Category Archives: PA House

2013-2014 Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard

Clean Water Action, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, and the Sierra Club present the 2013-2014 Pennsylvania Environmental Scorecard, a permanent record that scores every Pennsylvania state legislator on environmental votes cast during the 2013 – 2014 Legislative Session.

This legislative session was notable for the large number of attacks on environmental protection. The PA House of Representatives generated most of this anti-environmental legislation. …

From the full report, here are scores for all currently serving Chesco legislators (note the below-passing scores for all R’s, even for supposed “moderates”):

PA Senate

19 Dinniman, Andrew D 100% (this district not on 2014 ballot)
26 Erickson, Edwin R 38%
44 Rafferty, John R 38%

PA House

13 Lawrence, John A. R 8%
26 Hennessey, Tim R 25%
74 none (new district in Chesco)
155 Corbin, Becky R 50%
156 Truitt, Dan R 33%
157 Kampf, Warren R 33%
158 Ross, Chris R 33%
160 Barrar, Stephen R 33%
167 Milne, Duane R 42%

DEMOCRATIC WOMEN CANDIDATES JOIN IN COMMEMORATION OF THE 19TH AMENDMENT IN HARRISBURG

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Susan Rzucidlo susan@susanforpa.com

Harrisburg, PA – August 26, 2014 —

Kathi Cozzone, Susan Rzucidlo, Marian Moskowitz, Anne Crowley, Whitney Hoffman, Ann Schott, and Sandy Snyder joined other Democratic women candidates from across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on the steps of the Capitol in Harrisburg today, August 26, to commemorate the certification of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. This group constitutes the largest number of Democratic women ever to run in a general election for the state legislature and includes candidates for Congressional seats as well.

Joining them as speaker was Katie McGinty, Director of Fresh Start PA and former gubernatorial candidate in 2014.

“This is ‘The Year of the Woman’ in Pennsylvania politics,” said Susan Rzucidlo, organizer and candidate for the 158th State House, noting the number of women candidates who chose to run because they believe that government can and must do better for the people of our nation and Commonwealth. Continue reading

6 Chesco women for PA House

Organized by former state representative Barb McIlvaine-Smith

for state representative candidates
Anne Crowley
Whitney Hoffman
Marian Moskowitz
Susan Rzucidlo
Sandra Snyder
Ann Schott

at the home of Andrea Lynch, with many hosts and co-hosts and with guests

Mike Stack (candidate for Lieutenant Governor)

Katie McGinty (chair, Fresh Start PA)

Joe Sestak (former Congressman, future Senate candidate)

For full details and RSVP info, download the pdf here: Stack Event_20140904_Invite

Pennsylvania lawmakers find a way to hinder so-called ‘open meetings’

editorial, Daily Local News, 7/17/14

Talk about decisions being made in smoke-filled back rooms.

A report by PAIndependent states that in this year’s state budget process, the Pennsylvania Legislature “routinely hosted key committee meetings in hot, cramped rooms that couldn’t accommodate all those interested in watching.”

“While crowds of observers and lobbyists were left in the hallway, craning to hear the action inside, those lucky enough to find a spot sweated it out or battled claustrophobia,” reported Andrew Staub.

Leave it to Pennsylvania lawmakers to find a way to keep taxpayers out of an “open meeting.”

According to the report, the Republican leadership, especially in appropriations, routinely uses for meetings conference rooms that are both too small for observers and also lack the camera feeds found in larger meeting rooms.

Without the camera feeds, folks at home, i.e. taxpayers, miss out on budget proceedings that could be broadcast on the Pennsylvania Cable Network.

In some cases, the rooms become so hot and crowded with lobbyists and legislators that some have complained of possible fire code violations and the danger of people passing out — “or worse” — in the words of Bill Patton, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, PAIndependent reported.

Melissa Melewsky, an attorney with the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, told Staub that while the Sunshine Act does not address the size of the meeting rooms, it might be something for the General Assembly to consider.

“As much public access as possible is ideal, whether that’s through a bigger room or televised access or both,” Melewsky said. “The important thing is that anyone who’s interested needs to have a method of access to that decision because once it’s over, it’s over, and the public has lost the opportunity to see what’s going on.”…

keep reading at Daily Local News

What should Pennsylvania be doing to address Climate Change?

From: Rep. Greg Vitali
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 4:30 PM
Subject: What should Pennsylvania be doing to address Climate Change?

What should Pennsylvania be doing to address Climate Change?

House Democratic Policy Committee Hearing Monday, Dec. 16

On Monday, Dec. 16, the House Democratic Policy Committee will conduct a hearing in Harrisburg (Minority Caucus Room, 418 Main Capitol) to attempt to answer the question “What should Pennsylvania be doing to address Climate Change?” It will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The hearing is being put together by State Representative Greg Vitali, Democratic Chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

Panelists will include:
•  Richard Alley, Evan Pugh Professor, Penn State University;
•  Tom Peterson, President and CEO, Center for Climate Strategies;
•  Janet Milkman, Executive Director, Delaware Valley Green Buildings Council;
•  Christina Simeone, Energy Center Director, PennFuture;
•  Rick Price, Executive Director, Western Pennsylvania Clean Cities; and
•  Erik Johanson, Manager of Strategic Business Planning, SEPTA.

Public attendance is welcome, but questions will be limited to Policy Committee members. Members of the public can submit written questions and comments to the committee.

If you have any questions or would like to submit comments or questions, please contact Rob Fogel at RFogel@pahouse.net or call my Havertown office at 610-789-3900.

Greg Vitali
State Representative
166th Legislative District

Bill won’t limit religious liberty

by Dan Frankel, Philly.com, 8/27/13

As the prime sponsor of House Bill 300, which will extend protection from discrimination to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Pennsylvanians, I feel compelled to explain why protecting people’s rights doesn’t infringe on religious liberty. My bill does not limit freedom of religion any more than allowing people of different racial backgrounds to marry does.

H.B. 300 does not require individuals to violate their conscience by giving tacit approval to behavior that they feel is immoral. In essence, the bill adds only seven words to an existing law: gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. All existing religious conscience protections remain. Rather than creating a new set of rights, this simply ensures that people are not discriminated against due to their inherent characteristics – in the same way that people are protected based on other characteristics they were born with.

Inherent characteristics include anything a person can’t readily change about himself or herself. For example, a person can’t be discriminated against in the workplace based on sex (female or male) or race or ethnicity (black, Hispanic, or white).

However, under current law, you can fire someone based on whom they love. So an excellent employee can’t be fired for being white or male. But you can fire him for being in a long-term, committed relationship with a person of the opposite sex – or of his own. The latter is more likely, and that’s why the LGBT community benefits most from this bill….

keep reading at Philly.com

Pennsylvania Legislature Breaks Silence on Gun Laws

CeaseFirePA, 7/17/13

HARRISBURG, PA- Today the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the firearm background check system. The committee heard testimony from state police, mayors, CeaseFirePA and the mother of a little boy who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

While this hearing was not about specific legislation, CeaseFirePA focused on HB 1010 which would close a loophole in Pennsylvania’s background check system that exempts sales of long guns by private sellers.

Francine Lobis Wheeler, whose son was killed in the Sandy Hook Shooting, and is a native of the Philadelphia suburbs, spoke on the loophole and the need for HB 1010.

“Right now in Pennsylvania, a convicted felon- say, someone who has been to prison for rape or abusing a child or even homicide- couldn’t go into a licensed firearm dealer and buy an assault weapon like the one that killed my son. The background check would stop the sale. That same convicted felon, however, could buy a rifle from a private seller,” she said.

This hearing was the start of a conversation and the first official action from our state legislature to start addressing gun violence prevention in Pennsylvania since the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in December of last year.

“Pennsylvania has an opportunity to be a leader by further improving its already strong background check system. Ensuring that the system covers every gun every time will make us safer,” said Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA. “Background checks do not burden in any way the rights of law abiding gun owners. Background checks create problems only for those whom we all agree should not have guns.”

Posted 18:24PM on July 17 2013 by Orla Treacy

Gay-marriage ruling sparks a bitter fight in Pa. House

by Amy Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 28, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage have sparked a bitter dispute on the Pennsylvania House floor over the last two days.

On Wednesday, State Rep. Brian Sims (D., Phila.), who last fall became the first openly gay candidate to win a seat in the House, rose to praise the landmark decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act, only to be silenced by other lawmakers’ objections.

That was in keeping with rules for that part of the session, when members can rise to speak on almost any subject. Then, in an interview Thursday with WHYY FM, the legislature’s most outspoken conservative, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler), explained why he had objected.

Metcalfe said, “I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law.”