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Relief to restaurants, bars & clubs to help workers a top priority in House Democratic legislative package

Wheatley issues statement regarding committee action on H.R. 1100

(1 day ago)

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 23 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding today’s vote by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee against performing an audit of the 2020 general election as called for by H.R. 1100 : “Today, the bipartisan, bicameral Legislative Budget and Finance Committee voted 2-to-1 against conducting a risk limiting audit of our state’s most recent election. After substantial discussion, the committee felt that staff would be unable to conduct such an audit and were also unable to find a consultant who could conduct it, given the 60-day to 90-day timeframe. “As the committee’s treasurer, I believe it’s imperative we use our state’s finances and resources in a responsible manner. That is a responsibility shared by each member of this committee. To conduct such an audit, on top of the actions taking place by the Pennsylvania Department of State to certify election results, would truly be an exercise in futility. We currently have processes in place to validate our election results to ensure the process, from beginning to end, was fair. “Today’s actions put an end to a process that was fraught with politics from its inception and would have disenfranchised the thousands of Pennsylvanians who exercised their right to vote. Now is the time to move forward and prepare for a busy and productive legislative session.” Read more

 

Wheatley issues statement on budget discussions

(Nov 20, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 20 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding state budget negotiations in the House: “We have thousands of families struggling to find their financial footing because of this raging pandemic that has closed or limited their abilities to feed themselves and their families. Thousands of our students don’t have the ability to access school instruction because of limited access to technology and reliable internet service. We have hundreds of our small businesses and venues still waiting for some financial relief. “To that end, we have $1.3 in federal dollars for the sole purpose of offering some short-term financial relief. Instead, Harrisburg is holding the money so that it can be used toward a sham of a budget. “It's yet another case of those in the state Capitol who fail to understand or care about what’s best for our residents and are only thinking of their own interests. What happened to the belief that, during times of difficulty, we work together to come up with ideas and solutions and collaborate? Instead, there’s a push toward actions that are short-sighted and short-termed. That is what will happen if we continue forward with short-sighted and irresponsible budgeting. “What about closing some of our corporate tax loopholes, or consider emerging industries, such as our cannabis industry, to resolve the state’s $3 billion deficit? There have been Read more

 

Wheatley announces $291K in school safety grants, urges colleagues to do more to help schools, communities during ongoing pandemic

(Nov 16, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 16 – While announcing $291,725 in Safe Schools Targeted Grants awarded to area schools, state Rep. Jake Wheatley is also renewing a call to do more to help schools and school districts impacted by inequities in funding and support that have been laid bare in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “While these grants will certainly help our schools’ efforts in providing a safe learning environment for students and staff, I also implore my colleagues in the House to work together to create a funding source to address the digital and racial divides that have been exposed during this ongoing pandemic,” said Wheatley. “We have many schools across our state that lack affordable, reliable broadband access, as well as the vital resources necessary to support our students and families in need who continue to struggle to make ends meet. We can and must continue to do more.” The grants, awarded by the state Department of Education, are aimed toward preventing and reducing violence. The funds can also be used to purchase safety and security-related equipment and provide training and compensation of school resource and police officers. Under this program, the PDE’s Office for Safe Schools offers four types of safety grants: equipment grants of up to $25,000; program grants of up to $20,000; school police officer grants of up to $40,000; and school resource officer grants of up to $60,000. The grants are designed to Read more

 

Legalizing adult-use cannabis to provide second chance, reform criminal justice system | Editorial

(Oct 21, 2020)

Earlier this year, House Bill 2050 was introduced – a measure to allow for the legal sale of adult-use cannabis through a permitting structure for growers, processors, and dispensaries.There are several great components contained in this bill, including provisions to help our youth, support affordable housing, and provide resources to help minority and women-owned businesses. In addition, it would provide a much-needed influx of revenue to our state at a time when we face significant economic challenges.Unfortunately, one component of the bill that got lost in the media attention following its introduction is the Cannabis Clean Slate initiative, which would provide for the expungement of cannabis-related offenses for non-violent drug offenders. Read more

 

Wheatley introduces “Return Your Rights” legislation

(Oct 16, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 16 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley has introduced a measure designed to end the cycle of branding nonviolent offenders, who have paid their debt to society, for their past mistakes. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, says H.B. 2942 would ensure their full rights as citizens are restored, provided they have served their time and paid all fines, fees and restitution. His bill would allow offenders to vote while in prison and once they are released. In addition, Wheatley’s measure would provide for the expungement of nonviolent felonies under the state’s The Controlled Substances, Drugs, Device, and Cosmetic Act and allow nonviolent offenders who have completed their sentence and paid any fines or related costs to obtain a firearm license. “When nonviolent offenders serve their time and have paid their debt to society, sadly it’s not uncommon for them to be subsequently denied basic rights and privileges that many of us take for granted,” said Wheatley. “While we’ve made some strides in recent years to implement meaningful criminal justice reforms, including the passage of clean slate legislation in 2018, we can and must do more. They deserve a second chance.” More information on the bill can be found at the following link: https://legis-pahofr.msappproxy.net/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=30908 Read more

 

Gainey, Wheatley sponsor weekend event at CCAC

(Oct 07, 2020)

Wellness/street fair coincides with Allegheny County voter access efforts Read more

 

Wheatley announces grant to fund development plan for Fowler Park

(Sep 24, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 24 – The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has awarded a $40,000 grant to the city of Pittsburgh to help it prepare a development plan for Fowler Park, state Rep. Jake Wheatley announced today. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said the funding will allow city officials to prepare a master site development plan for the 11-acre park. “Providing our communities with places to play and relax is so vital to our overall mental and physical health,” Wheatley said. “Our parks make such a vital impact to our residents’ quality of life, and this grant will help the city move forward to develop Fowler Park and continue providing our residents with great places to enjoy for years to come.” DCNR’s Community Parks and Recreation Grants program is funded with a variety of state and federal sources, including the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, or Key 93, which includes Key-Community and Key-Land Trust; the Environmental Stewardship Fund; the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund; Pennsylvania Trails Fund; Pennsylvania Heritage Area Program; and the ATV Restricted Management Account Fund. More information can be found at the following link: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/Communities/Grants/CommunityParks%20andRecreationGrants/Pages/default.aspx Read more

 

Wheatley introduces legislation to help live music venues during pandemic

(Sep 14, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 14 – Hundreds of live music venues have been adversely impacted due to the pandemic – and many of them have been forced to close their doors – and state Rep. Jake Wheatley is spearheading an effort to assist the industry. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said his “Save our Stages” measure (H.B. 2984) would earmark federal CARES dollars to create a fund to provide grants to these businesses and keep them afloat. “We have more than 200 of these independent music venues across our state, which last year alone generated nearly $1.4 billion in revenue and $238 million in direct economic impacts in our communities, sustaining our local restaurants and hotels,” Wheatley said. “This industry also provides employment to over 10,000 people statewide -- many who are now unemployed. For all these reasons, it’s vital we provide this much-needed support to ensure their doors remain open for all of us to patronize once this pandemic ends.” More information can be found by clicking this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=32418 . Read more

 

Wheatley announces nearly $224K in Keystone Historic Preservation grants

(Sep 09, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 9 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley announced approximately $223,500 in grants were awarded to the city of Pittsburgh and several museums and historical organizations in the city. Wheatley, D-Pittsburgh, said the following entities were awarded Keystone Historic Preservation grants from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission: Construction category : City of Pittsburgh - $100,000 These funds will be used to rehab the windows of the Oliver Bath House, which is listed on the National Historic Ledger, as part of the overall rehabilitation project to preserve the bath house. Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy - $50,000 Funds will be used to restore the Hartzell Memorial Monument, also known as the “Man, Beast and Bird” fountain/statue in Allegheny Commons Park. The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh - $24,000 Grant funds will be used to support repointing of the granite façade of the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny building to repair and prevent further water damage. Planning project category: Allegheny Historic Preservation Society, Inc. - $24,500 The society will use the funds to conduct a thorough investigation of the Elks building, an important work of famous Pittsburgh architect Edward B. Lee, including future strategic planning, fundraising and renovation. New Hazlett Center for the Performing Arts - $25,000 The funds will be Read more

 

Wheatley applauds governor, lt. governor in joining call to urge legislature to take up effort to legalize adult-use cannabis

(Sep 03, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Sept. 3 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman urging legislators in the House and Senate to consider several bills, including his measure ( H.B. 2050 ) to legalize adult-use cannabis: “For over a year, I have urged my colleagues in both chambers to meet me at the table to discuss legalization. Unfortunately, my bill and others continue to languish in committee, while our state faces an unprecedented budget shortfall. "It’s clear and the people of the commonwealth have spoken: the time to legalize is now. Through my bill, legalization of adult-use cannabis would provide millions of dollars of revenue, create jobs and support grant programs to help minority- and women-owned businesses. It also includes a provision, called the Cannabis Clean Slate initiative, which would expunge cannabis-related offenses for non-violent offenders. "During today’s news conference, Lt. Governor Fetterman said nearly a quarter of a million Pennsylvanians have been arrested for nothing more than consuming a plant that’s legal in several areas of our country. Those same people find it tougher to get a job, pass a criminal background check, or get a business loan – all because of possession or use of cannabis. That, in and of itself, is indeed criminal. "For those who are fearful that such a move would put children at Read more

 

Wheatley to introduce resolution to recognize September as ‘Hunger Action Month’ in Pa.

(Aug 31, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 31 – With one in nine Pennsylvanians struggling with hunger and the current COVID-19 pandemic leading more families and individuals toward food insecurity, state Rep. Jake Wheatley is urging all Pennsylvanians to play a role in helping those in need. To that end, Wheatley, D-Allegheny, plans to introduce a resolution that would recognize September as “Hunger Action Month.” “The current pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity issues across our state, and according to Feeding America, more than 1.4 million Pennsylvanians are experiencing severe hunger, and nearly 400,000 of those are children,” Wheatley said. “My goal with introducing this resolution is to shed light on the persistent problem of domestic hunger in our state and across the nation. “Every one of us can do something to help – whether it’s volunteering at your local food bank, donating to food pantries, or holding a food drive or raising money to help organizations providing food to those who desperately need our help.” While the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Women Infants and Children program feed millions in need across Pennsylvania and nationwide, many who are struggling with hunger are unlikely to qualify because they are either employed or have incomes slightly above the poverty line, Wheatley added. More details on his resolution can be found at the following link: Read more

 

Police Reform Working Group issues statement on House Republican Policy hearing on law enforcement; calls for further legislative action

(Aug 27, 2020)

The Police Reform Working Group, a collection of local and state elected officials and advocates, issued the following statement in response to a Pennsylvania House Republican Policy Committee hearing on law enforcement interactions with the community:“We appreciate the House Republican Policy Committee shining a light on how law enforcement interacts with communities around the state. This is a necessary discussion that is long overdue and it’s encouraging to hear presenters today acknowledge that police reform is necessary. Read more

 

We must take action on gun violence – the future of our children depends on it

(Aug 26, 2020)

This week, I was reminded of some dark realities that have sadly been a constant presence in my life and only moments away. There have been several shootings around our city in recent days, but the one that took the life of 1-year old Zykier Young just hits me differently. As a human and as a father, I must ask myself if this violence will ever end? I have started reading a book by Ta-Nehisi Coates to my 8-year-old son, called Between the World and Me . It gives us an opportunity to bond but to also to talk about what it means to be a Black man and our role in this world. But, the other night, I just couldn’t do it. It’s too painful to look at my son and know that there just doesn’t seem to be any rest or secure place for us in this world. When you can’t find safety in the place where you rest your head, and you can’t walk or sit or drive in your neighborhood without fearing death from those who are sworn to protect you and those who you fight to protect, what’s left? Where does the stress and trauma of it all end? I’m an eternal fighter and believe that I was born to fight for freedom and justice. I believe that we have no choice but to continue pushing ahead, but there are days where it drives me to my sunken place and opens those windows of doubt. We must do better -- for our next generation, for our families, for us. It’s vital we continue to fight against this violence on all fronts Read more

 

Wheatley: Minority-owned businesses need vital help, support now

(Aug 11, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 11 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, issued the following statement regarding urgent help needed for minority-owned businesses: “I hear the anger and frustration from my local business owners, especially those who are considered to be historically disadvantaged, for the lack of support they’ve received during the ongoing pandemic. And frankly, I don’t blame them. “Our minority-owned businesses are hurting, and they are among the most severely impacted and the ones who need help now to stay in business. These same business owners are also anticipating significant decreases in revenue in the next year. “In the last decade, minority businesses accounted for more than 50% of the 2 million new businesses nationwide, creating nearly 5 million jobs. At present, there are now more than 4 million minority-owned companies in the U.S., with annual sales totaling close to $700 billion. But despite that growth, major disparities remain when it comes to their access to capital and other business opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic has made that disparity even worse. Furthermore, national figures show that half of black-owned businesses nationwide will close permanently due to the pandemic. “This is unacceptable. “This week, the second round of grant applications through the COVID-19 Relief PA Statewide Small Business Assistance Program were announced. This program, which is designed to support Read more

 

House Democrats in Pittsburgh announce $409K in education funding for Pittsburgh School District

(Aug 07, 2020)

HARRISBURG, Aug. 7 – House Democrats representing the city of Pittsburgh announced Friday the disbursement of $409,000 in education funding to the Pittsburgh School District. Allegheny County House Democratic Delegation members who represent the city of Pittsburgh include state Reps. Dan Deasy, Dan Frankel, Ed Gainey, Sara Innamorato, Summer Lee, Dan Miller, Adam Ravenstahl, Harry Readshaw and Jake Wheatley. “This is substantial funding for the Pittsburgh School District,” said state Rep. Dan Miller, chairman of the delegation. “The allotted funding will go toward well-needed resources, and it will ensure students in the district have a better chance of achieving academic success.” The grants may be used to purchase computer equipment, such as laptops, tablets and internet hot spots, or used toward providing instructional materials, such as paper lessons and coursework. Schools with the highest percentages of students lacking access to resources were given priority in receiving these grants. The Continuity in Education and Equity Grants are designed to help provide access and inclusion for all learners by bridging the gap for students who are currently limited in their ability to participate in continuity of education. Read more

 

Wheatley: Pittsburgh-based company joins state medical marijuana program

(Aug 06, 2020)

State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, announced today that Goodblend Pennsylvania LLC will join the state’s first-in-the-nation research program for medical marijuana. A clinical registrant holds both a medical marijuana grower/processor and dispensary permit and is affiliated with an approved academic clinical research center. Read more

 

Wheatley announces more than $1.9 million in COVID funding for colleges, universities

(Aug 03, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 3 – Postsecondary institutions and adult basic education providers preparing to head back to classes this fall while mitigating COVID-19, will have more than $1.9 million in funding to create safe and healthy learning environments, state Rep. Jake Wheatley announced today. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said the f unding is part of $28 million in federal money allocated to organizations across Pennsylvania, and can be used toward the safe reopening of schools in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This may include, but is not limited to, the purchasing of protective equipment, hand sanitizer/cleaning products; equipment or technology to take classrooms online; installation of barriers or other protective devices in building structures; or to purchase health apps to assist in contact tracing and monitoring of students. Administered by the state Department of Education, the federal funding was based on both the shares of total enrollments by each postsecondary sector and the number of socio-economically disadvantaged students served by institutions. Additionally, $500,000 of the total funds were set aside to provide relief to adult basic education providers. “Our dedicated instructors, staff and students deserve to return to their academics knowing that their health and safety are a top priority,” Wheatley said. “This funding will be extremely helpful and allow our colleges and universities to continue to deliver Read more

 

Relief to restaurants, bars & clubs to help workers a top priority in House Democratic legislative package

(Jul 27, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 27 -- Citing the distressing impacts COVID-19 is having on Pennsylvania’s restaurant industry and a recent Yelp survey showing more than half of restaurants could close permanently due to the virus’ impact, Democrats in Harrisburg have crafted a legislative package aimed at providing relief to community business owners and the workers that cook and serve our food. The package includes nine bills that would provide grants to local restaurants, bars and clubs, reduce and eliminate specific licensing fees, extend discounts to licensees and protect businesses by guaranteeing their insurance pays out in future emergencies. These efforts will provide direct relief to an industry of Pennsylvania businesses the virus has hit hard, House Democratic leaders said. Restrictions put in place have been necessary in the state’s response to COVID-19. The leaders said they recognize the hardship the virus has continued to place on the restaurant industry. Restaurants have served as the backdrop of many life occasions and special moments and they need support more now than ever. The House Democratic package includes: Earmarking CARES grant funding from the federal government to be directed to small, community restaurants instead of national chains to ensure those dollars are invested back into the region. ( Rep. Joe Ciresi, Montgomery County & Rep. Tina Davis, Bucks County ) Earmarking CARES grant Read more

 

Rep. Wheatley to introduce bill to give restaurants, bars, taverns a break on penalties, fees for sales tax payments, including liquor tax

(Jul 27, 2020)

HARRISBURG, July 27 – In an effort to help restaurants, bars and taverns impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, state Rep. Jake Wheatley has announced he will soon introduce legislation that would eliminate penalties and fees for delayed sales tax payments and provide a grace period for paying the 6% liquor sales tax for these businesses. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said the businesses, who lost significant amounts of revenue after closing their doors for months to help prevent the spread of the virus, deserve this break. “It’s imperative that restaurants, bars and taverns be given a financial break for being responsible and doing their part during the state’s emergency declaration,” Wheatley said. “With many of these businesses beginning the process of reopening, removing these additional fees would give them some additional breathing room and go a long way to help them recover from their losses and get back on their feet.” Back in May, Wheatley and state Rep. Dan Deasy, also D-Allegheny, sent a letter to the governor , requesting that liquor license fees be waived for restaurants and bars due to the devastating financial impacts they’ve experienced due to the pandemic. More information on his pending legislation can be found at this link: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=32170 Read more

 

Wheatley: Legislation would address systemic racism, address poorer health conditions, economic outcomes among people of color in Pa.

(Jul 21, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, July 21 – Calling it a dire public health crisis, state Rep. Jake Wheatley has announced his intent to introduce a bill to address racial inequities among Black, Brown and Indigenous communities in Pennsylvania. “Study after study continues to show definitive links between higher rates of chronic health conditions, like high blood pressure and diabetes, among our Black, Latino and Native American residents,” said Wheatley, D-Allegheny. “Racism is truly a public health problem, leading to higher levels of stress and significantly reduced access to medical and social services, among other impacts, resulting in increased levels of disease, disability, and death. As we continue to demand changes to address systemic racism in Pennsylvania and across the nation, we must also respond to this public health crisis – because lives are truly at stake.” Wheatley’s legislation would create a racial equity task force within the Pennsylvania Department of Health, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. This task force would oversee the review of policies and provide recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly on efforts focused on reducing the disparities between people of color and white residents statewide. More information on the bill can be found at the following link: Read more

 

Wheatley issues statement regarding committee action on H.R. 1100
1 day ago

Wheatley issues statement on budget discussions
Nov 20, 2020

Wheatley announces $291K in school safety grants, urges colleagues to do more to help schools, communities during ongoing pandemic
Nov 16, 2020

Legalizing adult-use cannabis to provide second chance, reform criminal justice system | Editorial
Oct 21, 2020

Wheatley introduces “Return Your Rights” legislation
Oct 16, 2020

Gainey, Wheatley sponsor weekend event at CCAC
Oct 07, 2020

Wheatley announces grant to fund development plan for Fowler Park
Sep 24, 2020

Wheatley introduces legislation to help live music venues during pandemic
Sep 14, 2020

Wheatley announces nearly $224K in Keystone Historic Preservation grants
Sep 09, 2020

Wheatley applauds governor, lt. governor in joining call to urge legislature to take up effort to legalize adult-use cannabis
Sep 03, 2020

Wheatley to introduce resolution to recognize September as ‘Hunger Action Month’ in Pa.
Aug 31, 2020

Police Reform Working Group issues statement on House Republican Policy hearing on law enforcement; calls for further legislative action
Aug 27, 2020

We must take action on gun violence – the future of our children depends on it
Aug 26, 2020

Wheatley: Minority-owned businesses need vital help, support now
Aug 11, 2020

House Democrats in Pittsburgh announce $409K in education funding for Pittsburgh School District
Aug 07, 2020

Wheatley: Pittsburgh-based company joins state medical marijuana program
Aug 06, 2020

Wheatley announces more than $1.9 million in COVID funding for colleges, universities
Aug 03, 2020

Relief to restaurants, bars & clubs to help workers a top priority in House Democratic legislative package
Jul 27, 2020

Rep. Wheatley to introduce bill to give restaurants, bars, taverns a break on penalties, fees for sales tax payments, including liquor tax
Jul 27, 2020

Wheatley: Legislation would address systemic racism, address poorer health conditions, economic outcomes among people of color in Pa.
Jul 21, 2020