Bellevue Bulletin 08/02/2019: Council President Clarke’s plans, Department of Transportation, and Lead Levels
Happy Friday (and Happy August) and welcome back to your weekly update from Bellevue!
First, we’d like to congratulate our Founder and CEO, Mustafa Rashed, on receiving the 2019 Minority Business Leader Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal! We’re honored to be part of your team!
In Philadelphia, Council President Darrell Clarke has penned an op-ed for the Inquirer, focused on his plan for decreasing gun violence in Philadelphia and keeping the city’s children safe. The office’s plan is, as Council President Clarke wrote, “a prohibition on firearms and deadly weapons at city recreation centers and playgrounds”. The Safe Havens legislation, that is slated to be introduced upon Council’s return in the fall, aims to prohibit the possession of firearms and other deadly weapons at city-owned recreation facilities. Clarke and the rest of City Council are working closely with Harrisburg legislators on the issue, both Democratic and Republican. Philadelphia recently joined Attorney General Josh Shapiro in support of a grant he made to a grass-roots program, aimed at educating women of the issues they face if they purchase a gun for any individual prohibited from owning a firearm. Council also introduced a series of bills in Council to promote safer interactions between law-abiding gun owners and police, and to provide citizens with a reasonable step to seek the removal of firearms from persons “identified as a threat to themselves or others”. To read the full Op-ed by Council President Clarke, click here.
In Harrisburg, a new Department of Transportation procedure will let motorists identify with neither male nor female, instead offering the gender-neutral option of “X” on their state-issued drivers licenses. More than ten other states have rolled a similar plan out, with success. The Department of Transportation made the final decision, and spokesperson Erin Waters-Trasatt said that the state’s vehicle code provides the authority for the department to make the change, and doesn’t require approval from the federal legislature. Officials, said Trasatt, don’t believe that the new plan will present any problems in terms of compliance with federal REAL ID regulations.
A well-known and dangerous issue in the Philadelphia School System is looking to be taken care of by Governor Wolf and Harrisburg legislators: lead paint. Gov. Wolf announced Wednesday that the state is kicking in extra money to help Philadelphia schools continue to remove lead paint from their buildings. After reports of dangerous lead levels in Philly classrooms, the state last year allocated an extra $8 million for lead paint stabilization. The district contributed another $8 million. On Wednesday, Governor Wolf stopped by to let everyone know that Harrisburg is giving more “I’m proud to announce another $4.3 million in state funds for lead paint stabilization that will make classrooms and hallways of Philadelphia schools safer,” Wolf said. But it’s not enough, he added and reminded listeners of his Restore PA proposal, that would include $4.5 billion for state infrastructure improvements funded with an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale gas.
And that’s all for this week! Follow us on Twitter @PhillyAdvocates for more.