Investment for affordable housing support strategies focus of Davis, House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing

(May 11, 2021)

PITTSBURGH, May 11 – The need for affording housing is a need only exacerbated by the pandemic and Allegheny County Delegation Chairman Austin Davis today hosted a hearing to discuss how the PA Rescue Plan would invest federal funding to bring relief to homeowners and renters. “Wages have not kept up with the rise in housing costs. With the oldest housing stock in the country and a minimum wage that remains stagnant, Pennsylvanians need us to take action in Harrisburg. Today, we learned how the PA Rescue Plan funding would be helpful and the legislative actions we can take to empower local municipalities so that state and local governments and developers can work together to solve this problem.” Testifiers included Larry Swanson, executive director of Action Housing; and Robert Damewood, staff attorney for Regional Housing Legal Services. Swanson advocated for affordable housing assistance as lender forbearance programs come to an end this summer. Damewood shared that over 299,000 Pennsylvania families cannot afford rent and the state desperately needs expansion of affordable, safe and stable housing. He called on the legislature to apply rights in the Manufactured Homes Community Rights Act to renters across the board. “Housing is a human right, period, and the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the fact that too many Pennsylvanians can’t afford to stay in their homes, especially in our communities of color,” said House Democratic Read more

 

Davis to champion PA Rescue Plan’s proposed affordable housing investment at Tuesday hearing

(May 07, 2021)

PITTSBURGH, May 7 – Making Housing Affordable and mitigating the housing hardships exacerbated by COVID-19 will be the focus of Tuesday’s House Democratic Policy Committee hearing hosted by Allegheny County Delegation Chairman Austin Davis. Read more

 

Rep. Davis, advocates introduce legislation to address health insurance coverage gap

(May 03, 2021)

HARRISBURG, May 3 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, today joined the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, Pennie and SEIU Healthcare PA to introduce legislation that could make it easier for thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians to enroll in health insurance coverage. “The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored many of the old fault lines in our healthcare system,” Davis said. “Access to health care remains a critical barrier in our society. This legislation is an opportunity to knock down that barrier for more than 400,000 uninsured Pennsylvanians, more than 120,000 of whom are children, and help them enroll in healthcare coverage.” Davis said H.B. 1030 could help to close the insurance gap by creating the Pennsylvania Easy Enrollment Program. It would allow Pennsylvanians to check a box on their state income tax returns to connect them to Pennie, the state’s health insurance marketplace, for a free evaluation to see if they qualify for a low-cost plan on the marketplace, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid. "Every year, we talk to thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians who lack easy-to-understand information about the affordable coverage options available to them,” said Pennsylvania Health Access Network Executive Director Antoinette Kraus. “Adding simple questions to the tax filing process already completed by millions and then giving individuals personalized options creates a Read more

 

Davis: U.S. Steel’s broken promises to the Mon Valley

(Apr 30, 2021)

McKEESPORT, April 30 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement following U.S. Steel’s announcement that it will cancel plans for $1 billion in upgrades to the Mon Valley Works steel mill due to the company’s recent environmental sustainability goals: “I have always supported U.S. Steel’s reinvestment project in the Mon Valley Works, which is why I am deeply disappointed that the company has broken its promise to the Mon Valley and its own workers by scrapping a plan that would have made the Mon Valley Works the first project of its kind, provided cleaner air for our community and good jobs that would have helped this area prosper for decades. I believe that we can create family-sustaining jobs and a clean environment. “I remain committed to working with our region’s businesses, communities and elected leaders to continue to improve our region’s long-term economic future and bring sustainable investment and development into our communities.” Read more

 

Davis: Mon Valley recreation projects awarded more than $168,000 in grant funding

(Apr 21, 2021)

McKEESPORT, April 21 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, announced today that the cities of Clairton and Duquesne will receive a total of $168,394 in grant funding from the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The funding was awarded to the following : $143,394 was awarded to the city of Clairton for the Clairton City Park Green Infrastructure. The project includes the design and construction of five rain gardens that will control stormwater runoff, reduce flooding and help protect water quality within the Peters Creek Watershed. $25,000 was awarded to the city of Duquesne for the Polish Hill Playground Project. The project will replace old equipment with new playcenters, new swings and rubber safety surfacing. It also includes new benches, a trash receptacle and installing a drainage system. “Parks are an important part of our communities,” Davis said. “Through this funding, the Polish Hill Playground will receive upgrades that make it a better and safer place for our children to play and Clairton City Park can address flooding issues through the addition of rain gardens. I support funding that improves our outdoor spaces, which makes them more enjoyable for residents in those communities.” The grants were provided from the Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program, which focuses on projects that involve development, rehabilitation and improvements to public parks, Read more

 

Davis legislation to provide fairness for residents living in buildings with single water meter passes key hurdle

(Apr 19, 2021)

HARRISBURG, April 19 – The House Consumer Affairs Committee today voted to approve a bill authored by state Rep. Austin Davis that would provide protection for residents living in multi-unit buildings and complexes serviced by a single water meter. House Bill 376 would amend the Public Utilities definition of “Landlord Ratepayer” to include condominiums, cooperatives and planned communities. It now heads to the full House for further consideration. Davis said the legislation would end the need for homeowners’ associations to collect shares from multiple parties for a single water meter, curtail confusing paperwork and the chance of misuse of these funds, leading to a water shut-off affecting numerous residents. “When the monthly water bill from a multi-unit building with a single water meter is split among the residents, those who conserve water pay too much; while those who waste water pay too little,” said Davis, D-Allegheny. “This legislation would provide a fair way for those residents to pay for what they actually use, as well as offer protection for unit owners and oversight by the Public Utilities Commission.” Davis has two other bills that would provide relief for families struggling with paying for water that have been referred to the House Consumer Affairs Committee. House Bill 370 would create the Low-Income Water and Wastewater Assistance Program and a Read more

 

McKeesport revitalization efforts subject of legislative tour

(Apr 16, 2021)

McKEESPORT, April 15 – As the state legislature considers how to invest federal economic and pandemic relief funding, state Reps. Austin Davis and Matt Bradford, chair of the House Democratic Appropriations Committee, joined Mayor Michael Cherepko today to discuss economic redevelopment efforts in McKeesport, including the ongoing McKeesport Rising Initiative . “When we talk about the McKeesport Rising initiative, we are making reference to our city’s great strides in economic development, infrastructure improvements, neighborhood beautification, and public safety advancements,” Cherepko said. “With all of these things coming together in our community, we are proud to have our progress at the forefront of discussions in Harrisburg. We are excited to share our accomplishments and potential with Chairman Bradford as he visits the City of McKeesport.” The tour included a stop at PurePenn LLC, the largest grower of medical marijuana in the region. Last year Davis helped PurePenn receive a $2 million state grant to expand its facility, which sits on the site of the old National Tube Steel mill. “This facility is one example of redevelopment that’s been successful in the Mon Valley,” said Davis, D-Allegheny. “It has helped to stimulate the local economy and create jobs in an area that has struggled in the wake of the steel industry collapse and during the COVID-19 Read more

 

Davis: More than $970,000 in grants awarded to Mon Valley STEM and computer science programs

(Apr 13, 2021)

HARRISBURG, April 13 – State Rep. Austin Davis announced the state Department of Education awarded more than $970,000 in PAsmart Advancing Grants to two Mon Valley programs to expand access to STEM and computer science in schools. “STEM and computer science programs are an investment in our future,” Davis said. “This money boosts programs that are teaching our children, especially those in underserved areas, important skills that will prepare them for careers in technology as adults.” Allegheny Intermediate Unit received $474,741 for the Diversifying CS Education in PA Through Rural and EL Equity program, a collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University and other IUs across the state that will increase the number of computer science educators using CMU’s CS Academy curriculum. The project will expand the curriculum for Spanish-speaking students and teachers, as well as those in underrepresented and underserved populations. Boys and Girls Club of Western Pa received $495,950 for the collaborative Western Pennsylvania AI Pathways Institute and Teen Accelerator by Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, Will Allen Foundation and Clairton City School District. It offers a summer introductory program to artificial intelligence to students from underserved populations in western Pennsylvania, helping them earn mircrocredentials from Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy for a pre-apprentice certificate in Read more

 

Mon Valley slated to receive $600,000 in grant funding for infrastructure and tourism projects

(Apr 05, 2021)

McKEESPORT, April 5 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, announced today the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County has awarded $600,000 in Community Infrastructure and Tourism grant funding for several projects in the Mon Valley. Davis said CITF grants provide financial assistance to municipalities, councils of government nonprofit and for-profit businesses to facilitate economic development projects in Allegheny County. Eligible projects include economic development, infrastructure development, job training, community improvement, public safety or improving the quality of life in the community. CITF grants were awarded to the following projects in the Mon Valley: The city of Clairton received $150,000 to purchase and install solar safety lighting. The city of Duquesne received $100,000 to replace the waterline on South Fifth Street between Kennedy Avenue and Priscilla Avenue McKeesport received $250,000 for renovations to the People’s Bank Building, which includes the heating system. Munhall received $100,000 for repairs to the Hays Mansion, including the chimney, bricks, roof, sidewalk, windowsills, and new exterior lighting. “These projects put a spotlight on improving areas and landmarks to make these communities a better place to live,” Davis said. “I want to congratulate all of the applicants and thank RAAC for continuing to invest in the Mon Valley.” Read more

 

Transportation Investment in the Mon Valley

(Mar 31, 2021)

The Mon Valley cannot, and should not, be forgotten. To be clear, any major transportation/infrastructure investments in Allegheny County should be made in the Mon Valley communities. Read more

 

Rep. Austin Davis’s spring 2021 newsletter

(Mar 30, 2021)

Throughout this year, I have heard theconcerns of many constituents tryingdesperately to navigate the state’sunemployment system and have workedwith educators to help ensure that allstudents have access to quality educationduring this unprecedented time. I havehad discussions with small businessowners surrounding the challenges theyhave faced and will continue to facefollowing this pandemic. I have heardthe concerns of our most vulnerablepopulations surrounding the vaccinerollout and understand your frustrationswith wanting to return to normalcy. I knowthat these issues have left many of youfilled with stress and worry, but I want toassure you that you are not alone. We areall in this together! Read more

 

Davis: Mon Valley school districts set to receive $41 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding

(Mar 30, 2021)

McKEESPORT, March 30 – State Rep. Austin Davis announced today an estimated $41.1 million in federal funding has been allocated to school districts in the Mon Valley to help them reopen safely and address learning losses as more students and teachers return to classrooms. “ Our teachers and staff should be applauded for continuing to educate our children while also keeping them safe, despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic,” said Davis, D-Allegheny. “This funding will help our school communities continue their commitment to our children by investing in additional resources, including instructional materials, equipment, and facilities, as they navigate the return to safe, in-person learning.” Davis said the funding is part of nearly $5 billion allocated to Pennsylvania in federal relief under the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. The estimated funding for school districts in the 35 th Legislative District is as follows: Clairton City School District - $4.9 million. Duquesne City School District - $4.8 million. McKeesport Area School District - $16.9 million. South Allegheny School District - $3.4 million. Steel Valley School District - $5 million. West Mifflin Area School District - $5.9 million. School districts and charter schools must use at least 20% of the money to address learning Read more

 

Kinkead introduces measure to help protect residents from landslides

(Mar 30, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 30 – Landslides have devastated families across Allegheny County and are only becoming more of a problem throughout Pennsylvania, so state Rep. Emily Kinkead is spearheading a bill that would create a program to help. Kinkead, D-Allegheny, said H.B. 1054 would establish the Landslide Insurance and Assistance Program with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. The program would establish a special insurance and assistance funds to ensure Pennsylvanians are properly protected from the destructive and devastating force of landslides. “In my district, an entire house fell off the side of a hill because of landslides and because it was not caused by mine subsidence, there was absolutely no insurance coverage to help the family rebuild their lives from the loss. While landslides resulting from mining practices receive special insurance coverage, those that occur due to excessive rain or snowfall aren’t typically covered, and that leaves far too many residents vulnerable to financial ruin,” said Kinkead. “These landslides can occur anywhere if the right conditions are present. With warmer weather here, it’s vital we take action now on this issue.” Several Allegheny County representatives, including state Reps. Austin Davis, Dan Deasy, Sara Innamorato and Nick Pisciottano, have signed on in support of Kinkead’s bill. “People in my district have seen their share of disruptive landslides. Read more

 

Pisciottano supports bill to protect patients, nurses

(Mar 29, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 29 – Ensuring patient safety and keeping nurses safe are the primary goals behind legislation supported by state Rep. Nick Pisciottano, D-Allegheny, and several members of the Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation. Pisciottano said the pandemic has brought serious safety concerns into the spotlight, as more nurses are being assigned an increasing number of patients, while at the same time, nurse staffing levels in hospitals continue to decline. House Bill 106, also known as the Patient Safety Act, would set appropriate nursing ratios for hospitals dependent upon the severity of the nursing unit’s patient needs. “As our state and nation begin to emerge from the pandemic, it’s critical we look at ways to improve our health systems and put procedures into place to enhance patient and workers’ safety,” said Pisciottano. “Our nurses and health care staff are doing all they can to help keep patients safe, and with the extra demands on their care during the current pandemic, we must join other states in instituting safe patient limits and create working conditions which protect the physical and mental health of our nurses. This measure would significantly raise the standards of care of patients while keeping our nurses safe.” A letter of support for the bill, signed by state Reps. Jessica Benham, Austin Davis, Dan Deasy, Emily Kinkead, Sara Read more

 

As Biden heads to Pittsburgh to talk infrastructure, Mon Valley legislators urge federal investment in two long-awaited projects

(Mar 29, 2021)

Projects would open region for economic turnaround, investment in communities Read more

 

Allegheny County rental relief program now accepting applications

(Mar 15, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 15 – Financial assistance is now available to help Allegheny County residents struggling to pay rent or utilities during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a program that is partially funded by legislation members of the Allegheny County Democratic Delegation helped to pass. The Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance program has a total of $79.9 million to distribute to eligible county residents. Of that funding, $43 million came from Act 1 of 2021, which Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law last month. Eligibility requirements for the program include: having at least one person who qualifies for unemployment, has lost income or suffered financially due to COVID-19. being at risk of experiencing homelessness. having a total income below 80% of the Area Median Income for Allegheny County. ACDD Chairman state Rep. Austin Davis, as well as state Reps. Jessica Benham, Dan Deasy, Tony DeLuca, Dan Frankel, Ed Gainey, Sara Innamorato, Emily Kinkead, Anita Kulik, Summer Lee, Brandon Markosek, Robert Matzie, Dan Miller, Nick Pisciottano and Jake Wheatley, issued the following statement: “People living in Allegheny County have been struggling for over a year during this pandemic. This program has been a long time coming and helps provide direct relief to those who’ve been scrambling to pay their rent and bills during this Read more

 

Davis encourages folks to apply for rent relief on Monday

(Mar 12, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 12 – State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, is encouraging Allegheny County residents who are struggling to pay rent and utilities to apply for financial assistance on Monday. The Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance program is being administered by the county Department of Human Services. It will distribute the combined $79.9 million in federal funding to eligible county residents who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes folks who: have at least one person who qualifies for unemployment, has lost income, or suffered financially due to COVID-19. are at risk of experiencing homelessness. have a total income below 80% of the Area Median Income for Allegheny County. “Even as vaccines become more available and we start looking to return to ‘normal,’ many of our families and neighbors are still struggling with basic needs. This program is a lifeline for many folks in the Mon Valley who continue to face hardships,” Davis said. “If you or someone you know is having trouble affording rent and utilities, please apply or share this program with them.” Starting Monday, applications can be submitted online through Allegheny County’s website or compass.state.pa.us . Drop-in centers with internet access and computers will also be available across Read more

 

Allegheny County Democrats urge businesses to apply for hospitality relief funding when available

(Mar 05, 2021)

HARRISBURG, March 5 - Members of the House Allegheny County Democratic Delegation are urging hospitality business owners to apply for funding doled out through the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Relief Program. Earlier this year, the state legislature unanimously approved $145 million for this program. The money has been split up among the state’s 67 counties. Allegheny County is receiving $13.7 million through the program. Restaurants, bars, and other hospitality businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 can apply for grants up to $50,000. Allegheny County is working with local Certified Economic Development Organizations and Community Development Financial Institutions to establish an application portal that will go live on March 15. Funds will be disbursed to grant recipients by July 31. Allegheny County Delegation Chair Austin Davis, as well as state Reps. Sara Innamorato, Brandon Markosek, Jessica Benham, Dan Deasy, Tony DeLuca, Dan Frankel, Ed Gainey, Emily Kinkead, Anita Kulik, Summer Lee, Robert Matzie, Dan Miller, Nick Pisciottano, and Jake Wheatley issued the following statement: “The hospitality industry has arguably been the hardest-hit industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor initiated the transfer of the $145 million for this program, and lawmakers came together in a bipartisan fashion to make the money available to bars, restaurants, and other Read more

 

Miller, Davis legislation would increase transparency in law enforcement videos

(Feb 26, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 26 – State Reps. Dan Miller and Austin Davis, both D-Allegheny, are introducing legislation to provide more transparency and accountability when it comes to police videos and recording of law enforcement in Pennsylvania. Act 22 of 2017 approved the use of body cameras by law enforcement. While Miller and Davis believe the law has protected both officers and the public, they also believe it has shortcomings that need to be addressed. “Act 22 was an important bill that I believe has helped de-escalate some situations and improve safety,” Miller said. “But at the same time, it decreased transparency by restricting the public’s ability to access police video previously subject to the state’s Right to Know Law and made it more challenging to get any footage from law enforcement in a variety of ways. Our legislation would reverse much of that and make other important changes.” Miller and Davis’ legislation would: Return all non-body camera police video to the purview of the Right to Know Law, as was the case before Act 22. Increase the amount of time a person has to request body camera footage from 60 to 180 days. Increase the ways a person may formally request such footage. Increase response time for such requests. Increase appeal rights by providing for review by the Office of Open Records. Develop a uniform request form. Protect and enshrine the right of citizens to record police Read more

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Registry Act solution to PA vaccine registration troubles

(Feb 15, 2021)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 15 – In response to challenges faced by eligible Pennsylvanians seeking to get vaccinated, Reps. Ryan Bizzarro, Pam Snyder, Jennifer O’Mara, and Austin Davis are introducing legislation that would streamline the registration and notification process. The Vaccine Registry Act would direct the Pennsylvania Department of Health to create a statewide database of people who are eligible and willing to accept the vaccine and permit them to schedule for themselves, their spouses or significant others, and their families. Registrants may also provide evidence of risk status and proof of eligibility and make note of how far they are willing to travel to be vaccinated. Vaccine providers would be required to commit to accessing the registry and prioritizing registrants for scheduling appointments, to prevent people from spending hours trying to find and sign up for available appointments. “We cannot flounder any longer without a plan which allows people to easily register for vaccine access for themselves and their families, the frustration is real and growing and we cannot wait any longer. I look forward to working with the Department of Health and Governor Tom Wolf on this creative solution for a centralized system that recognizes the independence of our providers,” said Bizzarro, D-Erie, and chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, added: Read more

 

Investment for affordable housing support strategies focus of Davis, House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing
May 11, 2021

Davis to champion PA Rescue Plan’s proposed affordable housing investment at Tuesday hearing
May 07, 2021

Rep. Davis, advocates introduce legislation to address health insurance coverage gap
May 03, 2021

Davis: U.S. Steel’s broken promises to the Mon Valley
Apr 30, 2021

Davis: Mon Valley recreation projects awarded more than $168,000 in grant funding
Apr 21, 2021

Davis legislation to provide fairness for residents living in buildings with single water meter passes key hurdle
Apr 19, 2021

McKeesport revitalization efforts subject of legislative tour
Apr 16, 2021

Davis: More than $970,000 in grants awarded to Mon Valley STEM and computer science programs
Apr 13, 2021

Mon Valley slated to receive $600,000 in grant funding for infrastructure and tourism projects
Apr 05, 2021

Transportation Investment in the Mon Valley
Mar 31, 2021

Rep. Austin Davis’s spring 2021 newsletter
Mar 30, 2021

Davis: Mon Valley school districts set to receive $41 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding
Mar 30, 2021

Kinkead introduces measure to help protect residents from landslides
Mar 30, 2021

Pisciottano supports bill to protect patients, nurses
Mar 29, 2021

As Biden heads to Pittsburgh to talk infrastructure, Mon Valley legislators urge federal investment in two long-awaited projects
Mar 29, 2021

Allegheny County rental relief program now accepting applications
Mar 15, 2021

Davis encourages folks to apply for rent relief on Monday
Mar 12, 2021

Allegheny County Democrats urge businesses to apply for hospitality relief funding when available
Mar 05, 2021

Miller, Davis legislation would increase transparency in law enforcement videos
Feb 26, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Registry Act solution to PA vaccine registration troubles
Feb 15, 2021