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House unanimously adopts Matzie resolution designating October as ‘Wine, Wineries and Grapes Month’ in Pa.

(Oct 21, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 21 – The PA House on Tuesday unanimously adopted state Rep. Rob Matzie’s resolution designating October as “Wine, Wineries and Grapes Month” in Pennsylvania. Matzie said he introduced H.R. 1046 to highlight the major contributions made by Pennsylvania’s wine and grape industry, which traces its history all the way back to William Penn. “With nearly 300 wineries and hundreds of grape growers farming more than 14,000 acres, Pennsylvania’s wine and grape industry plays a vital role in our economy,” Matzie said. “It’s estimated that each year, the industry produces more than 2 million gallons of wine, generates more than $1.4 billion annually and creates nearly 10,000 jobs paying more than $390 million. “Pennsylvania also has a fascinating historical connection to wine production – William Penn planted the first vineyard here more than 330 years ago. Today, the industry is not only thriving but provides a major source of tourism revenue, as our wineries, vineyards and trails draw more than 2 million visitors annually. “The commonwealth’s rich, fertile soil plays an essential role in the success of the industry, but ultimately, it is the proud efforts of the men and women who work in our vineyards and wineries that make this industry the vital, economic driver that it is and supply Pennsylvanians a taste of a product Read more

Kortz introduces amendment to bill designed to strengthen ‘Steer Clear Law’

(Oct 20, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 20 – An amendment to a Senate bill to rebrand and strengthen the current “Steer Clear Law” to provide further protections for disabled vehicles, even if an emergency responder isn’t present, was unanimously adopted today. State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, said his amendment to S.B. 1281 , also known as the “Move Over Law,” would require a driver approaching or passing a disabled vehicle to move over to one lane, or if that is not possible, to pass the vehicle at a rate of not more than 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit. In addition, the disabled vehicle must display at least two visual markings to passing traffic, such as hazard lights, caution signs or road flares. “Three years ago, Scott Hirsh, a constituent of mine, was struck and killed by a distracted driver as he was changing a tire on his camper – despite him doing everything right, including pulling off onto the shoulder of the roadway and using road flares and caution signs,” Kortz said. “Due to a lack of applicable state laws, the Allegheny County district attorney and state police were unable to prosecute the driver. My amendment would help protect drivers like Scott by including disabled vehicles into the bill and increase the penalties for drivers who fail to move over or slow down.” Kortz said the bill would establish a new point system for a “Move Over” violation, Read more

House unanimously adopts Matzie resolution recognizing credit unions

(Oct 19, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 19 – The House today unanimously adopted state Rep. Rob Matzie’s resolution highlighting the special benefits provided by Pennsylvania’s credit unions. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said he introduced H.R. 1020 – designating Oct. 11-17 as Credit Union Week in Pennsylvania – to emphasize the ways these financial collaboratives empower consumers and differ from banks. “Credit unions are unique because they exist to serve their members,” Matzie said. “Shareholder profits are not part of the equation. Instead, credit unions are owned and operated by their members, and any gains realized go back to members in the form of lower fees, lower-than-average bank card rates, low-interest loans and higher interest rates on deposits. “Beyond those benefits, credit unions also offer financial education, consumer outreach and support for members’ community work. They are guided by a common motto – ‘Not for profit, not for charity, but for service’ – and they operate in a way that truly empowers the consumers they serve. “It’s a model that has been working for more than 100 years in this country and an alternative that consumers should be aware of when it comes to their personal finances.” Matzie said the credit union movement began in Germany in the mid-1800s, and the first U.S. credit union opened its doors in Read more

Wheatley introduces “Return Your Rights” legislation

(Oct 16, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley has introduced a measure designed to end the cycle of branding nonviolent offenders, who have paid their debt to society, for their past mistakes. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, says H.B. 2942 would ensure their full rights as citizens are restored, provided they have served their time and paid all fines, fees and restitution. His bill would allow offenders to vote while in prison and once they are released. In addition, Wheatley’s measure would provide for the expungement of nonviolent felonies under the state’s The Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act and allow nonviolent offenders who have completed their sentence and paid any fines or related costs to obtain a firearm license. “When nonviolent offenders serve their time and have paid their debt to society, sadly it’s not uncommon for them to be subsequently denied basic rights and privileges that many of us take for granted,” said Wheatley. “While we’ve made some strides in recent years to implement meaningful criminal justice reforms, including the passage of clean slate legislation in 2018, we can and must do more. They deserve a second chance.” More information on the bill can be found at the following link: https://legis-pahofr.msappproxy.net/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=30908 Read more

Innamorato: Hearing underscores need to close hazardous waste loophole

(Oct 14, 2020)

Testimony illustrates dangers to communities, public health Read more

Frankel: Hate incidents continue to show need for action

(Oct 13, 2020)

Urges House, Senate leadership to enact hate crime legislation Read more

Readshaw: Nearly $132,000 in COVID relief funding to area fire, EMS companies

(Oct 13, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 13 – State Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, announced that six fire and EMS companies in the 36 th Legislative District will share $131,819 in state grants awarded to offset operational expenses related to COVID-19. Readshaw said the grants – awarded by the Office of State Fire Commissioner – are necessary to help first responders continue operating as they face additional expenses and a loss of fundraising. “Like other organizations that rely on fundraising, our district’s fire and EMS companies are feeling the pandemic’s harsh economic effects,” Readshaw said. “Mitigation efforts have placed most community events on hold, which has dried up an important source of revenue. “At the same time, first responders are being called on to remain at the front lines and face new risks that demand additional resources. This grant funding from the fire commissioner should help address some of these extreme financial challenges and ensure that our frontline heroes have access to the resources they need.” Readshaw said the awards are as follows: Baldwin Emergency Medical Services Inc. – $23,973. Baldwin Independent Fire Co. No 1 – $24,520. Baldwin Emergency Medical Services Inc. – $24,238. Brentwood Volunteer Fire Company – $20,752. Brentwood Emergency Medical Services Read more

Matzie announces more than $261,000 in fire grants

(Oct 09, 2020)

AMBRIDGE, Oct. 9 – State Rep. Rob Matzie announced that 11 fire companies in his district will receive $261,012 in state grants for operational expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said the grants awarded by the Office of State Fire Commissioner are needed to offset the additional financial burdens created by the pandemic. “Even under the best of times, our fire and rescue workers are forced to operate on shoestring budgets, but the pandemic has complicated things a hundred-fold,” Matzie said. “Rescue operations involve a higher degree of risk, and first responders are facing situations requiring additional protective equipment and other resources. At the same time, restrictions on social gatherings have dried up sources of fundraising. “Securing these grants should help ease the burden on these frontline heroes so they can continue their lifesaving work while staying safe themselves.” Matzie said the following fire companies will receive the following amounts: Allegheny County Leetsdale Fire Department - $23,151. Beaver County Aliquippa Bureau of Fire - $24,247. Ambridge Volunteer Fire Department - $24,110. Baden Volunteer Fire Department - $25,205. Conway Volunteer Fire Department - $23,973. Economy Volunteer Fireman’s Association - Read more

Cephas, Kenyatta and Innamorato hold hearing to discuss plan to help low-income tenants facing eviction amid COVID-19

(Oct 09, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 9 – In their ongoing efforts to keep people in their homes, state Reps. Morgan Cephas, Malcolm Kenyatta and Sara Innamorato held a public hearing today to discuss legal aid for tenants facing eviction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The three brought members of the House Democratic Policy Committee and experts together to discuss legislation they are introducing to provide legal representation to low-income tenants facing an eviction hearing. "A study from the Center for American Progress shows nearly 90% of landlords and property managers across the country have access to legal representation compared to just 10% of tenants. And in most eviction cases, tenants without representation lose," said Cephas, D-Phila. "This ultimately comes down to fairness and the need to prevent our most vulnerable neighbors from being tossed out on the street. Our plan aims to connect them with the quality protection they need to help keep a roof over their head, especially during this health crisis." “The CDC’s moratorium will only stave off evictions until the end of the year, but the threat of a large-scale housing crisis still looms, so we must act now,” said Kenyatta, D-Phila. “During these uncertain and incredibly stressful times in which medical experts are urging everyone to stay at home, Pennsylvanians should be able to take solace in having a home of their own to retreat to. Read more

Rep. Innamorato, state Sen. Williams announce conservation grant funding for local projects

(Oct 09, 2020)

Public investments in conservation and greenspace in our communities are a welcome move Read more