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2017

April 5, 2017: Senator  Vincent Hughes joined with state Treasurer Joe Torsella to urge Pennsylvanians to claim every cent of cash they may be owed by filing for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).


March 30, 2017:  Governor Wolf has proposed merging four state agencies into one, but Senator Judy Schwank says she and her colleagues have lots of questions about the proposal.

March 29, 2017: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, 2017:  Senator Lisa Boscola’s legislation intended to make our roadways safe during winter weather is one step closer to becoming law.

March 27, 2017: 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, 2017: 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, 2017: Senator John Yudichak says President Trump’s budget will cripple or eliminate successful after-school programs across Pennsylvania.

March 9, 2017:   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, 2017: 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, 2017: 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, 2017: 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, 2017: 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, 2017: 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, 2017:  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, 2017: 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, 2017: 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, 2017: 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, 2017: 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, 2017:  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, 2017: 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, 2017:  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, 2017: 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, 2017: 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, 2017:  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, 2017:  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, 2017: 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, 2017:  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, 2017:  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, 2017: 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, 2017: 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, 2017:  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.

2016

December 23, 2016: 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, 2016:  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, 2016: 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, 2016: 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.