February 14, 2019: On the anniversary of the shooting deaths of high school students in Parkland, Florida, Senate Democrats are looking for ways to reduce gun violence in the state.
February 13, 2019: Senate Democrats are throwing their support behind Governor Wolf’s proposal to raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to twelve dollars an hour by July.
February 11, 2019: Senator Lisa Boscola is renewing her call for legislation that would require vehicles to remove all ice and snow before heading out on the road.
February 8, 2019: Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa joined with other lawmakers and activists to invest in Pennsylvania’s children by calling for early childhood education programs to get the funding they need.
February 7, 2019: Called by Senator Jim Brewster, Chairwoman Senator Lisa Boscola and the Senate Democratic Policy Committee joined with their counterparts in the House for a hearing in Clairton on ways to improve air quality, community notification procedures and emergency response. The hearing was prompted by a December 24, 2018, fire at the Clairton Coke Works that resulted in emissions of high levels of sulfur dioxide and damage to the facility’s gas processing system.
February 6, 2019: February 7th marks the 19th annual Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Senator Vincent Hughes is encouraging African-Americans to get tested in the hope of putting an end to the disease.
February 5, 2019: Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa reacts to Governor Wolf’s 2019 Budget Address
February 4, 2019: Senator Sharif Street is one of the lawmakers and activists who gathered at the state Capitol in Harrisburg to urge passage of legislation that would legalize and regulate the use of cannabis by adults in Pennsylvania.
February 4, 2019: Sometimes, treatment for childhood cancers can be as devastating as the disease. Senator Andy Dinniman is one of a group of lawmakers in Harrisburg proposing legislation that would provide funding for the research needed to find new methods of treatment.
January 31, 2019: Senator Tina Tartagione and her fellow Senate Democrats have joined Governor Wolf’s call to raise the minimum wage in Pennsylvania.
January 31, 2019: Senate Democrats, Governor Wolf, other lawmakers and activists hope that last year’s passage of a gun safety bill will lead to more commonsense gun safety reforms this year.
January 31, 2019: Senator John Yudichak joined with Governor Wolf and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to propose “Restore Pennsylvania,” a 4-point-5 billion-dollar project to improve infrastructure around the state.
January 30, 2019: College students are graduating with ever-higher levels of debt. Senator Vincent Hughes says Pennsylvania should promise its students free and affordable college.
January 29, 2019: Legislation co-sponsored by Senator John Sabatina is moving forward in the legislature to amend the state Constitution to make sure victims have the same rights as the accused in a court of law.
January 29, 2019: A bipartisan group of state Senators, including Senator Judy Schwank, has proposed a package of bills designed to make it easier for Pennsylvanians to vote.
January 28, 2019: If a person serves jail time in Pennsylvania for a crime and then is released on parole, a “technical violation” of their parole could send them back to prison. Senators Sharif Street and Anthony Williams are part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who say this defeats the purpose of parole.
January 17, 2019: Senator Andy Dinniman is one of the state Senators introducing “Victoria’s Law” in Harrisburg, legislation that would stop pet stores from selling animals produced in puppy mills.
January 16, 2019: Senate Democrats say the federal government shutdown is changing the way Pennsylvanians will receive their SNAP, or food stamp, benefits for February.
January 10, 2019: Senator Judy Schwank made her annual visit to the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. She says, more than ever, the Farm Show is a place of discovery and innovation, for the farmer as well as for the general public.
As some Senate Democrats found, a visit to the Pennsylvania Farm Show can be fun, but there are some important things you can learn there as well.
Senator Art Haywood talks about what people who live in urban areas can learn by visiting the Farm Show, and about an exhibit he visited that shows how people with limited space in a city environment can grow food.
January 2, 2019: Shortly after being sworn into office, three freshman Pennsylvania Senate Democrats talked about what they’d like to see the Senate accomplish during the upcoming session.
November 20, 2018: With the possibility of the federal Affordable Care Act being changed or revoked, Senate Democrats say it’s important to have health care protections enshrined in Pennsylvania law.
November 12, 2018: In Pennsylvania, those interested in naturally braiding hair are required to attend cosmetology school in order to get a state license. Senator Anthony Hardy Williams is looking to remove that requirement.
November 28, 2018: This year the Governor and state legislature set aside 60 million dollars in state funding to help combat violence in Pennsylvania’s schools. Senator Jim Brewster says that money is already starting to make its way into schools and the communities they serve.
November 14, 2018: Victims of domestic violence who live in public housing can find themselves trapped in their homes, and trapped in a bad situation. Legislation, sponsored by Senator Art Haywood, has now been signed into law that will change that situation for the better.
October 23, 2018: Legislation co-sponsored by Senator Daylin Leach that would steer child prostitutes to human services instead of prison is on the Governor’s desk, awaiting his signature.
October 22, 2018: Senator Vincent Hughes says Governor Wolf is expected to sign legislation designed to help prevent suicide on college campuses.
October 19, 2018: The Governor is set to sign Senator Jim Brewster’s legislation that is a first step in making sure municipal police officers across the state get the proper training they need to handle difficult situations.
October 18, 2018: Victims of domestic violence who live in public housing can find themselves trapped in their homes, forced to live with their abuser. Senator Art Haywood has authored legislation to change that situation.
October 17, 2018: Senate Bill 261 was designed to bring relief to those who suffered sexual abuse as children by eliminating the statute of limitations for future victims of abuse. Following a Grand Jury report released over the summer that detailed abuse of children by priests in Catholic dioceses across the state, the House amended the bill to add a two-year window to suspend the statute of limitations for past victims of abuse to sue their abusers and the institutions that protected them. Senate Republicans proposed a version of the bill that would have allowed a two-year window for victims to sue individual abusers, but not institutions such as the Church; ultimately, they did not bring SB261 to the floor for a vote. Senate Democrats expressed their disappointment:
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa
Senator Vincent Hughes
Senator Judy Schwank
October 17, 2018: Senator Art Haywood says Pennsylvania school districts are now required to test drinking water for lead. He adds that if a district doesn’t test its water, officials have to hold a meeting to tell you why.
October 16, 2018: Senator Vincent Hughes has introduced legislation that would guarantee health insurance in Pennsylvania will cover pre-existing conditions.
October 16, 2018: Almost two years ago, the state Department of Corrections announced a plan to close two Pennsylvania prisons within a month’s time. Senator John Yudichak says the legislature has passed a bill that would establish a longer timetable for any future closings.
October 15, 2018: With the support of Senator Andy Dinniman, victims of brain injuries rallied at the state Capitol in Harrisburg to make lawmakers aware of their needs.
October 15, 2018: Senator Andy Dinniman attended a rally at the state Capitol in Harrisburg that focused on closing down puppy mills in Pennsylvania by limiting where the animals can be sold.
October 5, 2018: Legislation co-sponsored by Senator Judy Schwank has passed the state Senate that would make sexual extortion illegal.
October 4, 2018: Senior citizens can be admitted into nursing homes while the paperwork for Medicaid is still being processed. But that’s not the case if they want to receive care at home. The state Senate has passed Senator Sharif Street’s legislation to change that.
October 3, 2018: The state Senate has passed and sent to the Governor a bill designed to get guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
October 3, 2018: The state Senate has passed and sent to the Governor’s desk legislation co-authored by Senator Judy Schwank that will put automatic speed detection cameras at worksites on interstates and the Turnpike.
October 2, 2018: Should Pennsylvania continue to imprison elderly inmates for life — without parole — if they are no longer a threat to the public? Legislation has been introduced by Senator Sharif Street to allow these inmates to receive parole.
October 2, 2018: A new report on childhood poverty says in 13 Pennsylvania counties, more than 20 percent of families have children that are living at or below the poverty level. Senator Art Haywood has a plan that he says can raise them out of poverty.
October 1, 2018: Every year, one million Americans attempt suicide. Senator Tina Tartaglione joined with an organization devoted to preventing suicide to sponsor a day at the state Capitol to increase awareness on the issue.
October 1, 2018: Activists and lawmakers gathered in the state Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg to remember the 117 women, men and children who lost their lives last year to domestic violence in Pennsylvania.
September 27, 2018: Lawmakers in Harrisburg, led by Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, have unveiled a package of bills designed to improve relations between police and their communities.
September 27, 2018: Senator Vincent Hughes is calling for a ban on loaded firearms in vehicles as a means of preventing future deaths in road rage shootings.
September 26, 2018: Senators John Sabatina and Judy Schwank have introduced legislation that would end the practice of child marriages in Pennsylvania.
September 25, 2018: The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has passed an amendment to a state Senate bill that would open a two-year window for victims to file lawsuits against those who sexually abused them, no matter how much time has passed since the abuse. Some state Senators are calling for the bill to be passed in the upper chamber without changes.
September 13, 2018: Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says state lawmakers will introduce a package of bills this month designed to improve relations between municipal police departments and the communities they serve.
September 5, 2018: September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Senator Andy Dinniman has introduced legislation to make cancer treatment easier on children and their families.
August 29, 2018: The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Vincent Hughes, heard from experts in the fields of trauma and counseling as legislators look to draft legislation that will keep Pennsylvania schools safe.
August 8, 2018: Senator Vincent Hughes gathered a group of experts in Philadelphia to talk about what the state is doing to make sure this fall’s elections are secure.
July 18, 2018: A police officer in East Pittsburgh is facing homicide charges after he shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old who was running from a traffic stop. Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa and fellow Pennsylvania lawmakers sought the advice of experts and police personnel as they look for ways to improve relationships between police and the communities they serve.
July 11, 2018: Senator Vincent Hughes, Senator Art Haywood and Senator Sharif Street joined with educators and schools to put together a summer reading program that will help kids keep their skills up over the summer months.
July 10, 2018: Dairy farmers in Pennsylvania are experiencing rough times, with some farms reportedly on the brink of bankruptcy. Senator Judy Schwank is introducing legislation that ensures the state will be taking measures to provide some help.
June 28, 2018: Governor Tom Wolf has signed into law legislation co-sponsored by Senator Anthony Hardy Williams that will give Pennsylvanians with minor criminal records a “Clean Slate.”
June 25, 2018: Senator John Sabatina has introduced new legislation that would extend the parole waiting period for inmates listed as Sexually Violent Predators.
June 22, 2018: The Senate passed the 2018 state budget a week early, and lawmakers say it’s a spending plan that puts money in places where it’s needed without raising taxes.
The state’s new budget contains money for a new program designed to make schools and communities safer.
June 21, 2018: Senators Vincent Hughes, Judy Schwank and Jay Costa were joined by advocates at a rally at the state Capitol in support of immigrant families separated by the Trump Administration’s enforcement of the “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
June 20, 2018: Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa was one of the lawmakers on hand for the Capitol All-Stars Softball Game Player “Draft,” picking fellow House and Senate members to play on teams in a charity softball game this fall.
June 20, 2018: Senator Vincent Hughes joined with hundreds of activists who came to the state Capitol to call for full funding for all public schools in Pennsylvania.
June 20, 2018: Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says members of the General Assembly have agreed to a 2018-19 state budget well ahead of the June 30th deadline.
June 18, 2018: Senator Anthony Williams joined with a group of bipartisan legislators and members of the business community to call for the passage of “Clean Slate” legislation, which is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Clean Slate” legislation aims to seal the criminal records of those who have committed low-level, non-violent crimes and have gone 10 years without an arrest.
Senate Bill 22:
The state Senate has passed a bill (Senate Bill 22) that would shift the responsibility of drawing political districts in the state away from legislators and to a commission. But Senator Judy Schwank says an amendment was added that would change the way judges are elected to the Supreme, Commonwealth and Superior Courts.
Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says that, after several attempts to return to the original redistricting bill, he and other Senate Democrats voted against Senate Bill 22 because of the judicial amendment. Senate Democrats have sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Turzai asking him to refer Senate Bill 22 to the House Rules Committee, for consideration and a motion to remove the amendment on judicial districts.
Senator Schwank is asking advocates and ordinary citizens to contact House members and insist they pass a “clean” version of the bill.
June 13, 2018: Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says legislation that would have changed the way political districts are drawn in Pennsylvania has been “hijacked” by lawmakers who want to punish the state Supreme Court.
June 12, 2018: A foundation that helps those with disabilities receive the help and care they need is getting support from Senator Tina Tartaglione to receive more state government funding.
June 12, 2018: Five African American women golfers who were removed from a York County golf course for allegedly playing too slowly have picked up some support in Harrisburg from Senator Vincent Hughes and other lawmakers.
June 8, 2018: Legislation creating an independent commission to draw political district maps of the state and prevent gerrymandering was amended in the Senate State Government Committee. The new version gives lawmakers a greater hand in choosing commission members. Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says he’d like to see further changes made to the bill before it goes to a final vote.
June 7, 2018: If you are an accomplice to a crime during which someone is killed, you could go to prison for life even if you aren’t the actual killer. Senator Daylin Leach says this isn’t the way the justice system is supposed to work.
June 6, 2018: Governor Wolf has signed an Executive Order making sure women employed by the state are given equal pay for equal work. Senators Tina Tartaglione and Judy Schwank are introducing legislation that would do the same thing for all Pennsylvania employers
June 6, 2018: Pennsylvania college students graduate with debt that is 4 thousand dollars higher than the national average. Senator Vincent Hughes wants to change that.
June 5, 2018: Legislation that would provide help instead of jail time for children arrested for prostitution has been passed in the Senate and is being considered in the House. Senator Andy Dinniman, a co-sponsor of the bill, is urging the House to pass it.
May 29, 2018: The state Supreme Court’s reading of the Crime Victims Act means some townships, churches and non-profits don’t get restitution when someone steals money from them. The state Senate has passed legislation co-sponsored by Senator Lisa Boscola to correct that.
May 25, 2018: The state Senate has passed and sent to the House Senator Wayne Fontana’s bill requiring carbon monoxide detectors be installed in all child care facilities in the state.
May 24, 2018: Senator Vincent Hughes was part of a special legislative committee in Harrisburg that has finished its examination of a program that provides state money to school districts for new construction.He said the committee has some recommendations:
May 22, 2018: In the wake of school shootings across the country, Senator Vincent Hughes says a bipartisan group of state Senators has introduced legislation they hope will make schools safer.
May 22, 2018: For many elderly and disabled Pennsylvanians, staying in their homes and receiving care is preferable to going to a nursing home. Senator Sharif Street was on hand as home care workers rallied at the Capitol in Harrisburg in support of rule changes that would make home care an easier option.
May 17, 2018: Senator Judy Schwank of Berks County is sponsor of a Resolution Declaring May Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in Pennsylvania
May 14, 2018: Senator Andy Dinniman is one of several sponsors of a Senate Resolution commemorating the 70th anniversary of the birth of Israel.
May 10, 2018: A scale-model of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, D.C., that travels the country went on display at the state capitol in Harrisburg. Senator Andy Dinniman arranged for veterans from the Coatesville Veterans Hospital, some of whom are Vietnam War veterans, to visit the wall.
May 7, 2018: Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa was on hand as the state of Pennsylvania paused to honor fallen police officers.
May 3, 2018: Senator John Yudichak joined with state and local officials to announce the awarding of 1.4 million dollars in state funds, the last piece of a 10 million dollar project to repair and upgrade the flood walls around Solomon Creek in Wilkes-Barre. 700 homes are affected by flooding when the creek rises over its banks during heavy rains.
April 30, 2018: Senator John Yuidchak joined with a bipartisan group of House and Senate members and Gov. Wolf to introduce legislation for a severance tax on natural gas drilled in Pennsylvania.
April 27, 2018: The Senate has passed and sent to the House Senator Lisa Boscola’s bill designed to prevent wintertime tragedies on our highways.
April 23, 2018: Legislation co-sponsored by Senator John Blake and supported by several of his colleagues would upgrade a 20 year-old law to license social workers — a law that hasn’t been touched since it was first passed.
April 20, 2018: The state Supreme Court says a township scammed out of more than 800 thousand dollars can’t get its money back. Senator Lisa Boscola says taxpayers are the real losers, and she’s introducing legislation to change that.
April 19, 2018: A recent landslide in western Pennsylvania that collapsed part of a major roadway has called attention to many parts of the state that are susceptible to landslides. Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says legislation is being introduced to address the problem.
April 18, 2018: The state Senate has passed and sent to the House legislation co-sponsored by Senator Andy Dinniman that will increase mandatory sentences for repeat drunk drivers who are involved in fatal accidents.
April 17, 2018: Senator Lisa Boscola joined activists in urging the House of Representatives to act on a bill that would allow nurse-practitioners to practice independently, especially in areas of the state where doctors are scarce.
April 16, 2018: The state Secretary of Health has approved revisions to Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law that includes allowing the use of the whole plant, including dried leaves. Senator Daylin Leach calls it “a great day for Pennsylvania.”
April 13, 2018: Senator John Sabatina’s resolution designating April 2018 as Autism Awareness Month passed unanimously in the state Senate. He says the state is trying to make sure that all who are on the autism spectrum get the help they need.
April 11, 2018: The Governor’s office held a ceremony at the Capitol in Harrisburg marking the Day of Remembrance for victims of the Holocaust. Senator Andy Dinniman was one of the featured speakers, and he said the Holocaust is not over.
April 10, 2018: This week is one of remembrance of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust in Germany during World War Two. Senator Andy Dinniman says it’s also a time when we say “Never Again.”
April 9, 2018: April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Pennsylvania. Senator Tina Tartaglione has sponsored a Senate Resolution encouraging communities to speak out against sexual violence in order to prevent it.
April 5, 2018: Governor Wolf and Senate Democrats have unveiled a package of bills designed to address sexual harassment in the workplace.
April 4, 2018: Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa has introduced legislation that he hopes will be a major help in the state’s fight against the opioid epidemic, after Governor Wolf extended his disaster declaration.
April 4, 2018: Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. The Pennsylvania Senate marked the occasion with a special Resolution sponsored by Senator Vincent Hughes.
March 29, 2018: Senator Lisa Boscola’s bill making its way through the Pennsylvania Senate would let ordinary citizens set federal and state political boundaries to prevent gerrymandering.
March 28, 2018: A rally at the state Capitol called for passage of Senator Sharif Street’s legislation that would put an end to sentences of life without parole in Pennsylvania.
March 27, 2018: A Resolution introduced by state Senator Judy Schwank calls on Pennsylvania companies to put women in more executive positions.
March 27, 2018: A state Senate committee looking into Pennsylvania’s Redistricting problems heard from Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, who says he has a solution that would work more quickly than other proposals.
March 26, 2018: Governor Wolf was joined by Senate Democrats in calling for changes to the way the state allows citizens to vote.
March 23, 2018: Legislation from state Senators Judy Schwank and Art Haywood would make it easier for you to get fresh foods from smaller farms
March 22, 2018: The state Senate has approved a package of bills, including legislation sponsored by Senator Lisa Boscola and Senator Art Haywood, to help those who are victims of domestic violence and other crimes.
March 21, 2018: Decisions by a federal court and the U.S. Supreme Court mean Pennsylvania’s districts for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are set. Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa talks about what that means for voters.
March 20, 2018: A group of citizens living in the path of the under-construction Mariner 2 gas pipeline traveled to the state Capitol in Harrisburg with a message for Governor Wolf. Senator Daylin Leach was there to help them, but they found their path to the Governor blocked.
March 14, 2018: The state Senate is almost done with the year’s budget hearings, and Senator Vincent Hughes says there could be a surprise when all is said and done.
March 9, 2018: Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says there are two immediate steps Pennsylvania can take in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
March 2, 2018: Experts talked with the Senate Education Committee about the best way to keep Pennsylvania’s schools safe. Senator Andy Dinniman says their recommendations included more secure buildings and a better sense of community.
February 26, 2018: Pennsylvania’s Treasury is launching a pilot program in six counties to start a college savings account for every baby born or adopted in those counties, and deposit the first 100 dollars in that account. Senator Vincent Hughes is working on legislation to bring that program to every baby born or adopted in the Commonwealth.
February 20, 2018: Senator Vincent Hughes took the opportunity of a budget hearing with State Treasurer Joe Torsella to address a housing discrimination problem in Philadelphia and ask for the Treasurer’s help.
February 13, 2018: Governor Tom Wolf has rejected a congressional district map submitted to him by Republican leadership in the legislature, saying it’s still too partisan. Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says the Governor is now asking for input on the map from Democratic lawmakers
February 9, 2018: State Senator John Yudichak is co-hosting a round table discussion at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre on legislation that would require the state to test young children for exposure to lead.
February 9, 2018: A bipartisan group of state lawmakers, including Senator Art Haywood, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, says it’s time for the Commonwealth to develop a retirement security program for its citizens.
February 5, 2018: The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing a court-ordered redrawing of congressional districts in Pennsylvania to proceed, denying a plea from Republicans legislative leaders to block it. Senator Daylin Leach talks about what happens next:
Senator John Yudichak tells why this decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is important:
February 5, 2018: Senators Tina Tartaglione and Art Haywood are introducing legislation to increase Pennsylvania’s minimum wage, saying it will be good for workers and for the state’s economy.
February 2, 2018: The state Senate has passed and sent to the House Senator John Blake’s bill that would allow municipalities to help businesses pay for energy-efficient upgrades.
January 31, 2018: Senator John Yudichak says the state Senate has authorized spending to help municipalities meet their environmental needs through the Growing Greener program.
January 31, 2018: Legislation named “Marsy’s Law” has been introduced in the state Senate. Senator John Sabatina says the bill would make sure victims have the same rights and due process as the accused in a court of law.
January 30, 2018: Democrats in the state Senate have laid out their legislative priorities for Pennsylvania in 2018.
January 24, 2018: Recently the Federal Communications Commission voted to get rid of net neutrality, which would allow internet service providers to charge more for certain services. Senator Larry Farnese has introduced legislation that would make sure the state stays net neutral.
January 23, 2018: Senator Vincent Hughes joined with fellow lawmakers and supporters of a plan called the “Pennsylvania Promise.” They say it’s a way to spur the state’s economic growth by making sure more students can attend college.
January 23, 2018: Supporters of legalizing marijuana in Pennsylvania, including Senator Sharif Street, say it could generate new revenue for the state in a number of ways.
January 22, 2018: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s congressional map “clearly, plainly and palpably” violates the state constitution and ordered the legislature to draw up a new map for use in the May 2018 primaries. Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa says all parties should come together as soon as possible to get the re-drawing process underway.
Senator John Yudichak says he hopes voters get involved in the re-drawing of the map.
January 12, 2018: Pennsylvania celebrates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a call from Senator Sharif Street for co-operation and understanding.
January 11, 2018: As the 102nd Farm Show winds down in Harrisburg, state Senators Judy Schwank and Sharif Street say the thousands of exhibits are examples of how important agriculture is to Pennsylvania’s economy and the day-to-day lives of its residents.
January 11, 2018: Senator John Yudichak says two new companies are ready to move in to the Hanover Industrial Estates industrial park, bringing thousands of new jobs — and the developer of that site is ready to begin work on another.
January 9, 2018: Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa has set some goals for the legislature in the new year.
January 8, 2018: The 102nd Farm Show is underway in Harrisburg. Senator Judy Schwank says that this year the Show is highlighting the many different aspects of Pennsylvania farming and farmers.