough in Chester County for rehabilitation of Minch Park. In support of the project, Williams spoke with members of Parkesburg’s newly created Parks & Recreation Committee this summer about a growing list of projects for Minch Park. This funding, awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through its Community Conservation Partnerships Program, will go toward the following: Renovation of a comfort station and pedestrian walkways. ADA access, landscaping, project signage, and other related site improvements. “The beauty of our local parks is instrumental in not only how we view our communities, but how we feel about and interact with them,” Williams said. “I’m fully in support of Minch Park’s rehabilitation, and I congratulate my friends in Parkesburg Borough for being awarded this grant. I look forward to enjoying the fruits of these improvements.” The Community Conservation Partnerships Program assists local governments, recreation and conservation organizations with funding for projects related to conservation, parks and recreation, including conservation of open space, river conservation and access, and the planning, acquisition and development of public parks. More information can be found here . Read more

 

Wheatley: Veterans service doesn’t end, neither should support

(Nov 14, 2019)

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 14 – A veteran’s service to our nation doesn’t necessarily end when they take off their uniform. For many veterans their service to our nation continues for years, often as they carry the events, stress and anxiety of their time in uniform with them. Suffering from an undiagnosed, service-connected mental health disorder or traumatic brain injury can often result in difficulties adjusting to civilian life, all too often including struggles with the law. Recently, state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, introduced legislation that would extend a second chance to veterans who struggle with service-connected mental health disorders or traumatic brain injuries and have run afoul of law enforcement. “Building upon the monumental Clean Slate Law, I want to make sure that veterans who have sacrificed so much for the freedom we enjoy have an opportunity to take control of their futures,” Wheatley said. “This legislation is necessary because as many know, mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder greatly affect how individuals operate in daily life. “This means that an unrecognized, yet very real mental health disorder may have contributed to an individual’s interaction with the law and resulted in this individual having a criminal record.” Wheatley’s legislation, introduced as H.B. 1828 , would not extend the Clean Slate program to violent offenses, but would limit access Read more

 

Davis: $221K awarded for park rehabilitation projects in Munhall

(Nov 14, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 14 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, announced Thursday that the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources approved a $221,000 grant to fund the rehabilitation of three parks in Munhall. “Local parks are more than locations that offer recreational activities. In fact, they’re places where communities come together,” Davis said. “So we need to ensure we’re capitalizing on opportunities to enhance and beautify our parks. This funding will help preserve and improve these recreational spaces for our families for years to come.” Davis said Trautman Street Park, Video Drive Park and Vine Street Park all will undergo rehabilitation projects. The installation of play equipment with the required safety surfacing will occur at both Trautman Street Park and Video Drive Park. Both projects also will include ADA access, landscaping and other site-related improvements. Davis said further development will occur at Vine Street Park, including the construction of pavilions, ADA access, landscaping and other site-related improvements. The grant was among dozens awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on Thursday through its Recreation and Conservation program. The program assists local governments, recreation and conservation organizations with funding for projects related to conservation, parks and recreation, including conservation of open Read more

 

Hill-Evans announces $230K awarded to YMCA of York

(Nov 14, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 14 – State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, today announced that a $230,000 grant will be awarded to the YMCA of York to construct additional pavilions and install more play equipment and ADA access ramps. “It’s always great to see these organizations that help so many being awarded additional funds with which to do good,” Hill-Evans said. “These improvements to our community will be felt by many. With more equipment to play on and additional safety measures, our kids will be able to use these facilities for years to come. With ADA access more available, more kids will feel like they can play and get involved.” The development of the YMCA of York will include construction of a pavilion and parking area; installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing and fencing; and ADA access, landscaping, project signs and other related site improvements. DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation assists local governments, recreation and conservation organizations with funding for projects related to conservation, parks and recreation, including conservation of open space, river conservation and access, and the planning, acquisition and development of public parks. More information can be found here . For additional details, call Hill-Evans’ district office at (717) 848-9595. ### Read more

 

McClinton honors veterans, connects them with veterans’ services during annual Veterans Expo

(Nov 12, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 12 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton honored 37 veterans at her annual Veterans Expo Friday, including a World War II veteran, a Korean War veteran and veterans who served in the Vietnam, Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq wars, during her annual Veterans Expo ahead of Veterans Day. “How do you say thank you to people who were willing to sacrifice their lives for your freedom?” McClinton said. “Words aren’t enough. In fact, I don’t know that we can adequately thank these brave veterans for their service to our country. But I want them to know that no matter how many years -- no matter how many decades – have passed since they returned home or since they last wore their service uniform, I will never forget what they gave. That’s what my annual Veterans Expo is about; it’s a gesture of gratitude, an acknowledgement for all they have done and an opportunity to connect them to invaluable resources.” McClinton’s Veterans Expo, sponsored by Humana and AmeriHealth Caritas, was held at Myers Recreation Center on Friday, Nov. 8. Information about veterans’ benefits was available and 15 health and wellness and veterans service organizations were in attendance, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Minority Veterans, AARP, Aetna and the University of Pennsylvania. Representatives from the offices of U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon and state Sen. Anthony H. Williams Read more

 

Tonight: McClinton hosts community discussion on growing human trafficking epidemic

(Oct 30, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 30 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, House Democratic Caucus chair, is hosting a community discussion on protecting local children and neighborhoods from human trafficking. The discussion will take place at 6:30 p.m. tonight, Oct. 30, at Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School, 2601 S. 58 th St., 19143. The public and media are invited to attend. “Children across our nation, commonwealth and in our local communities are vanishing at alarming rates and sold like commodities into the grim world of human trafficking,” McClinton said. “To combat this growing problem, it’s important that residents and law enforcement become educated about the red flags and existing laws.” McClinton will be joined by representatives from the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Nationalities Service Center and Richard Allen Preparatory School. The community discussion on raising awareness of human trafficking through education coincides with legislation she introduced that would require schools to implement information about human trafficking into the health curriculum Read more

 

Kinsey: PLBC opposes Senate Bill 421 for its negative impact on marginalized communities

(Oct 29, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 29 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, issued the following statement opposing S.B. 421, which passed the House today. “All Americans have a fundamental right to vote, so any election reform we pass should make it easier for people to cast their votes. Unfortunately, we have a long legacy of doing the opposite in this country. As legislators, we should avoid any effort to make voting harder for disadvantaged communities. “By taking away the convenience of straight ticket voting, the process would be longer and wait times would extend for Pennsylvanians who already must fit voting into their busy schedules. It is going to heavily impact whether our most vulnerable citizens are able to participate at the polls,” Kinsey said. Kinsey was joined by other members of the PLBC who also voiced concerns about S.B 421. Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., agreed that this bill is an act of voter suppression that will undoubtedly disproportionately affect people of color, especially in urban centers such as Philadelphia. “I am astounded by Republicans’ efforts to limit the freedom of choice that voters had by eliminating straight party voting, to create confusion at the polls by purging thousands of voters from the registry and to offer hollow voting reforms without resources to implement them. I find the audacity of those Republicans to try to 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

 

McClinton to host Monday news conference to address prison gerrymandering

(Oct 23, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 23 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will host a news conference on ending the practice of prison gerrymandering at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28 at the state Capitol Media Center. McClinton will be joined by House and Senate colleagues and advocacy partners to discuss House Bill 940 – legislation that would require Pennsylvania to count incarcerated individuals at their last residential address for the purpose of congressional and legislative redistricting. Media coverage is invited. Read more

 

Kenyatta: LGBTQ+ Americans should not be fired for who they are or love

(Oct 08, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 8 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta issued the following statement after the Supreme Court heard arguments over whether federal civil rights law protects the LGBTQ+ community from job discrimination: “The cases before the Supreme Court today cut to the heart of whether LGBTQ+ Americans like me should have full access to the freedom and protections that my straight friends so often take for granted. We should not have to worry if we can keep our jobs or be fired for who we are or who we love. “I hope that sooner rather than later, LGBTQ+ kids will be able to grow up where they have no limits. We should all live in a country without having to hide who we are, who we love and how we identify. This should never be challenged or used against us, and this is why we fight. “It’s unfortunate that we may have to wait for the results on this important decision by the Supreme Court. It’s unfortunate we live in a country or even a state that doesn’t protect our LGBTQ+ young people. However, the Pennsylvania General Assembly can change that. I am a proud co-sponsor of House Bill 1404, which would provide equal protection to LGBTQ+ family members and neighbors across the commonwealth. It is our duty to lead and do everything in our power to protect all citizens. “I am extremely grateful to Aimee Stephens, Donald Zarda and Gerald Bostock. They faced discrimination in Read more

 

Cephas and Lee call on state Human Relations Commission to investigate after assault of two black women by Pittsburgh business owners

(Sep 26, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Women and Girls of Color Subcommittee for the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today condemned the assault of two black women by male gas station owners at an Exxon Mobil on Brighton Road on Pittsburgh's North Side last Friday. “This public beating inflicted upon these two young women is absolutely vile,” Cephas said. “The motives for this gang-style free-for-all by these men are clear: they didn’t view their victims as humans worthy of respect. They were appalled that these women -- these black women -- dared to speak up for themselves and not back down. In these individuals’ minds, this warranted a savage beating on camera for all to see. “This situation is hardly an isolated incident and relates to many larger issues that reveal how much black women and girls are devalued in our society.” State Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, added, “In the wake of this abhorrent assault, our collective pain as a community is instigated by the conviction of those who would be quick to justify such an offense, by the realization that no matter how many of these interactions we record, and no matter how much restraint we exhibit in the face of abuse, that our society has failed us in its incapacity to recognize our humanity. The frequency and blatant disregard with which these assailants batter black women reveals a deeper truth about our Read more

 

Kinsey, PLBC join in call for passage of Emergency Assistance legislation to help Pa.’s most vulnerable citizens

(Sep 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 24 – Today, State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, stood with his Democratic House and Senate colleagues to call for the passage of House Bill 1709 , which would restore assistance to Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens. “That the legislature in Pennsylvania allowed General Assistance to expire on Aug. 1, leaving vulnerable Pennsylvanians without the very modest cash assistance on which they relied to pay for things like basic toiletries, quarters to do their laundry, bus fare to get to work and educational opportunities, is unconscionable,” Kinsey said. “Our obligation to help the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians – from veterans and their caregivers, to victims of domestic violence – is past due. We must pass House Bill 1709 to end the suffering thrust upon our most vulnerable neighbors.” Kinsey and other members of the PLBC stood in solidarity during a news conference Tuesday with several Pennsylvanians who had relied on General Assistance before the program ended. The message they aimed to send: House and Senate Democrats are not walking away from this issue. On Aug. 1, the state’s General Assistance program ended. It had provided about $200 per month to about 11,000 Pennsylvanians who qualified. People who received Social Security benefits received too much monthly income to qualify for General Assistance. Kinsey and several other members of the Read more

 

Legislators fight to bring back General Assistance Fund

(Sep 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 24 – Joining advocates, former recipients of General Assistance and state senators, state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta, Melissa Shusterman and Elizabeth Fiedler repeated the call for the General Assembly to restart the program that many vulnerable residents depended on in the commonwealth. “Ending General Assistance was one of the cruelest legislative decisions that has been made in this body since I became a member. There is no logical excuse or argument for denying support for the most vulnerable communities when they needed it most. It was like kicking them while they’re down,” Kenyatta, D-Phila., said. “That is why I’ve introduced House Bill 1709 to bring this vital resource back. I’m urging my colleagues across the aisle to understand the severity of the harm this has caused for Pennsylvania families and fix it now.” Kenyatta is the main sponsor of H.B. 1709, which would provide emergency relief to those Pennsylvanians who previously received support through the General Assistance Fund. The program provided $200 a month in cash assistance to those who were unable to work, those caring for loved ones who were sick or disabled, veterans, victims of domestic violence and those receiving treatment for substance abuse, among others. In June, the General Assembly voted to end the program, despite the pleas from many, including Kenyatta and Shusterman, Read more

 

McClinton welcomes advocates for probation reform to state Capitol

(Sep 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 24 – In her continued efforts for criminal justice reform in the commonwealth, state Rep. Joanna McClinton rallied with advocates for probation reform during a news conference at the state Capitol. “There are so many people who have served their time and who are now working to become upstanding citizens for their families and their communities. Yet, they are facing a long period of probation and one slip, such as missing a meeting with their probation officer, can land them back in jail. These people who are trying to change for good deserve better,” McClinton said. Participants of today’s event were Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Justice Action Network, Commonwealth Foundation, Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania, ACLU-Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Prison Society, REFORM Alliance, Amistad Law Project and American Conservative Union Foundation. McClinton also met with advocates one-to-one to discuss their thoughts on how to change the system in Pennsylvania. “I am a supporter of House Bill 1555 , a probation reform bill that is currently in committee. I also was a staunch advocate for the historic Clean Slate Act that became law last year,” McClinton said. “As a member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing, I voted against the new risk-assessment tool because I had serious concerns that it is not the best way to reduce recidivism. We need to Read more

 

9/10/19 – Youth Perspective on Criminal Justice – Philadelphia

(Sep 13, 2019)

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

 

Cephas joins Philadelphia mayor and MERCK for Mothers foundation to announce $1 million grant to reduce citywide maternal mortality rates

(Sep 13, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 13 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila, vice chair of the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus, today joined Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and others to applaud the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Philadelphia Health Federation for securing a $ 1 million grant from MERCK for Mothers to support efforts to decrease maternal mortality in Philadelphia. The grant will support the Philadelphia Maternal Mortality Review Committee and create a local action team to address the daunting, increasing maternal mortality rates and improve maternal health outcomes. “When it comes to maternal care, Philadelphia has abysmal maternal mortality rates, at 27.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. The city’s rising rates are among poor maternal mortality across the commonwealth,” Cephas said. “This grant is a great start to improve outcomes for women and families in Philadelphia. It will also support efforts that can help to provide a clearer understanding of the causes and correlations of maternal deaths, so we can better track them and save lives.” In addition to her leadership role on the House Democrats’ Women’s Health Caucus, Cephas chairs the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ Subcommittee for Women and Girls of Color and has been a stalwart at addressing the rise in pregnancy-related deaths. She has coordinated meetings with stakeholders in Philadelphia and across the Read more

 

PLBC and Policy Committee listen to youth perspective on criminal justice

(Sep 10, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 10 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., and the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus today held a joint hearing with the House Democratic Policy Committee on youth perspective on criminal justice. The PLBC requested the hearing to give youth an opportunity to express their views on the current criminal justice system. “I am grateful to the young people who were present for today’s hearing, as we are working to make changes to our society, including our criminal justice system, so that they will grow up in a better, more just world,” Kinsey said. “We know our system is flawed and unfair but hearing from the experts who testified today gave us invaluable information and insight that can be used to make much-needed improvements. I hope our young people know, after attending this hearing, that their voices are valued.” “Criminal Justice Reform is one of the important Civil Rights issues of our time,” Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., said. “Additionally, many of our young people are affected by it as participants themselves or as a family member of a participant. It’s important to hear their voice as we continue to address this important issue.” The Philadelphia Community Youth Court sits in Harris’ district and is located at the Universal Institute Charter School, where the hearing took place. They were joined by state legislators from across Read more

 

McClinton to host Senior Appreciate Fair on Friday

(Sep 09, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 9 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will host her “Healthy From Head to Toe” Senior Appreciation Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 at Presbyterian Homes, 2050 S. 58th St., 19143. "The seniors in our community have done so much for their families and their neighborhoods. They deserve to be appreciated and to receive resources that are beneficial to them,” McClinton said. “My event is a great opportunity for them to meet with a number of agencies and companies that cater to them.” The event will offer screenings and other health-related services, resources from area agencies such as insurance and health-care providers. Lunch will be provided. McClinton and her staff also will provide seniors with information and tools to help live healthy lives. For more information, constituents can call McClinton's district office at (215) 748-6712. Read more

 

Rep. Williams welcomes affordable housing initiatives in Coatesville
Nov 18, 2019

Rep. Kirkland announces nearly $100K in parks and recreation grants for local municipalities
Nov 15, 2019

Williams cheers $40K grant for Minch Park rehabilitation in Parkesburg
Nov 14, 2019

Wheatley: Veterans service doesn’t end, neither should support
Nov 14, 2019

Davis: $221K awarded for park rehabilitation projects in Munhall
Nov 14, 2019

Hill-Evans announces $230K awarded to YMCA of York
Nov 14, 2019

McClinton honors veterans, connects them with veterans’ services during annual Veterans Expo
Nov 12, 2019

Tonight: McClinton hosts community discussion on growing human trafficking epidemic
Oct 30, 2019

Kinsey: PLBC opposes Senate Bill 421 for its negative impact on marginalized communities
Oct 29, 2019

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

McClinton to host Monday news conference to address prison gerrymandering
Oct 23, 2019

Kenyatta: LGBTQ+ Americans should not be fired for who they are or love
Oct 08, 2019

Cephas and Lee call on state Human Relations Commission to investigate after assault of two black women by Pittsburgh business owners
Sep 26, 2019

Kinsey, PLBC join in call for passage of Emergency Assistance legislation to help Pa.’s most vulnerable citizens
Sep 24, 2019

Legislators fight to bring back General Assistance Fund
Sep 24, 2019

McClinton welcomes advocates for probation reform to state Capitol
Sep 24, 2019

9/10/19 – Youth Perspective on Criminal Justice – Philadelphia
Sep 13, 2019

Cephas joins Philadelphia mayor and MERCK for Mothers foundation to announce $1 million grant to reduce citywide maternal mortality rates
Sep 13, 2019

PLBC and Policy Committee listen to youth perspective on criminal justice
Sep 10, 2019

McClinton to host Senior Appreciate Fair on Friday
Sep 09, 2019