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State offering money for apprenticeship programs

(Jan 26, 2018)

The commonwealth is providing a financial boost to give employers the chance to properly train interested job seekers. The Department of Community and Economic Development is offering grant opportunities through the Pre-Apprentice and Apprenticeship Grant Program. This statewide program gives assistance to registered pre-apprentice and apprenticeship programs. The overall goal is to increase apprenticeship availability to Pennsylvania employers and assist them with their talent recruitment and development. Uses Program grants may be used to cover expenses related to the instruction that complements on-the-job learning. Eligible Applicants DCED will accept grant proposals from any sponsor operating an apprenticeship program in the commonwealth, regardless of whether the sponsor employs the apprentice. Proof of a Certificate of Registration is required for the Pre-Apprentice and Apprenticeship Program. Proposals will be accepted from the following: A Single Employer; Employer Consortiums; Workforce Development Boards; Economic Development Organizations; Labor Organizations; Local Career Technical Education Institutions; Pennsylvania Community Colleges; and Community Organizations or Associations. Funding Sponsors may request funding for plans not to exceed three years, at $3,000 per apprentice per year. Costs incurred above this amount are the responsibility of the employer. If you want to register Read more

 

Moonlighting Lawmakers -- 130 of 253 Pennsylvania House and Senate members earn income from other sources

(Jan 26, 2018)

You might need a paid subscription to read this story, but it notes that 130 of the 253 members of the "full-time" Pennsylvania legislature earn income from other sources. It also references my bill to limit lawmakers' outside income. Read more

 

PennDOT Reminds Pennsylvanians that Current Driver’s Licenses and ID Cards are Acceptable for Domestic Air Travel

(Jan 18, 2018)

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reminds customers that Pennsylvania is under an enforcement extension from the Department of Homeland Security until October 10, 2018, which means that Pennsylvanians may use their current driver’s license or ID card to board commercial aircraft or enter federal facilities that require ID until at least that date. Read more

 

Filing Flood Insurance Claims

(Jan 16, 2018)

As the Democratic Chairman of the House Insurance Committee, I wanted to share some information with you regarding flood insurance claims that I received from Acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman. Altman said it’s important for property owners who are experiencing flood damage from heavy rains to take action and to have the necessary data on hand before filing your claim. If your property is damaged by flooding, Altman urges owners to call their insurer or agent as soon as it’s practical. When possible, take photos of the damage, make a list of the property that was destroyed or lost, and gather receipts for as many of the items as you can. When you file the claim, have the name of your insurance company (if calling your agent and not the company directly), your policy number and a phone number or email where you can be reached. As a reminder, permanent repairs without the approval of an insurer may be denied. Therefore, make only those temporary repairs if it’s necessary to live in the home prior to the adjuster preparing any estimates of the damage. Furthermore, if officials require that damaged items be disposed of before the adjuster arrives, make sure to keep a sample of the items and only allow a reputable contractor to make repairs to your home. It’s also important to note that not all standard homeowners’ policies include flood insurance, so a separate policy is needed to cover flood damages. For more Read more

 

Allegheny County Drinking Water Inspections Transition to DEP

(Jan 11, 2018)

Ending a shared responsibility with the Allegheny County Health Department since the mid-1980s, the state Department of Environmental Protection will take over inspections of all 66 public drinking water systems in Allegheny County, starting Feb. 1. Read more

 

UPMC, Highmark reach agreement over specialized facilities and hospitals

(Jan 04, 2018)

I’m pleased to announce the multiyear contract dispute between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Highmark over specialized facilities and hospitals officially has come to an end. The contract agreement came to fruition Thursday, with the governor announcing the landmark arrangement between both entities that creates terms to provide access to critical, unique services and to certain facilities at the only hospital within our community. I’ve fought long and hard for this agreement, particularly following the arrangement between UPMC and Highmark to work under a consent decree in 2014 that would provide continued, in-network access to care for customers of both companies. With the agreement slated to expire at the end of June 2019, scores of commercial customers of Highmark would have been denied in-network access to these community and specialty UPMC providers and facilities. It’s a relief to me and subscribers that this no longer is a concern, as today’s agreement ensures in-network access for customers of both companies to facilities that provide one-of-a-kind services. They include: Western Psychiatric Institute; UMPC Center for Assistive Technology; UPMC Center for Excellence for treatment of Cystic Fibrosis; Certain highly specialized transplant services only available through UPMC; and Selected UPMC Joint Ventures with community facilities, including oncology. The most important takeaway from today’s Read more

 

Pennsylvania residents should periodically test homes for radon

(Jan 03, 2018)

Harrisburg, PA – January is National Radon Action Month, and winter is a great time to test for this known human carcinogen. 40 percent of Pennsylvania homes having higher levels of radon than the Environmental Protection Agency considers acceptable. Visit this page to learn more about radon and how to perform a simple test to keep you and your loved ones safe: http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/RadiationProtection/RadonDivision/Pages/Radon-in-the-home.aspx Radon is an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks and enters homes through cracks in the foundation or other openings. High levels of radon tend to be found in basements, but the gas can be found anywhere in the home. Winter is a good time to test for radon, because doors and windows are generally closed, providing more accurate results. If you’d rather not use a do-it-yourself test kit, hiring a qualified radon professional to conduct a test is another option. The EPA action level is 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. If your home’s radon level is higher than this, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Surgeon General recommend taking action to lower it. A professionally installed radon reduction system, with a vent pipe and exhaust fan, will help prevent the radon from entering your home and discharge it outside. Compared with the associated risk of lung cancer, radon reduction systems are very affordable, Read more

 

Happy holidays!

(Dec 21, 2017)

Wishing all of my constituents, colleagues and friends a very happy holiday and a healthy, blessed New Year! As we celebrate the season with treasured and time-honored traditions, we must never forget our ancestors who forged the way for us to enjoy the gifts and the great country we now have. In the spirit of the holiday season, please enjoy this music video . I'd also like to remind you that, per Harrisburg, my office will be closed Monday, Dec. 25; Tuesday, Dec. 26; and Monday, Jan. 1. We look forward to assisting you in 2018 with any state-related matter. Read more

 

2018 Capitol Scenes Calendar

(Dec 15, 2017)

Click here and download Rep. DeLuca's 2018 Capitol Scenes Calendar. Read more

 

Deadline to file Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program applications extended to Jan. 2, 2018

(Dec 14, 2017)

During the holiday season, it seems as though there is never enough time to complete everything on your to-do list. However, there's still time to apply for the 2016 Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program -- The deadline has been extended through Jan. 2, 2018. The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program offers property tax and rent relief to older and disabled adults. Since its 1971 launch, qualified applicants have received more than $6.7 billion in property tax and rent relief. This includes: Eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older Widows and widowers 50 or older; and People with disabilities 18 or older. The maximum standard rebate is $650, but supplemental rebates for qualifying homeowners can lift rebates to $975. As of December, rebates totaling $259 million have been sent to homeowners and renters across Pennsylvania. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and only one-half of an applicant’s Social Security income is counted toward their total annual income. If you’re unsure of your eligibility, feel free to give my office a call. We’ll walk you through the process of determining your eligibility for the program and can help you apply. If you have any questions regarding this or any state government-related issue, please feel free to contact my office . Read more

 

Pa. reauthorizes state Children's Health Insurance Program; it's time for Congress to join us

(Dec 12, 2017)

The federal government might not care about our children's health currently, but Pennsylvania certainly does. I'm pleased to report that a bill I co-sponsored is now on its way to the governor's desk that will reauthorize Pennsylvania's Children's Health Insurance Program for another two years. If the state hadn't acted, our program would have died at the end of this year. CHIP , as it is commonly known, provides health insurance coverage to children of working families who earn too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, but cannot afford to buy private insurance. This program got its start in Pennsylvania 25 years ago. In fact, the federal government used our program as the model for CHIP at the federal level. I'm even more proud that the commonwealth continues to value children's health, even if the federal government doesn't. But the fight is not yet over. Congress has failed to reauthorize funding for the federal program, which expired three months ago. The program is vital to 9 million children and expecting mothers nationwide, including more than 180,000 Pennsylvania children. Nearly 14,000 of them are right here in Allegheny County. Without federal action, Pennsylvania will run out of money for this program by spring. Tell your federal lawmakers they should care about our children's health. Part of the House Democrats’ Plan for PA is making sure that working parents have safe, affordable health care for Read more

 

TruFood Manufacturing Inc. gets $850,000 state loan

(Dec 04, 2017)

TruFood Manufacturing Inc. will create 85 new full-time jobs and retain 440 others due to a $850,000, 10-year loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, to assist with purchase and installation of new machinery at its O'Hara Township facility. Read more

 

Time is running out to enroll in the ACA

(Nov 30, 2017)

Time is running out to enroll in the Affordable Care Act! The deadline to sign up for health insurance is Dec. 15, which is less than three weeks away. You must sign up by then to have coverage effective Jan. 1. I encourage you to go to healthcare.gov and shop around for plans in your area to see if you qualify for financial help. The good news is that coverage is affordable! There are plans out there for less than $50 per month. Local assistance is also available to make sure you understand the options that best fit your needs. Don’t forget to utilize Pennsylvania’s online tool to compare monthly premiums and estimated yearly costs. The best part is this help is all FREE! Despite repeal efforts, ACA remains the law of the land; however, this year, you have less time to sign up. With the shortened time frame and less federal funding, the federal government is making it more difficult to get the word out about ACA sign-ups. I’m here to make sure you don’t miss out on inexpensive health care coverage that you deserve. Read more

 

Stotler Road 20-day shutdown starts Dec. 5

(Nov 21, 2017)

Please be advised: Allison Park Contractors Inc. will shut down Stotler Road in Penn Hills for reconstruction on Tuesday, Dec. 5 between Orchard Drive and Bale Drive. The road is scheduled to be closed for approximately 20 days, weather permitting. Detour signs will be posted. Read more

 

DeLuca: Do Your Homework Before You Donate

(Nov 20, 2017)

The holidays are a time for giving, and Pa. state Rep. Tony DeLuca is reminding you to watch out for charity scams and explains how to make sure your donation is used properly. Read more

 

Why Congress needs to keep SALT tax deductions

(Nov 20, 2017)

Middle-class homeowners have reason to be skeptical of Washington's latest promise of tax cuts for the middle class. The plan takes away the most popular and valuable deduction for households, one widely taken by middle-income homeowners -- the deduction for state and local taxes. This deduction, otherwise known as SALT, is claimed by 44 million American households on their federal returns Read more

 

$80,000 in state safety grants awarded to 2 local school districts

(Nov 17, 2017)

PENN HILLS, Nov. 17 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, is praising the approval of tens of thousands of dollars in state safety funds for two local school districts. The state Department of Education awarded Plum Borough School District a $60,000 Police/Resource Officer grant to help pay and train school resource and police officers. Penn Hills School District received a $20,000 Safe Schools Equipment grant to go towards buying the proper resources to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff. “School should be a place where parents send their kids and not have to worry about their safety,” DeLuca said. “Unfortunately, with the world we live in today, that’s not always the case. From violent fights to shootings, security plans need to be in place. This money will go towards helping these districts be prepared for any type of situation and better protect their students.” The purpose of the Safe Schools Initiative Targeted Grants is to assist schools by providing funding for programs under their comprehensive safe school plans, which includes the planning and implementation of activities that prevent or reduce violence in the classroom. ### Read more

 

Home heating help is now available

(Nov 15, 2017)

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as LIHEAP , helps low-income families pay their heating bills. LIHEAP is a grant that offers assistance in the form of a cash grant, sent directly to the utility company, or a crisis grant for households in immediate danger of being without heat . LIHEAP works by offering families both cash and crisis grants. Cash Grants Cash grants help families pay their heating bills. The one-time payment is sent directly to your utility company or fuel provider, and it will be credited on your bill. (In some cases, the check may be mailed to you directly.) Cash grants range from $200-$1,000 and are based on household size, income, and fuel type. Crisis Grants Crisis grants may be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your heat. You can receive more than one crisis grant, as necessary, during the season until the maximum benefit of $500 is reached. Crisis situations include: Broken heating equipment or leaking lines that must be fixed or replaced. Lack of fuel Termination of utility service Danger of being without fuel (less than a 15-day supply) or of having utility service terminated (received a notice that service will be shut off within the next 60 days) There are few avenues you can access to apply for LIHEAP. Below you will find information on where to apply, the information you will need, and eligibility guidelines. Where to apply Apply Read more

 

DeLuca: Grant awarded to get veterans housing program off the ground

(Nov 14, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 14 – State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, announced that the Commonwealth Financing Authority today approved a $50,000 state grant for veterans housing in Penn Hills Township. The Tiny Homes Community Project is designed for veterans who have graduated from the traditional housing program but still need support to reach their ultimate housing and career goals. "It's projects such as these that offer a helping hand to those in need," DeLuca said. "This grant will help this worthwhile project get off the ground and attain the financing it needs to be completed." The Veterans Place of Washington Boulevard Inc. project will consist of 15 to 17 tiny homes, a community center, shared community garden, greenhouse, gathering pavilion, storm water retention pond and walking trail on the 4-acre site. This grant was awarded from the Pennsylvania Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund Program, which was established to fund community and economic development projects in Allegheny County from revenue generated from the state's casinos. The CFA is an independent state agency that administers several funding programs, including the Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund, designed to help grow Pennsylvania’s economy, create jobs, and improve cultural and recreational assets in communities statewide. Read more

 

DeLuca: Congress should maintain state and local tax deductions, estate tax

(Nov 13, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 13 – Saying federal tax policy shouldn’t be altered to benefit the ultra-wealthy at the expense of the middle class, state Rep. Tony DeLuca wants to stop Congress from eliminating the state and local tax deduction, and from repealing the estate tax. DeLuca, D- Allegheny, who is introducing House resolutions to that effect, said tax policy changes being pushed by congressional Republicans would ultimately hurt the middle class while providing further cash windfalls for millionaires and billionaires. Nearly 2 million Pennsylvanians – about one-third of all the state’s federal income tax filers – use the state and local tax deduction, said DeLuca, citing 2015 IRS data that shows they claimed $20 billion in deductions for property, income and sales tax. “This is the most popular deduction for those who itemize their taxes, and eliminating it would create a strain that would ultimately result in cuts to state and local services, including education and infrastructure spending,” DeLuca said. “Even worse from a fairness perspective, eliminating this popular deduction will pay for tax cuts catering to the most affluent, with 80 percent of the benefit going to the top 1 percent of Americans, according to the Tax Policy Center.” Similarly, DeLuca said the GOP-led effort to eliminate the federal estate tax – which doesn’t even apply to 99.8 percent of estates transferred upon death – would Read more