Sen. Tartaglione Praises Gov. Wolf’s Action on State Employee Protection and Wages

Sen. Tartaglione Praises Gov. Wolf’s Action on State Employee Protection and Wages

Philadelphia, Pa – October 21, 2021– Senator Christine M. Tartaglione, chairwoman of the PA Senate Labor and Industry Committee, today shared praise for Governor Wolf’s pro-worker agenda. The governor signed an executive order this morning calling for legislative action to create safer workplaces, promote higher wages and guarantee paid leave for workers. He encouraged the General Assembly to finally pass legislation that supports workers.

In response to the action and strong stance the governor is taking for workers, Senator Tartaglione issued the following statement:

“Today’s announcement from the Wolf Administration is a crucial first step in expanding worker protections and ensuring businesses that receive grants or contracts from the commonwealth provide family sustaining wages to all employees.

“Creating and maintaining family sustaining wages and expanding OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) protections have been the cornerstone of my legislative priorities. Governor Wolf’s actions today provide a great place to continue conversations regarding legislation, including SB12, a bill I introduced to raise the minimum wage for all workers across the commonwealth and SB310 which would expand OSHA protections to public sector employees.”

Tartaglione Hosts Senior Expo for More than 100 Seniors

Philadelphia Pa. − October 7, 2021 − More than 100 seniors, direct caregivers, and vendors attended the first of three Senior Expos hosted by Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia). 

The expo was organized and hosted by Sen. Tartaglione at the St. Anne’s Rectory PALS Center in Philadelphia. Representatives from various government agencies as well as public and private providers were on hand to discuss programs and services for older Philadelphians, as well as organizations providing health screenings. A free lunch was provided to attendees as well.

“Connecting seniors with the services that are offered and available to them is one of the most important jobs as a senator,” Sen. Tartaglione said. “These events are always a huge hit with my constituents, and every time I interact with constituents around the 2nd district, they always tell me how much they love the senior fairs and are already looking forward to the next one.”

Sen. Tartaglione’s offices will be hosting two more senior expos in the 2nd District:

  •  Thursday October 21st 10am-1pm at the Mayfair Community Center
  •  Thursday October 28th 10am-1pm at the Lawncrest Recreation Center

The Senior Expos are free to attend and open to all seniors and their caregivers in the 2nd district.

For more information contact Sen. Tartaglione’s district office at (215) 533-0440.

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Senator Tartaglione Hosts Members of the Suicide Prevention Alliance

Senator Tartaglione Hosts Members of the Suicide Prevention Alliance

Harrisburg, PA − October 1, 2021 − This week, Sen. Christine Tartaglione (D- Philadelphia) hosted members of the Suicide Prevention Alliance at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Sen. Tartaglione met with the Suicide Prevention Alliance, a non-profit organization solely dedicated to prevention suicide across the country, to discuss the importance of education, awareness, and community support for suicide prevention. Members also shared their own personal experiences related to suicide and why they are passionate about working to help those who need support. 

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 and the 10th overall leading cause of death in the United States

“I’ve been in your shoes, I’ve felt your pain, I’ve thought of taking my own life too,” said Sen. Tartaglione. “After my accident 18 years ago, I struggled, but through a powerful support group, I made it through and that’s why I have dedicated my career to giving a voice to those in pain. More can and must be done to educate about harm reduction and the resources that are available to anyone in crisis. Any life lost to suicide is one too many, we have the resources to save these lives. We just need to make them more accessible.”

Sen. Tartaglione and her guests and members of the Suicide Prevention Alliance recorded videos which can be found here

If you or someone you know are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)

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Senators Tartaglione and Haywood Present $1 Million State Redevelopment Grant to MossRehab

Senators Tartaglione and Haywood Present $1 Million State Redevelopment Grant to MossRehab

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant will support the expansion of robotics and technology rehabilitation spaces at Moss’ Brain Injury Center.

Philadelphia, PA – September 23, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-2nd District) was joined by state Senator Art Haywood (D-4th District) today at MossRehab/Einstein Medical Center-Elkins Park to present a $1 million redevelopment grant to support the expansion of Moss’ Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funding from the Commonwealth will be used to grow robotics and technology rehabilitation spaces at Moss and to renovate the on-site pharmacy in accordance with safety standards and regulatory guidelines.

“I know first-hand the difference Einstein and Moss are making in patients’ lives, how in our darkest hours, they provide a glimmer of hope and restore our will to overcome all obstacles,” Senator Tartaglione said. “That’s one of the many reasons I am honored to help them continue their mission.”

“Investing in quality healthcare builds community and generates jobs,” Senator Haywood said. “I want to thank Einstein Healthcare Network for their part in building opportunities that our neighbors and families greatly need.”

During a ceremonial check presentation, Dr. Alberto Esquenazi, Chief Medical Officer of MossRehab, expressed gratitude for the ongoing support that the senators have provided.

“We are delighted to have been able to count on the support of Senator Tartaglione and Senator Haywood to help us deliver the highest quality of care to residents in Montgomery and Philadelphia counties,” Dr. Esquenazi said. “Because of their vision and understanding of the needs of the community, the funds provided will improve our facilities, making them even more compatible with the level of clinical and research expertise available at MossRehab/Einstein Elkins Park. We are very grateful.”

Senator Tartaglione noted that September 20th through 26th is National Rehabilitation Awareness Week as recognized annually by the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation.

“This week, I encourage us all to focus our attention on the remarkable and transformative patient outcomes that are achieved through medical rehabilitation,” Senator Tartaglione said. “Rehabilitation increases access and opportunity for the 50 million Americans living with disabilities, and it helps them live up to their fullest potential.”

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Senator Tartaglione Hosts Governor Wolf in Kensington to Discuss New Strategies for Fighting Opioid Crisis

Senator Tartaglione Hosts Governor Wolf in Kensington to Discuss New Strategies for Fighting Opioid Crisis

The Senator and Governor met with other elected leaders and local stakeholders in a renewed effort to combat the devastating individual and community-wide effects of the epidemic.

Philadelphia, PA – September 16, 2021 – At the request of state Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia), Governor Tom Wolf, state leaders, and local stakeholders visited Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood today to assess the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic and to discuss new strategies for ending the crisis while revitalizing the community.

“The opioid epidemic is at a crisis stage throughout the Commonwealth and across the country, but in many ways we are standing here today at Ground Zero,” Senator Tartaglione said during a news briefing at Esperanza Health Center. “The toll it has taken on human lives is immeasurable. There is no way to put a number on the emotional despair and physical pain felt by the people trapped in addiction and the families – the children – who live in this community and are forced to experience what we saw today every day. I hope today marks a new beginning in our effort to stop the opioid epidemic and rebuild Kensington.”

The Governor and Senator were joined by Jennifer Smith, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, on a tour of the neighborhood. The officials then gathered with state Representative Angel Cruz, other elected officials, and leaders of community organizations that are working to combat the epidemic.

“Tragically, opioid deaths are not a new problem in Pennsylvania and the Kensington community we toured today has been particularly hard-hit by this crisis,” Governor Wolf said. “Every death caused by an overdose is a tragedy. They deserve our help to get quality treatment and support. I am committed to fight for the people and communities harmed by the opioid epidemic and the disease of addiction.”

In 2017, Pennsylvania saw a record number of overdose deaths. In January 2018, Governor Wolf signed the Commonwealth’s first opioid disaster declaration to help break down government barriers and bring together 17 state agencies to address the epidemic in a coordinated effort. The work performed under the declaration helped to decrease overdose deaths in the Commonwealth by nearly 20% from 2017 through 2019. Unfortunately, preliminary data from 2020 shows an increase in overdoses comparable to 2017 figures. At the current rate, the administration expects to see a similarly high number of overdose deaths this year.

The Governor renewed the opioid disaster declaration 15 times before the Republican-led General Assembly adopted legislation to curtail the Governor’s emergency declaration powers and allowed the latest opioid disaster declaration to expire on August 25th. Without a declaration in place, state agencies have lost the emergency authorization to share data through the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), which has proven to be an effective and important tool in monitoring the prescriptions of dangerous and potentially deadly opiates to Pennsylvanians. Under the recently enacted emergency declaration requirements, only the General Assembly can renew the disaster emergency through legislation, and thereby restore the data-sharing program.

“I encourage the General Assembly to urgently turn their attention to renewing that data-sharing capability so that we can make sure every Pennsylvania agency has the information they need to work toward our shared goal of reducing overdose deaths,” Governor Wolf said. “We made progress against the opioid epidemic before, and by working together we can do it again.”

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

 

Senator Tartaglione to Host Free Document Shredding & E-Recycling Event on Saturday, September 25th

Senator Tartaglione to Host Free Document Shredding & E-Recycling Event on Saturday, September 25th

Philadelphia, PA – August 30, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-2nd District) will host a free document shredding and electronics recycling event for the community on Saturday, Sept. 25th, 2021, in Wissinoming Park, 5773 Frankford Ave. (entrance on Cheltenham Ave.), Philadelphia, PA 19135. Please include the following information in your community event listings or calendars. Event flyer is attached.

  • What: Free Document Shredding and Electronics Recycling Event hosted by Senator Christine Tartaglione.
  • When: Saturday, Sept. 25th, 2021, 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Where: Wissinoming Park, 5773 Frankford Ave. (entrance on Cheltenham Ave.), Philadelphia, PA 19135.
  • How: No appointment is necessary. Participants are encouraged to bring their old bank statements, tax returns, and financial documents for secure shredding. They may also bring their old computers, TVs, and other devices for “green-friendly” disposal. For more information, contact Senator Tartaglione’s office at 215-533-0440.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

Senator Tartaglione Announces Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grants for Five 2nd District Elementary Schools

Senator Tartaglione Announces Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grants for Five 2nd District Elementary Schools

Philadelphia, PA – August 5, 2021 –  State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-2nd District) announces that five elementary schools within the 2nd Senatorial District are among 288 statewide that have been awarded a combined $7 million in grants to provide fresh fruit and vegetable snacks to students during the school day.

The local awardees are the School District of Philadelphia’s William Cramp School, Lewis Elkin School, and Fox Chase School; the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Visitation School; and Mastery Charter School-Smedley Elementary.

“Providing quality education to children in their most formative years must be our highest priority as a Commonwealth, and good nutrition is a vital component of quality education,” Senator Tartaglione said. “This state funding will help children start each day right and focus on their classwork until the final bell.”

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP). The program’s goals are to provide students with healthier food choices, expand the variety of fruits and vegetables available to them, and increase their fruit and vegetable consumption. Funding priority is given to schools with the highest rates of students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.

Grantees are required to spend most of their funding on the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables, and they must develop a plan to establish partnerships to reduce other costs. Schools are required to provide nutrition education to students but cannot use FFVP funding to purchase nutrition education materials.

The full list of grant recipients and more information about the program is available by visiting the Department of Education’s School Nutrition Programs website.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

Senator Tartaglione Announces State Community Development Funding for Frankford & Kensington

Senator Tartaglione Announces State Community Development Funding for Frankford & Kensington

Keystone Communities Program grants totaling $122,000 will support the revitalization of commercial and mixed-use properties along the Frankford and Kensington avenue corridors.

Philadelphia, PA – August 2, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-2nd District) today announced the award of Keystone Communities Program grants totaling $122,000 to two local community development corporations (CDCs).

Frankford CDC was awarded $96,977 in support of its continued revitalization of 4663 Paul Street, while New Kensington CDC was awarded $25,000 in support of its Kensington Avenue Commercial Corridor Plan.

“I am thrilled to bring these much-needed Commonwealth funds back to the 2nd Senatorial District. I know they will be put to great use,” Senator Tartaglione said. “I have worked side-by-side with the Frankford CDC and the New Kensington CDC for many years as we invest in these neighborhoods and strive to overcome the many socioeconomic challenges that impact the diverse groups of people who live and work here.”

Among its many ongoing projects, Frankford CDC is rehabilitating two formerly vacant and dilapidated commercial properties on the 4600 block of Paul Street, adjacent to the CDC’s own headquarters. The plan includes the development of two new commercial units/storefronts on the ground floor and eight affordable rental units on the second and third floors.

The effort is part of Frankford CDC’s Reimagining Margaret-Orthodox strategy for the Frankford Avenue commercial corridor and around SEPTA’s Arrott Transportation Center.

New Kensington CDC will use its Keystone Communities funding to develop a new Kensington Avenue Commercial Corridor Plan to guide the CDC in the purchase and redevelopment of properties that will be used to provide opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs. The effort will focus on the avenue as well as connecting corridors that link to Frankford Avenue.

Funding will help the CDC hire a consultant, engage the community, and provide incentives for stakeholder participation with a focus on streetscape, façade, and signage improvements.

Administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the Keystone Communities Program is designed to encourage the creation of partnerships between the public and private sectors that jointly support local initiatives such as the growth and stability of neighborhoods and communities; social and economic diversity; and a strong and secure quality of life. The program allows communities to tailor the assistance to meet the needs of its specific revitalization effort.

Grants may be used in a variety of ways including planning activities, façade improvement programs, accessible housing programs, and development grants. Eligibility is open to units of local government; redevelopment and/or housing authorities; nonprofit organizations engaged in economic development or housing; CDCs; business, neighborhood, or downtown improvement districts; or similar organizations incorporated as authorities.

For more information about the Keystone Communities Program, visit the DCED website. Information is also available via the Frankford CDC and New Kensington CDC websites.

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Hughes, Tartaglione Mark 15th Anniversary of Minimum Wage Bill with State’s Leaders

Hughes, Tartaglione Mark 15th Anniversary of Minimum Wage Bill with State’s Leaders

PHILADELPHIA, July 9, 2021 – On the 15th anniversary of the signing, state Sens. Vincent J. Hughes and Christine M. Tartaglione today marked the enactment of Pennsylvania’s last minimum wage legislation with a reenactment and rally with state leaders at the site of the 2006 ceremony.

Hughes and Tartaglione were joined by Gov. Tom Wolf, former Gov. Ed Rendell, U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, and House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton along with House and Senate Democrats to remember the fight to get Senate Bill 1090 passed and to recognize the leaders who continue to  speak out against poverty wages in Pennsylvania.

“My landmark 2006 minimum wage bill represented what intelligent, conscientious legislators with contrasting points of view can achieve when we dedicate ourselves to finding common ground. We fought and clawed our way through misinformation, dubious studies, and corporate greed to deliver relief for 400,000 Pennsylvania workers and their families,” said Tartaglione, who was the author and prime mover behind Senate Bill 1090 (Act 112) in 2006. “But now that widely-celebrated legislation is a glaring example of how far we have fallen behind our neighbors and our nation. The time to correct this economic and moral failure is now.”

Hughes, who sat with Tartaglione and Gov. Ed Rendell for the 2006 signing at Sharon Baptist Church, said the bill proved the skeptics spectacularly wrong.

“We were told Senate Bill 1090 would cost jobs.  We heard dire predictions and gloomy warnings and fake reports from the business lobby,” Hughes said. “None of it was true. Poverty shrunk.  Jobs grew.  Thousands of Pennsylvanians saw their buying power rise to where it was a decade earlier. You can’t tell us we can’t afford to pay better than poverty level wages.  We know better.”

Act 112 raised Pennsylvania’s minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.15 over two years before the federal government raised the current rate to $7.25 where it has remained.  A Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry report compiled after the increase showed it was broadly successful at raising wages and predictions of job loss were met with thousands of jobs gained in sectors that employ minimum wage workers.

“The fact that Pennsylvania’s minimum wage hasn’t increased in 15 years is an embarrassment,” said Gov. Wolf. “It’s an insult to hardworking Pennsylvanians who are doing the same amount of work, but finding that their paychecks cover less and less every single year. The Republican majority in the General Assembly refuses to do the right thing for workers in our state. Our minimum wage is leaving Pennsylvanians behind, and that’s just wrong.”

Tartaglione has continued to offer new minimum wage bills  that have not been moved by the Senate majority.

“It is an absolute travesty and an insult to workers everywhere that other legislators have been blocking Pennsylvanians from raising the minimum wage for 15 years. 15 years!” said Sen. Tim Kearney, who spoke at the rally urging a full Senate vote on a minimum wage update.

Tartaglione’s current bill,  Senate Bill 12, would raise the minimum wage to $15 in a series of increments over six years.  It remains idled in the Senate Labor and Industry Committee. 

Senator Vincent Hughes, Gov. Wolf, Senator Christine TartaglioneParticipants at the rally signed a letter to Senate majority leaders asking for a vote and predicting it would pass if allowed on the floor.

“The minimum wage is nowhere near a livable wage,” said Sen. Amanda Cappelletti, who represents parts of Delaware and Montgomery counties. “In my district, there is no affordable housing available for those making at or near our current minimum. It is past time to do something about it. We must raise it immediately.”

Sen. Katie Muth, who represents parts of Montgomery, Chester and Bucks counties called the current minimum wage “shameful” and said its value would be far higher if adjusted to make up for decreasing buying power.

“I encourage those who oppose increasing Pennsylvania’s minimum wage rate from the shameful poverty rate of $7.25 an hour to try it for themselves with an annual salary of less than $15,000 after taxes,” she said.  “In Pennsylvania, it costs roughly  $59,340 for a family of four to afford basic needs.  Had the minimum wage increased at the rate of productivity since the early 1960’s, it would be around $22.50.  Income inequality is preventable and those with the majority power in Harrisburg have been holding hardworking Pennsylvanians hostage with their inaction.”

To view the full event, visit here. FTP link available upon request.

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Senator Tartaglione Votes for New $38 Billion PA Spending Plan, Opposes Administrative & School Code Bills

Senator Tartaglione Votes for New $38 Billion PA Spending Plan, Opposes Administrative & School Code Bills

Philadelphia, PA – June 25, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) voted in support of the $38 billion Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget adopted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly today, but voted against accompanying Administrative Code and School Code legislation.

“I am extremely dismayed that the Republican leadership in the General Assembly once again turned their backs on Pennsylvania’s lowest-paid workers by neglecting to raise the minimum wage for the 15th consecutive year,” Senator Tartaglione said. “I am also deeply disappointed in the regressive overtime changes in the Administrative Code bill. Yet, the budget delivers much-needed and timely funding in many areas, including education, nutrition assistance, violence prevention, human services, and replenishing our workers’ compensation fund.”

As adopted, the budget features $611 million in expanded education funding, with $300 million for basic education. $200 million of that would be distributed among public schools using the state’s fair-funding formula, which adjusts for factors such as poverty, English language proficiency, and local tax revenues. The remaining $100 million would be allocated through the Level Up program that prioritizes funding for schools with historically inadequate funding, including school districts in Philadelphia, Scranton, Reading, and Northampton County.

The budget provides $200 million in additional funding for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education in four annual installments of $50 million. A portion of these dollars will support the Diversity, Education & Inclusion program proposed by PA Senate Democrats.

“Access to quality public education is the key to improving the lives of Pennsylvania’s working class families,” Senator Tartaglione said. “This budget addresses that need from expanded Headstart and Pre-K programs, all the way through our state-owned universities.”

Community-based gun violence prevention programs managed by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency are due to receive $30 million in new funding in the budget. The State Food Purchase Program would receive an additional $3 million, while the Department of Human Services’ ID Community Waiver program would receive $15 million.

A $145 million allocation to the Workers’ Compensation Fund will replenish most of the $165 million that the state borrowed from the fund in the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year.

Of the $7.1 billion in federal funds that were allocated to Pennsylvania in the American Rescue Plan, the General Appropriations bill calls for the transfer of $2.8 billion into the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Senator Tartaglione opposed the School Code legislation, which includes a $40 million expansion of school vouchers and fails to increase funding for public libraries. The Senator also voted against the Administrative Code that repeals enhanced overtime protections awarded to almost 400,000 Pennsylvania workers through the regulatory process last year.

“Last year, the Wolf administration used the regulatory process to update our overtime rules for the first time in four decades so that workers who log extra hours on the job – beyond the standard 40-hour work week – can count of fair compensation for their labor. But the new Administrative Code restores exploitative exemptions and the low-salary threshold that employers have long-used to avoid paying overtime to deserving workers,” Senator Tartaglione said.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

Senator Tartaglione’s Family & Medical Leave Bill Receives Unanimous Support from Labor & Industry Committee

Senator Tartaglione’s Family & Medical Leave Bill Receives Unanimous Support from Labor & Industry Committee

The bipartisan Senate Bill 617 moves to the full Senate for consideration. It would enhance job protections for workers who take leave to care for a terminally ill relative. 

Philadelphia, PA – May 27, 2021 – The Pennsylvania Senate Labor & Industry Committee voted unanimously yesterday to advance legislation sponsored by Senator Christine Tartaglione to extend family and medical leave benefits for employees who take time away from work to care for an ailing relative.

Senate Bill 617, known as the Pennsylvania Family and Medical Leave Act, received bipartisan co-sponsorship and was inspired by the story of a woman from West Goshen Township, Chester County, who was forced to quit her job to care full-time for her terminally ill sister. Senator Tartaglione’s legislation, if adopted and signed into law, would require employers to provide up to six weeks of unpaid leave to an employee to care for a sibling, grandparent, or grandchild with a certified terminal illness if the ailing relative has no living spouse, no son or daughter over age 17, and no parent under age 65.

Current federal law provides the same job protection only if the ailing relative is the spouse, son, daughter, or parent of the employee.

“At some point in our lives, we all need time to take care of our loved ones. And no one should have to sacrifice their career when family priorities must take precedence,” Senator Tartaglione said. “My legislation would provide all workers, regardless of their job or their income level, with the freedom to fulfill their family duties without suffering harmful professional repercussions.”

Senate Bill 617 moves to the full Senate for consideration. Information on the bill is available by visiting www.legis.state.pa.us

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

 

 

PA Senate Democrats Joined by PA Sec. of Ag & Second Lady Gisele Fetterman for Policy Hearing on Food Insecurity in Pennsylvania

PA Senate Democrats Joined by PA Sec. of Ag & Second Lady Gisele Fetterman for Policy Hearing on Food Insecurity in Pennsylvania

Harrisburg – April 30, 2021 – At the request of Pennsylvania State Senators Judy Schwank (D- Berks), Tina Tartaglione (D- Philadelphia), and Sharif Street (D- Philadelphia), the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual policy hearing to discuss the issue of food insecurity in Pennsylvania.

“The pandemic has exposed many issues over the last year, but perhaps most striking of all is the issue of food insecurity,” Schwank said. “I know few of us will forget seeing the long lines of families waiting for food assistance. Today we learned how our local food banks met the extraordinary challenge of feeding our communities and what we need to consider moving forward as the issue of food insecurity is far from solved.”

Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding said that reports compiled by the organization Feeding America show that the number of Pennsylvanians facing food insecurity in 2020 grew substantially to 1.77 million individuals, an increase of 30 percent. The number of children in Pennsylvania facing food insecurity rose to 537,080, an increase of nearly 40 percent in just one year.

“Food Insecurity is defined as the lack of access to enough food for a healthy and active life and at its core equals hunger. Across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is estimated that 11% of the population is food insecure with the highest percentage right here in Philadelphia county,” Dixie James, President and COO of Einstein Healthcare Network, said.

Second Lady of Pennsylvania, Gisele Fetterman, also testified at the hearing about her work to address food insecurity through Free Store 15104 and 412 Food Rescue.

“My work exists because of failures in policy,” Fetterman said.

She said that making a state law to prevent perfectly good food from going to waste, as numerous other states have done, would help to address food insecurity by redirecting resources, and also addressing the environmental impact of discarding perfectly good food that could otherwise feed populations.

“We know it is not a lack of food, it is how food gets distributed,” Dr. Kathy Reeves, Senior Associate Dean of Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Director at the Center for Urban Bioethics and Professor of Pediatrics Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, said.

Dr. Reeves also advocated in her testimony to treat food as a prescription to address the overall health of Pennsylvanians.

“Food insecurity is intertwined with so many of Pennsylvania’s chronic ills, problems like poverty and health disparities that have been exacerbated by the lingering coronavirus pandemic,” Senator Tartaglione said. “This thorough conversation is imperative as we seek to make nutrition universally accessible in the Commonwealth.”

Loree Jones, CEO of Philabundance which serves five counties in Pennsylvania, said that 40 percent of the 60 percent increase Philabundance has seen in need this past year were people using the emergency food system for the first time. She said that Feeding America is projecting that nationally more than 42 million people, including 13 million children, may experience food insecurity due to COVID-19.

Secretary Redding said that additional funding to provide food in the pandemic has come from both federal and state resources, providing additional funding for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) foods purchases through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). As of April 17, 2021, food banks in Pennsylvania report having distributed in excess of 2.4 million of these food boxes, weighing more than 51.5 million pounds.

“The lessons learned over this past year have provided us a fresh lens to look at our grant programs to ensure they are equitable and meeting the needs of those we serve. The gaps in the system have been highlighted such as meat processing delays and lack of access to fresh foods. We will continue to enhance our current programs and investigate additional ways to address these needs,” Sec. Redding said. “Additionally, expanding broadband access throughout the commonwealth will assist in providing equal access to resources and e-commerce platforms.”

Scott Cawthern, Acting Deputy Secretary for the Office of Income Maintenance at the PA Dept. of Human Services, also testified about the work that the Dept. of Human Services did in expanding services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how increased and continued investment in these programs will address food insecurity and improve long-term health outcomes for Pennsylvanians.

“On the state level, we would like to see more coordination between all the food 9 systems in the state including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), SNAP, NSLP, and others to ensure that eligible families are receiving all the food assistance for which they qualify and to ensure that children and families receive the nutrition supports as they grow,” Cawthern said.

Jay Worrall, President of Helping Harvest Food Bank, testified to the importance of community partners in the distribution of food and resources to families and how increasing funding for its signature food insecurity programs, the State Food Purchase Program (SFPP), and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS), and increase the flexibility for how those funds can be expended would assist even more Pennsylvanians in need.

“Unfortunately, many Pennsylvanians have been and still are struggling to meet their basic needs. Working families across our state face countless situations, such as jobs paying only poverty wages due to wealth inequality and corporate greed, food deserts, unexpected bills for car maintenance or medical treatment, layoffs, and now a global pandemic, all of which cause temporary or permanent financial instability, food insecurity and hunger. Pennsylvania food insecurity rates have increased from 11.1% in 2018 to over 33% as of March 2020.  According to the PA Department of Agriculture, before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1.53 million Pennsylvanians endured chronic hunger every day, including 478,500 older Pennsylvanians and about 437,000 children,” Sen. Katie Muth (D- Berks/Chester/Montgomery), chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, said. “Food insecurity makes it impossible to survive let alone thrive.  Every human should have guaranteed access to reliable and nutritious meals.  We need to act urgently to end food insecurity in Pennsylvania and across our nation.”

Below are all who participated in today’s hearing:

  • Dixie James, President & COO, Einstein Healthcare Network
  • Gisele Fetterman, Second Lady of Pennsylvania
  • Secretary Russell Redding, PA Department of Agriculture
  • Scott Cawthern, Acting Deputy Secretary for the Office of Income Maintenance at the PA Dept. of Human Services
  • Dr. Kathy Reeves, MD. FAAP, Senior Associate Dean, Health Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Director, Center for Urban Bioethics – Professor, Pediatrics Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University 
  • Andy Toy, Development and Communications Director, SEAMAAC
  • Tyler Ray, Neighborhood Community Organizer, Urban Creators
  • Maddy Booth, COO, Vetri Community Partnership
  • Mark Edwards, President & CEO, Food Trust
  • Loree Jones, CEO, Philabundance
  • Jay Worrall, President, Helping Harvest Food Bank

The full recording of this roundtable, as well as the written testimony from participants, can be found at senatormuth.com/policy. A full recording of this hearing can also be found on the PA Senate Democratic Facebook page.

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Sen. Tartaglione Brings COVID Vaccine Clinic to Frankford

Sen. Tartaglione Brings COVID Vaccine Clinic to Frankford

Philadelphia, PA – April 23, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) welcomed hundreds of constituents to The Baptist Worship Center in Northeast Philadelphia’s Frankford neighborhood today for a free pop-up COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. The senator partnered with the Center and Lehigh Pharmacy to organize and manage the one-day event in the city’s Frankford neighborhood.

Vaccine Clinic“Americans continue to get vaccinated in record numbers, but many folks and many communities remain underserved due to a variety of factors. Our goal today was to make it easy and convenient for residents of areas that have been hardest-hit by the pandemic to receive the medical care they deserve,” Senator Tartaglione said. “I thank Lehigh Pharmacy and The Baptist Worship Center for making this event possible.”

Senator Tartaglione’s 2nd District spans portions of Northeast Philadelphia, Juniata, Kensington, and North Philadelphia. The city’s Department of Public Health has classified many communities in the district as high-risk for COVID exposure and has sought to increase vaccination rates in those communities.

“Many people in the 2nd District and throughout Philadelphia may have difficulty traveling to a vaccine clinic due to mobility or transportation challenges,” Senator Tartaglione said. “Others may have trouble identifying a vaccination location due to the digital divide. And some folks are reluctant to get a vaccine because they are concerned about side effects. I want to assure everyone that vaccines are safe, and I will do everything I can to help people get vaccinated.”

Vaccine ClinicLehigh Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy at 1006 W. Lehigh Ave. in North Philadelphia, administered all vaccinations by appointment in accordance with the latest city and state eligibility policies, as well as COVID mitigation guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control. Vaccines are now available to anyone 16 or older. Contact Lehigh Pharmacy at 215-225-7522 for information about getting vaccinated.

Contact Senator Tartaglione’s office at 215-533-0440 or 215-291-4653 for help finding a vaccination location or securing transportation to your vaccine appointment.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

 

 

Tartaglione Announces Award of $50,000 Watershed Restoration Grant for Frankford Works Project

Tartaglione Announces Award of $50,000 Watershed Restoration Grant for Frankford Works Project

Philadelphia, PA – April 21, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) is pleased to announce that 1320 Pine Street BJ Venture 1 LP, developer of the Frankford Works project, has been awarded a $50,000 Watershed Restoration and Protection Program grant from the Commonwealth for stormwater management in a newly restored mixed-use campus.

Frankford Works is a project aimed at the rehabilitation of seven former warehouse buildings originally built circa 1922 in an industrial section of Philadelphia’s Frankford neighborhood. The project will recreate the space to transform it from an old warehouse and factory complex into bright, open units serving the community as live/work opportunities for small businesses and organizations.

“Projects like Frankford Works are forward-thinking and vital as many of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods continue the difficult transition from the city’s industrial past into the economy of the future,” Senator Tartaglione said. “I am thrilled to deliver this funding from the Commonwealth that will bring commerce and jobs to the community while helping to protect our water supply.”

The state funding will be used to mitigate stormwater flows leaving the site. Work will include the installation of a 1,060-square-foot rain garden/ponding area for stormwater storage. The potential capture area for the rain garden is 14,850 square feet of impervious surface. In addition, an existing semi-impervious courtyard will be converted into green space to filter runoff, cool air temperatures, reduce energy consumption, and improve air quality. The total project cost is $120,000.

The Watershed Restoration and Protection Program was created under Act 13 of 2012, through which the Commonwealth Financing Authority distributes a portion of the Marcellus Legacy Fund. The overall goal of the Program is to restore and maintain streams impaired by the uncontrolled discharge of polluted runoff, and ultimately to remove these streams from the state’s Impaired Waters list. For information, visit https://dced.pa.gov/programs/watershed-restoration-protection-program-wrpp/

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

Tartaglione Announces Award of $50,000 Greenways Grant fo International Weloveu Foundation

Tartaglione Announces Award of $50,000 Greenways Grant fo International Weloveu Foundation

Philadelphia, PA – April 21, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) is pleased to announce that the International WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region, Inc. has been awarded a $50,000 Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program grant from the Commonwealth for the revitalization of a vacant lot in Philadelphia’s Castor Gardens neighborhood.

The triangular lot is at the intersection of Gilham Street, Cranford Avenue, and Loretto Avenue and has become overgrown with trees that have become a safety hazard to the community. The lot has also been the site of illegal dumping. It is an undefined property in city records and has no listed address or owner. The Foundation plans to construct a nature sensory path, gardens, and tree benches on the site, which will complement the nearby Tarken Recreation Center and provide a natural playscape for the community.

“The WeLoveU Foundation has developed a sensible solution for a site that has been an eyesore and a nuisance to the community for many years,” Senator Tartaglione said. “I am thrilled to deliver Commonwealth funding for this worthy cause.”

The total project is expected to cost $61,250.

The Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program was created under Act 13 of 2012, through which the Commonwealth Financing Authority distributes a portion of the Marcellus Legacy Fund. The Program supports planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation, and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, parks, and beautification projects. For more information, visit https://dced.pa.gov/programs/greenways-trails-and-recreation-program-gtrp/

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

Tartaglione Announces Award of $250,000 Greenways Grant to Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises

Tartaglione Announces Award of $250,000 Greenways Grant to Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises

Philadelphia, PA – April 21, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) is pleased to announce that the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises (HACE) has been awarded a $250,000 Greenways, Trails and Recreation grant from the Commonwealth in support of The Trail Park, a planned community gathering space in the heart of Philadelphia’s Latinx community.

The 1.18 Trail Park will feature an amphitheater, concessions, and playground while serving as a trailhead to the future Richmond Industrial Trail, which is poised to become a key link in Philadelphia’s trail network connecting neighborhoods to the Delaware River and East Coast Greenway.

“I am thrilled to help HACE achieve its vision of a functional and aesthetically pleasing community space where families and neighbors can gather to enjoy each other’s company and the outdoors,” Senator Tartaglione said.

The planned park will strengthen community access to safe and equitable open space for residents and will help to restore the natural environment. The total project cost is $684,750 and will be funded with additional support from Conrail, the William Penn Foundation, and HACE’s own contributions.

The Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program was created under Act 13 of 2012, through which the Commonwealth Financing Authority distributes a portion of the Marcellus Legacy Fund. The Program supports planning, acquisition, development, rehabilitation, and repair of greenways, recreational trails, open space, parks, and beautification projects. For more information, visit https://dced.pa.gov/programs/greenways-trails-and-recreation-program-gtrp/

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

Tartaglione Announces Award of $50,000 Greenways Grant fo International Weloveu Foundation

Senator Tartaglione Announces Award of $50,000 COVID-19 Relief Grant to Frankford CDC

Philadelphia, PA – April 19, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) is pleased to announce that the Frankford Community Development Corporation (FCDC) is among 43 community organizations statewide that have been awarded grant funding under the COVID-19 Relief – Supporting Elm and Main (SEAM) program.

FCDC, of 4667 Paul St., Philadelphia, will receive $50,000 to help it replenish income it lost due to the pandemic and support its Elm Street initiative. In all, $2 million in SEAM grants were awarded through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

“The Frankford CDC, under the leadership of Executive Director Kimberly Washington, has demonstrated a tremendous ability to foster economic growth and job creation in Lower Northeast Philadelphia while improving access to affordable housing and enhancing community spaces. Frankford needs the CDC. This funding will help sustain it through this very difficult period for us all,” Senator Tartaglione said.

“Frankford CDC is extremely grateful for an administration that recognizes the need to extend funding to small nonprofits who deliver services to vulnerable populations,” Executive Director Washington said. “This SEAM funding will ensure that Frankford CDC is able to continue to provide outreach and technical support to help sustain Frankford’s small businesses.  

SEAM provides financial assistance to community revitalization organizations dedicated to community and economic development in older and historic downtowns, commercial districts, and neighborhoods. The Elm Street Program is a component of DCED’s Keystone Communities Program (KCP) focused on the revitalization of older residential areas bordering central business districts. Visit the DCED website for information about the SEAM program.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

 

Hundreds of Philadelphians Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations At Senator Tartaglione’s Free Pop-Up Clinic

Philadelphia, PA – April 1, 2021 − State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) welcomed hundreds of constituents to Cedar Grove Academy in Northeast Philadelphia today for a free pop-up COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. The senator partnered with state Rep. Jared Solomon (D-Philadelphia) and SunRay Drugs to organize and manage the one-day event in the city’s Lawncrest neighborhood.

 “I am extremely pleased that we were able to deliver much-needed virus protection to the people of the 2nd Senate District and beyond,” Senator Tartaglione said. “Our goal is to make vaccination available and convenient for all eligible residents of the city. We achieved that today and will continue to work to improve vaccine access.”

 
Senator Tartaglione’s 2nd District spans portions of Northeast Philadelphia, Juniata, Kensington, and North Philadelphia. The city’s Department of Public Health has classified many communities in the district as high-risk for COVID exposure and has sought to increase vaccination rates in those communities.

SunRay Drugs, an independent chain of pharmacies with 25 locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, administered all vaccinations by appointment in accordance with Department of Public Health eligibility policy. Vaccines were available to individuals 65 and older, as well as those who qualify as Phase 1A or 1B by virtue of high-risk employment or medical conditions. A full explanation of current eligibility conditions in the city is posted on the Department’s website. These conditions apply only to Philadelphia. All other Pennsylvania counties are subject to guidance from the state’s Department of Health.

Individuals who were unable to attend today’s pop-up clinic and have not been vaccinated may call Senator Tartaglione’s office at 215-533-0440 or 215-291-4653 to sign up for a waiting list for a future pop-up clinic. The senator’s office will contact you when details are available.

Separately, Philadelphia residents are encouraged to complete the city’s Vaccine Interest Form online to become eligible for service at a city-operated clinic.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

 

 

 

Senator Tartaglione, Colleagues Launch Women Supporting Working Women Campaign

Senator Tartaglione, Colleagues Launch Women Supporting Working Women Campaign

Philadelphia, PA – March 15, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) today joined First Lady of Pennsylvania Frances Wolf, Second Lady of Pennsylvania Gisele Fetterman, and many of the senator’s General Assembly colleagues to launch the Women Supporting Working Women campaign. A recording of the even can be viewed at www.PayPAWomen.com.

“As we celebrate women’s history throughout March, it is important that we continue to make history by advancing gender equality,” Senator Tartaglione said. “It is unacceptable in 2021 that women continue to earn less than men for comparable work. And it is unacceptable that our low-wage workforce is disproportionately comprised of women. Raising the minimum wage would help correct these injustices.”

State Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) hosted the virtual news conference, which was also broadcast live via www.PASenate.com/live and on the Facebook page of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus.

“This event brings together strong women leaders from different branches of government and all walks of life,” Rep. Kim said. “Our common goal here is to raise the minimum wage and support working women and their families. We want to hear your stories, as well as ask for your support. Working together, we can achieve anything.”

Visit www.PayPAWomen.com to learn more about how raising the minimum wage can help working families, the campaign, and how to get involved.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

 

Sabatina & Tartaglione Welcome COVID-19 Vaccine Site in Northeast Philly 

Sabatina & Tartaglione Welcome COVID-19 Vaccine Site in Northeast Philly 

Senators Sabatina and Tartaglione collaborated to get site in their community. 

Philadelphia, March 9 2021 − Sen. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) and Sen. Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) are pleased to announce there will soon be a new COVID-19 vaccination location in Northeast Philadelphia. The state senators worked diligently with city officials to secure the Northeast’s first municipal vaccination site, which will serve constituents from both of their senate districts.

“According to the city’s own published data, some of the hardest hit ZIP codes are in Northeast Philly,” Sabatina said. “Yet many of my neighbors would have to travel quite a distance to get a vaccine when eligible.”

Senator Tartaglione agreed.

“Every day constituents call my district offices to ask how they can sign up for a vaccine and why there are few if any convenient vaccination sites in their neighborhoods,” Tartaglione said. “This new vaccination site will be much more accessible for the people of the Northeast.”

The site will be located at Cannstatter Volkesfest Verein, a landmark catering facility at 9130 Academy Road, in the 19114 ZIP code. The next closest city-operated site is at Community Academy Charter School in the Juniata Park neighborhood.

Sabatina praised Cannstatter’s for stepping up.

“Such great people at Cannstatter’s, they’re always there for us,” said Sabatina, who has hosted community events there. “It’s a convenient location for many of our friends and neighbors and the property layout presents many advantages for an operation like this.”

The city is getting a boost with the FEMA site at the Convention Center in Center City. Sabatina called the new Northeast location a no-brainer. 

“Northeast Philadelphia is an incredibly diverse region, has a large senior population and is roughly one fourth of the city,” Sabatina said. “I’m glad that this important section of the city is being recognized as deserving of a vaccination site.”

Senator Tartaglione added: “I appreciate and thank all the community organizations and volunteers who have led efforts to distribute vaccinations throughout the city. The people of the Northeast have been very patient throughout this process, and I’m glad to see that the city will be directly addressing their needs.” 

The site is scheduled to open the week of March 22. The City of Philadelphia will release more details on hours of operation and how to sign up. Both Senators recommend their constituents register their names on the COVID Vaccine-Interest website at https://covid-vaccine-interest.phila.gov/

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Senator Tartaglione Appointed to New Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board

Senator Tartaglione Appointed to New Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board

Philadelphia, PA – February 17, 2021 − State Senator Christine Tartaglione has been appointed by Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa as a member of the Pennsylvania Election Law Advisory Board, a 23-member bipartisan panel created by the legislature in 2020 to review and make recommendations to improve the Pennsylvania Election Code.

“Free and fair elections are the foundation of our system of self-government as Americans and as Pennsylvanians. I am honored that Leader Costa has appointed me to serve on the Election Law Advisory Board, which will work to maintain the integrity and improve the efficiency of all elections in the Commonwealth,” Senator Tartaglione said.

The Election Law Advisory Board exists under Article XIII-E of the Election Code and was added to the code on March 27, 2020. The panel consists of the Secretary of State or the secretary’s designee, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate or designee, the Minority Leader of the Senate or designee, the Speaker of the House or designee, and the Minority Leader of the House or designee. It also consists of one appointee by the Governor from each of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts, with no more than half of the appointees representing the same political party.

The duties of the board are to study the entirety of the Election Code and identify statutory language to repeal, modify, or update; to collaborate with other agencies and political subdivisions of the Commonwealth to study election-related issues; to study the development of new election technology and voting machines; and to evaluate and make recommendations on improving the electoral process in the Commonwealth and implementing best practices identified to ensure the integrity and efficiency of the electoral process. 

The board is further charged with publishing, by the end of each fiscal year, extensive and detailed findings on the Joint State Government Commission’s publicly accessible website. These findings are to be made available in electronic format to the Office of the Governor and members of the General Assembly.

Montgomery County Commissioner Ken Lawrence has been named chairperson of the board by a unanimous vote of board members.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

 

Senator Tartaglione Applauds Governor’s Focus on Pandemic Recovery, Workers, Families in Budget Address

Senator Tartaglione Applauds Governor’s Focus on Pandemic Recovery, Workers, Families in Budget Address

During his Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget Address, Governor Wolf discussed minimum wage, small business funding, job creation, and workforce development 

Philadelphia, PA – February 3, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione released the following statement in response to the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget Address delivered today by Governor Tom Wolf during a joint session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly:

“I have long fought within the General Assembly for policies that improve the lives of Pennsylvania’s workers, their families, and their communities. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, these priorities are more important now than they have ever been. I applaud Governor Wolf for incorporating my agenda into the administration’s proposals, and for sharing my vision of a Commonwealth defined by equality and opportunity for all.

“With approximately 5 million Pennsylvanians having filed for unemployment benefits since March, we must focus on putting people back to work. I fully support the new round of small business assistance requested by the governor as well as his recommendation that Pennsylvania reinvest federal pandemic funding into remediating toxic materials in our schools. Projects like those will keep our school children safe and create good-paying jobs.

“The governor and I agree it is vital that Pennsylvania raise its minimum wage. The current rate, $7.25 an hour, amounts to a poverty wage. Raising the rate to $12 this year and $15 over the next six years will allow low-wage earners to work their way out of poverty while improving morale and productivity, and reducing their reliance on public assistance. As a result, my minimum wage legislation, SB 12, will also benefit employers, taxpayers, and our consumer economy. Importantly, it will help advance income equality for women and minorities.

“Our budget must serve the Commonwealth’s urgent job creation needs, but we must also look ahead and consider how we will help prepare Pennsylvanians for employment opportunities of the future. The governor’s proposed investment in a reformed workforce development system will enable Pennsylvanians to acquire marketable job skills and will help rebuild the middle class. And it will also help to remove the barriers to employment faced by many folks, such as transportation and childcare needs.

“Overall, I am very encouraged that Governor Wolf has prioritized sorely needed pandemic relief and recovery initiatives while reiterating his long-standing advocacy for the pro-worker and pro-family agenda that we share. I look forward to working with the administration and my legislative colleagues during the upcoming budget process to achieve these objectives.” 

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

 

 

 

Senator Tartaglione, Congressman Boyle Detail Efforts to Raise Minimum Wage for PA and Nation

Senator Tartaglione, Congressman Boyle Detail Efforts to Raise Minimum Wage for PA and Nation

Download Facts →  |  Download Full Remarks →

The forthcoming Senate Bill 12 would raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, while the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 would boost the federal rate to the same level

Philadelphia, PA – January 27, 2021 – Pennsylvania’s minimum wage workers haven’t received a substantial pay raise in more than 14 years. Today, State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) and U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pennsylvania) detailed their efforts to raise the minimum wage for the Commonwealth and for the nation as new legislative sessions commence in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.

During a virtual meeting with the news media, Senator Tartaglione announced she will soon introduce legislation that would raise Pennsylvania’s Minimum Wage to $12 per hour this year and put the Commonwealth on a path to a $15 minimum wage. The bill will be known as Senate Bill 12.

Congressman Boyle discussed the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 which was introduced in the U.S. House yesterday, January 26th. The bill proposes to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and has garnered the support of U.S. House and U.S. Senate leaders. President Biden has called upon Congress to adopt a $15 federal minimum wage as part of his economic recovery plan.

Currently, Pennsylvania’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, the same rate as the federal minimum. The Pennsylvania legislature last raised the minimum wage on June 30, 2006, through Senate Bill 1090. Senator Tartaglione was the primary sponsor of that bill, which raised the state’s minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.15.

Three years later, Congress raised the federal minimum wage to $7.25, and Pennsylvania’s rate followed suit.

“It has been 5,317 days since the Pennsylvania Legislature last raised the minimum wage. That is more than 14 years and it is far too long,” Senator Tartaglione said, echoing language she enters into the Senate record every session day. “At the current rate, a full-time minimum wage worker earns just $15,000 a year. That’s certainly not enough for anyone to live on – even a single person with no children or dependents. It is a poverty wage. Raising the minimum wage is not just an economic issue. It’s a moral issue.”

“No American who works full time should be living in poverty,” said Congressman Boyle. “Americans working 40 hours a week should be able to put food on the table and a roof over their families’ heads, but with the minimum wage stuck at $7.25, far too many are working hard and still in poverty. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the $7.25 federal minimum wage was economically and morally indefensible. Now, the pandemic is highlighting the gross imbalance between the productivity of our nation’s workers and the wages they are paid. Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 will be a boost to the economy, a boost to productivity, and a boost to our workforce. Raising wages is good business.”

On a state level, Senate Bill 12 would raise the minimum wage to $12 this year and an additional 50 cents each year until it reaches $15. After then, the rate would be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index. In addition, Senator Tartaglione’s legislation would eliminate the sub-minimum wage for tip-earners (which is currently set at $2.83 per hour) and would repeal preemption, which prevents local governments in the Commonwealth from raising the minimum wage in their jurisdictions. Further, Senate Bill 12 would grant the Department of Labor & Industry more powers to investigate wage law violations and would increase the penalties for employers who violate wage laws.

Senator Tartaglione noted that as recently as 2019, one statewide survey of registered voters found that 69% favor raising the minimum wage to $12. Another survey that year found that 56% of voters support a $15 minimum wage. Twenty-nine states have adopted minimum wages higher than the federal rate, including all six of Pennsylvania’s immediate neighbors. Nine states have adopted a $15 minimum wage.

“The level of support for these raises will only grow as consumer prices climb and it becomes harder for low-wage workers to make ends meet, and it becomes near-impossible for them to get ahead,” Senator Tartaglione said. “If New York, New Jersey, and Maryland can have a $15 minimum wage, and if Florida voters can approve a $15 minimum wage, surely Pennsylvania can do it.”

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

Tartaglione Announces $6.7 Million in State Financing to Reduce Wastewater Overflows in Lawncrest

Tartaglione Announces $6.7 Million in State Financing to Reduce Wastewater Overflows in Lawncrest

The City of Philadelphia will use the funds to construct 31 green stormwater infrastructure systems, helping to manage more than 13 acres of drainage area in the public right of way.

Philadelphia, PA – January 20, 2021 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione is pleased to announce that the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) board today approved a $6.7 million loan to the City of Philadelphia for the rehabilitation of the stormwater collection system in the Lawncrest neighborhood.

The approved financing will be used to construct 31 green stormwater infrastructure systems, including tree trenches, stormwater bumpouts, and stormwater trees. These systems will manage more than 13 acres of drainage area in the public right of way in Lawncrest. They will reduce the amount of stormwater entering the city’s combined sewer system in the area and help to prevent sewer overflows into local streams and the public water supply.

“Even in a dense urban area like Lawncrest in the heart of one of the nation’s largest cities, environmental protection must be our utmost concern,” Senator Tartaglione said. “Projects like this reduce the amount of contaminated wastewater that, during major storm events, overflow our over-burdened sewers and drain into local waterways like the Tacony Creek and ultimately the Delaware River.”

The project will help the city to satisfy the requirements of a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Consent Order and Agreement mandating that the city reduce combined sewer overflows. A combined sewer is a system in which household wastewater and stormwater are drained through the same network of underground pipes. Most of Philadelphia is served by combined sewers. 

During major storm events, the volume of stormwater can fill the system and cause untreated wastewater to overflow sewer inlets. This untreated wastewater poses threats to public health, community health, and aquatic health. 

For more information about the City of Philadelphia’s efforts to manage stormwater, visit the Philadelphia Water Department website: https://www.phila.gov/water/wu/stormwater/Pages/StormwaterManagement.aspx

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact William Kenny at 215-533-0440 or William.Kenny@pasenate.com.

PA Senate Democrats Hold Hearing on Raising the Minimum Wage for PA in Honor of MLK Day of Service

PA Senate Democrats Hold Hearing on Raising the Minimum Wage for PA in Honor of MLK Day of Service

Harrisburg – January 18, 2021 – At the request of State Senators Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia), Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia), and John Kane (D- Chester/Delaware) the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual public hearing on raising the minimum wage for Pennsylvanians. The hearing was held on Martin Luther King, Jr’s Day of Service to honor his legacy of fighting for worker’s rights and economic justice.

“It is unacceptable that Pennsylvania continues to allow its minimum wage to be the poverty wage of $7.25 an hour,” Haywood said. “We hold this hearing today on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of service to continue the work that Dr. King started demanding dignity and respect for all workers, and that starts by paying workers a living wage.”

The Pennsylvania General Assembly last raised the minimum wage in July 2007 to $7.25 per hour. The six states bordering Pennsylvania have enacted minimum wage laws exceeding the $7.25 rate effective in the Commonwealth. Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Ohio have enacted higher minimum wages than Pennsylvania’s, which has been stagnate at the federal minimum for more than a decade.

Alissa Barron-Menza, Vice President of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said that minimum wage was first introduced in 1938 during the Great Depression, and that a livable minimum wage is an essential economic recovery tool.

“This increase is a vital tool for shared recovery that will be good for business, good for customers and good for the economy,” Barron-Menza said.

Morris Pearl, Chairman of the Patriotic Millionaires, also said that a raise to the minimum wage is good for the economy. He said that a strong economy needs people with money to spend in order to maintain it.

“Investors are overwhelmingly in favor of raising the minimum wage,” Pearl said.

Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, including all states surrounding Pennsylvania.

“The fact that Pennsylvania’s General Assembly hasn’t raised the minimum wage since passing my legislation in 2006 is reprehensible,” Tartaglione said. “While I have continued to sponsor new minimum wage legislation every session since, the majority has failed to take action, leaving the last increase workers have seen to be a 10-cent federal increase in 2009. Pennsylvania’s minimum wage workers deserve better.”

Sen. Tartaglione is the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 12. This legislation would immediately raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage to $12 an hour for all Pennsylvania workers, with a pathway to $15 an hour by 2027. This bill would also eliminate the tipped minimum wage for Pennsylvania, ensuring all workers are making a living wage that is not dependent on patron generosity or lack thereof.

“I was a union plumber for almost four decades, and I know how important livable, family-sustaining wages were for myself and all of our members,” Kane said. “It’s a big problem that our minimum-wage workers haven’t seen a raise in over a decade — we need to guarantee that all Pennsylvanians are paid a livable wage.”

Gene Barr is President & CEO of the PA Chamber of Business and Industry said that his organization does not believe that a raise to the Pennsylvania minimum wage is the most, “effective way to drive assistance.”

Barr said that a raise to the minimum wage will hurt small businesses, will lead to more automation, and that continued work with the state on reducing barriers to employment and expanding an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are better solutions.

“There is majority business support for raising the minimum wage beyond currently enacted levels – despite what you may hear from the opposition,” Barron-Menza countered to Barr. “For example, a 2016 survey of 1,000 business executives across the country conducted by LuntzGlobal for the Council of State Chambers found that 80 percent of respondents said they supported raising their state’s minimum wage, while only eight percent opposed.”

“No one should be working a full-time job, or multiple full-time and part time jobs, and still be living in poverty because their employer is not required to pay them a livable wage,” Sen. Katie Muth (D- Berks/Chester/Montgomery), chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, said. “All workers deserve the dignity and respect of a livable wage, and we must raise the minimum wage for Pennsylvania.”

William Spriggs, Professor of Economics at Howard University and Chief Economist at AFL-CIO stated in his testimony that raising the minimum wage is also essential in ending the gender and racial wage gaps widely acknowledged to exist by economists.

Spriggs also said that subminimum wage is paying people less in the service industry ($2.83 in Pennsylvania for restaurant workers) or is biased on where they live, and also has, “very racist roots.”

Ashona Denise Osborne joined the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) fight for $15 an hour minimum wage after working minimum wage jobs her whole life, raising her son as a single mother, and realizing that even getting her Associates Degree in childcare is, “still not enough.”

Many other Senators also attended this hearing including Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D- Allegheny), Amanda Cappelletti (D- Delaware/Montgomery), Carolyn Committa (D- Chester), Maria Collett (D- Bucks/ Montgomery), Wayne Fontana (D- Allegheny), Vincent Hughes (D- Montgomery/Philadelphia), Tim Kearney (D- Chester/Delaware), Steve Santarsiero (D- Bucks), Nikil Saval (D- Philadelphia), Judy Schwank (D- Berks), Sharif Street (D- Philadelphia), Anthony H. Williams (D- Delaware/Philadelphia), and Lindsey Williams (D- Allegheny).

Below are all who testified in today’s hearing:

  • Gene Barr, President & CEO of the PA Chamber of Business and Industry
  • Alissa Barron-Menza, Vice President of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage
  • Morris Pearl, Chair of Patriotic Millionaires
  • Manuel Rosaldo, Centre County Wage Justice Coalition, Assistant Professor of Labor Relations, Penn State University
  • Jacqui Rogers, Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition
  • William Spriggs, Professor of Economics, Howard University and Chief Economist, AFL-CIO
  • Kadida Kenner, Director of Campaigns at the PA Budget and Policy Center
  • Ashona Denise Osborne, SEIU Worker from Pittsburgh
  • Lateefah Curtis, Worker from Philadelphia
  • Adesola Ogunleye, Worker from Philadelphia

The full recording of this hearing can be found at senatormuth.com/policy.

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