Rep. Adam Ravenstahl introduces House Bill 1737, which he says could open the door for chiropractic educational programs in the state by allowing chiropractic interns to practice under supervision. Read more
Rep. Paul Costa reports that the Pittsburgh region is losing three films and hundreds of local jobs because of the state budget impasse directed by House Republican leadership. “Over $100 million in local investments are gone with the wind with the inaction by House Republican leadership," Costa said. Read more
Rep. Jake Wheatley, overcoming bouts of depression and PTSD, knows first-hand that seeking help is a sign of strength. He will infuse mental health awareness into all aspects of his Fifth Annual Health and Wellness Weekend, set for Aug. 18-20 with events throughout the 19th Legislative District. Read more
Rep. Jake Wheatley requests that the Republican leaders of the state House of Representatives return to Harrisburg and complete work on the overdue 2017-18 state budget. “I am requesting that the speaker of the House call the House back into session and keep working until we successfully vote on a revenue package that pays all of the bills of the commonwealth,” said Wheatley, Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee. Read more
Rep. Dom Costa's bill to establish Officer Down alert system wins unanimous House support. Read more
Rep. Paul Costa is appointed to the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. “I look forward to the challenges of making higher education more accessible and affordable to Pennsylvania’s students," the 10-term Allegheny County lawmaker reports. Read more
State Rep. Jake Wheatley will again take a leadership role in the General Assembly with his reappointment as Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee. Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 15 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, was re-elected today as the Allegheny County Delegation chairman for the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus. Costa will serve in the post for the 2017-18 legislative session, to which he was elected state representative for the 21st Legislative District on Nov. 8. "It’s a pleasure and honor to lead an outstanding group of men and women who serve the region with great honor, commitment and purpose," he said. "We plan to continue to work hard to reflect our constituents’ needs and interests in the districts and in Harrisburg. We’re anxious to get to work on the people’s priorities for the 2017-18 session. We are staring down another tough budget season, work on reform measures and a changing political landscape for getting some stuff done. “On the behalf of the delegation members, I’d like to remind everyone that we have great constituent service offices that can help you with an array of state matters. Look up your local representative and come meet us. We’d love to hear from you." Area residents can find their legislator at www.PaHouse.com . Costa said that he also encourages residents to sign up for periodic email updates from him and other Democratic House members by visiting www.PaHouse.com/AlleghenyCounty . Read more
HARRISBURG, Nov. 10 – Educating Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Awareness Week begins Monday, culminating in Red Shirt Day on Friday, Nov. 18, said state Rep. Donna Bullock, who sponsored a House resolution commemorating the week. A news conference in the Capitol Rotunda will take place at 11 a.m. Monday . The news conference will occur during Housing Alliance of PA’s Homes within Reach Conference – a full day of panels and events centering on homelessness prevention that will take place at the Harrisburg Hilton. Slated to speak in the Capitol are: Sonia Pitzi, Office for the Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Liz Hersh, director, City of Philadelphia, Office of Homeless Services Cindy Daley, policy director for the Housing Alliance Liam Spady, The Advocacy Institute (youth advocate) More information about the Homes within Reach Conference, which is celebrating its 12 th year, can be found here . To show solidarity with children experiencing homelessness and the educators who serve them, Bullock’s H.R. 1112, adopted last month, encourages Pennsylvanians to observe Nov. 14 through Nov. 18 as "Pennsylvania Education for Youth Experiencing Homelessness Awareness Week." Pennsylvanians are urged to wear a red shirt on Friday, Nov. 18 for "Red Shirt Day," which encourages schools and communities to support assistance programs for children experiencing Read more
PITTSBURGH, July 15 – Pennsylvania state Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, said today that $1.19 million in tax credits awarded this week for Morningside Crossing will help keep the planned senior apartment complex affordable for future residents. The tax credits through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency provide a dollar-for-dollar federal tax reduction to developers in exchange for the creation or preservation of affordable housing to low-income individuals and families. A.M. Rodriguez Associates Inc., is converting and rehabilitating the former Morningside School into an 85 percent affordable (46 units) senior development that will include a first-floor senior center to be operated by the City of Pittsburgh. “I would like to thank Senator Jay Costa, Mayor Bill Peduto, and former state Senator Jim Ferlo for their support of this project,” Costa said. “Morningside Crossing is a banner project in our community, and I’m proud to have helped in a small way make it a more affordable project and, in turn, help seniors who deserve nothing less than to live a quality life in their later years.” Morningside Crossing was selected by a jury of affordable housing professionals for a funding award under the “Innovation in Design” category. Read more
HARRISBURG, July 1 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, announced the approval of a $250,000 state grant to improve Etna Riverfront Park and link it with the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved the grant today. The money will be used to create a safe flyover railroad crossing in the mix-use area. “The transformation at Riverfront Park has been incredible to watch, and I’m humbled to play a small part in helping to secure funding, along with Senator Randy Vulakovich,” Costa said. “The community will be greatly served by this green space – both as a place to go and as an amenity that makes our community more attractive. “I will continue to look for ways to support the project, and congratulations are in order to the Etna Economic Development Corporation and Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County. Their work on the park has been tremendous.” Read more
PITTSBURGH, June 30 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, will host a public forum on heroin and opioid addiction with area law enforcement, health care professionals, and drug and addiction specialists from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 27 to discuss ways to work together to combat the epidemic. The forum will take place in the Sharpsburg Borough Building, 1611 Main St., Sharpsburg, 15215. Confirmed featured speakers include: Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis Latika D. Davis-Jones, Allegheny County Department of Human Services Allegheny Health Network Center for Inclusion Health Director Stuart Fisk Alice Bell, overdose prevention project coordinator, Prevention Point Pittsburgh. Allegheny County Sheriff Bill Mullen will discuss PROJECT D.U.M.P., an initiative that he started to help residents safely eliminate unused and expired narcotic medications. Magisterial District Judge Elissa M. Lang, local municipal law enforcement officers and emergency medical specialists also will attend to answer questions on a local level. A sworn Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office evidence technician also will be available at this event to take any medications that you no longer need and dispose of them. All seized medications are legally disposed of through evidence destruction orders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin and opioid overdoses are the leading causes of Read more
Effective immediately, Allegheny County residents can make an appointment for a sworn Sheriff’s Office evidence technician to pick-up medication at their homes, thanks to Project D.U.M.P. (Disposal of Unused Medications Properly). Allegheny County residents who would like unused prescription medicines to be appropriately disposed of should call the Project D.U.M.P Hotline at 412-459-5000 . Following recovery, all seized medications are legally disposed of through evidence destruction orders. Prescription pain medications such as opioids are a major gateway drug to heroin use, which has reached endemic levels in Pennsylvania. Heroin use affects the young and old alike, and is often deadly. Many young addicts are introduced to heroin use through prescription-pill abuse, so programs such as Project D.U.M.P and Pennsylvania’s state take-back program are integral in breaking the cycle and start of dependency. If you or someone you love is addicted to pain medication or heroin, please visit the Pa. Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs web site at https://apps.ddap.pa.gov/gethelpnow/ . Read more
PITTSBURGH, April 28 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, announced today that 12 local fire companies are receiving more than $144,000 in state grants. The grants are made possible by the Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program, which is funded by gaming revenue. With the grant program set to expire on June 30, 2016, Costa recently voted for H.B. 1877, which would extend the program for another four years. The bill passed the House and awaits action in the Senate. Fire and EMS companies in the 21st Legislative District that received grants are: Ross West View EMS Authority, $7,201; Seneca Area Emergency Services, $7,201; Spring Garden, $12,422; Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Dept., $11,511; Aspinwall Volunteer Fire Department Inc., $11,672; Cherry City Volunteer Fire Co., $12,878; Laurel Gardens Volunteer Fire Co., $13,106; Etna Volunteer Fire Department, $13,334; Millvale Volunteer Fire Department Inc., $13,562; Berkeley Hills Fire Co., $13,789; Evergreen Fire Co., $13,789; Mt Troy VFC, $13,789. Grants can be used toward repairing, building or renovating facilities. The money also can be applied toward the purchase of new equipment, training and certification of staff, or it may go to repay debt related to equipment purchases or facility building and maintenance. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 8 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, reminds students that the application deadline for the scholarship program for 2016-17 is Friday, April 22. The PLBC will award up to 10 scholarships to high school seniors and current college students who will be enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year Pennsylvania college or university in the 2016-17 academic year. "I am pleased to announce that the PLBC will again play a role in helping minority students in their pursuit of higher education," Brown said. Pennsylvania students planning to attend an out-of-state historically black college or university may also apply and be considered for this scholarship. Brown said the students applying for the scholarship must be a minority student, have a minimum grade-point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, reside in the legislative district of and be sponsored by a PLBC member, and demonstrate leadership qualities. A 500-word essay on the student’s academic plans and career goals and a 150-word essay on what you most admire about the applicant's state representative must be submitted with the scholarship application. "Interested and qualified students must move quickly to apply before the deadline," Brown said. Only the first 250 applications submitted will be considered. The PLBC plans to award at least 10 scholarships this year. Each scholarship will be Read more
Gov. Tom Wolf has heard concerns that I and others have raised about the financial burdens placed on our volunteers by a state law enacted last year, and will waive state fees for mandated clearances and background checks for them. Read more
House Bill 854, introduced by state Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, would require pharmacy technicians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent, pass a criminal background check and complete a board-approved training program before being permitted to register with the state. Read more
PITTSBURGH, May 29 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, today discussed legislation that would exempt volunteer emergency responders from paying fees that total more than $47 for state and federal background clearances. Costa, who was joined by fellow lawmakers from the Allegheny Delegation, volunteer firefighters and emergency responders at Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department, said that the financial burden on volunteers was an unintended consequence of changes to the state’s child abuse laws and that at least one bill in the House of Representatives, H.B. 1081 , would begin to right that wrong. He said that the bill would spare paid and volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service responders from the $10 clearances from the state police and state Department of Human Services. “I know that many, if not all of the volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel, are prepared to do their due diligence, but let’s remember that these are the same firefighters and first responders who save the commonwealth millions of dollars, protect our communities, and most significantly, save lives – all while placing their own lives at risk,” Costa said. “We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and more, and at the very least the state should recognize their sacrifice and contributions by doing these background and clearance checks at no charge to them.” House Bill 1081 has garnered significant bipartisan support and has been sent to Read more
A state law enacted with the best of intentions – protecting children from predators – requires volunteers who have direct contact with kids to get clearances, and they aren’t cheap. The fees would cost someone who is dedicating their talent and precious time to help others and improve their community almost $50. It shouldn’t be that way.
State Reps. Marc Gergely and Bill Kortz (both D-Allegheny), voted today for an amendment to House Bill 504 that aims to significantly lower property taxes for residents across Pennsylvania. Read more
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