Mark B. Cohen

Mark B. Cohen
Mark B. Cohen
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 202nd district
Assumed office
Preceded by Eugene Gelfand
Democratic Whip of the
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
In office
January 5, 1993 – November 30, 1994
Preceded by Ivan Itkin
Succeeded by Ivan Itkin
Personal details
Born June 4, 1949 (1949-06-04) (age 62)
New York City, New York
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Mona Getzes Cohen
Children Amanda Cohen
Residence Castor Gardens
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania, Lebanon Valley College, Widener University School of Law
Profession attorney
Religion Judaism

Mark B. Cohen (born June 4, 1949) is a Democratic politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Succeeding Eugene Gelfand,[1] he has represented Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 202 in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since June 10, 1974, making him the most senior member in the Pennsylvania General Assembly since the December 27, 2010 death of Sen. Michael O'Pake.[2]

[3] Cohen served as a member of the House Democratic leadership from January, 1990, through November, 2010, in the positions of Democratic Caucus Chairman (1990–1992 and 1994–2010) [4] and Majority Whip (1992–1994).[5]

As an elected leader of the House Democratic Caucus for 21 years, he worked to unite an often deeply divided group of Democratic legislators,[6] His efforts sometimes led his colleagues to publicly praise him.[7] His efforts for party unity did not always succeed.[8]

His 7 years as Democratic (Majority) Chairman of the House Labor Relations Committee were also years of collaborative relationships with other legislators [9] and legislative staff. Michael E. Cassidy, elected to a single House term in 1976 beginning at the age of 21, has long served as his executive director.[10] His current staff counsel Nia Wilson [11] currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures.[12]

His long-time staff aides have included Eric Fillman,[13] currently serving as Deputy Chief Counsel to the House Democratic Caucus and a longtime leader of the Finnegan Foundation,[14] and Dawn Reese,[15] currently serving as Assistant Chief Clerk of the House and a longtime Chair of Pennsylvania's Organ Donation Advisory Committee.[16] Tragedy struck his legislative assistant Pamela Gleason, who lost her police officer husband due to his on-the-job murder, and then lost her life as she was trying to rebuild it.[17] His aide Leola M. Stowall retired from his staff due to ill health, but continued her activism for grandparents raising grandchildren and others "who are more in need than I am" even as she was receiving dialysis treatment for malfunctioning kidneys caused by high blood pressure and diabetes.[18]


Current Position As Democratic Chair of Human Services Committee

He was appointed by Democratic Leader Frank Dermody as Democratic (Minority) Chair of the "key" [19] Human Services Committee in December, 2010, where he works closely with Republican (Majority) Chair Gene DiGirolamo.[20] One of the DiGirolamo-Cohen bills sought to enact tougher regulation of for-profit methadone clinics.[21] Cohen opposed the opening of for-profit methadone clinics near his legislative district.[22] A second DiGirolamo-Cohen bill establishes the Pharmaceutical Accountability Monitoring System in order to detect pharmaceutical drug abuse and substance use disorders by people with addiction to them.[23]

Both Cohen [24] and DiGirolamo worked to see that human services programs were adequately funded in a period of budget cutting. Both actively participated in the Department of Public Welfare's Appropriations Committee Budget Hearing.[25] The Chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee hailed Cohen as "a longtime advocate of human services programs and a leader to restore funding in this year's spending plan." [26]

DiGiralamo and Cohen held a hearing [27] on House Bill 272 to ease treatments of Lyme Disease, of which Cohen was a co-sponsor.[28] The chances of enacting this legislation were limited by the opposition of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania due to its concerns about antibiotic resistance and the legislation's (1) guaranteeing of insurance company reimbursement of long-term use of antibiotic prescriptions and (2) requiring a high level of representation for the International Lyme And Associated Diseases Society [29] on the newly created task force on Lyme disease and related diseases.

Both DiGirolamo [30] and Cohen [31] publicly opposed Governor Tom Corbett's refusal to start up the newly established Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs as required by a law they had both actively supported, of which DiGirolamo was prime sponsor. On November 1, 2011, they held a public hearing in Harrisburg in which they both confronted Corbett Administration anti-Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs advocates. "Almost every crime that's committed in our local communities is related to drug use," DiGirolamo said. "We need leadership on this issue and I am going to fight you on this. Instead of building prisons, we could be closing them." Agreeing with DiGirolamo, Cohen added "Governor Corbett cannot pick and which laws he wants to implement." Cohen also said the governor was under pressure from insurance companies not wanting to cover drug and alocohol programs in their policies and existing bureaucrats locked in a "turf war," which the governor's office "flatly denied." [32]

An editorial in the Intelligencer of Doylestown, Pennsylvania [33] noted the concerns of both DiGirolamo and Cohen, concluding "What we find troubling is that the governor is ignoring an act of the Legislature that was signed into law by his predecessor. Whether Corbett thinks the idea of a Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs has merit or not, most of the members of both the House and the Senate thought it did and presumably still do, since all but a few are still serving. Like a number of lawmakers, we wonder how the governor can get away with this. Besides that, there is significant sentiment outside of government--from social workers and others who see the tragedy of drug and alcohol abuse on a daily basis--that a new department could improve the way Pennsylvania addresses the problem...."


The oldest child of longtime civic and political activists Florence and David Cohen,[34] he is a member of what is now a prominent political family.[35] His father David Cohen (politician) served in the Philadelphia City Council,[36] and his brother Denis serves in the First Judicial District of the Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas,[37] where he was retained for a second ten year term as a Common Pleas Court Judge on November 8, 2011, with 75.5% of the vote. [38] His sister Sherrie Cohen came in a close 6th for the 5 Democratic seats for nomination for Philadelphia Council at Large in the May 17, 2011 Democratic primary.[39] Cohen worked on his father's eight successful and three unsuccessful campaigns to win local election for Philadelphia.[40] He attended Central High School of Philadelphia,[41] graduating in 1966, after participating in two projects of the Northern Student Movement [42] and a student Political Union modeled upon the Yale Political Union, which has produced many national political figures.[43]

He then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as a features writer for The Daily Pennsylvanian [44] an officer of the Penn affiliate of the College Democrats of America, a member of the International Affairs Association, a contributor to the Distant Drummer, an internship for Congressman William J. Green, III and Senator Joseph S. Clark,[45] as well as being involved in, at different times, the Presidential campaigns of Eugene J. McCarthy,[46] Robert F. Kennedy [47] and Hubert Humphrey.[48] He worked with Judge Clifford Scott Green and others to prepare Philadelphia delegates to the White House Conference on Children and Youth. He was one of the first group of 14 undergraduate students [49] to serve on the University Council, an advisory body to President Gaylord P. Harnwell. As a member of the University Council, Cohen offered an amendment [50] to a resolution opposing the War in Vietnam linking it to academic freedom and freedom of speech. The University Council defeated the underlying antiwar resolution 51-28, but it "voted to support establishment of a peace memorial to those who have died in Vietnam" and to circulate a petition members of the Council "could sign, on an individual basis, urging the President and the Congress to adopt a stepped-up timetable for withdrawal from Vietnam." [51] Cohen graduated in 1970 with a degree in political science and served as an aide to Milton Shapp's gubernatorial campaign after briefly working for the School District of Philadelphia.

Cohen continued his education after elective office, earning a law degree from the Harrisburg [52] campus of the Widener University School of Law in 1993 [53] and an M.B.A. from Lebanon Valley College in 2000.[54] Cohen is also an alumnus (2002–2003) of the Education Policy Fellowship Program of the Education Policy Leadership Center.[55] As an active member of the Pennsylvania Bar, he is qualified in the practice of law in Pennsylvania. He is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the United States District Courts for Pennsylvania, the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, and the US Supreme Court.[37] He has performed graduate work at Temple University, Gratz College, Antioch University and the Pennsylvania State University.[1]

He and his wife Mona, a Philadelphia special education teacher and advocate for children with autism,[56] have one daughter and reside in the Castor Gardens section of Northeast Philadelphia. Their home has received scholarly attention as one of the first residences of Jewish people in Northeast Philadelphia.[57] The neighborhoods in and around his legislative district are rich in history of many kinds: social services,[58] Jewish [59] Universalist,[60] and many others.

Early governmental career

Cohen was elected in a special election on May 21, 1974.[61] He was 24 years old. Political observers at the time noted that he was backed by Reform Democrats [62] in the Philadelphia chapter of Americans for Democratic Action and Philadelphia Democratic Chairman Peter J. Camiel.[63] He was officially nominated for the special election as the Democratic nominee for the vacant House seat by the executive committee of the Democratic State Committee.[64] He was endorsed by the Philadelphia Daily News columnist Chuck Stone on May 20, 1974 in his "Page 10" column.[65] His election was one sign among many that voters wanted legislators who were more active, more articulate, more engaged and less likely to be perceived as rubber stamps.[66]

He was sworn in as a Member of the Pennsylvania House on June 10, 1974, taking the oath of office [67] in a joint ceremony with fellow Members elected on the same day Bob O'Donnell and Raymond F. Lederer.[68] He was soon assigned by Democratic Leader Herbert Fineman to the House Bipartisan Committee To Study Situations and Circumstances of Victims of Rape, chaired by Rep. Richard McClachey.[69] After the Bipartisan Committee concluded its hearings, Cohen joined other members of it in co-sponsoring House Bill 2706, giving powers and duties to the Pennsylvania State Police concerning victims of rape, and House Bill 2707, requiring schools of nursing to have courses of instruction in the handling and treatment of victims of rape.[70]

Fineman later appointed him as Secretary of the State Government Committee and as Chairman of the Public Utility Subcommittee of the Consumer Protection Committee.[71]

These assignments would be followed by his appointment to the Special Committee to Investigate the Three Mile Island accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station by Democratic (Minority) Leader K. Leroy Irvis. The investigation took place in the 1979-1980 legislative session; Three Mile Island accident health effects were not measured until later. Much of the work of the special committee was in demonstrating the need for an evacuation plan in the event of another nuclear accident.

As a member of the Consumer Protection Committee in 1975-1976, and as the Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Public Utilities Subcommittee of the name-changed Consumer Affairs Committee in 1977-1978, both led by "Mr. Consumer," C.L. Schmitt,[72] Cohen helped enact a vigorous pro-consumer agenda. Calling Pennsylvania's retail fair trade law--which allowed manufactures to set a minimum price for the sale of a product--"a noble experiment that has failed," Cohen was the prime sponsor of legislation to repeal it, with an exception for cigarettes.[73]

On January 28, 1975, he co-sponsored a bill [74] establishing a consumer advocate to argue for public interests before the Public Utility Commission of Pennsylvania, the Milk Marketing Board, and the Insurance commissioner. The bill quickly passed the House and went to the Senate Committee on Consumer Affairs. There the bill was limited to the Public Utility Commission of Pennsylvania, sent back to the House, rewritten by a conference committee, and finally enacted. Writing in 2010, the Chair of the Senate Consumer Affairs Committee in 1975, Franklin L. Kury, called the legislative creation of the consumer advocate "the single most important step" [75] in improving the PUC. "It is impossible," Kury wrote,"for the commission to be both a judge of the rate increase application before it and an advocate for the rate payers at the same time. The ratepayers needed an independent lawyer to represent them. By establishing a consumer advocate, we ensured that for the first time a lawyer knowledgeable in utility law, with the support of a good staff, would confront the utility lawyers and make them prove their case for an increase." [76] Kury attributed a major U.S. Supreme Court decision saving Pennsylvania consumers $44,267,054 to the creation of the consumer advocate, saying "The consuming public does not have standing to appeal PUC decisions. The PUC could not (and would not) appeal a Commonwealth Court decision in its favor. But the consumer advocate has authority to appeal the PUC and Commonwealth court decisions, as well as to defend the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision before the U.S. Supreme Court. As Representative Schmitt and the rest of us contemplated, a consumer advocate could face off with the utility lawyers and give the consuming public representation that protected its interests." [77]

On February 5, 1975, as Congress was considering whether or not to renew U.S. involvement in the War in Vietnam between North Vietnam and the Viet Cong on one side and South Vietnam on the other side, Cohen one of 6 state house Democrats to introduce House Resolution 29 to "memorialize the Congress of the United States to enact legislation; or take such other appropriate action as may be necessary to prevent increased military and economic assistance to countries involved in the war in Southeast Asia and to prevent the use of military forces of the United States to aid such countries." [78] The sentiment the resolution expressed was widespread, and the US Congress did not renew military efforts there.

To deal with plant closings, a major threat to Pennsylvania workers,[79] Cohen—following the enactments of the states of Maine and Wisconsin in 1971 and 1976 respectively -- [80] introduced state legislation similar to and foreshadowing the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. Cohen's 1977 bill provided for 75 days advance notice for plant closings. In May, 1979, he introduced House Bill 1251, the more comprehensive Employee Protection and Community Stabilization Act.[81] His legislation and a vigorous citizen/labor/clergy campaign led by the Delaware Valley Coalition for Jobs (DVCJ) [82] helped lead to enactment of 60 day advance notice plant closing legislation by the City of Philadelphia,[83] which, in turn, helped inspire the federal 60 day advance notice requirement enacted in 1988.[84] Beyond its specific legal provisions, the federal plant closing legislation had broader social significance: it "has legitimized among policymakers the idea that firm managers ought to be responsive to a multiplicity of interests," a critic charged.[85] Among strong supporters of plant closing legislation, the federal legislation was considered inadequate compared to other proposed bills [86] or to Cohen's Employee Protection and Community Stabilization Act.[87]

He supported the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP), [88] enacted in 1983 as the Pennsylvania Foreclosure Prevention Act, [89] which ultimately gave delayed interest payment loans to 45,000 families to keep them from being foreclosed. He voted for it, as House Bill 500, on June 29, 1983, after joining with others to vote down a series of weakening amendments. [90] He then supported the bill-- with the language it was amended in the Senate-- on December 14, 1983. [91] It was approved by Governor Richard Thornburgh on December 23, 1983. In a June 30, 2009 press release calling for a $20 million annual HEMAP appropriation, he said that, since its inception, $211 million was appropriated to HEMAP, and $238 million has been repaid. [92] On November 3, 2011, speaking at a prayer vigil in front of Governor Tom Corbett's Philadelphia office building in support of emergency HEMAP funding , he said the program generated "more money paid back, including interest, than money appropriated, so it really doesn't cost very much." [93]

As a member of the Philadelphia delegation in the House, he actively opposed—and helped kill—mayoral proposals to raise the Philadelphia wage tax in the middle of the fiscal year in the mid-1970s and early 1980s.

He supported legislation that made ward realignments in Philadelphia more diffficult, [94] by requiring any ward realignment plan approved by the Common Pleas Court to be sent to the Philadelphia City Council for consideration and placement on the ballot.

He voted to make the office of Attorney General an elected office.[95]

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee in 1981, he interrogated Secretary of Health and Welfare Helen O'Bannon on the extent of the legislature's duty to follow an order by Federal Judge Raymond J. Broderick to appropriate $900,000 for a special master in the long-running Halderman v. Pennhurst State School and Hospital litigation. His questions and her answers were cited by both Judge Broderick [96] and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals [97] as part of her obstruction of his order, leading her and the Department of Public Welfare to be held in contempt of court, and the Office of the Special Master (in charge of the deinstitutionalization of Pennhurst patients who could be better treated in community settings) to be funded. Ultimately, with Cohen's support, deinstitutionalization led to the closing of all but six of the more than 20 Pennsylvania State Hospitals, including Allentown State Hospital, Dixmont State Hospital, Harrisburg State Hospital, Haverford State Hospital, Lawrence Frick State Hospital, Mayview State Hospital, Pennhurst State School and Hospital, the Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry, and Somerset State Hospital among other facilities, and the downsizing of still other psychiatric hospitals. Hundreds of millions of dollars were saved each year.[98]

Cohen was the only House Democrat to join most House Republicans in opposing allowing an objectionable appropriation of $150,000 to the office of Republican Pennsylvania General Counsel Jay Waldman to delay the payment of checks to 80,000 welfare recipients.[99]

Majority Chairmanship of House Labor Relations Committee

As a result of appointments by Speakers K. Leroy Irvis and James J. Manderino,Cohen served as Chairman of the House Labor Relations Committee from 1983 to 1990, where he focused on increasing the minimum wage and protecting worker's compensation benefits. His initial appointment in 1983 was seen by the Philadelphia Inquirer as one of a number of signs that the Philadelphia delegation "apparently is regaining significant influence in the General Assembly as the 1983-1984 session begins." [100]

He helped enact Pennsylvania's first whistleblower law,[101] which was one of the more extensive in the nation, covering private sector employees reporting "waste" and "wrongdoing" as well as public sector employees reporting "waste" and "wrongdoing," terms that "are very carefully defined in the statute." [102] The depth and breath of the wrong-doing private sector employees in government-funded programs are protected from losing their jobs from exposing is shown by a 2011 federal court decision holding that the Pennsylvania whistleblower law even covers an employee who reported that teachers were consuming meals provided for students, raising costs and leaving students hungry.[103]

Cohen began his Labor Relations Committee Chairmanship by participating in public [104] and private negotiations aimed at finding a solution to ensure solvency [105] in Pennsylvania's unemployment compensation fund in order to preserve unemployment benefits.[106][107] His longterm efforts to raise Pennsylvania's minimum wage in accordance with rises in inflation, coupled with aggressive statewide organizing led by the Philadelphia Unemployment Project and Pennsylvania labor unions,[108] helped lead to minimum wage increase bill signings by Governors Robert P. Casey in 1988 [109] and Edward G. Rendell in 2006.[110] The Pennsylvania minimum wage increases were part of a nationwide effort among state legislators [111] which he helped organize. From the beginning of his efforts, he saw raising the minimum wage to match inflation as a longterm process, saying after the initial minimum wage increase, "We will come back next time and fight vigorously." [112] His advocacy for increased minimum wages continued after the 2006 increase, too.[113] His efforts as Chairman of the House Labor Relations Committee won him an award from the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce and the enthusiastic praise of the President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.[114]

A supporter of equal pay for equal work and equal pay for women, he supported a proposed bill seeking to raise the salaries of people in largely female occupations that was initiated by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, but was stymied when it yielded to political pressures and came out in opposition to its own bill.[115]

He served as a member of the House Select Committee on Farm Labor, investigating the plight of the farm laborer in Pennsylvania, chaired by Rep. James J. A. Gallagher,[116] and worked to enforce the 1978 Seasonal Farm Labor Act.[117] Upon listening to testimony from farm workers, he said "I was really shocked" the state government has shown "a lack of vigor and compassion" in the protection of farm laborers.[118] He sought farmworker justice, seeking to fully enforce state laws protecting each farmworker.[119] Years later, he would continue to press for increased legal help for farmworkers.[120] Decades later, he would serve as a member of the Honorary Committee for the Friends of Farmworkers 30th Anniversary Celebration.[121]

A May, 1986 Labor Relations Committee study of the length of time it took injured workers to get worker's compensation benefits, conducted under Cohen's direction, found that it took disabled workers an average of 10 months to get a decision on their eligibility. "it's much too long," he said. "The current system does little to create pressure for better safety practices, and lessens workers' respect for employers." Cohen sought remedial legislation to deal with workers compensation problems.[122] The Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce offered its own reform program.[123] Ultimately, elements of both plans took effect.

He held hearings on problems related to drug testing, and introduced legislation "requiring companies using drug testing to offer employee assistance programs, more rigorous confirmation tests and opportunities for workers to reform themselves." An essay he and Eric Fillman wrote in support of such legislation for State Government News [124] was reprinted in two anthology textbooks on business ethics [125] by professors at DePaul University [126] as well as the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University [127] and cited in a two others by professors at Salisbury University.[128] Cohen and Fillman wrote the Counterpoint to the question "Is Employee Drug Testing the Answer?" In addition to describing and advocating Cohen's legislation, they wrote "We must all remember that drug abuse is a health and social problem, not just a police problem. Employers genuinely interested in combating the drug problems of the workplace have the responsibility to make a sincere effort to help troubled employees. The continued success and proliferation of employee assistance programs in recent years suggest that such programs respond to the true needs of employers and chemically dependent persons alike....The ultimate goal of employers should be to prevent further drug use, not to reinforce its abuse by adding reasons for an employee to turn to drugs, such as the loss of a job. Firing otherwise productive workers on the basis of drug tests is not a satisfactory answer to the problems of drug abuse in the workplace." [129]

He stopped the reporting out of legislation hostile to the goals of the Pennsylvania labor movement.[130]

Urging support of a higher minimum wage, he spoke at a quickly called Labor Day rally after a period of time in which the average Philadelphia labor leader had stopped hosting Labor Day events due to member disinterest.[131] This rally marked the long-term resumption of Tri-State Labor Day events in Philadelphia.[132] He has continued to participate in Labor Day events.[133]

Due to the retirements of his Democratic successors as Labor Relations Committee Chairman Fred Belardi, Frank Pistella, and Robert Belfanti, Cohen is the only member of the House Democratic Caucus in the 2011-2012 legislative session with the experience of having been Majority Chairman of the House Labor Relations Committee.[134]

Improving the public's health

He cast decisive votes for a smoking ban on the House floor,[135] and in the Pennsylvania Capitol building.[136] He strongly supported the legislative efforts to greatly reduce public exposure to second-hand smoke, and potential for damages from it, supporting both the legislation banning much smoking in restaurants that was enacted in 2008 [137] and the more comprehensive ban previously proposed.

He was the prime sponsor and part author [138] of a chemical right to know bill signed into law by Governor Richard Thornburgh.[139] He then pressured the Thornburgh Administration to implement the bill after a long period of study.[140] His chemical Right to know law was ultimately upheld by the US Supreme Court in a lawsuit brought by the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association, [141] after previously being upheld by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. [142]

He helped expose the selling of tainted meat to McDonald's [143] and testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Livestock and Poultry that U.S. food safetylaws should be strengthened.[144]

Saying that "The steady escalation in health care costs today represents a major threat to the continued availability of affordable health care," he introduced a comprehensive 4 bill package—one bill [145] establishing the Health Care Costainment Council, and other bills seeking to create a funding pool for low income health care for those without health insurance, competitive bidding for hospital purchases in excess of $2,500, require substitution of generic drugs for higher priced brand name drugs, and itemized bills for hospital patients—health care reform plan backed by the AFL-CIO in 1985, and held hearings on it in the Labor Relations Committee. Ultimately, the Health and Welfare Committee took jurisdiction, and succeeded in enacting the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council,[146] backed by both representatives of labor and business. His former aide Marc Volavka was a staff member, and then, beginning in 1998 executive director, of the Health Care Cost Containment Council, from 1993 through his retirement from state government in 2008.[147]

He was an early supporter of mandated mental health coverage in all health care policies.[148]

He sought state funds to replace eliminated federal funds to protect the health of migrant farm workers.[149]

He opposed legal changes taking away benefits from injured workers, saying "Injured workers do not deserve to be treated like they are leeches on the business community. Injured workers should be treated with dignity and respect." [150]

He helped create the state-run Northeast Philadelphia Veterans' home, to house and treat ill veterans and their spouses, on the southern edge of Benjamin Rush State Park.[151]

He was the main force in the House behind the establishment of Pennsylvania's Organ Donation Trust Fund.[152] The law establishing it [153] gave organizations specializing in organ transplantation hospital access to potential organ donors, set up a system of drivers' license identification for each potential organ donor, and publicized the need for organ donation. It became a national model, and the basis for a new national policy during the Clinton Administration.[154] Ultimately, after the death of Governor Robert P. Casey in 2000, the Organ Donation Trust Fund, which took effect March 1, 1995 [155] was named by the legislature, in a bill sponsored by Cohen, as the Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Trust Fund.[156]

To protect the health and safety of Pennsylvania public sector workers under the jurisdiction of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he introduced a proposed law creating a state-run OSHA system for state and local governmental employees.[157]

He was a co-sponsor of "Disability Awareness Day." [158] He opposed cuts in services to the disabled.[159]

In the 2011-12 legislative session, he serves as a member of the Health Committee, as well as of the Human Services Committee, where he is the Chairman for the Democratic minority members. His committee assignments deal with issues of both public health and private healthcare. They deal with the regulation of each Pennsylvania abortion clinic, hospital, and hospice. They deal with methadone maintenance, substance abuse, and substance dependence. He previously had been a leader of Pennsylvania's efforts to promote organ transplantation, and a leader on behalf of issues affecting health care providers . He was a strong supporter of Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program, and the increase of Pennsylvania's cigarette tax to subsidize medical malpractice insurance for physicians. His chemical right to know legislation for workers and communities was signed into law by Governor Richard Thornburgh in 1984.[160]

An early supporter of requiring insurers to cover telehealth, [161] Cohen found the administration of Governor Tom Corbett praising telehealth for "Access and Convenience," "Quicker/Correct Diagnoses Mean Reduced Healthcare Is Required," "Cost Efficiences," "Increased Independence" for the elderly, "Safety and Security" for healthcare information, "Less Anxiety for Patients," and "Growing Acceptance and Demand," but still hedging on insurance reimbursement, asking "Will the rate of reimbursement be based on face to face appointments, or will it provide a lower rate?" [162]

He has strongly defended the right to choose of Pennsylvania women.[163] He has repeatedly defended the rights of AIDS victims to get state subsidized treatment and to have their privacy protected.[164] He introduced legislation setting up an Office of Environmental Monitoring in Pennsylvania's Health Department to conduct research into cancer clusters and other potential external sources of illnesses.[165]

General Legislative Efforts As Elected Democratic Leader

Cohen helped both the AFL-CIO and Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce enact a nationally controversial plan to make any hostile takeover of a Pennsylvania company unlikely.

Cohen helped enact the plan of Gov. Robert P. Casey to reduce auto insurance rates.

Cohen helped enact the abolition of tax liens for recipients of welfare in Pennsylvania.

Cohen was a leader of legislative efforts to establish the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority to monitor the finances of the Philadelphia city government, and to require the city adopt five year fiscal plans as well as annual budgets.

Appointments by recent speakers

By appointment of current House Speaker Samuel H. Smith, he also continues his service on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, where he has served since his Fall 1995 appointment by House Speaker Matthew J. Ryan. He is currently the most senior member of the Council.[166]

He was a member of Speaker of the House Dennis M. O'Brien's Commission on Legislative Reform,[167] and of work groups of his Speaker's Symposium on Crime and Violence.[168] He was one of Speaker O'Brien's Speakers pro tempore. O'Brien also appointed him to the Executive Committee of the Council of State Governments.

Expansion of educational opportunities and funding

Working with Dr. Miguel Cortes, a full-scholarship graduate of the medical school of the University of Guadalajara, Cohen co-sponsored and actively pushed legislation introduced November 25, 1975,[169] enacted in 1976,[170] to enable an American citizen who was a foreign medical graduate to complete a 5th Pathway Program to receive a license to practice medicine in Pennsylvania.[171] The 5th Pathway Program peaked nationally in 1979-1980, and ultimately the expansion of the programs offered by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates led its falling off and eventual elimination by the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association.[172]

Cohen introduced House Resolution 313 on June 11, 1986, which established the Select Committee to Study the Feasibility of a Harrisburg Law School. After this resolution was approved by a 98 to 97 margin on June 18, 1986,[173] Cohen chaired the committee, which strongly recommended that a Harrisburg law school be created and drew the interest of Delaware Law School of Widener University.[174] Delaware Law School did its own feasibility study, confirming the value of establishing a Harrisburg campus,[175] gained funding from John Vartan, and ultimately changed its name to Widener University School of Law. Cohen's leadership in inspiring the creation of the Harrisburg campus of Widener University School of Law was noted on Volume 1, Page 1 of the Journal of the Harrisburg Campus of the Widener School of Law and other sources. The law school opened in September, 1989, and graduated its first class of full-time students in May, 1992. The first evening class, of which Cohen was a member, graduated in May, 1993.

The Select Committee's law school feasibility study, of which House Local Government Committee Legal Counsel William M. Sloane was primary author,[176] documented that Pennsylvania ranked lower than many other states in law schools per person, lawyers per person, and percent of lawyers working for state government.[177] It compared lawyers in the state capitol of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with lawyers in the state capitols of Lansing, Michigan and Trenton, New Jersey, both of which had evening law schools, and found that the Harrisburg attorneys were significantly less likely to have earned degrees at age 28 or higher, when they were more likely to be tied to a job.[178] It found that 11 state capitols had law schools offering evening courses, and one state capitol had a law school offering part-time day courses.[179] It found that there were 3.65 million Pennsylvanians for whom a law school in Harrisburg would be closer than any existing law school.[180]

The success of the Widener University School of Law led to emulation in law school expansion by other Pennsylvania educational institutions. Dickinson School of Law of Pennsylvania State University opened a campus in University Park, Pennsylvania in 2006. The Earle Mack School of Law of Drexel University also opened in Philadelphia in 2006. Wilkes University has announced intentions to open a law school by 2014, after taking steps with an earlier opening date in mind.[181]

Cohen introduced House Resolution 323 on April 25, 1990 [182] which, upon its adoption by the state house, created the Select Committee to Study the Feasibility of a Harrisburg University. Speaker Robert W. O'Donnell appointed Cohen to chair the committee,[183] which held hearings without producing a consensus and concluded that "further study" was needed. Further study, from the office of Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed and in the private sector, did take place,[184] and the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology was chartered in 2001 and opened in 2005. Its affiliate, SciTech High, opened in 2003. Harrisburg University's website credits "the idea for the university" to "business leaders, government officials, and the regional news media." Harrisburg University's website also says that "The University is a model of public-private partnership. The University receives external support from the corporate sector, private individuals, and state and federal government. Fortune 500 companies and other leading companies such as Hershey Company, Select Medical Corporation, PPL (utility), Cleveland Brothers Equipment Company, Tyco Electronics, and Penn National Insurance all support the university." [185]

In working successfully to establish Harrisburg University, Cohen and others reversed many years of elite indifference to educational opportunities for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania students and others who worked in Harrisburg or would have been interested in being educated there. In a long series of columns written for the Harrisburg Patriot-News from February, 1983 through March, 1984, columnist and historian Paul Beers, a graduate of Girard College's boarding school for fatherless boys in Philadelphia, [186] complained that "The gentry never considered establishing a college. Its feeling was that proper Harrisburgers could always be admitted to Yale--(former early 20th century Harrisburg mayor and longtime Harrisburg Patriot-News publisher) Vance McCormick was on its board for 23 years--or Princeton, or Penn, or Dickinson, or even rural Penn State--where McCormick also was a trustee for 38 years. The result was that Harrisburg was Pennsylvania's last major city to get a college." [187] Continuing in the same vein, Beers wrote "The local civic achievement of the mid-1960's was strictly non-political. The founding of Harrisburg Area Community College represented an outflanking of the old-guard politicos who seemed indifferent to Harrisburg as the last major city in Pennsylvania without a college....(Affluent and elite)Front Street for decades maintained its noble and lofty ideals by sending its offspring to Yale, Princeton, Penn and occasionally Dickinson. Only the rare and ambitious from the rest of town made it to college. As late as Sputnik in 1957, the Harrisburg area shamefully endured a high dropout rate and fewer than 20% of its seniors entered post-secondary education. Though imported college night-school courses were offered since the early 1930's, there were no state or Catholic colleges here. York, Lancaster, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport were college towns, but not Harrisburg...." [188]

At the beginning of the Gulf War, Cohen introduced House Bill 2949 on October 2, 1990, to "reaffirm the support of this Commonwealth for members of the National Guard and other reserve components of the United States" and to declare "that the laws of this Commonwealth, providing support for the National Guard and other reserve components should be updated in light of the current duties and responsibilities of the National Guard and reserve component forces as part of the total force." [189] Section 7313 of this bill provided for an "Educational Leave of Absence" for a Guard member "called or ordered to active duty" during their time of service, with restoration "to the educational status they had attained prior to their being ordered to military duty without loss of academic credits earned, scholarships or grants awarded or tuition and other fees paid prior to the commencement of the military duty." Educational institutions were required "to refund tution or fees paid on a pro rata basis or to credit the tuition and fees to the next semester or term after the termination of the educational military leave of absence at the option of the student...." [190]

On November 13, 1990, Cohen introduced Amendment A3959 to Senate Bill 1366, which incorporated the above educational leave of absence language in Section 7313. Cohen's educational leave of absence amendment unanimously passed the House, as did the bill.[191] Senate Bill 1366, as amended by Cohen, was signed into law by Governor Robert P. Casey on December 17, 1990, becoming Act 174 of 1990.[192] Cohen then, in the 1993-1994 legislative session, introduced legislation for "educational assistance grants" for members of the Pennsylvania National Guard; this program became, as a result of a House Appropriations Committee amendment to Senate Bill 698 [193] passed by the House on May 21, 1996,[194] with Cohen publicly supporting suspending house rules to expedite its passage,[195] act 56 of 1996, signed into law by Governor Thomas J. Ridge on June 19, 1996.[196]

Independence from City Hall

Under state law, Philadelphia is not allowed to raise taxes in mid-year without state legislative approval. Cohen actively opposed requests from Philadelphia Mayors Frank L. Rizzo and William J. Green, III to gain such approval. Rizzo's request was defeated in the state house, and Green's request never came up for a vote. No subsequent mayor requested a mid-year tax increase.

Like many other Philadelphia elected officials, Cohen did not sign off on plans of some advisors to Mayor W. Wilson Goode and Mayor Ed Rendell for the city to surrender control of the Philadelphia Airport to a proposed multi-county or multistate authority. While Rendell still had the status of Mayor-Elect, Rendell's campaign manager and future Chief of Staff David L. Cohen, no relation to the state legislator, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that "Control of the airport will be dealt with right after Rendell takes office on Jan. 6 and tackles the the city's three biggest problems,... 'finance, finance, and finance.'" [197] Rendell found little out of state interest in the Philadelphia Airport, and then focused on a multicounty authority. "I think a Pennsylvania regional authority is the way to go, and I hope the state legislature puts it on the front burner when they come back into session," Rendell said. But he ran into resistance from the Philadelphia delegation to the House of Representatives, whose chairman Anthony Hardy Williams said " I'm looking for what's best for Philadelphia County. There is no crisis. We don't need to do anything right away." An Inquirer article noted that the goals of a multicounty authority were to end requirements that airport employees be city residents, and to end restrictive procedures of competitive bidding that "make it difficult to buy equipment and supplies in a timely manner." [198] Rendell was a strong critic of union work rules at the Philadelphia Airport. [199] Along with getting increased state aid, cutting labor costs was a key for him to balance the city budget and cut city taxes. [200]

As Democratic House Majority Caucus Chairman in 1992, Cohen was one of the people with the ability to put a bill establishing a state authority to run the Philadelphia Airport "on the front burner" of the House, but he did not do so. A strong ally of the labor movement [201] and a strong supporter of residency requirements even when opposed by a labor union,[202] Cohen was one of the least likely legislators to be converted to a plan endangering existing jobs and reducing the number of Philadelphians likely to be hired in the future. He endured petty harassment from Rendell's chief of staff and his biographer. [203]

No bill creating an authority for the Philadelphia Airport ever became law. Cohen hailed a subsequent effort to form a special committee to study the sale of the Philadelphia Airport, [204] on which he would later serve, saying it was much better to study it publicly than behind closed doors. The Philadelphia Airport was never sold.

When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter proposed eliminating 11 branch libraries in 2008,[205] Cohen strongly opposed the branch library eliminations.[206] Two of the proposed library closings were in his legislative district.[207] His public opposition began within days of Mayor Nutter's announcement. He called it "outrageous and deeply wrong" to cut libraries for lower-income people. "Cutting the services of low-income people in order to cut taxes for high-income indefensible," he said, noting that the city's wealthiest neighborhoods had been untouched in planned library closures.[208] Ultimately, none of the branch libraries were shut down.

Political, civic and governmental activism

Cohen was appointed by Robert W. Edgar as a member of the President's Council of Common Cause.[209] He tours schools with U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. and others to gain and share information about problems facing today's children.[210] He joins fellow members of the House Democratic Policy Committee in hearing testimony on urgent public problems.[211] He testifies before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission against rate increases affecting his constituents.[212] He helps organize special events helping senior citizens [213] and others needing information about health issues and health providers.[214] He attends meetings of the Progressive States Network.[215] He attends Philadelphia public events of National Night Out.[216] He supports Philadelphia town watch /Neighborhood Watch organizations,[217] and Democratic Party picnics.[218] He continues to participate in political/governmental advocacy organizations including Democracy for America, Netroots Nation,[219] [220] Pennsylvania's annual Progressive Summit, and the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee,[221] the governing body of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. He is a Democratic committeeman for the 53rd Ward, 16th Division in Philadelphia,[222] and is first vice-chairman of the 53rd Ward Democratic Executive Committee.

Citing "a great gap of leadership in American society, and... an adverse effect on the recent history of the United States," Cohen in 1975 introduced a resolution memorializing Congress "to appoint a committee or committees to begin a full, thorough and comprehensive investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King;" the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations was established the following year to investigate the assassinations of just John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.[223] Cohen successfully supported the enactment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a state holiday.[224]

He also supported naming the Keystone Shortway, Interstate 80, after Christopher Columbus,[225] but opposed naming Philadelphia's criminal justice center after former Philadelphia police commissioner and mayor Frank L. Rizzo, saying "Although it is appropriate to praise the dead, it is not necessarily appropriate to give the dead eternal recognition." He said the administration of criminal justice was "a signal failure of the Rizzo Administration." [226] He never complained about the privately paid for Rizzo statue in front of the Municipal Services Building, however.[227]

He was an early advocate of Edward M. Kennedy running for President in 1980.[228] He was a contributor to the Presidential campaign of John B. Anderson for the Republican Presidential nomination opposing both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.[229] He was an early contributor to the Presidential campaign of Al Gore in 1999.[230]

Cohen opposed the "highway robbery" of a company getting $2.5 million in state government loans, and then shutting down its operations less than three years later. "What did we get for our money?" he asked along with Reps. Dwight E. Evans and Robert Belfanti.[231]

He was an early opponent of the Iraq War who favored responsible Withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.[232]

He was a delegate elected for Howard Dean at the 2004 Democratic National Convention,[233] and for Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention [234] He was an early endorser of the successful campaign of R. Seth Williams for Philadelphia District Attorney in 2009.[235] He campaigned for House Democratic colleagues, Louise Bishop,[236] John Sabatina,[237] Leanna Washington [238] and others. He signed "An Open Letter to the Jewish Community," in the Jewish Exponent, which argued that 2010 Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Joseph Sestak was a strong supporter of Israel.[239]

Attending the annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures in 1987, he helped lead 60% of the state delegations to support a resolution opposing the pending US Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork by President Ronald Reagan, despite the resolution's unanimous defeat in the convention's Law and Justice Committee. The Associated Press noted he "said the resolution was the only substantial statement that the delegates were considering. Other NCSL positions aren't newsworthy because they are the bland result of consensus," he said.[240] Bork's nomination was never confirmed by the US Senate.

Saying "the Civil War is over and Slavery in the United States is illegal," he joined national efforts against the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy (American Civil War) in the Georgia state flag in 1996;[241] Five years later, threatened with national boycotts, the state of Georgia quieted protesters by redoing its flag.[242] The state flag was last modified in 2003.

He defended the practice of electing judges in Pennsylvania.[243]

He argued strongly against the replacement of the winner take all allocation system for Pennsylvania's electoral votes by a system giving a candidate a single vote for each Congressional district carried, with just two votes for carrying Pennsylvania.[244] Disagreeing with a high-powered lobbying effort,[245] he sent a public letter to the two chief public advocates of one electoral vote per Congressional district plan—Governor Tom Corbett and State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi--asserting that their proposal "unconstitutionally abridges the right to vote of Pennsylvania's minority citizens." [246] His letter was cited by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette as one of the reasons to oppose the Corbett-Pileggi plan.[247]

He supported the Philadelphia Newspaper Guild in its 2006 labor dispute with publisher Brian Tierney.[248] He pressured the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, generally known as SEPTA, to come to terms with the Transport Workers Union by co-sponsoring a bill which would have kept transportation subsidies in escrow until a transportation strike is settled.[249] He supported organizing Mushroom Workers in their efforts to both form a union and grow mushrooms in a more sanitary manner.[250] In support of the Mushroom Workers, he said "Laws don't mean anything without vigorous sustained advocacy, and a union would greatly increase the chances of that." [251] He supported the organizing efforts of the Philadelphia Security Officers Union.[252]

He called public attention to the millions of dollars in unspent money for residents of Pennsylvania in the federal Emergency Homeowners Loan Program, passed after the announcement of the Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan by President Barack Obama, urging eligible people in danger of losing their homes due to financial distress to apply in press conferences held in both Harrisburg [253] and Philadelphia.[254] Pennsylvania became one of four states "to commit its full EHLP allocation," approving 3,056 applications for loans totaling $108 million, including $3 million in extra funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "During the final weeks of this program," Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) CEO and executive director Brian A. Hudson said,"our staff worked evenings and weekends to process every EHLP application. I'm proud of the tireless effort they made, and we're all very pleased to have helped so many families avoid the heartbreak of foreclosure. This not only directly helps those families, but it also helps stabilize communities hardest hit by the economic slowdown." [255]

He worked on behalf of his constituents with numerous businesses, including the PECO Energy Company,[256]

His many years of governmental service and political activism have led to occasional recognition as a political pundit.[257][258][259] He has often had occasion to eulogize top elected officials,[260] fellow legislators [261] lobbyists,[262] political activists,[263][264] civic activists,[265] and bloggers.[266] He has sometimes been a voice of caution, warning of difficulties ahead.[267] He has sometimes been used by journalists [268] as a source of legislative institutional memory.

He has expressed his views before the Philadelphia City Council,[269] the Delaware River Basin Commission,[270] the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council,[271] the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission [272] and other official bodies.

He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for the seat in the US House of Representatives held by Joshua Eilberg in 1978, at a time of widespread controversy over Eilberg's role in the decision of Jimmy Carter to fire David Marston while Marston was conducting a criminal investigation of Eilberg.[273] He actively campaigned in 2003 [274] for the Democratic nomination for the Congressional seat being vacated by Joseph Hoeffel to run for the US Senate, but withdrew his candidacy in January, 2004 [275] when it had become clear to him that Allyson Schwartz had more support than he did.

Preserving Legal Rights

Cohen has repeatedly rejected the argument of business groups that tort liability should be limited. In a legislative debate on April 11, 2011, he asked "Who are we here for? Are we here for victims, or just for defendants, in civil litigation?" [276]

He opposed the deportation of immigrants from Cambodia who already had been punished for crimes they committed and had made new lives for themselves in Philadelphia.[277]

He supported academic freedom and actively opposed attempts inspired by conservative leader David Horowitz and Pennsylvania legislators allied with him to probe the political beliefs of college professors employed by the state university system.[278]

To preserve financially stressed newspapers in order to further freedom of speech, he "has suggested that the only (new) 'content-neutral' way to to (governmentally) support newspapers and protect quality journalism is to subsidize newsprint." [279] He viewed the long-repealed Fairness Doctrine as producing an improved quality of public debate.[280]

He improved the employment law rights of police officers after they had been engaged in a military deployment, by getting legislation passed of which he was the prime sponsor [281] allowing them to return to work, even if they had been abroad during their required recertification tests. He said that getting experienced police officers back on the streets was both "a matter of public safety" and "a responsibility to protect rights of our military service members.[282]

He supported the inclusion of gays and lesbians in Pennsylvania's Ethnic Intimidation and Institutional Vandalism Act, saying "This bill is not about what ministers or Sunday School teachers say. This bill is about what thugs, hooligans, and murderers do." [283]

Preserving a small district legislature

Cohen called [284] reducing the size of the Pennsylvania General Assembly a "terrible idea whose time should never come" [285] that would reduce the range of political opinion in the legislative process,[286] make election campaigns more expensive,[287] make legislators "more remote" from their constituents, and "less representative of the average citizen." [288] He said the fiscal impact would be the same as closing one high school of the List of high schools in Pennsylvania.[289] He warned his colleagues that reducing the size of the state house after the 2022 elections meant that in 2022 about half of the House members would face challenges from other House members, and that this fact would undermine colleagiality in the House until these elections took place.[290] Others shared his concerns.[291] Still others partially agreed with him, but still favored a smaller legislature,[292] or favored elimination of the 50 member Pennsylvania Senate instead.[293]

Public interest litigation

In June, 1980, represented by attorneys George D. Gould, John F. Street, and David Cohen (politician), he joined other elected officials and leading Philadelphia consumer advocate Max Weiner as plaintiffs against a SEPTA fare increase, winning in both the Court of Common Pleas and in the Commonwealth Court on the claim that SEPTA failed to follow the state law and recognize two votes against the fare increase from Philadelphia board members and one vote from a Delaware County board member as a veto of the fare increase.[294] But, after subsequent decisions by SEPTA and the Common Pleas Court, the Commonwealth Court, on an appeal by SEPTA, said "We now supplement that holding by noting that a 'veto' can be exercised only by an 'express objection' made pursuant to the provision of Section 18(a) and that a negative vote without more is inefficient to constitute such objection," effectively reversing the orgininal decision.[295]

Represented by Theodore M. Lieverman, Cohen was an amici curiae in New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce v. Hughey,[296] which established that OSHA's 1984 Hazard Communication Standard did not preempt the pre-existing New Jersey Worker and Community Right to know Act "insofar as it regulates employers outside the manufacturing sector, or insofar as it requires identification and reporting of environmental hazards. The preempted provisions may be servered from those that are valid...." [297] This decision, written by Judge Gustave Diamond,[298] sitting by designation of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, was of precedential value in helping preserve Pennsylvania's similar law, of which Cohen had been prime sponsor.[299]

Cohen, as Counsel of Record, with co-counsel Eric Fillman, filed an amicus curiae brief in the case of Grutter v. Bollinger on behalf of current and former Pennsylvania legislators seeking a continuation of affirmative action programs that were deemed by educational institutions to be in the best interests of the student body.[300] His brief [301] foreshadowed one of the arguments used by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in writing the majority opinion: that the evidence before the trial court which had declared affirmative action unconstitutional did not support the holding.[302] He called the majority opinion "a ringing affirmation of the goal of an inclusive society." [303]

Cohen was an early plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit, filed after the 2007 pet food recalls, seeking,[304] and winning,[305] compensation for damages for pet owners against companies which sold tainted pet food which killed or sickened many people's pets. Years earlier, working with the Philadelphia SPCA, he had forestalled litigation, and protected the right of Pennsylvania homeowners to own pets, by threatening to push through legislation banning insurance discrimination against pet owners,[306] which led an offending insurance company to change its mind quickly.[307]

Represented by Daniel Ocko, Cohen intervened as a plaintiff before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in the Act 129 [308] Pennsylvania electric utility energy efficiency and conservation proceedings of PECO Energy Company filed on March 2, 2009, seeking to secure greater energy conservation benefits for low-income residents of Pennsylvania.[309] Along with the Action Alliance of Senior Citizens of Greater Philadelphia and the Tenant Union Representative Network, Cohen helped persuade the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to issue order #8 on October 15, 2009, requiring PECO to redraft its proposed procedure allowing it to shift funds for the benefit of one class of users to the benefit of another class of users, and replace it with a procedure requiring any change in beneficiaries to be submitted to the Commission instead.[310] Dealing with another issue raised by Cohen, the Commission Order and Opinion said that "While we fully appreciate Representative Cohen's interest in mitigating the potential impact of future rate increases through consumer conservation," they felt the existing PECO Consumer Education Plan for 2008-2012 was adequate for informing consumers of rate-saving conservation techniques, and that no further order to PECO was necessary to maximize consumer outreach.[311]

Cohen's November 10, 2010 Prehearing Memorandum to Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Administrative law Judges Elizabeth H. Barnes and Dennis J. Buckley (1) opposed transfer of $1.8 million from the Residential Whole Home Performance Program to the Compact fluorescent lamp program for both business and residential consumers;[312] (2) favored "the identification and targeting of RH (residential heating) customers for all existing residential Act 129 programs with marketing materials that among other things would provide realistic estimates of future electric bills using past consumer usage in winter months with the new and future rates" and argued that RH (residential heating) customers are providing some of the millions of dollars of ratepayer's dollars that are being spent to implement Act 129 programs and with targeted efforts and programs they could pay an important role in conserving electricity," conserving energy;[313] (3) favored the use of PECO subsidies to reduce the cost of a less expensive $25 or $20 LED bulb to $10 or $5 as opposed to reducing the cost of a more expensive $45 LED bulb to $30;[314] (4) favored greater stakeholder participation in meetings with PECO.[315]

Pending state-level national issues

In recent years, Cohen has brought pending state-level national issues to the Pennsylvania House, introducing bills establishing Pennsylvania's membership in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, legalizing medical marijuana,[316] and allowing people to get civil unions in Pennsylvania.

Cohen first introduced House Bill 1028 for Pennsylvania to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact on April 5, 2007. He introduced House Bill 841 to join it on March 10, 2009. On May 12, 2011, he was the lead Democratic sponsor on House Bill 1220 to join it, while Republican Rep. Thomas C. Creighton was the prime sponsor.[317] With the enactment of the compact in California,[318] Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes represent 14.5% of the remaining 138 electoral votes from ratifying states needed for the compact to take effect.

On April 29, 2009, Cohen introduced House Bill 1393 to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania saying that he believes it is time to get rid of a decades-old negative image surrounding marijuana and replace it with "a new, honest image.".[319] Hearings on the bill were held, but not enough support obtained for the Health and Human Services Committee to call up the bill for a vote.[320] The bill was rewritten, renamed the Governor Raymond P. Shafer [321] Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, reintroduced on June 15, 2011, and re-referred to the Human Services Committee on June 23, 2011.[322] Despite the lack of public hearings in 2011, Cohen's medical marijuana bill continued to gain public support.[323] On September 15, 2011,[324] Cohen served as a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute faculty on the subject of Legalizing Marijuana,[325] discussing his bill to have legal medical marijuana, and submitting materials for the course record.[326]

Cohen was the first House member to introduce legislation to seek Recognition of same-sex unions in Pennsylvania, bringing forth legislation for civil unions on April 22, 2010 (House Bill 2447) and, with ultimately 43 co-sponsors, on February 14, 2011 (House Bill 708).[327] His announcement press conference was hosted by the Pennsylvania Interfaith Alliance and other groups.[328] Newsletter, February 9, 2011 The bill is in the House Judiciary Committee.[329] Cohen, with seven other state legislators, also co-sponsored House Bill 1835 introduced by Babette Josephs to bring marriage equality to Pennsylvania.[330]

Cohen introduced legislation creating wheelchair accessible taxicabs for the disabled in Philadelphia (House Bill 1914) in 2010.[331] He also supported a system of workers compensation coverage for taxi drivers.[332] He supported a lawsuit filed by Disabled in Action against the Philadelphia Parking Authority claiming that Philadelphia's unique failure among the nation's ten largest cities to have accessible taxis violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.[333] Cohen also involved himself in regulatory issues seeking to improve the economic viability of the Philadelphia taxicab industry.[334]

Cohen has frequently opposed attempts to privatize Pennsylvania's governmental services.[335] He has been an angry voice against Republican attempts to require the showing of identification, regardless of whether or not the voter's identity is known by election officials.[336]

Cohen has long been active in issues of criminal justice, serving on the Crime and Corrections subcommittee in 1977-1978 under the leadership of Joseph Rhodes. In 2005, he unsuccessfully tried to get the FBI to reopen its investigation into the Pennsylvania murder of Baltimore federal prosecutor Jonathan Luna, focused on prosecuting drug dealers at the time of his death.[337] The Luna case remains unsolved.[338] He also tried to get the FBI to fully investigate the disappearance of Centre County District Attorney Ray Gricar, who was prosecuting drug dealers at the time of his disappearance.[339] Gricar was in 2011 declared legally dead,[340] but the search for him continues.[341]

Notable House speeches, academic freedom

"....Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult to know what academic orthodoxy is. Orthodoxy and independence are really in the mind of the beholder. If one believes that the United States was right in fighting the Revolutionary War over 200 years ago, to a British scholar that is ideological orthodoxy.... Whomever you quote, Mr. Speaker, there is no way to quote all people, and the idea that every course has to be a reflection of diverse perspectives on every issue kind of limits the amount of material you can cover in any course.... There is not and there will never be any universal agreement as to what is relevant in any given course. Every course on a college campus is somewhat different based on who is teaching it. Let us face reality; let's protect the reputuation of our state colleges and of ourselves, and let us vote "no" on this resolution." [342]

Notable House floor speeches, freedom of speech

On November 16, 1999, Cohen defended Philadelphia School District Superintendent David Hornbeck from calls by Tom Druce that incoming Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street should not reappoint him as Superintendent. He said "the fact that Mr. Druce or other members of this House may disagree with remarks made by the superintendent of schools is absolutely no reason to use the powers of this House to seek his firing. As Mr. Roebuck said (James R. Roebuck), people in this country, even people who are despised by every single member of the State House, have the right to speak. It is not a right we graciously give people because we like them. Freedom of speech for those we like is meaningless. Mr. Hornbeck's freedom of speech is not dependent on whether he has majority support in the House of Representatives or not; it is something inherent in every American citizen and every Pennsylvania citizen. To attempt to muzzle Superintendent Hornbeck's speech is an outrage. It is an invitation to endless further litigation.... The attempt to discipline a school superintendent because his remarks are disagreed with is at the very best a very, very foolish thing. I would hope over the next several weeks the maker of this threat would reconsider this threat and decide to let Mr. Hornbeck speak and to let a speech be just a speech and not an ongoing public issue." [343]

Legislative fellows and interns

Legislative fellows and interns in his legislative office have included Alzheimer's Association Public Policy Coordinator Leah Kithcart,[344] lobbyist Catharine M. Connor, now of Gmerek Government Relations, Inc.,[345] Erika Jeannette, now an associate at Triad Strategies in Harrisburg,[346] Sherika Thomas,[347] Business Industry Political Action Committee staff member [348] Daniel Goldstein,[349] Emily Vargo,[350]

Cohen told Hillel J. Hoffman, assistant director of news communications at University Communications at Temple University, that "It's good to see students from Temple in the capitol, because students from Central Pennsylvania have dominated the placement of interns in Harrisburg. ( Temple's) Pennsylvania Capital Semester is a great program for students because internships can lead to jobs. Sometimes interns can even influence policy. I'm delighted that Temple is participating, and I hope that other colleges and universities in the Philadelphia region will follow it's lead." [351]


Cohen's aphorism on political alienation that "Nothing can so alienate a voter from the political system as backing a winning candidate" has long been quoted on many internet websites and collections of famous quotations, apparently gaining appreciation from waves of public disillusionment towards public officials.[352] He first contributed it to a book by prolific author Paul Dickson, The Official Rules and Explanations, the first edition of which was published in 1979. Dickson's books on rules of human behavior--generally culled from anecdotal generalizations rather than precise research—gave contributors the honorific title of Fellows in The Murphy Center for the Codification of Human and Organizational Behavior. The Murphy Center, and Dickson's books, were inspired by Murphy's Law.

Social media

Cohen's use of social media has long been followed. Nicole Casal Moore, "Bloggers Press for Power" State Legislatures Magazine, the official publication of the National Conference of State Legislatures covering the State Legislature in the United States [353] noted both his blogging and his outreach to other bloggers, sending them special press releases. David C. Wyld, "Government of the People, By the People, and For the People in Web 2.0: A Survey of Blogging Office Holders in the U.S. Public Sector and an Agenda for Future Research," in the Journal of New Communications Research [354] found Cohen was the only Pennsylvania blogger among the high-ranking officials he surveyed.

"Call Him Rep. Blog," Lauren Fritsky wrote on the front page of the Northeast Times [355] referring to his posts on Phillyblog.[356] The Frankford Gazette of Frankford, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania similarly noted his Phillyblog postings.[357] The Public Record of Philadelphia noted his use of Facebook [358] in Tony West's article "You Gotta Have Friends: Politicians Are Opening Facebook," and the Patriot-News of Harrisburg,[359] "Forget Anthony Weiner, Twitter is here to stay" noted his use of Twitter [360] and Facebook for legislative purposes. Patriot-News reporter Brett Lieberman revealed that Cohen was among his bipartisan group of Facebook friends.[361] His "widely cited" book review of Philadelphia politician Michael J. Stack, Jr.'s novel "Close Friends of the Mayor" was noted in The Public Record in its report on attendees at Stack's funeral.[362] The Wikipedia article on the Daily Kos lists him as a "prominent contributor."

Awards received

Cohen was a "Spirit Award Winner" of the Keystone Alliance in 2011 "for bringing Gay Rights to the public's attention." [363]

Cohen was a Medallion Award Honoree of the Ducky Birts Foundation on April 17, 2010.[364]

He received the "Feeling Blue Suicide Prevention Leadership Award" on September 12, 2007, after securing some funds for the organization to help prevent suicides.[365]

He was named an "environmental hero" by Penn Environment for his 100% environmental quality voting record.[366]

He received an "Outstanding Service Award" from his legal alma mater, Widener University School of Law, in 2004.[367]

He received an award from the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus in 2002.

He received an award from the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations in 1991, for drafting legislation providing benefits to reservists called to active duty in the Gulf and elsewhere.[368]

See also links providing context for Cohen's life and work


  1. ^ Addressing the House of Representatives after having been elected a Judge of the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia, Gelfand was introduced by Speaker Herbert Fineman on July 8, 1975 as "one of the most hard working, conscientous and responsible legislators ever to come to Harrisburg...." Gelfand told the House "....I really do miss the legislature. Sometimes I think one of the worst things I ever did was to run for the judiciary and leave this body...." Gelfand also humorously responded to needling about his penchant for making speeches on the House floor. Legislative Journal--House, page 1949,
  2. ^ Bud George, whose service began December 1, 1974, is the second most senior Pennsylvania legislator. Stewart Greenleaf, whose legislative career began in the House on December 1, 1976 and whose Senate career began on December 1, 1978, is the senior member of the Pennsylvania Senate. Saying he wanted to draw attention to issues he was concerned about, such imposing tariffs on foreign products, paying off the national debt, tying the value of government assets to the issuing of money, and protecting American copyrights and trademarks against foreign competition, Greenleaf filed for President in the 2012 New Hampshire primary in October, 2011, according to Gary Weckelsatt, "Greenleaf on Presidential ballot," the Intelligencer, November 1, 2011
  3. ^ U.S. Congressman Joseph Pitts, first elected to the Pennsylvania House in 1972, is the senior full-time legislator in Pennsylvania. State Senator Fred Risser, first elected to the Wisconsin House 1956, and the Wisconsin Senate in 1962, is the senior state legislator in the United States. The 22 other state legislators around the United States now with more seniority than Cohen include Maryland State Senator Norman R. Stone, Jr. , first elected to the state house in 1962 and the Senate in 1966, Virginia State Rep. Lacey Putney, first elected in 1962, Maine State Rep. John L. Martin, first elected in 1964, North Dakota State Senator Dave Nething, first elected to the Senate in 1966, Vermont State Senator William T. Doyle, first elected to the Senate in 1968, Tennessee Senator Douglas Henry, first elected in 1970, Texas State Rep. Tom Craddick, first elected in 1968, New York State Rep. Richard Gottfried, first elected in 1970, Indiana State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer, first elected in 1970, Indiana State Rep. Chet Dobis, first elected in in 1970, Illinois Rep. Michael Madigan, first elected in 1970, New York State Senator Owen H. Johnson, first elected in 1972, Indiana State Rep. Jeffrey Espich, first elected in 1972, New York State Rep. Joseph Lentol, first elected in 1972, Tennessee State Rep. Lois DeBerry, first elected in 1972, Minnesota State Rep. Lyndon Carlson, first elected in 1972, New Mexico State Rep. Nick Salazar, first elected in 1972, Minnesota State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, first elected in 1972, Delaware State Rep. Robert Gilligan, first elected in 1972, Texas State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, first elected in 1972, Indiana State Rep. William Crawford, first elected in 1972, and Maryland State Rep. Hattie N. Harrison, first elected in 1973. See Ballotpedia, State Representatives Sorted By Years First Elected, and State Senators Sorted By Years First Elected. Not all of those currently serving first elected before Cohen are listed here as having more seniority than he does, as some served non consecutive terms and have fewer years of total legislative service than he does.
  4. ^ Franklin L. Kury, Clean Politics, Clean Streams: A Legislative Autobiography and Reflections, pages 41-43 (2011) says "The party caucus is critical to the working of a legislative body. Limited (at times) to elected party members and leadership staff, caucuses are held before each voting session to explain and discuss the bills that will be acted on. To run a legislature without caucuses would be like playing football games without huddles. Always closed to the press and public, the caucuses permit each party to discuss and strategize on the legislation they will be voting on. In the caucuses the leaders count the votes so they know what will succeed and fail in the voting....When the House was in session our caucus met at least once a week to go over the legislative calendar, get a briefing on each bill, hear the leaders' views on the bills, discuss amendments, and discuss party strategy when that was appropriate. The great bulk of bills did not involve party positions....Attendance at caucuses, however, was was essential to understanding what forces were at play on the bills to be considered. To go to the floor without participating in the caucus put a legislator at a considerable disadvantage and political risk. Missing a caucus could mean voting in ignorance of significant political and substantive information."
  5. ^ During his years in leadership, the Democrats were the majority party in his first three terms and his last two terms, and the Republicans were the majority party for the six terms in between. The Republican majority in the 1995-1996 session was caused by the switch of Tom Stish to the Republican Party after being elected on the Democratic ticket. See Volume 119, Pennsylvania Manual 2009, page 3-275 for term by term partisan breakdowns.
  6. ^ In a June 20, 2007 interview with House Archivist Heidi Mays, Philadelphia City Controller and former House member Alan Butkovitz, a frequent caucus dissenter, gives examples of Cohen's attempts to patch up differences between feuding House Democrats. On pages 21-22, he says Cohen gave him helpful "new technical information" about a Republican legislative initiative; on page 33, he noted Cohen's celebration of a court decision benefitting the relection of a dissident Caucus member; on page 43, he notes Cohen's balancing of "a scolding letter" with a "retraction or apology for his letter" (after a conversation). In a December 1, 2008 interview with Jesse Teitelbaum, former House Democrat William Russell Robinson, a member of the Allegheny County Council, cites Cohen, on page 22, as one of a number of legislative leaders that Robinson "worked very well with..."
  7. ^ In her farewell address to the House, delivered on October 23, 2006, Rep. Linda Bebko-Jones described Cohen as "the member's member. There has never been a time, and I think all of us can say that on our side of the aisle, that if we had a question about anything, if we were afraid to ask a question about anything, we could go to Mark Cohen, and for that, Mark, I will never forget the members' member." Legislative Journal-House, 2006, page 2246. See House Journals (Transcripts of Floor Action) are found under House Information there. Backing a Cohen resolution to encourage state government to use reconditioned products, some of which were made in his district, James Casorio said of him on July 7, 2007, Legislative Journal-House, page 1777, "This is the gentleman that has championed for years and years the increase in the minimum wage here in Pennsylvania. His number one priority is concern for the residents of the Commonwealth."
  8. ^ Angela Coulombis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau, "Rivals Strip Pa. Rep. Dwight Evans of Leadership Post," Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 17, 2010, & Karen Heller: It's Not Just a Loss for Evans," Philadelphia Inquirer November 21, 2010,
  9. ^ Rep. Joseph Gladeck served 22 years on the House Labor Relations Committee, some as Majority Chairman, and in his farewell speech, given on November 21, 2000, he recalled that the Committee "had a lot of chairmen. One of them was Representative Mark Cohen, whom I was pleased to be the minority chairman under, and I enjoyed that as well." Legislative Journal-House, 2000, page 1929.
  10. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania telephone directories, 1984 through 2010 (page 220, 2010).
  11. ^ Mindy Fetterman, "Nia Wilson: Mom doesn't want to talk about the future," USA Today, June 24, 2007,
  12. ^ Report of the 2011 Legeislative Staff Nominating Committee,
  13. ^ Commonwealth Telephone Directories from 1986 through 2004
  14. ^
  15. ^ Commonwealth Telephone Directories for 1975-1976 and 1984-2010
  16. ^ Leadership and membership of the Organ Donation Advisory Committee is listed at
  17. ^ Gloria Campisi, "Police Widow Killed, Founded Survivor's Unit," Philadelphia Daily News, August 14, 1989,
  18. ^ Herbie Hancock, "'Caravan' Event Funds Go To Grands As Parents," Philadelphia Tribune, September 28, 2011,
  19. ^ Capitol Watch for Children, a publication of The Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, January, 2011, Volume 15, No. 1,page 2, named it as one of eight "key (House standing) committees impacting children and families,"
  20. ^ Cohen and DiGirolamo have co-sponsored many pieces of legislation together since being appointed to their respective positions. Before beginning their collaboration in the 2011-2012 legislative session, Cohen had co-sponsored DiGirolamo's ultimately enacted legislation to establish a Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, and DiGirolamo had cosponsored Cohen's ultimately enacted legislation to restore cuts in drug and alcohol programs recommended by Governor Edward G. Rendell
  21. ^ House Bill 140 establishes the Methadone Death and Incident Review Team. The bill has passed the House and was reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 30, 2011
  22. ^ Shannon McDonald,"Property owner,clinic applicant no-shows at methadone meeting," July 27, 2011, lists itself as "A NEastPhilly and Philadelphia neighborhoods coverage partnership with Enterprise Reporting from J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism." See also Randy LoBasso, "Some Northeast Philly Residents Really Don't Want Methadone Clinic in Their Hood," PW- Philadelphia Weekly Blog, July 27, 2011 & "Mark Cohen Opposes Methadone Clinic," You Tube,
  23. ^ House Bill 1651 was referred to the House Human Services Committee on June 8, 2011, and a public hearing has been held on it.
  24. ^ State Representative Mark B. Cohen, Human Services Update 2011(July 1, 2011)
  25. ^ Kimberly Hess, "House Appropriations Budget Hearings DPW," PLS Committee News, House Appropriations, March 30, 2011, (subscription required) Cohen's questions and the answers he received were covered on page 2, DiGirolamo's on page 4. This report is also found on the website of SEIU Local 668, under Legislation and Politics/Committee Hearings
  26. ^ State Rep. Mike Sturla, "HDPC examines proposed cuts to human services budget," May 26, 2011,
  27. ^ State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, "Marcellus Shale Gas Industry Should Pay Full Share," & State Rep. Gene DiGiralamo, Fall, 2011 Newsletter, page 2
  28. ^ House Bill 272 of 2011 (sponsors and text),
  29. ^ Pennsylvania Medical Society, "Bill Calls for Lyme Disease Treatment Protocol, More Information,"
  30. ^ Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, "New Pennsylvania Drug, Alcohol Agency on Hold," York Daily Record, October 20, 2011,
  31. ^ News Release, State Rep. Mark Cohen, "Delay creating Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs disappoints Cohen," October 21, 2011,
  32. ^ Facts on public hearing are from James McGinnis, "Corbett refuses to create DiGirolamo's new drug office," Bucks County Courier-Times, November 1, 2011,
  33. ^ "New drug office was established by law, but governor says no," November 7, 2011,
  34. ^ Cohen's reminiscences of his father can be found at Bryan Schwartzman, "City Council's Liberal Standard Bearer Dies At 90," Jewish Exponent, October 12, 2005,
  35. ^ A key element in the politicization of his family perhaps lies in the 1971 mayoral race, where his father unsuccessfully competed for the Democratic mayoral nomination in Philadelphia with Frank L. Rizzo, William J. Green III, and Hardy Williams. Each of them, like the older Cohen, had long post-election careers in the public spotlight and each also had sons-- Frank L. Rizzo, Jr., Bill Green (politician), and Anthony H. Williams-- who have been repeatedly elected to public office in Philadelphia. Matthew J. Countryman, in Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia (2006), called the 1971 mayoral election "the most important in the city since Joseph S. Clark and the reform Democrats ended a half century of Republican municipal rule in 1951." Many themes of the 1971 mayoral election--crime, race relations,economic development, public services, political independence, education, neighborhood preservation, corruption--continue to dominate Philadelphia's political discourse today.
  36. ^ Philadelphia City Council Members, General Books, LLC, 2010. Bernard McCormick, "The Radical: City Councilman David Cohen has some strange ideas. One of them is that politicians should be honest," Philadelphia Magazine, April, 1970, page 122 notes that Councilman Cohen "is also aided by his son Mark, a 20-year-old Penn student... who takes a fierce interest in liberal positions and is constantly researching his father's favorite subjects."
  37. ^ a b Martindale-Hubble Law Directory
  38. ^ Pennsylvania Department of State, 2011 Municipal Election, Tuesday, November 8, 2011, Unofficial Returns, 9180 out of 9254 Districts (99.20%)reporting statewide, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Judicial Retention, 1st Judicial District (Philadelphia County), Denis P. Cohen "Yes" 62,126 (75.5%), Denis P. Cohen "No" (24.5%),
  39. ^ "Census boosts hope for gay victories in '15," Philadelphia Inquirer, July 24, 2011
  40. ^ The older Cohen was elected as Councilman from the 8th District in Northwest Philadelphia in 1967. Resigning to run for Mayor in 1967, he ultimately conceded he lacked the support to win and threw his support to William J. Green, who ultimately lost. Cohen then suffered defeats for the Democratic nomination for City Controller in 1973 and Councilman at Large in 1975 before winning seven successive four year terms as Councilman at Large beginning in 1979. He died in midterm in 2005.
  41. ^ Central High School of Philadelphia divides its students and alumni by the sequential numbering of graduation of its classes going back to its founding in the 1830s. According to Franklin Spencer Edmonds, History of the Central High School of Philadelphia (1902), this tradition started early in the school's history. Cohen was a member of the 225th class to graduate from Central.
  42. ^ The projects he participated in were the Philadelphia Tutorial Project and Books for Mississippi. Martin J. Countryman, Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia (2006), notes the affiliation of the Philadelphia Tutorial Project with the Northern Student Movement (NSM) on pages 198 and 210. On page 188, he quotes the 1962 idealistic article by NSM Executive Director Peter Countryman on the Philadelphia Tutorial Project: "Apart from the effect on individuals, the tutors and the tutees sense that they constitute a 'movement' which has no less a goal that the complete alleviation of educational problems in North Philadelphia." Paul Lyons, The People of This Generation (2003): The Rise and Fall of the New Left in Philadelphia, on page 44 calls Countryman a "charismatic, idealistic activist" and says he "took charge" of the Philadelphia Tutorial Project, "which had extensive sponsorship from local churches, the school board, the Commission on Human Relations, and the Catholic Archdiocese...."
  43. ^ The Yale Political Union format is a form of debate that emulates legislative bodies in considering a great variety of contemporary subjects, which students decide on the basis of their opinion, instead of repeatedly debating a single subject on both sides in order to master debating techniques.
  44. ^ See The Daily Pennsylvanian, September, 1967 through May, 1968
  45. ^ US House of Representatives and US Senate books, published by Government Printing Office, listing staff salaries paid for 1967 and 1968 respectively
  46. ^ In a March 15, 1968, letter to the New York Times, published on March 23, 1968, Cohen, listed as the Parliamentarian of the Collge Young Democrats of Pennsylvania, expressed support for the Presidential candidacy of Eugene J. McCarthy, and urged Robert Kennedy not to run and be "splitting the peace vote with him;" this would only help President Lyndon Johnson, he said. Johnson withdrew from the race on March 31, 1968, changing the political situation
  47. ^ See the Philadelphia Inquirer, April 2, 1968 and April 3, 1968 for accounts of Robert Kennedy's speech at the University of Pennsylvania, attended by an estimated 9,000 people, mainly students. The Inquirer contains an article on April 2, 1968 detailing Congressman and City Chairman Bill Green's decision to invite Kennedy to address a well-attended Democratic City Committee dinner, an an article on April 3, 1968 noting Sen. Joseph Clark's praise of Kennedy at that dinner. Cohen had interned for Green in 1967, and would intern for Clark in 1968.
  48. ^ After Humprhey's death in 1978, Cohen was prime sponsor of House Bill 2185 of 1978, , which "authorized and requested" the Governor of Pennsylvania to declare May 27 of each year as "Hubert Humphrey Day." Introduced March 15, 1978, it became Act 221 of 1978,
  49. ^ "Undergraduates Seated On University Council," University of Pennsylvania Almanac, October, 1969, page 6, The Council had adopted an amendment to its bylaws in March 1969, providing for election of members by the undergraduate student body and student participation as full voting members in a body largely consisting of faculty and administrators, but expanded earlier in 1969 to include graduate students. The student member who would become the best known was future terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke. Other student members were Cathy A. Barlow, Sanford T. Colb, David Freed, Barbara A. Giles, Ira R. Harkavy, Neil S. Lutsky, Alice B. Mann,Robert H. Odell, Jr., Reginald H. Pawle, Randall C. Pokomo, Andrew R. Wolk, and Rona M. Zevin
  50. ^ Cohen's amendment, as printed in the University of Pennsylvania Almanac, October, 1969, page 4, said "Having passed this resolution, we wish to note that this is the first time the University Council has spoken out on a political issue. We speak out only because of the vast and tangible importance the Vietnam conflict has for every student. We speak out to show the President, Vice-President, Cabinet members, Congressmen, Senators, and leaders of all American political parties the great depth of feeling against current policies in Vietnam. However, having a great commitment to academic freedom, we wish to make clear our intention that no member of the University Community--no student or University employee-who disagrees with this resolution shall be penalized as a result, in any way, including, but not limited to, loss of freedom of speech, loss of advancement based on one's merits, and loss of research grants. Nor shall one's position on Vietnam be used to determine one's fitness for University employment, or one's qualifications for admittance as a student. We believe it is the duty of all patriots to state their views on the war to the greatest of their ability and we vigorously oppose any attempts to label expressions of thought on this issue as dangerous or un-American."
  51. ^ "War Not Condemned by Council, Peace Monument is Endorsed," University of Pennsylvania Almanac, November, 1969, page 1,
  52. ^ Cohen was one of five state legislators to graduate in 1993, according to "Lawmakers Become Law Students: 4 Graduated From Law School and Cowell is Close to Finishing Up at Widener in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 2, 1993, Page E-5
  53. ^ Cohen was listed as a "prominent alumni" of the Widener University School of Law in three books published by the Princeton Review: The Best 117 Law Schools (2004), page 289; The Complete Book of Law Schools, 2004 edition, page 301; and The Best 170 Law Schools, 2008 edition, page 391
  54. ^ The Pennsylvania Manual. Volume 119. p. 3-118
  55. ^ "Education Policy Fellowship Program, Alumni," Education Policy Leadership Center, The link takes one to the Education Policy Leadership Center's website; a further link to the Education Policy Fellowship Program is found of the left of the website's home page.
  56. ^ A March 16, 2011 press release from the School District of Philadelphia noted that the Office of Specialized Instructional Services was presenting the 4th annual autism services expo, which had been "created by Howe Elementary School Special Education Teacher Mona Cohen..." Michelle Durham, KYW (AM) 1060, said on April 8, 2011 that "The Autism Expo was created by Howe Elementary School teacher Mona Cohen, and it became so popular over the years that the school district wanted to expand its offerings to all parents." http://www/
  57. ^ Murray Friedman, Philadelphia Jewish Life, 1940-2000, (2003) page 115, notes that "Not until the 1930's did Jewish families begin to move into the new houses of the Northeast. One of the first Jewish families to move in was that of Max William Korman. Berton Korman, Max's son and grandson of Hyman, said his father built a single house at 1415 Brighton Street in 1931 and moved into it. Berton was born there in 1933 and grew up there. The Korman's were the only Jewish family on the block, he said, and he 'used to get beat up regularly' going to and from Woodrow Wilson High School."
  58. ^ Allen Myers, Jewish Family and Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia (2006)
  59. ^ Allen Meyers, The Jewish Community Around North Broad Street (2002)
  60. ^ The Life and Times of Dr. George DeBenneville (1953), 47-49,63, . DeBenneville's biogography was published by the American Universalist Society, which called him "the spiritual father of American Universalism." See also Anne DeBenneville Mears, The Old York Road and Its Early Association of History and Biography, 1670-1790
  61. ^ Cox, Harold (November 3, 2004). "Pennsylvania House of Representatives - 1973-1974". Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University. 
  62. ^ In the 1971 Mayoral primary, the ADA had not supported Mark Cohen's father David Cohen, but had endorsed Bill Green for Mayor. A straw poll of the group's membership in January, 1971 showed that responding group members gave 106 votes for Green, 71 for David Cohen, and 12 for Hardy Williams. Matthew J. Country man, Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia (2006), page 316 for the Green endorsement and page 315 for the straw poll results.
  63. ^ "Election Tests Cohen Power," Philadelphia Inquirer, May, 1974
  64. ^ Associated Press, "Democrats Go For Open Primary," Observer-Reporter, March 14, 1974.
  65. ^ (Philadelphia Daily News, May 20, 1974, p. 10)
  66. ^ Heidi Mays, "Interview with the Honorable Robert C. Wise, 83rd District, Lycoming County, 1965-1974, July 18, 2007," , quotes Wise on both old style and new style Philadelphia political leadership. Wise discusses, on pages 12 and 13, his initial experience with Philadelphia's style of leadership in 1965, and contrasts that with his impressions of Philadelphia legislators from intensely watching legislative debates on television in "the last week or so" in July,2007. Initially, "I remember that Joshua Eilberg [State Representative, Philadelphia County, 1955-1966], our Democratic Leader, said 'There's someone I want you to meet,' and he brings in the Philadelphia Democratic Chairman Frank Smith, who gave us a pep talk, the gist of which was to vote with our Leadership. This would keep us out of trouble and would make a strong party. I felt very uncomfortable at that notion...." In July of 2007, he was saying "Voting the way someone tells you to vote is not good, it's not helpful. And there was a lot of that going on when I first came down here in the Legislature. I think I've been so impressed--as I said, the last week or so I've been listening to this debate--I've been so impressed by the Legislators from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. When I was here, that was not happening. They were told how to vote, and they voted that way, especially in Philadelphia. But that--I really--I hear these guys get up to the microphone, they have the facts, they know what they want to say, and they say it beautifully. And they may be, you know, they may be with the Governor, they may be against the Governor, and that's really a healthy situation; be your own man...." During the Wise's recent "week or so" of paying close attention to House debate, Cohen (according the Legislative Journal-House) made numerous speeches on the House floor: supporting divestment of state pension fund investments from Sudan and Iran on July 2 (pages 1607-8 and 1615); supporting greater state governmental use of reconditioned products on July 7 (pages 1775-1779); supporting earlier Presidential primaries for Pennsylvania voters on July 10 (page 1809); proposing an amendment requiring cooperation in food safety between the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health, and the Department of Environmental Protection on July 12 (page 1854); supporting requiring health insurance policies to cover treatments for autism on July 14 (page 1945); opposing exemptions of social clubs from the anti-smoking indoor air protection act on July 14 (page 1954); opposing the tabling of the indoor air pollution act on July 14 (page 1962); defending the constitutionality of the indoor air pollution act on July 16 (page 2067). An outstanding example of another of the younger, more active legislators elected in the 1970's is Joseph Rhodes, whose interview, "Raymond J. Whitaker, III, "Interview with the Honorable Joseph Rhodes, Jr. (D), 24th District, Allegheny County, 1973-1980" can be found at .
  67. ^ An expansive view of the significance of the oath of office is found in Franklin L. Kury, Clean Politics, Clean Streams (2011), page 163. "Freely elected legislatures," Kury writes, "as part of a constitutional government of checks and balances are among the greatest accomplishments of the Western world. Everyone elected to the General Assembly has, during his or her tenure, a trustee's duty to maintain and nourish the institution in which they serve. Taking the oath of office means more than agreeing to the mechanical rules of government provided in the state constitution; it is also, I believe an oath to guard and strengthen one of our democracy's great bodies."
  68. ^ The swearing-in ceremony was brief and impersonal. No mention was made of any personal characteristic, achievement, family member, or supporter of any the new Members of the House. Election returns were read. Commonwealth Court President Judge James Bowman administered the oath of office. Speaker Kenneth B. Lee's welcoming remarks were brief: "The Chair would, on behalf of the entire membership of the House, express our congratulations to the new members, and we know that each of you is going to find that your time in the House is going to be one of the most interesting experiences of your life." Legislative Journal--House, page 4968. The swearing-in ceremony took place in the mid-day, with important votes cast before the swearing-in and after the swearing-in. There was apparently a glitch in the connection of the voting switches for the new members, as each of them had to cast their first vote orally after getting the permission of the Speaker to do so. Legislative Journal--House, page 4971.
  69. ^ House Resolution 207, establishing the Bipartisan Committee, was introduced on June 12, 1974, two days after his swearing in, Page 5050, Legislative Journal-House. "The Speaker of the House of Representatives," the summary read, "shall appoint a fifteen member committee to study the situations and circumstances of victims of rape, and the resultant physical and psychological problems with respect thereto. The Committee shall specifically deal with the problems of the willingness on the part of the victims of rape to come forward with evidence with respect to their assailants, the relief of the societal censure and psychological effects on said victims, and the provision of proper medical care, psychological health, and legal counseling immediately after a rape." House Resolution 207, creating the Bipartisan Committee, passed the House 174-3 on July 11, 1974. See Legislative Journal-House, pages 5587-5588, Hearings were announced for Montgomery County, Philadelphia, Pittsburg and Harrisburg in September, 1974, as quoted in "Check Problems of Rape Victims," The News Dispatch, August 12, 1974.
  70. ^ Legislative Journal-House, page 6145, October 7, 1974,
  71. ^ Pennsylvania Manual, 1976
  72. ^ "C.L. Schmitt, was known as Mr. Consumer," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 22, 1993
  73. ^ Wally Hudson, "Fair Trade May Fade," Reading Eagle, June 18, 1975
  74. ^ House Bill 175 of 1975,
  75. ^ Franklin L. Kury, Clean Politics, Clean Streams: A Legislative Autobiography and Reflections (2011), page 113. The legislation and the politics of passing it are discussed by Kury in pages 113-115; its lasting effects are discussed in pages 118-119.
  76. ^ Franklin L. Kury, Clean Politics, Clean Streams: A Legislative Autobiography and Reflections (2011), page 113.
  77. ^ Franklin L. Kury, Clean Politics, Clean Streams: A Legislative Autobiography and Reflections (2011), page 119
  78. ^ Legislative Journal-House, February 5, 1975, page 137,
  79. ^ John C. Raines, Lenora E. Berson, Community and Capital in Conflict: Plant Closings and Job Loss (1982)
  80. ^ Office of Technology Assessment, Plant Closing: Advance Notice and Rapid Response (September, 1986), pages 56-57
  81. ^ William Schweke: Plant Closings: issues, politics, and legislation (1980)
  82. ^ A detailed analysis of the efforts of the Delaware Valley Coalition for Jobs, and the coalition's internal tensions, is found in Arthur Hochner, Shutdowns and the New Jobs Coaltions: the Philadephia Experience," Labor Research Review, Vol. 1, No. 5 (Fighting Shutdowns), Article 13 (1984), (abstract) and (article) A 1980 snapshot of the organizing efforts is found at Steve Graziani, "Philadelphia-Area Unions Form Coalition To Fight Plant Closings," Labor Notes, April 24, 1980, page 12,
  83. ^ An analysis of the bill's lack of adverse effects on the business community, which had feverishly opposed it, and its helpful effects on finding buyers for closing businesses and preserving jobs, is found in Dan Stets, "Problems Over Phila. Plant-closing Law Haven't Materialized," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 8, 1988,
  84. ^ The passage of the federal legislation, and the politics behind it, is described in David Hess, "Bill Passed on Closing of Plants," Philadelphia Inquirer, July 14, 1988,
  85. ^ Alexei M. Marcoux, "Business Ethics Gone Wrong," in Marc D. Street, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Management (2005), page 17
  86. ^ "Testimony of Richard L. Trumka, Secretary-Treasury, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, Before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Hearing on Plant Closings, Worker's Rights, and the WARN Act's 20th Anniversary,
  87. ^ Ellen Cassedy, "Spring Garden Shutdown Drug Company Pulling Out, Phila. Losing Out," Philadelphia Inquirer, October 6, 1988, page 2 at,
  88. ^ A detailed description of the program, its operations, and its shutdown, can be found at the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency website at
  89. ^ Act 1981 of 1983, originally House Bill 500
  90. ^ Legislative Journal-House, June 29, 1983, pages 914-958,
  91. ^ Legislative Journal--House, December 14, 1983, pages 2304-2310,
  92. ^ Press release, "Cohen calls for increased HEMAP funding, " June 30, 2009,
  93. ^ David Henry, "'Occupy' protestors target Pa. governor," Action News,, November 3, 2011,
  94. ^ Matt Petrillo, "War of the Wards: Council's Redistricting Map Fails to Address Real Political Restructuring," Philadelphia Weekly, November 9, 2011,
  95. ^ Legislative Journal-House (1977), page 906,
  96. ^ 533F.Supp.631(1981), page 634,,+533+F.+Supp.+631&hl=en&as_sdt=2,39
  97. ^ 673F.2d628(1982) (See numbered paragraphs 11-26.)
  98. ^ Edna Kamis-Gould, Ph.D, Frederick Snyder, M.A., Trevor M. Hadley, Ph.D and Timothy Carey, M.A., "The Impact of Closing a State Pschiatric Hospital on the County Mental Health System and Its Clients," Psychiatric Services 50:1297, October, 1999, finds a $15 million a year net savings for a single closed hospital.
  99. ^ Mike Moyle, "Dispute blocks public aid checks," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 5, 1981.
  100. ^ "City Legislators Make Harrisburg Comeback," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 10, 1983
  101. ^ Associated Press, "New Pa. law to protect whistleblowers," The Vindicator, December 13, 1986 The prime sponsor of the Whistleblower Act was Rep. Peter Wambach. In his farewell address to the House, Wambach listed the Whistleblower Act as one of his finest accomplishments, saying its purpose was "to strengthen public confidence in government." Legislative Journal-House, November 25, 1992, page 2131, George A. Bibikos, "O'Rourke v. Commonwealth, Department of Corrections: Defining the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law, Widener Law Journal, page 321 (2003) notes Cohen's participation in the debate on the Whistleblower Law at page 324, The House debate occurred on June 18, 1985. Wambach noted the importance of the bill--House Bill 284--having been reported out of the Labor Relations Committee and being considered by the House early in the session, when he said on page 1232 (Legislative Journal-House): "I do not care to hold the bill over, Mr. Speaker, because of this point. Last year, when we passed the bill by a unanimous vote of the House, the Senate had claimed that they did not have enough time to consider the legislation. I think that if we in fact get it to the Senate before we break, before the Summer recess, they will have the rest of this year and next year to consider this vital piece of legislation...." In the floor debate itself, Cohen joined Wambach (Legislative Journal-House, pages 1230-1231) in speaking against the amendment offered by Scott Chadwick exempting organizations getting less than 35% of their funding from the state. Later in the day, Cohen offered Amendment 2182, which, in Cohen's words (Legislative Journal-House, page 1233), "changes the defense section of the bill to provide that it shall be a defense to an action under this section if the defendant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the action by the employer occurred for separate and legitimate reasons, which are not merely pretextual." Cohen's amendment passed the House unanimously, as did the Whistleblower bill. The Senate passed the House bill without any further amendments, requiring no further House debate.
  102. ^ "The Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law," website of the law firm of Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.,
  103. ^ Dafney Tales, "Judge upholds whistle-blower's lunch-theft lawsuit," Philadelphia Daily News, October 3, 2011,
  104. ^ Jane-Ellen Rosenberger, "Jobless Pay Plan Gathers Support," Pittsburg Press, April 19, 1983, quotes him as saying a plan submitted by Governor Richard Thornburgh was "a worthwhile framework" for a settlement
  105. ^ In 2011, 21 years after Cohen left the Labor Relations Committee, the legislature changed the Unemployment Compensation law again. In Jesse Teitelbaum, "Interview with the Honorable J. Michael Schweder (D), Northampton County, 1975-1980," January 9, 2009, former Representative Schweder, then a high-ranking lobbyist for AT&T with 25 years of AT&T service, calls the legislation Cohen worked on "a step back" from an intensely partisan Republican unemployment compensation bill which he (Schweder) had been one of nine Democrats to support. "(T)hey tried to make something that was agreeable to everybody which has been in place now," he explained, pages 32-33,
  106. ^
  107. ^ Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce newsletter in the Fall of 1983
  108. ^ Philadelphia Unemployment Project, "Lessons from the Minimum Wage Campaign in Pennsylvania," (2006),
  109. ^ Pennsylvania Act 150 of 1988.
  110. ^ Pennsylvania Act 70 of 1990.
  111. ^ Karen Bruno, "Wage Fight: Battle Over Minimum Wage enters nation's state houses," Nation's Restaurant News, November 2, 1987,;content
  112. ^ Russell E. Eshleman, Jr. and Robert Zausner, "Legislators Like Minimum Wage. Send Casey an Increase of 35 cents," Philadelphia Inquirer, November 30, 1988.
  113. ^ Mark B. Cohen, "Legislation in the works," letter to the editor, USA Today, July 27, 2006,
  114. ^ "Unions Defend Cohen," Philadelphia Daily News, February 21, 1990,
  115. ^ Wendi Taylor, "Legislator Says Equal Pay Bill Victim of Pressure," Allentown Morning Call, August 31, 1984, "'Comparable Worth' issue is seen as tough dispute," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 31, 1984.
  116. ^ Rep. Gallagher had been the prime sponsor of the 1978 Seasonal Farm Labor Act
  117. ^ Wendi Taylor, "Panel Told Farmworkers'Rights Ignored," Allentown Morning Call, August 30, 1984.
  118. ^ Wendi Taylor, Allentown Morning Call, September 1, 1984,
  119. ^ "Farmworkers say '78 law did not halt abuses," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 30, 1984, page B1.
  120. ^ "Farmhand protection sought," Reading Eagle Times, March 19, 1993, page B5
  121. ^ Membership, Honorary Committee for the Friends of Farmworkers 30th Anniversary Celebration,
  122. ^ Cheryl Wenner, " Legislator Urges Faster Workmen's Compensation," Allentown The Morning Call, April 7, 1986,
  123. ^ "For Equitable Compensation," Letter to the Editor, Allentown The Morning Call, Clifford L. Jones, President, Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, April 25, 1986,
  124. ^ (November, 1990)
  125. ^ Laura P. Hartman, Perspectives in Business Ethics (1st Edition 1997, 2nd Revised Edition 2001, 3rd Revised Edition 2004) and Laura P. Hartman, Joseph R. DesJardins, Decision Making for Personal Integrity in Social Perspective (2007)
  126. ^ Laura Hartman is Vincent DePaul Professor of Business Ethics and Legal Studies in the Management Department of the Depaul University College of Commerce,
  127. ^ Joseph R. DesJardins, Associate Provost and Academic Dean for the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, where he is also a Professor in the Department of Philosophy. See "What is Ethics? -- Joseph R. DesJardins," You Tube. DesJardins served as the Executive Director of the Society for Business Ethics in 2004-2008, Society of Business Ethics, Board and Officers,
  128. ^ Marc D. Street, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Management (2005), "Postscript, Is the Control of Durg Abuse in the Workplace More Important than Protecting Employee Privacy?" pages 149-150, Salisbury faculty directory, One page 345, Street is listed as an assistant professor of management at the University of South Florida at the time of the book's publication; Marc D. Street and Vera L. Street, Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Management (2nd Edition, 2007), "Postscript, Is Workplace Drug Testing a Wise Corporate Policy?" page 122. On page 371, Dr. Marc D. Street is listed as an assistant professor of management at Salisbury University and Dr. Vera L. Street is listed as an assistant professor of management at Salisbury University.
  129. ^ http:// Thomas Gollot, Mark Cohen and Eric Fillman, "Point and Counterpoint, Is Employee Drug Testing the Answer?" Posting of Associate Professor Lanny Wilke, Montana State University-Northern, College of Technical Studies, Business Program,
  130. ^ "Bill Would Fine Striking Teachers," Philadelphia Inquirer, October 4, 1988, page B07
  131. ^ Susan Warner, "On Labor's Day, About 60 Remember Old Roots and Reasons With Rally," Philadelphia Inquirer, September 6, 1988,
  132. ^ "Labor Chiefs Prepare for Holiday Parade," Philadelphia Inquirer, page B02. The article called the 1991 event the "4th Annual Labor Day Parade."
  133. ^ "Thousands Participate in Labor's Celebration of Its Day," The Public Record, September 8, 2011, 4th line of photographs, 2nd photograph on left,
  134. ^ Pennsylvania Manuals 1991-2009
  135. ^ He voted on May 7, 1979 to amend the House rules to ban smoking on the House floor, with the ban passing the House by 93 to 91 with his support. The roll call vote is found in Legislative Journal-House (1979), page 668
  136. ^ Within the Speaker's Commission for Legislative Reform, where the Capitol smoking ban originated, it got, with his support, the bare minimum of 18 required votes for it to be included in the reform package. The reform package was introduced in the House as HR 108 on March 7, 2007, and adopted by the full House on March 13, 2007 by a vote of 198 to 0. The roll call vote on HR 108 is found in the Legislative Journal-House (2007), page 307.
  137. ^ The Pennsylvania Restaurant Association has questions and answers about the enacted smoking ban at Pennsylvania Smoking Ban FAQ's,
  138. ^ A business-oriented study of business lobbying around the United States with a prime focus on Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin, attributed authorship of the bill to Cohen and Democratic Majority Leader James Manderino. It noted Cohen and Manderino's "legislative skill" in getting the bill through the House by 178-19 and through the Senate by 45-2 "despite strenuous protests of large segments of the business community." It called Cohen "the AFL-CIO's most reliable ally." William DeSoto, The Politics of Business Organizations: Understanding the Role of State Chambers of Commerce (1995)
  139. ^ "Labeling Bill on Toxics OK'd by Thornburgh," Philadelphia Inquirer, October 6, 1984.
  140. ^ Russell E. Eshelman, Jr., "New Right to know Law on Chemicals Held Up," Philadelphia Inquirer, June 4, 1986,
  141. ^ "Top Court Affirms Worker Safety Law," Philadelphia Daily News, October 6, 1987 and Scott Higham, "Court Upholds State Right to know," The Morning Call, October 6, 1987,
  142. ^ Mfrs. Ass'n of Tri-County v. Knepper, 801 F.2nd 130, 1986
  143. ^ "Dealer Admits Selling Bad Meat To City firms," Philadelphia Daily News, March 2, 1983
  144. ^ "Tainted Meat Shipped to Phila--3 Million Pounds Had Illegal Seal," Philadelphia Inquirer, September 27, 1983
  145. ^ Associated Press,"New Control Commission Proposed," Gettysburg Times, May 17, 1985,,4247415&dq=rep+mark+cohen+health+care&hl=en
  146. ^ Act 89 of 1986
  147. ^ "Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council Director Retiring," Pittsburgh Business Times, March 28, 2008. For Volavka's status as a Cohen staff member, see Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Telephone Directories, 1981-1984
  148. ^ Legislative Journal-House (1986), roll-call vote, page 1456, June 23, 1986,
  149. ^ David Morris, "Bill Would Aid Migrant Health Plan," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 12, 1987, page B10
  150. ^ Associated Press, Observer-Reporter, June 15, 1992
  151. ^ "Casey OK's Nursing Home Plan. The Veteran's Home Would Cut Into Benjamin Rush State Park. Park Supporters Are Unhappy," Philadelphia Inquirer, December 14, 1994, page B01 Local
  152. ^ "Dispute in Senate Stalls Organ Donor Bill," Allentown Morning Call, April 21, 1994; "Races End of Session Organ Donor Bill Passed," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 23, 1994
  153. ^ Act 102 of 1994
  154. ^ "Clinton Administration Launches National Organ and Tissue Donation Initiative," December 15, 1997, HHH Gov. Archive, U.S. Department of Health and Human Srvices. "The proposal," the press release announcing it said, "was suggested by approaches that have been successful in other areas. For example, studies in Southeastern Pennsylvania have found substantial increases in donations since a 1994 donation law took effect. Based on Pennsylvania's experience, HHS estimates that the number of donors nationwide could increase by 20% within two years of the publication of a final hospital regulation,"
  155. ^
  156. ^ After the death of former Governor Robert P. Casey, Cohen introduced House Bill 2668 in 2000, which became Act 120 of 2000.
  157. ^ Kathy Sheehan, "A Rift of Statuesque Proportions to Septa's Chief's Critics; 'No Opinion' Isn't A Safe Stance," Philadelphia Daily News, May 12, 1987,
  158. ^ "PA House of Representatives Declares Saturday, May 12, 2007 'Disability Awareness Day,'" Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council, May 8, 2007,
  159. ^ "Cohen Opposes Irresponsible Budget Cuts," You Tube, June 30, 2011,
  160. ^ Pennsylvania Act 159 of 1984
  161. ^ Press release, "Cohen introduces plan to cover telehealth," September 27, 2007,
  162. ^ "Testimony Before the House Health Committee on Telemedicine Presented by Michael Wolf, Executive Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Health," October 27, 2011
  163. ^ Lauren Daley, "Controversial abortion clinic bill clears house," Pittsburgh City Paper, May 12, 2011,
  164. ^ "Pennsylvania Legislature lessens patient protections in State's HIV -Testing Law," July 1, 2011, AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania website,
  165. ^ Sue Sturgis, "PA legislators advance cluster bills," Hometown Hazards, May 9, 2007,
  166. ^ Volumes of the Pennsylvania Manual from 1997 (Volume 113, page 4-76) through 2009 (Volume 119, page 4-96) list him as a member of the arts council. He is one of only two members of the Arts Council listed in both the 1997 and 2009 editions. The website of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts contains a list of the current members. He is the only member of the Arts Council listed in both the 1997 edition of the Pennsylvania Manual and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts website,
  167. ^ "Speaker Asks Reform Commission to Continue Work." State Representative Denny O'Brien website,
  168. ^ "Speaker Announces Symposium on Crime and Violence," Press Release From Office of Speaker Dennis M. O'Brien,
  169. ^ House Bill 1976,
  170. ^ Act 273 of 1976,
  171. ^ Sara Kennedy, "A Doctor Returns To Serve His People," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 26, 1986.
  172. ^ Richard Pan, MD, Master of Public Health(MPH), Chair, "Report of the Council on Medical Education, Report on the 5th Pathway, CME Report 1-I-07 (2007), page two "The maximum number of 5th Pathway graduates (nationally) was 558 in 1979-1980. The number of 5th Pathway dwindled during the latter part of the 1980's and 1990's so that four programs survived in 1991-1992. At the present time there are three active programs with approximately 100 graduates per year." The perceived superiority of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates programs to the 5th Pathway are discussed on pages 2 to 4.
  173. ^ Legislative Journal-House, page 1427,
  174. ^ In legislative debate with Republican leader Matthew J. Ryan on the merits of the authorization of the committee, Cohen had noted that possibilities included a second campus for Delaware Law School or Temple Law School, or a law school affiliated with Penn State, or an independent law school, but said Ryan's previously stated objections to committees which announced their conclusions in advance were valid, and that he had reached no conclusion as to what the best option would be. "This is a fundamental issue dealing with the quality and professionalism of our staff in Harrisburg," he said. "It is our job to be interested in the quality of the people in state government. It is not the job of any existing law school to be interested in that." Legislative Journal-House (1986), pages 1426-1427,
  175. ^ Formal Feasibility Study and Proposal for the Establishment of a Harrisburg Law School on behalf of Widener University, November 5, 1986, included in the Final Report of the House Select Committee to Study the Feasibility of a Harrisburg Law School as Appendix C
  176. ^ "House Select Committee Staff Members," unnumbered page after title page, Final Report of the House Select Committee to Study the Feasibility of a Harrisburg Law School (November 19, 1986)
  177. ^ Final Report of the House Select Committee to Study the Feasibility of a Harrisburg Law School (November 19, 1986) pages 7,8.
  178. ^ Final Report of the House Select Committee to Study the Feasibility of a Harrisburg Law School (November 19, 1986), pages 20-21
  179. ^ Final Report of the House Select Committee to Study the Feasibility of a Harrisburg Law School (November 19, 1986), page 21
  180. ^ Final Report of the House Select Committee to Study the Feasibility of a Harrisburg Law School (November 19, 1986), page 14.
  181. ^ Andrew Staub, "Wilkes University Supsends Plans For Law School," Scranton Times-Tribune, June 5, 2010,;kes-university-suspends-plans-for-law-school,1831834#ax221YPUCTELM
  182. ^ page 790, Legislative Journal-House (1990),
  183. ^ Cohen's appointment as Chair, and the appointment of the Committee members, are announced in Legislative Journal-House (1990), page 1072, in the form of a letter from O'Donnell to Cohen,
  184. ^ Cohen praised Reed for "doing a spectacular job refining the mission and purpose of Harrisburg University" in a letter to Inside Higher, Elia Powers, "Can A Start-Up College Revive A City?", November 15, 2006 & letter "A Great Start" by StateRepMarkCohenDemPA, November 17, 2006,
  185. ^ "About HU, The HU Story,"
  186. ^ Paul Beers, Edited wtihb a Foreward by Michael Barton, City Contented, City Discontented: A History of Modern Harrisburg (2011), page xvii
  187. ^ Paul Beers, edited with a Foreward by Michael Barton, City Contented, City Discontented (2011), page 52
  188. ^ Paul Beers, Edited with a Foreward by Michael Barton, City Contented, City Discontented (2011), pages 330-331
  189. ^ House Bill 2949, Printer's Number 4185(1990), page 1, declarations (1) and (4)
  190. ^ House Bill 2949, Printer's Number 4185 (1990), page 5.
  191. ^ Legislative Journal-House (1990) pages 1775-1779, November 13, 1990,
  192. ^ Laws of Pennsylvania, Act 1990-174, page 705
  193. ^ Legislative Journal-House (1996), page 1027, speech by Representative Cowell
  194. ^ Legislative Journal-House (1996), May 21, 1996
  195. ^ Legislative Journal-House (1996), May 21, 1996, page 1024
  196. ^ Laws of Pennsylvania, Act 1996-56, pages 344-349
  197. ^ Tom Belden, Inquirer staff writer, "Rendell Ponders Shift of Airport to Regional Panel,"
  198. ^ Tom Belden, "Airport Planners Snub N.J. Rendell Focuses on Pa. Control," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 20, 1992,
  199. ^ Leo Troy, Twilight of the Old Unionism (2004), page 82
  200. ^ James O'Toole, "New Job, Old Crises for Rendell," Pittsburgh Post Gazette, January 19, 2003,
  201. ^ See especially sections "Majority Chairmanship of House Labor Relations Committee" and "Improving the Public's Health"
  202. ^ Associated Press, "Residency Requirement May Be Void," Observer-Reporter, June 17, 1981
  203. ^ H.G. Bissinger, better known as Buzz Bissinger, writes in A Prayer for the City (1997), that David L. Cohen was allocating gift tickets for the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship in Philadelphia in March, 1992, in Rendell's third month in office. In Bissinger's presence, he went over who would be given what seats at the game, if they chose to come. Cohen would be given "bad seats," the Chief of Staff decided. Bissinger added that Cohen "had no clout and never would unless everyone else in the legislature died."
  204. ^ Select Committee to Study the Operation of the Philadelphia International Airport pursuant to House Resolution 542, in the 1999-2000 session. Rendell left the Mayor's office in January, 2000, and his last Airport Director, Alfred Testa, fired by Mayor John F. Street, served as executive director of the committee
  205. ^ Associated Press, "Philadelphia mayor opposes drastic budget cuts," Pittsburgh Tribune Review, November 6, 2008,
  206. ^ Rep. Mark B. Cohen, "Philadelphia Fiscal Problems Are Not The Same As International Crises," Young Philly Politics, January 14, 2009,
  207. ^ Friends of the Free Library, "Library branch closings listed by branch," & Friends of the Free Library, "Library branch closings listed by legislator,"
  208. ^ Kathy Boccella,"Hoping for a happy non-ending at branches," Philadelphia Inquirer, November 9, 2008, page B01,
  209. ^ The appointment of the President's Council was announced in Common Cause [News from the Front Lines], Winter, 2008, Volume 1, Number 1.
  210. ^ U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Bob's Blog: Helping Prevent Bullying In Schools, October 8, 2010,
  211. ^ Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, The Gavel, Fall, 2011, page 2, & State Rep. Mike Sturla, Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee, Media Advisory, "Democratic Policy Committee to hold hearing on human services cuts on Thursday in Harrisburg," May 24, 2011,
  212. ^ "We Win! PGW loses bid to increase prices," State Representative Mark B. Cohen, Letter from Harrisburg, August, 2004, page 2,
  213. ^ "Senator Kitchen Invites Older Residents To Upcoming 'Senior Day,'" PA,
  214. ^ "Health Festival," Philadelphia Tribune, October 4, 2011, Page 9-B,
  215. ^ He was one of over 1000 state legislators nationally, and eighteen in Pennsylvania, to sign a 2009 letter organized by Progressive States Network calling "on President Obama and the Congress to enact bold and comprehensive health care reform this year....and pledge our support as state legislators and allies in pursuit of guaranteed, high quality affordable health care for all." See
  216. ^ William Kenny, "NE neighborhoods get ready for National Night Out," Northeast Times, July 27, 2011,
  217. ^ See
  218. ^ "Northeast Dems Picnic at Burholme Park," The Public Record, September 22, 2011, page 9, and City Hall Sam column, page 23 of the same issue
  219. ^ A You Tube video of him at the 2010 Netroots Nation convention can be found at
  220. ^ His hosting of a meeting of MoveOn supporters to provide feedback on possible ideas to be included in the Contract for the American Dream was listed under his zipcode 19111 in a national list of about meetings held on or around July 17, 2011. A working link to the Contract for the American Dream website appears to be unavailable, but it can be fund through a Google search.
  221. ^ He was elected to two year terms to the Democratic State Committee in 1984, 1986, and 1988, and four year terms in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010. Beginning in the Pennsylvania Manual for 1985-1986, and each subsequent Pennsylvania Manual issued every two years, he is listed as a member of the Democratic State Committee from Philadelphia
  222. ^ 2010 Democratic primary election results,
  223. ^ Cohen introduced House Resolution 188, from which the above quotes are taken, on December 8, 1975. A detailed account of the Congressional investigations into the murders of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King is Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation (1993). Fonzi was hired to work for Sen. Richard Schweiker, of the JFK Subcommittee of the Church Committee on November 11, 1975 and later worked as an investigator for the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations.
  224. ^ He voted for House Bill 163 to be reported out of the State Government Committee on January 30, 1978, voted against weakening amendments and for the bill on March 14, 1978, and voted for the bill as amended by the Senate on November 15, 1978. It was signed into law by Governor Milton Shapp on November 26, 1978. See
  225. ^ Associated Press, "Shortway May Get Name Change," appearing in the Reading Eagle and the Observer Reporter, April 21, 1977
  226. ^ Bob Warner,"On the State House Floor, they came to praise and bury Rizzo," Philadelphia Daily News, August 2, 1991, Philadelphia Inquirer
  227. ^ A complaint about the lack of controversy over the Rizzo statue in front of the Municipal Services Building is Harry Spector, "Limitation of Statue, Philadelphia City Paper, February 18–25, 1999,
  228. ^ "State Democratic Leaders Begin Draft Kennedy Project," Observer-Reporter, June 30, 1979,,4365954&dq=rep+mark+cohen+edward+m+kennedy+president&hl=en
  229. ^ Mike Moyle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,"Anderson Getting Fiscal, Political Aid," June 20, 1980,,36868946dq=anderson+gaining+fiscal+political+aid&hl=en
  230. ^, database of campaign contributions
  231. ^ Mary Blakinger, "Plant Closing Prompts Call For Review. Three Lawmakers Question The Efficacy of Economic Development Policies After Keebler's Pullout," Philadelphia Inquirer, November 29, 1995,
  232. ^ State Rep Mark Cohen Dem PA, "Congressional Democrats Right To Oppose More Troops For Iraq," Daily Kos, January 10, 2007,
  233. ^ Associated Press, "Dean picks up a Pa. delegate from the Philadelphia area," A reference to his delegate campaign can be found in "The Tale of Those Wisconsin Tapes!" in Taking Root: A newsletter by Grassroots America, March 30, 2004 (Premier Issue), For his own reflections on being a delegate for Dean after Dean's withdrawal, made in the context of the 2008 struggle for delegates, see State Rep Mark Cohen Dem PA, "A 2004 Dean Delegate's Moment of Doubt," For a list of all the delegates and alternates at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, see
  234. ^ For a list of the delegate candidates for Pennsylvania in 2008, see For a list of all the Pennsylvania delegates and alternates at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, see
  235. ^ "Endorsements," Friends of Seth Williams website,
  236. ^ "Bishop Hosts Party At Her Home In Overbrook, " The Public Record, August 18, 2011
  237. ^
  238. ^ Patricia Clifford, Out and About in Philadelphia, "Friends, Colleagues Celebrate Sen. Washington's Birthday," Philadelphia Tribune, August 10, 2010, page 8B,
  239. ^ "An Open Letter to the Jewish Community," Jewish Exponent, September 9, 2010,
  240. ^ Doug Richardson, Associated Press, Times Union[[{{subst:DATE}}|{{subst:DATE}}]] [disambiguation needed ], July 31, 1987, "State Legislative Delegations Oppose Bork Nomination,",6308724&dq=rep+mark+cohen+pennsylvania+legislative+black+caucus&hl=en
  241. ^ Russell E. Eshelman, Jr., "Pa. Lawmaker Calling on Georgia To Stop Using Confederate Emblem. The Stars and Bars Is Part of Georgia's State Flag. State Rep. Mark Cohen Wants Legislature Here To Act, " Philadelphia Inquirer, January 19, 1996, ; Russell E. Eshelman, Jr., "South Rises Against Cohen. He Wants Georgia To Drop The Stars and Bars From Its State Flag. Dixie Is Perturbed," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1996
  242. ^ Richard Lezin Jones, "Ga. Approves Compromise on State Flag. The Senate Joined The House in Backing A Design With A Smaller Confederate Emblem. Some Are Not Happy," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 31, 2001,
  243. ^ Philadelphia Bar Reporter Online, April 6, 2006,
  244. ^ Comment, State Rep. Mark Cohen, " A State GOP Disagreement," Baer Growls, blog,, September 14, 2011,
  245. ^ John L. Micek, "Push to Change Pa. Electoral System Well-Organized," Allentown The Morning Call, September 23, 2011, & John L. Micek, "Strange Bedfellows Partly Behind Electoral College Effort; Consultant Gerow, Ex-House Dems Lawyer Bill Sloane Helped Get Ball Rolling," Capitol Ideas Blog, September 22, 2011,
  246. ^ Danielle Lynch, "Protestors deliver election message to Pileggi," Delaware County Times, Septmember 20, 2011, & "On the Hill, Rep. Cohen: Electoral Change 'Illegal' The Public Record," September 29, 2011, page 23
  247. ^ "Losing at the polls: This GOP plan helps the party and hurts the state," Editorial, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, September 27, 2011,
  248. ^ News Archive--2006, listed in December, 2006,
  249. ^ Kathy Sheehan and Cynthia Burton, "4-day Septa strike settled," Philadelphia Daily News, March 20, 1986, page 4 of 6,
  250. ^ Cindy Anders, "Striking Kaolin Workers Urge Consumers to Boycott Mushrooms," Philadelphia Inquirer, April 13, 1993,
  251. ^ Cindy Anders,Sandy Bauers,Michael Matza, "Is Mushroom Strike A Look At Labor's New Face?" Seattle Times, May 2, 1993,
  252. ^ Fabricio Rodriguez blog, Resume,
  253. ^ John Micek, "What goes on," Capitol Ideas, August 31, 2011, "Cohen Urges Help For Homeowners," You Tube, August 31, 2011, "Cohen:Time To Get Mortgage Assistance Is Now," August 31, 2011, Pennsylvania Legislative Services, http://www/
  254. ^ "Mortgage Deadline Tomorrow," The Public Record, September 15, 2011, page 3
  255. ^ Press release, "PHFA exceeds EHLP foreclosure prevention allocation and receives additional funding to help all homeowners approved for the program," Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, October 10, 2011,
  256. ^ PECO Talks Event Schedule, September, 2011,
  257. ^ Darcy G. Richardson, "Milton Street Tries to Shake Up Philadelphia's Sleepy Mayoral Race," Uncovered Politics, May 16, 2011 Darcy G. Richardson, Sam Rohrer Supporters Mount Write-In Campaign in Pennsylvania Governor's Race," Uncovered Politics, June 7, 2010,
  258. ^ Mark B. Cohen, "Voters Message in thie Unconventional Election: Fix Things," WHYY: It's Our City, October 14, 2008. There is no working link, but it is available through a Google search.
  259. ^ Associated Press, "Itkin Waging Uphill Campaign, "Reading Eagle/Reading Times, August 14, 1998
  260. ^ "Pa. Rembering Reagan. Three York County lawmakers attended the event," York Daily Record, June 10, 2004 & "Recalling a Coal Miner's Son With an Iron Will and a Softer Heart (Governor Robert P. Casey, Sr.) Philadelphia Inquirer, June 1, 2000, page B1
  261. ^ "Jim Lloyd Mourned By Politicians of Both Sides, " Philadelphia Daily News, August 19, 1989; Tom Infield, "State Rep. Robert Donatucci dies," Philadelphia Inquirer, November 10, 2010,
  262. ^ " ACLU Lobbyist Larry Frankel Found Dead in Washington," Young Philly Politics,
  263. ^ "Remembering Lenora Berson," Take Action/Philly ADA,
  264. ^ Jim Tayoun, "Out and About: Charles Bowser's Pals," The Public Record, August 12, 2010
  265. ^ "Agnes Moran Devoted Her Life to the Rights of Workers," Young Philly Politics, and John F. Morrison, Philadelphia Daily News, August 18, 2010,
  266. ^ "Dave Exemplifies Political Passions Nurtured in Queens," Daily Kos, February 16, 2009, & "More Thoughts on Political Passion in Memory of Dave From Queens," Daily Kos, February 18, 2009,
  267. ^ Russell E. Eshelman, Jr. and Robert Moran, "Ridge Sworn In As 43rd Governor. Pageantry Surrounds Pa.'s Biggest Inaugural," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 18, 1995,
  268. ^ Gabrielle Banks, "A look at laws that linger, defying common sense," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 5, 2011,
  269. ^ Zach Subar, "Gerrymandering, New Ideas Discussed at Redistricting Hearing," Mt. Airy, PA Patch, September 7, 2011, & "Cohen testifies before Council on behalf of lower-income residents," News Release, State Rep. Mark Cohen, D-Philadelphia, February 28, 2008,
  270. ^ "Pennsylvania's Delaware River Watershed Legislators Call for Expansion of Public Comment on Delaware River Basin Commission Natural Gas Rules, " February 27, 2011, Delaware,
  271. ^ Minutes of Full Council of Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Council, February 9, 2011,
  272. ^ Testimony of State Rep. Mark B. Cohen to the Act 129 Hearing, July 29, 2009-Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cohen documented the high cost of using an electric resistance heater, and concluded "We should provide significant focus in the proposed Act 129 plan on reducing electric use in homes where the current heating methods are the most inefficient and where electric rates are going to rise the most. These plans should also target low-income customers who will be most significantly affected by the rate increases to reduce their electric use...."
  273. ^ Louis Sandy Maisel, From Obscurity to Oblivion:Running in the Congressional Primary (First Editition,1982), page 83 called Cohen "a popular, but not well known state legislator" at the time of his campaign. Cohen was quoted as regretting that the House Ethics Committee and the US Attorney's office acted against Eilberg after the primary but before the general election: "If he had been censured a few months earlier, I'd be the Congressman now. He'd done a good job at constituent service. People wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. There were many people who thought he would be indicted or at least censured earlier. Then they would have supported me." Cohen was also quoted on page 119 "Corruption was the big issue in this campaign because of the media coverage. The firing of David Marston was seen as a national issue so we had to play it up in Philadelphia." Maisel notes on page 83 that, throughout the country, only five challengers of incumbent members of Congress out of 166 were successful in the primary in 1978, and only 4 of those 5 won in November. Page 8 of this book lists all the candidates in the race for the seat he sought. Cohen's race for Congress received similar coverage (and pagination) in Maisel's 1986 revised edition. In it, Maisel adds a "Postscript: 1984" which updates the book with reports of the 1980, 1982, and 1984 Congressional primaries. "Clearly the results of recent primaries would point to the futility of challenging incumbents. In 1980, only six incumbents lost in primaries; small as that number is it is higher than the total number of incumbent losers in 1982 and 1984 combined....The advantages which incumbents have in general elections are magnified in primaries, magnified to the point that only a handful of incumbents lose in every election cycle, and this is so apparent to those in the political arena that few are even challenged....How to recruit and retain those most qualified to govern remains one of the enduring questions facing our nation." Pages 142, 144, 145
  274. ^ "Democrat Cohen Joins Race in the 13th District," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 21, 2003, page B9
  275. ^ "Metropolitan News in Brief," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 8, 2004
  276. ^ Peter Jackson, Associated Press, "Pa. House Backs Limits in Liability in Lawsuits," Philadelphia Inquirer, April 12, 2011,
  277. ^ Julie Shaw, "Immigrant-rights advocates protest 'unjust' deportation on MLK Day," Philadelphia Daily News, January 18, 2011,
  278. ^ Eyana Adah McMillan, "Legislature Takes on 'Intolerance' at State Universities York Dispatch, July 7, 2005
  279. ^ "Public Subsidies and Policy Interventions, Postal and Print Subsidies," Save the News. org, . More detail on his views on subsidizing newsprint can be found at RepMarkBCohen, "Let's Lower the Cost of Newsprint," Young Philly Politics, March 1, 2009,
  280. ^
  281. ^ (Act 105 of 2008)
  282. ^ "Cohen measure aiding local police departments signed into law," October 15, 2008,,
  283. ^ Paul Weyrich, "Hate speech laws: A new cross for Christians to bear," March 7, 2005,
  284. ^ "Cohen Against (Legislative) Downsizing," You Tube,
  285. ^ John Baer, "The wacky world of Pa. reform," Philadelphia Daily News, August 10, 2011,
  286. ^ Mark Scolforo, Associated Press "Pa. House considers proposals to shrink Assembly," The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, August 9, 2011
  287. ^ Tom Barnes, "Panel Considers Proposals to Reduce State Legislature," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 9, 2011,
  288. ^ Sari Heidenreich, "Speaker Proposes Downsizing State House to 153 Members," Allentown Morning Call, August 9, 2011,,0,1711825.story
  289. ^ Amy Worden, "Efforts to cut size of Pa General Assembly gains support, " Philadelphia Inquirer, August 10, 2011,
  290. ^ Mark B. Cohen, "opposing Increasing the Size of Legislative Districts, " August 18, 2011,
  291. ^ Greg Palmer, Keystone Politics, August 10, 2011, noted the objections of Cohen and others and said that a smaller legislature "only increases efficiency in the sense that it consolidates power in the Speaker and the Governor's offices, as they have less to worry about legislators not falling in line with their plans."
  292. ^ "Legislature Far Too Big, Reduce Boldly," Scranton Times-Tribune August 15, 2011,
  293. ^ "Just eliminate state senate," letter to the editor, Reading Eagle, August 22, 2011,
  294. ^ Weiner et al. v. SEPTA,56Pa.CommonwealthCt.97(7/8/1980),
  295. ^ SEPTA v. Max Weiner et al.56 CommonwealthCt.106 (2/24/1981),
  296. ^ 774F.2d587(1985),
  297. ^ New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce v. Hughey, 774F.2d587(1985), page 11,
  298. ^ Judge Diamond, a United States District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania, is listed as the author of the decision at the end of the decision
  299. ^ See the above section "Improving the Public's Health."
  300. ^ Grutter v. Bollinger, 596 US 306 (US Supreme Court 2003), list of amicus briefs between dissenting opinions and footnotes,,39 Cohen's brief is listed early in the last paragraph of the list of amicus briefs.
  301. ^ "Brief of Parties in Amicus Curiae from Members and Former Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and Pennsylvania Civic Leaders in Support of Respondents," Use search box for Mark B. Cohen on the University of Michigan Vice-President for Communications page if link is not functioning.
  302. ^ See Section 1B of O'Connor's majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, 596 US 306 (US Supreme Court), for this argument. Cohen made this argument in Sections II and III, pages 5 to 12, of his brief.
  303. ^ "Grutter v. Bollinger," Ballotpedia,
  304. ^ Emilie Lounsberry, "Chasing Justice in Pet-Food Lawsuit, Beloved Friend or Simply Property," Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22, 2007,
  305. ^ Emilie Lounsberry, "$32 million pet food settlement proposed," Philadelphia Inquirer, May 23, 2008,
  306. ^ Larry Fish, "Lawmaker To Offer Bill Barring Pet Owner Bias," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 15, 1986,
  307. ^ Joe Clark, "No Longer A Bone Of Contention Call To Guv Does The Trick: Insurance Co. Rolls Over & Plays Dead,
  308. ^ In "Energy & Conservation: Information for Your Home,", the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said, "Act 129 of 2008 provides Pennsylvania electric utility consumers opportunities to take energy efficiency and conservation to the next level. The General Assembly enacted Act 129 to require Pennsylvaania's seven largest electric distribution companies (EDCs)to develop energy efficiency and conservation plans (EE&C) and adopt other methods of reducing the amount of electricity consumed by customers. The General Assembly charged the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) with implementing Act 129 and guiding consumers and electric utilities toward achieving the legislation's overall goals of reducing energy consumption and peak electric demand. The PUC is implementing the Act in phases that address EDC responsibilities to implement EE&C programs...." The PUC website with the most detailed information about Act 129 can be found at
  309. ^ Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Consolidated Case View Docket Number M-2009-2093215 (Miscellaneous), PECO Proposed RFP Procedures and CSP Contract, filed 3/2/2009, Cohen filed his petition to intervene on August 6, 2009, his Main Brief on August 28, 2009, and his prehearing memorandum with certificate of service on November 10, 2010
  310. ^ Order #8 is on page 98 of the Opinion and Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, October 15, 2009, in the Petition of PECO Energy Company for Approval of its Act 129 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Plan and Expedited Approval of its Compact Flourescent Light Program, (DOC) Pennsylvania, The raising of the of the issue of a potentially unauthorized funding transfer by Cohen, the Action Alliance, and the Tenant Union Representative Network is found on page 41, while the Commission's conclusions are found on pages 42 and 43. The acronyms listed on page 41 are explained on page 7.
  311. ^ Opinion and Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, October 15, 2009, cited in full above, pages 50, 51
  312. ^ Prehearing Memorandum of State Representative Mark B. Cohen To Administrative Law Judges Elizabeth H. Barnes and Dennis J. Buckley, for hearing on November 10, 2010, pages 3 and 4,
  313. ^ Prehearing Memorandum of State Representative Mark B. Cohen to Administrative Law Judges Elizabeth H. Barnes and Dennis J. Buckley,for hearing of November 10, 2010,, page 6
  314. ^ Prehearing Memorandum of State Representative Mark B. Cohen To Administrative Law Judges Elizabeth B. Barnes and Dennis J. Buckley, for hearing of November 10, 2010, page 6,
  315. ^ Prehearing Memorandum of State Representative Mark B. Cohen to Administrative Law Judges Elizabeth H. Barnes and Dennis J. Buckley, for hearing of November 10, 2010,
  316. ^ A critical view of Cohen's leadership on medical marijuana, and Cohen's response that he is in all in all cases interested interested in improving the public's health, can be found in "State Rep Mark Cohen:For Pot Smoking, Against Cigarette Smoking,"
  317. ^ Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Baer endorsed the 2011 National Popular Vote bill before it was formally introduced, saying it would make American democracy more democratic, and calling Cohen and others "bipartisan sponsors." John Baer, "A vote for a popular vote for President, " Philadelphia Daily News, April 14, 2011,
  318. ^ Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff writer, "Governor signs bill for popular presidential vote," San Francisco Chronicle, August 8, 2011,
  319. ^ State to consider medical marijuana use Tom Barnes
  320. ^ Cohen's testimony before the committee on December 3, 2009 can be found at Phillip Smith, "Feature: Medical Marijuana Gets Historic First House Hearing in Pennsylvania," at
  321. ^ Shafer chaired the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, which became widely known as the Shafer Commission
  322. ^ Mark Miller, "Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Update,", July 28, 2011, quotes Philadelphia NORML officer Derek Rosenzweig as saying "most likely nothing will happen unless a serious and large surge of people across the state start working on this issue. The Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use Act is a well thought out bill that addresses many issues faced in states which have legalized medical marijuana. Republicans in the Pennsylvania House and Senate have been consistent in their denial that marijuana is medicine.... Medical marijuana will not be a reality in Pennsylvania until elected Republican officials sign on as co-sponsors or otherwise publicly state their support. Pennsylvania's a huge state. It's up to the constituents of these elected officials to voice their opinion and not take 'no' for an answer."
  323. ^ Christopher Moraff, The Philly Post, "PA Republicans Are Wrong on Medical Marijuana. Two bills sit in Harrisburg limbo as thousands of patients suffer," August 25, 2011,
  324. ^ "Legalizing Marijuana: Part of PBI's Public Policy Series, Course Number 7035,"
  325. ^ Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Legalizing Marijuana, September, 2011, page iii
  326. ^ Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Legalizing Marijuana, September, 2011, text of House Bill 1653, the Governor Raymond P. Shafer Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, pages 1 to 16; "Federal Court Cases on California Medical Marijuana Law, Notes of Leon Czikowsky, Research Specialist, Human Services Committee," pages 125-134; "Appendix, Amicus Brief of California Medical Association, et al., pages 135 to 172
  327. ^ Nicole Lockley, "Obstacles, progress in Pa. for gay marriage equality," Philadelphia Tribune, July 28, 2011, , quotes Cohen, Sen. Daylin Leach and leaders of the GLBT community on the politics and substance of marriage equality issues. Details of Cohen's 2011 announcement of bill introduction can be found at "State Rep. Cohen sees possibility of civil unions in Pennsylvania,"
  328. ^ "Three Marriage Equality Events February 14th," Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania, February, 2011,
  329. ^ Jon Campisi, "PA at Embarrassing Standstill on Gay Marriage," Philadelphia Weekly, July 6, 2011, quotes Public Policy Polling of North Carolina as finding that 33% of Pennsylvanians back civil unions, another 30% back full marriage equality, giving Pennsylvania a 63% mandate for action in this area. See
  330. ^ Jen Colletta, "PA House Sees First Marriage Bill," Philadelphia Gay News, September 16, 2011,
  331. ^ The Philadelphia Daily News article "Wheelchair Users in Philadelphia Say Cabs Are Not Accessible To Them," April 6, 2010, which covers the public hearing held on House Bill 1914, is available on the blog of Dr. Beth A. Haller of the University of Maryland, Media Dis and dat. Its link does not function, but the article can be found by doing a Google search.
  332. ^ Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, Pennsylvania Federation of Injured Workers, January 13, 2010,,%202010.pdf
  333. ^ Alia Conley, "Rally demands accessible taxis for the disabled," Philadelphia Inquirer,, posted July 28, 2011, quotes Cohen as saying "We need a transport system that works for all of Pennsylvania." "Demanding Equal Access to Transportation on Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act" blames the Parking Authority for not agreeing to support Cohen's legislation at
  334. ^ See The Philadelphia Parking Authority, In Re Proposed Rule Making Order (for) Philadelphia Taxicab and Limousine Regulations, Docket No. PRM-10-001 (126-1), Final Rulemaking Order, July 21, 2011. Numerous references to Cohen's submitted views are in this document: page 22 (expressing agreement with allowing law students and inactive lawyers to be able to appear on behalf of taxicab drivers in Authority proceedings; pages 32-33 (defending Parking Authority decision to have a penalty range, rather than specific penalties for violations of regulations); page 33 (clarifying that revenue from fines of regulated parrties go into Taxicab Account); page 97 (defending medallion system as opposed to driver owned vehicles); page 115 (defending policies restricting aging taxicabs); pages 127-128 (delaring that "alternative" metering could be used by taxi drivers with Authority permission, provided they are compatible with existing systems); page 150 (deleting the limitation of taxicab driver's certificates); page 161 (dropping requirement for extra insurance for cab drivers).
  335. ^ Richard A. McGowan, Privatize This: Assessing the Opportunities and Costs of Privatization (2011), page 95, quotes Cohen that Governor Tom Ridge "is trying to build up a constituency for selling the liquor stores, but I don't think it is going to work. It's a very unpopular issue (among legislators and interest groups); it's going nowhere."
  336. ^ Daniel J. Palozzo, James W. Caesar, Election Reform: Politics and Policy (2005), page 149, quote Cohen as asserting that Republicans know they "cannot win a fair vote" against Edward G. Rendell in 2002 and are trying to "steal the election."
  337. ^ Ethan Brown, Snitch: Informants, cooperators & the corruption of justice (2007), page 150, quotes Cohen's letter to FBI Inspector General Glenn Fine. "Due to its problems with its confidential informant in this case," Cohen wrote, "how can the public be assured that this case is being properly investigated by the FBI?" In an interview with the author, Cohen said he favored a new investigation because "the FBI tended to favor explanations for his murder that focused on everything but his job as a prosecutor. More than three years later, there is still no evidence that a personal relationship led to his death; nor is there any evidence that he committed suicide." The author notes the agreement of Lancaster County Coroner Gary Kirchner with Cohen that he is at least "98% certain" that Luna's death was a homicide.
  338. ^ Drew Sandholm and Mark Shone, "On the Sixth Anniversary of Jonathan Luna's Mysterious Death, Still No Arrest," ABC News, December 4, 2009,
  339. ^ The text of Cohen's letter to FBI Inspector General Glenn Fine concerning the murder of Luna and the disappearance of Gricar can be found at the site of Yardbird Books, which published a book by William Keisling, The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna (2004), at
  340. ^ Mike Dawson, "Former District Attorney Ray Gricar declared dead," Centre Daily Times , July 25, 2011,
  341. ^ Sara Ganim, "Could this be Ray Gricar? Utah authorities trying to identify John Doe mystery prisoner," Patriot News of Harrisburg, July 26, 2011, (Ultimately the prisoner was found not to be Gricar.)
  342. ^ Rep. Mark Cohen, speaking against House Resolution 177, opposing an investigation of complaints that Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Courses at Pennsylvania's 14 state universities were sometimes politically biased, in an unusual July 4th session in 2005. Legislative Journal-House, July 4, 2005, pages 1822-4. The resolution ultimately passed; an investigation was held; but no further actions were recommended.
  343. ^ Legislative Journal-House, November 16, 1999, pages 2178-2179. See Journals (Transcripts of Floor Action) can be found under House Information. The demand that Hornbeck be fired was dropped, after Druce had conversations with Dwight Evans and Mayor Street. See John M. Baer, "Gun Makers, Hornbeck get a break," Philadelphia Daily News, December 8, 1999, at
  344. ^ biography as a Humane Society of the United States Pennsylvania PAC board member, & biography on Linked In,
  345. ^ Catharine M. Connor, biography,
  346. ^
  347. ^ "Dan Onorato With Temple Interns," Flickr,
  349. ^ & Legislative Journal-House (2009), page 2248,
  350. ^
  352. ^ It was most recently quoted in Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb, "Is tea party influence waning or growing in Utah's elections?" Deseret News of Salt Lake City , Sunday, July 17, 2011 & Timothy W. Higgins, columnist for the Toledo Free Press, as one of his "Quotes of the Week" in his August 3, 2011 blog "Just Blowing Smoke,"
  353. ^ January, 2007
  354. ^ Volume 21, Issue 2 (Winter, 2007-2008), page 43
  355. ^ August 2, 2007
  356. ^ With the shutdown of Phillyblog in July, 2009, he has blogged most frequently at since then.
  357. ^ August 1, 2007
  358. ^ July 16, 2009
  359. ^ Heather Long on June 25, 2011
  360. ^ He tweets under the name of StateRepCohenPA. As of November 17, 2011 he had made 1,753 tweets, was following 2,001 persons or groups, had 1,031 followers, and was on 70 lists. See!/StateRepCohenPA
  361. ^ Brett Lieberman, "Won't you be my friend?" Patriot-News, November 28, 2007,
  362. ^ City Hall Sam, "There Is No Replacing Mike Stack, Jr," The Public Record, July 28, 2011, page 12
  363. ^ "State Senators Recognized by Keystone Alliance/Gaylife Newsletter," Erie Gay News,
  364. ^ Scoop USA, April 16, 2010, page 8,
  365. ^ Feeling Blue Reporter, Winter 2008, pages 2 and 6,
  366. ^ "Penn Environment Grades Philadelphia's Politicians on Environmental Votes," September 15, 2005,
  367. ^ "2004 Alumni Awards,"
  368. ^ "National Guard Leader to Speak at L.V. Dinner," Allentown The Morning Call, April 18, 1991, Don Potter (Col., ret.), the Executive Director of the National Guard Association of Pennsylvania, in a November 9, 1990 letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer entitled "His Mark On The Sand," (pages 2,3) provided a fuller explanation: "State Rep. Mark Cohen has shown tremendous foresight and leadership by drafting and sponsoring House Bill 2949, the Pennsylvania Support for the Guard and Reserve bill. This innovative legislation provides significant protections for members of the Guard and Reserve called into active service. Soldiers and airmen pulled away from their civilian jobs or education need assurance that they will be able to resume their professional and educational pursuits without penalty when they have completed their tours of duty; that their families will not be evicted without due consideration; that their job benefits will not be lost as a result of their service. Cohen's bill provides these assurances. Throughout our history, Pennsylvanians have always answered the call to service. Mark Cohen has also answered this call by pushing legislation to show support for the Guard and Reserve,"

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