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Heating aid via LIHEAP now open

(Nov 01, 2018)

The 2018-2019 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP – is accepting applications for heating assistance grants. LIHEAP offers cash grants of $200 to $1,000 that are sent directly to the utility company to defray heating costs for eligible households, and crisis benefits of up to $600 for households in immediate danger of being without heat. Remember: These are grants and do not have to be repaid. This season’s income guidelines for both LIHEAP cash and crisis grants are $18,210 for an individual, $24,690 for couples and increases for each additional person in the household. Please click here for more LIHEAP information. Please consider visiting my office if you need help filing a LIHEAP application. Besides my office, LIHEAP information is available by: Contacting local County Assistance offices by phone or in person. Calling the LIHEAP Client Helpline at 1-866-857-7095 or PA Relay at 711 for the hearing impaired. Applying online at https://www.compass.state.pa.us . Read more

 

Statement on Pittsburgh shooting

(Oct 27, 2018)

OAKMONT, Oct. 27 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody issued the following statement in response to this morning's shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh: "I thank police and first responders for their quick response and bravery during the situation. "Please join me in keeping the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers. As Pennsylvanians, we must come together to offer the victims, their families and the community whatever assistance and support they need. "Moving forward, I and my colleagues in the legislature will continue to support law enforcement and our local communities, and by working together, we can help make our state a place where all people are safe in their homes, schools and daily lives, and where we all respect the contributions, dignity and humanity of every Pennsylvanian." Read more

 

Senior prescription program expanded to help more people

(Oct 23, 2018)

I voted for a new law that will help more senior citizens in our area to pay for their prescriptions. Putting people first and focusing on health care is part of the House Democrats' Plan for Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Democrats move to increase protection from harassment and discrimination

(Oct 02, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 2 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are proposing a change to House rules to protect staff and legislators from sexual harassment and discrimination at the state Capitol and in legislative offices spread across Pennsylvania. “Meeting people and working closely on projects is at the core of every lawmaker’s life and work, but that interpersonal contact must never put anyone at risk of discrimination or harassment,” Dermody said. Dermody initiated discussion with Republican leadership more than two years ago on finding better ways to respond to workplace complaints involving members of the House. That led to a draft proposal to update House rules to authorize the House Ethics Committee to investigate complaints of discrimination or harassment concerning House members and require additional anti-sexual harassment and discrimination training for all lawmakers in each new legislative term. While Dermody hopes that Republican leadership will join him in supporting the change, he introduced House Resolution 1117 now to give all new and returning House members time to understand the proposal before the next session begins Jan. 1. He noted that House Democrats went further in taking steps to protect staff people, revising the caucus’s employee handbook with stronger policies against workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation. “We provided more detailed definitions and Read more

 

Dermody comments on grand jury report

(Aug 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody responded to the release of the 40 th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury report issued today: “The hundreds of brave survivors who told their heartbreaking stories deserve our deepest thanks, and they also deserve justice. I believe the grand jury’s report and recommendations will help an untold number of people who suffered sexual abuse when they were children and who continue even now to suffer because of it. “I’m grateful that Attorney General Josh Shapiro fought hard to find the truth and to make sure the sad facts in this report were shared with the public,” Dermody said. “The residents of western Pennsylvania who served on the grand jury have done something extraordinary. They heard the words of many brave survivors of childhood sexual abuse and they gave us a path to follow to find justice and protect all children. Lawmakers should pay heed to the report and take the necessary steps.” Read more

 

Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications available

(Jun 01, 2018)

CHESWICK, June 1 – State Rep. Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny/Westmoreland, is reminding residents that applications for Pennsylvania's Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program are available in his Cheswick office. “This program can be a big help to seniors and others who find it hard to pay their property taxes and other bills," Dermody said. “It’s free to apply, and my office can help with the application. My staff can even arrange a visit to your home to assist you, if needed.” The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program provides a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2017. People who are 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities who are 18 or older are eligible for the program if they meet income guidelines. Homeowners with income up to $35,000 annually and renters with income up to $15,000 annually qualify, and may receive a rebate of up to $650. Some homeowners may qualify for a maximum rebate of $975. Half of Social Security benefits are not considered when determining income eligibility. Applications and assistance are available at Dermody's Cheswick office, 1331 Freeport Road; phone (724) 274-4770 . Residents seeking assistance with the application should bring proof of their local (county, borough and school) property taxes and proof of income, such as a 1099 form. Property Tax/Rent Rebate applications also are available at Department of Revenue district offices, local Area Agencies on Read more

 

Democrats reintroduce bills blocked by partisan chairman

(Apr 30, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 30 -- Pennsylvania House Democrats today reintroduced roughly 88 bills and resolutions that Rep. Daryl Metcalfe has blocked in the House State Government Committee and called for Speaker Mike Turzai to repudiate Metcalfe’s obstructionism. Democratic Leader Frank Dermody sent a letter to notify Turzai of the reintroduction of dozens of bills and requested that the speaker refer each to different committees where they stand a chance of receiving the due consideration they deserve. Recently, Republican chairman Metcalfe bragged at a public meeting and on Facebook that he routinely blocks substantive Democratic bills in his committee without review. Because of Metcalfe, these bills never see the light of day nor a debate on their merits. Metcalfe acknowledged he is blocking the bills solely because they were introduced by Democrats and based on his personal biases and partisan extremism. "Our state government cannot work the way it’s supposed to if the committee system in the House of Representatives is hijacked and held hostage by one extremist with a personal agenda," Dermody said. "We all understand that politics plays a role in how quickly legislation moves forward in the House, but this is beyond the pale. “Never before have we seen a committee chairman whose own inability to tolerate dissent shows complete disdain for the legislative process, for other lawmakers, and for millions of people who care about these Read more

 

Leaders Dermody and Costa praise action on preserving health care for injured workers while combatting herion and opiod crisis

(Apr 27, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 27 - House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, both D-Allegheny, praised the governor’s actions this week to combat the heroin and opioid crisis in Pennsylvania: “Governor Wolf continues to lead the way in fighting heroin and opioid addiction. This week he took executive action to limit overprescribing of opioids in the workers’ compensation system by creating prescription guidelines and utilization reviews to identify where problems may exist. The governor also ensured that the workers’ compensation system has access to the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database. We applaud the concrete steps Governor Wolf took because they are effective and targeted actions that also preserve the rights of injured workers.” Read more

 

House and Senate Democratic leaders praise Wolf’s fair election initiative

(Mar 26, 2018)

HARRISBURG, March 26 – Top Democrats in the House and Senate embraced Gov. Tom Wolf’s pledge of support for their ongoing efforts to reform the way political campaigns are paid for in Pennsylvania. “Our democratic form of government is designed to be deliberative and to allow many different points of view to be heard. But the influence of big money has tainted the process so much that most people today don’t believe their government truly works for them,” House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said. “Elections in Pennsylvania should be decided on the merits of a candidate and their platform, not by the depths of their pockets,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa. “Votes cannot and should not be bought; that’s why we need finance reform.” Costa and Dermody have spoken to Wolf about campaign finance reform and both said the governor’s commitment to reducing the unfair influence of special interests is sincere. The two Democratic leaders introduced twin campaign finance reform bills last year in the Senate (S.B. 11) and House (H.B. 1332) aimed at better reporting of donations and limiting the size of political campaign contributions. Neither measure has received a hearing in committees controlled by the current Republican majorities. Currently, Pennsylvania is one of a small number of states that have no legal limits on contribution amounts by individuals or political Read more

 

Dermody praises new congressional district map

(Feb 19, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 19 – Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said the congressional district plan released today by the state Supreme Court is a fair alternative that will permit free and equal elections as the state constitution requires. “This map represents fairness and competitiveness, rather than the gerrymandered monstrosity we were using that deprived too many voters of their voice,” Dermody said. “The 18 districts in this map make sense geographically and the court showed its understanding and respect for communities of common interest within the districts. “The creation of a Montgomery County-based district ensures that the state’s third most populous county will have the unified representation it lacked for too long. Indeed, this map features unified districts for Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Lancaster counties as well. “Similarly, the combination of Lehigh and Northampton counties in one district is a welcome return to past practice,” Dermody said. He noted the Supreme Court’s map splits just 13 counties. That’s fewer than half the splits of the map being replaced and it’s fewer county splits than any of the proposals submitted by parties in the case. “The new map is easy to understand and will reduce confusion for voters who will no longer have to figure out wildly contorted district shapes to determine who represents them in Read more

 

Dermody comment on congressional redistricting

(Feb 13, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 13 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody says Gov. Tom Wolf’s rejection of a partisan congressional district plan proposed by two Republican leaders will mean that the issue ultimately gets decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. “I want to thank the governor for making a careful, sound decision based on the evidence,” Dermody said. “We know that eventually the court will be doing the same kind of review so it’s in everybody’s interest to get this right. “In my view that means a plan that’s fair to all political parties and one that allows fair, competitive elections across Pennsylvania.” Dermody noted that Republican leaders never put their plan before the General Assembly for a vote as required by law. “In adherence with the Supreme Court’s guidance, House Democrats plan to offer input for the court’s review by this Thursday,” said Dermody Read more

 

Dermody welcomes Wolf’s education initiative in budget

(Feb 02, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 2 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said his caucus will work strenuously to help achieve Gov. Tom Wolf’s requested increases for a variety of education lines in the state budget. “A budget is a statement of priorities,” Dermody said. “It’s how the elected representatives of the people make clear what we value most. “The governor’s seeking $120 million more for school districts across the state, as well as higher investment in pre-kindergarten and Head Start programs, state universities, and career and technical education. Beyond better schools and targeted job training, the money for districts also helps us control local property tax increases. “It’s directly in line with our own House Democratic agenda, the Plan For Pennsylvania, which focuses on quality schools, good jobs and fairer taxes,” he said. “As always, the challenge is finding a way to pay for this, but make no mistake, it’s needed. House Democrats will do everything we can to help make the governor’s vision for better education, skills training and lower property taxes a reality,” Dermody said. Read more

 

A victory for people over entrenched special interests

(Jan 22, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 22 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody commented on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s order that new congressional districts be put in place in time for the upcoming 2018 primary and general elections: “Gerrymandering, the voter ID law, shrinking the House and other measures that impact some communities more than others are cynical ploys by the Republican majority to choose their voters rather letting voters choose their representatives in fair elections. The Supreme Court’s decision sends a strong signal that change is at hand in Pennsylvania politics and government. “It’s a victory for people over entrenched special interests. “The contorted 2011 congressional map never passed a simple eye test. Now the Supreme Court has clearly said it doesn’t pass the legal test either. “House Democrats will be active participants in a bipartisan effort to meet the very tight deadline set by the court to enact congressional districts that are constitutional.” Read more

 

PA HOUSE DEMOCRATS: Disaster declaration allows for timely and comprehensive response to public health crisis

(Jan 10, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 10 -- House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody and state Rep. Ed Gainey, Democratic co-chairman of the legislative Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education Caucus, released the following statement today on Gov. Wolf's declaration of a state of emergency regarding the heroin and opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania. "Pennsylvania's drug-addiction emergency is impacting individuals, families and communities on just as large a scale as any other natural disaster our state has experienced in our lifetime. Our response now must match our response to those crises," Dermody said. "Republican and Democratic legislators have been instrumental in responding to the heroin and opioid addiction crisis," Gainey said. "Scores of legislators have joined our HOPE Caucus dedicated to leading Pennsylvania from addiction to recovery. The General Assembly worked with the governor to propose and pass new laws to reduce the prescribing and availability of opioids that can lead to addiction, to expand access to treatment and counseling for those trapped by addiction, and to enable the distribution of life-saving medications like naloxone that reverse the effects of heroin and opioid overdoses and save lives.” "The House Democratic Caucus pledges to continue those efforts and do even more to combat this public health emergency and reduce its devastation on our state," Dermody said. "In 2018, House Democrats want to focus on a Plan Read more

 

Dermody says House Republican budget failure costs Pa. taxpayers

(Sep 20, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 20 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said today’s announcement from Standard and Poor’s of a lower credit rating for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a direct result of the failure of House Republican leaders to honestly deal with the state’s budget situation. “We were warned multiple times that this could happen, yet a few House Republican leaders in position to do something productive about it chose to do nothing instead,” Dermody said. “After every House Republican leader voted for a budget spending $32 billion on June 30, that same leadership group proved incapable of finding an honest and realistic revenue plan to pay for it. “The plan that House Republicans finally passed last week was a bad joke. It cuts vital services and doesn’t add up. They employed almost every gimmick that the credit rating agencies specifically warned against. The result of that irresponsibility is no joke. Every Pennsylvania taxpayer will pay a price for the House Republican leadership’s obstruction. So will every county, city, borough and township,” Dermody said. “It didn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Today’s news is a blow to our state’s fiscal standing. It’s also an opportunity for everyone, including House Republicans, to take stock of the situation and get back to work on a real budget solution that includes recurring revenue.” Read more

 

House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody statement on GOP budget scheme

(Sep 05, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 5 – House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody issued this statement regarding today’s House Republican news conference: “On June 30, a large bipartisan House majority passed a $32 billion General Fund budget to support state programs and services important to the people of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, this budget has not yet been paid for. For the last six weeks, a group of Republicans from central Pennsylvania tried to identify restricted receipts money in non-General Fund accounts. Now that we have their product, Democrats in the House will give it careful review. There are a host of unanswered questions. “At the outset of our review I question the legality of raiding accounts that are restricted by law for special purposes. Then there’s the larger question of whether their math is correct. Is this money truly available in the amounts they claim? I’m deeply concerned this plan would lead to destructive cuts in programs and services that Pennsylvanians need to have, such as education, health care and a half billion dollars cut in transportation. “I appreciate the effort made by this group and we’ll evaluate what they brought forward today. It will be revealing to see how the other 100 or so Republicans in the House react to it, as well. “Our perennial budget problems of the last decade resulted from the overuse of one-time gimmicks and faulty revenue estimates. Fantasy Read more

 

Boost minimum wage to help workers and state

(Aug 30, 2017)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 30 – Labor Day is a time to celebrate the contributions working men and women make to our collective wealth and well-being. It's long past time for Pennsylvania workers to share in that wealth. Measured by corporate wealth and CEO income, America is the wealthiest country in the world at the wealthiest moment in our history. But those measures don't tell the whole story. Here in Pennsylvania and the rest of America, millions of working people and the middle class are being squeezed out. Between 1948 and 1979, two-thirds of income growth in the United States went to the bottom 90 percent of earners. Since 1979, that same share of income growth went to just the top 1 percent, and nearly all recent income growth in America went to the top 10 percent. Adjusted for inflation, income for almost everyone else actually declined. This Labor Day, tens of thousands of parents in Pennsylvania -- many of them women -- are working full-time for wages that don't allow them to pay the rent, put good food on the table, or afford someone to watch their children while they work. More of these families are falling behind and slipping into poverty without a living wage. Every state around Pennsylvania already raised its minimum wage. Pennsylvania's woefully inadequate minimum wage is hurting our lowest-paid workers, as well as the middle-class workers who earn just above them. An increase in the minimum wage would directly and indirectly boost Read more

 

Dermody’s office hosts monthly help session for veterans

(Aug 11, 2017)

HARMAR, Aug. 11 – Veterans with questions about their benefits can stop by Rep. Frank Dermody’s office between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14 to meet with a claims consultant from the VA hospital in Butler. Dermody’s office is at 1331 Freeport Road in the Cheswick section of Harmar, next door to Futules Harmar House. As a service to veterans, the VA representative will return to Dermody’s office on the second Monday of every month to help veterans in understanding and accessing the resources available to them. Walk-in visits are welcome, or appointment times can be arranged with Tom Gehenio of Dermody’s staff at 724-274-4770 . Read more

 

Costa, Dermody: House Republicans Using Universities as Budget Pawns

(Jul 19, 2017)

Harrisburg – July 19, 2017 – State Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Representative Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) today issued the following statement in reaction to the House Republican leadership’s continuing refusal to call the House into session to work toward closure on the 2017-18 budget: “The House last met over a week ago without completing the work on revenue needed to finalize the state budget. Republican Speaker Mike Turzai has not advised lawmakers of when the House might reconvene. “This ongoing failure to finish our work on the budget means the state-related schools – the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Temple University and Lincoln University are in danger of not receiving any state appropriations this year. In addition, the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School is unfunded. “It’s disturbing that we have hit late July and still do not have a finished 2017-18 fiscal year revenue plan. Four parties in the budget talks have been around the table working toward an agreement, but consistently the House Republicans have refused to engage. “This bizarre situation is unconscionable. We have an incomplete budget and Pennsylvania families are wondering what happens next, especially those families preparing to send their children to college in the next few weeks. Unfortunately, these families and our state-related universities are being used as budget pawns by the House Read more

 

House Democrats seek bipartisan budget compromise

(Jul 10, 2017)

HARRISBURG, July 10 – House Democratic leaders praised Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to let the state’s spending plan become law tonight without his signature. “We passed a good bill that invests money where it’s needed – education, protection of seniors and services for people in need, and wider treatment of heroin addiction. Now we’ve got to find a way to pay for it with real recurring revenue,” said Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. “That work’s not done yet. We need to stay here and get it done. We have to do it in a responsible way to help the people of Pennsylvania.” House Appropriations Committee Democratic Chairman Joe Markosek said the Republican revenue package offered over the weekend fell short in a number of ways. “No more than 18 percent of their so-called ‘revenue package’ is actual recurring revenue, even if we accept some of their generous assumptions about what the new gaming taxes might raise,” Markosek said. “With a budget gap well above $2 billion, Republican leadership offered a plan that’s heavily reliant on borrowing more money and increasing state debt just to pay our current operating costs.” Democratic Whip Mike Hanna said the bipartisan commitment to improving education at all levels requires a similar bipartisan commitment to find real recurring revenue. “Democrats and Republicans need to compromise Read more