Wheatley, Gainey and Davis ask Turzai to call members back to Capitol

(Jul 11, 2018)

HARRISBURG, July 11 – On Tuesday, state Reps. Jake Wheatley, Ed Gainey and Austin Davis, all D-Allegheny, sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Turzai, urging the Allegheny County Republican to call House members back to the Capitol to focus on law enforcement safety and accountability . Their request is one of many attempts as of late by House Democrats to bring the police-involved shooting deaths of African-Americans across the country and state to the forefront. The letter, which was co-signed by a majority of the Allegheny County Democratic Delegation, made clear to Turzai that its intentions to call House members back to Harrisburg were by “no means a witch hunt” to what has “become a repetitive cycle of incidents involving law enforcement and the tragic death of young African-American men.” Instead, the letter states the goal is to lead “by example” by having representatives return to a session that solely would be dedicated to examining state laws and making changes in “an effort to establish higher standards of accountability and professionalism for those who choose a career of service to their communities.” Wheatley, Gainey and Davis recently advocated for improved police-community relations following the death of Antwon Rose, an unarmed 17-year-old who was shot and killed June 19 by police during a traffic stop in East Pittsburgh. The police offer who shot Rose has since been charged with criminal Read more

 

Wheatley letter urges Speaker of the House to call legislators back to session to discuss law enforcement safety and accountability

(Jul 11, 2018)

Wheatley letter urges Speaker of the House to call legislators back to Capitol to discuss law enforcement safety and accountability. Read more

 

Happy Independence Day; Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program

(Jul 03, 2018)

Happy July 4th! Read more

 

Addressing police and community relations

(Jun 29, 2018)

Please share your thoughts with me on how we can cultivate better relationships between our neighborhoods and police departments. Read more

 

Norfolk Southern’s railroad plans for our community

(Jun 29, 2018)

Like many of you who attended or are aware of Tuesday night’s Norfolk Southern community meeting regarding their plans for the railway running through our neighborhoods, I was left feeling very disappointed. The meeting felt like an obligation to meet the bare minimum and your concerns were not answered or addressed. I immediately contacted the Department of Transportation to determine what role it has in this process and what was going to happen moving forward. Please know, whether we’re talking about a major public matter or an obscure issue in one neighborhood, as your state representative I will always do my best to demand answers and advocate on your behalf. Since the community meeting, my staff and I have been in regular communication with PennDOT, including a conference call directly with Transportation Secretary Leslie Richards. During our conversation, the secretary assured me personally that PennDOT was just as unsatisfied with the meeting and that this is not how it does business. We discussed the issue in more detail, which I will explain, but I felt it was important to let you know despite what appears to be a poor start, your state government is working for you. I will continue to vigorously advocate on your behalf, as I always have, and I believe the secretary when she assured me this process is going to change course. I know many of you submitted questions and concerns at the meeting. PennDOT promised me they were all collected and are being Read more

 

Legislators offer ways to improve police-community relations

(Jun 26, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 25 – State Reps. Austin Davis, Ed Gainey and Jake Wheatley, all D-Allegheny, along with Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila, and other members from across the state, offered solutions on how to restore public trust and improve the professionalism of law enforcement, during a news conference today held at the Capitol. They hopedtaking action will help improve police and community relations. Wheatley and other lawmakers unveiled a framework for legislative action, including three main initiatives: Establishing a licensing board or commission, similar to nearly every other professional occupation from doctors and lawyers to barbers, that would be able to independently take action regarding individuals’ ability to participate in that profession. They believe law enforcement should be no different. Creating a bipartisan caucus to bring policymakers together to offer ideas and best practices from across the commonwealth Enacting legislation similar to laws that apply to teachers, so that any incidents or transgressions related to their employment can be shared with potential employers. “As a parent, none of us want to ever bury a child,” said Wheatley, who is also Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee. “We want to find ways on how we can prevent and possibly eliminate police shootings of unarmed men and women, particularly those of color.” The news conference was held almost a week after the Read more

 

Wheatley criticizes policy of separating families at U.S./Mexican border

(Jun 21, 2018)

HARRISBURG, June 21 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, released the following statement about President Trump’s immigration policies: “As a father of three, I can't help but feel the hurt, pain, and anger of what's transpiring in our country today regarding the sanctioned human right violations as children are being ripped away from the arms of their parents simply because they seek a better life. “As a lawmaker, I feel compelled to fight for those who are least capable of fighting for themselves. This is an issue where none of us can sit silently by and not take a stand. Placing children in cages, separating families and condoning government-sanctioned abuses is intolerable and must be stopped immediately. “I applaud Governor Wolf and those governors who refused to send troops to the border because of this unjust policy. I stand with the families and many of my colleagues to continue to demand an immediate change of our immigration laws.” Wheatley joined other legislators and organizations during a rally today in the Capitol Rotunda that denounced the actions of family separations at the border separating the United States and Mexico. Read more

 

Honoring today as ‘Juneteenth Independence Day’ across the commonwealth

(Jun 19, 2018)

Honoring today as ‘Juneteenth Independence Day’ across the commonwealth As we celebrate Juneteenth today, also known as Freedom Day, I’d like to wish everyone a happy Independence Day. As you know, on June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, Texas, learned they were free. Since then, the day has become a day of commemoration nationally. That is why I support my colleague’s legislation, H.R. 871 , which observes June 19, 2018 as ‘Juneteenth Independence Day in Pennsylvania.’ Although President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it wasn’t until two years later that slaves in Texas and in other southwestern states learned of their freedom. While we have come a long way, we are unfortunately still fighting against injustices and discriminatory happenings every day. In Harrisburg, and in the 19 th Legislative District, I continue to pursue and support a more welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for all Americans, no matter their race, creed or sexual orientation. I’d like to share a quote from Coretta Scott King, “Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win in it every generation.” Deadline extended for Pa. Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program I'm happy to announce that the deadline for the 2017 Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program has been extended to Dec. 31, 2018. The rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or Read more

 

Wheatley to join Principal’s Pink Tutu Run

(May 24, 2018)

HARRISBURG, May 24 – If you’re hoping state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, will participate in Saturday’s Pink Tutu Run hosted by Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re expecting to see him do it wearing a pink tutu, you might have to wait a while. The event is the result of a successful reading challenge by the school: if the students read 250 books by May 25, the staff – led by the principal – would participate in a 5k run/walk through the city’s historical Hill District. The uniform? A pink tutu. Naturally, the students rose to the challenge. While Wheatley confirmed he’ll be participating, don’t expect the decorated U.S. Marine combat veteran to don a pink tutu for the event. “While I’m a big fan of kids reading, and I’m impressed by the staff’s good sportsmanship, I’m going to leave the tutu at home,” Wheatley said, adding that, “Solidarity only goes so far.” WHEN: 7:30 a.m. Saturday, May 26 (Run/walk starts at 8 a.m.) WHERE: Pittsburgh Miller African-Centered Academy, 2055 Bedford Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15219 Read more

 

Wheatley, colleagues kick off ninth annual Capitol Hunger Garden

(May 23, 2018)

HARRISBURG, May 23 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, was on hand this morning to mark the opening of the Capitol Hunger Garden, as the annual bipartisan project to combat hunger entered its ninth year. Joining Wheatley, who is co-chairman of the Legislative Hunger Caucus, was his fellow co-chairman, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, other caucus members and hunger awareness activists. “This garden is very much a living tool, but it’s also symbolic,” Wheatley said. “Its plantings provide healthy food to hundreds in need. At the same time, it raises awareness that food insecurity is still very much a reality in the commonwealth, and it lets citizens know that we’re not prepared to stand by and allow that to continue.” Planted each year by master gardeners and volunteers on a 1,000-square-foot area of land next to the Capitol building, the garden produces between 700 and 800 pounds of vegetables annually. The yield is donated to food banks, pantries and local soup kitchens such as the Downtown Daily Bread. This year, the caucus partnered with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank to hold a local food drive as part of the opening. Wheatley said the garden is a labor of love for the 80-plus caucus members who maintain it. “No citizen of the commonwealth – whether they live here in the city or in a rural or suburban area – should ever have to go hungry. If my colleagues and I can do Read more

 

Wheatley joins colleagues, advocates for ‘Day of Action on Gun Control’

(May 22, 2018)

HARRISBURG, May 22 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, joined fellow members of the PA SAFE Caucus and community advocates at today’s “Day of Action on Gun Control” at the state Capitol. The event, hosted by state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, featured stories by community members about how gun violence has impacted their lives and strengthened their commitment to fight back. A combat veteran, Wheatley said he experienced the trauma of gun violence long before he entered the Marine Corps. “I spent 11 months in combat, and when I came home, they assessed me and found I was impacted – that I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder,” Wheatley said. “That was just after 11 months. But for 21 years before that, I spent every day living with gun violence, in my own neighborhood. It was just as traumatic.” Wheatley said he’s extremely proud of the advocates and community members who showed up to speak in support of gun control legislation pending in the House. But he added that while gun control legislation is critical, it’s a starting point. “You can’t just change the law, you have to change the culture,” Wheatley said. “You have to invest in ‘unlearning’ behavior you’re taught every day. Our job as legislators is to convince others under this Capitol dome that this crisis is just as important as the opioid addiction crisis – as important as Read more

 

Wheatley: Grant to Children’s Museum invests in our kids’ education

(May 11, 2018)

HARRISBURG, May 11 – The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will receive a $50,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, announced today. "This grant is a great investment in our kids’ education," Wheatley said. "Studies have shown that hands-on, play-based interactive learning is one of the best ways for kids to absorb knowledge. We’re so fortunate our district is home to the Children’s Museum, with its multiple exhibits that expose kids to nature, the arts, social sciences and more." The funding comes from PHMC’s Cultural and Historical Support Grant program, which this year awarded nearly $2 million to qualified museums and official county historical societies. The program is designed to support the general operations of Pennsylvania’s museums and historical societies that are not eligible for other forms of state funding. A museum can receive up to $50,000 under the program. Read more

 

Wheatley: State funds will boost fight against gun violence

(May 10, 2018)

HARRISBURG, May 10 – A new statewide grant program to combat gun violence will help cities identify and implement gun control programs that work, state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, announced today. Wheatley, a member of PA SAFE Caucus, said the recently announced Gun Violence Reduction Initiative will infuse $1.5 million in funds to help cities combat this public health and safety epidemic. “The governor launched the program in Philadelphia after listening to community members’ stories about how they’ve been impacted by gun violence,” Wheatley said. “Although their stories are unique, they’re not unfamiliar to residents of Pittsburgh, where innocent lives are lost to gun violence all the time.” Wheatley added that he’s hopeful the new program could spur action, both locally and at the state Capitol. “The grants can help us fight this on the local level with evidence-based programs that have proven effective at reducing gun violence,” Wheatley said. “I’m also hopeful that the initiative announced this week will motivate the state House to pass gun violence legislation sent to it by the Senate.” Municipalities can currently apply for these grants through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The deadline is June 22, and grant awards will be announced in July. PCCD recently awarded $48 million in competitive grants for statewide programs that provide direct services Read more

 

It’s time for a reasonable natural gas tax

(May 02, 2018)

As the second-largest producer of natural gas in the U.S—and the only gas-producing state without a severance tax—it’s time for Pennsylvania to take action. Read more

 

Wheatley legislation recognizing April 2018 as National Jazz Month in Pennsylvania adopted by state House

(Apr 30, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 30 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today announced that a resolution designating April 2018 as National Jazz Month in Pennsylvania has been adopted by the state House. “It’s hard to deny the lasting impression jazz music has left on American culture,” Wheatley said. “Jazz is uniquely American, and Pennsylvania has played a major role in its development and progression.” Many associate jazz music with the likes of New Orleans, but Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, as well as many other cities, towns and boroughs across the commonwealth have played an integral role in the evolution of jazz culture, Wheatley noted. In fact, two Pennsylvanians, Kenny Clark and John Coltrane, were instrumental in bringing about the “bebop” revolution that took the music world by storm in the mid-20th century, Wheatley noted. “Without the commonwealth, I find it hard to believe jazz music would have evolved in to the national phenomenon it has become, and it is for these reasons that I’m grateful House Resolution 859 was unanimously adopted by the state House and has designated April 2018 as National Jazz Month in Pennsylvania.” Read more

 

Wheatley bill calls for a progressive, reasonable natural gas severance tax

(Apr 30, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 30 – Citing a decade-long struggle to lock down a severance tax in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today announced the introduction of H.B. 2253, which calls for a reasonable, progressive natural gas severance tax. “As the Democratic chairman of the House Finance Committee, I am always working toward fair tax policy,” said Wheatley, who noted, “Pennsylvania is the now the second-largest producer of natural gas in the U.S., but is the only gas-producing state without a severance tax.” Wheatley added, “This means Pennsylvanians are paying other states’ severance taxes while sending our natural gas out of state and receiving nothing in return. A majority of Pennsylvanians support a reasonable severance tax that will help support our communities and many other state priorities.” If enacted in to law, it is estimated Wheatley’s bill could generate $248 million in the first year. Wheatley said his legislation would propose a tax structure based on the price of gas from the preceding calendar year as follows: Price Range Rate per MCF $1.00 - $3.00 4.2¢ $3.01 - $4.99 5.3¢ $5.00 – $5.99 6.4¢ $6.00 or greater 7.4¢ Wheatley’s legislation was championed today by Gov. Tom Wolf during a press conference in the governor’s office. In February, Wolf asked during Read more

 

Wheatley, Gainey legislation would create liaison for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

(Apr 20, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 20 – State Reps. Jake Wheatley and Ed Gainey, both D-Allegheny, will be introducing legislation that would create a liaison for Historically Black Colleges and Universities within the state’s Department of Education. The liaison would be responsible for coordinating with state departments and agencies, the private sector, educational associations and philanthropic organizations to strengthen and improve the participation of HBCUs in state programs, Wheatley said. The liaison also would work toward fostering partnerships to promote research and programmatic excellence at each HBCU. “The commonwealth is home to two of the oldest HBCUs in the nation, Cheyney University and Lincoln University, making this legislation imperative to the prosperous progression and advancement of these historic schools that continue to provide higher education opportunities to African-Americans,” Wheatley said. Gainey added: “HBCUs are necessary; they provide the proper nourishment that it takes to prepare young people, particularly African-Americans, to enter the workplace with understanding, knowledge and personal accomplishment that traditional history doesn’t teach.” HBCUs are institutions established before 1964 with a principal mission to provide higher education to African-American communities. They offer all students – regardless of race – an opportunity to further their education and develop their skills and Read more

 

Wheatley to introduce measure celebrating A. Philip Randolph Institute of Pittsburgh’s 50th anniversary

(Apr 12, 2018)

HARRISBURG, April 12 – To commemorate the longstanding success of the A. Philip Randolph Institute of Pittsburgh, state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, will introduce a resolution recognizing the institute’s 50 th anniversary on April 19. Wheatley said the institute is and has remained dedicated to the social progress for minorities, the poor and the working class. “To simply recognize the institute’s 50th anniversary is the least we as Pennsylvanians can do, as this institute has remained steadfast in its journey to support, promote and further advance the social progress of minorities and the working class,” Wheatley said. He noted that founded by Asa Philip Randolph, a trailblazing leader, community organizer and social activist, the institute since its inception has provided a number of programs to extend opportunities to the traditionally disenfranchised. “What the A. Philip Randolph Institute of Pittsburgh does for commonwealth residents is like no other, and we’re extremely fortunate for what it continues to do on a daily basis,” Wheatley said In addition to the institute’s quest to promote the social progress for minorities, the poor and the working class, it also has remained dedicated to strengthening political alliances needed to assure democratic social change and projecting social and economic programs that will improve the lives of all Americans. To learn more about the A. Philip Randolph Read more

 

Wheatley, Costa announce $250,000 in grants to improve apprenticeship opportunities

(Apr 04, 2018)

PITTSBURGH, April 4 – In their ongoing efforts to prepare students for the workforce, state Rep. Jake Wheatley and Sen. Jay Costa, both D-Allegheny, announced $250,000 in grants to go toward pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs in Allegheny County. “Apprenticeship programs are critical in ensuring our children are trained for the jobs of tomorrow,” Wheatley said. “These grants echo the mission of the House Democrats’ Plan for PA , which is devoted to good paying jobs and quality schools that help lay the groundwork for a prosperous future.” “This grant money is crucial for our middle-class to have the best chance at a successful career,” Costa explained. “Through apprenticeships, students acquire the necessary skills to qualify them for the evolving job climate.” The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry awarded the grants through Local Workforce Development Boards across the commonwealth, which includes funds to help sponsoring organizations build capacity to improve and expand their programs. The following are a list of grants awarded through LWDBs: German American Chamber of Commerce, Pittsburgh Chapter – $50,000 capacity building grant; New Century Careers – $100,000 pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship grant and $50,000 capacity building grant; and Catalyst Connection – $50,000 capacity building grant. In all, 61 grants totaling Read more

 

3/29/18 – Emerging Business Industries – Pittsburgh

(Mar 29, 2018)

Materials from roundtable discussion hosted by State Rep. Jake Wheatley. Read more

 

Wheatley, Gainey and Davis ask Turzai to call members back to Capitol
Jul 11, 2018

Wheatley letter urges Speaker of the House to call legislators back to session to discuss law enforcement safety and accountability
Jul 11, 2018

Happy Independence Day; Persian Gulf Veterans’ Bonus Program
Jul 03, 2018

Addressing police and community relations
Jun 29, 2018

Norfolk Southern’s railroad plans for our community
Jun 29, 2018

Legislators offer ways to improve police-community relations
Jun 26, 2018

Wheatley criticizes policy of separating families at U.S./Mexican border
Jun 21, 2018

Honoring today as ‘Juneteenth Independence Day’ across the commonwealth
Jun 19, 2018

Wheatley to join Principal’s Pink Tutu Run
May 24, 2018

Wheatley, colleagues kick off ninth annual Capitol Hunger Garden
May 23, 2018

Wheatley joins colleagues, advocates for ‘Day of Action on Gun Control’
May 22, 2018

Wheatley: Grant to Children’s Museum invests in our kids’ education
May 11, 2018

Wheatley: State funds will boost fight against gun violence
May 10, 2018

It’s time for a reasonable natural gas tax
May 02, 2018

Wheatley legislation recognizing April 2018 as National Jazz Month in Pennsylvania adopted by state House
Apr 30, 2018

Wheatley bill calls for a progressive, reasonable natural gas severance tax
Apr 30, 2018

Wheatley, Gainey legislation would create liaison for Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Apr 20, 2018

Wheatley to introduce measure celebrating A. Philip Randolph Institute of Pittsburgh’s 50th anniversary
Apr 12, 2018

Wheatley, Costa announce $250,000 in grants to improve apprenticeship opportunities
Apr 04, 2018

3/29/18 – Emerging Business Industries – Pittsburgh
Mar 29, 2018