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State Representative Justin Simmons Report



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The Weekly Roundup
Friday, April 13, 2018  The latest news from the State Capitol

Workplace Harassment, Misconduct Focus of House Republicans

Working to ensure Pennsylvania has the most effective laws to address sexual and workplace-related harassment, the House Republican Caucus this week unveiled new legislation to further protect employees. Such behavior is wrong and must be stopped because no one should ever be uncomfortable at their job.

The two-bill legislative package would create a task force to investigate the laws, practices and procedures surrounding harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace. This comprehensive review would reveal any inadequacies in current laws, regulations and policies surrounding this subject and produce a report to the General Assembly with its findings and recommendations.

A second bill would review anti-harassment and discrimination laws and policies affecting Commonwealth employees. The Joint State Government Commission would be tasked with reviewing the number, types and results of workplace complaints in state government agencies and entities and provide a comparison of workplace policies related to harassment and sexual misconduct.

To begin that review process, the House Labor and Industry Committee will hold a fact-finding hearing on April 24.

An array of federal, state and local laws are already in place that prohibit harassment and sexual misconduct at work.

Public Safety Hearings Underway

To find ways to reduce gun violence in Pennsylvania while respecting the Second Amendment, the House Judiciary Committee began a series of hearings this week on various pieces of legislation pertaining to firearms and public safety.

Nearly 30 members from both sides of the aisle are bringing their ideas before the committee. The proposals involve ways to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals, strengthen background checks, prevent domestic violence, enhance school safety and address street crimes.

The hearings will continue next week. Live webstreaming is available at

Spotted Lanternfly Update The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Penn State Extension are seeking volunteers to participate in their tree-banding program to control the Spotted Lanternfly. Volunteers agree to place provided sticky bands on Ailanthus altissima (Tree-of-Heaven) on their own property and report the number of spotted lanternflies captured.

Any resident of the quarantine area who is interested in participating can contact Penn State Extension by calling 610-391-9840 or emailing for more information about the program.

Property owners can also band any tree on their property with commercially available or homemade bands. Learn more here.

Thank you to all who came out to attend the Spotted Lanternfly Informational Meeting I hosted last week. We had more than 100 people in attendance. Special thanks to Dana Rhodes of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Emelie Swackhamer of Penn State Extension for delivering presentations and to Upper Perkiomen High School for opening their auditorium for the meeting.

Healthy Aging Expo Set for April 26

On Thursday, April 26, I will be hosting a special event for older residents in the 131st District. Our Healthy Aging Expo will feature dozens of representatives from nonprofit agencies; local, state and federal governments; and local businesses who will provide information and answer questions about the programs and services they offer to area seniors.

This free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sacred Heart Senior Living, 4851 Saucon Creek Road in Center Valley. We hope to see you there!

Cleaning Up Our Community

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 14, Emmaus Borough and Upper Milford Township are co-hosting “Earth Day 2018 Community Cleanup” from 8:30 a.m. to noon, rain or shine. I am pleased to be able to help sponsor the event.

The cleanup will take place at Emmaus Community Park, 1401 Shimerville Road in Emmaus. They will be accepting electronic devices for recycling (some fees will apply) and up to four office file boxes of household documents for shredding (no businesses, please).

Residents are also encouraged to help clean up litter and debris from sites around the borough and township. They will gather to get organized at 8:30 a.m. and then starting the cleaning by 9.

Earth Day is a great time to show your commitment to our community’s environment!

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