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, Feb. 11 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and Democratic Whip Mike Hanna said they are encouraged by Gov. Tom Wolf’s Education Reinvestment Act, which proposes to increase the money available for Pennsylvania schools by levying a reasonable severance tax on natural gas production. “This is going to be a key issue as we work on closing the large structural budget deficit,” Dermody said. “Governor Wolf is following through on what he laid out in his campaign with a proposal to bring Pennsylvania into line with all the other states that already tax natural gas production. “The resulting revenue will allow us to begin undoing the serious damage that was done to education during the last four years. No doubt there will be a lot of debate about this, but the governor’s plan provides a framework for the legislature to consider in the next few months.” He noted that additional state funding of education will help relieve the upward pressure on school property taxes. Hanna added: “The Wolf plan is something constructive we can build on. The governor and I agree we need to preserve the dollars that are going to all the municipalities and counties impacted by drilling. “Enacting a severance tax comparable to other states also will increase public support for responsible gas drilling when the industry becomes an important partner in funding education. The added Read more
HARMAR, Feb. 3 – State Rep. Frank Dermody said good progress is being made on emergency repairs to the damaged overpass on Pittsburgh Street in Springdale that has forced the rerouting of traffic since Friday. “My office has been working with PennDOT staff, the Springdale mayor and police chief, and NRG to speed this process up and get this main artery open again,” Dermody said. “Everybody pitched in and things are getting done hour by hour. It’s not possible yet to be sure when the road will reopen but we are hopeful for Wednesday.” The span over Pittsburgh Street was struck by a loaded truck Friday. Dermody said PennDOT inspections showed the damage was much more extensive than first thought. “Everyone in the area has been inconvenienced by this situation, but people’s safety has got to be our first concern. State and local officials are working together to get the road open again as soon as possible,” Dermody said. He noted that the emergency repair work on the overpass is a temporary measure. “Sometime later this year it’s likely the road will close again for a short time for more complete repairs, but we’ll be able to give everyone plenty of notice about that before it happens.” Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 20 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, released the following statement today on the swearing-in of Pennsylvania's 47th governor, Tom Wolf: "House Democrats are excited to work with Governor Wolf in the upcoming session. Pennsylvania is a very diverse state, but we can only move forward as one family, not a collection of special interests. Governor Wolf understands that and I believe his approach to governing Pennsylvania will reflect that. "There is no shortage of challenges facing our state, foremost among them a budget deficit that tops $2.3 billion. House Democrats are ready to work with the governor and our Republican colleagues in the House and Senate to address those challenges. "We need to build a strong, sustainable middle class, and grow decent jobs in industries that support family-sustaining wages. We need to begin restoring the funding to our schools the previous administration cut, and we need to develop a fair funding formula that ensures every child in Pennsylvania receives a quality education and every public school in Pennsylvania can provide one. "We need to honor the workers who drive the engine of our economy by making sure they earn a fair wage, enjoy a safe workplace and job and retirement security, and are free from discrimination. And we need to develop our natural resources in a responsible way that protects our environmental legacy and benefits all Pennsylvanians. Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 12 -- State Rep. Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, announced that applications are available for the 2015 Pennsylvania House of Representatives Scholarship. "I encourage all students planning to attend college to consider applying for this scholarship," Dermody said. "As college tuition rates continue to rise, this scholarship could provide needed assistance." The scholarship amount is the equivalent of one semester's tuition at a State System of Higher Education university. However, recipients may use the scholarship at any Pennsylvania public or private university or career school. The scholarship may be renewed for each year of a student's four years of undergraduate study. To be eligible, a student must be a graduating senior living in Pennsylvania with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade-point average. He or she must participate in extracurricular activities, have community and leadership skills and demonstrate financial need. The scholarship program, which is privately funded by individual and corporate donations, is administered through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. Applications are available at the Foundation for Enhancing Communities' website, www.tfec.org. In addition to the application, students must submit other scholarship information, a student resume, information about their community and leadership skills and their FAFSA student aid report. Applicants also must submit an Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 6 – State Rep. Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, today began his third term as Democratic leader in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as members from across the state took the oath of office at noon in the House chamber to begin the 2015-16 legislative session.The legislature faces the new two-year session with a budget deficit that is estimated to be more than $2 billion and a new governor taking office. Read more
Democratic Leader Frank DermodyJan. 6, 2015Thank you Mr. Speaker.I would like to start by congratulating my good friend and long-time colleague Mike Turzai on his arrival to the House Speaker's chair.While the new Speaker and I have certainly not always seen eye to eye, we have worked alongside each other respectfully in several capacities going back many years.Mr. Speaker, I look forward to continuing to work with you in the new session.I also want to congratulate the new Republican Leader, Dave Reed.As majority leader facing the challenges that Pennsylvania does, your job will be difficult.I sincerely want to work with you as Democratic Leader to do what I know both of us – and the caucuses that we lead – want to do:Move Pennsylvania forward.I also want to take a moment to acknowledge our incoming governor, Tom Wolf.The governor-elect brings a wealth of experience and success in both private and public service.But I'm not sure he – or any governor – ever faced challenges like those he will face as chief executive of Pennsylvania.I personally pledge my efforts and those of the Democratic caucus to work with him in every way we can to meet those challenges.We want to, once again, make Pennsylvania an economic, educational and environmental leader in the nation.Finally, to each of my colleagues here today – both Republicans and Democrats; those of you who are returning and to our new members – congratulations and welcome!I am sure Read more
Pennsylvania's children have a new protection thanks to Hannah's Law, named after Hannah Ginion of Bristol Township, who suffered from the rare genetic disorder called Krabbe disease. Hannah passed away on Dec. 28, 2014. Read more
Recently, my office received information about phone calls received statewide in which an individual claimed to be from the IRS and demanded payment on taxes owed.
Please be aware – this phone call is a scam, and the IRS will NOT initiate first contact with you on the phone about taxes owed.
Always be wary of unsolicited phone calls in which an individual claims to represent a business or government entity and aggressively demands payment. The IRS does not operate this way and will always send official correspondence through the mail to make its first contact with you.
Landmark legislation passed during the 2013-14 Legislative Session now allows first responders, including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer a medication known as naloxone, a life-saving opioid-overdose antidote.
The law also allows individuals such as friends or family members who might be in a position to help a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose to obtain a prescription for naloxone. Additionally, Act 139 provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses.
House Bill 993, which renamed the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare as the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, was signed into law as Act 132 during the 2013-14 Legislative Session.
According to advocates for the change, renaming the department was long overdue, and as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the name change better reflects the department’s mission.
As we get into the coldest months of winter, many people are worried about affording their increasing heating costs. If you or someone you know qualifies, my office could help you take advantage of a program set up to curtail high home heating bills. Read more
The open enrollment period for health care coverage is now underway. If you or someone you know is in need of health insurance, please consider visiting the federal Marketplace at www.HealthCare.gov. Applicants have until Feb. 16, 2015 to enroll.
Everyone, no matter what age, needs health insurance. A random accident or unexpected illness could put you in danger of losing not only your good health but also your financial future. Read more
To register for the Pennsylvania and national do-not-call lists, visit http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/dnc.aspx or call 1-888-777-3406. Registration is free. There is a rolling enrollment; individuals may sign up at any time and the registration is good for five years. After that, you can re-enroll. And, signing up on Pennsylvania's list automatically adds those numbers to the national do-not-call list. Read more
Last year’s bitterly cold winter left many people struggling to pay higher-than-normal home energy bills. As we head toward the coldest months of the year, there are ways you can winterize your home to keep heat in, cold air out, and money in your pocket. Many businesses offer professional home energy audits, but you can perform your own by inspecting areas where heat escapes and cold air leaks in. Read more
While it may be the season for charitable giving, scammers don't take a holiday. The Pennsylvania Department of State offers a simple way to ensure a charity is legitimate and that your donation will be used properly. Read more
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