HARRISBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Anita Kulik, D-Allegheny, today announced that an infrastructure project in Stowe Township was approved for a $150,000 state grant. The PA Small Water and Sewer fund grant was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, an independent state agency responsible for administering Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages, including Multimodal, Act 13 and water and sewer funds. "This funding will help to replace a sewer line along Stowe Avenue,” Kulik said. “Attention to infrastructure is a necessary spoke in the wheel of economic development, and I am pleased to see improvements coming to Stowe Township.” Specifically, the project will entail replacement of 1,600 linear feet of sewer line along Stowe Avenue to reduce flow and infiltration, the installation of 30 lateral connectors, five manholes and 1,600 linear feet of under-drain piping, along with restoration work for impacted roadways and curbs. The CFA was established in 2004 as an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to administer Pennsylvania's economic stimulus packages. The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania's economic growth. The CFA consists of seven board members: four legislative appointees and the secretaries of DCED, the Office of the Budget and Department of Banking. Read more
EBENSBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, today announced a $400,000 state grant to the Jackson East Taylor Sewer Authority to replace sewer lines at Leisure Village Mobile Home Park in Jackson Township. Burns said the project includes installing 3,300 linear feet of 8-inch sewer main, 72 service laterals with 5,700 feet of 4-inch sewer pipe and 11 manholes, at a total project cost of $500,000. “The existing lines are undersized and have poor alignment, which results in inflow and infiltration problems,” Burns said. “I’m very happy to inform my constituents that state funding will cover four-fifths of the cost of this vital infrastructure improvement project.” The state grant arrives through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s PA Small Water and Sewer grant program, which funds activities to assist with construction, improvement, expansion, or rehabilitation or repair of a water supply or sanitary sewer system. Eligible projects must have a total project cost between $30,000 and $500,000, and funding is available for municipalities and municipal authorities. Read more
HERMITAGE, March 29 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, and state Sen. Michele Brooks, R- Crawford/Erie/Mercer/Warren, are pleased to report that the Greenville Borough Municipal Authority will receive a $320,000 state grant to update the control system at the Greenville water treatment plant. The grant will help fund a $387,800 project to improve communication from the West End and East End tanks and the booster pump station to the water treatment plant to prevent costly overflows and the drainage of tanks. The current system relies on telephone landlines to monitor water levels in the storage tanks and has experienced failures from various causes, including tree limbs falling on the lines. The new system will ensure more reliable communication from the main control building and will provide real-time data on system water levels. Under auspices of the Department of Community and Economic Development, the PA Small Water and Sewer grant program funds activities to assist with the construction, improvement, expansion, or rehabilitation or repair of a water supply or sanitary sewer system. Eligible projects must have a total project cost between $30,000 and $500,000, and funding is available for municipalities and municipal authorities. "These upgrades are way overdue," Longietti said. "Controlling the proper water levels can reduce system failures and overflows. This upgrade is a solid step forward for Read more
HARRISBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Paul Costa, D-Allegheny, today announced that two projects in his legislative district were approved for $300,000 in state grants. The PA Small Water and Sewer grants were funded by the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The CFA is an independent state agency responsible for administering Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages, including Multimodal, Act 13 and water and sewer funds. "These grants are crucial for the municipalities to continue making infrastructure improvements in their communities," Costa said. The grants approved in Costa's district are: $200,000 for Wilkins Township for sewer system upgrades along Mortimer and Highland avenues; and $100,000 for Braddock Hills Borough structural repairs within its sanitary sewer system. The CFA was established in 2004 as an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to administer Pennsylvania's economic stimulus packages. The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania's economic growth. The CFA consists of seven board members: four legislative appointees and the secretaries of DCED, the Office of the Budget and Department of Banking. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, today announced that Mount Oliver Borough was approved for a state grant to replace a sewer line located along Anthony Street. The community will receive $110,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to replace 550 linear feet of the 12-inch sewer line to create more slope and increase its capacity. The funding is provided through the Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Grant program. "This state funding will help Mount Oliver to repair and improve a potential hazardous line in the sewer system,” Readshaw said. “This is another effort to continue addressing sewer problems like basement flooding and overflows that have been plaguing residents for a long time.” The Borough of Mount Oliver is under a consent order and agreement with the Allegheny County Health Department and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to identify deteriorated sewers and repair sewers that are in the worst condition. The funding was approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, an independent agency created by the legislature to administer a variety of the state's funding programs designed to help grow Pennsylvania's economy, create jobs and improve cultural and recreational assets in communities statewide. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, announced today that West Reading will receive a $156,590 grant to replace sanitary sewer infrastructure. The PA Small Water and Sewer grant was approved Wednesday by the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The funding will go to improving sanitary sewer service for customers along an alley from South Fifth Avenue to Linden Road, between Sunset and Sycamore roads. An existing fragile, vitrified clay sewer main and connections will be replaced with 1,364 feet of PVC pipe. “Heavy vehicles use this alley, so this project will prevent future sewer line leaks and breaks,” Rozzi said. “Infrastructure investments are so important to our local communities, and West Reading residents will be able to benefit from this project for years to come.” The PA Small Water and Sewer grants are available for the construction, improvement, expansion, rehabilitation or repair of a water supply or sanitary sewer system. Total project costs must be between $30,000 and $500,000. The Commonwealth Financing Authority was established in 2004 as an independent agency of the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. It is responsible for funding programs and investments in Pennsylvania’s economic growth. The CFA consists of seven board members: four legislative appointees and the secretaries of DCED, the Office of the Budget and the Read more
HARRISBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, announced today that two Delaware county municipalities in the 161 st District have been awarded grants from the PA Small Water and Sewer Fund, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), to reline and rehabilitate sewer lines. Rutledge Borough will receive $212,500 to rehabilitate a portion of its sewer system and Nether Providence Township will receive $147,721 for relining sewer line. Krueger-Braneky said the funding was released by the Commonwealth Financing Authority as part of the grant program for water and sewer projects. Rutledge Borough will use its award towards rehabilitating its sanitary sewer system along Linden and Morton avenues, including relining 135 linear feet of 10” pipe, 4,471 linear feet of 8” pipe and rehabilitating 56 lateral lines and 15 manholes. “These awards are important investments in Delaware County’s infrastructure,” Krueger-Braneky said. “The funds awarded to Rutledge Borough will go a long way towards rehabilitating part of their sanitary sewer system that has begun to crack and see root infiltration.” “I’m grateful to Representative Krueger-Braneky and her office for their collaboration securing this much needed investment in Rutledge’s infrastructure,” Rutledge Mayor, Kevin Cunningham, said. “This is a great example of when people Read more
HARRISBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-Washington, has reintroduced his Taxpayer Protection Against Fraud Act legislation that would combat fraud and provide crucial revenues for the commonwealth. “In these continuing tough economic times, we can’t afford to ignore any additional source of new income. House Bill 1027 would raise significant revenues through recovered losses and other damages and it will also deter fraud and punish those stealing from Pennsylvania and its taxpayers,” Neuman said. The legislation would create a unique private-public partnership that gives a citizen the right to act as a sort of “private attorney general” and file suit on behalf of the U.S. government against those who have acted to defraud it. As an incentive for citizens to bring such claims, the bill would also give them the right to share in the government’s recovery. The bill would also increase the commonwealth’s share of recovery under a successful Medicaid fraud lawsuit by 10 percent. Neuman explained that Pennsylvania’s structural budget shortfall exceeds $2 billion and that the state is losing an estimated $200 million a year through Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse. “This legislation could make a significant dent in the deficit and would put potential fraudsters on notice that Pennsylvania is watching and is committed to rooting out deception and dishonesty,” he said. Read more
PITTSBURGH, March 29 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Pittsburgh, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation that explored the implications of repealing the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. “I was honored to host the House Policy Committee and several panels of experts to testify about the successes of the Affordable Care Act and the devastating consequences to Pennsylvanians should a repeal continue to be pursued,” Frankel said. “The testimony provided gave us our clearest look yet at the wide-reaching and life-saving benefits of the Affordable Care Act. A wholesale repeal would cause irreparable harm to both the 1.1 million Pennsylvanians already insured as a result of the ACA and to the financial health of the commonwealth. With repeal looking less likely, our efforts should now turn to improving the ACA by restoring risk corridor and reinsurance programs that incentivize health insurers to participate in the exchanges without bearing the full financial burden of adverse selection, by requiring all insurers who want to sell in the individual markets to offer their plans through the exchanges, and by exploring the public option. Any one of these changes will increase the participation of insurers and stabilize premium costs across the health insurance market.” Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, added: “The reality is that the repeal of the ACA is a devastating Read more
YARDLEY, March 29 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, announced today that he will tour state roads and bridges throughout the 31 st Legislative District with Transportation Department District 6 Executive Ken McClain, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, March 31. “I look forward to discussing the short- and long-term transportation needs of our district with Executive McClain,” Warren said. “Improving our transportation infrastructure will increase safety and benefit everyone in the district. While I have several areas of interest I’d like to discuss on the tour, I encourage constituents to reach out and let us know their priorities for state road, bridge and other infrastructure improvements.” The tour will begin at Warren’s district office, 91 S. Main St., and will focus primarily on the Newtown-Yardley-Lower Makefield-Morrisville area. Constituents interested in sharing their local transportation priorities should contact Warren’s office by calling (215) 493-5420 or going to www.pahouse.com/warren/contact . Read more
PITTSBURGH, March 28 – State Rep. Dom Costa hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee today at the Sharpsburg Borough Building to discuss towing regulations in Pennsylvania. Costa requested the hearing to examine responding to and towing from crash scenes, as well as insurance industry concerns. “This hearing stems from multiple complaints I have received from constituents, insurance companies, local government, and a KDKA TV investigative report,” Costa said. “Towing reform is long overdue. Among other things, we need to stop rogue towers from taking advantage of accident victims before law enforcement arrives at the scene.” Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, added: “I thank Representative Costa for bringing this issue to the Policy Committee’s attention. The testifiers did a good job highlighting the various towing problems and I look forward to seeing Representative Costa’s legislation to fix them.” Testifiers included Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert, Lt. Ed Cunningham and Sgt. Rich Begenwald; Councilman Dan Gilman, Pittsburgh City Council District 8; Steven Wheeler, executive director, Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority; John Halbleib, owner, Halbleib Automotive and D-Maxx Automotive; and a panel from the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Tim Lynch, director of government affairs, and John McCall, special agent, Mid-Atlantic region. Hearing materials are available at Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, will co-host a weekly radio program from 11 a.m. to noon every Thursday on radio station WTTM, 1680 AM. The program, entitled "Voices from the Inside," will focus on the state's prison system and reducing crime. McClinton will be joined by co-hosts state Rep. Leslie Acosta, D-Phila., Esteban Cabrera and author Hugh Taft-Morales. "I am excited to have this opportunity to discuss our criminal justice system," McClinton said. "This new program will offer a voice to those currently incarcerated and will promote the sharing of ideas between prisoners and us on the outside. Thanks to Rep. Acosta, who developed the idea and invited me to participate in such a meaningful program. "By meeting those currently in prison, I hope that the listeners will understand the need for changes and improvements in our current system. We need to establish more humane methods to house our prisoners and work with them so they can be rehabilitated and can return to society and contribute. We waste so much money incarcerating those who have committed minor offenses and by locking them up for extended periods of time, we make it harder for them to blend back in to society and hold a meaningful job. "Additionally, we will be discussing community programs which may reduce violence and crime." The program will air live at 11 a.m. every Thursday on 1680 AM, and it can also Read more
FOLSOM, March 27 – State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware, will host a PennDOT Town Hall with state Transportation Department Secretary Leslie Richards, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 30, at Rutledge Borough Hall, 212 Unity Terrace. “This is a unique opportunity for residents to hear directly from the Secretary of PennDOT about local road and bridge improvement projects, as well as the department’s priorities moving forward,” Krueger-Braneky said. “My office receives quite a few questions relating to PennDOT and our roads. I look forward to directly addressing constituents' concerns with Secretary Richards Thursday evening.” For more information about the town hall, please call Krueger-Braneky’s office at 610-534-6880. Read more
PITTSBURGH, March 27 – The House Democratic Policy Committee held a public hearing today at the University of Pittsburgh to continue its exploration of implementing a fee for municipalities to cover the cost of the Pennsylvania State Police providing local police coverage, according to Policy Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “Municipalities throughout the state have relied on the State Police to provide their local coverage free-of-charge and now more than half of the State Police’s budget is going toward this coverage. With the General Assembly and Governor Wolf putting a cap on using the Motor License Fund in last year’s fiscal code, it is important that these municipalities pay their fair share so that the State Police have the funds needed to provide that coverage, without asking the rest of the state to continue to subsidize their policing costs,” Sturla explained. In Pennsylvania, 22 percent of the state’s population live in municipalities with no local, full-time police coverage and 6 percent live in municipalities that have only a part-time police force. The remaining 72 percent pay for their own local full-time police coverage, essentially subsidizing “ free” police protection for the rest of the population. Testifiers included Dan Cessna, District 11 executive, PennDOT; Marita Kelley, deputy director, Governor’s Center for Local Government Services; Lt. Col. Stephen Bucar, deputy Read more
HARRISBURG, March 27 – State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Pittsburgh, announced today that he will host a House Democratic Policy Committee to discuss impacts of a possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion. The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 29 at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, QiT Center, 26 th Floor, Centre City Tower, 650 Smithfield St., Pittsburgh. The current hearing agenda is: 10 a.m. Welcome and opening remarks 10:10 a.m. Panel One: Leesa Allen , deputy secretary for Medical Assistance programs, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Dr. Loren Robinson , deputy secretary for health promotion and disease prevention, Pennsylvania Department of Health Jessica Altman , chief of staff, Pennsylvania Insurance Department 11 a.m. Panel Two: Erika Fricke , health policy director, Allies for Children B.J. Leber , president and CEO, Adagio Health Susan Friedberg Kalson , CEO, Squirrel Hill Health Center Carmen Alexander , senior operations manager, New Voices Pittsburgh 11:50 a.m. Panel Three: Cassie Narkevic , health insurance enrollment counselor, Consumer Health Coalition Kristy Trautman , executive director, FISA Foundation AJ Harper , president, Healthcare Council of Western Pennsylvania 12:30 p.m. Panel Four: Christie Hudson, clinical social work/therapist Dr. Liz Cuevas , internist, AGH Internal Read more
HARRISBURG, March 23 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Pittsburgh, announced today that he will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss establishing uniform towing regulations statewide. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 at the Sharpsburg Borough Building, Council Chambers, 1611 Main St., Pittsburgh. Costa said topics will include responding to and towing from crash scenes as well as insurance industry concerns. The current agenda is: 2:00 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 2:10 p.m. Panel from National Insurance Crime Bureau Tim Lynch , director of government affairs John McCall , special agent, Mid-Atlantic Region 2:40 p.m. Panel from City of Pittsburgh: Chief Scott Schubert , Bureau of Police Lieutenant Ed Cunningham , Bureau of Police Sergeant Rich Begenwald , Auto Theft Unit, Bureau of Police Councilman Dan Gilman , Pittsburgh City Council District 8 3:20 p.m. Steven Wheeler , executive director, Pa. Auto Theft Prevention Authority 3:50 p.m. John Halbleib , owner, Halbleib Automotive & D-Maxx Automotive 4:20 p.m. Closing Remarks MEDIA COVERAGE IS ENCOURAGED. Read more
PHILADELPHIA, March 24 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., joined state House Democrats for a news conference Wednesday urging the U.S. House to vote against repealing the federal Affordable Care Act. “A repeal of the ACA will have real consequences for the citizens of Pennsylvania,” she said. “One potential consequence would be a return to a high uninsured rate that would drive up the cost of uncompensated care, and that is something that Pennsylvania is unprepared for. This will force the cost onto hospitals and other health care providers.” Since the passage of the ACA, more than 6.1. million Pennsylvanians benefit from access to free preventive care services, 5.4 million cannot be denied health insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition, and 4.5 million are no longer subject to annual and lifetime limits that used to be placed on covered benefits. These protections benefit all Pennsylvanians and are not limited to those who receive coverage through the Medicaid expansion or a plan purchased on the exchange. The ACA has also helped drive down Pennsylvania’s uninsured rate to its lowest point ever: 6.4 percent for adults and 4.1 percent for children. Before the law was passed, more than 10 percent of Pennsylvanians did not have insurance. “Our society functions more efficiently and more effectively when we have a healthy workforce,” DeLissio said. “As a former CEO of four different Read more
HARRISBURG, March 24 – House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, provided the following statement about the Republican "Trumpcare" bill that was expected to get a U.S. House vote today: "Whatever happens today with the Trumpcare bill, we already know what a disaster it would be for Pennsylvania. Statewide, 1.1 million people would lose their health coverage, and others would pay much higher costs for essential benefits like maternity care. If you vote for that, it's time to stop calling yourself 'pro-life.' "Republicans have had seven years to come up with something better than the Affordable Care Act. If they were as serious about health care as they are about more tax breaks for the wealthy, they would work with Democrats to make improvements to the Affordable Care Act, such as a public option that would provide more choice and competition to rein in costs for patients." Frankel provided these facts on gains from the Affordable Care Act that are at risk from the Republican health care bill: 715,000 people gained coverage through the ACA's Medicaid expansion, including almost 60,000 people in Allegheny County. Pennsylvania currently has the lowest uninsured rate in the state's history - 6.4 percent overall and a 4.1 percent uninsured rate for children. 124,000 people with a substance-use disorder were able to gain access to drug and alcohol services. Importantly for jobs in the Pittsburgh Read more
YARDLEY, March 24 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, will present a legislative briefing on autism and intellectual disabilities to constituents at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 1, at the Newtown Theater, 120 N. State St., Newtown. “As a member of the House Human Services Committee and the Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Caucus, I believe it is my responsibility to inform my constituents on state programs available to assist individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities,” Warren said. “We will be discussing CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program; PA ABLE, the state's savings plan for those with disabilities; Medical Assistance; and other available assistance to these individuals and their families.” Following the briefing the Newtown Theater will offer a sensory-friendly performance intended for special needs children and their families. For more information on the briefing, contact Warren’s district office by calling (215) 493-5420. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 24 – State Rep. Chris Rabb, D-Phila., plans to introduce a bill to reform special elections for the Pennsylvania legislature. "Like last Tuesday's election in Philadelphia, these special elections are often low-turnout, and they can put someone in a state House or Senate seat for most of a two- or four-year term. We need to make sure they are conducted the right way – that Pennsylvania legislators are elected, not selected," Rabb said. "I'm encouraged that this bill has already garnered bipartisan interest." "Under current law, a candidate for a special election is nominated by a process in accordance with their respective political party rules. Unfortunately, such processes often discourage broad candidate recruitment, vetting and input or review from committee people and the voters they were elected to serve," Rabb said. "To remedy this issue, my proposal would establish transparency and public integrity in the special election process for senators and representatives in the General Assembly." Under Rabb's bill, people interested in running in a special election would be required to: File their candidacy with the political party in each county of the legislative district; Pay a filing fee; and Prepare, or publicly opt out of preparing, a short video announcing their candidacy which would be posted on the Department of State’s website and made available to the Pennsylvania Read more
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