Featured News

2020 Capitol Scenes Calendar

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 joins legislators in support of UPMC suit

(May 07, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 7 – State Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, is among 60 state representatives and six state senators who signed a legal brief by the House Democratic Caucus, supporting state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s lawsuit against UPMC. The lawsuit seeks to modify and indefinitely extend the UPMC-Highmark Health consent decrees that expire on June 30. “We are not going to sit back and trust that UPMC will do the right thing by voluntarily extending the decree,” Kortz said. “This is about ensuring access to affordable care for everyone, regardless of the insurer. I join my colleagues in the House and Senate in supporting the lawsuit filed by the attorney general to protect all Pennsylvanians to ensure patient care is not jeopardized.” Shapiro filed suit to modify the consent decrees in February, arguing that UPMC is obligated, as a charitable organization funded by taxpayer dollars, to protect patients’ access to affordable care. Shapiro filed an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month, 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. The House Democratic Caucus’s amicus curiae brief provides additional support for the lawsuit. Read more

 

Readshaw, Kortz announce bill to improve police hiring process

(May 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 6 – State Reps. Harry Readshaw and Bill Kortz, both D-Allegheny, have announced they will soon introduce legislation that would improve police departments’ hiring process by ensuring investigators have all the information they need to select the best candidates . Their bill would require an applicant’s previous employers to disclose employment information to the law enforcement agency seeking to hire the applicant as a police officer, or to a licensed investigator working on behalf of the law enforcement agency. The disclosure requests would be in writing and be required to have an authorization signed by the applicant and the employer conducting the investigation. If the previous employer refuses to disclose the information, a court would be able to compel the release of the employment information. “Law enforcement agencies take on the critically important duty of stopping crime and protecting the people of Pennsylvania,” Readshaw said. “Right now, if an officer is moving from one law enforcement agency to another, his previous employer isn’t required to disclose meaningful employment records to the receiving agency, which could include serious disciplinary actions. We need to make sure police departments have access to all the information they need to select the best and brightest men and women to uphold the peace and safety of our communities.” “Our legislation would also free an Read more

 

House Steel Caucus leadership announce new U.S. Steel facility in Braddock

(May 02, 2019)

HARRISBURG, May 2 – State Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-Allegheny/Washington, the Republican chairman of the House Steel Caucus, and state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, the Democratic chairman of the House Steel Caucus, applauded the announcement made today by U.S. Steel to construct a new state-of-the-art and sustainable endless casting and rolling facility. The $1 billion investment at the Edgar Thompson Plant in Braddock, will be very beneficial to the steel industry in Western Pennsylvania and the Mon Valley. “I am extremely excited about the investment that U.S. Steel is making in the Mon Valley,” Kortz said. “The steel industry is vital to the economy in Western Pennsylvania and this new facility will help secure the future of manufacturing in the region.” “U.S. Steel’s commitment to build a new sustainable endless casting and rolling facility will benefit the steel industry and Western Pennsylvania for many years,” Ortitay said. This world-class technology will increase the ability to produce advanced high strength steel, while also improving environmental performance.” The steel industry is very important to Pennsylvania’s economy. According to a 2018 economic impact study commissioned by the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Pennsylvania steel industry directly employs 34,124 workers who earn $3.14 billion in wages and salaries annually. This equates to an average annual salary of $92,037, while Read more

 

House Committee Chairmen Get Commitment to Revisit Change to Start of Rifle Deer Season

(Apr 30, 2019)

Following their decision to change the first day of rifle deer season to the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s (PGCs) Board of Commissioners has agreed with a House Game and Fisheries Committee request to revisit the move next year. The announcement comes following a meeting in which Rep. Keith Gillespie (R-York), majority chairman of the committee, and Rep. Bill Kortz (D-Allegheny), the committee’s minority chairman, conveyed to the board the tremendous volume of complaints they and their House colleagues have received from hunters. Read more

 

Kortz Discusses Importance Of Addressing Bullying

(Apr 04, 2019)

Pa. state Rep. Bill Kortz participated in a public hearing in Philadelphia to address the issue of bullying. He explains the preventative measures needed to protect children across the commonwealth. Read more

 

Kortz measure to provide therapeutic fishing license exemption approved by House

(Mar 20, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 20 – A measure that would allow the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to issue therapeutic exemptions to fishing license requirements unanimously passed the House, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced today. Kortz, the prime sponsor of H.B. 584 and minority chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, says the bill provides the necessary language to allow the PFBC to award fishing license exemptions to a variety of therapy groups, including Project Healing Waters , the Wounded Warrior Project , and Casting for Recovery , an organization for breast cancer survivors. “I am pleased by the overwhelming support this bill has been given by my colleagues,” Kortz said. “Many organizations in Pennsylvania and nationwide have seen the benefits of fishing and how it has helped people who are recovering from cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or chronic illness. It’s an activity that can bring them great joy and provide them much-needed respite.” “We appreciate Chairman Kortz and the House of Representatives’ unanimous support for this legislation today,” said Mike Nerozzi, director of public policy for the PFBC. “It is great to see the momentum behind this measure, which will ensure that the tremendous value of therapeutic fishing is recognized in law.” The bill now heads to the state Senate for further consideration. Read more

 

Kortz: Bill to provide therapeutic fishing license exemption passes committee

(Mar 12, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 12 – A bill to allow the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to issue therapeutic exemptions to fishing license requirements unanimously passed the House Game and Fisheries Committee, state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Allegheny, announced today. Kortz, who is minority chairman of the committee and the prime sponsor of H.B. 584 , said it would provide the necessary language to allow the PFBC to award fishing license exemptions to therapy groups, including veterans groups and cancer support organizations. Kortz said that in 2018, participants in over 60 different service organizations and hundreds of one-day fishing events across Pennsylvania would have qualified for such an exemption, if it had existed. “Fishing has been a beneficial therapeutic activity used by health care professionals for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, who are healing from cancer or a chronic disease, or who are recovering from depression, addiction, or traumatic brain injury,” said Kortz. “It brings a smile to their faces and allows them to experience the joy of being outdoors and taking part in such a pleasurable activity.” Mike Nerozzi, PFBC director of policy and planning, said, “Today was an important first step toward helping a lot of people heal, both emotionally and physically. This bill reinforces an initiative that the commission has previously committed to and would ensure the tremendous value of Read more

 

Kortz: Bill would prohibit food or drink, use of cell phones for school bus drivers

(Mar 06, 2019)

HARRISBURG, March 6 – School bus drivers would be banned from using cell phones or consuming any food or beverages while operating a school bus or vehicle transporting children, under a bill introduced by state Rep. William Kortz, D-Allegheny. “With more than a million school students riding buses each school year in Pennsylvania, it’s important that these drivers be focused on the task at hand: transporting children safely,” said Kortz. “We know it’s important that all drivers not be distracted behind the wheel, and school bus drivers are no different – they have an enormous responsibility to keep these children safe.” House Bill 691 would amend the state’s Public School Code to prohibit the use of a cell phone or similar device while driving, but would still allow the use of a two-way radio for communication purposes. However, cell phones usage would be allowed in an emergency situation, provided the driver is safely parked off a roadway. The measure also contains a provision that allows for school bus drivers with medical conditions to consume food or beverages, but they must do so while parked safety off a roadway. Under H.B. 691, a violation would be considered a primary offense, carrying a fine of $50 to $100, or a fine of $300 if the violation results in a traffic accident. Read more

 

Real ID Update

(Feb 21, 2019)

Inside this update is information to help you get ready for obtaining a REAL ID. Read more

 

2019 Trout Stocking Schedules Available

(Feb 06, 2019)

The 2019 trout stocking schedules are available by clicking the link and visiting fishandboat.com. Once there, you'll be able to search by county. Read more

 

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

Kortz joins legislators in support of UPMC suit
May 07, 2019

Readshaw, Kortz announce bill to improve police hiring process
May 06, 2019

House Steel Caucus leadership announce new U.S. Steel facility in Braddock
May 02, 2019

House Committee Chairmen Get Commitment to Revisit Change to Start of Rifle Deer Season
Apr 30, 2019

Kortz Discusses Importance Of Addressing Bullying
Apr 04, 2019

Kortz measure to provide therapeutic fishing license exemption approved by House
Mar 20, 2019

Kortz: Bill to provide therapeutic fishing license exemption passes committee
Mar 12, 2019

Kortz: Bill would prohibit food or drink, use of cell phones for school bus drivers
Mar 06, 2019

Real ID Update
Feb 21, 2019

2019 Trout Stocking Schedules Available
Feb 06, 2019