HARRISBURG, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, announced that Phillip Battista has joined his staff as legislative assistant and liaison officer. “Phil comes to us after studying and teaching political science,” Wheatley said. “With this strong background, he brings great experience to the job. I’m excited by his energy, his enthusiasm and his interest in serving the community. He’s a great addition to the staff.” A Pennsylvania native, Battista grew up in Pittsburgh’s Knoxville neighborhood. He graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in history and from Duquesne University with a master’s degree in history. Battista left the Pittsburgh area in 2013 to study political science and obtained a second master’s degree in that field from the University of New Orleans. He spent three years working for the university as a professor in political science and a research analyst for the university’s Survey Research Center. Battista moved back to Pennsylvania earlier this year, motivated by a desire to return home to the Pittsburgh area. Read more
PITTSBURGH, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, will host a Back to School Giveaway for students in grades K through 5 from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18 at the Destiny International Ministry, 7061 Lemington Ave., Pittsburgh. The annual event is an opportunity for Gainey to meet students from the community as they prepare for the new school year. Each student in attendance will receive a backpack and supplies for the school year. The event will also feature information on state programs for kids, safety information, music and food. “The Back to School Giveaway is an event I look forward to every year,” Gainey said. “A new school year provides students an opportunity to take on new challenges, and I enjoy playing a role in helping them grow. Our students truly are our future, and we must do everything we can to help them reach their greatest potential.” Gainey said he is encouraging all grade students in his community to attend this family-friendly event and hopes to see a strong turnout. Any individuals or businesses interested in donating supplies, backpacks or food for the event should contact’s Gainey’s office at 412-665-5502. Read more
ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Aug. 15 – With fall right around the corner, state Rep. Dan Deasy, D-Allegheny, is reminding constituents that he is hosting three community-centered events in September. “Next month I will be hosting my annual Senior Expo, a Veterans Outreach Clinic and a Job Fair,” Deasy said. “All of these outreaches are important to me because they connect our residents with important resources that can help them stay healthy, educated, informed and employed.” Here are more details on the free upcoming events: 10 th Annual Senior Expo will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 7 at the St. Pamphilus Church Hall, 1000 Tropical Ave. in Beechview. The event features health screenings, flu and pneumonia vaccines, vendors, voter registration, and more. The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office will also be on hand to conduct prescription drug medication take back, which ensures safe disposal of unwanted or unneeded medications. Veterans Outreach Clinic , in partnership with U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle and the Veterans Leadership Program, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21 at Deasy’s district office at 436 S. Main St., Suite 100 in Pittsburgh. You can get information on veteran and survivor benefits, discharge papers, securing claimed medals and benefit counseling, among other things. Job Fair , in conjunction with state Sen. Wayne Fontana, state Rep. Anita Kulik, Building Bridges for Read more
NEWTON, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Helen Tai, D-Bucks, will hold a town hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28 in the Northampton Free Library, located at 25 Upper Holland Road, Richboro. The town hall serves as an opportunity for Tai to meet constituents from around the 178 th Legislative District and answer any questions people have. The evening also will include a discussion among Tai and constituents for her to hear firsthand about the issues important in the community. Tai hosted a telephone town hall earlier this summer and will host another on Sept. 6 with intentions to reach as many constituents as possible. “I have enjoyed meeting thousands of new constituents over the past several months, and I look forward to continue meeting even more,” she said. “Hearing from people firsthand on what matters most to them and how my office can assist them is helpful, and allows me to understand what issues to advocate for in Harrisburg.” Individuals from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation also will be in attendance at the town hall in Richboro, answering transportation related questions and providing information on projects underway and being planned in Bucks County. For additional information, those interested can contact Tai’s office at 215-598-7615 Read more
WHITEHALL, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, today announced the former Crane Iron Works site located in Catasauqua, Lehigh County, received $1.5 million in funding for redevelopment purposes. “I am happy to see this important project received the funding it deserves,” McNeill said. “The revitalization of this site will play a crucial role in bringing jobs and private investments to our communities. I would like to thank Governor Tom Wolf for releasing the funding for the redevelopment, and I look forward to working with officials from Catasauqua and the state to ensure this project reaches its greatest potential.” The funds will be used to help transform the 12-acre property from a vacant and deteriorating property into a site full of commercial, residential and public uses. The site currently includes a $10 million building that serves as home to borough offices, fire department and police station. Specifically, the funding will be used to demolish obsolete industrial buildings and to install roadways, water, sewer, storm water, electric, gas and other infrastructure. McNeill noted the governor’s commitment to creating family-sustaining jobs, and hopes the project will lead to greater economic and employment implications for the Lehigh County. The project received funding through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program which works to provide economic stimulus to communities across Pennsylvania with hopes to Read more
ERIE, Aug. 15 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss how students can better prepare themselves for their future through technical education and career readiness at the Erie County Technical School. Harkins, who served as Democratic chairman of the Select Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness, helped to review secondary career and technical education programs and postsecondary institutions throughout the state, and later developed recommendations in order to enhance programs to meet the needs of future employers. He was joined by state legislators from across the state. “Talking about career and technical education is important because it provides students with skills they need in order to be successful should they chose to attend college or take a different route,” Harkins said. “More than 120 school districts throughout the commonwealth offer career and technical education because they realize it’s imperative in the 21 st century.” The committee heard testimony from Dr. H. Fred Walker, director, Erie County Technical School, Joe Tarasovitch, principal of the Erie County Technical School and Pam Mackowski, the director of career and technical education/adult education from Erie’s Public Schools/Erie High School. Testimony, photos and video from today’s hearing will be available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee . The meeting is one in Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – A $3 million grant for roadway improvements was awarded today to the Monaca Gateway Initiative project, as announced by state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny. Matzie said the funding will be used to improve more than 6,000 feet of State Route 18 and to construct a roundabout at the intersection of State Routes 18 and 51. “I’m happy to announce that because of a joint effort by state and local government officials, we were able to secure this funding for our district,” Matzie said. “This is a prime example of how state and local governments can work together to better our community.” “Employment and infrastructure go hand-in-hand,” Matzie said. “As in, jobs and roads. This project will expand access to our industrial corridor on the Ohio River in Monaca, while helping alleviate current and future traffic issues on Routes 18 and 51. It’s a huge win for Monaca and for Beaver County.” The grant, administered in cooperation with PennDOT through economic development transportation funding, was formally presented today in Monaca. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, is excited to announce that Brandi Taylor will be joining his staff tomorrow as the new district office director of operations. “We’re so fortunate to have Brandi joining our team,” Wheatley said. “During her career, she has shown a special talent for inspiring, organizing and leading the community to bring positive change in so many areas. “Brandi has a wealth of experience in bringing together different segments of the community – including citizens, advocates, organizations, religious leaders, political and public figures, school administrators and students – for successful collaboration. She is an advocate and a passionate voice. She will be such a great addition to our staff.” Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Taylor moved to Atlanta in 1988 before returning home in 2008. Since returning to Pittsburgh, she has dedicated her career to promoting change through civic engagement in areas ranging from school reform to voter empowerment. Among other programs, Taylor has participated in the 2012 NEXT Leaders Northside Leadership Program through Coro; the 2014 Pittsburgh Parent Power cohort, led by Annenberg Institute of School Reform; and the 2015 Civic Leadership Academy, hosted by the City of Pittsburgh. Taylor also served as community liaison with The Black Political Empowerment Project – a non-profit organization established for the advocacy of Read more
State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on tourism and its impact on the economy, at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie. Bizzarro was joined by House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee Democratic Chairman Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, and state legislators from across the state. “Tourism greatly impacts the state’s economy,” said Bizzarro, vice-chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. “When travelers spend their money at businesses, shops, hotels and restaurants, it all has a direct impact on suppliers and the wages of local workers.” In 2016, Bizzarro said in the Great Lakes region, which includes Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties, travelers spent close to $1.67 billion, according to a report completed by Tourism Economics. Longietti added, “Tourism is one of Pennsylvania’s leading industries. Our state has a rich history, diverse landscape and a wide variety of available activities to attract visitors.” Testifiers included: Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper; Chris Temple, director of communications for VisitErie; Dr. James Wertz, associate dean of College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Edinboro University; Jonathan D’Silva, an attorney and small business consultant for MMI Intellectual Property; and Sean Candela, owner of Sara’s Restaurant. Testimony, photos Read more
SCRANTON, Aug. 14 – Older residents of the 113th Legislative District are invited to state Rep. Marty Flynn’s sixth annual Senior Fair. Read more
EBENSBURG, Aug. 14 – In response to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s release today of a statewide grand jury report on child sexual abuse and related cover-ups in an additional six Roman Catholic Church dioceses in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Frank Burns issued the following statement: “After a separate grand jury report in 2016 that detailed widespread but equally appalling conduct in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, I became a staunch advocate for lengthening the statute of limitations for such crimes – and now I am even more angry and determined to see that the law is changed so victims can get the closure they deserve. “For more than two years I’ve stood with allies, such as state Representative Mark Rozzi of Berks County – himself a victim of sex abuse at the hands of a priest – and my longtime friend Shaun Dougherty, who was similarly abused starting at age 10, to keep this issue front and center in the body politic. “Now that this type of heinous and damaging behavior has been documented in the rest of Pennsylvania, perhaps we’ll have the critical mass needed in the legislature to advance the changes that Representative Rozzi, my good friend Shaun, I and many others know are needed to help victims find closure. “We now know that these abuses were not confined to one region, but took place in six additional dioceses that cover 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. And in each one Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody responded to the release of the 40 th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury report issued today: “The hundreds of brave survivors who told their heartbreaking stories deserve our deepest thanks, and they also deserve justice. I believe the grand jury’s report and recommendations will help an untold number of people who suffered sexual abuse when they were children and who continue even now to suffer because of it. “I’m grateful that Attorney General Josh Shapiro fought hard to find the truth and to make sure the sad facts in this report were shared with the public,” Dermody said. “The residents of western Pennsylvania who served on the grand jury have done something extraordinary. They heard the words of many brave survivors of childhood sexual abuse and they gave us a path to follow to find justice and protect all children. Lawmakers should pay heed to the report and take the necessary steps.” Read more
State Rep. Emilio Vázquez, D-Phila., is pleased to announce that as of Monday poor or disabled residents in Pennsylvania can once again apply for the state’s General Assistance program. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – A $1 million grant from the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program will bring vastly improved training resources for those learning the electrical trade, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced today. The grant for the IBEW Apprenticeship Training Program in Lawrence County will provide expanded facilities and high-tech equipment for area journeymen and apprentices. “The new training facility and resources made possible by this funding will provide tremendous benefits for new generations of electrical workers,” Sainato said. “High-skill jobs such as those in the electrical trade require cutting-edge equipment and resources that supplement on-the-job learning with digital and online media, among other high-tech resources. I’m extremely excited about these new resources on the horizon. I’m also excited about the jobs this project will create, which provide a great boost for the local economy.” The site for the new training center is undeveloped land along Route 18 in Neshannock Township. After the land is developed and utilities are installed, construction will begin on the new center, which will house modern classrooms, a computer lab, and specialized instruction spaces. The RACP grant program – administered by the Office of the Budget – funds regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects. The projects have a regional or multi-jurisdictional Read more
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 14 – State Reps. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila./Delaware, and Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., welcomed more than 1,200 constituents of the 191st and 192nd Legislative Districts to the Third Annual 60th Street Health and Wellness Summer Jam, where families could enjoy a day of fun and entertainment. “We always look forward to this amazing event because it gets better every year. Not only do we provide resources, but we connect people. We unite our communities even more,” McClinton said. “Back in the day, neighbors wouldn’t cross from one side to another. Events like the Summer Jam prove that we can come together to make our communities a better place for all.” The Summer Jam began with a March for Peace escorted by the Philadelphia Police Explorers and the Philadelphia Drill Teams West Powelton and Magic Music. The event featured health screenings, exercise demonstrations, children’s activities, live performances, food and refreshments. With more than 50 exhibitors, attendees also had the opportunity to gather information on a variety of local organizations and state programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid and the state Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program. McClinton said she wanted to thank AETNA, JEVS at Home, McDonald Building Company, Health Partners Plans, community partners and volunteers. The event was co-hosted by Philadelphia councilmembers Curtis Jones Jr. and Jannie Read more
ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Anita Kulik, D-Allegheny, is reminding drivers that the Fleming Park Bridge (Neville Road) was closed for repairs effective Monday, Aug. 13 and is not expected to reopen until June 2019. Kulik said the bridge runs over the Ohio River between Neville Island and Stowe Township. The rehabilitation project includes fixing structural steep repairs, such as expanding dam replacements; an overlay on the concrete deck; and sidewalk replacement and painting, according to the Allegheny County Department of Public Works. Due to construction, Bus Route 21 Coraopolis buses will be re-routed via State Route 51 between Coraopolis and Stowe townships. The county and project contractor Mosites Construction will provide a free pedestrian shuttle at the Neville Island Bridge. Shuttle locations include: Neville Road, where it intersects with the industrial driveway at the northern part of the closure. The intersection of Fifth and Montour streets. This will serve as the first-drop off where passengers can transfer from the shuttle to Bus Route 21 Coraopolis. The intersection of Fourth and Arch streets. This is the last drop-off where passengers can transfer from the shuttle to Bus Route 21 Coraopolis. Shuttles will be available from 5 a.m. to midnight on weekdays, from 6 a.m. Saturdays through 1 a.m. Sundays, and from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sundays. Shuttles will run approximately every 30 minutes, except for Read more
ERIE, Aug. 13 -- State Rep. Ryan A. Bizzarro, D-Erie, received a great turnout for his sixth annual free Senior Fair and Older Living Expo Monday at the McDowell Intermediate High School, 3320 Caughey Road. “Over 1,000 people turned out to attend the event,” Bizzarro said. “The Senior Fair is a great way for me to connect with the community and I look forward to it every year.” Dozens of local, state and federal organizations and exhibitors provided health screenings, veterans’ benefits information and other useful information for older residents. “Having the opportunity to speak on a personal level with the constituents that I serve is really what it’s all about,” Bizzarro added. “Being able to bridge the gap between the resources that are available and our senior citizens will always remain a priority.” Bizzarro will host another free Senior Fair and Older Living Expo from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 14 at Our Lady of the Lake Church, 128 Sunset Drive in Edinboro in conjunction with state Sen. Michele Brooks, R-Erie, Crawford, Mercer and Warren counties. A video of Bizzarro's remarks on the senior fair is available here . Read more
What is REAL ID? Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting, for official purposes, licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards. Pennsylvania has been granted an extension to the REAL ID Act through October 10, 2018. What does that mean? The extension means that current PennDOT-issued driver's licenses and identification cards can be used to enter federal facilities and board domestic commercial flights through October 10, 2018. What is Pennsylvania doing about REAL ID? On May 26, 2017, Governor Wolf signed Act 3 of 2017 (SB133) into law, which did the following: Repeals Act 38 of 2012, which prohibited any state agency from complying with REAL ID. Creates a an Opt-in system, where Pennsylvanians can choose to get a standard-issued driver’s license or photo ID that DOES NOT comply with REAL ID, or a new driver’s license or photo ID that DOES comply with REAL ID. Prohibits the Commonwealth from mandating REAL ID for any reason. With the enactment of Act 3 of 2017, the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is currently in the process of working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement REAL ID. On August 25, 2017, PennDOT submitted an initial report to the General Assembly outlining the planned deployment and Read more
State Rep. Joanna McClinton, D-Phila/Delaware, will host her annual Delaware County Back to School Community Resource Fair from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4 at the Darby Recreation Center, 1022 Ridge Ave., Darby. Read more
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