Another win for local environmental rights

Governor Wolf has now vetoed a bill that would have allowed the state to override local rights in one more area: HB 1071 would have put into PA law that “no political subdivision may impose a ban, fee, surcharge or tax on a recyclable plastic bag supplied by a retail establishment to a purchaser of consumer goods at the point of sale.” .

Anyone who believes in “small government” and local rights should logically believe that a municipality should be allowed to reduce use of disposable plastic bags, which almost always go into the trash or environment. In fact, with the failure of this bill, it is allowed.

Among Chester County’s 9 state representatives, Carolyn Comitta (D-156) voted against the bill, as did Harry Lewis (R-74) and Duane Milne (R-167), while Tim Hennessy (R-26) did not vote. The other 5, all R’s, voted for the bill

PA Rep. Greg Vitale (D-166) explains why…

Governor Wolf Should Veto Plastic Bag Bill

Rep. Greg Vitali, June 15, 2017

One-hundred-billion plastic bags pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year — almost one bag per person each day, according to Earth Policy Institute. But only about 1 percent of these bags are recycled, leaving the rest to litter our streets, pollute our waterways and stress our landfills.

Yet, despite opposition from numerous municipalities, municipal associations and environmental groups, the Pennsylvania House and Senate recently passed legislation that would prevent local governments from enacting laws to address their plastic bag problems. House Bill 1071 now sits on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk awaiting either his signature or veto.

This bill would prohibit Pennsylvania cities, counties, townships and boroughs from imposing a ban, fee, tax or surcharge on single-use plastic bags at retail stores.

This legislation is being driven by Novolex, the world’s largest manufacturer of single-use plastic bags. Novolex owns the Helix Poly plant in Milesburg, Pa. – an area that is represented by one of the prime sponsors of the bill. Novolex has been active in promoting this type of legislation in other states.

Some 165 municipalities across the United States have adopted some form of single-use plastic bag legislation, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York City, according to the Plastic Ban Bag Report, a national advocacy group.

The evidence shows that this legislation has been effective. Following implementation of a citywide 5-cent-per-bag fee in 2010, the presence of bags in Washington, D.C., decreased by about 67 percent….

read more at Rep. Greg Vitali

‘House’-hold Name: Former West Chester Mayor Comitta looks back – & ahead to rep’s job

by Bill Rettew, Daily Local News, 4/1/17

WEST CHESTER >> The world is full of lovers and fighters.

Former borough councilwoman, mayor and newly elected state Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-156, is both. There’s a small bit of fighter in her DNA, but she loves helping people, which is what propelled her into public service.

The first thing you notice when entering Comitta’s new office is a pair of boxing gloves sitting on her desk.

The gloves were a gift from her husband, Tom Comitta, a town planner.

“A year after I became mayor, I realized that I had a lot of work to do,” she said. “I went to Tom and said, ‘It’s time to put on the boxing gloves.’”

When children visit they often want to know about the gloves.

“I put them on the desk to remind me to fight for the best interests of the citizens and to remind me that it sometimes takes a lot of effort to move forward,” Comitta said.

Comitta stepped down from her seat as West Chester Mayor March 15 after serving as the leader of the borough for almost eight years.

A one-term councilmember and two-term mayor, she is proudest of her ability to bring people together for collaboration….

read more at Daily Local News

Continue reading

Mayor Comitta to West Chester

Tonight I submitted my resignation as Mayor of West Chester. This is a bittersweet moment, as I transition away from a position I have loved for almost 8 years. But I am not leaving you. As your State Representative, serving the 156th Legislative District, I continue to keep my focus on those of you living in the Borough, while expanding that focus to others living in our neighboring townships.

In Harrisburg, my Committee appointments are:

Aging and Older Adult Services
Environmental Resources and Energy
Local Government
Professional Licensure

Recently I spoke before the Appropriations Committee to discuss our concerns surrounding pipelines. See the press release and video here.

I am pleased to announce the opening of my District Office, on March 24th, from 11am-2pm, at 21 W. Washington St., Suite A, West Chester (please see below).

Warmly,

Carolyn

Comitta to host district office open house event Friday, March 24

State Rep. Carolyn Comitta will host an open house event at her district constituent service office, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 24.

Her district office, which is open now, is located at 21 W. Washington St., Suite A.

The 156th Legislative District includes West Chester Borough, West Goshen, East Goshen, Westtown, Birmingham and Thornbury/Chester County.

This open house event is an opportunity to meet Comitta and her staff and to learn about the services they provide locally.

All are invited to this free event. Light refreshments will be served and no RSVP is required. Parking is also available.

“I’m excited to welcome residents of the 156th and for them to know we are here for them,” Comitta said. “We can assist with all state-related business, and refer out when necessary, so we encourage constituents to come in or contact us anytime.”

Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
http://www.pahouse.com/Comitta

Thank Sen. Dinniman for voting against SB3

What: support Andy Dinniman’s No vote on SB3
When: Friday Feb. 10, 10:30 a.m.
Where: 1 N. Church St., West Chester

This week the PA Senate passed Senate Bill 3, an incredibly restrictive abortion ban that would outlaw a commonly used safe procedure as well as all abortions after 20 weeks, which is often too early for pregnant women to find out about tragic fetal abnormalities.

PA Senator Andy Dinniman (D-19) voted against SB3; show him your appreciation and thank him for standing up for women’s rights.

Come to a supportive rally outside Senator Dinniman’s local office at 1 N. Church St., West Chester (NE corner of Market and Church Sts.). Bring an appropriate sign if you wish.

We need to show there’s massive support for abortion rights and encourage supportive senators to sustain the upcoming gubernatorial veto override.

In solidarity with the Women’s March

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Mayor Comitta with young supporters of the Women’s March, at gathering of 150+ in solidarity with the marchers at the County Court House in West Chester, 1/21/17. If only national government would keep its eyes on the wise statement “History has its eyes on us”! And also, speaking after her 2006-2010 predecessor as 156th district representative in Harrisburg Barb McIlvaine Smith, Carolyn addresses the crowd:

comitta-at-court-house

Comitta begins first term representing 156th District

Rep. Carolyn Comitta January 4, 2017

HARRISBURG, Jan. 4 – Calling it a tremendous honor, state Rep. Carolyn Comitta was sworn in yesterday to represent the 156th Legislative District in Chester County.

“It’s truly humbling to be sent to Harrisburg as a representative of our district to fight for what’s best for Pennsylvania,” Comitta said. “I look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion to get things done and serve the residents of the 156th District as best I can.”

Comitta is one of 40 women serving in the House, the highest total in state history.

Constituents can visit Comitta’s website at www.pahouse.com/Comitta for information on various state-related services and programs.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives swearing-in corresponds with the first Tuesday in January, every two years. This year is Pennsylvania’s 201st legislative session.

(Still from video at www.pahouse.com/Comitta)
comitta-ready-to-serve

History repeats in the 156th!

Mayor Carolyn Comitta

Mayor Comitta

History repeats in the 156th! In 2006: Barbara McIlvaine Smith 11,616, Shannon Royer 11,588 – winning margin of 28. In 2016: Carolyn Comitta 18,261, Dan Truitt 18,236 – winning margin of 25.

It’s nice to be in one of the state’s few remaining swing districts, where candidates campaign vigorously, voters pay attention, and the result hangs in the balance even after election day.

WC Borough Dems congratulate Mayor, and now Representative, Carolyn Comitta!

It’s official: Comitta will represent 156th district after ballot recount

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By Adam Farence, Daily Local News
Posted: 12/16/16, 4:17 PM EST

Mayor Carolyn Comitta

Mayor Carolyn Comitta

WEST CHESTER: Carolyn Comitta can now officially call herself state Representative Comitta after a hearing Friday afternoon determined she would represent the 156th legislative district in Harrisburg.

Comitta, a Democrat and the mayor of West Chester, had challenged Dan Truitt, R-156, of East Goshen, for his spot on the state legislature.

Common Pleas President Judge Jacqueline Carroll Cody presided over the hearing. Comitta was represented by Samuel Stretton, a longtime county Democrat and attorney and Truitt was represented by Curtis Norcini.

“I appreciate that you all pursued everything you did to ensure the integrity of the election process,” Cody told everyone assembled.

Truitt was not present for the hearing, and did not return a request for comment.

“We wanted to make sure that every valid ballot was counted, and that whoever won was the people’s choice,” Comitta said after the hearing. “I’m grateful to all the voters, all the volunteers, voter service, and Dan Truitt for his graciousness and service to our community.”

Both attorneys told Cody that they had agreed with the results of the recount, which put Comitta ahead of Truitt by 25 votes, putting her total at 18,267 to Truitt’s 18,242. Comitta’s campaign had filed for a recount after unofficial results from election day declared Truitt the winner.

Comitta extended her thanks to all her campaign staff and workers, including Stretton.

“I am honored to serve as representative for the citizens of district 156 and look forward to working together to make our wonderful community even better for all.”

To contact Daily Local News staff writer Adam Farence, email afarence@dailylocal.com, or call 610-235-2647.

Dem’s LEAD in Pa. House race grows — to 26 votes for W.C. Mayor Carolyn Comitta

2016_1210philly-comdaily-news
by Michaelle Bond, STAFF WRITER @MichaelleBond

West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta said Friday her lead in the race for a Chester County state House seat has increased — from 18, to 26 votes.

Obeying a county judge’s order, the county’s Department of Voter Services unsealed and counted 14 contested provisional ballots. Eleven were for Comitta, a Democrat, and three went to incumbent Republican state Rep. Dan Truitt, she said.

Comitta had argued every eligible vote should count and appealed to Chester County Court to force Voter Services to count 15 provisional ballots the department said were ineligible.

County officials said that 14 of the voter-registration applications had arrived too late. Another voter was registered in another county. Judge Jacqueline Cody concurred on the 15th voter, but not the others.

It was not known whether Truitt would ask for a recount as he had previously said he would. The three-term legislator has not responded to requests for comment.

More than 36,000 votes were cast in the race in the November election.

mbond@philly.com
610-313-8207
@MichaelleBond

156th district update: looks good!

After the election, it appeared that Carolyn was behind by a small margin. Now that the usual collection of ballots not included in the official results, notably those coming in from overseas voters, have been counted, we hear that she is leading by 18 votes! Yes, every vote counts.

There will be a hearing 12/1 to determine which provisional ballots will be counted. Often, those ballots (in the rare cases that they are counted) favor Democrats.

So it is almost time to be optimistic!

This will all have a feeling of déjà vu for those who remember Barb McIlvaine Smith’s narrow victory under similar circumstances in 2006.