Pennsylvania House State Government Committee Majority Chairman Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, has reintroduced legislation to require all commonwealth employers and government entities to enroll in the federal government’s free E-Verify program to confirm the validity of Social Security numbers for prospective employees.
State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, the first co-sponsor of House Bill 1894, is working with Metcalfe to get the bill though the legislature. Both noted that there is bipartisan support to hold all state employers to a higher level of accountability in terms of their hiring practices.
Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more
PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more
State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, today announced two state Community Conservation Partnership Program grants for the 21st Legislative District.
The Borough of Etna received $500,000 for the Allegheny Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Ross Township received $17,500 to help complete its Allegheny Master Site Plan & Feasibility Study.
Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more
Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more
In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more
State Rep. Dom Costa’s annual senior fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30 at the Ross Township Community Center, 1000 Ross Municipal Drive.
Costa said that seniors are encouraged to come out and get valuable information from numerous agencies about different programs and benefits for which they might qualify. Read more
State Rep. Dom Costa will hold a rally against animal cruelty at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society to raise support for Angel’s Law, which would increase the grading of charges related to animal abuse.
Costa, D-Allegheny, said that attendees should bear in mind that the event will not be a protest; it is a rally for positive change to state law. Costa is the sponsor of Angel’s Law, H.B. 113, which awaits a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. Read more
HARRISBURG, June 16 – The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee today approved legislation that would require counties to have in place an operational restitution-collection system, said Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, the measure’s sponsor. House Bill 1070 would ensure that restitution orders are being enforced at the county level by increasing accountability for existing requirements and enhancing collection and record-keeping requirements. “If a county does not already use a collection agency, firm or in-house resources to help ensure that restitution is made to a victim, the provisions contained in H.B. 1070 are designed to help the county implement a system that is thorough and efficient,” Costa said. “As a member of the Judiciary Committee and a former police officer, I cannot understate the value that restitution plays in the delivery of justice. Without it, victims will remain that much further from financial and mental closure. Every county should be equipped to stay on top of these orders.” In 2011, the Office of Victim Advocate convened The Restitution in Pennsylvania Task Force to study and develop recommendations for improving the restitution process in Pennsylvania. The task force identified gaps in law and procedure that negatively affected crime victims’ likelihood of receiving the restitution due to them, and in February 2013, issued its final report , which included 47 recommendations for reforms. “This Read more
HARRISBURG, June 3 – Honoring the life and death of U.S. Marine Sgt. John McLaughlin, who died in battle during the Korean War, the Pennsylvania House this week unanimously adopted H.R. 351 , introduced by state Reps. Harry Readshaw and Dom Costa, both D-Allegheny. McLaughlin was 19 and a member of USMC Company D, 32 nd battalion, 5 th regiment, 1 st Division when he when he died during the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir on Dec. 7, 1950. McLaughlin's remains were unidentified and buried in the grave of unknown soldiers in the National Memorial Cemetery in Hawaii, where they lay for 58 years, until a project using familial DNA samples positively identified him. McLaughlin was returned to the Pittsburgh region in April and will be laid to rest there on Saturday, June 6. "It is an honor to salute the life of Sergeant McLaughlin," Readshaw said. "As a fellow Marine, I am thrilled to know his body is finally being interred in his home region. Advances in both science and medicine are providing more families their final closure to the unknown casualties in our wars." Costa said, “Closure is a critical component to the healing process for the families of MIA service members, and it’s fortunate that we are able to recognize the heroism and sacrifice of one of Pittsburgh’s own as we highlight the good work of the Korean War Project.” Positive identification was made through the Korean War Project: Finding the Read more
What began as a conversation between two local children’s advocates recently made its way to the state House of Representatives in the form of a bill to address truancy in charter and cyber charter schools. Read more
PITTSBURGH, May 29 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, today discussed legislation that would exempt volunteer emergency responders from paying fees that total more than $47 for state and federal background clearances. Costa was joined by fellow Allegheny Democratic Reps. Dan Deasy, Bill Kortz, Harry Readshaw, and Paul Costa, as well as volunteer firefighters and emergency responders at Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department. Costa said that the financial burden on volunteers was an unintended consequence of changes to the state’s child abuse laws and that at least one bill in the House of Representatives, H.B. 1081 , would begin to right that wrong. Read more
PITTSBURGH, May 29 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, today discussed legislation that would exempt volunteer emergency responders from paying fees that total more than $47 for state and federal background clearances. Costa, who was joined by fellow lawmakers from the Allegheny Delegation, volunteer firefighters and emergency responders at Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department, said that the financial burden on volunteers was an unintended consequence of changes to the state’s child abuse laws and that at least one bill in the House of Representatives, H.B. 1081 , would begin to right that wrong. He said that the bill would spare paid and volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service responders from the $10 clearances from the state police and state Department of Human Services. “I know that many, if not all of the volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel, are prepared to do their due diligence, but let’s remember that these are the same firefighters and first responders who save the commonwealth millions of dollars, protect our communities, and most significantly, save lives – all while placing their own lives at risk,” Costa said. “We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and more, and at the very least the state should recognize their sacrifice and contributions by doing these background and clearance checks at no charge to them.” House Bill 1081 has garnered significant bipartisan support and has been sent to Read more
Thanks to your efforts, my latest shred event collected over 13,000 pounds of paper, which was recycled after shredding. That's enough product to save over $33,000 in consumer spending and 111 trees. It's a pleasure to help do something positive for the environment and help constituents get rid of clutter and protect their identity. I'd also like to thank Iron City Workplace Services for handling the shredding. Here are some pictures from the event. Read more
MAY 4, 2015 - State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, voted May 4, 2015 in favor of House Bill 911, which would help fund 911 call centers across the commonwealth. The bill will now be considered by the Senate. Read more
I had the honor of helping pay tribute to fallen Pennsylvania police officers during a Fraternal Order of Police ceremony yesterday. On one hand, these ceremonies are something we wish we didn't have to do, but they are a must. Read more
Pennsylvania’s Acting Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller announced this week a public hearing regarding Highmark’s request to transfer $175 million from Highmark, in the form of a grant, to the Allegheny Health Network. The meeting will take place at 10 a.m. May 4 in the second-floor auditorium of the Rachel Carson Office Building, 400 Market Street in Harrisburg. The hearing will also be open to comments on Highmark’s and Allegheny Health Network’s current and projected financial condition, and Highmark’s development and operation of the integrated health care delivery network since the Insurance Department approved the company’s creation of the health care network in April 2013. The hearing will be streamed live online at http://pacast.com/players/live_insurance.asp . Anyone attending the hearing will be asked to sign in at the registration desk. The Insurance Department strongly encourages preregistering by April 30 at www.insurance.pa.gov . Individuals are encouraged to submit written comments by April 30 to David H. Phelps, Financial Analyst, Financial Analysis Division, Insurance Department, 1345 Strawberry Square, Harrisburg, PA 17120. Comments may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (717) 787-8557. Read more
The Allegheny League of Municipalities officials and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced this month that 42 area municipalities have been selected as 2015 Banner Communities for good, inclusive and collaborative governance. The 21 st Legislative District is home to first-time honoree Shaler Township , second-year Banner Communities of O’Hara Township , Millvale and Sharpsburg boroughs, as well as three-peat communities Etna Borough, Reserve Township and Ross Township. It’s my distinct pleasure to congratulate the municipalities’ elected officials and staff whose work contributes every day to great successes such as this. Of course, it’s about more than recognition – the municipalities’ success reflects greatly on the engaged citizens who call our region home. I look forward to bringing you more good news, and please know that my office is available to help with any state program or service. Feel free to contact my office any time. Read more
The Ross Township Police Department has received reports that someone alleging to be from Duquesne Light is calling around and demanding payment of outstanding balances. Read more
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