Senate Democratic Policy Committee

Senator Katie Muth, Chair

Please contact the Dem Policy Team with any questions at (717) 787-1398 or via email at dempolicy@pasenate.com for information regarding the Policy Committee.

Impact of the State System of Higher Education Redesign Plan

Monday, May 17, 2021  | 10:00 a.m.

Upcoming Policy Hearings

MAY

17

 

Impact of the State System of Higher Education Redesign Plan

Monday, May 17, 2021  | 10:00 a.m.

Policy Hearing - Higher Education

At the request of state Senators Lindsey Williams & Judy Schwank, the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee will hold a virtual public hearing to discuss Public Higher Education and the PASSHE Redesign Plan.  We will hear from the Chancellor of PASSHE, University Presidents, as well as impacted students & workers.  Please join us for this important hearing on the future of public higher education in Pennsylvania.

The meeting’s location will be held virtually via Zoom. You can register for the hearing ahead of time at the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkdOGgrTItHtBeDtR8g4KlVUijws7kqeLb

MAY

20

 

OSHA Protections for Public Employees

Thursday, May 20, 2021  | 10:00 a.m.

At the request of Senator Tartaglione, the Democratic Chair of the Senate Committee on Labor & Industry, the Pennsylvania Democratic Policy Committee will hold a virtual public hearing to discuss Senate Bill 310 (Protecting Workplace Safety) and hear from leaders in government, labor, and education on how to best expand OSHA protections for both public and nonprofit employees.

The meeting’s location will be held virtually via Zoom. You can register for the hearing ahead of time at the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIpf-6opjwpGtd6SVkUlavHwnReEOePzp7T

Save the Date

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Mon Fayette Expressway

Sen. Brewster will host a policy hearing to discuss the Mon Fayette Expressway project and what it can mean to the southwest region of Pennsylvania. 

Monroeville Borough Building-Council Chambers
(and also on Zoom)
2700 Monroeville Blvd.
Monroeville, PA 15146

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 | 11:00 am

Improving Pennsylvania’s Nursing Homes

Check Availability

Past Policy Hearings

Check below to view past policy hearing including video and testimony! Questions, comments or suggestions about the hearings, fill out the form below!

Housing and the Unhoused

May 14, 2021

 

PA Senate Democrats Hold Policy Hearing on Systemic Housing Insecurity

Harrisburg – May 14, 2021 – At the request of state Senators Tim Kearney (D- Chester/Delaware) and Nikil Saval (D-Philadelphia), the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual public hearing on housing and the unhoused in Pennsylvania.

“Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home, but that goal is out of reach for many Pennsylvanians. This policy hearing will be critical to understanding the full scope of housing insecurity and how we can combat this crisis,” Sen. Kearney said.

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Legionella Prevention

May 5, 2021

 

PA Senate Democrats Hold Policy Hearing on Legionella Prevention

Harrisburg – May 5, 2021 – At the request of Pennsylvania State Senators Wayne D. Fontana (D- Allegheny) and John Kane (D- Chester/Delaware), the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual policy hearing on Legionella prevention in Pennsylvania and the concern it presents in buildings shut down during the pandemic.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionella bacteria are found in freshwater environments. The bacteria can become a health concern when they grow and spread in human-made building water systems which can result in a lung infection known as Legionnaires’ disease. Unfortunately, Legionnaires’ disease is increasing, and Pennsylvania has some of the highest rates of illness year after year.

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Food Insecurity Policy Roundtable

April 30, 2021

 

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.”

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Panel 1: Food Insecurity & Public Policy

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

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

Panel 2: Food Sovereignty within PA Communities

Andy Toy, Development and Communications Director, SEAMAAC

Tyler Ray, Neighborhood Community Organizer, Urban Creators

Panel 3: Programs in Place to Serve Communities

Maddy Booth, COO, Vetri Community Partnership

Mark Edwards, President & CEO, Food Trust

Loree Jones, CEO, Philabundance

Jay Worrall, President, Helping Harvest Food Bank

Bright Future for Labor & Clean Energy

April 22, 2021

 

PA Senate Dems Hold Policy Roundtable to Discuss Bright Future of Labor & Clean Energy

Harrisburg – April 22, 2021 – At the request of Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D- Allegheny), the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual round table discussion on the future of clean energy development and clean energy jobs in Pennsylvania. This hearing was held on Earth Day to honor the history of environmental stewardship this day represents, and to acknowledge the importance of preserving our environment.

“There was a reason president Joe Biden unveiled his historic infrastructure plan here in Pittsburgh,” Costa said. “Our city got its start in the industrial revolution, but as our world has evolved so must the infrastructure that keeps us going. We need clean energy sources that lead us into the future, powered by men and women in family sustaining jobs. Our earth does not have infinite resources, and it is our duty to protect and preserve the health and resources of our planet for future generations.”

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Housing Crisis

March 31, 2021

 

PA Senate Democrats Hold Hearing on the Effects of COVID-19 on PA Housing Crisis

Harrisburg – March 31, 2021 – At the request of state Senators Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia), Art Haywood (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia), and Nikil Saval (D-Philadelphia), the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual public hearing on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the existing housing crisis in Pennsylvania.

“For too long, the struggles of Pennsylvanians to find housing, and to stay housed, have been rendered invisible. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated a crisis that has been generations in the making, and which is endemic to a society that treats housing as a commodity, rather than as a right. As legislators, we have an opportunity, right now, to listen to our constituents—to make these struggles visible—and to furnish legislative solutions to mitigate decades of neglect and harm,” Sen. Saval said.

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Net Neutrality

March 29, 2021

 

PA Senate Democrats Joined House Democrats for Net Neutrality Policy Hearing

Harrisburg – March 29, 2021 – At the request of state Sen. Amanda Cappelletti (D- Delaware/Montgomery) and state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler (D- Philadelphia), chair of the House Sub-Committee on Progressive Policies for Working Families, the Pennsylvania Senate and House Democratic Policy Committees held a virtual hearing today on net neutrality and the need for equitable access to the internet across the commonwealth.

“Internet access has become a necessity. However, Pennsylvania’s technological infrastructure and internet standards are behind the times. This pandemic has put a spotlight on the immediate need to update our technological infrastructure. We need to modernize and bring Pennsylvania into the 21st Century to ensure we do not fall further behind our neighboring states,” Cappelletti said.

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Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship

March 26, 2021

 

PA Senate and House Democrats Host Policy Hearing on Needed Changes to Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship

Harrisburg – March 26, 2021 – At the request of state Senators Wayne D. Fontana (D- Allegheny), Jim Brewster (D- Allegheny/Westmoreland), Lindsey Williams (D- Allegheny) and Representative Sara Innamorato (D-Allegheny), the Pennsylvania Senate and House Democratic Policy Committees held a virtual public hearing on the issues of abandoned and blighted property conservatorship, the effect of blight on neighborhoods, and tools to eradicate blight while preserving the integrity of communities.

“Making sure that blight does not continue to bring down our thriving communities is of the utmost importance,” Sen. Fontana said. “The premise of Act 135 and all blight remediation legislation are overall positive and essential to eliminating blight.  The purpose of this hearing is to examine the act to make sure the law is being used for its intended purpose and make any necessary changes to achieve this goal.”

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A People’s Budget: The Environment

February 25, 2021

 

PA Senate & House Dems Host Hearing on ‘A People’s Budget: The Environment’

Harrisburg – February 25, 2021 – At the request of Sen. Amanda M. Cappelletti (D- Delaware/Montgomery), Sen. Nikil Saval (D- Philadelphia), Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler (D- Philadelphia), Rep. Rick Krajewski (D- Philadelphia), Rep. Sara Innamorato (D- Allegheny), and Rep. Danielle Friel Otten (D- Chester), the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee joined the House Democratic Policy Committee to hold a virtual hearing on ‘A People’s Budget: The Environment.’ This hearing discussed the current and future funding of environmental protection oversight, impacted communities, and public health concerns related to industry activity and legacy pollution.

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Racial and Gender Bias in the Courts

February 19, 2021

PA Senate & House Democrats Join PA Legislative Black Caucus for Hearing on Racial and Gender Bias in the Courts

Harrisburg – February 19, 2021 – At the request of Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC) chair Rep. Donna Bullock (D- Philadelphia), vice-chair Rep. Summer Lee (D- Allegheny), and PLBC members Sen. Anthony H. Williams (D- Delaware/Philadelphia) and Sen. Sharif Street (D- Philadelphia), the Pennsylvania Senate and House Democratic Policy Committees held a virtual public hearing to discuss racial and gender bias in the court systems across the state. This hearing built off the continuing efforts of the Philadelphia City Council and Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson’s work toward justice in the Philadelphia court system.

“Pervasive racial and gender bias in the Pennsylvania judiciary cannot be tolerated. This policy hearing not only gives us an opportunity to listen to personal accounts of bias and unfair treatment but to also gather information about the environment and systems that create and perpetuate these biases,” Bullock said. “As lawmakers, we have an obligation to take that information to advocate for comprehensive court reforms to address bias, systemic racism and other institutional challenges that threaten the public’s faith in our justice system.”

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Maternal Health and Vaccine Safety Amidst COVID-19

February 10, 2021

PA Senate Dems Joined PA House Dems & the PA Women’s Health Caucus for Hearing on Maternal Health and Vaccine Safety Amidst COVID-19

Harrisburg – February 11, 2021 – Yesterday, at the request of PA Women’s Health Caucus chairs Sen. Judy Schwank (D- Berks), Sen. Amanda Cappelletti (D- Delaware/Montgomery), Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D- Montgomery), and Rep. Morgan Cephas (D- Philadelphia), the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee joined the House Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual public hearing to discuss maternal health amidst COVID-19.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have been deeply concerned about both the physical and mental health of mothers and families experiencing childbirth and caring for babies in the shadow of COVID-19,” Schwank said. “We must ensure that mothers and babies are receiving the best care possible and are receiving the support and services they need to maintain a healthy life during and after this pandemic.”

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  • Dr. Mark Woodland, M.S., M.D., FACOG, Chair & Clinical Professor OB-GYN, Reading Hospital/Tower Health, Interim Academic Chair, OBGYN Drexel University College of Medicine
  • Dr. Hyagriv “Hy” Simhan, UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital, Division Chief of Maternal Fetal Medicine
  • Dr. Richard Beigi, UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital, President, OB-GYN’
  • Dr. Aasta Mehta, M.D., M.P.P., FACOG – Philadelphia MMRC, Philadelphia Dept of Health, PA MMRC
  • Dr. Sindhu K. Srinivas, M.D., MSCE, Director of Obstetrical Services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Vice Chair for Quality and Safety, Physician Lead, Women’s Health Service Line, Penn Medicine
  • Nicole Chaney, Certified Nurse-Midwife, Reading Hospital
  • Markita Glenn, Doula, Pettaway Pursuit Foundation
  • Dr. Elizabeth Morgan, Maternal Fetal Health Specialist, Baystate Health
  • Dr. Richard S. Legro, M.D, Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Public Health Sciences, Penn State Health College of Medicine and Penn State Health
  • Dr. Catharine I. Paules, M.D., Assistant Professor, Infectious Diseases, Penn State Health College of Medicine and Penn State Health
  • Dr. Rhonda C. Boyd, Ph.D., Psychologist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Raising the Minimum Wage for PA

January 18, 2021

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.”

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Impact of COVID-19 on Prisons

January 7, 2021

PA Senate Democrats Host PA Dept. of Corrections Sec. Wetzel & Others for Hearing on Impact of COVID-19 on Prisons

Harrisburg – January 7, 2021 − At the request of state Senators Anthony H. Williams (D- Delaware/Philadelphia) and Sharif Street (D- Philadelphia) the Senate Democratic Policy Committee today held a virtual public hearing on the impacts of COVID-19 on the communities, employees and inmates related to our state prison system.

“COVID-19 spares no one, including myself, in who it chooses to infect,” Williams said. “While the state has acknowledged the issue of COVID-19 spreading through our incarcerated populations and made efforts to release select inmates to reduce populations, we still have far too many incarcerated individuals and correctional staff members becoming infected with and dying from COVID-19.”

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