Sainato: House unanimously passes bill to make professional licensing process more veteran-friendly

(Nov 10, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 10 – With Veterans Day approaching, a newly passed bill promises to give Pennsylvania’s military men and women an easier path back to the civilian workforce by making the professional licensing process more veteran-friendly, according to the bill’s co-prime sponsor, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence. Sainato, who is Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said he introduced H.B. 1868 – which passed the House unanimously today – with state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny; Zach Mako, R-Lehigh/Northampton; and several other lawmakers to address problems veterans commonly face when applying for professional licenses. "Men and women in the Armed Forces put their lives on hold to serve our nation, but many face a tough transition to civilian life, particularly when returning to the workforce,” Sainato said. “One problem is that professional licensing board members don’t always fully understand how military skills and experience translate to civilian license requirements. Our bill would fix that by adding more veterans to boards, mandating use of specific guidelines, and implementing other measures to make the process more veteran-friendly." “As a veteran, I know the challenges people face when they leave the service and rejoin civilian life. That transition isn’t always easy, which is why I Read more

 

Burns votes on bills to help PA veterans

(Nov 10, 2021)

Would add more veterans to licensing boards, among other measures Read more

 

Longietti: Nearly $25,000 in tax credits will fight blight, food insecurity in Mercer County

(Nov 09, 2021)

HERMITAGE, Nov. 9 – An award of $24,750 in state tax credits will leverage investments in projects to continue fighting blight and combat food insecurity, state Rep. Mark Longietti announced today. Longietti, D-Mercer, said the funding includes $13,750 in tax credits to the Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County and $11,000 in tax credits to the Community Action Partnership of Mercer County. “This latest infusion of tax credits is going to bolster programs that have been working to improve lives and fight blight in our district,” Longietti said. “Community Food Warehouse is Mercer County’s primary source of emergency food assistance, and investments generated by these tax credits will allow the food bank to purchase, store, and mass-distribute fresh, frozen, and shelf-stable foods to alleviate hunger throughout our area. “The tax credits to Community Action Partnership will fund ongoing Sharon revitalization efforts by building on the Lots to Love Program. Management of cleared lots is critical to the program’s success to ensure that newly created vacant spaces do not invite crime or additional blight.” The tax credits are part of a package funded through the Neighborhood Assistance Program. The program encourages investment in distressed communities by providing tax credits to businesses that donate capital. The program can be used for projects such as affordable housing, Read more

 

Sainato: $260,000 in tax credits awarded to boost New Castle revitalization projects

(Nov 09, 2021)

NEW CASTLE, Nov. 9 – Funding from $260,000 in tax credits will leverage investments in New Castle projects to combat blight, improve neighborhood security, assist residents with renovations and expand access to affordable housing and fresh food, state Rep. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence, announced. Sainato said the tax credits – which include $180,000 to 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania and $80,000 to DON Enterprises Inc. – were awarded under the Neighborhood Assistance Program to help revitalize aging, distressed areas and tackle the problems they can pose for residents. “Aging homes pose very real challenges for New Castle residents contending with costly repairs, while distressed areas can bring down property values, discourage growth and invite crime,” Sainato said. “The tax credit funding awarded today will attack those issues by leveraging investments in projects to fight blight, help residents with home renovations, enhance neighborhood security, combat food insecurity, expand access to affordable housing and create other opportunities for residents who are building back.” The NAP program is designed to encourage investment in distressed communities by providing tax credits to businesses that donate capital. The program can be used for projects such as affordable housing, education, charitable food, crime prevention and other long-term community revitalization. More about the tax Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $3 million in tax credits awarded to boost investments in affordable housing, community revitalization, job training

(Nov 09, 2021)

ERIE, Nov. 9 – Tax credits totaling more than $2.8 million under the state Neighborhood Assistance Program will leverage investments in projects to improve life for Erie residents, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding will leverage investments in a broad range of projects. “The best investments are the ones that generate greater opportunities for people," Merski said. “By fueling projects to renew distressed areas, educate youth, address hunger insecurity and boost job training, these tax credits promise to expand the resources residents need to thrive.” Harkins said, “This tax credit funding will provide an infusion of lifeblood into our communities, which are still working to recover from the pandemic. From removing blight and revitalizing neighborhoods to improving literacy and increasing affordable housing, they are going to create new opportunities for residents and small businesses to build back and flourish.” The lawmakers say the tax credits include: Erie Playhouse – $26,125. ServErie – $5,500. SSJ Neighborhood Network – $27,500 and $200,000. YMCA of Greater Erie – $12,375. Erie County Historical Society – $5,500. Erie Center for Arts and Technology – $55,000 and $132,500. Gannon Read more

 

Sainato, Wheatley, Pisciottano, Webster unveil new bills to boost Pa. veterans

(Nov 08, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 8 – As Pennsylvania prepares to celebrate Veterans Day, state Reps. Chris Sainato, D-Lawrence; Jake Wheatley and Nick Pisciottano, both D-Allegheny; and Joe Webster, D-Montgomery, joined fellow lawmakers at Soldier’s Grove to unveil a package of bills aimed at improving the lives of those who have served. Sainato, Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said he is proud to be part of a bipartisan effort to shape policy and legislation for the commonwealth’s large and active veteran population. “Our veterans deserve the most vigilant, responsive lawmaking we can provide,” Sainato said. “There is always more we can do to improve the laws in ways that address their concerns. It’s what motivated us to introduce legislation to improve the professional licensing process, so boards better understand how military skills and experience translate to civilian license requirements and veterans have an easier time getting those licenses.” Wheatley, who is Democratic chairman of the House Professional Licensure Committee and a Marine veteran, said, “I want to thank my fellow members for working with me to get this bill across the finish line in the House. This bill will help veterans, service members and their families as they transition to civilian life, smoothing the path for them to join the work force or start their own Read more

 

Harkins stands with governor on critical worker safety issue

(Nov 04, 2021)

ERIE, Nov. 4 – State Rep. Pat Harkins joined Gov. Tom Wolf in Erie today as the lawmakers pushed for passage of Harkins’ legislation to repair a critical safety issue that leaves Pennsylvania’s public employees unprotected in the workplace. Harkins, D-Erie, said he is encouraged by renewed attention generated by the governor’s recent executive order, which urges lawmakers to pass H.B. 1976 . Also known as the Jake Schwab Worker Safety Bill, the legislation would give Pennsylvania’s public employees the same protections enjoyed by the state’s private-sector workers. “Pennsylvania’s public employees – police, firefighters, teachers, corrections officers, transportation workers and others – are every bit as committed to doing their jobs and providing for their families as the state’s private-sector employees,” Harkins said. “But there is one glaring difference: unlike private-sector employees, who are protected by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the state’s public employees are left to fend for themselves because there are no regulations in place to keep them safe. “That lack of protection killed public transit mechanic Jake Schwab just days before Thanksgiving 2014, when the equipment he needed was unavailable at his job site, leading to a fatal explosion. It was seven years ago that Jake’s death spurred me to put this legislation in Read more

 

Longietti to host free home heating assistance workshops this fall

(Nov 04, 2021)

HERMITAGE, Nov. 4 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, will host several free workshops on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help Mercer County residents learn whether they qualify and apply for the program. “With frost already in the air, I want to remind residents that the LIHEAP program is now open and that they can get free help applying at one of my workshops,” Longietti said. “This year, the minimum cash grant has increased from $200 to $500, and the maximum has increased from $1,000 to $1,500. The grants are sent directly to the utility provider and do not need to be repaid. I encourage anyone who may be struggling with heating bills to attend.” Longietti said the workshops will be held at the following times and places: Saturday Nov. 13 & Saturday, Nov. 20 ( open to public; walk-ins welcome ) 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Greenville Satellite Office Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce Bldg. 182 Main St., Greenville, PA 16125 Thursday, Nov. 18 ( Greenville House residents only ) 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Greenville House 9 N. Penn Ave., Greenville, PA 16125 Tuesday, Dec. 14 ( open to public; walk-ins welcome ) 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Pymatuning Township Municipal Bldg. 256 Edgewood Drive Ext., Transfer, PA 16154 Residents who want help applying for LIHEAP must bring a valid photo ID; recent heating bill; and the names, birthdates, Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $200,000 low-interest loan to help fund unique Bayfront dining venue

(Nov 03, 2021)

ERIE, Nov. 3 – A low-interest loan of $200,000 will help fund a project to bring a unique outdoor dining and entertainment venue to the Erie Bayfront, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today. The lawmakers said the funding to Scott’s Bayfront Hotel LLC will finance construction and renovations for Oliver’s Beer Garden that will help visitors capture stunning waterfront views. “The loan to Scott’s Bayfront Hotel LLC is especially exciting because it is helping to fund a project that builds on the Bayfront’s natural beauty in a way that draws visitors, increases commercial activity and attracts additional investment in our region,” Harkins said. “Scott’s Bayfront will also retain 55 permanent full-time jobs as a result of the project.” Merski said, “Today’s funding to Scott’s Bayfront will help move this special dining and entertainment project one step further by funding renovations that include site development, paving, landscaping, outdoor pavilion, fire pits, tiling, plumbing and electrical work. I can’t wait to see this area take on new life as the renovations take shape.” The total project cost is $803,647. The loan was approved through the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission and is a seven-year, $200,000 loan at a 1.5% interest rate. The loan was approved Read more

 

Longietti: Nearly $3 million awarded to fund electric freight locomotive

(Nov 01, 2021)

HERMITAGE, Nov. 1 – Grant funding of $2.9 million will allow Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad Co. to reduce its fleet’s diesel emissions by replacing an aging, diesel-powered locomotive with an electric model, state Rep. Mark Longietti announced today. Longietti, D-Mercer, said the funding awarded under the Marine and Rail Freight Movers Grant Program will allow the railroad to replace a nearly-50-year-old freight switcher locomotive with a new electric model powered by a lithium-ion battery – a move that will reduce the diesel-based nitrogen oxide emissions that harm human health. “Securing this funding to allow B&LER to replace some of its aging, diesel-powered equipment with low-emission electric equipment means the company can keep freight moving efficiently while at the same time reducing an important health risk,” Longietti said. “Exposure to diesel emissions is linked to a higher risk of lung cancer and other diseases, so any steps we can take to reduce that exposure directly benefits workers as well as residents in the vicinity.” In addition to the locomotive being replaced, B&LER operates a fleet of six long-haul locomotives and three additional freight-switcher locomotives. The grant is part of a package of $9.5 million in “Driving PA Forward” funding, which supplies the Marine and Rail Freight Movers Grant Program and the Fast Charging and Hydrogen Fueling Grant Program. Read more

 

Burns: $1.5 million available for digital literacy skills programs

(Oct 27, 2021)

State funding to help job seekers, increase access to employment opportunities Read more

 

Sainato: $10,000 grant will boost pre-k access to healthy food, agricultural ed

(Oct 26, 2021)

NEW CASTLE, Oct. 26 – State grant funding of $9,800 will provide New Castle pre-k students access to healthy foods and new, hands-on lessons in agriculture, state Rep. Chris Sainato announced today. Sainato, D-Lawrence, said the Department of Agriculture grant, awarded under the Pennsylvania Farm Bill’s Farm to School Grant Program, will help the center teach lessons and cultivate interests that can last a lifetime. “Securing this funding will allow Pre-K Kids Learning Center to offer healthy, farm-fresh foods, including local dairy products and produce, so students realize there are alternatives to junk food and learn to make the right choices early on, before bad eating habits set in. “The funding will also allow the center to offer gardening programs and local field trips, to give kids memorable, hands-on experiences that teach about the life cycle and foster a love of growing and the natural world. Those programs also plant the seeds to ensure Pennsylvania has a healthy supply of future farmers to continue our critically important agriculture industry.” The grant is part of a package of funding to 47 projects designed to improve access to healthy local foods and boost agricultural learning for pre-K through 5 th grade students. More information about the funding is available here . Read more

 

Longietti: $15,000 grant will add agriculture to curriculum at Zion Education Center

(Oct 26, 2021)

HERMITAGE, Oct. 26 – Students at Zion Education Center in Farrell will have new opportunities to learn about nutrition and agriculture, thanks to a $15,000 grant that will fund hands-on greenhouse programs and cooking demonstrations, state Rep. Mark Longietti announced today. Longietti, D-Mercer, said the funding comes from the state Department of Agriculture under the Pennsylvania Farm Bill’s Farm to School Grant Program. “Programs funded by this grant will teach young students about the importance of nutritious, farm-to-table foods and the ways they can participate in making healthy eating choices and even growing their own food. Those are great lessons at an important age that can shape kids’ habits and even possibly inspire future farmers.” The grant is part of a package of funding to 47 projects designed to improve access to healthy local foods and boost agricultural learning for pre-K through fifth grade students. More information about the funding is available here . Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: $12,000 grant to bring fresh food, focus on agriculture to pre-k students

(Oct 26, 2021)

ERIE, Oct. 26 – State grant funding of $11,876 will bring Erie pre-k students greater access to fresh foods and a chance to learn about the importance of agriculture, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding to Early Connections Inc. – awarded by the state Department of Agriculture under the Pennsylvania Farm Bill’s Farm to School Program – can help the center shape healthy habits and stimulate interest in farming. “With so much cleverly advertised junk food around, it’s critical to make kids understand that there are healthy alternatives out there and that they have the power to make smarter choices,” Harkins said. “By providing access to local foods from Edinboro Farmers Market, this funding is going to help expose kids to those more nutritious options.” Merski said, “In addition to expanding access to nutritious foods, the grant to Early Connections will fund agriculturally focused children’s books and class programs and a field trip to a local maple syrup producer. By stimulating kids’ curiosity and teaching them that it can be empowering to grow their own food, we’re helping ensure a fresh crop of young minds dedicated to keeping urban agriculture thriving here in the region.” The grant is part of a package of funding to 47 projects designed to improve access to healthy local foods Read more

 

Harkins applauds governor’s executive order urging passage of worker safety bill

(Oct 21, 2021)

ERIE, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, issued the following statement today in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s executive action urging passage of H.B. 1976 , Harkins’ workplace safety legislation, also known as the Jake Schwab Worker Safety Bill. “I was encouraged to hear Governor Wolf call on lawmakers to pass my worker safety bill and eliminate a gaping hole in protections for our state’s public workers. The men and women who make up Pennsylvania’s workforce give it their all – whether they work for public or private employers – to support their families and keep our communities running. “But shockingly, although they do the same work, only some of them are safe from workplace dangers. That’s because basic safety protections exist for private-sector workers only. Public employees – from police to corrections officers to public transit workers – are left to fend for themselves. “My bill is named for Jake Schwab, a public transit mechanic who died just days before Thanksgiving because the equipment he needed was unavailable at his job site, leading to an explosion. Unlike mechanics in private garages, Jake was not protected by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and Pennsylvania has no state plan imposing comparable standards to protect public employees. “It’s my hope that with renewed attention focused on this critically needed piece of legislation, the families Read more

 

Burns: $4.2 million approved for local water projects

(Oct 20, 2021)

State funding will help local projects go forward Read more

 

Matzie: More than $3 million secured to remove and replace lead service lines in Aliquippa’s water system

(Oct 20, 2021)

AMBRIDGE, Oct. 20 – State funding of more than $3.1 million will allow the city of Aliquippa to continue eliminating a potential lead risk in the city’s drinking water, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today. Matzie said the new funding from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority will finance the second phase of a project to remove and replace lead service lines – work made necessary after testing revealed concerning lead levels in some residents’ drinking water. “After water sampling in 2020 showed lead in residents’ drinking water, replacing the system’s lead service lines with copper lines became an immediate priority,” Matzie said. “In spring, we secured initial funding to replace 184 lines. That was a step in the right direction, but more work remains to eliminate the threat to all residents. “Securing this additional $3 million will allow the water authority to replace 275 lead service lines, including the lines on the customers’ side. People need to be able to put concerns over the safety of their drinking water behind them, and this funding brings us one step closer to that.” Matzie said the funding to the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa includes a combination of $1.9 million in grant funding and a $1.2 million low-interest loan and that without it, residents would have faced an estimated 3% Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $700,000 in tax credits awarded to expand affordable rental housing

(Oct 14, 2021)

ERIE, Oct. 14 – Erie residents will soon have greater options for affordable rental housing, thanks to nearly $700,000 in federal tax credit funding awarded today, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding to GMA Development Group, LLC, for Royal Homes development sites in Erie will fund construction of 26 units. “Lack of affordable housing is a persistent problem for Pennsylvania’s low-income households, and too many families already spend more than half of their income on rent, leaving little left over for groceries, prescriptions and other necessities,” Harkins said. “Securing this funding will help expand housing options that give families livable options. It won’t solve our housing shortage overnight, but it’s a good start.” Merski said, “A stable, permanent place to call home is such an important foundation in life, but not all families have easy access to safe, affordable housing. The tax credits awarded today should help boost the supply of affordable rental units for Erie families.” The Low Income Housing Tax Credits are administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and were approved by the agency’s board. The funding is part of a package of $43.6 million awarded statewide for the construction of 1,974 affordable multifamily rental units. More information on the awards is Read more

 

Matzie: $2.4 million awarded to fund Beaver County affordable rental housing

(Oct 14, 2021)

AMBRIDGE, Oct. 14 – Beaver County residents will have greater access to affordable housing, thanks to more than $2.4 million in federal funding awarded today, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced. Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said the funding to Hudson Companies for the Wayne Court Development in Ambridge includes approximately $1.25 million awarded under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and nearly $1.19 million from the National Housing Trust Fund. “For low-income families, housing expenses can eat up a huge chunk of the budget, and that problem has been growing as Pennsylvania families are facing rising rents and a shortage of affordable housing,” Matzie said. “The low-income tax credits awarded today will help offset this trend by bringing more low-cost housing options into the mix.” The federal tax credits are administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and were approved by the agency’s board. The funding is part of a package of $43.6 million awarded statewide for the construction of 1,974 affordable multifamily rental units. More information on the awards is available here . Read more

 

Matzie pleased by DEP denial of PennEnergy request to withdraw water from Big Sewickley Creek

(Oct 13, 2021)

AMBRIDGE, Oct. 13 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding the state Department of Environmental Protection’s denial of PennEnergy’s request to withdraw 3 million gallons of water daily from Big Sewickley Creek: “I am pleased by the denial. DEP noted no less than seven areas of concern and deficiencies in the application by PennEnergy Resources to withdraw water from the Big Sewickley Creek, which flows through a portion of my legislative district. “While the clock on the appeal process begins, I am hopeful that PennEnergy finds a different source of water rather than go against the wishes of the communities and many individuals who care deeply about any possible damage to this valuable water source. In most cases, I believe we can have energy extraction and maintain a clean, healthy environment. I do not believe this is one of those cases. “Regardless of any decision by a regulator or the courts, abandoning the plan to withdraw water from Big Sewickley Creek should be the decision by PennEnergy Resources -- not because it’s the most sound business decision, but because it’s the right thing to do.” In a July letter to DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Matzie called on the department to deny PennEnergy’s request, citing concerns that withdrawing high volumes of water from the creek would escalate existing drought and Read more

 

Sainato: House unanimously passes bill to make professional licensing process more veteran-friendly
Nov 10, 2021

Burns votes on bills to help PA veterans
Nov 10, 2021

Longietti: Nearly $25,000 in tax credits will fight blight, food insecurity in Mercer County
Nov 09, 2021

Sainato: $260,000 in tax credits awarded to boost New Castle revitalization projects
Nov 09, 2021

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $3 million in tax credits awarded to boost investments in affordable housing, community revitalization, job training
Nov 09, 2021

Sainato, Wheatley, Pisciottano, Webster unveil new bills to boost Pa. veterans
Nov 08, 2021

Harkins stands with governor on critical worker safety issue
Nov 04, 2021

Longietti to host free home heating assistance workshops this fall
Nov 04, 2021

Harkins, Merski: $200,000 low-interest loan to help fund unique Bayfront dining venue
Nov 03, 2021

Longietti: Nearly $3 million awarded to fund electric freight locomotive
Nov 01, 2021

Burns: $1.5 million available for digital literacy skills programs
Oct 27, 2021

Sainato: $10,000 grant will boost pre-k access to healthy food, agricultural ed
Oct 26, 2021

Longietti: $15,000 grant will add agriculture to curriculum at Zion Education Center
Oct 26, 2021

Harkins, Merski: $12,000 grant to bring fresh food, focus on agriculture to pre-k students
Oct 26, 2021

Harkins applauds governor’s executive order urging passage of worker safety bill
Oct 21, 2021

Burns: $4.2 million approved for local water projects
Oct 20, 2021

Matzie: More than $3 million secured to remove and replace lead service lines in Aliquippa’s water system
Oct 20, 2021

Harkins, Merski: Nearly $700,000 in tax credits awarded to expand affordable rental housing
Oct 14, 2021

Matzie: $2.4 million awarded to fund Beaver County affordable rental housing
Oct 14, 2021

Matzie pleased by DEP denial of PennEnergy request to withdraw water from Big Sewickley Creek
Oct 13, 2021