Matzie applauds passage of medical marijuana bill

(Mar 16, 2016)

HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, praised today’s House passage of legislation that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. “Once this bill becomes law, patients in Pennsylvania who suffer from debilitating diseases will be able to legally acquire, with their doctor’s consent, the medicine they need,” Matzie said. “While I can understand the concerns I heard from my colleagues on the other side of this issue, I believe the scientific evidence supporting medical marijuana is clear. Not only can it provide relief, it can at times offer hope to patients who would otherwise have none.” The House passed an amended version of S.B. 3, which originally passed the Senate in May 2015. The amended bill would allow patients with serious medical conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder and glaucoma, to use the drug. Under the legislation, patients only would be able to use medical marijuana in the form of a pill, oil, liquid, tincture, topical ointment, or through vaporization or nebulization. “I think of Leah and Olivia McGurk of Beaver County who may be helped by passage of this bill; their courage and the strength of their parents and siblings have been nothing short of miraculous,” Matzie said. “The McGurk's fight for passage of this bill for their girls and others is an inspiration that I will never forget." Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states Read more


Matzie resolution highlights the need for government transparency

(Mar 14, 2016)

HARRISBURG, March 14 – In an effort to highlight the importance of open and transparent government, the state House of Representatives adopted a resolution today sponsored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, designating March 13-19 as “Sunshine Week in Pennsylvania.” Matzie’s legislation, H.R. 717, also stresses the necessity of constitutional principles, including freedom of speech and freedom of the press, in ensuring a free and transparent government. Sunshine Week was first established by the American Society of News Editors in 2005. “It is no coincidence that Sunshine Week is celebrated in mid-March; in fact, it was chosen specifically to coincide with James Madison’s birthday,” Matzie said. “Madison, who is considered the father of the U.S. Constitution, believed an informed public and a transparent government were needed to maintain a free democracy.” Matzie said the intent of Sunshine Week is to spark a discussion about the importance of open government and public access to government documents and meetings. While initial participation in the observance week was mostly limited to journalists, it has grown considerably since its inception and is now celebrated by civic groups, libraries and open government organizations across the country. “With the writing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Founding Fathers left us with a tremendous gift and an incredible duty,” Matzie said. “It is our obligation to protect this country and the ideals it st Read more


Matzie celebrates the founding of Pennsylvania with Charter Day

(Mar 07, 2016)

HARRISBURG, March 7 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution last month, sponsored by state Rep. Rob Matzie, which designates March 8 as "Charter Day" in Pennsylvania. House Resolution 680 commemorates the charter that King Charles II of England granted William Penn on March 4, 1681 to repay him for the debt owed to Penn's father, Admiral Sir William Penn. "William Penn and King Charles II are inexorably linked to the founding of our great commonwealth and the eventual founding of America," Matzie said. "In fact, the likeness of King Charles II still survives to this day on a 323-year old, four-page parchment charter that is currently on display at the State Museum in Harrisburg. The charter defined the land that we now know as Pennsylvania and deeded it to William Penn." Matzie said his resolution also honors the Frame of Government of Pennsylvania, which Penn drafted to serve as the colony's first constitution and contained rights such as freedom of religion, freedom from unjust imprisonment and a guarantee of free elections. "Charter Day is more than a simple celebration of the founding of Pennsylvania. It also commemorates the establishment of many American traditions we value to this day," Matzie said. "As a commissioner of the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission, I thought it was my duty to introduce a resolution to highlight the historical significance of the day." Read more


Matzie raises MS awareness through House resolution

(Feb 29, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 29 – In hopes of raising awareness of multiple sclerosis, earlier this month the House of Representatives adopted Rep. Rob Matzie’s H.R. 679, designating March 7 through March 13, 2016, as “Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week” in Pennsylvania. “In the United States alone, there are about 200 new cases of MS diagnosed each week, but it remains a largely misunderstood disease,” said Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny. “MS isn’t fatal, it isn’t contagious. But it does affect the lives of sufferers and their love ones greatly. It is my hope that this week of awareness will ignite an understanding that can encourage active efforts to help people suffering with MS far beyond the designated week.” “Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week” is annually arranged by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in an effort to increase education about this debilitating disease. Matzie said that by designating a full week to awareness of this disorder, Pennsylvanians will hopefully obtain a greater understanding on how to help those coping with MS. “My father has coped with this horrible disease for many years. Unfortunately, he was misdiagnosed for decades believing his vision issues were caused by optic nerve damage,” Matzie said. “His situation serves as an example of the need for awareness and understanding of symptoms which lead to a proper diagnosis. “ MS is a chronic neurological disorder affecting the central nervous system. It can differ in severity, with about 90 percent of th Read more


Property Tax/Rent Rebate forms available at my office

(Feb 15, 2016)

Forms for Pennsylvania’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for the 2015 tax year are available at my district office – and my staff is ready to help you file yours for free ! The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older, and people with disabilities 18 or older. The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters. Half of Social Security income is excluded and the maximum standard rebate is $650. Claimants must reapply for rebates every year because they are based on annual income and property taxes or rent paid each year. Spouses, personal representatives or estates may file rebate claims on behalf of deceased claimants who lived at least one day in 2015 and meet all other eligibility criteria. The oft-extended deadline to apply for a rebate on property taxes or rent paid in 2015 is June 30, 2016, and the rebates normally are distributed by the Deparment of Revenue beginning July 1. So, the sooner you file, the sooner you will receive your money. Read more


Matzie’s proposal would strengthen homeowners’ earthquake coverage

(Feb 12, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 12 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, announced today that he intends to introduce a bill that would require insurers in Pennsylvania to cover all types of earthquakes for homeowners who have purchased earthquake insurance. Matzie’s legislation would require insurers to cover both naturally occurring earthquakes and those caused by human activity, including methods used to find natural gas deposits. "While Pennsylvania experiences a relatively low level of earthquake activity when compared to a state like California, it is still a real concern for homeowners especially with the abundance of natural gas in many areas of the state," Matzie said. "Homeowners who have purchased earthquake insurance shouldn’t be on the hook for damages due to the origin of any seismic activity." Matzie said seismic testing caused several structures in his district to sustain damage, but homeowners were initially informed that their claims would not be covered despite having earthquake riders as part of their homeowners’ insurance. Matzie contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance and alerted them to the problem and began researching a legislative fix. Following that, last year the insurance commissioner issued a notice to insurance companies informing them that earthquake endorsements to homeowners’ insurance policies in Pennsylvania cannot exclude coverage for earthquakes that may be caused by human activity. However, Matzie remains concerned that this d Read more


Matzie supports resolution that urges feds to prevent Norfolk Southern takeover

(Feb 10, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 10 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, today said he was pleased the House of Representatives adopted a resolution he co-sponsored that would urge the federal government to carefully review any plans submitted to acquire Norfolk Southern Corporation. House Resolution 649 directs the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to carefully review any plans submitted by Canadian Pacific Railway to acquire Norfolk Southern Corp. Norfolk Southern is the current target of a hostile takeover by the Canadian Pacific Railroad. “Norfolk Southern is a vital economic engine to Beaver County and the commonwealth in its entirety,” Matzie said. “Besides employing hundreds of Pennsylvanians, Norfolk Southern should be credited with connecting our region to the rest of the country and globe.” Norfolk Southern owns the Conway railyard, which is an essential component of Beaver County’s regional economy and provides the state with rail access to major ports and short lines. “This was an important vote and I think it showed the commonwealth’s solidarity on this issue,” Matzie said. “I am glad that we can, in a bipartisan way, put this forth and let the federal government know our intention to do what we can to ensure the jobs at Norfolk Southern continue to work in the commonwealth.” Read more


Matzie on MS Awareness

(Feb 10, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Rob Matzie addresses the House of Representatives on why Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week is important. Matzie relays his own personal experience with his father's misdiagnosis of MS and how that has informed his efforts. Matzie's unanimously approved House Resolution designates March 7-13, 2016 as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week in Pennsylvania. Read more


PACE prescription programs benefit seniors

(Feb 10, 2016)

PACE, PACENET and PACE plus Medicare are Pennsylvania's prescription assistance programs for older adults, offering low-cost prescription medication to qualified residents, age 65 and older. As of this year, the legislature passed a law excluding Social Security Medicare Part B premiums from being counted towards income levels. Read more


Matzie: Economy residents are exempt from Allegheny County Local Use Fund fee – but they need to fill out exemption form

(Feb 08, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Feb. 8 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, is reminding residents of Economy, Beaver County, who use a Sewickley, Allegheny County, zip code that one form can exempt them from having to pay a $5 Local Use Fund fee when registering their vehicle. The Local Use Fund was established by Act 89 of 2013 and is used by participating counties to fund transportation projects. It is funded by a $5 fee that is collected by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at the time a vehicle is registered or renewed. Allegheny County started collecting the Local Use Fund fee in January. Matzie said that residents of Beaver County who use an Allegheny County zip code are exempt from this fee, but need to complete a County of Residence Verification form to ensure it won’t be charged to them when registering a vehicle. "My staff and I are happy to assist constituents with filling out their County of Residence Verification form," Matzie said. "Whether you have questions about your eligibility or just need some help with the form – we are here to help." The County of Residence Verification form is also available online. Read more


Matzie encourages local business and organization to apply for the ACE program

(Feb 02, 2016)

AMBRIDGE, Feb. 2 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, is encouraging eligible businesses, economic development organizations, municipalities and school districts to consider applying for financial assistance from the newly announced Alternative and Clean Energy Program. ACE will provide grants and loans to eligible applicants for the development and construction of alternative and clean energy projects throughout the commonwealth. The program is administered jointly by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Environmental Protection, under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority. “The ACE program is a great opportunity for local businesses and other organizations to improve their energy infrastructure while simultaneously creating jobs, and I encourage anyone eligible to apply,” Matzie said. “The varied projects that could be completed with these funds run the gamut from the construction of alternative energy projects like solar systems to projects associated with compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas fueling stations. Our community would benefit greatly from these projects, so I am hopefully there will be many local applicants.” The CFA will accept ACE applications until April 1. Eligible applicants with questions can contact the CFA at (717) 787-6245. More information about the ACE program can be found here. Read more


Matzie raising awareness about rheumatoid disease and its connection to the heart

(Jan 29, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 29 – In an effort to raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis, the House of Representatives adopted Rep. Rob Matzie’s H.R. 654, designating Feb. 2, 2016 as “Rheumatoid Awareness Day” in Pennsylvania. "My father suffers from this horrible disease and I have witnessed firsthand the effects it has had on his quality of life." Matzie said. "It's horrible when diagnosed at any age and the effects vary including the pain levels." Rheumatoid arthritis, also known as rheumatoid disease, is a progressive inflammatory disease causing damage to joint and organ tissues, resulting in severe pain and frequent disability. It is estimated that about 1 percent of the world’s population is affected by rheumatoid arthritis, with approximately 1.5 million Americans currently diagnosed. “Generally, there is a lack of awareness about rheumatoid disease, and often if gets confused with osteoarthritis,” Matzie said. “While the two names may look similar, rheumatoid disease patients are at a higher risk for heart attack, heart failure and an increase in peripheral vascular disease than people who are not diagnosed. Unfortunately this confusion can complicate matters all the way from clinical care to research funding.” Matzie said he hopes his resolution raises awareness about rheumatoid disease and its connection to heart health. Matzie timed the introduction of the resolution to coincide with Heart Disease Awareness month to underscore the impact the disease has on the hea Read more


CHIP offers kids protection and parents peace of mind

(Jan 29, 2016)

Pennsylvania has a Children's Health Insurance Program that provides free and low-cost health insurance to children. CHIP is not welfare – it covers children of working parents whose employers don't offer coverage and who can't afford private insurance. If you can't afford health insurance for your children, chances are they are eligible for CHIP. Read more


House adopts Matzie resolution to honor Old Economy’s anniversary

(Jan 27, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 27 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by state Rep. Rob Matzie that commemorates the anniversary of Old Economy Village being awarded to the commonwealth. House Resolution 653 recognizes the 100th anniversary of the awarding of Old Economy to the commonwealth. In 1916, six acres of Economy and associated buildings became the property of Pennsylvania due to the decline of the Harmonist, the religious group that originally founded the community in 1824. “The story of Old Economy Village is a familiar one in this country. A group of German immigrants were looking for a land that was founded on the principle of religious tolerance and was free from oppression,” Matzie said. “After much strife, they made it to what we now know as Ambridge and established a community that they named Economy.” In 1919, the Harmony Society Historical Association entered into a contract with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, which took over the property and officially opened it to the public on May 26, 1921 to an audience of nearly 5,000 people. Old Economy Village is also designated as a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “The historical significance of Old Economy Village is clear and the hard working men and women who are dedicated to preserving it for another 100 years should be applauded for their effort,” Matzie said. “It remains a favorite des Read more


Matzie Honors Old Economy Village

(Jan 27, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Rob Matzie speaks on the H.R. 653, a resolution recognizing the 100th anniversary of the awarding of Old Economy village to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Read more


Matzie Hopes to Prevent Norfolk Southern Takeover

(Jan 27, 2016)

Pa. state Rep. Rob Matzie is pleased that the House Transportation Committee passed a resolution he cosponsored that would urge the federal government to carefully review any plans submitted to acquire Norfolk Southern Corporation. Read more


Matzie encouraged by committee hearing on resolution that would urge feds to lift sports betting ban

(Jan 12, 2016)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 12 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, said he was encouraged by constructive conversations at today’s House Gaming Oversight Committee hearing, which focused on a resolution he authored that would urge the federal government to lift the ban on sports betting. House Resolution 619 would urge Congress to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which prohibits sports betting in every state except Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware. "In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act has created more than 16,000 living wage jobs and produced more than $9 billion in revenues. It has been, undeniably, an overwhelming success," Matzie said. "It has demonstrated our ability to proficiently and responsibly oversee gaming in our Commonwealth. The time has come for the federal government to allow the state’s to make their own decisions on sports betting." Currently, estimates of sports betting in the United States exceed $400 billion annually, with only 1 percent of those bets taking place in legal form. "In this age of budget deficits and impasses, I don’t think we can afford to turn our head at any idea that can provide the state with sustainable revenue," Matzie said. "Congress lifting the ban wouldn’t force any state into allowing something they have no interest in, but it would give states an option to consider and explore. Until that ban is lifted though, the states that were not grandfathered into Read more


Pa. Treasury could be holding your unclaimed property

(Jan 01, 2016)

Each year, the Pennsylvania Treasury receives millions of dollars of unclaimed property. It is estimated that roughly one in 10 Pennsylvanians has unclaimed property. Read more


PA Power Switch: Ask the right questions

(Dec 30, 2015)

In Pennsylvania, you can choose the company that generates your electricity – also known as your electric supplier. This means that you have the power to switch to a competing supplier who can offer the lowest price, or provide a specific service you want, such as “green” or renewable energy. Read more


Matzie Stands Up for Western Pa. Jobs

(Dec 16, 2015)

Pa. state Rep. Rob Matzie speaks out against a potential hostile takeover of the Norfolk Southern Railroad by the Canadian Pacific Railroad that could potentially close the Conway Yards and lead to thousands of lost jobs in Pennsylvania. Read more