Evans sounds off on House tabling impeachment vote
Last week U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) released a statement after he voted against tabling a House resolution calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Evans said Congress should discuss whether the impeachment process should move forward. Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) introduced two articles of impeachment against Trump earlier last week, but the House rejected the effort.
“My vote this week reflects my sincere belief and the feedback that I have received from residents in the Second Congressional District of Pennsylvania that President Trump’s conduct infringes on the laws, standards and values our nation holds dear,” Evans said.
“The Liberty Bell, which sits in the middle of downtown Philadelphia, is a constant reminder of our nation’s humble origins and how we continue our march towards equality and fairness for all. I do not take this vote lightly, and indeed it is with a heavy heart but clean conscience that I made my decision.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said any impeachment effort should be put on hold until there is evidence of an impeachable offense.
Evans expressed dissatisfaction with the tabling of the measures.
“After being in Congress for over a year and observing President Trump’s questionable actions I strongly believe there should at least be a discussion about whether or not President Trump’s actions met the bar of impeachment,” he said.
“That is what this week’s vote was all about — whether or not the president’s actions are an impeachable offense. I am disappointed to see my colleagues in the House overwhelmingly voted to table this measure, but rest assured the impeachment process and discussion is far from over.”
Lawmaker, police join for gun lock giveaway
State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown (D-190) is hosting a gun lock giveaway from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Locks will be distributed free at four locations throughout the city in partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department. Brown said the gun lock giveaway is a way to increase gun safety and saving children’s lives.
“A handgun in the home is more likely to be used to injure or kill a family member or acquaintance than an intruder,” Brown said. “What we want to do with this event is prevent access to firearms by children and criminals as a strategy to reduce the continuing toll of gun violence, injuries and deaths, especially for children and families.”
Rabb calls GOP bill on budget procedures a ‘gimmick’
State Rep. Chris Rabb (D-200), released a statement condemning the budget bill that passed the Pennsylvania House on a 116-76 vote.
Rabb argued the bill would make unnecessary changes to Pennsylvania’s budget procedures. “House Bill 1940 is nothing more than a gimmick and a poor attempt to displace responsibility for passing a fair and balanced budget from the state legislature to the governor,” he said.
“Each year, all 253 members of the Pennsylvania legislature are constitutionally required to present the governor with a balanced budget no later than June 30. This year, the legislature failed to do that, just as it failed to do so the year before and the year before that.”
Rabb said his own bill would improve accountability instead of “displacing the blame” for budget problems. “House Republicans should instead take the necessary strides to work together to finally have an on-time budget. My bill, H.B. 1706, would do just that,” he said.
“My mandatory budget impasse transparency and accountability bill would require executive and legislative leaders to hold public hearings if comprehensive spending and revenue bills for the upcoming fiscal year have not been introduced by June 19.”
Neilson opposes bill on worker political contributions
State Rep. Ed Neilson, D-169, voted against a bill that could have impacted workers’ voluntary contributions to the unions representing them.
The Paycheck Protection bill (Senate Bill 166) would have limited unions’ political donations by prohibiting state, county and local government payroll systems from deducting voluntary contributions by workers to union political action committees. The House defeated the bill 102-90.
Neilson said the bill would have set back progress made through contract negotiations and a collective bargaining process.
“This was an attack on our union worker rights and an attempt to silence their voice in the political process,” Neilson said. “Senate Bill 166 would have put in danger workplace democracy and it would have translated into the weakening of the rights of public sector employees. Workers would not have been able to have a voice for themselves to fight against efforts to privatize or eliminate their jobs. We could have potentially lost thousands of jobs.”
Vazquez continues to fight for hurricane relief
State Rep. Emilio Vazquez, D-197, is fighting to give the U.S. Virgin Islands more time to apply for assistance for victims of Hurricane Maria.
Vazquez plans to introduce a House resolution pushing Congress and President Donald Trump to extend the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s application deadline for financial aid and relief to Jan. 1.
“It’s been months since Hurricane Maria hit and there are still many with a limited supply of food, clean water and medical services,” Vazquez said. “Combine that with little access to electricity and cell phone service, and you make it very difficult for anyone to survive let alone apply for disaster assistance.”
McClinton appointed to sentencing commission
State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-191, was appointed by House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody last week to serve on the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission. She is the first woman from the House to serve on the commission.
The commission is tasked with maintaining a consistent and rational statewide sentencing policy through the adoption of guidelines that promote fairer and more uniform sentencing throughout the commonwealth.
It’s also responsible for coming up with re-sentencing guidelines, state and county parole guidelines and state re-commitment ranges.
“I’m honored to have this added opportunity to work for criminal justice reform,” McClinton said. “Having served as an assistant public defender in Philadelphia for seven years, I am very familiar with how our criminal justice system works and how it needs to work better, to keep our communities safe and to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society.”