Kortz: Informative, productive meeting on Pa.’s steel future

(Oct 16, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 16 – The future of steel in Pennsylvania remains bright, despite myriad challenges, but continued bipartisan work is needed to ensure it remains strong for generations to come, said state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny. Kortz, co-chairman of the state House Steel Caucus, said those were the key themes following a special informational meeting held today on the steel industry at the U.S. Steel Research and Technology Center in Munhall. The meeting focused on a variety of topics, including workforce training and the best ways to work together to balance the needs of the environment with continued support of the industry. “Today’s bipartisan roundtable discussion was very informative and lively, and we all agreed that we need to do all we can to keep these vital, family-sustaining wage jobs in Pennsylvania,” said Kortz. “Overall, the steel industry has provided several substantial and positive impacts in our state. Most people may not be aware that for every direct steel worker job, there are five to six additional jobs that are created. “As someone who spent over three decades working in the industry, and who has seen it weather many challenges, I remain confident the steel industry will continue to prosper and have a strong future here in our great state.” Kortz added the steel industry provides more than $2 billion in state and local tax revenue and directly employs 34,000 people. Read more

 

Kortz urges consumers to be wary of online scams when purchasing hunting, fishing licenses

(Oct 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 15 – Anglers and hunters should use caution when purchasing a fishing or hunting license online following several reports of online scams, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced today. Kortz said the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Game Commission have received reports from consumers who paid for licenses through third-party websites and ending up being victimized. “Consumers who used these websites were taken advantage of in two ways: they lost money and they didn’t receive their license,” said Kortz. “These questionable websites actually mimic the agencies’ branding, charge more for a license, and in many cases, even ask for your social security number or other forms of personal information.” Kortz said the best way for consumers to ensure they are getting a legitimate fishing or hunting license is by visiting The Outdoor Shop online portal at www.pa.wildlifelicense.com . Once a fishing license is purchased, a printable electronic version is issued immediately by the PFBC. For a hunting license that is purchased online, consumers receive an official email from the PGC and licenses are mailed to the buyer within two weeks of their purchase, Kortz added. Those who encounter a website offering the sale of a state fishing or hunting license that appears questionable or does not link to The Outdoor Shop portal should contact the PFBC Fishing License Help Line at Read more

 

Kortz: Do Not Call bill signed into law

(Oct 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 7 – A bill that would allow Pennsylvanians and businesses to permanently register their phone numbers on the state’s Do Not Call list was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf, state Rep. Bill Kortz announced today. Kortz, D-Allegheny, who was a co-sponsor of H.B. 318 , said the bill amends the state’s Telemarketer Registration Act to remove a five-year time limit for enrollment on the Do Not Call list. For the first time, business telephone subscribers can also sign up to be included on the list. In addition, the measure also bans telephone solicitation on legal holidays and creates a legal procedure for the use of robocalls. “This new law provides substantial protections to consumers and businesses who have no desire to receive these calls,” Kortz said. “It includes a requirement that those utilizing robocalls must provide a way for a caller to opt out at the beginning of a call, and in the event they leave a voice mail message with a consumer, they must provide a toll-free number for them to opt out of future calls.” The bill , which received unanimous support in the both chambers of the General Assembly, will take effect in 60 days. Consumers and businesses who want to register on the Do Not Call list can visit the following link on the state Attorney General’s website: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/protect-yourself/do-not-call-list/ Enrollment by phone is also available by Read more

 

Kortz to hold policy hearing on homecare in Pa. Monday in Pittsburgh

(Oct 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 1 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, will hold a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on homecare issues impacting residents across Pennsylvania. Read more

 

Kortz to host shredding event with Sen. Iovino on Oct. 5

(Oct 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Oct. 1 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, is partnering with state Sen. Pam Iovino, D-Allegheny/Washington, to host a free shredding event from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 5 at the West Mifflin No. 3 Volunteer Fire Co., located at 3722 Rodeo Drive in West Mifflin. “With the number of incidents of identity theft becoming more common, shredding sensitive documents you no longer need is the best way to protect against identity theft and financial fraud,” Kortz said. “This event provides a good opportunity to safely dispose of these documents and lessen the chances of someone gaining access to your personal information. In addition, you’re also protecting the environment, as the shredded paper will be recycled.” “If you have unneeded documents that contain sensitive information, I invite residents to take advantage of this free and convenient way to safely shred and recycle those papers,” Iovino said. “It is important that we serve our residents both in Harrisburg and in the communities where they live. I am glad to partner with Representative Bill Kortz to offer this very popular service.” Individuals are asked to remove all binder clips from papers that are to be shredded. Donations of non-perishable food, hygiene and cleaning supplies are also being accepted at the shredding event for Operation Troop Appreciation. A donation is not required to participate in the shredding event. More Read more

 

Kortz to host 12th annual Senior Fair Oct. 10

(Sep 30, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 30 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, has announced his 12 th annual Senior Health and Wellness Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 at the Broughton Volunteer Fire Department, located at 1030 Cochran Mills Road in Pittsburgh (South Park). “I look forward to this free event each year,” Kortz said. “I get the opportunity to meet with and talk with older residents in the district, and also provide them with information on a variety of senior-focused programs and services.” In addition to exhibitors and light refreshments, the Port Authority of Allegheny County will be on hand to issue new ConnectCards to seniors. A drug drop-off box will also be on site to collect unused or expired medications for proper disposal. Flu shots will also be available with an eligible Medicare card. More information on the event is available by calling Kortz’s office at 412-466-1940. Read more

 

Kortz: Bill to clarify laws regarding tasers, stun guns approved in committee

(Sep 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 24 – A measure to ensure Pennsylvanians are not arrested for possessing tasers or stun guns for self-defense purposes was favorably reported out of the House Judiciary Committee, state Rep. Bill Kortz announced today. Kortz, D-Allegheny, said House Bill 585 was prompted by an incident involving a constituent, whose taser device was confiscated during a routine traffic stop. This constituent was later charged with violating Title 18, which addresses unlawful possession of an offensive weapon. However, Title 18 contains a provision that allows such devices to be used for the propose of self-defense, Kortz added. “My constituent was unfairly charged with a crime following this traffic stop and had to pay over $2,000 in legal costs and related fees, all due to inconsistencies with current state statutes,” Kortz said. “My bill would make it clear that possessing and using a Taser or stun gun for the purpose of self-defense is legal, eliminating any future confusion and preventing future Pennsylvanians from being wrongfully arrested or convicted.” The measure now heads to the full House for consideration. Read more

 

Kortz in Support of Sunday Hunting

(Sep 10, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Bill Kortz comments on a bill that would allow for Sunday hunting at a public hearing with the House Game and Fisheries Committee. Currently, Pa. is one of only three states that doesn’t allow Sunday hunting, along with Maine and Massachusetts. Read more

 

Kortz supports Governor Wolf’s call for charter, cyber charter school oversight, overhaul of 1997 charter school law

(Aug 14, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 14 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, provided the following statement regarding Gov. Tom Wolf’s call yesterday to overhaul the state’s charter school law: “I applaud and support the governor’s decision to take executive action to address the lack of fiscal and management accountability of charter and cyber charter schools in the commonwealth,” Kortz said. “I agree with him: the state’s charter school law in Pennsylvania is – indeed – one of the most fiscally irresponsible laws in the country. “The financial strain that has been placed on the schools in my district to support these charter schools is outrageous, and their operational costs are way out of alignment. One of the reasons why I voted ‘no’ on the 2019-2020 budget is because it did not include any remedies to address these concerns related to charter schools. These costs are draining vital funds away from our public schools and leading to steep hikes in property taxes for homeowners in my district. That is beyond unacceptable. “At a minimum, these schools must be made fiscally responsible and accountable to students, parents, and taxpayers, and these schools must also be audited on a regular basis to stay and remain in compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of Education. “I support Governor Wolf’s efforts and look forward to working with him and my colleagues in Read more

 

Kortz: Several local schools awarded grants for fresh fruits and vegetables

(Jul 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, July 17 – Approximately $158,000 in funds have been awarded to six elementary schools in the 38 th Legislative District through a federal grant program to provide students with fresh fruits and vegetables during the school day, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced today. The funding is awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The program’s goal is to expand the variety of fruits and vegetables in schools by increasing consumption among students with the hope of positively impacting their present and future health. “Studies have shown, time and again, that when children eat healthy, it benefits their overall well-being, and they’re better prepared to learn,” Kortz said. “The USDA’s Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program also helps our schools address food insecurity and provides an opportunity for youngsters to make healthier food choices.” The following schools (and corresponding school districts) that received funds through the program include: Francis McClure Elementary School (McKeesport Area School District) – $38,525. Twin Rivers Elementary School (McKeesport Area School District) – $45,022.50. South Allegheny Elementary School (South Allegheny School District) – $32,142.50. Clara Barton Elementary School (West Mifflin School District) – $13,340. Homeville Elementary School (West Mifflin School District) – Read more

 

Kortz: Bill provides disabled vets, active duty military affordable benefits for fishing, hunting

(Jun 27, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 26 – State Rep. Bill Kortz praised a measure that unanimously passed the House today that eliminates the need for disabled veterans and active duty military to purchase multiple non-resident fishing and hunting licenses from various states, including Pennsylvania. Kortz, who is minority chairman of the Game and Fisheries Committee and a co-sponsor of H.B. 1380, said this bill should encourage agreements between Pennsylvania and other states to benefit the men and women who have served and continue to serve this country. “This will be a wonderful opportunity for disabled veterans and active-duty military,” Kortz said. “It would permit them to enjoy the great country they protected and continue to protect, and it would allow them to continue to pursue their passions and pastimes at a reduced cost. “Instead of purchasing multiple licenses in multiple states, this measure would allow active-duty military personnel and disabled veterans to one day enjoy the same benefits in other states that they enjoy in Pennsylvania.” Under the bill, the attorney general would negotiate reciprocal agreements with other states and report back to the General Assembly. “Fishing and hunting have long been hobbies passed down from generation to generation,” Kortz said. “With today's bill passage and, hopefully, Senate passage after that, it will become more affordable for our veterans and active duty personnel to Read more

 

Kortz: Budget bill doesn't go far enough in education, transportation

(Jun 25, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 25 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, provided the following statement regarding his “no” vote on H.B. 790 today, the state’s General Appropriations bill: “While I am grateful for the funds devoted to education, including basic, special and pre-k education, it doesn’t go far enough to address the financial challenges school districts in my region are facing related to charter and cyber charter schools. “Instead of placing nearly $300 million in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, more of those funds should have been placed into education. We need to do more to halt property tax increases, and this bill does nothing to address that. “I also have concerns about the state’s school safety grant program, as contained in the budget bill. Last year, the schools in my district did not receive any funds, and out of the $45 million that is earmarked for the program this year, I am still not getting a clear answer as to whether they will this year. “This bill also contains significant transportation funding cuts, to the tune of $366 million, despite the fact that we have nearly 3,000 structurally deficient bridges across our state. That figure also includes $111 million in cuts to mass transit, which will hurt many of my residents who rely on reliable transportation.” “We can and should do better for the people of Pennsylvania.” Read more

 

Kortz: New 10-year contract extension reached between UPMC and Highmark

(Jun 24, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 24 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, has released the following statement regarding the announcement of a contract extension between UPMC and Highmark, which will extend UPMC facility access to Highmark-insured patients. “First off, I want to thank state Attorney General Josh Shapiro for his hard work to ensure health care access for all Pennsylvanians. I am pleased to learn of the new contract extension between UPMC and Highmark, which will extend UPMC facility access to Highmark-insured patients in western Pennsylvania for 10 years. Today’s announcement eases the concerns and anxieties of thousands of Pennsylvanians, who were left wondering about their health care access, as well as the coordination and management of that care, including those who are undergoing significant medical treatment. They can breathe a much-needed sigh of relief. “Moving forward, I still believe that much more needs to be done to protect consumers, and I will continue to advocate for legislation to require charity hospital-insurance company hybrids to behave in the public interest and stop from taking advantage of sick and vulnerable Pennsylvanians. “I hope that over the next 10 years that these non-profits will do the right thing. As a public charity, these entities should be focused less on profits and more about patient care. “Let me be clear – while this is certainly great news, keep in mind that Read more

 

Kortz: Hunting licenses to go on sale today, Monday June 17

(Jun 17, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 17 – Licenses for the 2019-20 hunting season will go on sale today, Monday, June 17, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced. “Hunting is a great and very affordable pastime, one that continues to be shared over many generations here in Pennsylvania,” said Kortz, who serves as Democratic chair of the House Gaming and Fisheries Committee. “It provides a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time outdoors with family and continue a worthwhile tradition.” Kortz added the cost of a license includes a complimentary copy of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest , a useful publication that provides a wealth of information for hunters, including updates on chronic wasting disease, elk and antlerless deer license availability, game regulations, and more. General hunting licenses and furtaker licenses cost $20.90 for Pennsylvania residents, and $101.90 for nonresidents. In addition, resident senior hunters and furtakers ages 65 and older can purchase a one-year licenses for $13.90, or lifetime a license for $51.90. Resident seniors also have the option of purchasing lifetime combination licenses that allow them hunting and furtaking privileges for $101.90. Licenses can be purchased online through the commission’s website at www.pgc.pa.gov . The link also provides information on locations across Pennsylvania to purchase your license in person. Read more

 

Kortz disappointed by court ruling on consent decree regarding UPMC/Highmark

(Jun 14, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 14 – The Commonwealth Court announcement today that it would not intervene in the impending June 30 dissolution of the consent decree between UPMC and Highmark is extremely disappointing and should be a call to action for legislators, said state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny. Last month, the state Supreme Court had overturned an earlier decision by Commonwealth Court that the June 30 termination date in the UPMC/Highmark agreements cannot be modified. Today, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson issued an order that the date could not be changed. “To say I am deeply disappointed is an understatement and is an affront to patients, who deserve continued access to the health care facilities and providers they know and trust,” Kortz said. “This decision makes it crystal clear that if we want UPMC and institutions like it to do the right thing, the laws need to change. People’s lives are at risk. “I am imploring Attorney General Josh Shapiro to consider appealing today’s decision. In addition, I’m asking UPMC’s board of directors to take a stand and do what’s right. I’m asking my colleagues to support House Bill 1211 , which would require charity hospital-insurance company hybrids to behave in the public interest and stop them from taking advantage of sick and vulnerable Pennsylvanians. “While this case will make its way through the court system and appeals will likely be filed in Read more

 

Kortz: Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program deadline extended

(Jun 11, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 11 – The deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2018 under the state’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program has been extended to Dec. 31, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced today. “This extension is great news for the many eligible Pennsylvanians who benefit from this program,” Kortz said. “They include residents 65 and older; widows and widowers 50 and older; and people with disabilities 18 and older. It costs nothing to apply to the program, and my offices can help. Stop by to determine whether you’re eligible. We can also provide application forms and help you fill them out.” Kortz’s Dravosburg office is located at 751 Pittsburgh-McKeesport Blvd. and can be reached by calling 412-466-1940. His Pittsburgh office is located at 5101 Old Clairton Road and can be reached by calling 412-886-2870. Kortz added the program’s income eligibility limits are $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. For purposes of calculating income, half of Social Security is excluded. The maximum standard rebate is $650, although supplemental rebates for certain qualifying homeowners can boost rebates to $975. Kortz said that constituents seeking assistance must bring proof of local (county, borough and school) property taxes and proof of income, such as an IRS Form 1099. Residents can learn more about the program and download an application from the Read more

 

House chairmen applaud designation of ‘Fishing and Boating Week’ in Pa.

(Jun 05, 2019)

HARRISBURG, June 5 – In an effort to encourage participation in fishing and boating activities, the state House today unanimously passed a resolution designating the week of June 1 through June 9 as “Fishing and Boating Week”, according to state Reps. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, and Keith Gillespie, R-York. “Fishing and boating opportunities are endless in our great state, and it’s a wonderful and affordable way for families to spend time together outdoors and make great memories,” Kortz said. “These fun activities also help protect our state’s waterways and fisheries, preserving them for future generations to enjoy.” “When President Herbert Hoover called fishing ‘much more than fish,’ he hit the nail on the head,” Gillespie said. “While it is a sport which requires a great deal of patience on the part of the individual, its enjoyment can be realized in groups of people, be they friends, family, or a mix of both. Fishing can be thoroughly relaxing or highly competitive in offering something for all ages and levels of skill.” “With 86,000 miles of streams and rivers, and hundreds of natural and manmade lakes across the commonwealth, new adventures are always waiting right around the corner,” said Tim Schaeffer, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission director. “Thank you to the House of Representatives for their support of Pennsylvania’s anglers and boaters. With Read more

 

Kortz applauds Pa. Supreme Court ruling regarding UPMC/Highmark

(May 29, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 29 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, said the state’s highest court did the right thing in overturning Commonwealth Court’s decision that the June 30 termination date in the UPMC/Highmark agreements cannot be modified. Earlier this month, Kortz was among 60 state representatives and six senators who signed a legal brief supporting state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s February lawsuit against UPMC, which sought to modify and indefinitely extend the UPMC/Highmark consent decrees that expire on June 30. Shapiro had filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court, asking the court to either expedite review of the consent decrees before they expire, or to keep them in place while the lawsuit is ongoing. “I am pleased that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s poor decision,” said Kortz. “I want to thank Attorney General Josh Shapiro for his excellent legal skills in taking on the goliath that is UPMC and winning this round at the high court level. My hope is that after careful deliberation, the Commonwealth Court will come to the conclusion that an extension is warranted, allowing people continued access to the healthcare facilities and providers they trust.” The state Supreme Court ruling returns the case to Commonwealth Court for further action. Read more

 

Kortz: Fish for Free on Memorial Day weekend

(May 22, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 22 – Just in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, said the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is offering the first of two “Fish for Free Days” on Sunday. "This is a great opportunity to introduce a friend or family member to fishing and spend some quality time together outdoors,” Kortz said. “In addition, it could be the start of a satisfying hobby for them to enjoy and pass on to others.” Kortz said the Fish for Free Days, which began in 1984, allow anyone (resident or non-resident) to fish legally for Pennsylvania's most popular fish without a fishing license. All other fishing laws and regulations remain in effect. More information about the event, which also will be held July 4, is available on the Fish and Boat Commission website at https://www.fishandboat.com/Fish/FishingRegulations/Pages/FishForFreeDay.aspx . Read more

 

Kortz applauds passage of bill to protect veterans’ access to PACE, PACENET

(May 15, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 15 – A measure to allow Pennsylvania veterans to participate in state prescription drug assistance programs – even if a state veterans’ benefit or federal disability payment puts them over the income limit – has unanimously passed the House, announced state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny. Kortz, a co-sponsor of H.B. 375 , said the measure would remove the value of federal veterans’ disability payments and the value of all state service-connected payments from income eligibility calculations for the PACE and PACENET programs. Currently, state law requires that these payments be counted as income. “This vote means we can move ahead to protect our veterans’ access to these valuable programs,” Kortz said. “Our veterans have given so much to our country, and a bonus or stipend that he or she receives because of their service should not disqualify them from PACE or PACENET.” The income limits for PACE eligibility are $14,500 for a single person and $17,700 for a married couple. PACENET income limits are slightly higher. For a single person, total income can be between $14,500 and $27,500. For a married couple, combined total income can be between $17,700 and $35,500. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. Read more

 

Kortz: Informative, productive meeting on Pa.’s steel future
Oct 16, 2019

Kortz urges consumers to be wary of online scams when purchasing hunting, fishing licenses
Oct 15, 2019

Kortz: Do Not Call bill signed into law
Oct 07, 2019

Kortz to hold policy hearing on homecare in Pa. Monday in Pittsburgh
Oct 02, 2019

Kortz to host shredding event with Sen. Iovino on Oct. 5
Oct 01, 2019

Kortz to host 12th annual Senior Fair Oct. 10
Sep 30, 2019

Kortz: Bill to clarify laws regarding tasers, stun guns approved in committee
Sep 24, 2019

Kortz in Support of Sunday Hunting
Sep 10, 2019

Kortz supports Governor Wolf’s call for charter, cyber charter school oversight, overhaul of 1997 charter school law
Aug 14, 2019

Kortz: Several local schools awarded grants for fresh fruits and vegetables
Jul 17, 2019

Kortz: Bill provides disabled vets, active duty military affordable benefits for fishing, hunting
Jun 27, 2019

Kortz: Budget bill doesn't go far enough in education, transportation
Jun 25, 2019

Kortz: New 10-year contract extension reached between UPMC and Highmark
Jun 24, 2019

Kortz: Hunting licenses to go on sale today, Monday June 17
Jun 17, 2019

Kortz disappointed by court ruling on consent decree regarding UPMC/Highmark
Jun 14, 2019

Kortz: Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program deadline extended
Jun 11, 2019

House chairmen applaud designation of ‘Fishing and Boating Week’ in Pa.
Jun 05, 2019

Kortz applauds Pa. Supreme Court ruling regarding UPMC/Highmark
May 29, 2019

Kortz: Fish for Free on Memorial Day weekend
May 22, 2019

Kortz applauds passage of bill to protect veterans’ access to PACE, PACENET
May 15, 2019