Harrisburg, July 7 – A bill aimed at helping 1.2 million Pennsylvanians suffering from a rare disease is now law. House Bill 239, sponsored by Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, and Rep. Marcy Toepel, R-Montgomery, was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf today, which will create the Rare Disease Advisory Council. “It’s startling to hear about the thousands of rare diseases that are out there that many don’t even know about and go untreated,” Longietti said. “This council will help improve the lives of those suffering from a rare disease, which, in the end, is the most important feature." The Rare Disease Council will act as a partnership between patients and their families, medical providers, insurance groups and other agencies to support the needs of those dealing with these illnesses. In addition to health care professionals and industry and scientific representatives, the council will include both individuals suffering from a rare disease and parents of children with a rare disease. The council will be tasked with: Researching and determining the most appropriate method to collect rare disease data Identifying priorities relating to quality and cost effectiveness of access to treatment and other services Developing policy recommendations Creating strategies to raise public awareness Preparing and delivering a preliminary and comprehensive report of its findings "Recently, I heard from a constituent Read more
HARRISBURG, June 29 -- A bill that would create the Rare Disease Advisory Council and task it with specific duties now awaits the governor's signature. House Bill 239 , sponsored by Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer and Rep. Marcy Toepel, R-Montgomery, unanimously cleared the House today after being amended in the Senate. A rare disease is defined as a disease affecting 200,000 or fewer people in the United States. "One in 10 Americans live with a rare disease," Longietti said. “While we are familiar with some rare diseases, such as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, Crohn's disease and Cystic Fibrosis, many of the over 7,000 rare diseases are largely unknown by the public. Worse yet, on average it takes over eight years to diagnose a rare disease and there are FDA-approved treatments for only 5 percent of rare diseases.” Once signed, the legislation will establish the Rare Disease Council, which will act as a partnership between patients and their families, medical providers, insurance groups and other agencies to support the needs of those dealing with these illnesses. In addition to health care professionals and industry and scientific representatives, the council will include both individuals suffering from a rare disease and parents of children with a rare disease. The council would be tasked with researching and determining the most appropriate method to collect rare disease data; researching and identifying priorities relating to Read more
HARRISBURG – (May 11, 2017) Senator Michele Brooks and Representative Mark Longietti announced today that traffic lights in the boroughs of West Middlesex and Greenville will be improved, thanks to grants awarded under the state’s “Green Light-Go” program. These local projects are among 94 approved statewide. The first grant, in the amount of $42,160, will help install a Digital Wave Detection System at the intersection of State Routes 18 and 318 in West Middlesex Borough. The second safety improvement, in the amount of $188,200, will assist Greenville Borough in replacing the traffic light at the Main Street and Prairie Way intersection. “These competitive grants are difficult to receive, and I applaud Greenville and West Middlesex Boroughs for their strong applications,” said Senator Brooks, who advocated on behalf of the boroughs. “Old, malfunctioning or poorly timed traffic lights can make already-congested intersections much worse, and this money will improve traffic flow, help prevent accidents and ultimately save lives.” “I am pleased that Greenville and West Middlesex Boroughs were awarded competitive grants to fund these important projects. These grants will help reduce congestion, improve efficiency and enhance safety,” Representative Longietti added. Brooks and Longietti supported legislation that reduced the local match requirements from 50 percent to 20 percent to make it easier for smaller Read more
Pa. state Rep. Mark Longietti stood with his House Democratic colleagues to unveil a package of eight charter school reform bills designed to treat all Pennsylvania public schools – both traditional and charter – and their students equally under law. Read more
HARRISBURG, April 19 – House Democrats today unveiled a package of eight charter school reform bills designed to treat all Pennsylvania public schools – both traditional and charter – and their students equally under law. "I am hopeful we can pull together bipartisan support for these bills that improve efficiencies and accountability, which means that there will be more money available for education. Providing high-quality education to all Pennsylvania students should be the ultimate goal of our educational system," said Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. Rep. James Roebuck, D-Phila., Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, has introduced a bill ( H.B. 1199 ) that would end conflicts of interest in tax-funded payments for charter school leases. "The auditor general's office has identified millions of dollars in questionable charter school leases. We need to prevent these conflicts of interest up front, and we need to recover taxpayers' money to benefit students when there has been an inappropriate payment for one of these leases. Every dollar that goes to an inappropriate lease is a dollar that doesn't go to educate our kids," Roebuck said. Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Luzerne, introduced a bill ( H.B. 1198 ) that would bring charter schools in line with school districts by imposing limits on the surpluses that charter schools may accumulate. "My legislation Read more
Pa. state Rep. Mark Longietti welcomed the Reynolds Raiders wrestling team to honor their recent Class AA state championships in both team and individual competitions. Read more
Pa. state Rep. Mark Longietti attended a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing to stress the importance of properly funding early childhood education programs in Pennsylvania. Early education is vital for a child's success later in life. Read more
HERMITAGE, April 10 – Seeking to protect students and taxpayers, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, plans to introduce legislation that would limit charter school management organization fees to no more than 5 percent of tuition charged per student enrolled. Besides limiting overhead, Longietti said his forthcoming bill would require much more disclosure of financial documentation from for-profit and nonprofit school management organizations. “Currently, Pennsylvania law is deficient on placing limits paid – and revealing contracts made – with management companies, which can result in profit-making with public education dollars,” Longietti said. “Moreover, management company fees increase a school’s administrative costs and result in less money being available to educate the students.” Longietti added that it is difficult for authorizers, oversight bodies and taxpayers to see how their money is spent by these private companies unless such transparency is required by law. His legislation would apply to for-profit management companies that provide management, educational or administrative services to public school entities, including school districts, charter and cyber charter schools. Generally, a private organization or firm that manages public schools, including district and charter public schools, is referred to as an education management organization or a charter management organization. Longietti said research Read more
HARRISBURG, April 3 – State Rep. Mark Longietti’s effort to increase from $5,000 to $10,000 the amount an employer may pay directly to a surviving relative from a deceased employee’s final paycheck unanimously passed the House today. House Bill 203 , sponsored by Longietti, D-Mercer, seeks to update a section of the state’s Estate Code for the first time in more than two decades. The measure, which passed the House as H.B. 1974 in the last legislative session, now again moves to the Senate. “Under current law, if a deceased person’s final paycheck exceeds $5,000, the surviving relative must initiate formal estate proceedings with the county Register of Wills and the Court of Common Pleas,” Longietti said. “This results in a delay in receiving needed funds – and the surviving relative incurs a significant cost.” Longietti said by way of comparison, current law allows a relative to withdraw up to $10,000 from a deceased person’s bank account to cover funeral expenses, so he is seeking to put the final paycheck at that same threshold. A local attorney brought the issue to Longietti’s attention after he encountered a growing number of situations where the final paycheck exceeded $5,000. In those instances, Longietti said, the check must be made payable to the estate, meaning the next of kin gets zero until after formal estate proceedings commence and wind their way through the court system. Read more
HERMITAGE, March 29 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, and state Sen. Michele Brooks, R- Crawford/Erie/Mercer/Warren, are pleased to report that the Greenville Borough Municipal Authority will receive a $320,000 state grant to update the control system at the Greenville water treatment plant. The grant will help fund a $387,800 project to improve communication from the West End and East End tanks and the booster pump station to the water treatment plant to prevent costly overflows and the drainage of tanks. The current system relies on telephone landlines to monitor water levels in the storage tanks and has experienced failures from various causes, including tree limbs falling on the lines. The new system will ensure more reliable communication from the main control building and will provide real-time data on system water levels. Under auspices of the Department of Community and Economic Development, the PA Small Water and Sewer grant program funds activities to assist with the 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 $500,000, and funding is available for municipalities and municipal authorities. "These upgrades are way overdue," Longietti said. "Controlling the proper water levels can reduce system failures and overflows. This upgrade is a solid step forward for Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 26 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, has issued a statement upon the announcement that SCI-Mercer will not be closed as part of a cost reduction plan announced by Gov. Tom Wolf. Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel announced that the only prison that will be closed is SCI-Pittsburgh, the oldest prison that was under consideration for elimination. "The community dodged a major bullet this morning," Longietti said. "I believe the community's united stand in presenting our case made a real difference. "I appreciate that the governor and the closure committee had a very tough decision. All five locations under consideration provide a real benefit to their communities, but I believe we made a very strong case for the value of SCI-Mercer to the community. "Now that this decision is behind us, I will continue to work with our local economic development professionals and elected officials to foster economic opportunities and job growth in Mercer County." According to the Wolf administration, the prison closure plan is one step in the effort to reduce the projected 2017-18 state budget deficit. The closure of Western Penitentiary in Pittsburgh, including the relocation of up to 1,900 inmates, is expected to be completed by the end of June. Many are expected to be moved to SCI-Camp Hill where 1,000 beds were recently made available. ### Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 25 – Flanked by Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris and four-time Olympic medal-winning wrestler Bruce Baumgartner, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, joined the call for quality Pre-K programs at a Capitol news conference today. Longietti, who serves as co-chairman of the joint House/Senate Early Childhood Education Caucus, said high-quality Pre-K programs have a demonstrated, positive impact on student achievement. “In Pennsylvania, when we have invested in our children early, we have realized results, such as an 80-percent reduction in at-risk behaviors among 3-year-olds participating in PA Pre-K Counts,” Longietti said. “In Mercer County, the United Way’s ‘Success by Six’ Pre-K summer program has demonstrated consistent achievement results, according to a longitudinal study following participants over time.” Longietti said it is particularly important to reach at-risk and disadvantaged children, because studies have shown that 60 to 70 percent of the achievement gap between low- and high-income children in high school was already present by the time they were in kindergarten. Longietti drew a parallel to sports in his district, noting that the Reynolds High School wrestling program, which has won several state championships, is fed by a junior wrestling program that starts teaching athletes at a very young age. He said the same concept applies to the Hickory High School football program, Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 5 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, has been appointed Democratic chairman of the House Tourism and Recreational Development Committee for the 2017-18 legislative session. "I am excited for the opportunity to chair this important committee," Longietti said. "Tourism is the state's second-largest industry, providing nearly $40 billion in annual economic impact and supporting more than 450,000 jobs. "As the state continues to deal with severe budget shortfalls, it is important to understand that the tourism industry also provides $4 billion annually in state and local taxes. "I have served on this committee my entire time in the legislature, so I am very familiar with the goals, purposes and processes of the committee and I have already established many important connections with people in the industry, such as Sharon's Karen Winner Sed, co-chair of the Pennsylvania Tourism Partnership. The PTP shares the committee's goal of promoting the amazing tourism assets Pennsylvania offers. "Mercer County is a prime example of the wide variety of tourism opportunities, from the outlets in Grove City to the Avenue of 444 Flags in Hermitage, and WaterFire Sharon, which brings arts, culture and tourists to downtown Sharon three weekends a year. "This committee is crucial for providing ideas and support for sites and events throughout the region and the entire Read more
HARRISBURG, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Mark Longietti today was sworn in for a sixth, two-year term representing the 7th Legislative District in Mercer County during a ceremony at the state Capitol that started the 2017-18 legislative session. Longietti, D-Mercer, will look to extend his ten-year record of perfect attendance when the House is in session. “The people of the 7 th Legislative District sent me to Harrisburg to serve as their voice, and I take my responsibility seriously to cast votes on all issues that come before the state House,” Longietti said. He said his top priorities continue to be education, economic development and constituent service. “I will fight to ensure Pennsylvania makes the necessary investments in education so that our students are ready to pursue a college degree or enter the workforce,” Longietti said. “We also must work to improve the state’s economy. During the past four years, Pennsylvania has fallen behind other states in job creation, and we must increase our economic development efforts.” Longietti served as a member of the bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission, which recommended a new funding formula for distributing basic education dollars to public school districts. The recommended funding formula was adopted by the General Assembly and used for the first time during the 2016-17 state budget. Longietti also serves as co-chairman of the bipartisan Early Childhood Education Read more
Harrisburg – State Sen. Michele Brooks and Rep. Mark Longietti announced a $1 million Multimodal Transportation Program grant that will allow NLMK Pennsylvania to upgrade its Farrell rail operation and help retain more than 700 jobs. The grant will permit rehabilitation of 8,300 feet of track, crossties and ballast and improve grade crossings in its 13-mile rail network at the plant. The company also will replace locomotives and install and modify loading docks. “Our area competes not only against others states, but globally, for jobs. It is important that our region and Pennsylvania is competitive in keeping these family sustaining manufacturing jobs,” said Senator Brooks. “If NLMK is able to flourish here, there will be correlative opportunity for employment and economic development in the region. I was happy to have the opportunity to be a partner in helping obtain this funding.” “This grant will allow NLMK to move a sufficient amount of product to remain competitive, thereby helping to retain over 700 well-paying jobs in our community,” Representative Longietti said. “I am pleased to have played a role in securing this funding which will help preserve these important jobs.” The grant application was submitted by Penn Northwest Development Corporation on behalf of NLMK, formally known as Duferco Farrell Corporation. The scrap salvage company makes metal casing for Whirlpool, Frigidaire and other products for Read more
The Republican Party controls the Pennsylvania General Assembly, but a Democrat, Tom Wolf, still occupies the governor’s mansion.
With revenues falling behind projections in the current budget year, people already are asking whether the state is heading for another stalemate like it experienced two years ago, during which funding was cut for a time to many agencies, causing forced reductions in services or outright closures. Read more
SHARON, Nov. 23 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, today announced a $3 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant for Winner Development, LLC to redevelop the former Westinghouse Electric, North Side property in Sharon. “Originally, the former Westinghouse Plant covered 58 acres in Sharon, and this grant will go a long way toward continuing to redevelop this brownfield and creating jobs by giving business a place to grow,” Longietti said. “My father, as well as many citizens of our local community, spent their career at Sharon Westinghouse. It makes me very proud to think that if the economic conditions develop correctly, as I believe they will, we could see a significant level of permanent jobs created at this currently underutilized site.” The proposed remediation consists of adaptive reuse of multi-tenant space to include: A laboratory for research and development regarding water treatment-related services; Revitalized space to create a functional art business; and Revitalized manufacturing and warehousing areas resulting in new value-added investments. “We’re extremely excited this grant has been awarded, as it will play an integral part in securing the funding necessary for this project to continue,” said Jack Campbell, vice president and secretary of Winner Development, LLC. “I truly believe the repurposing of this brownfield can further help revitalize the Sharon area Read more
State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, today announced a pair of upcoming Pennsylvania Department of Education Safe Schools Initiative grants for Sharon City School District and West Middlesex Area School District. Read more
Following approval by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, State Representative Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced a $52,275 grant has been awarded to the city of Sharon for construction of Wengler Park. Read more
Following approval by the Commonwealth Financing Authority, state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, announced a $52,275 grant has been awarded to the City of Sharon for construction of Wengler Park. Read more
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