George Floyd & Police Reforms
The murder of George Floyd shows us that we must reform police practices. I support these much-needed changes to law enforcement policies and procedures in the Commonwealth:
1. Require Independent Investigation of Police-Involved Killings
This legislation, SB 611, requires the Pennsylvania Attorney General to investigate police-involved killings in Pennsylvania. If passed, this measure will take the prosecution of police officers out of the hands of local district attorneys.
2. Reform Police Training, Counseling & Accountability
This bill, SB 458, creates a statewide police database of personnel records, and mandates diversity instruction and de-escalation training for law enforcement. It also facilitates psychological counseling for police officers. In addition, SB 459 requires local police departments to implement written use of force guidelines that follow existing models that have been endorsed by state and national organizations.
3. End Law Enforcement Assault
This legislation, SB 851, fixes a loophole in state law that allows police officers to claim consent for sexual activity with citizens in their custody. Sexual contact between law enforcement and citizens in their custody is never acceptable. Period.
Please join me in supporting these changes in our laws in Pennsylvania. Thank you.
New Funding for Small Businesses
Today, Governor Wolf announced new funding that will soon be available for small businesses in the Commonwealth. The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) will distribute $225 million to 17 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). CDFIs will administer the funding in the form of grants for small and disadvantaged businesses. Please contact my office and see the DCED website over the coming days for details.
The Commonwealth Financing Agency (CFA) will soon announce a Cultural and Museum Preservation Grant Program. $20 million will be available for Pennsylvania museums, zoos, planetariums, science and technology centers, orchestras, and performing arts organizations. The maximum grant will be $500,000. The deadline for applications will be 30 September, 2020. Please check the CFA website over the coming weeks for details.
These two initiatives are part of the PA CARES Act, a $2.6 billion allocation of federal aid for Pennsylvanians affected by COVID-19. Stay tuned over the coming days for additional funding announcements.
Governor Wolf Announces Criminal Justice Reforms
On Thursday, 4 June, Governor Wolf announced a series of reforms to law enforcement in Pennsylvania.
The reforms are based off the 21st Century Policing Task Force created in 2015 in response to death of Michael Brown .
- Creation of the position of Deputy Inspector General within the Pennsylvania Office of State Inspector General (OSIG). This position will focus on preventing fraud, waste, misconduct, and abuse in law enforcement.
- Creation of the Pennsylvania State Law Enforcement Advisory Commission to review allegations of misconduct by law enforcement personnel.
- Creation of the Racial and Ethnic Disparities Subcommittee under the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee (CJAC).
- Providing technical assistance to municipalities to encourage the creation of local citizen advisory boards.
- Enhancing officer safety and wellness through mental health initiatives and offering targeted mental health supports for officers.
- Reviewing training and education of law enforcement officers across the state.
Yellow Phase Begins in Philadelphia Region
Our region moved into the yellow phase on Friday, 5 June. Specific activities can resume, with certain restrictions:
- Outdoor dining is permitted, if allowed by your county.
- Schools may provide in-person instruction starting 1 July.
- Childcare centers may reopen, if they comply with state guidance.
- Offices may reopen, though telework is encouraged where feasible.
- Non-essential in-person retail is permitted, through curbside pick-up and delivery is recommended.
We all want to return to normal, but the crisis is not over. Gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons, massage therapy, casinos, and theaters remain closed. Gatherings above 25 are prohibited. Philadelphia residents are strongly encouraged to avoid social contact outside your household. Please continue wearing a mask in public, practice social distancing, and self-monitor for symptoms. Thank you.
Musical Mood Boost
Pick up some good vibrations. Good Vibrations by Brian Wilson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLPI4eLkFiY
Be the Light,
Stay in Touch on Social Media
Please follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay involved and receive live updates on issues and events. Be sure to check out my latest videos on YouTube, my latest photos on Instagram and subscribe to my Participation is Power Podcast!
Offices to Serve You