Merski hosting Black History Month virtual town hall on Feb. 17

(Feb 15, 2022)

ERIE, Feb. 15 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, is hosting a virtual town hall at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17 to discuss issues impacting Erie’s Black residents and other residents of color. “Black residents and other people of color have invested decades of effort to help build our community, yet most still face an unequal return on that investment compared to white residents when it comes to health care, education, jobs and general quality of life,” Merski said. “Our live event Feb. 17 will be a dialog to discuss these issues and what we can do to bring about change. “I encourage everyone to tune in and become a part of the conversation.” Those interested in attending the live online Teams event or learning more should send their name and e-mail address to Merski’s office by emailing RepMerski@pahouse.net or calling (814) 455-6319. The event also will be livestreamed on Merski’s Facebook page. Read more

 

Sainato: $500,000 awarded to support housing needs for vulnerable residents

(Feb 14, 2022)

NEW CASTLE, Feb. 14 – A $500,000 grant will help ensure Lawrence County’s most vulnerable residents have safe, secure housing, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced today. Sainato said the money will fund a program to help the county – working with Lawrence County Community Action Partnership – serve the elderly, people with disabilities and residents with health issues that make them more susceptible to COVID-19. “Everyone needs a safe place to call home, but for vulnerable residents of our community, including those who are elderly, disabled, or vulnerable to COVID-19, essential safety repairs like stair handrails, electrical issues and other issues are not always a simple matter,” Sainato said. “That’s especially true when residents are living in older homes. “The funding awarded today is going to address those issues and help ensure these residents can stay in their homes to maintain their independence in familiar surroundings.” The funding is part of a package of nearly $14.2 million in Community Development Block Grant – CARES Act funding to support continued recovery from the pandemic. More information about the funding is available here. Read more

 

Matzie announces nearly $226,400 in fire, EMS grants

(Feb 11, 2022)

AMBRIDGE, Feb. 11 – Fire and EMS companies in the 16 th Legislative District were awarded $226,390 in grant funding, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said 14 fire and EMS companies are receiving grants from the Office of the State Fire Commissioner. “First responders in our district have continued to answer the call even as the pandemic has interfered with fundraising, strained budgets and added new challenges to the job,” Matzie said. “Securing this funding will help companies replenish equipment, pay for training and building repairs, and address other needs to ease the burden a bit on these frontline heroes.” Matzie said the following grants were awarded: Ambridge Borough Fire Department – $14,997. Ambridge Volunteer Fire Department – $15,000. Baden Volunteer Fire Department – $15,000. City of Aliquippa (Fire Company) – $15,000. Conway Volunteer Fire Department – $15,000. Economy Volunteer Firemens Association – $15,000. Fair Oaks Volunteer Fire Protective Association Inc. – $15,000. Harmony Township Volunteer Firemen Inc. – $15,000. Hopewell Township Volunteer Fire Department – $15,000. Leetsdale Fire Department – $15,000. Monaca No. 1 Volunteer Fire Read more

 

Longietti announces more than $217,000 in fire, EMS grants

(Feb 11, 2022)

HERMITAGE, Feb. 11 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced that 15 fire and EMS companies in the 7th Legislative District have been awarded $217,235 in state grants. “First responders in our community step up and answer the call tirelessly, carrying out critical public safety duties despite constant funding challenges that strain resources and complicate their work,” Longietti said. “It’s my hope that by helping companies with the cost of equipment, training, building repairs and other immediate needs, this funding will keep these frontline heroes safe and make their jobs just a bit easier.” Longietti said the following fire and EMS companies will receive grants in these amounts: Clark Volunteer Fire Department – $15,000. Farrell Volunteer Fire Department Inc. – $14,651. Greenville Fire Department – $15,000. Greenville Fire Department (EMS) – $8,325. Greenville Volunteer Fire Company – $15,000. Hermitage Volunteer Fire Dept. Inc . – $15,000. Patagonia Volunteer Fire Dept . – $15,000. Sharon Fire Department – $15,000. Sharpsville Volunteer Fire Department – $15,000. Shenango Township Volunteer Fire Department – $15,000. South Pymatuning Township Volunteer Fire Association – $15,000. Transfer Volunteer Fire Department – $15,000. West Middlesex Volunteer Read more

 

Sainato announces $105,000 in fire grants

(Feb 10, 2022)

NEW CASTLE, Feb. 10 – State Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced that six fire companies in the 9th Legislative District have been awarded $105,000 in grants for training, equipment and other critical resources. “These grants will supply some needed resources for our local fire companies that have been operating under tight budgets and severe staff shortages,” said Sainato, who is Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “The funding won’t solve the long-term recruitment and retention problems plaguing fire and EMS companies throughout the state. Those challenges, which have been compounded lately by fundraising problems, will require longer-term solutions and incentives. “But for now, we can at least replenish resources and address immediate needs like equipment, training and certification, building repairs, and other expenses.” Sainato said the following funding was awarded to these companies: Hickory Township Volunteer Fire Co. – $15,000. Mahoning Township Volunteer Fire Dept – $15,000. Neshannock Township Volunteer Fire Co. – $15,000. North Beaver Township Volunteer Fire Dept. – $15,000. Shenango Area Fire District – $30,000. Union Township Volunteer Firemans Association – Read more

 

Harkins, Merski announce $106,820 in fire and EMS grants

(Feb 10, 2022)

ERIE, Feb. 10 – State Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced that fire and EMS companies in their districts will be receiving $106,820 in state grant funding for equipment, training and other needed resources. “Erie first responders have been operating under short staffed and underfunded conditions for years, and the pandemic only made things tougher,” Harkins said. “Securing this funding is going to help get some of those resources flowing and also aid in recruitment and retention efforts.” Merski said: “The grants are a welcome addition to help our frontline heroes replenish supplies and equipment, fund necessary training, make building repairs and address a host of other needs. Erie is lucky to have dedicated first responders who answer the call in all kinds of stressful situations. This funding is the least we can do to help make their work a little easier.” The lawmakers said the funding includes: • Belle Valley Fire Department Inc. – fire company, $13,520. • City of Erie Fire Department – fire company, $15,000. • EmergyCare Inc. – EMS, $8,325. • Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department – fire company, $15,000. • Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Department – EMS, $8,325. • Perry Hi-Way Hose Co. – fire company, Read more

 

Matzie introduces ‘Megan’s Law’ bill to protect nursing home residents and staff from sexual assault

(Feb 10, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 10 – A new bill introduced by state Rep. Rob Matzie would protect nursing home residents and staff from sexual assaults by establishing care and reporting requirements when a registered sex offender is admitted. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said H.B. 2341 – which would function as a Megan’s Law for the state’s nursing homes – would establish protections that are needed immediately. “Right now, when a registered sexual offender is admitted to a Pennsylvania nursing home, the home is not required to disclose this to other residents or staff – or to develop any special plans to ensure their safety,” Matzie said. “The situation has resulted in attacks on residents, and the threat will only grow as thousands of registered sex offenders continue aging and require medical care. “My bill would put essential protections in place by requiring all Pennsylvania nursing homes to check the sex offender registry before admitting a new resident; develop a care plan to protect other residents and staff when a registered offender is admitted; and notify staff and other residents in close proximity about the plan.” Matzie’s bill would also require facilities to report the information to the state Department of Health, to create a centralized registry that would function as a Megan’s Law for nursing homes. Currently, there is no such list, so officials have no way of tracking how many Read more

 

Erie lawmakers issue statement on new coastal zone funding

(Feb 09, 2022)

ERIE, Feb. 9 – State Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski issued the following statements regarding state funding for coastal zone projects. “The Lake Erie watershed and its delicate ecosystem face ongoing threats from pollution and other environmental hazards,” said Harkins, who sits on the Great Lakes Commission. “Phosphorus runoff and the harmful algae blooms it creates have long posed a danger to the health of the lake and the safety of our drinking water, and we have been working with the commission to track progress in combating the problem. This funding is going to help efforts to address the problem.” Merski said, “Once again, I am thrilled to see the state making major investments to protect Lake Erie and coastal ecosystems. This funding will build on previous rounds of state funding to ensure that these important ecosystems and natural areas are protected for future generations. But this is about more than just protecting critical wildlife habitats. The health of our region and communities – economic and social – are very much tied to the health of the lake the surrounding regions. In many ways, the lake defines our region and is a critical component of the place we all call home.” Approved projects include: • Regional Science Consortium – $62,525 to research the occurrence of saxitoxin from harmful algal blooms Read more

 

Harkins: Governor outlined critical education goals during Erie visit

(Feb 09, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 9 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, issued the following statement after Gov. Tom Wolf’s visit today to Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School to discuss education funding. “I was glad to hear the governor discuss his budget proposals on education and the need to apply the state’s fair funding formula more broadly. “I was also encouraged to see that the governor’s proposed budget would bring nearly $30 million in additional basic education funding for Erie schools – a major investment in our children’s future. “But we can, and should, do more to level the playing field between the haves and the have-nots. “Fair funding – which distributes money to school districts based on student population and community need – is exactly what we need here in Erie. But the formula isn’t working to level the playing field the way it was designed to, because it isn’t being applied to all education funding – just increases in funding. “As a result, more than five years after the formula was passed, Erie public schools are still grossly underfunded compared to some of their peers. “With a stable state financial outlook and billions in the Rainy Day fund, we now have the power to turn that around once and for all – with zero increase in taxes. I find it hard to imagine a smarter investment than in our kids and our future Read more

 

Harkins supports governor’s proposed investments in education, vulnerable citizens

(Feb 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address today. “I listened intently to Governor Wolf lay out his vision for the 2022-23 budget, and I was encouraged to hear his commitment to fairly fund education at all levels. Applying a fair funding formula across the board is the best way we have to ensure our own students here in Erie receive the level of resources they deserve – and the ones already benefiting students in wealthier ZIP codes. Fair funding would also lessen the burden on local taxpayers. “With our aging population in mind, it was encouraging to hear the governor address the need to fund and pay home health care workers at a rate that supports and acknowledges the difficult and essential work they do. Increased funding for nursing facilities and behavioral health care providers means better care for our most vulnerable residents. “The relative financial stability we are enjoying right now affords us the ability to pay our bills while at the same time fortifying programs and services that have been overlooked and neglected for too long. I am looking forward to working with both my Republican and Democratic colleagues to see if further investments from the billions in the Rainy Day fund can address continuing crisis areas. We have an opportunity now to address critical needs without raising taxes. Read more

 

Merski supports proposed budget investments in education, workforce training, vulnerable residents

(Feb 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget address today. “I believe Governor Wolf’s budget proposal moves us in the right direction by investing more money in our schools, including additional dollars into pre-K through post-secondary programs. “While the infusion of Level Up funding has been helpful and will continue to bring critical resources, it is not sufficient to level the playing field for Erie students, who for decades have been forced to try to compete with fewer resources. We need to make fair education funding a priority now, to give our students the opportunities they need and ease the burden on taxpayers. “On a related note, I support the governor’s proposed investments in additional workforce training and apprenticeship programs, which are critical for ensuring that the commonwealth remains competitive, and proposals to assist the small businesses that are the lifeblood of our economy. “Finally, I applaud the governor’s proposed investments in more funding for skilled nursing facilities for our seniors and in behavioral health programs. Those investments will be a welcome relief to programs that have struggled for years to gain sustainable funding for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable residents. “Of course, these are just Read more

 

Harkins elected vice chairman of Northwest Delegation

(Feb 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, has been elected to serve as vice chairman of the House Democrats’ Northwest Delegation – a coalition of lawmakers representing Erie and surrounding counties in the state’s Northwest region. Harkins previously served as secretary and said he is looking forward to continuing an active role in the delegation. “We empower our community by making sure their voices are heard in Harrisburg,” Harkins said. “Residents are counting on us to make sure the issues that matter – jobs that pay a living wage, affordable housing and health care, better-funded schools – make it to the top of the legislative agenda. “As a delegation, we can bring a stronger, more unified voice to make sure those issues get the attention they deserve.” Harkins said he is looking forward to working with the new chairman, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, and the rest of the delegation. Read more

 

Longietti announces he will not seek ninth term

(Feb 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced today that he will not seek a ninth term in office. Longietti has served the 7th Legislative District since 2007 and will serve out the balance of his term, which ends Nov. 30. “It has been the honor of my lifetime to represent the people of the Shenango Valley and surrounding communities, and I am grateful for the tremendous support and confidence I have received over the years from my fellow citizens,” Longietti said. “Now, it is time to turn to the next chapter of my life and new ways in which I hope to give back to my community.” In nearly 16 years in office, Longietti never missed a voting session day in Harrisburg, and he has participated in hundreds of policy hearings across the state to make sure Mercer County has had a voice in proposed legislation. At home, he was a regular at community events and worked out of his Hermitage office to make sure residents throughout the district received the assistance they needed. “I am proud of the great work my staff has provided to countless constituents to help cut through bureaucratic red tape, solve problems and make their lives a bit easier,” Longietti said. During his time in the legislature, Longietti has been a strong advocate for public education and for increasing educational opportunities for all citizens. He has served on the House Education Committee for more than 12 years and is currently Read more

 

Merski elected chairman of Northwest Delegation

(Feb 07, 2022)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 7 – State Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, announced today that he was unanimously elected chairman of the Northwest Delegation, a coalition of lawmakers representing the interests of residents in Erie and other counties in Pennsylvania’s Northwest quadrant. “Service is part of who I am,” Merski said. “After serving as treasurer, I’m honored to be elected to serve as chairman of the Northwest Delegation and guide our efforts to make sure our region’s needs are priorities in Harrisburg. Our corner of the state is blessed with rich natural resources and resilient people who have worked hard to reinvent our economy during extremely challenging times. “At the same time, families in our region are still living with an underfunded education system that hurts students and threatens taxpayers, a shortage of affordable housing and the need for greater economic stability, while communities are still battling blight and dealing with aging infrastructure. “In the months ahead, I’ll be working closely with the delegation on key priorities, including bringing more funding back to our region; fighting for fairer school funding that broadens the state’s investment in our region’s public schools; strengthening workforce training and job opportunities; promoting opportunity zones and other initiatives that attract investors and businesses; and fortifying our infrastructure to encourage business growth, Read more

 

Harkins: New Great Lakes Commission website tracks progress in protecting Lake Erie

(Feb 02, 2022)

ERIE, Feb. 2 – A new website launched by the Great Lakes Commission will track the progress of critical efforts to protect the Great Lakes, including efforts to reduce harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, state Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, announced today. Harkins, who sits on the Great Lakes Commission, said the website – www.blueaccounting.org – will share data from work groups that will help shape policymaking. “I’m extremely excited about the new website,” Harkins said. “Protecting our lake and watershed requires close collaboration between scientists and policymakers, and the new site will ensure that decisions about the lake – which directly affect our health, environment and economy – are guided by accurate data.” Harkins said the website will track progress toward specific goals – including reducing the runoff of phosphorus that is responsible for the harmful algae that has threatened drinking water and the multiple industries that rely on Lake Erie. “The new website is going to help us understand what strategies are working and where new policies are needed to better protect the lake. It’s going to be an extremely helpful tool as we continue working to safeguard the health of this precious and critically important resource,” he said. Under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the U.S. and Canada – including the Lake Erie states and the province Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: $150,000 awarded to create workforce training center

(Feb 01, 2022)

ERIE, Feb. 1 – Erie County students will benefit from a new training center, thanks to grant funding of $150,000, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the Business-Education Partnership grant to the Northwest Workforce Development Board will provide a career pipeline for students who will benefit from specific training. “Building the best possible workforce for our community means tapping into every young adult to help them maximize their skills,” Harkins said. “The funding awarded today will help launch the Uniquely Abled Academy, which will prepare students with autism for careers in computer numerical control machining – a high-demand career in today’s manufacturing industry. It’s a win for students and for our workforce.” Merski said, “Erie has a highly talented pool of students, including students with autism who have much to offer, but we need to make sure we are reaching them with the right resources. The new center is going to open doors for these students by providing training in high-demand skills to ensure they achieve productive roles in the workplace.” The Northwest Workforce Development Board also serves Crawford, Warren, Forest, Venango, Clarion, and in addition to launching the new center, the board will also connect rural students to local employers for work experience or company tours to offer Read more

 

Harkins issues statement on Pittsburgh bridge collapse

(Jan 28, 2022)

ERIE, Jan. 28 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, issued the following statement in response to this morning’s collapse of the Forbes Avenue bridge over Frick Park in Pittsburgh: “To awaken to this news today out of Pittsburgh was both terrifying and disturbing. I have family, friends and former UPS colleagues who use that bridge daily. Thank God no one was killed, and let’s hope those who were injured recover quickly. “It is ironic that the collapse happened the same day of the president’s planned trip to Pittsburgh to discuss critical infrastructure rebuilding and investment. “Restoring the bridge – a lifeline to so many in the community – will not be a small investment. It will take significant cooperation and call on government at all levels to work together to get the job done. “The collapse raises the chilling question: How many other bridges – including those in Erie – are in a similar condition? It should cause alarm bells to go off throughout every level of government. “Reviewing the safety and structural integrity of every Pennsylvania bridge has to be a top priority, and we should commit every available resource we have to make sure the public is safe.” Read more

 

Sainato: Mohawk Junior/Senior HS awarded $4,000 for food service equipment

(Jan 27, 2022)

NEW CASTLE, Jan. 27 – A $3,933 grant will allow Mohawk Area Junior/Senior High School to purchase a new heated holding cabinet for the school cafeteria, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced today. Sainato said the new equipment will make the cafeteria’s operations more efficient. “The new heated cabinet will allow cafeteria staff to prepare food in advance and then safely store it in a way that keeps it hot,” Sainato said. “It’s going to make cafeteria operations more efficient and help staff serve students more quickly.” The funding to the Mohawk Area School District is part of package of competitive grants awarded to 44 elementary, middle and high schools through a program administered by the state Department of Education. Funding for the grants is made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Grants are awarded to schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. Schools can use the funding to purchase or upgrade equipment such as refrigerators, freezers, stoves and dishwashers. The list of schools receiving food service equipment grants can be found on PDE’s website. Read more

 

New relief package a healthy first dose to ease strain on PA health care heroes

(Jan 26, 2022)

With so many bitter divisions between the aisles, the chance to come together and help some of Pennsylvania’s most selfless, dedicated workers feels like a rare opportunity to heal some of those rifts. Maybe that’s why it also seems fitting that H.B. 253 – which just passed the House with unanimous, bipartisan support – is dedicated to helping our healers: the nurses and other frontline hospital workers who are currently facing crisis conditions. Of course, this isn’t the first time they have faced the incredible stresses of working in overcrowded, understaffed conditions. In fact, it seems like a hellish cycle: a COVID surge happens, hospitals swell to near-bursting with unvaccinated patients, and nurses and other frontline support staff face horrendous shortages and near-impossible conditions as they continue trying to help as many patients as possible. This time, however, a meaningful relief package will provide help, and hope. Once signed by the governor, the legislation we passed today will speed $210 million in federal pandemic relief directly to hospitals, which will put those dollars to work bringing nurses and other frontline staff the support they desperately need. Specifically, the funding will include $100 million to hospitals statewide to help them retain and recruit direct care staff. The pandemic has underscored the critical need for a strong nursing and direct patient care workforce. The funding will include Read more

 

Longietti: Nearly $340,000 awarded to fund Hermitage transportation, housing projects

(Jan 24, 2022)

HERMITAGE, Jan. 24 – The city of Hermitage has been awarded $337,249 to fund transportation and housing rehabilitation projects, state Rep. Mark Longietti announced today. Longietti, D-Mercer, said the funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development will help finance two separate projects. “Securing this funding is going to help Hermitage address some important resident needs,” Longietti said. “Some of the money will fund roadway repaving and stormwater improvements on Concord Road, Trace Street, Meadowbrook Road and Shadyside Drive, in Hermitage. Additional grant money will fund a project to rehabilitate about seven single-family, owner-occupied homes.” The funding comes from the Community Development Block Grant Program and is part of a package of more than $2.1 million awarded to projects statewide. More about the funding is available here. Read more

 

Merski hosting Black History Month virtual town hall on Feb. 17
Feb 15, 2022

Sainato: $500,000 awarded to support housing needs for vulnerable residents
Feb 14, 2022

Matzie announces nearly $226,400 in fire, EMS grants
Feb 11, 2022

Longietti announces more than $217,000 in fire, EMS grants
Feb 11, 2022

Sainato announces $105,000 in fire grants
Feb 10, 2022

Harkins, Merski announce $106,820 in fire and EMS grants
Feb 10, 2022

Matzie introduces ‘Megan’s Law’ bill to protect nursing home residents and staff from sexual assault
Feb 10, 2022

Erie lawmakers issue statement on new coastal zone funding
Feb 09, 2022

Harkins: Governor outlined critical education goals during Erie visit
Feb 09, 2022

Harkins supports governor’s proposed investments in education, vulnerable citizens
Feb 08, 2022

Merski supports proposed budget investments in education, workforce training, vulnerable residents
Feb 08, 2022

Harkins elected vice chairman of Northwest Delegation
Feb 08, 2022

Longietti announces he will not seek ninth term
Feb 08, 2022

Merski elected chairman of Northwest Delegation
Feb 07, 2022

Harkins: New Great Lakes Commission website tracks progress in protecting Lake Erie
Feb 02, 2022

Merski, Harkins: $150,000 awarded to create workforce training center
Feb 01, 2022

Harkins issues statement on Pittsburgh bridge collapse
Jan 28, 2022

Sainato: Mohawk Junior/Senior HS awarded $4,000 for food service equipment
Jan 27, 2022

New relief package a healthy first dose to ease strain on PA health care heroes
Jan 26, 2022

Longietti: Nearly $340,000 awarded to fund Hermitage transportation, housing projects
Jan 24, 2022