HARRISBURG, Oct. 31 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that the municipality of Penn Hills has been awarded a $1 million grant through the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to help fund the purchase of land and construction of a new municipal complex. The state-funded RACP assists communities in the acquisition and construction of economic, recreational, cultural, civic or historical improvement projects. Penn Hills will use the grant to help fund construction its new municipal complex at the site of the former Penn Hebron School on Duff Road. The building will house municipal offices, police and EMS, and will include a firefighting training area. It will also expand available parking more than four-fold. "Thank you to Governor Tom Wolf for moving this grant forward," DeLuca said. "When it is completed, the new building will offer a greener building, modern working accommodations for municipal employees and a public building we can all be proud of. The current building is not only too small and outdated, it also has many maintenance issues that Penn Hills would be forced to address in the near future." According to the Penn Hills website, the new building has a completion target date of spring 2018. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 26 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that the House of Representatives has concurred in Senate amendments to a bill which would make it easier for a life insurance beneficiary to be notified following the death of a policyholder. House Bill 1403 would require life insurance companies to compare their policyholders against the master death list provided by the Social Security Administration on a semi-annual basis. "As Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, I advocated for this bill because it offers protection to policyholders and their beneficiaries to ensure that policies pay out when the policyholder dies," DeLuca said. "Too often, a person may die leaving a beneficiary who is not aware of either the death or their status as a beneficiary. Currently, if a beneficiary does not file a claim, the insurance company can hold the account for up to 99 years." Under this bill, the insurance company would have to make an effort to contact beneficiaries once they are aware of the death via the master death list. If the beneficiary is unable to be found, the benefit would have to be turned over to the Pennsylvania Treasury Unclaimed Property Division after three years. "This bill is a common-sense change to current law, as the insurance companies currently review the master death list on a regular basis for annuity subscribers," DeLuca added. "This would just Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 24 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that the Penn Hills and Plum school districts will receive a total $1.1 million in state grants to help pay for certain approved construction projects. DeLuca said the Plum Borough School District will receive $779,165 and the Penn Hills School District will receive $331,418, as part of the state's Commonwealth Financing Authority's PlanCon program. PlanCon reimburses school districts for specific repairs or construction projects. Funding was previously eliminated in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 budgets, leaving school districts without expected reimbursements for projects that had been in the works for months and years. DeLuca said he is pleased the legislature found another way to fund the program. "My colleagues in the legislature helped me remedy the funding shortage by authorizing the CFA to issue up to $2.5 billion in bonds over the next few years to ensure the schools receive the money promised to them from the state," DeLuca said. "This is good news for Pennsylvania schools, as they will soon begin receiving some of the state funding they were previously promised. I expect more bonds and more grants to be approved in the near future, as the state continues to support our public schools with all the construction money they have been promised." The CFA is expected to issue the first round of bonds in the next few weeks, which will then allow the money to be Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 18 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, has introduced a bill that would require charities to spend at least 60 percent of their revenue on program expenses in order to qualify for a state sales tax exemption. Current state law only requires an organization to be licensed as a charity in order to qualify for the state sales tax exemption. "There have been too many reports of charities spending only a small portion of their expenses on the actual programs," DeLuca said. "Some organizations spend much more on promotional and other fundraising costs and exorbitant salaries for their CEOs. "This bill would protect Pennsylvania donors by ensuring that the money being donated is going for the purpose intended, and not to line a director's pockets. "The state should not be giving tax breaks to charities that do not spend a significant portion of their funding on their mission. We need to ensure the charities actually assist communities in order to qualify for this break. Donors deserve to know the money they are giving will benefit their intended groups," he said. DeLuca said he encourages potential donors to visit the Federal Trade Commission's charity website, ftc.gov/charityfraud to investigate the organizations before donating. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 17 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that Allegheny County has received a state grant totaling $175,000 to help disabled residents make accessibility accommodations so they can remain in their current residences. Allegheny County has been awarded the grant as part of the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund, which is funded through Marcellus Shale impact fees. "These funds will help homeowners or renters in Allegheny County pay for accessibility improvements to allow permanently-disabled residents remain in their current homes," DeLuca said. "These improvements could include making entryways or bathrooms handicapped-accessible, among other changes. "Those who qualify for the grant program may also be eligible for additional state, local or federal funds." DeLuca encourages those who need to make these types of improvements to contact his office at (412) 793-2448 for help in applying. DeLuca added that these grants are available only for those in the county who live outside the Pittsburgh city limits. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Oct. 12 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, has introduced a bill which would require insurance companies to notify their long-term care policy holders when the companies request to raise their rates. Current state law only requires insurance companies notify subscribers once the rate increase has gone into effect. "Consumers deserve the right to know a rate increase has been requested before it takes effect," DeLuca said. "The bill would also give policy holders the right to file comments with the Insurance Department for a period of 30 days." "Consumers expect to be notified of pending rate increases for most utilities which face government oversight, like home energy or water bills. They deserve the right to offer input on the cost increases planned for this critical insurance policy. "I realized that this is a critical issue earlier this year when some insurance companies requested rate increase that would have more than doubled their rates. Consumers need to be aware of those potential increases before they are approved," DeLuca continued, "And they deserve the right to comment on the impact the proposed increase would have." DeLuca expects his legislation will be referred to the House Insurance Committee for further consideration. ### Read more
DeLuca reminds Allegheny County restaurants that liquor licenses are available PITTSBURGH, Sept. 19 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, reminds local restaurant owners that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is currently accepting bids for the first liquor license auction in Pennsylvania since the start of Prohibition. DeLuca said that with the passage of Act 39, the PLCB was granted the ability to issue a limited number of new restaurant licenses throughout the commonwealth. The licenses currently available were either not renewed or were revoked through legal channels or are inactive and no longer eligible for safekeeping. Allegheny County has four licenses up for auction out of the 40 that are for sale statewide. “This auction is an exciting new opportunity for local restaurant owners," DeLuca said. "Because of the limited availability, obtaining a liquor license is always a challenge." Bids for the licenses are due Thursday, Oct. 27, and auction winners will be determined the week of Oct. 31. Minimum bids are $25,000 and all bidders must submit a $5,000 surety deposit. High bidders will have two weeks to complete the bid payment and then six months to complete the license application. Following the completion of this auction, PLCB will hold additional auctions to return about 1,200 licenses to local communities over the next months and years. Potential bidders can direct any questions to DeLuca's office Read more
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 15 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, is informing students who plan to attend college in the 2017-18 school year that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid can be filed as of Oct. 1. "This is an important date change for almost every college student," DeLuca said. "The FAFSA form is a requirement for almost any application for student aid, whether through the school, the state or federal government or for private scholarships. The new application opening is three months earlier than previous years, and also, just as importantly, the new date means that the previous year's tax information will be used for the application." Under previous rules, applications were not available until Jan. 1 of the school term's calendar year and families were required to provide the tax information for the just-ended calendar year, which was not due to be filed until April. "Allowing the earlier application date, and the acceptance of the previous year's tax information will allow students to apply at their convenience and also reduce the stress of trying to prepare the necessary tax returns before all information is available," DeLuca said. DeLuca reminds all college-bound students that the FAFSA form must be filled out to be considered for any federal grants, student loans or work-study programs or any Pennsylvania state grants offered through PHEAA. The FAFSA form can be Read more
HARRISBURG, June 27 – Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, today urged the state Senate to take action on H.B. 60 so that Pennsylvanians suffering from cancer can have access to the most appropriate treatment for their care. House Bill 60 would require health insurance providers that cover intravenous cancer chemotherapy to equally cover oral chemotherapy treatment, thereby giving patients the opportunity to choose their best treatment option. The bill passed the House in February 2015, but has yet to receive final passage from the Senate. "Partisanship and petty politics are something we face as lawmakers," DeLuca said. "However, this is not a partisan issue. It is a people issue and one that could affect all of us. Let's move past politics. I implore the Senate to bring up House Bill 60 for consideration.” DeLuca wrote to Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman in April, urging movement on this legislation. He said today that it appears the legislation only now finally has been jarred loose in the Senate, but the legislation will have to return to the House of Representatives for a concurrence vote on Senate changes. “I’m happy to see this legislation is finally being considered by the Senate. I will ask Speaker Mike Turzai and Leader Dave Reed to quickly bring up House Bill 60 for a concurrence vote. "House Bill 60 would dramatically improve the quality of life for countless cancer patients in the commonwealth. The stress of Read more
HARRISBURG, May 18 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, said today that he was glad the state auditor general did a thorough audit of the Penn Hills School District, but had grave concerns about the findings. "The main focus of the Penn Hills School District, in fact all school districts, should be educating our children, but this audit proves that former Penn Hills district employees took considerable advantage of the public trust and the school board let it happen," DeLuca said. Last spring, DeLuca asked Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to conduct an audit of the school district's budget and spending practices after he grew concerned about reports of poor accounting practices, lack of oversight of daily operations and the overcommitment of funds for construction and building projects. DePasquale released his audit today, and the findings show that a long-term lack of oversight permitted financial mismanagement and illogical business decisions resulting in a $167 million outstanding debt and possible multiple criminal investigations. "The reports indicated that there was financial mismanagement taking place in the school district, but today's audit report is completely astounding," he said. "I thank Auditor General DePasquale for his efforts in helping to bring this information to light, and for forwarding his findings to the proper authorities for further investigation. With this comprehensive review, hopefully, the Read more
HARRISBURG, April 8 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, has introduced two bills designed to help restore Pennsylvanians' faith in their state government by requiring legislators to disclose any income received from outside employment and its amount. Current state law only requires elected officials and public employees to disclose the source of any income they've earned from jobs outside of their government position. H.B. 567 also would require them to list the amount earned from the outside work. House Bill 566 would limit all outside pay for state legislators to 35 percent of the base legislative salary. "There is the perception that Harrisburg is broken because it's too indebted to powerful and influential special interests. I believe we contribute to cynicism from Pennsylvania residents when we do not require outside income to be reported," DeLuca said. "The comprehensive financial disclosure and limits of outside income put forth in my bills will help public officials, employees and legislators avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest, while at the same time reassure the public that we are working for them, not the special interests.” DeLuca's income disclosure bill is modeled after a Hawaii law that requires public employees and officials to report a range for each outside source of income. Those ranges would be: $1,000 - $74,999; $75,000 - $99,999; $100,000 - $149,999; $150,000 - Read more
Pa. state Rep. Tony DeLuca, who’s battling cancer himself, is introducing a measure to name 2016 “the Year to Cure Cancer” in the commonwealth. DeLuca, Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, says cancer doesn’t discriminate, affecting people of all backgrounds. He says while great strides are being made toward finding a cure, he calls upon researchers and hospitals in Pennsylvania to work together to get even closer to ending cancer. Read more
Democratic Chairman of the Pa. House Insurance Committee, state Rep. Tony DeLuca, thanks the House of Representatives for their unanimous support of his resolution designating 2016 as "The Year to Cure Cancer." DeLuca, who is battling cancer himself, invokes President Obama's declaration of the Moonshot Project in calling upon researchers and hospitals to come together to find a cure. Read more
HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, held a Capitol news conference this morning in support of his resolution, H.R. 695, which would declare 2016 as "The Year to Cure Cancer in Pennsylvania."
DeLuca was joined by Cancer Caucus chairman, state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre/Mifflin.
The news conference featured Pennsylvania doctors, researchers and medical specialists.
"Some form of cancer touches virtually every family in our country in some way, including my own family," DeLuca said. "We have made incredible strides, but I can't help but wonder what more we can do to eradicate this disease.
"Smallpox has been eradicated with vaccines worldwide. Modern scientists have discovered the causes of tetanus, rabies, yellow fever, measles, whooping cough and others. Yet cancer continues its destruction. It's time we also eradicate cancer."
Health care and cancer specialists who participated in the news conference include:
• Michael Neal, executive vice president, American Cancer Society;
• Dr. Chi Van Dang, University of Pennsylvania – Abramson Cancer Center;
• Dr. Anthony Coletta, Independence Blue Cross;
• Dr. Maryann Donavan, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute;
• Dr. Craig Meyers, Penn State University College of Medicine; and
• Dr. Virginia Calega, Highmark.
The resolution is co-sponsored by more than 50 representatives, Democrats and Republicans, and is scheduled for a vote later today.
A number of cancer support nonprofit agencies also a Read more
Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more
PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more
Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more
Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more
In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more
HARRISBURG, Dec. 21 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 84 into law, which will permit non-network EMS providers dispatched through an emergency response system to receive reimbursement directly from the patient’s insurance carrier if the provider agrees.
Additionally, if the EMS provider participates in the direct payment process with a particular insurer, the patient will only be liable for copayments, coinsurance or deductibles as outlined in their policy.
"I negotiated the inclusion of the language which will protect the patient from balance billing, where a medical provider charges a non-network customer the entire difference between what is billed and what the insurer pays," DeLuca said.
"As Democratic chairman of the House Insurance Committee, I advocated for this new law because it guarantees timely payments will be made to EMS providers, while also protecting patients from balance billing which can lead to unexpected costs."
DeLuca added that the EMS payment component of the new law was added to a bill that extended the CHIP health insurance program for children through 2017.
The new law extends the CHIP deadline immediately and the EMS payment changes take effect Jan. 1.
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