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Summer 2020 Newsletter

Davis introduces Water Hardship Fund legislation

(Jun 23, 2020)

Today, state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, introduced legislation that would assist customers who may be unable to pay on outstanding water or wastewater bills. House Bill 2620, which Davis hopes will be voted by the full House soon, would create the Pennsylvania Water Hardship Fund. Through this program, customers would be able to donate a minimum of one dollar to a fund that would go directly to fellow customers with delinquent water bills and who need support. The funds would be collected and administered by the water service and sewer companies with additional support from the Public Utility Commission, Davis said. “COVID-19 showed us that we’re stronger when we work together,” Davis said. “Families across the state took a major hit when the pandemic occurred in the commonwealth. But residents - time and time again – did their part to help their neighbors make it through one of our state’s darkest times. This bill draws from that mindset, and I believe it could have a positive impact for working class families in Pennsylvania.” Davis said a similar program, the Dollar Energy Fund, is already established in Allegheny County and aids customers who are behind on their energy bill. Read more

 

Update on the Small Business Assistance Grant Program

(Jun 15, 2020)

Businesses owners - I want to follow up on last week’s outreach regarding the state’s Small Business Assistance Grant Program for those affected by COVID-19. Read more

 

We stand together; Grant program available to small businesses affected by COVID-19

(Jun 11, 2020)

This week I joined my colleagues in the Legislative Black Caucus to take control of the Speakers Rostrum to demand that the PA House Republican leadership take up police reform legislation that has been languishing in committee for years! If not now, when? Read more

 

Reps. Wheatley, Gainey and Austin Davis issue statement on passing of former state Rep. Bill Robinson

(Jun 10, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 10 – State Reps. Jake Wheatley, Ed Gainey and Austin Davis, all D-Allegheny, have issued the following statement on the passing of former state Rep. Bill Robinson: State Rep. Jake Wheatley: “Bill Robinson was committed to our community, and his service did not end after he left the General Assembly. He continued to work to the benefit of all residents in the city of Pittsburgh and beyond. My deepest sympathies go out today to his family and loved ones.” State Rep. Ed Gainey: “ It was with a heavy heart that I learned of Bill’s passing. He was one of those individuals who broke the mold, and who everyone seemed to know. From his time in the legislature, to his work on the city and county councils and throughout our community, Bill showed younger generations what it meant to serve, and was an outstanding role model for so many. I pray for him and for his family, and our entire community. We have lost so much these last few months, but we must remain strong and continue our long march toward justice, freedom and equality.” State Rep. Austin Davis: “Today, we remember the legacy and life of Bill Robinson, a true trailblazer and tireless public servant. Bill served our community at the city, state and county levels, always fighting to improve the condition of the African Americans in our region. Many of the African American elected officials in our region today stand on his shoulders and have walked in the Read more

 

Black Pittsburgh lawmakers’ protest forces action

(Jun 09, 2020)

Historic disruption of legislature causes speaker to call for special session as lawmakers vow to keep pressure on Read more

 

Police Reform Working Group releases statement on progress toward reform

(Jun 04, 2020)

The Police Reform Working Group, a collection of elected officials and advocates working to bring accountability and transparency reforms to law enforcement, released the following statement on Gov. Tom Wolf’s adoption today of their request for a state-level deputy inspector general aimed at improving law enforcement conduct, as well as Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s, along with the Fraternal Order of Police’s, support of a confidential database to track complaints against police officers: Read more

 

Lawmakers call on Republican leadership to take up police-community legislation

(Jun 04, 2020)

Pittsburgh-area lawmakers urged House leadership to address numerous law enforcement reform bills that have been languishing in House committees and to add session days if necessary Read more

 

Davis: Allegheny County to move to green reopening designation

(May 29, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 29 – State Rep. Austin Davis today announced Allegheny County will be allowed to move from the yellow to green reopening designation, effective at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 5. “This is welcome news for our residents, who have been doing their part to curb the virus’ spread,” said Davis, D-Allegheny. “This is also good news for our businesses, but we can’t let our guard down and must continue to follow state and federal health guidelines.” Davis added that state health officials will continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions as needed. Counties in the green designation must follow these restrictions: Work-related restrictions: Continued telework strongly encouraged. Businesses with in-person operations must follow updated business and building safety requirements. All businesses operating at 50% occupancy in the yellow phase may increase to 75% occupancy. Childcare facilities may open and must comply with state guidelines. Congregate care restrictions in place. Prison and hospital restrictions determined by individual facilities. Schools subject to CDD and state guidance. Social restrictions: Large gatherings of more than 250 persons prohibited. Restaurants and bars can open at 50% occupancy. Personal care services (including hair salons and barber shops) can open at 50% Read more

 

Davis’ legislation advocating for rental assistance rolled into crucial fiscal code bill

(May 29, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 29 – In May, state Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, began his push to advocate for residents struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic by introducing legislation geared toward providing rental assistance to those in need. On Thursday, portions of his legislation were rolled into the final supplemental fiscal code bill. Davis said he was encouraged and thankful to see portions of his bill included in H.B. 2510, which passed the House on Thursday, and noted he was able to advocate for the inclusion of his legislation through his role on the House Appropriations Committee. “I’m grateful to see portions of my legislation included in this bill, most notably because it’s legislation that will benefit state residents which, by the way, is the reason we’re all here,” Davis said. “It’s my hope that members from both sides of the aisle can continue to work in bipartisan fashion, especially during times of crisis, so that we can do what is best for commonwealth residents.” Davis said his legislation was wrapped into H.B. 2510 under the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. Specifically, section 191-C dedicates a minimum of $150 million to rental assistance through the proposed COVID Relief Rent and Mortgage Assistance Grant Program. Homeowners or renters may be eligible for assistance if they became unemployed after March 1, 2020, or their annual household income was reduced by 30% or Read more

 

You can get tested tomorrow for COVID-19

(May 28, 2020)

The Allegheny Health Network’s mobile COVID-19 testing unit will be in Duquesne tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Read more

 

Davis votes to freeze cost-of-living adjustments for public officials

(May 26, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 26 – Calling it an obvious choice as families continue feeling the economic effects of the pandemic, state Rep. Austin Davis voted yes today on a measure that would freeze cost-of-living adjustments for public officials. House Bill 2487 , which passed the House unanimously, would amend the Public Official Compensation Law to freeze COLAs through 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “As our working families struggle to cope with the devastating effects of this pandemic, we have been reassuring them that we will get through this,” Davis said. “As public officials, it's incumbent on us to make sure that’s not an empty promise, and that means working to save taxpayer dollars in every way possible. “Freezing cost-of-living adjustments for public officials may be just one small step, but it’s something we can do to help now, when every dollar is critical." The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration. Read more

 

Davis bill approved by House Consumer Affairs Committee

(May 26, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 26 – State Rep. Austin Davis’ legislation, which would provide a level of consumer protections to residents’ rights to clean, drinkable water, was unanimously voted out of the House Consumer Affairs Committee on Tuesday. Read more

 

Now YOU can get tested for COVID-19

(May 20, 2020)

A recent partnership in Allegheny County has resulted in the ability to test all communities within the county, regardless of a patient’s insurance or inability to pay. Read more

 

I asked PUC to investigate PA American’s recent rate-increase request; More than $100K in Fire Company and EMS grants awarded to numerous entities in 35th Legislative District

(May 14, 2020)

I recently wrote a letter of concern to the Public Utility Commission regarding a recent rate-increase request by Pennsylvania American Water. Read more

 

Davis urges federal government to approve state application for school funding

(May 07, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 7 – Under an emergency federal funding program enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools in the 35 th Legislative District could receive a total of $4.4 million, announced state Rep. Austin Davis, as he is urging federal officials to quickly approve the state’s funding application. “The current public health crisis continues to affect us all near and far, and we’ve yet to really see how this pandemic will affect our schools’ budgets,” Davis said. “While we’re all hoping for the best, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that COVID-19 will have moderate or severe affects for our schools, which is why we’re asking the federal government to quickly expedite the state’s application, so that this money can be allocated for the districts that need it most.” This week, the state filed an application to the U.S. Department of Education to obtain approximately $523.8 million in emergency one-time funds to help schools respond to COVID-19 impacts. Locally, it is estimated that the following school districts would receive the follow funding: Clairton City School District - $533,425 Duquesne City School District - $536,075 McKeesport Area School District - $1,891,316 South Allegheny School District - $380,156 Steel Valley School District - $557,161 West Mifflin Area School District – $571,338 State Read more

 

Davis: More than $100K in Fire Company and EMS grants awarded to numerous entities in 35th Legislative District

(May 06, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – A combined total of $100,700 in Fire Company and Emergency Medical Service grants was awarded Wednesday to numerous fire and EMS companies in the 35 th Legislative District, announced state Rep. Austin Davis. Davis, D-Allegheny, said the following entities received funding: City of McKeesport Fire Department – $13,700 Munhall Area Prehospital Services (EMS) -$11,920.24 Munhall Fire & Rescue Co. 5 - $12,331.03 Munhall Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 - $11,783.31 Rainbow Volunteer Fire Company - $12,467.96 Versailles Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 Inc. - $14,248.03 White Oak Emergency Medical Service - $12,057.17 White Oak Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 - $12,194.10 “Now, more than ever, it is crucial that our first responders have the funding needed to safely respond to emergency situations,” Davis said. “Despite the impact COVID-19 has had on the state system, the Office of the State Fire Commissioner has remained steadfast in ensuring our fire and EMS personnel are receiving what they need so that they can continue to provide outstanding emergency services to their communities.” Davis said the funding can be used for the construction and renovation of facilities; purchasing equipment; debt reduction; training and education; and overtime cost associated with backfilling positions while firefighters are attending training. The Read more

 

Davis calls on PUC to investigate PA American’s recent rate-increase request

(May 01, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 1 -- In response to a recent rate-increase request filed by Pennsylvania American Water to the Public Utility Commission, state Rep. Austin Davis wrote a letter of concern asking the commission to hold public hearings and conduct an investigation into the necessity of the requested rate increase. A copy of Davis’ letter can be found here . “COVID-19 has left millions of Pennsylvanians without jobs, and the economic effects this virus will have on families across the commonwealth is overwhelming,” said Davis, D-Allegheny. “Experts predict the economic loss families in my district and across the state will incur will last well into 2021. I think at the very least families shouldn’t have to fear the loss of services for their most basic needs due to an inability to pay.” Davis noted in his letter he was aware Pennsylvania American Water began the process of examining needed investments to continue to ensure safe and reliable water and wastewater services before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he said he’s troubled the company would continue its push for a significant increase during a health crisis. The requested increase wouldn’t go into effect until 2021. In 2018, the PUC unanimously approved a settlement that allowed Pennsylvania American Water to raise water and wastewater rates. Davis said the primary factor for the increase was to allot for Read more

 

Honoring former Munhall Mayor on the House floor; Virtual news conference regarding my Right-to-Repair bill; My support for the COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity -- and more!

(Apr 30, 2020)

On Monday I took a moment on the House floor to honor and remember former Munhall Mayor Ray Bodner, an honorable man and extremely influential individual in our community. He will be greatly missed. Read more

 

Davis, Lee, Gainey and Wheatley pen letter of support for COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity

(Apr 28, 2020)

HARRISBURG, April 28 – State Reps. Austin Davis, Ed Gainey, Summer Lee and Jake Wheatley, all D-Allegheny, on Tuesday penned a letter of support to Gov. Tom Wolf praising his administration’s enactment of the COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity , which was designed to help identify how the pandemic is affecting the state’s minority and vulnerable populations. A copy of the joint letter sent to the governor on Tuesday can be found here . “The COVID-19 pandemic – even in its earliest days – quickly shed light on many longstanding issues of inequality faced by minority communities,” Davis said. “Unfortunately, these are key issues these minority populations have dealt with for many years, COVID-19 just illuminated it for the rest of the state to see. So, while I’m hopeful and grateful for the institution of this task force, it’s my sincerest hope that this produces real results, saves lives and leads to longstanding change for Pennsylvania’s minority communities.” Lee added: “The coronavirus has brought to the surface all of the structural inequalities that marginalized communities in our state are dealing with – including those in our healthcare system. While I appreciate this effort, I would also hope that this task force is a starting point for us as a society to acknowledge and address the disparities in our healthcare Read more

 

My statement on the passage of police reform bills; Water Hardship Fund legislation; Rent/Mortgage Assistance available soon
Jun 24, 2020

Davis introduces Water Hardship Fund legislation
Jun 23, 2020

Update on the Small Business Assistance Grant Program
Jun 15, 2020

We stand together; Grant program available to small businesses affected by COVID-19
Jun 11, 2020

Reps. Wheatley, Gainey and Austin Davis issue statement on passing of former state Rep. Bill Robinson
Jun 10, 2020

Black Pittsburgh lawmakers’ protest forces action
Jun 09, 2020

Police Reform Working Group releases statement on progress toward reform
Jun 04, 2020

Lawmakers call on Republican leadership to take up police-community legislation
Jun 04, 2020

Davis: Allegheny County to move to green reopening designation
May 29, 2020

Davis’ legislation advocating for rental assistance rolled into crucial fiscal code bill
May 29, 2020

You can get tested tomorrow for COVID-19
May 28, 2020

Davis votes to freeze cost-of-living adjustments for public officials
May 26, 2020

Davis bill approved by House Consumer Affairs Committee
May 26, 2020

Now YOU can get tested for COVID-19
May 20, 2020

I asked PUC to investigate PA American’s recent rate-increase request; More than $100K in Fire Company and EMS grants awarded to numerous entities in 35th Legislative District
May 14, 2020

Davis urges federal government to approve state application for school funding
May 07, 2020

Davis: More than $100K in Fire Company and EMS grants awarded to numerous entities in 35th Legislative District
May 06, 2020

Davis calls on PUC to investigate PA American’s recent rate-increase request
May 01, 2020

Honoring former Munhall Mayor on the House floor; Virtual news conference regarding my Right-to-Repair bill; My support for the COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity -- and more!
Apr 30, 2020

Davis, Lee, Gainey and Wheatley pen letter of support for COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity
Apr 28, 2020