Kortz: Bill to provide therapeutic fishing license exemption passes committee

(Mar 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 12 – A bill to allow the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to issue therapeutic exemptions to fishing license requirements unanimously passed the House Game and Fisheries Committee, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced today. Kortz, who is minority chairman of the committee and the prime sponsor of H.B. 584 , said it would provide the necessary language to allow the PFBC to award fishing license exemptions to therapy groups, including veterans groups and cancer support organizations. Kortz said that in 2018, participants in over 60 different service organizations and hundreds of one-day fishing events across Pennsylvania would have qualified for such an exemption, if it had existed. “Fishing has been a beneficial therapeutic activity used by health care professionals for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, who are healing from cancer or a chronic disease, or who are recovering from depression, addiction, or traumatic brain injury,” said Kortz. “It brings a smile to their faces and allows them to experience the joy of being outdoors and taking part in such a pleasurable activity.” Mike Nerozzi, PFBC director of policy and planning, said, “Today was an important first step toward helping a lot of people heal, both emotionally and physically. This bill reinforces an initiative that the commission has previously committed to and would ensure the tremendous value of Read more


Kortz: Bill would prohibit food or drink, use of cell phones for school bus drivers

(Mar 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 6 – School bus drivers would be banned from using cell phones or consuming any food or beverages while operating a school bus or vehicle transporting children, under a bill introduced by state Rep. William Kortz, D-Allegheny. “With more than a million school students riding buses each school year in Pennsylvania, it’s important that these drivers be focused on the task at hand: transporting children safely,” said Kortz. “We know it’s important that all drivers not be distracted behind the wheel, and school bus drivers are no different – they have an enormous responsibility to keep these children safe.” House Bill 691 would amend the state’s Public School Code to prohibit the use of a cell phone or similar device while driving, but would still allow the use of a two-way radio for communication purposes. However, cell phones usage would be allowed in an emergency situation, provided the driver is safely parked off a roadway. The measure also contains a provision that allows for school bus drivers with medical conditions to consume food or beverages, but they must do so while parked safety off a roadway. Under H.B. 691, a violation would be considered a primary offense, carrying a fine of $50 to $100, or a fine of $300 if the violation results in a traffic accident. Read more


Real ID Update

(Feb 21, 2019)

Inside this update is information to help you get ready for obtaining a REAL ID. Read more


2019 Trout Stocking Schedules Available

(Feb 06, 2019)

The 2019 trout stocking schedules are available by clicking the link and visiting fishandboat.com. Once there, you'll be able to search by county. Read more


Kortz sworn in to office, receives committee appointments for 2019-20 session

(Jan 28, 2019)

State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, was recently sworn in for another term as state representative in the General Assembly for the 38th Legislative District earlier this month and has been appointed to leadership roles. Read more


$560,000 awarded to 16 Allegheny County school districts, charter schools

(Jan 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 17 – Sixteen education entities in Allegheny County today were awarded a total $560,000 in targeted grants provided through Gov. Tom Wolf’s PAsmart initiative, announced state Rep. Dan Miller, chairman of the Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation. The grants will fund training and equipment needed to prepare teachers and students for the expansion of computer science programs. Miller said each recipient will receive $35,000 through PAsmart, which has made Pennsylvania No. 2 in the nation for investing in K-12 STEM and computer science education. “The delegation is happy to announce this funding,” Miller said. “In the coming years, most jobs will require workers to use computers and advanced technology in an ever-changing workforce and economy. By providing this funding, we’re helping to ensure students and teachers will be adequately prepared to succeed in their line of work, and do so with confidence.” School districts and charter/intermediate unit schools awarded funding through PAsmart include: Baldwin-Whitehall School District (Reps. Harry Readshaw, Bill Kortz and Dan Miller) Carlynton School District (Reps. Anita Kulik and Dan Deasy) Chartiers Valley School District (Kulik and Miller) City Charter High School (Reps. Dan Frankel, Jake Wheatley, Adam Ravenstahl, Readshaw, Miller, Sara Innamorato, Deasy, Summer Lee and Ed Gainey) Deer Lakes School District (Rep. Frank Dermody) Duquesne Read more


Kortz: It’s time to protect the homebuyer

(Jan 11, 2019)

In an effort to protect homebuyers, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, and Rep. Sue Helm, R-Dauphin/Lebanon, are proposing two pieces of legislation that would provide oversight to the home buying process and protect residential customers. Read more


Labor & Industry grant will help students looking to pursue careers in building and construction industry

(Jan 10, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 – An $115,641 business education partnership grant will provide Allegheny County students with hands-on exposure to careers in the building and construction industry, announced state Rep. Dan Miller, chairman of the Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation. “This grant money will have a positive impact on students from all House districts encompassed within the delegation,” Miller said. “The delegation is happy to announce this funding, as we all understand the importance of providing students with a means-to-an-end when it comes to choosing their prospective career paths. “Students looking to get involved in the building and construction industry will find the programs created by this funding to be not only rewarding, but also extremely informational and influential as they look to solidify their futures in the workforce.” Miller said the Three Rivers Workforce Development Board will join forces with PARTNER4WORK, a Pittsburgh-based workforce development organization, to carry out the three-pronged project. The first phase will include bringing together 14 building and construction unions, local colleges, businesses, students and others at the March 29 Building On … Careers in the Building and Construction Industry conference in Pittsburgh. The second phase involves the creation of the Summer in Trades internship program, which will provide students with hands-on experience and insight into the Read more


Seven Allegheny County members to lead key House committees

(Jan 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 7 – The Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation (ACHDD) today proudly announced that seven of its 16 members were appointed to key chair positions on House committees that handle major issues in western Pennsylvania and the state as a whole. State Rep. Dan Miller, chair of the ACHDD for the 2019-20 legislative session, noted the importance of the delegation’s appointments. “The ACHDD and its members take their responsibilities very seriously,” Miller said. “As Democrats, we will continue to prioritize family sustaining jobs, access to quality health care, and investments in education, and having so many of our members in the Caucus leadership will only aid in achieving those goals. Allegheny County will continue to be well-represented.” The newly appointed chairs and their committees include: Rep. Dan Deasy , Liquor Control Committee. Rep. Tony DeLuca , Insurance Committee. Rep. Dan Frankel , Health Committee. Rep. Bill Kortz , Game and Fisheries Committee. Rep. Rob Matzie , Consumer Affairs Committee. Rep. Harry Readshaw , Professional Licensure Committee. Rep. Jake Wheatley , Finance Committee. The appointments were announced by state Rep. Frank Dermody, also a member of the ACHDD, who recently was unanimously re-elected as the House Democratic Caucus leader. First-time chairs include Matzie, Kortz and Deasy. All leadership positions are determined every two years. The ACHDDs website, Read more


Allegheny County Airport to receive $223,000 in grant funding

(Dec 06, 2018)

The grant will be used to acquire equipment to maintain the airfield including a new plow truck, landscaping equipment and a wheel loader to replace existing equipment that is old and unreliable. Read more


Kortz honors 100-year-old local WW II Army nurse for service

(Dec 06, 2018)

On Tuesday, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, had the honor of recognizing Elva Bertha and celebrating her 100th birthday. Read more


2019 Capitol Scenes Calendar

(Nov 29, 2018)

Check out my 2019 Capitol Scenes Calendar Read more


Heating aid via LIHEAP now open

(Nov 05, 2018)

The 2018-2019 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP – is accepting applications for heating assistance grants. LIHEAP offers cash grants of $200 to $1,000 that are sent directly to the utility company to defray heating costs for eligible households, and crisis benefits of up to $600 for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Remember: These are grants and do not have to be repaid. This season’s income guidelines for both LIHEAP cash and crisis grants are $18,210 for an individual, $24,690 for couples and increases for each additional person in the household. Please click here for more LIHEAP information. Please consider visiting my office if you need help filing a LIHEAP application. Besides my office, LIHEAP information is available by: Contacting local County Assistance offices by phone or in person. Calling the LIHEAP Client Helpline at 1-866-857-7095 or PA Relay at 711 for the hearing impaired. Applying online at https://www.compass.state.pa.us . Read more


Kortz to host annual Senior Fair and Shred-It events in October

(Oct 09, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 9 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, will host two free events – days apart from each other – for constituents in October. The 11 th annual Senior Health and Wellness Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Broughton Volunteer Fire Department, 1030 Cochran Mills Road in Pittsburgh (South Park). “This is a yearly event that I look forward to every year,” Kortz said. “In addition to having the pleasure of meeting with and talking to older residents within my district, they will have access to an overwhelming amount of information on programs and services that benefit seniors.” Aside from exhibitors and light refreshments, there will be opportunities to receive free blood pressure screenings, and get flu and pneumonia shots with an eligible Medicare card. A sheriff’s deputy from Project D.U.M.P. (Disposal of Unused Medications Properly) will be onsite to collect unused or expired medications for proper disposal. Needles and syringes are excluded. Then, two days after the fair, Kortz will host his 6 th annual Shred-It event from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the West Mifflin No. 3 Volunteer Fire Co., 3722 Rodeo Drive in West Mifflin. There is a two-box limit per vehicle for shredding, and the event is not open to businesses. “If you have any personal documents, such as used financial statements, old bills or other things, this is the time to dispose of them Read more


Kortz pays tribute to late state Rep. Raymond T. Book

(Sep 24, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 24 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, paid tribute today to late three-term state Representative Raymond T. Book. Book died in May at age 93. Kortz issued the following statement: “We’re here to say thank you to a man whose tireless dedication to serving Whitehall Borough, the commonwealth and the nation has been an inspiration to all of us. Elected to the House for three terms, Ray was a model of integrity and approachability. But even before his election to the House, he dedicated his life to serving his country and his community. “With World War II raging, Ray enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought under Gen. George Patton, battling through the tumult of the second wave of invasions of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. A hard-working family man, he served as Whitehall Borough councilman for two terms before being approached to run for representative of the 41 st Legislative District. He accomplished much during his three terms, but one of proudest achievements was his primary sponsorship and the passage of Pennsylvania’s Organ Donor legislation. “Ray’s contributions to his country and community are surpassed only by his pride in, and love for, his family, who miss him dearly. His legacy of public service is remembered through his many achievements, but will also live on through his daughter Linda, who is serving her fifth term on the Whitehall Borough Council.” Family members attending the Read more


Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission sponsoring Mentored Youth Fishing Day; Happy Labor Day!

(Aug 29, 2018)

On Monday, Sept. 3, we celebrate Labor Day. For many, this is an end-of-the-summer send-off, but it is important to remember and reflect on its true meaning. Read more


As students return to school, please drive carefully

(Aug 22, 2018)

Most students have or will be returning to school at the end of the month. I’d like to remind drivers to be cautious and on the lookout for children and school buses. Read more


Kortz: Glassport Borough tracts gain ‘Qualified Opportunity Zone’ status

(Jun 20, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 20 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced today that two low-income census tracts in the 38th Legislative District, which he represents, were approved by the U.S. Treasury Department as “Qualified Opportunity Zones.” The census tracts – both located in Glassport Borough – were nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf under a federal program that provides tax incentives to private investors for investing in low-income communities. “Private investment will revitalize these areas by funding development that will create job opportunities, better housing and expanded community resources,” Kortz said. “Hardworking residents of these communities deserve the promise of a better life for themselves and their families.” Under the program – which is administered by the Treasury under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – states may nominate a certain percentage of census tracts as Qualified Opportunity Zones. Private investors receive tax benefits for investing capital gains in these areas. Pennsylvania had 1,197 low-income census tracts eligible for Qualified Opportunity Zone status and was given the opportunity to nominate 25 percent, or 300 tracts. The nominations were announced in April and approved this month. An interactive map of the tracts is available here . Read more


Kortz: Deadline for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program extended

(Jun 11, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 11 – The deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2017 under the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program has been extended to Dec. 31, Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced today. “The extension is great news for the many eligible Pennsylvanians who benefit from this program,” Kortz said. “They include residents 65 and older; widows and widowers 50 and older; and people with disabilities 18 and older. It costs nothing to apply, and my offices can help. Stop by to determine whether you’re eligible. We can also provide application forms and help you fill them out.” Kortz’s Dravosburg Office is located at 751 Pittsburgh-McKeesport Blvd. and can be reached at 412-466-1940. His Pittsburgh Office is located at 5101 Old Clairton Road and can be reached at 412-886-2870. Kortz noted that the program’s income eligibility limits are $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. For purposes of calculating income, half of Social Security is excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, although supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975. Kortz asked that constituents seeking assistance bring proof of local (county, borough and school) property taxes and proof of income, such as an IRS Form 1099. Residents can learn more about the program and download an application from the state Department of Revenue’s website. The Read more


Kortz bill requiring school civics test heads to governor’s desk

(Jun 07, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 7 – A bill that would require Pennsylvania schools to test students on their competency in civics, government and U.S. history is heading to the governor’s desk after the House yesterday passed a final version, according to the bill’s co-prime sponsor, Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny. “The test that schools would administer would be the same or similar to the test immigrants must take to become U.S. citizens,” Kortz said. “If we’re requiring new citizens to learn fundamental concepts about how our democracy works, then our students should have the same basic knowledge upon graduation. “The ultimate goal of the bill is to ensure that our graduating students have a basic knowledge of our constitutional democracy so that they can become engaged citizens in our great nation. We can’t expect kids to grow into informed, responsible citizens and leaders if we don’t teach them about how our government works.” House Bill 564 would require schools to administer either a locally developed civics assessment – or they can use the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services test or parts thereof – at least once to all students between grades seven and 12. Ultimately, the local school districts would decide the final version of the test. Students who obtain a perfect grade would receive a certificate of recognition from the state Department of Education. The certificate would not be a Read more