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Matzie: $700K secured for major Aliquippa building project

(1 day ago)

ALIQUIPPA, April 11 – The city of Aliquippa has received a $700,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to support a major project that will transform the former St. Joseph School into affordable residential units and retail space, state Rep. Rob Matzie announced today. Matzie, D-Beaver, said the funding – awarded through the Community Revitalization Fund Program – will support the city’s growth and revitalization efforts in the wake of its exit from Act 47 distressed status. “As Aliquippa embraces its new independence and forges a path to a stronger, more resilient future, a key part of those efforts will include securing state investments that help revitalize and rebuild the downtown into more productive spaces,” Matzie said. “This new funding from PHFA is going to help fuel that change by supporting a major project that will add jobs; expand affordable housing; and transform the landscape in ways that invite new businesses; stimulate pedestrian traffic; and restore the kind of healthy, vital activity that goes along with building a stronger local economy. “I’m grateful to PHFA and to the state and local partners who worked with us to secure this funding, which will be key to seeing this project through to completion.” Matzie said that the completed site will include 11 new and affordable residential units; retail space that will be Read more

Consumer Protection Committee approves Matzie bills to add safeguards and protect ratepayers in municipal water/wastewater system sales

(Apr 09, 2024)

HARRISBURG, April 9 – The House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee on Tuesday approved a package of bills introduced by Majority Chairman Rob Matzie that would add protections for ratepayers when private companies acquire municipal water and wastewater systems. Matzie, D-Beaver, said the legislation is needed to ensure consumer interests remain front and center. “When public works like municipal water and wastewater systems are sold to private companies, ratepayers can end up bearing the burden of inflated sales prices through increased rates,” Matzie said. “Our legislation would help prevent that by adding greater transparency to these transactions, ensuring that PUC has sufficient time to review proposed sales, and easing the burden on consumers by limiting the purchase price of healthy systems and spreading out any future rate increases. “It’s inevitable that these sales are going to happen. When they do, we need the proper safeguards in place to ensure consumer interests remain a central part of the equation.” The specific bills include: H.B. 1862 , which could impose enhanced notification requirements for private acquisitions of municipal water/wastewater systems. H.B. 1863 , which would give the PUC more time to evaluate proposed private acquisitions of municipal water/wastewater systems. H.B, 1864 Read more

Matzie: House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee approves bills on mechanical insulation, AI content disclosure

(Mar 27, 2024)

HARRISBURG, March 27 – The House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee on Tuesday approved two bills, including legislation to promote the use of an energy-efficient insulating material and a measure that would alert consumers that the digital content they are viewing was generated by artificial intelligence, Majority Chairman Rob Matzie announced. Matzie, D-Beaver, said the committee unanimously passed an amended version of H.B. 491 , which would facilitate the use of mechanical insulation on pipes, equipment and machinery by clarifying that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission may not reject an electric distribution company’s required energy efficiency and conservation plan solely because the plan involves mechanical insulation. “We want to encourage use of building materials that save energy, save costs and protect workers, and mechanical insulation does all of those things,” Matzie said. “We’ve been working on this bill for some time, and I’m glad it’s finally headed to the full House for consideration.” Matzie said H.B. 1598 – which was approved by a bipartisan majority of the committee – would help safeguard consumers by requiring a disclosure on all AI generated content. “The use of artificial intelligence is becoming more and more of a consumer protection Read more

House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee unanimously approves community solar bill

(Mar 19, 2024)

HARRISBURG, March 19 – The House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee today approved legislation to create a community solar program ( H.B. 1842 ); legislation to protect minors using social media; and resolutions on data privacy and safe digging. “We introduced community solar to bring home the many benefits – new jobs, new energy savings for residents, new economic opportunities for farmers and other landowners – while broadening the state’s energy portfolio,” Matzie said. “But we also drafted this legislation with an eye toward protecting consumers and ratepayers who don’t participate. I’m excited that the bill is headed for a House vote.” Matie said the committee also approved: H.B. 2017 , which would add mental health protections for minors using social media. H.R. 300 , Matzie’s resolution designating April 2024 as Pennsylvania 8-1-1 Safe Digging Month. H.R. 289 , recognizing January 21-27, 2024 as Data Privacy Week in Pennsylvania. Matzie said he introduced the Safe Digging Month resolution to remind Pennsylvanians to call the 811 hotline before performing excavation projects that could affect utilities. “Anyone doing digging – whether they’re a contractor, business owner or homeowner – Read more

Matzie: Ambridge Area School District awarded more than $583,000 to promote safe, healthy learning environment

(Mar 15, 2024)

AMBRIDGE, March 15 – A $583,370 grant to the Ambridge Area School District will help school officials ensure students and staff enjoy a safe, supportive learning environment free of threats, bullying or violence, Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver, announced today. Matzie said the funding – awarded through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – will allow school administrators to ensure that policies and programs include a focus on student and staff social, emotional, physical and mental health. “We know a safe, supportive environment is essential for learning, but it takes resources and planning to create and maintain the kind of healthy, inclusive settings that give students and staff the peace of mind they need to focus and thrive. The new funding is going to allow school administrators to engage with families and the community and shape policies and programs that promote that kind of healthy environment.” The funding was awarded under the Stronger Connections Grant program, which focuses on districts or schools that meet “high need” criteria such as a high poverty rate, a lack of available mental health supports for students, high rates of violence or school exclusion. More information about the grant program is available here: https://www.education.pa.gov/Teachers%20-%20Administrators/Federal%20Programs/TitleIV/Pages/default.aspx Read more

Matzie: Aliquippa awarded $148,500 for planning support in transition from Act 47 status

(Mar 14, 2024)

AMBRIDGE, March 14 – A $148,500 grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development will assist the city of Aliquippa as it emerges from Act 47 status and works to achieve long-term sustainability, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver, announced today. “It took decades of work and collaboration and faith in our city, but together with support from the commonwealth and city leadership led by Mayor Dwan Walker, we had the resolve to do it, and we built back,” Matzie said. “The city strengthened infrastructure, paid off debt and shored up finances to get to a position where they can chart their own future. “The project funding from DCED will help us develop long-range plans for the future and keep the city moving on a new, independent path.” Matzie said the grant is funded through DCED’s Strategic Management Planning Program. More information about the program is available here: https://dced.pa.gov/programs/strategic-management-planning-program-stmp/ . Read more

Matzie touts governor’s new energy proposal

(Mar 13, 2024)

“The governor’s announcement highlights policies we have been promoting for some time, the key being an ‘all of the above’ approach when it comes to our energy mix. For me, the inclusion of emerging nuclear and fusion technology in the plan is essential and has been a key initiative I have long supported. " Read more

Matzie: Center Township, Rochester Borough awarded $33,000 to aid in police recruitment and training

(Mar 12, 2024)

AMBRIDGE, March 12 – Center Township and Rochester Borough were awarded $33,000 in combined grant funding to help hire and train new police officers, state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver, announced today. Matzie said the funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency – which includes $28,000 to Center Township and $5,000 to Rochester Borough – will help departments ensure that any gaps in staff or training do not compromise public safety. “The funding is going to give our local departments more resources for officer recruitment and retention,” Matzie said. “More police on the beat means safer streets and communities, keeps individual officers safer and helps ease workload and burnout. It’s a smart investment that also benefits taxpayers.” The funding is part of a package of grants awarded statewide to support Act 120 mandatory training and recruitment activities for law enforcement officers. Eligible law enforcement agencies that do not cover the costs of Act 120 training may request up to $7,000 per new officer to support costs associated with the training, or – if they currently hire officers that are already Act 120-trained or the agency already covers training costs – may apply for up to $5,000 per new officer to support stipends, signing bonuses or marketing efforts. More information about the funding Read more

Matzie: $1.5M awarded to combat homelessness in Beaver County and region

(Feb 05, 2024)

“Securing this funding brings new resources to the fight against homelessness,” Matzie said. “Having a place to call home doesn’t just mean shelter – it means easier access to community resources like job training and other services that lead to employment and independence.“More dollars to Community Development means more resources flowing to our local nonprofits who are helping people get back on that path to self-sufficiency.” Read more

Matzie applauds PUC proposals to enhance public notice and application review procedures for sale of water/wastewater systems

(Feb 02, 2024)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 2 – State Rep. Rob Matzie today lauded action by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to advance proposals that would increase public awareness about the sale of municipal water and wastewater systems and bring greater consistency to the process by which sale applications are evaluated. Matzie, who is majority chairman of the House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee, said that if adopted, the proposals would bolster the requirements for public meetings and hearings, require rate impact notices and place more stringent standards on appraisals and valuations. “I applaud Chairman DeFrank and the other commissioners for this action that, if adopted, will help to ease the burden on ratepayers in the aftermath of a water/wastewater sale,” Matzie said. “This is, without a doubt, a pro-consumer positive step in the right direction. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on the still needed legislative fixes to provide the commission with even more and better tools to protect consumers.” The proposed revisions are contained in a Tentative Supplemental Implementation Order. Commission chair Stephen DeFrank offered a motion to support issuance of the order, which the commission voted 5-0 to approve, advancing the process to a notice and comment period. Read more