For other uses, see Mark Cohen (disambiguation).

Mark B. Cohen (born June 4, 1949) is a Democratic politician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has represented District 202 in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since June 10, 1974. He is the most senior member in the Pennsylvania General Assembly since the December 27, 2010 death of Sen. Michael O'Pake,[1] one of the most senior state legislators in the United States,[2] one of the longest serving state legislators in Pennsylvania history [3] and the longest serving Democrat in Pennsylvania House history.[citation needed] Jared Solomon defeated Cohen for renomination in the Democratic primary on April 26, 2016.

Early life and education

He was born in New York City [4] the oldest child of Florence and David Cohen.

Cohen attended Central High School of Philadelphia, graduating in 1966, after participating in two projects of the Northern Student Movement: the Philadelphia Tutorial Project and Books for Mississippi, including tutoring "poverty-stricken kids" in North Philadelphia at the Clara Baldwin House,[5] and a student Political Union. A letter he sent on behalf of the Political Union on September 25, 1965 to Martin Luther King, Jr., inviting King to speak at Central High School (Philadelphia)[6]

As a high school student, at age 15, he attended the 1964 Democratic National Convention.[7]

Cohen enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as a features writer for The Daily Pennsylvanian[8] 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,

Cohen was one of the first group of 14 undergraduate students[9] 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[10] 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."[11] 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 earned a law degree from the Harrisburg[12] campus of the Widener University School of Law in 1993[13] and an M.B.A. from Lebanon Valley College in 2000.[14] Cohen is also an alumnus (2002–2003) of the Education Policy Fellowship Program of the Education Policy Leadership Center,[15] who strongly recommends the Education Policy Fellowship Program to others.[16] 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.[17]

Pennsylvania House

Cohen was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in a special election on May 21, 1974.[18] He was 24 years old. 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.[19] He was endorsed by the Philadelphia Daily News columnist Chuck Stone[20] on May 20, 1974 in his "Page 10" column.[21]

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.[22] In 1975, Cohen voted for House Bill 580, which restructured "the law of rape so that evidence of a victim's prior sexual conduct was irrelevant" in order that rape no longer be "the only offense in this state where the victim has to establish her own good conduct. The reason for that is that it is irrelevant in establishing whether this person was or was not raped."[23] Cohen then voted for House Bill 580 with Senate amendments on May 12, 1976.

Fineman later appointed him as Secretary of the State Government Committee and as Chairman of the Public Utility Subcommittee of the Consumer Protection Committee.[24] Cohen was then appointed 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.

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,[25] 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.[26]

On January 28, 1975, he co-sponsored a bill[27] 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"[28] in improving the PUC.

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."[29] 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,[30] Cohen—following the enactments of the states of Maine and Wisconsin in 1971 and 1976 respectively --[31] 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.[32] His legislation and a vigorous citizen/labor/clergy campaign led by the Delaware Valley Coalition for Jobs (DVCJ)[33] helped lead to enactment of 60 day advance notice plant closing legislation by the City of Philadelphia,[34] which, in turn, helped inspire the federal 60 day advance notice requirement enacted in 1988.[35] 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.[36] Among strong supporters of plant closing legislation, the federal legislation was considered inadequate compared to other proposed bills[37] or to Cohen's Employee Protection and Community Stabilization Act.[38]

Cohen supported the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP),[39] enacted in 1983 as the Pennsylvania Foreclosure Prevention Act,[40] 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.[41] He then supported the bill—with the language it was amended in the Senate—on December 14, 1983.[42] 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.[43] 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."[44]

He actively opposed legeislation regulating the operation of an adjustable-rate mortgage that did not place any cap on upward rate adjustments caused by higher inflation.[45]

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, saying, for example, that a 1976 mid-year wage tax increase "will only encourage the enormous amount of waste in the Philadelphia city government."[46]

He supported legislation that made ward realignments in Philadelphia so much more diffficult that none have occurred since,[47] 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.[48]

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[49] and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals[50] 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.[51]

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.[52]

In the 2013-2014 legislative session he has sponsored over 1,460 bills and resolutions, more than any other House member.[53]

Cohen's House-passed legislation requiring state purchasing preference for American manufactured products of similar price, value and usefulness [54] was quickly hailed by Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Richard Bloomingdale as a "very important boost to American Manufacturing as well as Pennsylvania Manufacturing and the working people employed in the Manufacturing sector ... We encourage the State Senate to pass this legislation, to put Pennsylvania and America back to work." [55]

The virtually identical Senate version of Cohen's House Bill 498 of 2013 and House Bill 579 of 2011 was signed into law as Act 45 of 2013. That bill required the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to recognize and support the wishes of military service members regarding the handling of their remains should they die in the line of duty. Pennsylvania had been one of only nine states not recognizing Department of Defense Form 93 in which active service members designate a person responsible for the disposition of their remains.[56]

Non-controversial resolutions which Cohen introduced that passed the House unanimously included House Resolution 47, recognizing Asian Pacific American Heritage Month; House Resolution 153, recognizing Jewish American Heritage Month; House Resolution 347, recognizing the 100th Anniversary of the Julia Ward Howe School; House Resolution 458, recognizing National Voter Registration Day; House Resolution 512, recognizing National Disability Employment Awareness Month, House Resolution 551, recognizing National Memory Screening Day, and House Resolution 569, recognizing the 75th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, a key event in the genocide of the Jewish people by Nazi Germany.

Cohen's medical marijuana legislation received its first Republican sponsor, Jim A. Cox.[57]

With the announced decision of Rep. Michael McGeehan not to seek re-election to the House in 2014,[58] Cohen became the only Democratic Chairman of a House committee from Northeast Philadelphia seeking re-election in 2014.[59] The announced retirements of Rep. Michael McGeehan and Rep. Phyllis Mundy [60] cost House Democrats 48 years of experience and seniority, adding emphasis to Cohen's experience.

House Labor Relations Committee

As a result of appointments by Speakers K. Leroy Irvis and James J. Manderino in the 1980s, 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."[61]

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. 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."[62] The depth and breath of the wrongdoing 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.[63]

Cohen began his Labor Relations Committee Chairmanship by participating in public[64] and private negotiations aimed at finding a solution to ensure solvency[65] in Pennsylvania's unemployment compensation fund in order to preserve unemployment benefits.[66][67]

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,[68] helped lead to minimum wage increase bill signings by Governors Robert P. Casey in 1988[69] and Edward G. Rendell in 2006.[70] The Pennsylvania minimum wage increases were part of a nationwide effort among state legislators[71] 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."[72] His advocacy for increased minimum wages continued after the 2006 increase, too.[73] In 2013, he introduced legislation seeking a minimum wage of $9 an hour.[74]

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.[75]

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.[76]

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,[77] and worked to enforce the 1978 Seasonal Farm Labor Act.[78] 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.[79] He sought farmworker justice, seeking to fully enforce state laws protecting each farmworker.[80] Years later, he would continue to press for increased legal help for farmworkers.[81] Decades later, he would serve as a member of the Honorary Committee for the Friends of Farmworkers 30th Anniversary Celebration.[82]

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.[83] The Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce offered its own reform program.[84] 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[85] was reprinted in two anthology textbooks on business ethics[86] by professors at DePaul University[87] as well as the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University[88] and cited in a two others by professors at Salisbury University.[89] 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."[90]

He stopped the reporting out of legislation hostile to the goals of the Pennsylvania labor movement.[91]

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.[92] This rally marked the long-term resumption of Tri-State Labor Day events in Philadelphia.[93] He has continued to participate in Labor Day events.[94]

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 2013-2014 legislative session with the experience of having been Majority Chairman of the House Labor Relations Committee.[95]

State Government Committee

On December 19, 2012, Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and House Speaker Samuel H. Smith (politician) announced his appointment for the 2013-2014 legislative session as Democratic Chairman of the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee. Allentown Morning Call reporter John Micek promptly warned that the pairing of Cohen with Republican Majority Chair Daryl Metcalfe, whose very conservative views [96] were strongly opposed to Cohen's on many issues, would be "thermonuclear." [97] But press coverage of State Government Committee meetings did not reveal any explosive personal confrontations between the two of them.

Human Services Committee

He was appointed by Democratic Leader Frank Dermody as Democratic (Minority) Chair of the "key"[98] Human Services Committee in December, 2010, where he worked closely with Republican (Majority) Chair Gene DiGirolamo.[99] One of the DiGirolamo-Cohen bills sought to enact tougher regulation of for-profit methadone clinics.[100] Cohen opposed the opening of for-profit methadone clinics near his legislative district.[101] 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.[102]

Both Cohen[103] 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.[104] 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."[105]

DiGiralamo and Cohen held a hearing[106] on House Bill 272 to ease treatments of Lyme Disease, of which Cohen was a co-sponsor.[107] 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[108] on the newly created task force on Lyme disease and related diseases.

Both DiGirolamo[109] and Cohen[110] 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."[111]

An editorial in The Intelligencer (Doylestown,Pennsylvania) [112] 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 ..."

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.[113]

He was a member of Speaker of the House Dennis M. O'Brien's Commission on Legislative Reform,[114] and of work groups of his Speaker's Symposium on Crime and Violence.[115] 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.

Political positions

Despite his opposition to some mayoral proposals over the years, Cohen was endorsed for renomination in the April 24, 2012 Democratic primary by incumbent Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, former Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street, and former Philadelphia Mayor and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, among others.[116]

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[117] and a strong supporter of residency requirements even when opposed by a labor union,[118] 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.[119]

When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter proposed eliminating 11 branch libraries in 2008,[120] Cohen strongly opposed the branch library eliminations.[121] Two of the proposed library closings were in his legislative district.[122] 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 people ... is indefensible," he said, noting that the city's wealthiest neighborhoods had been untouched in planned library closures.[123] Ultimately, none of the branch libraries were shut down.

Public health

Cohen 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[124] and the more comprehensive ban previously proposed.

He was the sponsor and part author of a chemical right to know bill signed into law by Governor Richard Thornburgh.[125][126]

Cohen helped expose the selling of tainted meat to McDonald's[127] and testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Livestock and Poultry that U.S. food safetylaws should be strengthened.[128]

He is a supporter of mandated mental health coverage in all health care policies.[129]

He sought state funds to replace eliminated federal funds to protect the health of migrant farm workers.[130]

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."[131]

He was a force in the House behind Pennsylvania's Organ Donation Trust Fund.[132] The law establishing it[133] 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.[134]

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.[135]

He was a co-sponsor of "Disability Awareness Day."[136] He opposed cuts in services to the disabled.

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 is a 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.[137]

He has defended the right to choose of Pennsylvania women.[138] He has repeatedly defended the rights of AIDS victims to get state subsidized treatment and to have their privacy protected.[139] 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.[140]

Education reform

Primary education

A backer of the establishment of charter schools in Pennsylvania, legislation he supported helped start three charter schools currently in his legislative district: Imhotep High School, Delaware Valley High School, and Tacony Elementary School. The School District of Philadelphia also benefitted from his support for greater educational funding: an additional high school were created to serve the area in and around his legislative district by the School District: Samuel Simeon Fels High School, as was an additional elementary school, Prince Hall Elementary School, and an additional middle school, Grover Washington Middle School.

The efforts of Cohen and other Pennsylvania legislators to expand public school funding led to the building of extensions at Central High School of Philadelphia, Northeast High School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Joseph Pennell Elementary School, Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, Laura Carnell Elementary School, J. Hampton Moore Elementary School, Creighton Elementary School, Thomas Finletter Elementary School, as well as others serving students in his legislative district.

Secondary education

Community College of Philadelphia was popularly known as Snellenburg's University when he was elected because it was located at the site of the old Snellenburg's department store. He and other legislators got funding for it to get a large Center City campus, including the old Philadelphia Mint and many newly constructed buildings, a Northwest Philadelphia Regional Center on the site of the former Pennsylvania College of Optometry blocks away from the West Oak Lane, Olney, and Logan sections of his legislative district, and a Northeast Philadelphia Regional Center within driving distance of the Northeast Philadelphia section of his legislative district.

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,[141] enacted in 1976,[142] 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.[143] 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 to its falling-off and eventual elimination by the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association.[144]

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,[145] 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.[146] Delaware Law School did its own feasibility study, confirming the value of establishing a Harrisburg campus,[147] 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.

Cohen introduced House Resolution 323 on April 25, 1990[148] 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,[149] 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,[150] 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."[151]

In working to establish Harrisburg University, Cohen improved opportunities for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania students and others who would have been interested in being educated there.[152] Paul Beers wrote "The local civic achievement of the mid-1960s 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. York, Lancaster, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport were college towns, but not Harrisburg."[153]

Preserving a small district legislature

Cohen called reducing the size of the Pennsylvania General Assembly a "terrible idea whose time should never come"[154] that would reduce the range of political opinion in the legislative process,[155] make election campaigns more expensive,[156] make legislators "more remote" from their constituents, and "less representative of the average citizen."[157] He said the fiscal impact would be the same as closing one high school of the List of high schools in Pennsylvania.[158] 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.[159] Others shared his concerns.[160] Still others partially agreed with him, but still favored a smaller legislature,[161] or favored elimination of the 50 member Pennsylvania Senate instead.[162]

Other positions

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,[163] 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.[164] With the enactment of the compact in California,[165] 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.".[166] 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.[167] The bill was rewritten, renamed the Governor Raymond P. Shafer[168] Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, reintroduced on June 15, 2011, and re-referred to the Human Services Committee on June 23, 2011.[169] Despite the lack of public hearings in 2011, Cohen's medical marijuana bill continued to gain public support.[170] On September 15, 2011,[171] Cohen served as a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute faculty on the subject of Legalizing Marijuana,[172] discussing his bill to have legal medical marijuana, and submitting materials for the course record.[173] He told the Philadelphia Daily News the difficulties in passing his legislation, saying "There's not a single Republican in the legislature who is willing to say he supports it. Governor Corbett said he'd veto it." He warned that "There will be people moving to New Jersey to take advantage of the (medical marijuana) law there. I think that is clear."[174]

Labeled a "Stand-Up Pol" [175] for being one of only 16 members of the PA House to oppose banning gay marriage by statute in 1996,[176] 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).[177] His announcement press conference was hosted by the Pennsylvania Interfaith Alliance and other groups.[178] Newsletter, February 9, 2011 The bill is in the House Judiciary Committee.[179] It gained renewed attention with President Obama's May 9, 2012 announcement of support for same-sex marriage.[180] Cohen, with seven other state legislators, later co-sponsored House Bill 1835 introduced by Babette Josephs to bring marriage equality to Pennsylvania,[181] and was an initial member of a new Pennsylvania LGBT Equality Caucus.[182]

Cohen introduced legislation creating wheelchair accessible taxicabs for the disabled in Philadelphia (House Bill 1914) in 2010.[183] He also supported a system of workers compensation coverage for taxi drivers.[184] 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.[185] Cohen also involved himself in regulatory issues seeking to improve the economic viability of the Philadelphia taxicab industry.[186]

Cohen has frequently opposed attempts to privatize Pennsylvania's governmental services.[187] 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.[188]

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.[189] The Luna case remains unsolved.[190] 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.[191] Gricar was in 2011 declared legally dead,[192] but the search for him continues.[193] Cohen was appointed by Robert W. Edgar as a member of the President's Council of Common Cause.[194] He toured schools with U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Jr. and others to gain and share information about problems facing today's children.[195] He joined fellow members of the House Democratic Policy Committee in hearing testimony on urgent public problems.[196] He testified before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission against rate increases affecting his constituents.[197] He helped organize special events helping senior citizens,[198][199] and others needing information about health issues and health providers.[200] He joined Presidents and Mayors in honoring 100-year-old constituents.[201] He opposed legislation discriminating against immigrants.[202] He introduced House Resolution 714 designating Asian American Heritage Month on May 2, 2012; it passed the House unanimously on May 7, 2012. He shared his legislative district office with Philadelphia Councilwoman Marian Tasco one day a week, rent-free.[203] With her, he helped organize a summer basketball league, the Philadelphia Future League, which played its games at Philadelphia's Fisher Park,[204] and hosted all-star games there on September 15, 2012.[205]

Cohen spoke on "Hunger- Free Communities: Improving Food Access and Community Nutrition" at a conference called by the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.[206]

A lifetime member of the NAACP,[207] Cohen publicly rejected membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).[208] He attends meetings of the Progressive States Network, and 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." [209] He attends Philadelphia public events of National Night Out.[210] and works to get resources to fight neighborhood crime.[211] He supports Philadelphia town watch /Neighborhood Watch organizations,[212] Democratic Party picnics [213] civic awards dinners [214] and other civic awards events.[215] He continues to participate in political/governmental advocacy organizations including Democracy for America, Netroots Nation,[216] Pennsylvania's annual Progressive Summit, and the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee,[217] the governing body of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. He is a Democratic committeeman for the 53rd Ward, 16th Division in Philadelphia,[218] 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.[219] Cohen successfully supported the enactment of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a state holiday.[220]

He also supported naming the Keystone Shortway, Interstate 80, after Christopher Columbus,[221] 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."[222] He never complained about the privately paid for Rizzo statue in front of the Municipal Services Building, however.[223]

He was an early advocate of Edward M. Kennedy running for president in 1980.[224] 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.[225] He was an early contributor to the presidential campaign of Al Gore in 1999.[226]

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.[227]

He spoke in support of Israel and peace in the Middle East.[228]

He was an early endorser of the successful campaign of R. Seth Williams for Philadelphia District Attorney in 2009.[229] He campaigned for House Democratic colleagues, Louise Bishop,[230] John Sabatina,[231] Leanna Washington[232] 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.[233] He engaged in political fundraising.[234]

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.[235] 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;[236] Five years later, threatened with national boycotts, the state of Georgia quieted protesters by redoing its flag.[237] The state flag was last modified in 2003.

He defended the practice of electing judges in Pennsylvania.[238]

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.[239] Disagreeing with a high-powered lobbying effort,[240] 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."[241] His letter was cited by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette as one of the reasons to oppose the Corbett-Pileggi plan.[242]

He supported the Philadelphia Newspaper Guild in its 2006 labor dispute with publisher Brian Tierney.[243] 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.[244] He supported organizing Mushroom Workers in their efforts to both form a union and grow mushrooms in a more sanitary manner.[245] 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."[246] He supported the organizing efforts of the Philadelphia Security Officers Union.[247]

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[248] and Philadelphia.[249] 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."[250]

His many years of governmental service and political activism have led to occasional recognition as a political pundit.[251][252][253] He has often had occasion to eulogize top elected officials,[254] fellow legislators[255] lobbyists,[256] activists,[257][258][259] and local elected officials.[260] He has sometimes been a voice of caution, warning of difficulties ahead.[261] He has sometimes been used by journalists as a source of legislative institutional memory,[262] a source of what is considered hot news at the time [263] or a source of analysis.[264] He has sometimes offered predictions on which party would control the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in future elections,[265] and which legislative seats would change political parties.[266]

Cohen's activism and leadership on numerous issues over a period of four decades led him to spend unmandated weekends and holidays in Harrisburg, leading to journalistic criticism for extra travel, meals, and lodging expenses.[267] Asked by Facebook friend Russ Diamond about criticism of his per diem payments, Cohen said he "may well be the hardest working state legislator" and "what it comes down to is that I take very few days off, and they are trying to turn that into a scandal." [268] Two critics of Cohen for spending too many days working in Harrisburg later criticized the legislature as a whole for spending too few days working in Harrisburg due to a "minimalist calendar," and Auditor General -elect Eugene DePasquale said "If you're gonna pay the legislature, myself included, as full time, you should be working at it full time, and it's not just district office work. There is still work that needs to be done."[269]

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.[270]

To preserve financially stressed newspapers in order to further freedom of speech, he "has suggested that the only (new) 'content-neutral' way to (governmentally) support newspapers and protect quality journalism is to subsidize newsprint."[271] He viewed the long-repealed Fairness Doctrine as producing an improved quality of public debate.[272]

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[273] 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.[274]

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."[275]

More than a year before the shooting of Trayvon Martin, he dissented from the bipartisan legislative majority and opposed expansion of the Castle doctrine, allowing citizens a broader legal defense for shooting others on their own property or their own workplace.[276]

He supported the rights of all citizens to vote, with or without government issued photo identification. He joined fellow Representatives Dwight E. Evans and John L. Myers and others in protesting the Voter ID legislation enacted in Pennsylvania in front of a PennDot Drivers License Center.[277] He told a meeting of elected officials and the Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition that "This law (requiring government issued photo ID for each voter, beginning in November, 2012)is going to be a real problem for the very old and the very young. We need to create special street lists of these voters so they can be told about the law. The significance of these two groups is that these groups vote mostly Democratic. Keeping turnout down among these groups lowers the chances (of) Democrats getting elected." [278]

He opposed reductions in unemployment benefits saying that "The best that can be said about this legislation is that it could have been worse."

National involvement

On June 9, 2012 Cohen was elected an At-Large Delegate from Pennsylvania for the 2012 Democratic National Convention by the members of the Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee.[279] At the convention, he praised the strong support given to President Barack Obama by Bill Clinton, saying "Clinton brings very strong credibility as a spokesman for the Average American and for people who need their problems solved." [280] After the convention, he joined other elected officials and Democratic Party officials in rallying for President Obama's re-election.[281] He previously had been elected by the Democratic voters of Pennsylvania's 1st congressional district (parts of Philadelphia and Delaware County, Pennsylvania) as a pledged delegate for Howard Dean in 2004 [282] and Barack Obama in 2008.[283] Obama was the Keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

His initial support for Obama's 2008 nomination at the 2008 Democratic National Convention was rare for a Pennsylvania elected official: Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell would write in his memoirs that "I also made sure that we (the Pennsylvania campaign of Hillary Clinton) had the support of virtually every elected official in the state." [284] But, having contributed $1000 to Obama's campaign on March 17, 2007 [285] Cohen hosted the Philadelphia Obama Regional Meeting held at 2:00 pm on December 15, 2007 at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street. The agenda of the meeting was to meet other Pennsylvania Obama supporters, to meet members of the Obama field team, to discuss New Hampshire canvassing options, to review the PA Delegate Selection Plan, to discuss Congressional District Organizing, and to review the required petition drive to place Senator Obama on PA election ballots.[286]

Cohen 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.[287] He actively campaigned in 2003[288] 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[289] when it had become clear that Allyson Schwartz had more support than he did.[290]

Cohen's Congressional ambitions weakened over time, but did not go away entirely. After Allyson Schwartz announced her gubernatorial candidacy, Cohen filed with the Federal Election Commission as a candidate for 2014, but quickly announced he had reconsidered and would not run for Congress.[291] "I enjoy serving in the legislature very much, " he said.[292]

Social media

Cohen's use of social media (specifically blogging,[293][294]Facebook,[295] and Twitter,[296]) has been singled out as notable in various media. He has contributed writing to Phillyblog and[297][298]

Personal life

He and his wife Mona, a Philadelphia special education teacher and advocate for children with autism,[299] 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.[300]

His brother Denis serves in the First Judicial District of the Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas,[17] 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.[301] 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.[302]

Cohen's aphorism on political alienation, "Nothing can so alienate a voter from the political system as backing a winning candidate" has been quoted on many internet websites and collections of quotations.[303] Cohen first contributed it to a book by Paul Dickson, published in 1979, on rules of human behavior in which its contributors were granted the honorific title "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.

Awards and recognition received

Cohen was one of only two incumbent PA House members that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action on October 30, 2012 said "we strongly urge" voters to support.[304]

Cohen was one of 35 current and two former Pennsylvania state legislators who was awarded the 2012 Freedom Keeper Award by Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania on April 25, 2012. The award was given "to the Pennsylvania senators and representatives who stood with us to defeat legislation designed to impede access to a full range of reproductive health care--including affordable, safe abortion services." [305]

Cohen was the sole candidate of any race for any public office in the April 24, 2012 Democratic primary endorsed by the Philadelphia Sunday Sun, published by Pennsylvania NAACP President J. Whyatt Mondesire, on April 22, 2012. "Representative Mark Cohen has emphatically won the endorsement of the Philadelphia Sunday Sun based on his record of hard work assisting his constituents, his rock-solid support of organized labor and his close working relationship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus for more than 30 years," the Sun editorial began.[306]

Cohen was the sole white candidate for the PA House of Representatives endorsed for election or re-election by the black-oriented Philadelphia Tribune in its editorial endorsements of April 22, 2012 and April 24, 2012.[307]

Cohen was one of four state House members endorsed for re-nomination in the April 24 Democratic Primary by Education Voters Pennsylvania, "an independent public interest organization that advocates for public education and pushes for action to improve all schools in Pennsylvania. ... We are fighting special interests and bad policies in Harrisburg and working in communities in support of an equitable education for all." [308]

He was named an "environmental hero" by Penn Environment for his 100% environmental quality voting record.[309]

He received an "Outstanding Service Award" from his legal alma mater, Widener University School of Law, in 2004.[310]

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.[311]


  1. ^ The second most senior current Pennsylvania House member is Thomas Caltagirone, whose service began on December 1, 1976. 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.
  2. ^ 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. Thirteen other incumbent state legislators around the United States with more seniority than Cohen as of the start of the 2015 legislative session
  3. ^ Pennsylvania state legislators who have served longer than Cohen as of the start of the 2015-2016 legislative session include Clarence D. Bell, Norman Wood and Michael O'Pake.
  4. ^ Pennsylvania Manual, Volume 120
  5. ^
  6. ^ The King Center website, digital archive "Letter from Mark Cohen to MLK,"
  7. ^ Tracie Mauriello, "Delegates cherish diversity that McGovern began," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 5, 2012,
  8. ^ The Daily Pennsylvanian, September, 1967 through May, 1968
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ 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."
  11. ^ "War Not Condemned by Council, Peace Monument is Endorsed," University of Pennsylvania Almanac, November, 1969, page 1,
  12. ^ ["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
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ The Pennsylvania Manual. Volume 119. pp. 3–118
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ "There's no better way to gain a more thorough and integrated understanding of policy options in Pennsylvania's complex educational systems than to participate in the Education Policy Fellowship Program. It is a superb way to break down barriers of geography, specialization, and life experience in order to focus on the needs of 21st Century students," "Participant Comments: How Do EPFP Alumni Describe the Program," Comments of Representative Mark Cohen
  17. ^ a b Martindale-Hubble Law Directory
  18. ^ Cox, Harold (November 3, 2004). "Pennsylvania House of Representatives - 1973-1974" (PDF). Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University. 
  19. ^ Associated Press, "Democrats Go For Open Primary," Observer-Reporter, March 14, 1974.
  20. ^ Queenie Byars, Chuck Stone's Legacy of Diversity, Huffington Post, June 18, 2012,
  21. ^ (Philadelphia Daily News, May 20, 1974, p. 10)
  22. ^ 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, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg in September, 1974, as quoted in "Check Problems of Rape Victims," The News Dispatch, August 12, 1974.
  23. ^ Quotation is from House Judiciary Chairman Norman Berson Legislative Journal-House, page 3249, November 25, 1975. Cohen's votes against a weakening amendment and for the bill are on Legislative Journal-House, page 3250, November 25, 1975.
  24. ^ Pennsylvania Manual, 1976
  25. ^ "C.L. Schmitt, was known as Mr. Consumer," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 22, 1993
  26. ^ Wally Hudson, "Fair Trade May Fade," Reading Eagle, June 18, 1975
  27. ^ House Bill 175 of 1975,
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Legislative Journal-House, February 5, 1975, page 137,
  30. ^ John C. Raines, Lenora E. Berson, Community and Capital in Conflict: Plant Closings and Job Loss (1982)
  31. ^ Office of Technology Assessment, Plant Closing: Advance Notice and Rapid Response (September, 1986), pages 56-57
  32. ^ William Schweke: Plant Closings: issues, politics, and legislation (1980)
  33. ^ 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 & the New Jobs Coalitions: The Philadelphia 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,
  34. ^ 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,
  35. ^ 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,
  36. ^ Alexei M. Marcoux, "Business Ethics Gone Wrong," in Marc D. Street, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Management (2005), page 17
  37. ^ "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,
  38. ^ Ellen Cassedy, "Spring Garden Shutdown Drug Company Pulling Out, Phila. Losing Out," Philadelphia Inquirer, October 6, 1988, page 2 at,
  39. ^ A detailed description of the program, its operations, and its shutdown, can be found at the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency website at
  40. ^ Act 1981 of 1983, originally House Bill 500
  41. ^ Legislative Journal-House, June 29, 1983, pages 914-958,
  42. ^ Legislative Journal--House, December 14, 1983, pages 2304-2310,
  43. ^ Press release, "Cohen calls for increased HEMAP funding, " June 30, 2009,
  44. ^ David Henry, "'Occupy' protestors target Pa. governor," Action News,, November 3, 2011,
  45. ^ UPI, "Efforts to Defeat Mortgage Legislation Fail," The News-Dispatch, March 7, 1981, Google News Archives
  46. ^ Associated Press, "City Near Bankruptcy: House Refuses to Allow Philadelphia Tax Hikes," Observer-Reporter, May 12, 1976, page D-7
  47. ^ Matt Petrillo, "War of the Wards: Council's Redistricting Map Fails to Address Real Political Restructuring," Philadelphia Weekly, November 9, 2011,
  48. ^ Legislative Journal-House (1977), page 906,
  49. ^ 533F.Supp.631(1981), page 634,,+533+F.+Supp.+631&hl=en&as_sdt=2,39
  50. ^ 673F.2d628(1982) (See numbered paragraphs 11-26.)
  51. ^ 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 Psychiatric 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.
  52. ^ Mike Moyle, "Dispute blocks public aid checks," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 5, 1981.
  53. ^ Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Members of the House, Sponsored Legislation, As of December 20, 2013, Cohen had sponsored 1,462 House Bills and Resolutions. The second highest Democrat was Rep. Bill Kortz, who sponsored 1,425 House Bills and Resolutions. The highest Republican in the House was Rep. Tom Murt, who sponsored 1,426 House Bills and Resolutions.
  54. ^ House Bill 530, Printer's Number 2700
  55. ^ "Pennsylvania AFL-CIO urges State Senate to pass House Bill 530, Buy American legislation", November 26, 2013, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO website, Legislation and Policy section,
  56. ^ "New law respects military service members burial wishes,", July 3, 2013.
  57. ^ Drake Dorman, "Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana bill secures first Republican sponsor," Medical Jane website, November 5, 2013.
  58. ^ Chris Brennan, Philly Clout, "State Rep. Mike McGeehan to retire from NE Philly district," (blog), December 20, 2013,
  59. ^ Cohen's Facebook campaign page s Mark Cohen for State Representative,
  60. ^ Nicholas Laughlin, "Kingston Rep. Phyllis Mundy to Retire;" PoliticsPA,, December 2, 2013,
  61. ^ "City Legislators Make Harrisburg Comeback," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 10, 1983
  62. ^ "The Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law," website of the law firm of Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.,
  63. ^ Dafney Tales, "Judge upholds whistle-blower's lunch-theft lawsuit," Philadelphia Daily News, October 3, 2011,
  64. ^ Jane-Ellen Rosenberger, "Jobless Pay Plan Gathers Support," Pittsburgh Press, April 19, 1983, quotes him as saying a plan submitted by Governor Richard Thornburgh was "a worthwhile framework" for a settlement
  65. ^ 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,
  66. ^
  67. ^ Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce newsletter in the Fall of 1983
  68. ^ Philadelphia Unemployment Project, "Lessons from the Minimum Wage Campaign in Pennsylvania," (2006),
  69. ^ Pennsylvania Act 150 of 1988.
  70. ^ Pennsylvania Act 70 of 1990.
  71. ^ Karen Bruno, "Wage Fight: Battle Over Minimum Wage enters nation's state houses," Nation's Restaurant News, November 2, 1987,;content
  72. ^ Russell E. Eshleman, Jr. and Robert Zausner, "Legislators Like Minimum Wage. Send Casey an Increase of 35 cents," Philadelphia Inquirer, November 30, 1988.
  73. ^ Mark B. Cohen, "Legislation in the works," letter to the editor, USA Today, July 27, 2006,
  74. ^ Damon C. Williams, Bill Seeks Increase in State's Minimum Wage, Philadelphia Tribune, March 28, 2013,
  75. ^ "Unions Defend Cohen," Philadelphia Daily News, February 21, 1990,
  76. ^ 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.
  77. ^ Rep. Gallagher had been the prime sponsor of the 1978 Seasonal Farm Labor Act
  78. ^ Wendi Taylor, "Panel Told Farmworkers'Rights Ignored," Allentown Morning Call, August 30, 1984.
  79. ^ Wendi Taylor, Allentown Morning Call, September 1, 1984,
  80. ^ "Farmworkers say '78 law did not halt abuses," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 30, 1984, page B1.
  81. ^ "Farmhand protection sought," Reading Eagle Times, March 19, 1993, page B5
  82. ^ Membership, Honorary Committee for the Friends of Farmworkers 30th Anniversary Celebration,
  83. ^ Cheryl Wenner, " Legislator Urges Faster Workmen's Compensation," Allentown The Morning Call, April 7, 1986,
  84. ^ "For Equitable Compensation," Letter to the Editor, Allentown The Morning Call, Clifford L. Jones, President, Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce, April 25, 1986,
  85. ^ (November, 1990)
  86. ^ 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)
  87. ^ Laura Hartman is Vincent DePaul Professor of Business Ethics and Legal Studies in the Management Department of the Depaul University College of Commerce,
  88. ^ 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. DesJardins served as the Executive Director of the Society for Business Ethics in 2004-2008, Society of Business Ethics, Board and Officers,
  89. ^ 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.
  90. ^ 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,
  91. ^ "Bill Would Fine Striking Teachers," Philadelphia Inquirer, October 4, 1988, page B07
  92. ^ Susan Warner, "On Labor's Day, About 60 Remember Old Roots and Reasons With Rally," Philadelphia Inquirer, September 6, 1988,
  93. ^ "Labor Chiefs Prepare for Holiday Parade," Philadelphia Inquirer, page B02. The article called the 1991 event the "4th Annual Labor Day Parade."
  94. ^ "Thousands Participate in Labor's Celebration of Its Day," The Public Record, September 8, 2011, 4th line of photographs, 2nd photograph on left,
  95. ^ Pennsylvania Manuals 1991-2011
  96. ^ Brian Tashman, Right Wing Watch, "Pennsylvania Republican Introduces Amendment to Ban Gay Marriage," May 3, 2011,
  97. ^ John L. Micek, Capitol Ideas, "PA House names its committee chairs for 2013-14 legislative session," December 19, 2012,
  98. ^ 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,"
  99. ^ 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
  100. ^ 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
  101. ^ 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
  102. ^ House Bill 1651 was referred to the House Human Services Committee on June 8, 2011, and a public hearing has been held on it.
  103. ^ State Representative Mark B. Cohen, Human Services Update 2011(July 1, 2011)
  104. ^ 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
  105. ^ State Rep. Mike Sturla, "HDPC examines proposed cuts to human services budget," May 26, 2011,
  106. ^ State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, "Marcellus Shale Gas Industry Should Pay Full Share," & State Rep. Gene DiGiralamo, Fall, 2011 Newsletter, page 2
  107. ^ House Bill 272 of 2011 (sponsors and text),
  108. ^ Pennsylvania Medical Society, "Bill Calls for Lyme Disease Treatment Protocol, More Information,"
  109. ^ Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, "New Pennsylvania Drug, Alcohol Agency on Hold," York Daily Record, October 20, 2011,
  110. ^ News Release, State Rep. Mark Cohen, "Delay creating Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs disappoints Cohen," October 21, 2011,
  111. ^ Facts on public hearing are from James McGinnis, "Corbett refuses to create DiGirolamo's new drug office," Bucks County Courier-Times, November 1, 2011,
  112. ^ "New drug office was established by law, but governor says no," November 7, 2011,
  113. ^ 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,
  114. ^ "Speaker Asks Reform Commission to Continue Work." State Representative Denny O'Brien website,
  115. ^ "Speaker Announces Symposium on Crime and Violence," Press Release From Office of Speaker Dennis M. O'Brien,
  116. ^ Pennsylvanians for Representative Cohen advertisement, The Public Record (newspaper), April 19, 2012, page 3
  117. ^ See especially sections "Majority Chairmanship of House Labor Relations Committee" and "Improving the Public's Health"
  118. ^ Associated Press, "Residency Requirement May Be Void," Observer-Reporter, June 17, 1981
  119. ^ 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."
  120. ^ Associated Press, "Philadelphia mayor opposes drastic budget cuts," Pittsburgh Tribune Review, November 6, 2008,
  121. ^ Rep. Mark B. Cohen, "Philadelphia Fiscal Problems Are Not The Same As International Crises," Young Philly Politics, January 14, 2009,
  122. ^ Friends of the Free Library, "Library branch closings listed by branch," & Friends of the Free Library, "Library branch closings listed by legislator,"
  123. ^ Kathy Boccella,"Hoping for a happy non-ending at branches," Philadelphia Inquirer, November 9, 2008, page B01,
  124. ^ The Pennsylvania Restaurant Association has questions and answers about the enacted smoking ban at Pennsylvania Smoking Ban FAQ's,
  125. ^ A business-oriented study of business lobbying around the United States with a 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)
  126. ^ "Labeling Bill on Toxics OK'd by Thornburgh," Philadelphia Inquirer, October 6, 1984.
  127. ^ "Dealer Admits Selling Bad Meat To City firms," Philadelphia Daily News, March 2, 1983
  128. ^ "Tainted Meat Shipped to Phila--3 Million Pounds Had Illegal Seal," Philadelphia Inquirer, September 27, 1983
  129. ^ Legislative Journal-House (1986), roll-call vote, page 1456, June 23, 1986,
  130. ^ David Morris, "Bill Would Aid Migrant Health Plan," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 12, 1987, page B10
  131. ^ Associated Press, Observer-Reporter, June 15, 1992
  132. ^ "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
  133. ^ Act 102 of 1994
  134. ^ "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,"
  135. ^ 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,
  136. ^ "PA House of Representatives Declares Saturday, May 12, 2007 'Disability Awareness Day,'" Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council, May 8, 2007,
  137. ^ Pennsylvania Act 159 of 1984
  138. ^ Lauren Daley, "Controversial abortion clinic bill clears house," Pittsburgh City Paper, May 12, 2011,
  139. ^ "Pennsylvania Legislature lessens patient protections in State's HIV -Testing Law," July 1, 2011, AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania website,
  140. ^ Sue Sturgis, "PA legislators advance cluster bills," Hometown Hazards, May 9, 2007,
  141. ^ House Bill 1976,
  142. ^ Act 273 of 1976,
  143. ^ Sara Kennedy, "A Doctor Returns To Serve His People," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 26, 1986.
  144. ^ 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 1980s and 1990s 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.
  145. ^ Legislative Journal-House, page 1427,
  146. ^ 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,
  147. ^ 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
  148. ^ page 790, Legislative Journal-House (1990),
  149. ^ 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,
  150. ^ 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,
  151. ^ "About HU, The HU Story,"
  152. ^ Paul Beers, Edited with a foreword by Michael Barton, City Contented, City Discontented: A History of Modern Harrisburg (2011), page xvii
  153. ^ Paul Beers, Edited with a Foreword by Michael Barton, City Contented, City Discontented (2011), pages 330-331
  154. ^ John Baer, "The wacky world of Pa. reform," Philadelphia Daily News, August 10, 2011,
  155. ^ Mark Scolforo, Associated Press "Pa. House considers proposals to shrink Assembly," The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, August 9, 2011
  156. ^ Tom Barnes, "Panel Considers Proposals to Reduce State Legislature," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 9, 2011,
  157. ^ Sari Heidenreich, "Speaker Proposes Downsizing State House to 153 Members," Allentown Morning Call, August 9, 2011,,0,1711825.story
  158. ^ Amy Worden, "Efforts to cut size of Pa General Assembly gains support, " Philadelphia Inquirer, August 10, 2011,
  159. ^ Mark B. Cohen, "opposing Increasing the Size of Legislative Districts, " August 18, 2011,
  160. ^ 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."
  161. ^ "Legislature Far Too Big, Reduce Boldly," Scranton Times-Tribune August 15, 2011,
  162. ^ "Just eliminate state senate," letter to the editor, Reading Eagle, August 22, 2011,
  163. ^ A critical view of Cohen's leadership on medical marijuana, and Cohen's response that he is in all cases interested in improving the public's health, can be found in "State Rep Mark Cohen:For Pot Smoking, Against Cigarette Smoking,"
  164. ^ 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,
  165. ^ Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff writer, "Governor signs bill for popular presidential vote," San Francisco Chronicle, August 8, 2011,
  166. ^ State to consider medical marijuana use Tom Barnes
  167. ^ Phillip Smith, "Feature: Medical Marijuana Gets Historic First House Hearing in Pennsylvania," at
  168. ^ Shafer chaired the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, which became widely known as the Shafer Commission
  169. ^ 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."
  170. ^ 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,
  171. ^ "Legalizing Marijuana: Part of PBI's Public Policy Series, Course Number 7035,"
  172. ^ Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Legalizing Marijuana, September, 2011, page iii
  173. ^ 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
  174. ^ Jason Nark, "Altered States: Medical Pot in N.J., PA," Philadelphia Daily News, November 28, 2011, page 8,
  175. ^ Scott Farmelant, "Stand-Up Pols," City Paper of Philadelphia, October 10–17, 1996,
  176. ^ Scott A. Safier, "How PA representatives voted ... Voting Against anti-marriage legislation," 1996,
  177. ^ 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,"
  178. ^ "Three Marriage Equality Events February 14th," Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania, February, 2011,
  179. ^ 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
  180. ^ Randy LoBasso, "Calls for Pennsylvania Gay Marriage Amendments Following Obama Announcement," PW Blogs,
  181. ^ Jen Colletta, "PA House Sees First Marriage Bill," Philadelphia Gay News, September 16, 2011,
  182. ^ Randy LoBasso, "State Legislature Members Form LGBT Equality Caucus," Philadelphia Weekly, December 19, 2011,
  183. ^ 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.
  184. ^ Board of Directors Meeting Minutes, Pennsylvania Federation of Injured Workers, January 13, 2010,,%202010.pdf
  185. ^ 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
  186. ^ 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).
  187. ^ 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."
  188. ^ 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."
  189. ^ 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.
  190. ^ Drew Sandholm and Mark Shone, "On the Sixth Anniversary of Jonathan Luna's Mysterious Death, Still No Arrest," ABC News, December 4, 2009,
  191. ^ 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
  192. ^ Mike Dawson, "Former District Attorney Ray Gricar declared dead," Centre Daily Times, July 25, 2011,
  193. ^ 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.)
  194. ^ The appointment of the President's Council was announced in Common Cause [News from the Front Lines], Winter, 2008, Volume 1, Number 1.
  195. ^ U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Bob's Blog: Helping Prevent Bullying In Schools, October 8, 2010,
  196. ^ 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,
  197. ^ "We Win! PGW loses bid to increase prices," State Representative Mark B. Cohen, Letter from Harrisburg, August, 2004, page 2,
  198. ^ "Senator Kitchen Invites Older Residents To Upcoming 'Senior Day,'" PA,
  199. ^ "Rep. Cohen's Happy Seniors," The Public Record (newspaper), May 3, 2012, page 5
  200. ^ "Health Festival," Philadelphia Tribune, October 4, 2011, Page 9-B,
  201. ^ Philadelphia Tribune, Tribune Staff Report, Obituary, Annabelle Taylor Williams, 103, April 25, 2012,
  202. ^ Farzin Khan, Asian Pacific Americans for Progress, "Philly APAP House Party--Ready for Action," May 13, 2010,
  203. ^ Jan Ransom, "No taxpayer dollars for Jones' second district office, Bass hoping for one," Philadelphia Daily News, August 1, 2012,
  204. ^ Donald Hunt, "Summer Youth Basketball League scheduled this month," in Donald Hunt, "Cheyney President calls for self-imposed probation," Philadelphia Tribune, August 2, 2012,
  205. ^ "5th Annual family health-safety fete set," Philadelphia Tribune, September 14, 2012, page 12-B
  206. ^ Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service, Speakers and Panelists, and ending Ending Hunger Through Citizen Service, October 9, Tuesday, Philadelphia
  207. ^ "Lifetime members of the NAACP salute the FREEDOM FUND GALA," Awards, Entertainment, and Special Tribute to the late Joseph "Butterball" Tamburro WDAS Radio Legend, Philadelphia NAACP2012 Freedom Fund Gala Adbook, October 28, 2012, unpaginated
  208. ^ Keystone Progress, "Whose side is your legislator on? These legislators stand with the people of Pennsylvania and are NOT members of ALEC,"
  209. ^ See
  210. ^ William Kenny, "NE neighborhoods get ready for National Night Out," Northeast Times, July 27, 2011,
  211. ^ Larry Miller, "N. Phila. businesses urged to fight crime," The Philadelphia Tribune, May 14, 2010, page 3-A, statement of Rep. Curtis Thomas, column 4,
  212. ^ See
  213. ^ "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
  214. ^ Friends of Labor Awards, The Philadelphia Tribune, October 23, 2012, page 2-B,
  215. ^ John O. Mason, "Southeastern Pennsylvania ADA Honors Three Progressive Women," Philadelphia Jewish Voice, October 15, 2012
  216. ^ 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.
  217. ^ 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
  218. ^ 2010 Democratic primary election results,
  219. ^ 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.
  220. ^ 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
  221. ^ Associated Press, "Shortway May Get Name Change," appearing in the Reading Eagle and the Observer Reporter, April 21, 1977
  222. ^ Bob Warner,"On the State House Floor, they came to praise and bury Rizzo," Philadelphia Daily News, August 2, 1991, Philadelphia Inquirer
  223. ^ 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,
  224. ^ "State Democratic Leaders Begin Draft Kennedy Project," Observer-Reporter, June 30, 1979,,4365954&dq=rep+mark+cohen+edward+m+kennedy+president&hl=en
  225. ^ Mike Moyle, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Anderson Getting Fiscal, Political Aid," June 20, 1980,
  226. ^, database of campaign contributions
  227. ^ 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,
  228. ^ "Harrisburg Rally for Solidarity with Israel," Community Review, Janmuary 6, 2009,
  229. ^ "Endorsements," Friends of Seth Williams website,
  230. ^ "Bishop Hosts Party At Her Home In Overbrook, " The Public Record, August 18, 2011
  231. ^
  232. ^ Patricia Clifford, Out and About in Philadelphia, "Friends, Colleagues Celebrate Sen. Washington's Birthday," Philadelphia Tribune, August 10, 2010, page 8B,
  233. ^ "An Open Letter to the Jewish Community," Jewish Exponent, September 9, 2010,
  234. ^ John Micek, "Tuesday Morning Coffee: Electoral College Bill Off Til Spring, What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)," Capitol Ideas,, November 22, 2011,
  235. ^ Doug Richardson, Associated Press, Times Union, July 31, 1987, "State Legislative Delegations Oppose Bork Nomination,",6308724&dq=rep+mark+cohen+pennsylvania+legislative+black+caucus&hl=en
  236. ^ 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
  237. ^ 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,
  238. ^ Philadelphia Bar Reporter Online, April 6, 2006,
  239. ^ Comment, State Rep. Mark Cohen, "A State GOP Disagreement," Baer Growls, blog,, September 14, 2011,
  240. ^ 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,
  241. ^ Danielle Lynch, "Protestors deliver election message to Pileggi," Delaware County Times, September 20, 2011, & "On the Hill, Rep. Cohen: Electoral Change 'Illegal' The Public Record," September 29, 2011, page 23
  242. ^ "Losing at the polls: This GOP plan helps the party and hurts the state," Editorial, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, September 27, 2011,
  243. ^ News Archive--2006, listed in December, 2006,
  244. ^ Kathy Sheehan and Cynthia Burton, "4-day Septa strike settled," Philadelphia Daily News, March 20, 1986, page 4 of 6,
  245. ^ Cindy Anders, "Striking Kaolin Workers Urge Consumers to Boycott Mushrooms," Philadelphia Inquirer, April 13, 1993,
  246. ^ Cindy Anders, Sandy Bauers, Michael Matza, "Is Mushroom Strike A Look At Labor's New Face?" Seattle Times, May 2, 1993,
  247. ^ Fabricio Rodriguez blog, Resume,
  248. ^ John Micek, "What goes on," Capitol Ideas, August 31, 2011, "Cohen Urges Help For Homeowners," Pennsylvania Legislative Services, http://www/
  249. ^ "Mortgage Deadline Tomorrow," The Public Record, September 15, 2011, page 3
  250. ^ 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,
  251. ^ 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,
  252. ^ 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.
  253. ^ Associated Press, "Itkin Waging Uphill Campaign, "Reading Eagle/Reading Times, August 14, 1998
  254. ^ "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
  255. ^ "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,
  256. ^ " ACLU Lobbyist Larry Frankel Found Dead in Washington," Young Philly Politics,
  257. ^ "Remembering Lenora Berson," Take Action/Philly ADA,
  258. ^ Jim Tayoun, "Out and About: Charles Bowser's Pals," The Public Record, August 12, 2010
  259. ^ "Agnes Moran Devoted Her Life to the Rights of Workers," Young Philly Politics, and John F. Morrison, Philadelphia Daily News, August 18, 2010,
  260. ^ Zachary Shevich,"Late City Councilman Ed Schwartz remembered as 'a man of all people,'"
  261. ^ Russell E. Eshelman, Jr. and Robert Moran, "Ridge Sworn In As 43rd Governor. Pageantry Surrounds Pa.'s Biggest Inaugural," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 18, 1995,
  262. ^ Gabrielle Banks, "A look at laws that linger, defying common sense," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 5, 2011,
  263. ^ John L. Micek, "House Demmocrats Purge Staffers," Capitol Ideas, November 13, 2007,
  264. ^ Megan O'Matz, "GOP Legislators Still Lack Votes For School Choice. State House Leadership Refuses to Schedule Defeat," Morning Call, September 14, 1995,
  265. ^ Comment to Tom Ferrick, Jr., "So Many Questions," Ferrick's Poliblog 2006, May 30, 2006, Cohen said, "The Democrats are going to win a clear majority of the House seats in November, 2006. The battle for the leadership of the House Republicans is going to be over the minority leadership position."
  266. ^ Rep. Mark B. Cohen, "Brendan Boyle Will Be Elected in 2008," June 1, 2007, Comment to Brady Dale's Blog, "Maybe Perzel Isn't So Bad or Why We Should All Love Hubris," May 30, 2008,
  267. ^ John Baer, On the Front Line of Pennsylvania Politics, Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting (2012), pages 54-57
  268. ^ Chris Brennan, Philadelphia Daily News, August 17, 2012,
  269. ^ Dennis Owens, ABC27WHTM, "Pennsylvania lawmakers had just 8 session days in final six months of 2012," December 3, 2012, Owens himself and Tim Potts had previously criticized Cohen for spending too much time in Harrisburg, as seen in the link in the Chris Brennan blog posting above.
  270. ^ Eyana Adah McMillan, "Legislature Takes on 'Intolerance' at State Universities York Dispatch, July 7, 2005
  271. ^ "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,
  272. ^
  273. ^ (Act 105 of 2008)
  274. ^ "Cohen measure aiding local police departments signed into law," October 15, 2008,,
  275. ^ Paul Weyrich, "Hate speech laws: A new cross for Christians to bear," March 7, 2005,
  276. ^ "The Fight for Self-Defense," PA Gun,
  277. ^ "Philly Dems Say No to Voter ID," The Public Record (newspaper), April 12, 2010, page 5
  278. ^ Denise Clay, "Out & About" (column), The Public Record (newspaper), April 19, 2012, page 20, 43
  279. ^ Clifford Levine, Nominations for At-Large Delegates Recommended by the Obama for America Committee, June 9, 2012 His election as delegate was noted in Bryan Schwartzman, "Dems Prepare for N.C. Convention," Jewish Exponent, August 29, 2012, He was interviewed at the Convention by Tracie Mauriello, "Delegates cherish diversity that McGovern began," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 5, 2012, "Delegates cherish diversity that McGovern began" is also available on the website of Pennsylvania Democrats, at A list of all delegates and others in state delegations is found at 2012 Convention Delegate List--Democratic National Committee,
  280. ^ Brad Bumsted and Salena Zito, "Ex-President Clinton lends prestige to Obama cause," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, as printed in the Orlando Sentinel, September 5, 2012
  281. ^ "Sid Booker and Sen. Kitchen Rock City With Power-Packed Obama Rally," The Public Record, November 8, 2012, page 19
  282. ^ Peter Jackson, Associated Press, "Dean picks up Pa. delegate from Phila. area," April, 2004. A reference to his delegate camapaign can be found in "The Tale of Those Wisconsin Tapes," in Taking Root: A Newsletter by Grassroots America, March 30, 2004 (Premier Issue),
  283. ^ League of Women Voters Citizen Education Fund, Delegate Contests,
  284. ^ Ed Rendell, A Nation of Wusses (2012), page 146.
  285. ^
  286. ^ "Philadelphia Obama Regional Meeting. Host: PA State Rep. Mark Cohen. December 15, 2007--2:00pm," website,
  287. ^ 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
  288. ^ "Democrat Cohen Joins Race in the 13th District," Philadelphia Inquirer, August 21, 2003, page B9
  289. ^ "Metropolitan News in Brief," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 8, 2004
  290. ^ Cohen's nascent campaign and his ultimate pre-primary withdrawal are noted, but not otherwise discussed, in Robert Fiato, In a State of Flux: State Lawmakers, Legislative Professionalism, and Congressional Candidacies, All Academic Research (2008), page 53. Cohen in 2004 did not fit the common profile of a state legislator turned Congressional candidate cited within, however, of a junior legislator with a clear path to Congress.
  291. ^ Chris Brennan, Philadelphia Daily News, "Political judo: Marjorie Margolies turns weakness to strength," May 31, 2013
  292. ^ Tom Waring, Northeast Times, "Decision-time nears for Margolies," April 24, 2013.
  293. ^ 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, January, 2007
  294. ^ 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, Volume 21, Issue 2 (Winter, 2007-2008), page 43
  295. ^ Tony West, "You Gotta Have Friends: Politicians Are Opening Facebook", The Public Record, July 16, 2009
  296. ^ Heather Long, "Forget Anthony Weiner, Twitter is here to stay", Patriot-News, June 25, 2011
  297. ^ Lauren Fritsky, "Call Him Rep. Blog", the Northeast Times, August 2, 2007
  298. ^ With the shutdown of Phillyblog in July, 2009, he blogged most frequently at since then; Cohen authored the next to last post on Young Philly Politics "Understandable, But a Shame" before its March 13, 2013 shutdown to new posts.
  299. ^ 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/
  300. ^ Murray Friedman, Philadelphia Jewish Life, 1940-2000, (2003) page 115, notes that "Not until 1930s 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."
  301. ^ 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%),
  302. ^ "Census boosts hope for gay victories in '15," Philadelphia Inquirer, July 24, 2011
  303. ^ 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,"
  304. ^ Memo from Glenavie Norton, Chair, October 30, 2012,
  305. ^ Program, 16th Annual Spring Gathering, Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, Freedom Keeper Award, page 3 (insert)
  306. ^ J. Whyatt Mondesire, Publisher, Philadelphia Sunday Sun, "Why the SUN supports MARK COHEN," April 22, 2012, page 7. The editorial went on to say "The SUN believes that when an elected official, of whatever ethnic backround [sic?] or national origin, fights for the rights and needs of his or her district, then that person deserves to be returned to office. Mark Cohen, like his irreplaceable father, the late Councilman David Cohen (politician), has been a fighter for progressive causes and the people who have been most in need. A longtime supporter of public schools and decent housing, Rep. Cohen has been in the forefront of those battles in Harrisburg that benefit our people and our neighborhoods the most. And in the past when other legislators pushed Rep. Cohen to demand why he was fighting so hard for African Americans, he has held fast, unafraid...never backing down. On April 24, the Philadelphia SUN, which has championed the causes and struggles of African Americans throughout the Philadelphia region for more than 20 years, urges the Democratic voters in the 202nd Legislative District to send Mark Cohen back to Harrisburg. Push button #112 in the 202nd District." The editorial also quoted Donald "Ducky" Birts as saying "Mark Cohen is a man of guts and smarts who is respected by all of his colleagues, black and white."
  307. ^ The Tribune endorsements can be found at
  308. ^ Endorsements for 2012 Primary, Education Voters Pennsylvania,
  309. ^ "Penn Environment Grades Philadelphia's Politicians on Environmental Votes," September 15, 2005,
  310. ^ "2004 Alumni Awards,"
  311. ^ "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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