March 29: Senator Judy Schwank says the state Senate has passed a supplemental funding bill for the Department of Labor, providing funding to bring back enough workers to get the unemployment department somewhat back up to speed after last December’s layoffs. But she says there’s more to do.
March 28: Senator Lisa Boscola’s legislation intended to make our roadways safe during winter weather is one step closer to becoming law.
March 27: Senator Lisa Boscola is part of a bipartisan group of legislators who want to allow the legalization of video gaming terminals. The bill would allow all places with a liquor license plus establishments such as clubs and VFW’s to own and operate VGT’s, with all 67 counties receiving a portion of the profits.
March 17: As lawmakers wrestle with the state’s 2017-18 budget, Senator Andy Dinniman, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, says his focus is on how state education dollars are being spent.
March 17: Senator John Yudichak says President Trump’s budget will cripple or eliminate successful after-school programs across Pennsylvania.
March 9: More than 1 million Pennsylvanians receive affordable health coverage through the state’s Medicaid expansion marketplace. Senators Vincent Hughes and John Blake says any repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have devastating impact on individuals and families who rely on the coverage, and would create a massive deficit in the state budget.
March 1: Providing quality and affordable higher education isn’t the only thing the state related universities are doing for Pennsylvania. Senator John Blake talks about the numerous other ways they have an impact on our state.
February 28: Environmental groups concerned about the levels of lead in the water Pennsylvania schools issued a report entitled “Get the Lead Out”. The report examined test results of drinking water and state regulations regarding water sources and graded states. Senator Vincent Hughes says the report gave Pennsylvania an F in terms of protecting children from lead in water at schools.
February 27: It’s a debilitating disease you might not have heard about — but more importantly, there’s a good chance your doctor hasn’t heard about it either. Which is why Senator John Blake sponsored a Resolution designating this week as “Spinal CSF Leak Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania.
February 23: The financial health and future of Pennsylvania’s State Owned Universities were the focus of discussion at Senate budget hearings in Harrisburg on Thursday. Senators Judy Schwank and Vincent Hughes say the universities need to know there’s secure funding coming from the state in order to keep operating.
February 22: The efficiency, operation and fairness of how Pennsylvania conducts its elections was brought up during day two of Senate budget hearings. Senator Art Haywood says Pennsylvanians can feel safe about their elections.
February 21: State budget hearings begin in Harrisburg this week as lawmakers gather information to help draft a new spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. The Senate Appropriations Committee started by questioning the state Treasurer. Senator John Blake says he was impressed with the answers provided by Treasurer Joe Torcella.
February 15: Senator Anthony H. Williams wants everyone in the state to be aware of hit-and-run incidents in which someone is seriously injured or killed. He’s proposing an alert system similar to the “Amber Alert” system used to notify people about the kidnapping of a child.
February 8: By a vote of 32-18, the State Senate passed Senate Bill 3, which decreases the gestational age at which an abortion can be performed from 24 weeks to 20 weeks and prohibits dilation and evacuation abortion procedures. Senator Daylin Leach says Senate Republicans showed “no regard for science, the Constitution, or even human decency.”
February 7: Gov. Tom Wolf presented his budget plan for Fiscal Year 2017-18, calling for an increase in education funding, cuts of $2 billion in government expenses and no broad-based tax increase. Senate Democrats say it’s a good starting point for budget negotiations. Here are Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Democratic Appropriations Committee Chairman Vincent Hughes, Democratic Finance Committee Chairman John Blake and Philadelphia Senator Sharif Street talking about the budget proposal.
February 6: A bill that would make Pennsylvania one of the toughest states in the nation in which to have an abortion passed the Senate Judiciary Committee along a party-line vote. Senator Daylin Leach, who voted no and opposes the bill, says the committee failed to follow normal procedures before passing the bill.
February 3: Postpartum depression can adversely affect mothers and their babies. That’s why Senator Judy Schwank is co-sponsoring legislation to make sure mothers of newborns are screened for the illness.
February 1: Senate Democrats are asking Governor Wolf to call a special session of the General Assembly to focus on reforming or eliminating property taxes.
January 31: Senator John Blake would like Pennsylvania to join 33 other states and adopt a program that would provide financing to help businesses install energy-efficient upgrades in their buildings.
January 27: Saying the decision should be driven by economics as much as by morals, Senator Daylin Leach is introducing legislation that would repeal the Death Penalty in Pennsylvania.
January 24: For Pennsylvanians seeking unemployment assistance, the wait on the telephone or on line is a long one. That’s because a funding dispute between the Governor and Republicans in the Senate resulted in the layoffs of 500 employees and the closings of three call centers. Senate Democrats are calling on the legislature to vote quickly to restore the funding
January 23: Harrisburg was the scene of a hearing and a rally, both concerned with the Department of Corrections’ plan to close two prisons in Pennsylvania as a way of saving money in the 2017-18 state budget. Senator John Yudichak attended both and is not happy with how the plan is going.
January 20: Three state Senate Committees will start the week reviewing a plan by the state Department of Corrections to close two prisons as a way of cutting the state’s potential 600 million dollar budget deficit.
January 19: More than 800 people filled an auditorium at a middle school outside Philadelphia Wednesday night for a “Resistance Forum” hosted by Senator Daylin Leach, designed to tell people how to fight any changes the Trump administration may want to make in the areas of healthcare, the environment and civil rights.
January 18: Congress is talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — even as the deadline looms to sign up for health insurance under the ACA in 2017. Senator Vincent Hughes wants to make sure as many Pennsylvanians as possible sign up for health insurance before the deadline.
January 12: The 101st Pennsylvania Farm Show celebrates farm life and highlights one of the state’s biggest industries, agriculture. But Senator Judy Schwank, Democratic Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, says the Farm Show also holds some surprises.
January 9: The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections recently announced it’s looking to close two state prisons in an effort to save money. Senator John Yudichak is just one of the lawmakers saying such closings would devastate the economies of the municipalities that host those prisons.
January 6: Thousands are expected to convene in Washington D.C. the Saturday before Martin Luther King’s birthday to rally in support of the rights Dr. King fought to achieve. Pennsylvanians are being urged to join the march by Senator Vincent Hughes, along with clergy and community activists.
January 3: With the swearing-in of new and re-elected Senators, the 201st session of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is underway, and Senate Democrats talk about what they’d like to see accomplished in this new session.
December 23: With 19 Pennsylvania cities testing higher than Flint, Michigan, for elevated blood lead levels in children, Senator Vincent Hughes says he’ll re-introduce legislation to create a statewide Superfund to address the lead crisis in the state.
December 8: Senator Judy Schwank says moving the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, out of the state Insurance Department and into the Department of Human Services one year ago has been good for the kids and families that use CHIP.
November 23: An advisory committee co-chaired by Senator Vincent Hughes held hearings this week to look at ways to funnel more state funding to school districts to build new school buildings or renovate existing ones.
November 16: The current session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly ends November 30th. Senator Judy Schwank looks back on legislation passed during this session that she thinks is most meaningful.
November 4: Governor Wolf today signed legislation into law that allows ride-sharing transportation companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to operate in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Vincent Hughes, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who attended the bill-signing ceremony at the State Capitol and explains what the new law will mean for the Philadelphia School District and consumers across Pennsylvania.
November 3: In an effort to build support for legislation that would allow early voting in Pennsylvania, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing yesterday in Pittsburgh to gather testimony from county officials, the League of Women Voters, and Common Cause, among others. Here’s more with Senator Wayne Fontana of Allegheny County, sponsor of the early voting legislation, who says Pennsylvania is one of only 13 states that does not have early voting — and that it should not be a partisan issue but appears to be so in Pennsylvania.
November 3: An economic development project in Perry County has been awarded a $2 million grant through the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RCAP) that will create the Buffalo Crossing Business Park in Howe Township. Here’s more with Senator Rob Teplitz who, along with Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin, made the announcement this week in Perry County.
October 27: Senator John Blake has good news for people whose work depends on the seasons, such as construction workers. A law that made it more difficult for those workers to qualify for unemployment has been fixed.
October 26: Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County and the Capital Region Partnership for Career Development hosted a State Capitol rally today to highlight the critical need to prepare students for life beyond high school graduation. Here’s more with Senator Teplitz who was introduced by Lynda Morris, executive director of the Capital Region Partnership for Career Development.
October 19: Many Pennsylvanians say fighting between the political parties and government gridlock has made them less inclined to vote. Speakers at a Good Government Forum in Harrisburg, organized by Senator Rob Teplitz, say the best way to solve that problem is to get more citizens involved in government.
October 19: The Afterschool Caucus, a bi-partisan, House-Senate legislative caucus in Harrisburg, of which Senator John Yudichak is a leader, has released a report on the success of afterschool programs in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with the Luzerne County lawmaker from today’s State Capitol news conference on “Afterschool: Improving Lives in Pennsylvania.”
October 18: At a State Capitol news conference today on plans by state lawmakers to combat animal cruelty in Pennsylvania by introducing a resolution directing the Joint State Government Commission to establish an Animal Abuse Prevention Task Force, Senator Andy Dinniman spoke about the importance of passing legislation that he introduced in the state Senate and is now before the House of Representatives for approval. Click here to hear the Chester County lawmaker’s news conference remarks.
October 17: October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Lawmakers gathered with activists in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg for a ceremony remembering victims of domestic violence.
October 17: Senator Daylin Leach would like to see movement on his legislation that would divert children who are forced into prostitution away from jail cells and into treatment centers.
October 13: At the urging of Senator Jim Brewster, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing at the Monroeville Municipal Building on Charter Schools and Cyber Charter Schools. Senator Brewster says reform legislation is needed to address charter school transparency, fiscal solvency, and academic accountability.
October 12: The Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee, of which Senator John Yudichak is the Democratic Chairman, held a public hearing this week in Jim Thorpe, Carbon County, on the Coal Refuse Industry and Reclamation Projects. Here’s more with the Luzerne County lawmaker who says supporting the industry is important because of jobs that it creates, the renewable energy that it produces, and the environmental remediation that its provides to abandoned mine lands and streams across Pennsylvania.
October 7: At the urging of Senator Jim Brewster, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold a public hearing on October 13th, 10 a.m., at the Monroeville Municipal Building on Charter Schools and Cyber Charter Schools. Here’s more with the Allegheny County lawmaker, a member of the Senate Education Committee, who says reform legislation is needed to address charter school transparency, fiscal solvency, and academic accountability.
September 28: Governor Tom Wolf addressed a joint session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, talking about his priorities in tackling the heroin and opioid crisis gripping the Commonwealth. The state Senate is already passing legislation to address the problem
September 22: Walk of Honor Ceremony Honoring Vietnam War Veterans to be held Saturday, September 24, at the Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke. Here’s more with Senator John Yudichak of Luzerne County who will be joined by other state and local officials at a special 11:00 a.m. ceremony to honor more than sixty veterans of the Vietnam War and commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the War.
September 20: Members of the state legislature took part in a rally at the state Capitol, marking a “Day of Hope” in the fight against drug abuse and heroin addiction. Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa is co-chairman of the legislature’s HOPE Caucus; the Caucus’ mission is to ensure every Pennsylvanian has access to high quality prevention and treatment of the disease of drug and alcohol addiction.
September 9: The Pennsylvania Latino/Hispanic Cancer Burden Report providing information about the prevalence of the disease in the Pennsylvania Latino community was released today at a State Capitol news conference. Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County participated in the study’s release which shows a significantly higher risk of cancer in the Latino population with the leading types being breast, lung, and colon in women and lung, colon and prostate in men. The cancer study’s goal is to launch a statewide campaign for prevention, control and treatment and to make the Latino community aware of screening and treatment options. Here’s more with Senator Teplitz who notes that cancer is the second leading cause of death in Pennsylvania.
September 9: Senator Yudichak joined state lawmakers, local officials and Wyoming Valley residents today to mark the 5th anniversary of the 2011 flood recovery efforts that began in the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Lee on communities from West Pittston to Shickshinny. Here’s more with Senator Yudichak on the flood recovery success story and the creation of the Luzerne County Small Business Loan Program which provided the badly needed financial help to those businesses affected by the flooding.
September 8: Alarmed by the explosion of digital billboards in Pennsylvania, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee heard from municipal officials and concerned citizens on the need to give municipalities more power to restrict these larger electronic signs. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, who requested the hearing and who has introduced legislation that would establish guidelines for the placement of large electronic and digital billboards along roadways and near neighborhoods.
September 1: The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution observing September as “Mushroom Month” in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, sponsor of the resolution, who says that Pennsylvania led the nation in mushroom production in the 2014-15 growing season by producing over 584 million pounds of mushrooms.
August 31: The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution recognizing September as “Prostate Cancer Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, a prostate cancer survivor, who says his resolution acknowledges the importance of raising public awareness of the threat and causes of prostate cancer.
August 30: In a rare August session in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Senate today unanimously approved Bruce Beemer as the new Pennsylvania Attorney General replacing former Attorney General Kathleen Kane who resigned after being convicted on perjury and other charges. In remarks on the Senate Floor, Senator Judy Schwank says Attorney General Beemer needs to address the pornographic and offensive emails that circulated throughout the attorney general’s office, and he must do it quickly to restore confidence in the attorney general’s office and the justice system. Here’s more with the Berks County Democrat who says the email scandal is a festering wound that must be healed.
August 18: Senator Jim Brewster says Pennsylvania State Troopers are raising retirement warning flags that need to be addressed by the state legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf. Here’s more with the Allegheny County lawmaker who is the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Law & Justice Committee which has oversight of the Pennsylvania State Police.
August 11: This week is National Farmers Market Week across the country and here in Pennsylvania. Senator Judy Schwank says Farmers Markets deliver more than just fresh produce to their communities.
August 10: Pennsylvania’s new state budget includes language that makes it easier for families to contribute to their child’s PA 529 College Savings Plan. Here’s more with Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County whose legislation to create a checkoff box on the state’s income tax form was included in the state budget package.
August 9: The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution observing August as “National and State Park Month” in Pennsylvania in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the important role the 29 national parks and 121 state parks play in our communities and lives. Here’s more with Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County, sponsor of the resolution.
August 5: Blight is a major problem that impedes both business and residential interest in communities across Pennsylvania. That’s why Senate and House Democrats held a joint public hearing this week near Pittsburgh on ways to eradicate blight and enhance community revitalization. Here’s more with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa of Allegheny County who requested the hearing.
July 27: The state legislature and Gov. Wolf have approved language in the new state budget that extends the life of the Pennsylvania Cancer Control, Prevention, and Research Advisory Board for another 10 years. Here’s more with Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County whose legislative language was included in the state budget package and who explains why it’s important that this advisory board’s work continues.
July 20: Senator Rob Teplitz says included in the new 2016-17 state budget package is language that allows the City of Harrisburg to be eligible to apply for the state’s City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) economic development program, which gives municipalities the opportunity to revitalize eligible vacant, blighted and/or abandoned properties for commercial and other uses. Here’s more with the Dauphin County Democrat who says the CRIZ program could be a game-changer for Harrisburg’s financial recovery efforts.
July 18: Senator Rob Teplitz participated with Gov. Wolf today in announcing that the state is opening 20 Centers of Excellence across the commonwealth including one at the Pennsylvania Counseling Center in Harrisburg to deal with the growing heroin and opioid epidemic. Here’s more with the Dauphin County Democrat who says some $20 million in state and federal funds will be used to treat approximately 4,500 people statewide who currently are not able to access treatment for heroin and opioid abuse.
July 11: The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution recognizing July 11 through 15 as “National Disability Voter Registration Week” in Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Tina Tartaglione of Philadelphia, a cosponsor of the resolution, who says everything possible must be done to help people with disabilities to exercise their right to vote.
July 8: Senator Daylin Leach is holding an informational conference today at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia on regulating medical marijuana in Pennsylvania as part of a plan to make recommendations to the Wolf Administration regarding implementation of Act 16, Senator Leach’s medical marijuana protocol enacted in April of this year. Here’s more with the Montgomery County state lawmaker who says as the new law’s rulemaking process begins, he hopes to gain valuable input from the stakeholders who will have to live and work under the regulations.
July 8: The Pennsylvania Senate has adopted a resolution designating the third Saturday in July as “Anthracite Heritage Day” in the Commonwealth, to celebrate the rich history of anthracite coal mining in northeastern Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator John Blake of Lackawanna County, a cosponsor of the resolution, who says this year’s celebration will be held Saturday, July 16.
July 7: Legislation authorizing a new access road at SCI Cresson, which is considered essential to redeveloping the sprawling former corrections facility, was signed into law today by Gov. Tom Wolf. Here’s more with Senator John Wozniak of Cambria County, sponsor of the measure which dedicates over three acres of land to Cresson Township for construction of a roadway at the former prison site.
July 5: The Pennsylvania Senate has passed legislation it hopes will alleviate a growing problem that many school districts are facing: finding substitute teachers to fill their classrooms. Here’s more with Senator Andy Dinniman of Chester County, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
July 1: The Pennsylvania Senate has approved legislation that would reform the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims. Here’s more with Senator Rob Teplitz of Dauphin County, a leading proponent of the measure, who says the bill will provide justice for a significant number of people.