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
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
I reintroduced legislation that would strengthen Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws and make sure perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. House Bill 113 is now awaiting consideration by the House Judiciary Committee. Read more
HARRISBURG >> Animals — and their rights — are on the state Legislature's agenda for the 2015-2016 session.
Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Chambersburg, introduced a bill that would ban possession of exotic animals, while Rep. Dom Costa, D-Stanton Heights, introduced a bill to more harshly punish animal abusers. Read more
I am working to prevent bullying and educate all Pennsylvania students on the harms of bullying by introducing House Bill 98. This legislation would require nonpublic schools to adopt a bullying policy and to review the policy annually with students. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, was sworn in today for his fourth term serving 21st Legislative District residents in the Pennsylvania House of RepresentativesToday’s ceremony marks the beginning of the 2015-2016 legislative session, the 199th of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The state House returns to voting session Jan. 20.“Serving the 21st Legislative District is a great honor, and I plan to continue to work hard to reflect their needs and interests in the district and Harrisburg,” Costa said.Costa said he will continue to fight for legislation regarding animal rights, first responders, public safety, and consumer protection and insurance issues.Residents may visit Costa’s constituent service office located at 6808 Greenwood St., Suite 2, Pittsburgh or call 412-361-2040 for free assistance with state-related services, including driver and vehicle assistance and Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications. Costa encourages residents to sign up for periodic email updates from him on state issues and services by visiting his legislative website, www.pahouse.com/DCosta, and clicking on the "Sign Up for Emails" link under the contact tab. He also encourages residents to visit his social media sites at www.facebook.com/RepDomCosta and http://twitter.com/RepDomCosta. Read more
Police officers now have a new way to pinpoint the location of missing persons within the commonwealth.
Senate Bill 1290, known as the Kelsey Smith Act, gives law enforcement the ability to request GPS information from cell phone providers in the event of a life-threatening emergency. Read more
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation – House Bill 760 – to strengthen our animal cruelty laws in the Commonwealth.
As you may know, a number of studies have concluded that individuals who commit acts of animal cruelty have a higher likelihood of committing domestic violence, as well as other acts of violence against individuals. As such, these individuals not only commit cruel and inhumane acts against animals, but they also pose a threat to our communities. Therefore, I believe we need to ensure that we have sufficient penalties in place to adequately punish these individuals committing these acts of animal cruelty.
In the near future, I intend to re-introduce legislation – former House Bill 438 – to establish the Pennsylvania Officer Down Advisory Act to aid in the apprehension of those suspected of causing serious injury or death to a law enforcement officer.
The Pennsylvania Officer Down Advisory bears strong similarity to the Amber Alert System, using media broadcasts and messaging signs along highways to provide information identifying the vehicle of a suspected law enforcement officer’s assailant. The quick delivery of this information would help to facilitate the speedy capture of a suspect.
In the near future, I plan to re-introduce legislation that will amend the Public School Code to require nonpublic schools to adopt a bullying policy and to review this policy annually with students. It is my sincere hope you will join me in this effort.
The statistics regarding bullying are truly alarming. For example, in a 2009 nationally-representative sample of youth grades 9-12, 19.9 percent reported being bullied on school property in the 12 months preceding the survey. The prevalence was higher among females (21.2 percent) than males (18.7 percent). Additionally, bullying generally peaks in middle childhood, and decreases over the high school years. According to a recent U.S. Department of Justice survey, almost 43 percent of 6th graders report having been bullied, compared to about 24 percent of 12th graders. Bullying can have lasting psychological effects on victims, and continues to be a problem of national implications – disrupting a child’s learning environment and, all too often, their life.
Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed.
Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed.
Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you.
Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote.
The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses.
House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session.
According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission. Read more
As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more
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