Sainato: General Assembly passes bill to smooth professional licensing path for military members

(Jun 30, 2022)

HARRISBURG, June 30 – The General Assembly has passed legislation to make the professional licensing process more accommodating for service members, according to state Rep. Chris Sainato, one of the bill’s prime sponsors. Sainato, who is Democratic chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said he and colleagues introduced H.B. 1868 to give military applicants a smoother path through the licensing process. “Returning to civilian life poses a range of challenges for veterans, and many involve adapting to the civilian job market,” Sainato said. “Our bill would help make that transition easier for service members by ensuring that licensing boards consider an applicant’s military training and education and by making the process more convenient.” Sainato said under some of the bill’s provisions: Military applicants would have up to six months to complete continuing education requirements following deployment. Service members and spouses who are deployed when a license is due for renewal would have the option to submit their application before deployment (and DoS will hold it until the renewal window opens). There would be expedited application review for veterans and military spouses and initial licensure fee waivers for military spouses relocating to Pennsylvania. Military experience would be considered when making qualification determinations. Specific guidelines would be Read more

 

Burns: Protect consumers from tech companies selling personal information

(Jun 30, 2022)

Proposes ‘data broker’ registration, easier opt-out process Read more

 

Merski hosting Pride Month virtual town hall on June 27

(Jun 20, 2022)

ERIE, June 20 – In honor of Pride Month, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, is hosting a virtual town hall at 7 p.m. Monday, June 27 to discuss topics of importance to LGBTQIA+ people in Erie. “June is Pride Month, and while it is important to celebrate the achievements and contributions of LGBTQIA+ people, it’s equally important to continue talking about the concerns, biases and issues many people still face,” Merski said. “Our virtual town hall will be a forum for folks to discuss issues that can impact opportunity and quality of life for LGBTQIA+ residents. Those are issues for our entire Erie community to address, but an open dialog is the first step. I encourage everyone to sign on and be part of that dialog.” Those interested in attending the live online Teams event should send their name and email address to Merski’s office by emailing RepMerski@pahouse.net or calling (814) 455-6319. The event will also be livestreamed on Merski’s Facebook page – @RepMerski . For more information, contact Merski’s office at (814) 455-6319. Read more

 

Longietti: Nearly $400,000 awarded for ‘Digital Passport’ learning project

(Jun 15, 2022)

HERMITAGE, June 15 – United Way of Mercer County and the Mercer County Career Center are receiving a $389,898 PAsmart Advancing Grant from the state Department of Education for a program that will teach area students the kinds of STEM and computer science skills needed for high-demand regional careers, state Rep. Mark Longietti announced today. Longietti, who is Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee, said the “Digital Passport” program will help expand opportunities for all students – including those in underserved areas. “Collaboration will help guarantee the program’s success,” Longietti said. “Partners in the project have the knowledge and experience needed to build a curriculum that aligns with the specific needs of our region’s high-demand employers. The program will also reach students in underserved areas to ensure they have the same opportunities. “In addition to putting students on a promising career path, the program will help ensure that our region’s employers have the continuing pool of talented applicants they need to stay competitive. It’s a winning proposition all around.” Longietti said the grant is part of a package of nearly $20 million in PaSmart Advancing Grants awarded to schools statewide and designed to bolster computer science and STEM learning. More information about the grants is available here: Read more

 

Merski kicks off 2022 flag takeback program

(Jun 14, 2022)

ERIE, June 14 – With Flag Day here, state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, is kicking off his annual flag takeback program, which allows residents to drop off their worn, torn or tattered American flags to be properly retired. Merski, who sponsors the program in partnership with Summit Township, said residents enjoy the convenience of being able to drop off flags ready to be retired. “Our flag takeback program is entering its fourth year, and we’re proud to provide this popular seasonal service to help folks prepare for the Fourth,” Merski said. “Residents can leave their faded, tattered flags with us and have the peace of mind of knowing they will be properly retired, with all the respect Old Glory deserves.” Merski said residents can drop off flags at the following office locations: District office - 3901 Liberty St., 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summit office - 1230 Townhall Road W., 12:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday. The program will run through July 4. ATTN EDITORS/ASSIGNMENT DESKS: Rep. Merski’s comments about the program are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/6lb9gws1wy4r76s/060822%20Merski%20Flag%20Collection.mp4?dl=0 Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $1 million awarded to expand housing assistance

(Jun 10, 2022)

ERIE, June 10 – Erie County organizations are receiving $970,000 in funding to expand housing-related services for families in need, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund will address a range of different needs that open doors for residents. “This funding will strengthen programs across the board for residents facing housing challenges,” Merski said. “Some of those dollars will support our most vulnerable residents, including folks in crisis, by strengthening resources for area shelters, while other funding will support home repair programs and programs to help families working toward first-time homeownership. All of the funding comes at an important time, when folks are still building back from the impacts of the pandemic.” Harkins said, “The stability that comes with having a home gives parents and caregivers the peace of mind to know their kids are safe, gives families the support of a caring community and provides people with the freedom and confidence to find work. Securing this funding today is going to help get those keys to self-sufficiency into the hands of more Erie residents in need.” The funding includes: $200,000 to Greater Erie Community Action Committee for the Corridor of Opportunity program. Read more

 

Longietti: Mercer County programs receiving more than $130,000 for housing counseling, ‘Lots to Love’ programs

(Jun 09, 2022)

HERMITAGE, June 9 – Mercer County organizations are receiving $133,000 from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund to support a housing and budget counseling program and help continue the successful Lots to Love program, state Rep. Mark Longietti announced today. Longietti, D–Mercer, said the funding includes $40,000 to the Community Action Partnership of Mercer County to support programs that help lower-income residents acquire the money management and budgeting skills needed for home ownership. “Community Action Partnership has played a key role in helping low- and middle-income families in our community navigate the path to home ownership through housing counseling and an incentive-based budget counseling program that matches participants’ investments,” Longietti said. “The funding awarded today is going to ensure the partnership can keep that program and those incentives flowing to low-income families needing them.” Longietti said an additional $93,000 will allow the organization to continue the successful Lots to Love program. “Lots to Love has been incredibly successful at helping the City of Sharon repurpose vacant lots in ways that invite investment and development,” Longietti said. “Securing this additional funding will bolster the program to continue stabilizing neighborhoods and also help Community Action Partnership create a Read more

 

Sainato: $800,000 awarded for Lawrence County affordable housing, blight-fighting projects

(Jun 09, 2022)

HARRISBURG, June 9 – Four projects to fight blight and expand affordable housing are receiving a combined $800,000 in funding from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement fund, state Rep. Chris Sainato announced today. Sainato, D-Lawrence, said the funding comes at an important time. “With housing costs rising, expanding the supply of affordable housing is more important than ever, especially for seniors and others on a fixed income,” Sainato said. “The funding awarded today will expand these important programs and also fund the blight remediation needed to encourage further development.” A breakdown of the funding: $300,000 to the Lawrence County Department of Planning and Community Development for a blight removal program that works with stakeholders to identify “tipping-point” neighborhoods in which public intervention has the potential to kickstart private investment. $250,000 to the Redevelopment Authority of Lawrence County to support the Countywide Housing Rehabilitation and Blight Removal Program being implemented. $200,000 to Urban Commonwealth CDC Inc. for the proposed New Horizons Senior Living project, a 55+ mixed income housing development in New Castle. $50,000 to Housing Opportunities of Beaver County Inc., to expand the first-time homebuyer program in Lawrence Read more

 

Erie awarded $37,500 for historical site survey, Old Customs House renovation

(Jun 09, 2022)

ERIE, June 9 – Erie is receiving two grants from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission: $25,000 to fund a historical site survey and $12,500 for the first phase of a project to preserve the Erie Art Museum’s Old Customs House, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the survey will help bring more of Erie’s past to light. “While much of Erie’s rich history is memorialized in treasures like the Brig Niagara, Presque Isle Light and Dickson Tavern, other markers of our past have yet to be discovered and preserved,” Merski said. “The survey funded by this grant is going to help us identify all historic resources within the city – including sites and landmarks that may be eligible for National Register of Historic Places designation – so they can add chapters to our unique story.” Harkins said the Old Customs House renovation is an important preservation project. “The Old Customs House contains more than 400 of the Erie Art Museum’s pieces and hosts several exhibitions yearly, but the structure is nearly two centuries old, and in significant need of preservation. This funding will help get that important project underway.” The funding is part of a package of Keystone Historic Preservation Grants awarded statewide and funded through the Keystone Recreation, Read more

 

Longietti: Nearly $90,000 awarded for program to bolster restrictive probation, reduce recidivism among nonviolent offenders

(Jun 08, 2022)

HERMITAGE, June 8 – Mercer County is receiving $89,997 to support a restrictive probation program designed to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes among substance use disorder offenders, state Rep. Mark Longietti announced today. Longietti, D–Mercer, said the funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency is an effective way to help nonviolent offenders transition back to the community. “Restrictive supervision probation programs help lower recidivism rates by giving people convicted of nonviolent drug- and alcohol-related offenses the treatment they need for a fresh start,” Longietti said. “The funding awarded today will ensure the Mercer County program has the staff, drug-testing equipment and supplies, and laboratory fees needed to vigilantly monitor offenders and keep them on the path to remaining drug and alcohol free.” The funding was recommended by PCCD’s County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory Committee. More about the committee is available here . Read more

 

Sainato: More than $250,000 awarded to strengthen support for child assault victims, bolster probation and parole services

(Jun 08, 2022)

HARRISBURG, June 8 – Lawrence County programs to treat child victims of sexual or physical abuse are receiving $200,000 from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, while the county is receiving an additional $51,174 to enhance adult probation and parole services, state Rep. Chris Sainato announced today. Sainato, D-Lawrence, said $200,000 in funding to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Lawrence County will help expand available services and reduce treatment waiting times. “With certain funding ending, the Children’s Advocacy Center has been forced to cut back on the services of some of its full-time therapists,” Sainato said. “At a time when there is already a waiting list of 30 children each month, with many waiting six months for treatment, any further reduction in resources could be disastrous. “Children who have been traumatized by sexual or physical abuse cannot afford to wait. This funding is going to help ensure these child victims receive the trauma-focused, evidence-based mental health services they need as soon as possible.” Sainato said the additional funding of more than $50,000 for adult probation and parole resources will strengthen supervisory services and evidence-based programs. Read more

 

Merski, Harkins: More than $1 million awarded to strengthen victim supports, address student mental health, reduce recidivism

(Jun 08, 2022)

ERIE, June 8 – Erie County is receiving $1.02 million in funding to improve probation services, strengthen services for sexual assault victims, and respond to student mental health needs, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins announced today. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the funding from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will ensure county services and supports have access to the staff, training and other resources needed for good outcomes. “Today’s funding is going to help us do more for victims of sexual assault by funding a Sexual Assault Response Team,” Merski said. “A swift team response means better professional support for those who have been traumatized by vicious crimes and heartier enforcement through training that improves investigation and prosecution of offenders. “Some of the funding will also help us better address student mental health needs by funding a mental health liaison to connect students needing support to counseling. Those services are critical for students who are in troubled or in crisis and may not know where to turn.” Harkins said, “In addition to strengthening resources for assault victims and student mental health needs, today’s funding will help improve county probation services and reduce recidivism. Some of those dollars will support key step-down, supervisory services that fill a gap between incarceration and probation. Read more

 

Harkins: Rule permitting clubs to use of 100% of small games of chance revenue for operating expenses ends this week

(Jun 06, 2022)

HARRISBURG, June 6 – State Rep. Pat Harkins, D-Erie, is reminding clubs in Erie and throughout Pennsylvania that beginning June 10, they must resume allocating 60% of their small games of chance revenue to public interest purposes. Harkins, who is Democratic chairman of House Gaming Committee, said the provisions of Act 118 of 2020 – which temporarily suspended the 60% rule and allowed organizations to keep 100% of their small games revenue for operating expenses – are set to expire. “I want to remind community clubs – including civic, fraternal and veterans’ organizations – that the temporary rule allowing them to use 100% of their small games of chance revenue for operating expenses is ending this Friday, June 10,” Harkins said. “The rule was essential for helping clubs meet operating expenses at time when pandemic-related closures and restrictions on gatherings severely limited revenue. “The legislation that established the new rule also created a time period for its application, permitting clubs to tap 100% of their small games proceeds during the governor’s disaster declaration and for up to one year following termination of the declaration. That period is ending this week, which means clubs will return to the standard rule, with 40% of the revenue used for costs and 60% for public interest programs and projects.” Organizations eligible for Small Games of Chance licenses in Read more

 

Longietti receives ‘Friend of Education’ award from Pa. Association of Intermediate Units

(Jun 03, 2022)

SEVEN SPRINGS, June 3 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, was awarded the “Friend of Education” award – which recognizes a person or organization making a “significant impact” on childhood education – by the Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units yesterday. Longietti – who co-chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Pennsylvania Legislative Early Childhood Education Caucus and is Democratic chairman of the state House Education Committee – said he was honored to be recognized by the group, whose efforts improve student lives and open doors. “Education is the great equalizer, and it represents the gateway to opportunity,” Longietti said. “When we invest in our children and provide them with the educational resources they need to succeed, we reap a harvest that is many times greater than our investment. “The Intermediate Unit professionals help maximize that investment through work that helps schools overcome obstacles, expand resources and strengthen special, individualized attention to students needing it.” Longietti accepted the award at the association’s annual conference held at Seven Springs. The Intermediate Units are regionally based and provide a range of services to schools in their area, including in the fields of special education, technology, finance, human resources and transportation. Schools in Mercer County and the region are served by Midwestern Read more

 

Merski hosting ‘one-stop-shop’ senior bus pass workshops June 10

(Jun 02, 2022)

ERIE, June 2 – Seniors in the Harborcreek and Wesleyville areas can apply for and obtain a senior bus pass that allows them to ride any EMTA bus for free by visiting one of state Rep. Bob Merski’s one-stop-shop bus pass workshops on June 10. Merski, whose office currently provides same-day senior bus pass service, said he is offering the June workshops to expand outreach at a time when rising gas prices are making public transit a sensible option for seniors on a fixed income. “With inflation and gas prices on the rise, ‘riding the e for free’ is a great option for seniors,” Merski said. “Residents 65 or older can visit one of our workshops, get help completing the application, and receive their pass, all in one simple process. Those attending should remember to bring acceptable proof of age.” Both workshops will be held on Friday, June 10, at the following times and locations: Wesleyville: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Wesleyville Borough Hall, 3421 Buffalo Road. Harborcreek: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Harborcreek Municipal Building, 5601 Buffalo Road. Merski said seniors interested in obtaining the bus pass must bring an acceptable proof-of-age document, which may include a valid driver’s license, birth certificate, armed forces discharge or separation papers, passport or naturalization papers, PACE card, Read more

 

State Rep. Mark Longietti offers boating safety tips

(May 23, 2022)

Read more

 

Harkins, Merski: More than $530,000 in tax credits approved to boost young tech companies in Erie

(May 12, 2022)

ERIE, May 12 – Early-stage technology companies in Erie will benefit from $530,714 in tax credits approved today, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced. The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the Keystone Innovation Zone tax credits will be key to helping a growing Erie industry flourish. “Erie’s growing tech industry is diversifying our manufacturing and business sectors and bringing more family-sustaining jobs to the region,” Harkins said. “But for young companies, solvency and cash flow can pose huge challenges. The tax credits awarded today will make it easier for these companies to grow so they can stay in Erie, strengthen their bases in the community and expand.” Merski said, “It’s exciting to see more and more tech companies putting down roots here in Erie, but we need to make sure we can offer the favorable business climate and incentives they need to survive and thrive here. One way is by lowering the state corporate income tax, and another is by providing tax credits like the ones awarded today, which help reduce the burden on young companies starting out.” The lawmakers say the tax credits include: Evident Holding Company, LLC – $26,087 Institute on Healthcare Directives – $11,370 Makerplace Inc. – $100,000 VelocityNet Video, Inc. – $40,735 Steel Toe Consulting, Read more

 

Sainato: $150,000 awarded to Villa Maria farm center for hands-on learning

(May 11, 2022)

NEW CASTLE, May 11 – The Villa Maria Farm Center for Regenerative Agriculture is receiving a $151,106 grant from the state Department of Agriculture to help train new and beginning farmers about growing organic specialty crops, state Rep. Chris Sainato announced today. Sainato, D-Lawrence, said the funding will support in-person learning in demonstration gardens, as well as virtual learning, for an organization especially devoted to the community. “The Villa Maria Farm Center is a special place that embodies the self-reliance and community-minded spirit of the sisters who run it,” Sainato said. “A good portion of the farm’s produce is donated to food banks, shelters and parishes, and one of the center’s expressed goals is ensuring a fresh local food supply to those who need it. “Thanks to the new funding, the center will be able to provide hands-on learning and virtual lessons in organic agriculture to 10 new farmers each year. It’s a great investment that will bolster local agriculture while reinforcing the center’s messages of self-sufficiency, sustainability and community giving.” The farm, which operates on 759 acres, is part of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary’s Villa Maria Community Center. The grant is part of a package of $2.45 million in federal grants awarded statewide to 23 projects that will grow markets and increase the quality, safety Read more

 

Longietti receives ‘Legislative Excellence in Caring’ award from early education commission

(May 10, 2022)

HARRISBURG, May 10 – State Rep. Mark Longietti, D-Mercer, was honored today by the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission for his legislative support and advocacy on behalf of improving early childhood education and child care in the commonwealth. Longietti – who co-chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Pennsylvania Legislative Early Childhood Education Caucus and is Democratic chairman of the state House Education Committee – said he was honored to be recognized by the commission because he is a strong supporter of the group’s work. “I will treasure this award because I am a such big fan of the work this commission does to ensure Pennsylvania’s kids receive the best possible start in life through quality child care and early learning programs,” Longietti said. “These are some of the best investments we can make in state government, and the commission’s voices are essential to making them happen.” In presenting the award on behalf of the commission, former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker called Longietti an “outstanding champion for children and families,” saying he was instrumental in securing funding for the state’s Pre-K Counts Program, bringing the Nurse-Family Partnership to Mercer County and working with United Way to launch the county’s chapter of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. Praising Longietti as a “reliable and stout advocate with stakeholders across Read more

 

Sainato: General Assembly passes bill to smooth professional licensing path for military members
Jun 30, 2022

Burns: Protect consumers from tech companies selling personal information
Jun 30, 2022

Merski hosting Pride Month virtual town hall on June 27
Jun 20, 2022

Longietti: Nearly $400,000 awarded for ‘Digital Passport’ learning project
Jun 15, 2022

Merski kicks off 2022 flag takeback program
Jun 14, 2022

Merski, Harkins: Nearly $1 million awarded to expand housing assistance
Jun 10, 2022

Longietti: Mercer County programs receiving more than $130,000 for housing counseling, ‘Lots to Love’ programs
Jun 09, 2022

Sainato: $800,000 awarded for Lawrence County affordable housing, blight-fighting projects
Jun 09, 2022

Erie awarded $37,500 for historical site survey, Old Customs House renovation
Jun 09, 2022

Longietti: Nearly $90,000 awarded for program to bolster restrictive probation, reduce recidivism among nonviolent offenders
Jun 08, 2022

Sainato: More than $250,000 awarded to strengthen support for child assault victims, bolster probation and parole services
Jun 08, 2022

Merski, Harkins: More than $1 million awarded to strengthen victim supports, address student mental health, reduce recidivism
Jun 08, 2022

Harkins: Rule permitting clubs to use of 100% of small games of chance revenue for operating expenses ends this week
Jun 06, 2022

Longietti receives ‘Friend of Education’ award from Pa. Association of Intermediate Units
Jun 03, 2022

Merski hosting ‘one-stop-shop’ senior bus pass workshops June 10
Jun 02, 2022

State Rep. Bob Merski shares tips during National Safe Boating Week
May 23, 2022

State Rep. Mark Longietti offers boating safety tips
May 23, 2022

Harkins, Merski: More than $530,000 in tax credits approved to boost young tech companies in Erie
May 12, 2022

Sainato: $150,000 awarded to Villa Maria farm center for hands-on learning
May 11, 2022

Longietti receives ‘Legislative Excellence in Caring’ award from early education commission
May 10, 2022