District 19 News: State Rep. Abney
Hello, Northsiders! I’m eager to share with you some of the important work I’ve been doing in Harrisburg and here at home.
Most significantly, my House Democratic colleagues and I made history two-fold.
First, I was honored to help elect Rep. Joanna McClinton as the new Speaker of the Pennsylvania House. Speaker McClinton became the second African American and first woman to helm the People’s House. Her leadership and guidance will, no doubt, ensure that the needs of all Commonwealth residents are addressed fairly and timely.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t praise former Speaker Mark Rozzi for his commitment to attaining justice for survivors of childhood sexual assault. I’m pleased to announce that my affirmative vote, and those of many members, resulted in legislation passing in the state House to provide a window to justice for those survivors. Now, I urge the Senate to act decisively so these individuals can have their rightful day in court.
Second, we added three additional representatives to our ranks with reps. Joe McAndrew, Abigail Salisbury and Matthew Gergely taking the oath of office after special elections. I look forward to collaborating with them on meaningful legislation for my neighbors and all Pennsylvanians. Their taking office secured Democratic control of the PA House for the first time since 2010!
Gov. Josh Shapiro delivered his first budget address to a joint session of the House and Senate, and I was excited about his pledge to provide fair and sufficient funding for education, support for our senior citizens, protection of voting rights and support for black and brown-owned businesses, among others. This year’s budget, like any other, is a statement of priorities, and I’m eager to do all I can to make these promises a reality.
Speaking of the budget, I was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee and will serve as chair of that committee’s Health and Human Services Subcommittee. I’m grateful for this opportunity, and I plan to help produce a budget that works for everyone in Pennsylvania. I also joined the Pennsylvania House Insurance, Housing and Community Development, and Aging and Older Adult Services committees, as well as the Committee on Committees.
With our new majority allowing us to move forward on policy focused clearly on the people’s business, I’m pleased to announce that Rep. Ben Sanchez and I have introduced H.B. 336. This legislation would ban the future possession, purchase, transfer, use or manufacture of assault weapons in PA. Mass shootings perpetrated by dangerous individuals with access to these weapons have become far too common in our state and nation. Too many innocent lives have been cut short, and far too many families have been irreversibly ripped apart. Let’s remove these weapons from the hands of people looking to do harm and help to keep Pennsylvanians safer.
Locally, I toured the Astrobotic facility and the Moonshot Museum with my colleagues in the Allegheny County Delegation. The Astrobotic facility is home to the Peregrine Lunar Lander, set to carry out the first commercial mission to the Moon. Peregrine will also be the first American spacecraft to land on the Moon since the Apollo program. Astrobotic is leading the way in space technology and is a major asset to our region.
I also recently got the chance to read and speak to kindergartners and 1st graders at Allegheny Traditional Academy. They even taught me some sign language, and I was thoroughly impressed!
Be well, everyone, Happy Easter to all who celebrate and talk to you next month!