Senator Hughes held a Telephone Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, February 8th. He took phone calls from constituents with questions, and the topics included Governor Wolf’s 2017 budget proposal, the “sanctuary city” controversy, the proposed merger of four state agencies covering health and human services — even the new U.S. Secretary of Education. Click below to hear the town hall in its entirety:
Senator Hughes says Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 budget invests in jobs and working families and is a good fiscal blueprint to begin budget deliberations. The Senator is Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which will begin hearings on the budget in a few weeks.
For Pennsylvanians seeking unemployment assistance, the wait on the telephone or on line is a long one. That’s because a funding dispute between the Governor and Republicans in the Senate resulted in the layoffs of 500 employees and the closings of three call centers. At a rally in the state Capitol organized by those workers, Senator Hughes called on the legislature to vote quickly to restore the funding
Congress is talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — even as the deadline looms to sign up for health insurance under the ACA in 2017. Senator Hughes wants to make sure as many Pennsylvanians as possible sign up for health insurance before the deadline.
Thousands are expected to convene in Washington D.C. the Saturday before Martin Luther King’s birthday to rally in support of the rights Dr. King fought to achieve. Pennsylvanians are being urged to join the march by Senator Vincent Hughes, along with clergy and community activists.
The 201st session of Pennsylvania’s General Assembly is underway, and Senator Hughes has taken his oath of office to begin another four-year term. Here the Senator talks about what he’d like to see accomplished in this new session.
Senator Hughes has announced that when the legislature starts its new term in January 2017 he will reintroduce legislation to create over $250 million in dedicated funding for lead remediation across Pennsylvania. With 19 Pennsylvania cities testing higher than Flint, Mich., for elevated blood lead levels in children, and a growing chorus of evidence indicating a worsening statewide lead problem, Senator Hughes says it’s imperative that the state set a direct course of action to better protect children and their families. As a start, the Senator announced the state is awarding two grants totaling $125,000 to combat lead poisoning in Philadelphia. The grants come from state funded programs earmarked for job training and community revitalization.
Pennsylvania Moment: Senator Hughes suggests making a donation to your local food bank as one way to make this a happy holiday season for all.
An advisory committee co-chaired by Senator Hughes held hearings this week to look at ways to funnel more state funding to school districts to build new school buildings or renovate existing ones.
Governor Wolf today signed legislation into law that allows ride-sharing transportation companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to operate in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania. Here’s more with Senator Hughes, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who attended the bill-signing ceremony at the State Capitol and explains what the new law will mean for the Philadelphia School District and consumers across Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Moment: Registration has opened for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Senator Hughes says the LIHEAP program is designed to help low-income Pennsylvanians pay for heat this winter and get needed repairs to furnaces and other heating equipment.
In remarks on the Senate Floor today, Senator Hughes reminded state lawmakers that June 30th is the 10th anniversary of the last time the state legislature voted to increase the minimum wage in Pennsylvania to $7.25 an hour. The Philadelphia lawmaker, who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, again urged his colleagues to pass legislation increasing the minimum wage in Pennsylvania to help the commonwealth’s working poor.
The Pennsylvania Senate has overwhelmingly approved a state budget that differs slightly from the one passed earlier this week by the House of Representatives. Here’s more with Senator Hughes, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, who says the spending plan represents a good compromise between Senate Republicans and Democrats.
Senator Hughes joined fellow Senate Democrats and representatives of human service agencies at a press conference at the Capitol in Harrisburg to say that the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) has been devastated by recurring state budget cuts. He says the state budget now being developed needs to address funding shortfalls for the PHRC and similar agencies.
Senator Hughes held another of his Telephone Town Hall Meetings this month in which participants were able to ask questions about a wide range of issues including public school funding and gun violence as well as listen to a discussion on topics that are important to Philadelphia and Montgomery counties and the Commonwealth. You can listen here to the complete town hall meeting.
Senator Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia today stood with members of the LGBT Community at the State Capitol to mourn those who were killed or injured in this past weekend’s shooting in Orlando, Florida, and to urge the state legislature to approve anti-discrimination legislation that’s now before the state Senate and House of Representatives. Here’s more with Senator Hughes.