Featured News

Deasy, other House Democrats call on Wolf to waive restaurant fees

State lawmakers, workers, and business owners seek congressional action on COVID relief

(1 day ago)

Congress returns to Washington next week as cases continue to skyrocket Read more

 

Frankel: Legislature must set example on masking

(Nov 23, 2020)

"Pennsylvanians deserve better from their leaders" Read more

 

Wheatley issues statement regarding committee action on H.R. 1100

(Nov 23, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 23 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding today’s vote by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee against performing an audit of the 2020 general election as called for by H.R. 1100 : “Today, the bipartisan, bicameral Legislative Budget and Finance Committee voted 2-to-1 against conducting a risk limiting audit of our state’s most recent election. After substantial discussion, the committee felt that staff would be unable to conduct such an audit and were also unable to find a consultant who could conduct it, given the 60-day to 90-day timeframe. “As the committee’s treasurer, I believe it’s imperative we use our state’s finances and resources in a responsible manner. That is a responsibility shared by each member of this committee. To conduct such an audit, on top of the actions taking place by the Pennsylvania Department of State to certify election results, would truly be an exercise in futility. We currently have processes in place to validate our election results to ensure the process, from beginning to end, was fair. “Today’s actions put an end to a process that was fraught with politics from its inception and would have disenfranchised the thousands of Pennsylvanians who exercised their right to vote. Now is the time to move forward and prepare for a busy and productive legislative session.” Read more

 

Kortz: House approves bipartisan bill to license home inspectors

(Nov 20, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 20 – State Rep. Bill Kortz announced the passage of H.B.21 , which he co-sponsored with state Rep. Sue Helm, R-Dauphin, to provide for the licensure and oversight of home inspectors. “When you consider that a home is usually the most expensive purchase in a person’s lifetime, it is imperative that the consumer be protected,” said Kortz, D-Allegheny. “We have heard from consumers across the state who have lost their homes, their life savings, filed bankruptcy and even endured health problems because of a home inspector’s wrongdoings. This bill will provide needed consumer protection. “Home inspectors are currently regulated, but there isn’t an enforcement mechanism, which means that a bad home inspector is free to victimize consumer after consumer with little to no recourse for those victimized. This legislation will set statewide standards for home inspectors and ensure that future homebuyers don’t encounter these problems.” The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for further action. Read more

 

Matzie bill to lower prescription drug costs passes legislature, heads to governor

(Nov 20, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 20 – Pennsylvania’s drug consumers and taxpayers are on the verge of a major victory after final passage of state Rep. Rob Matzie’s bill to hold pharmacy benefit managers accountable for predatory practices that are gouging patients, wasting taxpayer dollars and driving mom-and-pop pharmacies out of business. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said he introduced H.B. 941 together with state Rep. Doyle Heffley, D-Carbon, to bring transparency to questionable PBM pricing practices in the state’s Medicaid program and that the bill — which passed the state House in November – is now headed to the governor’s desk. “This bill is a big victory for Pennsylvania’s taxpayers, local pharmacies and anyone who takes prescription medicine,” said Matzie, who is House Democratic chair of the bicameral, bipartisan Community Pharmacy Caucus. “With the power to decide which drugs are covered by insurance and how much to reimburse the pharmacies that fill those prescriptions, PBMs wield a huge amount of power, but for years, they have operated below the radar, with little or no scrutiny. All that is about to change. “My bill would shed light on how PBMs are making key decisions, including how they determine price spreads – the difference between how much the state pays them for a drug and how much they reimburse the pharmacies that fill those prescriptions – and how they select which drugs Read more

 

Wheatley issues statement on budget discussions

(Nov 20, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 20 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding state budget negotiations in the House: “We have thousands of families struggling to find their financial footing because of this raging pandemic that has closed or limited their abilities to feed themselves and their families. Thousands of our students don’t have the ability to access school instruction because of limited access to technology and reliable internet service. We have hundreds of our small businesses and venues still waiting for some financial relief. “To that end, we have $1.3 in federal dollars for the sole purpose of offering some short-term financial relief. Instead, Harrisburg is holding the money so that it can be used toward a sham of a budget. “It's yet another case of those in the state Capitol who fail to understand or care about what’s best for our residents and are only thinking of their own interests. What happened to the belief that, during times of difficulty, we work together to come up with ideas and solutions and collaborate? Instead, there’s a push toward actions that are short-sighted and short-termed. That is what will happen if we continue forward with short-sighted and irresponsible budgeting. “What about closing some of our corporate tax loopholes, or consider emerging industries, such as our cannabis industry, to resolve the state’s $3 billion deficit? There have been Read more

 

Matzie bill to strengthen anti-pyramid scheme law passes state Senate unanimously, heads for governor’s desk

(Nov 19, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 19 – Better protections are on the horizon for Pennsylvania consumers after the Pa. Senate today unanimously passed state Rep. Rob Matzie’s bill to update and improve the commonwealth’s law prohibiting pyramid schemes. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said his H.B. 1534 will both update the current antiquated law and clarify the distinction between legitimate direct-sale companies and fly-by-night schemes designed to scam consumers. “We can’t protect consumers with outdated laws, and our anti-pyramid law is so old it still refers to chain letters,” said Matzie, who is Democratic chairman of the House Consumer Affairs Committee. “My bill would bring the law up to date so that it reflects the complexity of today’s criminal fraud and has the necessary teeth to be an effective enforcement tool. “The bill would also clarify what constitutes acceptable business practices to help guide legitimate direct selling companies, while helping enforcement officers target the bad actors. The Senate’s move today means Pennsylvania consumers are one step closer to better protection.” Matzie said the law will encourage direct-sale companies to adopt the following two provisions that have been successful in other states: An anti-inventory loading provision that would discourage companies from saddling individual direct sellers with more products or services then they can sell or use. A Read more

 

Matzie: More than $52,000 awarded to fund equipment for area career and technical schools

(Nov 18, 2020)

AMBRIDGE, Nov. 18 – Two grants totaling $52,107 from the state Department of Education will fund training equipment for area career and technical schools, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said the funding includes $2,407 to Beaver County Career and Technology Center and $49,700 to Parkway West Career and Technology Center. “State-of-the-art equipment is essential to prepare career and technical school students for real-world work environments,” Matzie said. “Securing this funding means area students will have the benefit of training with the latest technology so they can step into high-tech jobs and meet employer expectations with a shorter learning curve. Less down time for on-the-job training means greater productivity for area business and industry and quicker economic returns.” The competitive grants are part of a statewide package of nearly $1.2 million to 32 career and technical centers and area vocational technical education schools and two school districts. The maximum grant under the program is $50,000, and each must be matched dollar-for-dollar from a local source such as local school funds or contributions from business and industry partners. More information on the grants is available here . Read more

 

Wheatley announces $291K in school safety grants, urges colleagues to do more to help schools, communities during ongoing pandemic

(Nov 16, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 16 – While announcing $291,725 in Safe Schools Targeted Grants awarded to area schools, state Rep. Jake Wheatley is also renewing a call to do more to help schools and school districts impacted by inequities in funding and support that have been laid bare in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “While these grants will certainly help our schools’ efforts in providing a safe learning environment for students and staff, I also implore my colleagues in the House to work together to create a funding source to address the digital and racial divides that have been exposed during this ongoing pandemic,” said Wheatley. “We have many schools across our state that lack affordable, reliable broadband access, as well as the vital resources necessary to support our students and families in need who continue to struggle to make ends meet. We can and must continue to do more.” The grants, awarded by the state Department of Education, are aimed toward preventing and reducing violence. The funds can also be used to purchase safety and security-related equipment and provide training and compensation of school resource and police officers. Under this program, the PDE’s Office for Safe Schools offers four types of safety grants: equipment grants of up to $25,000; program grants of up to $20,000; school police officer grants of up to $40,000; and school resource officer grants of up to $60,000. The grants are designed to Read more

 

Matzie: Nearly $516,000 in funding to ensure school safety

(Nov 16, 2020)

AMBRIDGE, Nov. 16 – Schools in Beaver and Allegheny counties are receiving $515,977 in grant funding to ensure students and staff enjoy the safety possible environment, state Rep, Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today. Matzie said the competitive 2020-21 Safe Schools Targeted Grants from the state Department of Education will ensure schools have all the resources they need to implement safety plans for the year ahead. “Safety is the first order of business when it comes to our schools, and that’s true whether we’re protecting students and staff them from health risks from COVID or ensuring basic security is in place,” Matzie said. “Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, our school officials do an excellent job of assessing specific needs and ensuring every potential issue is addressed before it becomes a problem. “But security comes at a price, and the cost burden often falls on taxpayers. Securing this funding will allow officials to cover all bases and ensure schools have the resources they need – including a mix of personnel, programs and equipment – while easing the tax burden on residents.” Matzie said the funding includes the following grants: Aliquippa School District – $25,000 for security equipment. Ambridge Area School District – $24,960 for security equipment and $60,000 for a school resource officer. Read more

 

Lee: Braddock library to receive $750,000 state grant

(Nov 12, 2020)

Funding to help with major renovation project at library Read more

 

Frankel, community mark anti-Semitic attack, remember those lost

(Oct 27, 2020)

Urges General Assembly to act against rise in hate crimes Read more

 

Matzie resolution highlights fight against pancreatic cancer

(Oct 26, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 26 – The House last week unanimously adopted state Rep. Rob Matzie’s resolution to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer – a disease that kills approximately 47,000 Americans each year. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said he introduced H.R. 1045 , designating November 2020 as “Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania, to draw attention to a disease that often evades detection until it is too advanced to treat. “I introduce this resolution every year because we need to keep talking about pancreatic cancer until survival is the rule, not the exception,” Matzie said. “My connection to this disease is deeply personal – my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about six years ago. After undergoing chemotherapy and surgery, she survived. Sadly, her story is not typical for most of the 57,000 Americans diagnosed every year. “There is cause for hope, however. Although we have yet to see a breakthrough, the statistics on survival are slowly climbing. Between 2014 and 2020, the five-year survival rate increased from 6% to 10%. The progress happens because of research. As more clinical trials take place, the number of survivor stories grows, and so do the people who live to tell them. “What can we do now? We can learn the symptoms and risk factors for pancreatic cancer and make sure family and friends know them. We can volunteer, support research efforts, and Read more

 

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

 

Deasy, other House Democrats call on Wolf to waive restaurant fees

(Oct 16, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 16 – On Thursday, state Rep. Dan Deasy, D-Allegheny, along with other House Democrats, sent a letter to the Wolf administration , asking that they seriously consider waiving filing, surcharge and license fees paid by restaurants for the coming year. Deasy’s statement on the request is as follows: “The Wolf administration took on a daunting task this year – tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a job not many could accomplish, but one of which I personally can say has been handled adequately, Deasy said. “There’s no easy answer or solution to meeting all Pennsylvanians’ needs during this trying time, but our governor has made it his personal goal to help as many people as possible. For that, I commend him and his administration. “However, as Democratic chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee, it’s my duty to ask that we do more for our restaurants, specifically our ‘Mom and Pop’ establishments. The Wolf administration has loosened restrictions as of late, allowing these private, family-owned businesses to receive much-needed relief. But more needs to be done at the state and federal level as the winter months approach. “Due to this, I’m asking the Wolf administration to consider waiving filing, surcharge and license fees paid by bars and restaurants for the coming year. This will alleviate much of the financial hardships 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

 

State lawmakers, workers, and business owners seek congressional action on COVID relief
1 day ago

Frankel: Legislature must set example on masking
Nov 23, 2020

Wheatley issues statement regarding committee action on H.R. 1100
Nov 23, 2020

Kortz: House approves bipartisan bill to license home inspectors
Nov 20, 2020

Matzie bill to lower prescription drug costs passes legislature, heads to governor
Nov 20, 2020

Wheatley issues statement on budget discussions
Nov 20, 2020

Matzie bill to strengthen anti-pyramid scheme law passes state Senate unanimously, heads for governor’s desk
Nov 19, 2020

Matzie: More than $52,000 awarded to fund equipment for area career and technical schools
Nov 18, 2020

Wheatley announces $291K in school safety grants, urges colleagues to do more to help schools, communities during ongoing pandemic
Nov 16, 2020

Matzie: Nearly $516,000 in funding to ensure school safety
Nov 16, 2020

Lee: Braddock library to receive $750,000 state grant
Nov 12, 2020

Frankel, community mark anti-Semitic attack, remember those lost
Oct 27, 2020

Matzie resolution highlights fight against pancreatic cancer
Oct 26, 2020

House unanimously adopts Matzie resolution designating October as ‘Wine, Wineries and Grapes Month’ in Pa.
Oct 21, 2020

Kortz introduces amendment to bill designed to strengthen ‘Steer Clear Law’
Oct 20, 2020

House unanimously adopts Matzie resolution recognizing credit unions
Oct 19, 2020

Wheatley introduces “Return Your Rights” legislation
Oct 16, 2020

Deasy, other House Democrats call on Wolf to waive restaurant fees
Oct 16, 2020

Innamorato: Hearing underscores need to close hazardous waste loophole
Oct 14, 2020

Frankel: Hate incidents continue to show need for action
Oct 13, 2020