DeLissio Responds to Challenge to Her Candidacy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio
D-Montgomery/Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Mar. 28- On March 18th a challenge was filed by Sean Stevens, a recent (but now withdrawn) candidate in the race for the 194th and Nicholas DiPiero, a committee person in the 21st Ward, questioning Rep. DeLissio’s ability to remain on the ballot based on residency.  

The challenge questions whether or not Philadelphia is her home.  DeLissio wants to assure all of her constituents that indeed Philadelphia is her home.  DeLissio stated “I have lived in the house I own on Cinnaminson Street since 1997.”  

The issue was heard in Commonwealth Court on March 26th.  The judge’s ruling is expected the week of March 31st.   

The challenge concerns a property she purchased in 2006, when her work took her to Central PA on a regular basis. This was 4 years before she became a State Representative in 2011.  The challenge specifically focused on a Homestead Exclusion applied for in January 2009.  According to DeLissio, she made the decision to apply because the Susquehanna Township house could be considered primary due to the amount of time she spent there.   

DeLissio states “To prevent my opponents from using this decision to confuse constituents, on March 25th I voluntarily returned the amount of $375.84 to the Susquehanna Township School District.  This amount includes the total dollars deducted from my school tax bill for the 5 year period 2009 through 2013.”

In court, DeLissio testified in great detail how and why Philadelphia is her home. Further questions were raised as to why her driver’s license, vehicle registration and car insurance were affiliated with the Susquehanna Township address.  “Professional advice that I received indicated that due to owning and staying in that house while in Harrisburg both previously and now on legislative business I could continue to garage and register my vehicle there and that this decision did not jeopardize my ability to represent the 194th” ,  DeLissio said.  

DeLissio further stated that “on March 25th I changed my driver’s license, registration and insurance to my Philadelphia address so that my opponents could not use this decision to distract constituents about my ability to represent them”.   

She also stated that she is proud to represent the constituents of the 194th district in Harrisburg and hopes to continue to do so in the future.  

CONTACT: Pam DeLissio
DeLissio State House Campaign Phone: 215-808-9167
Email: Pamela.DeLissio@gmail.com

DeLissio: National Women’s Health Week echoes in House committee work

PHILADELPHIA, May 9 – Coinciding with Mother’s Day, the week of May 11-17 this year is recognized as National Women’s Health Week to encourage women to take care of their own health, said state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio.

As a member of the Aging and Older Adult Services, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Health, and Human Services committees, and as a member of the Women’s Health Caucus, DeLissio said she is regularly focused on the issues that matter to women and their health.

“The Health Committee votes on legislation on many diverse issues affecting women’s medical health,” she said. “The Human Services Committee addresses many state-funded programs that support children with developmental and intellectual disabilities – and women are still the primary caregivers in our society in many instances.

“Women – including moms – often put the needs of their spouses, children and parents first and forget to focus on their own health. National Women’s Health Week serves as a reminder to women that taking care of their health is essential for both themselves and their loved ones.”

This is the 15th year National Women’s Health Week will be observed. It kicks off on Mother’s Day.

“In the Agriculture Committee, we support policies that promote Buy Fresh and Buy Local because sound nutrition is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. “Women in particular are inclined to do for others and often place their nutritional needs second.

“The Aging and Older Adult Services Committee addresses many policy issues to support seniors at home and in other housing settings. Women dominate the 75 and older demographic, and we need to ensure that our seniors have choices in their community at an affordable price.”

During National Women’s Health Week, communities, businesses, government, health organizations and other groups work to educate women about steps they can take to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases. It is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health.

DeLissio announces intention to force a vote on Medicaid expansion

HARRISBURG, May 7 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio during session today notified House Speaker Sam Smith of her intention to force a vote on a bill to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania.

Forcing a vote on H.B. 897 requires the adoption of a discharge resolution, for which DeLissio said she intends to formally motion in June, when the House reconvenes.

“Twenty-five states have seen the fiscal and moral sense of expanding their Medicaid programs,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. “Doing so in Pennsylvania would give some 500,000 Pennsylvanians access to Medicaid immediately with the federal government paying 100 percent of the cost for three years through December 2016 and no less than 90 percent of the cost after that. We have already forsaken Pennsylvania’s share of federal tax dollars for the first quarter of this year.”

The Medicaid expansion bill has stalled in the House Health Committee since March 2013, largely due to the Corbett administration’s reluctance to expand Medicaid in Pennsylvania under provisions set forth in the federal Affordable Care Act. If adopted, House Discharge Resolution 7 would force the bill out of committee and to a full vote in the House chamber.

Meanwhile, weak revenue collections indicate the state’s next budget could be hundreds of millions of dollars out of balance. DeLissio said if the governor had opted in to Medicaid expansion on Jan. 1, Pennsylvania could have saved more than $90 million related to General Assistance coverage in the current budget and $320 million in next year’s budget.

“Additionally, Pennsylvania has lost more than $7 million in federal dollars per day since Jan. 1 as a result of not opting into full Medicaid expansion, and we simply do not have the luxury to pass on such critical federal funding,” DeLissio said. “More importantly, Pennsylvanians are being denied access to health care due to inaction. As a lawmaker, it is imperative that I continue to aide citizens who face life and death realities with regard to their health. This discharge resolution represents not only my concern but the concern of many of my colleagues.”

DeLissio weaving parents’, principals’ concerns into state talks on education

PHILADELPHIA, April 25 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., announced that her March and April meetings with students’ parents and principals and CEOs concerning state education funding are providing valuable feedback that she relates into state discussions.

“I think that the upcoming gubernatorial race is a great opportunity to move the discussion forward on public education funding in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and for that reason, I began to ask to meet with parents and principals in the 194th Legislative District. June is the state’s budget negotiation time and advocating rigorously for education funding and charter reform to be a priority is a focus of my office,” she said.

DeLissio held one such meeting Thursday with principals as an opportunity to share information between Philadelphia and Lower Merion schools, including cyber and “brick-and-mortar” charter schools.  DeLissio said that she can only imagine what progress could be made if such gatherings occurred across the state to foster discussion from those on the “frontlines.” The exchanges have also included the opportunity to clear up some myths about charter schools and to understand that there are still challenges even in the better-funded Lower Merion School District.

Traditional public school principals (charter schools were exempt from the law) shared that the new requirement for teacher effectiveness, as determined by teacher evaluations, was a very helpful process, and that the need to ensure recurring and sustainable funding is ever-present. DeLissio said it was also suggested that minimum standards put in place to ensure a consistent educational product across the commonwealth.

DeLissio began meeting in March with the home and school and parent teacher organizations in the district, including traditional public schools and “brick-and-mortar” charter schools. She said some constituents are surprised to learn that charter schools, both brick-and-mortar and cyber, are public schools.

Additionally, DeLissio pointed out that discussions have covered a renewed need for a state-level funding formula. A costing-out study was authorized by the legislature and followed between 2009 and 2011, but was dropped by the current administration.

“I’ve learned that parents’ efforts through these associations historically have provided financial support for extra programs and activities to enrich their children’s educational experience,” DeLissio said. “But for the past three years, parents have found that their efforts have been to ensure that the very basics are in place. One school had bake sales to pay for a noon-time aide.”

The idea of a Compact for Children was offered. DeLissio said she researched the concept of a compact and found an interesting model used in Denver. That model envisions education as a journey that is much more inclusive than what happens in the schoolhouse alone. This model embraces high-quality pre-kindergarten and identifies learning as a lifelong experience.

She added that a Compact for Children would be envisioned to be statewide in Pennsylvania.

“Suffice it to say, the consensus has been that until education across the commonwealth is a shared priority and not just paid lip service, the current situation will not improve to the degree that we need to ensure a well-educated workforce in the future,” DeLissio said.

Labor and other organizations endorse Pam DeLissio for a 3rd term

 

Philadelphia, May 2, 2014 – The DeLissio State House Campaign is pleased to announce the following endorsements from Planned Parenthood, Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, Progressive Majority, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 1776 led by President Wendell W. Young IV and AFSCME Council 13 led by Executive Director David Fillman.  

DeLissio stated that she is honored to have the support of organizations that are committed to developing the best public policy possible and that keep citizens needs in the forefront of their respective missions. 

“Progressive Majority is pleased to endorse your candidacy”, stated Gloria Totten, President of the organization.  “Your strong support of progressive values, ideas and policies makes it a great pleasure to support your candidacy.   We are building a nationwide team of progressive candidates who will fight for change today and are pleased to endorse you as a member of that team. “  

“Representative DeLissio acts in thoughtful consideration of the matters before her. She is articulate in discussing complex issues in relevant terms understandable to all,” stated PSNA Chief Executive Officer Betsy M. Snook, MEd, BSN, RN. “Her expertise in the issues of aging and health is unmatched in the PA legislature and her understanding of health policies is vast. Rep. DeLissio carefully deliberates all matters before her to best represent the public’s needs as efficiently and effectively as possible.” 

“Rep. DeLissio is a respected leader on reproductive health issues in the legislature.  We appreciate her experience and expertise and have worked closely with her on a range of public policy issues related to women’s health” advised Sari Stevens, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood PA PAC.

“These stakeholders advocate on behalf of many constituents who live in the 194th and I appreciate their role in helping me to understand the nuances of legislation as it benefits or adversely effects their members,” said DeLissio.

 

OPINION: Shale plan deserves its bipartisan, bicameral support

In the ideal world, there would be no party labels on legislation, and bills would be supported and debated on merit alone. As a co-prime sponsor of Marcellus Shale Severance Tax legislation, I am heartened by its example of the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s growing strategy to “prime” and introduce bipartisan legislation simultaneously across both chambers.

The legislation is being introduced now for two reasons: one, there is a need for recurring and sustainable revenue in the governor’s proposed budget, and two, Act 13 of 2012, the legislation that created the current Marcellus Shale impact-fee model, favored the gas industry too heavily. If Act 13 incorporated what our proposed legislation includes, more than $400 million in additional revenue would have been realized.

Our current plan aims to better reflect the chorus of Pennsylvanians who want the state to responsibly develop this important natural resource but also account for strong environmental protections. To be fair and remain competitive, the tax rate proposed would be 4.99 percent – below the industry rates in other states. The House version also seeks that a fair tax continues to fund local governments currently receiving revenue from local impact fees.

Proceeds from the tax would be directed to education funding, supporting environmental protections, growing greener programs, and funding human-services initiatives. All of these budget items have been greatly impacted through funding cuts over the past three years.

Please contact your state representative or senator to be sure he or she plans to support Marcellus Shale Severance Tax legislation. The political waters have never been more inviting.

DeLissio: flaws in state redistricting process run deep

PHILADELPHIA, April 17 – The Pennsylvania General Assembly must work to remove the inherent conflicts of interest that legislators bring into their process of state redistricting, said state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio.

Every ten years, following completion of the U.S. Census, the state legislature redraws Pennsylvania’s state and federal political districts so that districts are equal in size and reflect changes in population.

“The problem in the process manifests when legislators have the ability to draw their own district boundaries and often divide neighborhoods or groups of people in ways that benefit their own electoral needs,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila.

DeLissio said she believes that communities are best represented when their needs can be addressed by keeping communities and neighborhoods within a single district. Districts that maintain the continuity of these communities of interest result in more accountable and responsive legislators, who can better meet the needs of their constituents.

“To fix the process would be a ‘heavy lift,’ as it requires amending the state constitution, and because the legislators, some of whom have a vested interest in not changing the process, will need to be pressured by their constituents to do the right thing,” she added.

State House districts include about 60,000 people; state Senate districts include about 250,000 people.

Recently in Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court threw out the redistricting plan in January 2012 because the plan focused on politics and not what was best for the citizens, the court’s opinion stated. A new redistricting plan was approved by the same court in June 2013 to take effect Dec. 1, 2014.

DeLissio said the new redistricting plan is still driven by politics to the detriment of the people. She said she has discussed redistricting at 32 of her 33 Town Halls over the past 3 1/2 years because of how integral it is to the development and passage of public policy that is for the benefit of the greater good and not simply “politically expedient” or favorable to special-interests groups who influence the process with significant campaign contributions.

As of Dec. 1, 2014, the 194th Legislative District will include the entire 21st Ward in Philadelphia (it currently includes 35 of the ward’s 45 divisions), 10 divisions of Philadelphia’s 38th Ward (it currently includes one division), and in Lower Merion it will include all precincts in Wards 3 and 9 and one precinct in Ward 13.

The website www.redistricting.state.pa.us/Maps/House.cfm provides maps so citizens can see exactly the degree to which state House and Senate districts and congressional districts have been reconfigured. In many cases, the changes amount to gerrymandering, DeLissio said.

Congressional redistricting is also developed by the state legislature. DeLissio said it needs to be reformed, as evidenced by the map of the 7th Congressional District.

Government Reform Caucus urges sensible, passable gift-ban legislation

HARRISBURG, April 11 – The Government Reform Caucus announced Monday that it has received a commitment from the State Government Committee chairman to hold a hearing on proposed legislation regarding gift and hospitality limits, said state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, a member of the caucus.

Ahead of such a hearing, DeLissio said to require disclosure of any gift below $50 or provision of hospitality below $100 would be less than practical.

“There are many proposed bills regarding gifts that have been introduced, but our discussion has centered on the strategy of what is needed to get at least one sensible piece of legislation enacted into law,” said DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila. “Arriving at agreement, even among somewhat like-minded reformers has been a challenge.

“If the provisions are too low, we would need to report any mug, box of cookies or other trinkets that many advocacy groups use to remind us of their existence. Instead we are considering a reporting threshold of anything over $50 for gifts and $100 for hospitality as defined as hotel, meals, or transportation.

“The reform caucus will be advocating that the statement of financial disclosure that we are required to file annually include a section for voluntary disclosure of gifts and hospitality below the stated thresholds. My personal preference is $50 limits for both categories.”

DeLissio said that participating in the caucus has been an interesting experience because the biggest discussion is usually around how they get support from fellow senators and representatives for proposed changes such as these.

The Government Reform Caucus convened in March 2013 and is composed of state senators and representatives from the Republican and Democratic parties. The group meets on a regular basis and has been discussing significant reforms that include campaign finance, voter registration, gift and hospitality limits and disclosure. The caucus strategy is to identify legislation that can be passed in both the House and the Senate and ultimately signed by the governor.

Equal pay events ‘renew resonance’ in fight against workplace discrimination

HARRISBURG, April 11 – The General Assembly’s equal-pay awareness events this week served a most fundamental purpose in continuing the advancement of equality in the workplace, said state Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila.

Tuesday was “Equal Pay Day,” marking how much extra time women would have to work into 2014 to earn as much as men did in 2013.

“It’s an important day for activists seeking to highlight the discrepancy in wages. Women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, and equal pay for equal work, a slogan that dates back to the early suffragists, is enjoying renewed resonance,” DeLissio said.

DeLissio participated in two news conferences to highlight H.B. 1890, which would reinforce the conditions under which employers can pay different wages because of a “factor other than sex” and strengthen protections for those attempting to bring a case against their employer.

Meanwhile, H.R. 716 asks the Joint State Government Commission to complete a definitive study on the issue of “workplace pay disparity,” including the examination of existing state and federal laws relating to the issue. The resolution will additionally ask the commission to make recommendations to the General Assembly, based on its findings.

The commission will be tasked to complete its work and issue a report to the General Assembly by Nov. 30.

DeLissio said she personally experienced wage disparity based on gender discrimination. She was offered a position as assistant administrator of a long-term care facility when she was 23 and when learning that her position would pay $1,000 less per year than a male counterpart with the same position, she brought this to the attention of her employer. She was subsequently dismissed. DeLissio said she wants to ensure that 34 years after this happened to her, the laws are strengthened to prohibit this from happening to other women.