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

 

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

 

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

 

Police Reform Working Group issues statement on Vice President Pence’s visit with the Fraternal Order of Police

(Jul 09, 2020)

In response to Vice President Mike Pence visiting with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, the Police Reform Working Group, made up of state and county elected officials and advocates, released the following statement:“As members of the Police Reform Working Group, we believe that the path to achieving community safety and racial justice in Pennsylvania must be two-fold. First, we must improve our current system of policing through accountability, oversight, and tangible policy changes that will diminish instances of police brutality against all citizens, but especially against the Black community. Second, we must work with communities to transform and re-envision policing itself through bold systemic changes that center around those most impacted by police violence and structural racism. Read more

 

Wheatley appointed to Pittsburgh Mercy Board of Directors

(Jul 07, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, July 7 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley has been appointed as a board member of Pittsburgh Mercy, a community-based health and wellness provider. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said Pittsburgh Mercy is a certified community behavioral health clinic that provides services for adults, children, adolescent and seniors with physical and behavioral health challenges, including those experiencing addiction and homelessness. “I am humbled and honored to serve as a board member of Pittsburgh Mercy, which has been such a huge part of our community for over five decades,” Wheatley said. “They provide compassionate care to thousands of Pittsburgh residents each year and I look forward to working with Pittsburgh Mercy’s leadership in continuing to support their goals and mission in providing care to those in need.” More information on Pittsburgh Mercy can be found at the following link: https://www.pittsburghmercy.org/ . Read more

 

Wheatley announces funding to combat, prevent homelessness in Allegheny County

(Jun 23, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, June 23 – Allegheny County has been awarded approximately $176,000 to help families affected by homelessness and to support affordable housing programs, state Rep. Jake Wheatley announced. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said the funding comes from the federal Emergency Solutions Grant program and is being distributed statewide through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. “Everyone deserves a safe place they can call home, and these funds will help ensure we assist those in need and also provide the necessary resources and support in our communities toward affordable, reliable housing,” Wheatley said. More information can be found at the following link: https://dced.pa.gov/programs/emergency-solutions-grant-esg/ . Read more

 

Wheatley applauds state’s efforts to update state contracting process to improve opportunities for diverse businesses

(Jun 16, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, June 16 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley applauded Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to improve opportunities for minority, women, LGBT, veteran and disabled-owned businesses to compete for state contracts. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said the governor’s changes, part of his Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities in Commonwealth Procurement and in Pennsylvania’s Economy executive order, would accomplish the following: Each competitive state procurement would use goal setting for small diverse businesses, with the intent of achieving a 26.3% state contract spending with SDBs. This would replace the previous scoring process used by the Pennsylvania Department of General Services to evaluate submitted proposals for construction projects over $300,000 (as of June 15) and for goods and services solicitations over $250,000 (beginning Aug. 17). DGS will set a goal of 4.6 percent of state contract spending to veteran-owned businesses through its Veteran Business Enterprise program, as recommended by the 2018 Statewide Disparity Study , which examined disparities in the state’s contracting system and made improvement recommendations. State agencies will be required to have at least 15% of their contract spending to go to eligible, state-certified small businesses through the Small Business Reserve program under DGS. This program helps all qualified businesses to compete as prime contractors on state contracting Read more

 

Reps. Wheatley, Gainey and Austin Davis issue statement on passing of former state Rep. Bill Robinson

(Jun 10, 2020)

HARRISBURG, June 10 – State Reps. Jake Wheatley, Ed Gainey and Austin Davis, all D-Allegheny, have issued the following statement on the passing of former state Rep. Bill Robinson: State Rep. Jake Wheatley: “Bill Robinson was committed to our community, and his service did not end after he left the General Assembly. He continued to work to the benefit of all residents in the city of Pittsburgh and beyond. My deepest sympathies go out today to his family and loved ones.” State Rep. Ed Gainey: “ It was with a heavy heart that I learned of Bill’s passing. He was one of those individuals who broke the mold, and who everyone seemed to know. From his time in the legislature, to his work on the city and county councils and throughout our community, Bill showed younger generations what it meant to serve, and was an outstanding role model for so many. I pray for him and for his family, and our entire community. We have lost so much these last few months, but we must remain strong and continue our long march toward justice, freedom and equality.” State Rep. Austin Davis: “Today, we remember the legacy and life of Bill Robinson, a true trailblazer and tireless public servant. Bill served our community at the city, state and county levels, always fighting to improve the condition of the African Americans in our region. Many of the African American elected officials in our region today stand on his shoulders and have walked in the Read more

 

Black Pittsburgh lawmakers’ protest forces action

(Jun 09, 2020)

Historic disruption of legislature causes speaker to call for special session as lawmakers vow to keep pressure on Read more

 

Police Reform Working Group releases statement on progress toward reform

(Jun 04, 2020)

The Police Reform Working Group, a collection of elected officials and advocates working to bring accountability and transparency reforms to law enforcement, released the following statement on Gov. Tom Wolf’s adoption today of their request for a state-level deputy inspector general aimed at improving law enforcement conduct, as well as Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s, along with the Fraternal Order of Police’s, support of a confidential database to track complaints against police officers: Read more

 

Lawmakers call on Republican leadership to take up police-community legislation

(Jun 04, 2020)

Pittsburgh-area lawmakers urged House leadership to address numerous law enforcement reform bills that have been languishing in House committees and to add session days if necessary Read more

 

Wheatley: Allegheny County to move to green reopening designation

(May 29, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, May 29 – Allegheny County will be allowed to move from the yellow to green reopening designation, effective 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 5, said state Rep. Jake Wheatley. “Our county has made progress in flattening the curve and curbing the virus’ spread, and today’s announcement is welcome news and will allow more of our businesses to reopen,” said Wheatley. “Moving forward, we need to ensure we continue to do our part and follow the health guidelines and help our communities heal from the impacts of this pandemic.” Wheatley said state and Centers for Disease Control health guidelines must be followed during the green reopening phase, and health officials will continue to monitor public health indicators and adjust orders and restrictions on counties as needed. Counties in the green designation must follow these restrictions: Work-related restrictions: Continued telework strongly encouraged. Businesses with in-person operations must follow updated business and building safety requirements. All businesses operating at 50% occupancy in the yellow phase may increase to 75% occupancy. Childcare facilities may open and must comply with state guidelines. Congregate care restrictions in place. Prison and hospital restrictions determined by individual facilities. Schools subject to CDC and state guidance. Social restrictions: Large gatherings Read more

 

Wheatley announces $378,000 in grants to assist community food banks, shelters

(May 21, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, May 21 – Approximately $378,544 in state grants have been awarded to several nonprofit organizations in Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh that provide food assistance, state Rep. Jake Wheatley announced today. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said the following organizations have received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Food Recovery Infrastructure Grant Program: Mt. Ararat Community Activity Center (Allegheny County): $130,000 Earthen Vessels Outreach (Allegheny County): $40,699 Alpha House Inc. (Allegheny County): $74,157 Latino Community Center (Allegheny County): $4,373 Community Kitchen Pittsburgh: $93,600 Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania Northside Food Pantry: $35,725 “The grants allow these organizations the necessary funds to cover costs of equipment purchases so they can properly prepare, transport and store food they receive from farms, wholesalers and retailers,” Wheatley said. “Our food banks and shelters do so much to help those in need, especially during this pandemic, and these funds will ensure food can be quickly stored and properly prepared to ensure it doesn’t go to waste.” Examples of eligible equipment include refrigerated or non-refrigerated box trucks, industrial-sized refrigerators, pallet jacks and/or dollies. More information on the grant program can be found at this link: Read more

 

Rep. Jake Wheatley details some of his legislative efforts re: COVID-19

(May 15, 2020)

As our communities continue to recover from the effects of an unprecedented pandemic, I remain committed to paving the way to help affected individuals, businesses, and institutions with immediate and long-term assistance and support. Read more

 

Wheatley applauds confirmation of Khadija Diggs to Pa. Parole Board

(May 14, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, May 14 – Today state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, announced the unanimous confirmation vote of Khadija Diggs, Esq., to the Pennsylvania Parole Board from the state Senate. Diggs, from Verona, Allegheny County, has an extensive legal background, having worked as an assistant solicitor for the City of Pittsburgh Law Department, the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender, and with the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She currently serves as assistant legal counsel for the Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel. Diggs is a commission member for the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission for General, Racial and Ethnic Fairness and earned her juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law. “I am proud and honored in the governor’s nomination of Khadija to this board,” said Wheatley. “She has a proven track record of success in the legal profession, including her current work in the state Office of General Counsel, not to mention her ongoing volunteer efforts serving the greater Pittsburgh community and statewide. I am confident Khadija’s experience, expertise and drive will further enhance the board in its mission to promote public safety and ensure a fair, efficient and transparent parole process that’s respectful of all people in our commonwealth.” "She's someone I believe will be an outstanding addition to the board,” Read more

 

Wheatley: Virtual MWDBE scheduled for May 14

(May 12, 2020)

PITTSBURGH, May 12 – Due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19, state Rep. Jake Wheatley has announced that the Minority Women and Disadvantaged Business Event he hosts annually will now be held virtually beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14. Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said a variety of agencies and organizations are scheduled to take part in the event, including the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the POISE Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, Rivers Innovation and the Pittsburgh Black Elected Officials Coalition. To join the virtual MWDBE event, please click on the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/virtual-town-hall-meeting-for-small-business-tickets-104200632898 . Read more

 

Reps. Wheatley, Deasy urge governor to waive liquor license fees for bars, restaurants

(May 08, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 8 – State Reps. Jake Wheatley and Dan Deasy have sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf requesting that liquor license fees be waived for restaurants and bars, citing the devastating impacts the industry has experienced due to the pandemic. Wheatley and Deasy, both D-Allegheny, said community restaurants and bars have either had to close or significantly curb their hours and operations in order to slow the spread of the virus. They have requested the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board waive or refund this year's license renewal and/or validation fees for liquor licensees that have remained closed or that have demonstrated significant loss of 25% or more to their business. “These businesses truly deserve a break, especially when you consider that many of them have already experienced significant losses of income,” said Wheatley, Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee. “They’ve been responsible and what better way can we help them get back on their economic feet than to give them this break on the liquor license fees. It’s the right thing to do.” “It is critical that we help our local restaurants and bars in their time of need, because these establishments connect communities,” said Deasy, Democratic chairman of the House Liquor Control Committee. “We cannot sit back and watch these businesses that provide not only employment but are the fabric of our community. They bring us Read more

 

Wheatley supports measure to expand coronavirus testing

(May 05, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 5 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, voted in support of a bill designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 and help the state move forward in reopening its economy and ensuring public safety. Wheatley said H.B. 2455 would call for the state to develop a comprehensive testing plan. The bill would also fund research, development and manufacturing of COVID-19 testing equipment and supplies, contact tracing and other measures. In addition, she added the measure would require healthcare and other essential workers to be given testing priority once the plan is activated. “We know people want to get back to work, visit their loved ones and support local businesses, but we have to ensure we have a plan in place that protects us and curbs the virus’ spread,” Wheatley said. “I stand ready to work with my colleagues and state officials to make that happen, and this plan is indeed a step in the right direction.” The bill now moves to the Senate for further action. Read more

 

Wheatley supports bill to exempt federal COVID-19 payments from state, local taxation

(May 04, 2020)

HARRISBURG, May 4 – A measure to ensure Pennsylvanians who received federal pandemic cash payments would not be required to pay state or local taxes on those funds unanimously passed the House today, state Rep. Jake Wheatley announced. Wheatley said H.B. 2408 , introduced by state Rep. Brandon Markosek, also D-Allegheny, would ensure those who received the funds, would not be required to pay those taxes. The funds, which originated from the CARES Act, are already exempt from federal taxation and provided cash payments to individuals making less than $99,000 per year and couples making less than $198,000 annually, he added. “We know that our residents are hurting and struggling to stay afloat, and to have them pay state and local taxes on the very funds designed to help them would add insult to injury,” Wheatley said. “That’s why I supported House Bill 2408, because we need to do all we can to help Pennsylvanians through this crisis, now and in the weeks and months to come.” The bill, which has companion legislation in the Senate, now heads to the Senate for further action. Read more

 

Davis, Lee, Gainey and Wheatley pen letter of support for COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity

(Apr 28, 2020)

HARRISBURG, April 28 – State Reps. Austin Davis, Ed Gainey, Summer Lee and Jake Wheatley, all D-Allegheny, on Tuesday penned a letter of support to Gov. Tom Wolf praising his administration’s enactment of the COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity , which was designed to help identify how the pandemic is affecting the state’s minority and vulnerable populations. A copy of the joint letter sent to the governor on Tuesday can be found here . “The COVID-19 pandemic – even in its earliest days – quickly shed light on many longstanding issues of inequality faced by minority communities,” Davis said. “Unfortunately, these are key issues these minority populations have dealt with for many years, COVID-19 just illuminated it for the rest of the state to see. So, while I’m hopeful and grateful for the institution of this task force, it’s my sincerest hope that this produces real results, saves lives and leads to longstanding change for Pennsylvania’s minority communities.” Lee added: “The coronavirus has brought to the surface all of the structural inequalities that marginalized communities in our state are dealing with – including those in our healthcare system. While I appreciate this effort, I would also hope that this task force is a starting point for us as a society to acknowledge and address the disparities in our healthcare 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

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

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

Police Reform Working Group issues statement on Vice President Pence’s visit with the Fraternal Order of Police
Jul 09, 2020

Wheatley appointed to Pittsburgh Mercy Board of Directors
Jul 07, 2020

Wheatley announces funding to combat, prevent homelessness in Allegheny County
Jun 23, 2020

Wheatley applauds state’s efforts to update state contracting process to improve opportunities for diverse businesses
Jun 16, 2020

Reps. Wheatley, Gainey and Austin Davis issue statement on passing of former state Rep. Bill Robinson
Jun 10, 2020

Black Pittsburgh lawmakers’ protest forces action
Jun 09, 2020

Police Reform Working Group releases statement on progress toward reform
Jun 04, 2020

Lawmakers call on Republican leadership to take up police-community legislation
Jun 04, 2020

Wheatley: Allegheny County to move to green reopening designation
May 29, 2020

Wheatley announces $378,000 in grants to assist community food banks, shelters
May 21, 2020

Rep. Jake Wheatley details some of his legislative efforts re: COVID-19
May 15, 2020

Wheatley applauds confirmation of Khadija Diggs to Pa. Parole Board
May 14, 2020

Wheatley: Virtual MWDBE scheduled for May 14
May 12, 2020

Reps. Wheatley, Deasy urge governor to waive liquor license fees for bars, restaurants
May 08, 2020

Wheatley supports measure to expand coronavirus testing
May 05, 2020

Wheatley supports bill to exempt federal COVID-19 payments from state, local taxation
May 04, 2020

Davis, Lee, Gainey and Wheatley pen letter of support for COVID-19 Response Task Force for Health Disparity
Apr 28, 2020