PITTSBURGH, Oct. 11 – State Rep. Dom Costa, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at the Teamsters Local Union 249 Hall to discuss affordable housing and rebuilding neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Costa, chairman of the Allegheny County Delegation, said the hearing generated good discussion from city officials and redevelopment professionals about opportunities to improve neighborhoods and develop more affordable housing. “Affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization are important issues in my district and throughout our communities. I am glad to bring the Policy Committee here to explore the issues firsthand,” Costa said. Testifiers included: Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor, District 5; Eric Stoller, chief development officer, Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh; Jason Tigano, real estate director, Economic Development South; Robert Rubinstein, executive director, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh; Ray Gastil, director of city planning, City of Pittsburgh; and Larry Swanson, executive director, ACTION-Housing Inc. Hearing testimony will be available at www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee . Read more
PITTSBURGH, Oct. 6 – State Rep. Dom Costa, chairman of the Allegheny County Delegation, announced today he will host a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to discuss affordable housing and rebuilding neighborhoods. The public hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11 at the Teamsters Local Union 249 Hall, 4701 Butler St. Costa requested the hearing because it is an important issue for him and many municipalities in his district who are looking for ways to increase affordable housing while revitalizing their neighborhoods. The current agenda is: 2 p.m. – Welcome and opening remarks 2:10 p.m. – Panel One: Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor , District 5 Eric Stoller , chief development officer, Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh Jason Tigano , real estate director, Economic Development South 3:00 p.m. – Panel Two: Robert Rubinstein , executive director, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh Ray Gastil , director of city planning, City of Pittsburgh Larry Swanson , executive director, ACTION-Housing Inc. 3:50 p.m. – Closing remarks Media coverage is invited. Read more
State Reps. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, and Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, announced their plan to introduce legislation to update the state definition of offensive weapons to include firearm modifications that assist in rapid firing, like the ones used in the Las Vegas shooting, which resulted in 59 deaths and over 500 injured. Read more
Rep. Dom Costa prepares legislation to update Pa.'s hate crimes law to protect citizens' mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity or someone’s actual or perceived ancestry. Read more
HARRISBURG, Aug. 24 – Starting Monday, Aug. 28., the historic overhaul of Pennsylvania’s animal protection laws goes into effect, and Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, is providing a reminder on what the changes entail. “As an animal advocate and supporter of Libre’s Law, I want to clear up any confusion and ensure everyone clearly understands the new rules,” Costa said. Named after a Boston terrier puppy rescued from near death on a Lancaster County farm last summer, Libre’s Law will make it possible for felony charges to be handed down to first-time animal cruelty offenders. This is a first for the state. According to Humane PA, this level of punishment was usually used in cases of animal fighting or killings of endangered species. The law also spells out the rules for tethering an animal. It specifically requires: A leash must be three times the length of the pet or 10 feet, whichever is longer. No tow or logged chain or pinch, choke, or prong collars used with a tether. A well-fitted collar and no open sores or wounds on the dog's body. The lead must be on a swivel and ideally a lead that has a coated cover to avoid getting tangled. The area where the pet is kept must be kept clear of excessive feces with access to drinkable water and shade. No more than nine consecutive hours on a leash in a day's time. No more than 30 minutes tied up when temperatures are lower than 32 degrees or Read more
PITTSBURGH, Aug. 16 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, today announced that transportation provider AKS Inc., headquartered in Etna, has received a $75,900 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade its fleet of diesel-powered school buses. Costa said congratulations are in order because the local firm is replacing four of its older diesel-powered buses with newer diesel-powered models – a move that has a big air-quality benefit. “This upgrade will substantially reduce emissions of hydrocarbons, fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, helping clean up the air we breathe,” Costa said. “Also, the older and more heavily polluting buses will be scrapped or rendered permanently inoperable, meaning they’ll be taken off the road permanently.” Costa said AKS Inc. was eligible for the DEP funding because the purpose of its project is to improve air quality by reducing diesel emissions from mobile sources. The company provides transportation for the City of Pittsburgh, in addition to several school districts and charter schools in Allegheny County. Read more
I’m a strong believer in second chances. Check out this news story by KDKA talking about a bill I’m fighting for that would give those charged or convicted of a minor crime a “clean slate.” Read more
HARRISBURG, May 24 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, has been appointed Democratic chairman of the House Ethics Committee for the 2017-18 legislative session, an eight-member body whose mission is ensuring House members and staff uphold high standards of conduct. Costa said the committee’s duties include investigating and dealing with alleged violations of House rules, and issuing advisory opinions at the request of House members or employees. The legislative code of ethics, the lobby disclosure act and developing new rules of ethical conduct also fall under its purview, Costa said, as does planning and conducting House ethics education courses – including updating and distributing member and staff handbooks on ethical conduct. “Being selected as the ranking Democrat on this important committee is an honor and a solemn obligation,” Costa said. “Of all the things applicable to holding a public service position while maintaining the public’s trust, none is more important that carrying out one’s duties in the highest ethical manner and making sure your actions are beyond reproach.” Costa said the House Ethics Committee is evenly split with four Democratic and four Republican members, and meets as needed to fulfill its statutory obligations and handle any matters brought before it. Other Democratic members of the committee are state Reps. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh; Steven Kinsey, Read more
Pa. state Rep. Dom Costa spoke at a press conference talking about legislation he cosponsors that would create a concussion protocol for all of Pennsylvania's law enforcement and correctional officers. Read more
“Right now the bill is dead,” state Sen. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler, told those who gathered last week at Fox Chapel Area High School to discuss state education issues with elected officials.He was referring to Bill 76, which proposes funding Pennsylvania schools by increasing income and sales taxes instead of using property taxes, the current funding source. The bill would not have eliminated property taxes entirely. School districts would still have had the ability to use property taxes to cover existing school debt. Read more
In its current form, SB-10 the Sanctuary City Bill could put our communities at risk by requesting that our police officers hold people in custody without an arrest warrant. After examining and researching the SB 10 more in depth, it appears to put our police officers in a confusing and difficult position of holding a person in custody at the REQUEST of I.C.E. without having the clear official authority of an arrest warrant from the requesting agency. The Bill also appears to want to extract the sanction funding from the funds that supports our law enforcement agencies, which I cannot vote to allow. Such cuts to funding directed to our law enforcement agencies would jeopardizes public safety and important community policing programs, used by many police departments, including Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. I believe when our officers have a clear understanding of their mission, they perform their duties as we expect and within the law prescribed. SB 10 makes it much more difficult for our officers to do what we request of them, (keeping all people safe from harm in of all Pennsylvanians). I have decided, until such time that the SB 10 can be amended or changed to provide clear language, and the sanctions / penalties of the Bill are not aimed at local law enforcement funding, I cannot support it and will not support it. Read more
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They’re called chasers — rogue tow truck operators who rush to the scenes of accidents. As KDKA has documented in several reports, victims say their cars are towed to undisclosed locations and sometimes charged hundreds and hundreds of dollars for storage and other fees. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 29 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, today announced the award of a $300,000 state grant to separate storm water flows from a combined sewer system in Sharpsburg and a $150,000 grant to replace water lines in Reserve Township. Costa said the Sharpsburg project involves constructing 625 linear feet of large-diameter storm sewer, to alleviate an overloaded combined sewer system at Seventh and Main streets. Total project cost is $500,000, and it will also help deal with adverse impacts of the Ravine Street water stream that loads the existing system with heavy grit and debris. The Reserve Township project, Costa said, involves replacing old and leaking water lines along Allen and Irwin drives, in addition to installing five fire hydrants in those areas. Total project cost is $446,613. “Modern and efficient water and sewer projects have many benefits to quality of life, the environment and taxpayer’s pockets,” Costa said. “I’m pleased to see this state funding going to ensure that these systems are working at an optimal level.” The state grant arrives through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s PA Small Water and Sewer grant program, which funds activities to assist with construction, improvement, expansion, or rehabilitation or repair of a water supply or sanitary sewer system. Eligible projects must have a total project cost between $30,000 and Read more
PITTSBURGH, March 28 – State Rep. Dom Costa hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee today at the Sharpsburg Borough Building to discuss towing regulations in Pennsylvania. Costa requested the hearing to examine responding to and towing from crash scenes, as well as insurance industry concerns. “This hearing stems from multiple complaints I have received from constituents, insurance companies, local government, and a KDKA TV investigative report,” Costa said. “Towing reform is long overdue. Among other things, we need to stop rogue towers from taking advantage of accident victims before law enforcement arrives at the scene.” Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, added: “I thank Representative Costa for bringing this issue to the Policy Committee’s attention. The testifiers did a good job highlighting the various towing problems and I look forward to seeing Representative Costa’s legislation to fix them.” Testifiers included Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert, Lt. Ed Cunningham and Sgt. Rich Begenwald; Councilman Dan Gilman, Pittsburgh City Council District 8; Steven Wheeler, executive director, Pennsylvania Auto Theft Prevention Authority; John Halbleib, owner, Halbleib Automotive and D-Maxx Automotive; and a panel from the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Tim Lynch, director of government affairs, and John McCall, special agent, Mid-Atlantic region. Hearing materials are available at Read more
HARRISBURG, March 23 – State Rep. Dom Costa, D-Pittsburgh, announced today that he will host a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing to discuss establishing uniform towing regulations statewide. The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 at the Sharpsburg Borough Building, Council Chambers, 1611 Main St., Pittsburgh. Costa said topics will include responding to and towing from crash scenes as well as insurance industry concerns. The current agenda is: 2:00 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks 2:10 p.m. Panel from National Insurance Crime Bureau Tim Lynch , director of government affairs John McCall , special agent, Mid-Atlantic Region 2:40 p.m. Panel from City of Pittsburgh: Chief Scott Schubert , Bureau of Police Lieutenant Ed Cunningham , Bureau of Police Sergeant Rich Begenwald , Auto Theft Unit, Bureau of Police Councilman Dan Gilman , Pittsburgh City Council District 8 3:20 p.m. Steven Wheeler , executive director, Pa. Auto Theft Prevention Authority 3:50 p.m. John Halbleib , owner, Halbleib Automotive & D-Maxx Automotive 4:20 p.m. Closing Remarks MEDIA COVERAGE IS ENCOURAGED. Read more
ALCOSAN has created the Clean Water Assistance fund to help its customers pay their sewage treatment bills. You can apply for this new program at my office, 6808 Greenwood St., Suite 2, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. Call (412) 361-2040 for more information. Read more
The opioid crisis has also fueled an uptick in thefts and burglaries with addicts trying to come up cash for their next fix. And they’re selling those items to pawn shop, secondhand jewelry dealers or cash for gold businesses. And while many of those businesses are reputable, state legislator Rep. Dom Costa says others are not. “All they are is legalized fences,” said Rep. Costa.
Rep. Dom Costa's bill to establish Officer Down alert system wins unanimous House support. Read more
PITTSBURGH, Feb. 2 – When 20 pro-sanctuary-city protesters staged an impromptu yet peaceful demonstration outside his office Thursday morning, state Rep. Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, reiterated his support for LEGAL immigration during a 30-minute meeting with two of their designated representatives. While acknowledging that this is a highly sensitive issue on both sides, Costa said he refused to buckle to the representatives’ demand that he issue a public statement essentially siding with their position on ILLEGAL and UNDOCUMENTED immigration. “I told them my grandparents were immigrants and I am for immigration – but they have to be documented or at least going through the process to be documented,” Costa said. “I also said that the cities have got to stand up and be part of the solution.” Costa said that while he respects Americans’ right to protest and is thankful that office functions weren’t disrupted, he also believes that most Americans value playing by the rules, which includes following the established legal process for entering the county and gaining citizenship. “I will review any and all immigration-related bills that come before the House on case-by-case basis,” Costa said afterward. “It would be foolish of me or any other legislator to issue a blanket statement on anything this complex.” Read more
I have reintroduced my anti-animal cruelty bill, known as Angel’s Law, as H.B. 308 of the 2017-18 legislative session. As you may know, a number of studies have concluded that individuals who commit acts of animal cruelty have a higher likelihood of committing domestic violence, as well as other acts of violence against individuals. As such, these individuals not only commit cruel and inhumane acts against animals, but they also pose a threat to our communities. Therefore, I believe we need to ensure that we have sufficient penalties in place to adequately punish these individuals committing these acts of animal cruelty. Specifically, my legislation raises the grading for various animal cruelty offenses under Pennsylvania law. Currently, the overwhelming majority of first-time offenses are categorized as summary offenses. My legislation would increase the penalties for these actions to misdemeanors of the third degree. In addition, my legislation would also increase the penalties for individuals who commit second or subsequent acts of animal cruelty. Please join me as we renew our attempt to get this new law passed. Read more
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