Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The focus should be on growing these profitable gaming markets rather than trying to dismantle successful assets, State Sen. Wayne Fontana says.
Throughout its more than 40 years in existence, the Pennsylvania Lottery has funded approximately 75 percent of the state’s Department of Aging budget through programs that offer low-cost prescription drugs, free and reduced-fare transit, property tax and rent rebates, long-term living services and senior centers. Today, our Lottery is one of the most profitable in the nation. When Pennsylvania legalized slots gaming in 2004 and expanded to table games in 2010, one of the issues the Legislature faced was how the state’s lottery would be affected by these additions to the gambling industry. Recognizing the concerns, a provision was included in Act 71 of 2004 that requires the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LB&FC) to issue annual…
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
State Sen. Wayne Fontana discusses school safety legislation, and a new bill that could provide schools with funding to address safety issues.
Wednesday, April 24
School safety is of the utmost importance for everyone in our communities as well as employees of a school district. We send our children to these institutions to receive an education believing that this place is a safe haven for all who are involved in the development and learning of our young ones. The recent tragedies that have occurred across the United States and in particular, Sandy Hook, remind us that even the young and innocent are often the target of some mentally disturbed individuals. Last week, the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) which would provide targeted grants to Commonwealth schools in order to address the issue of school violence and improve school safety statewide. In particular, the …
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The recent disagreements between Highmark and UPMC have caused great concern and anxiety for the many people who are employed by these health care giants, customers, individuals ... as well as local officials, State Sen. Fontana says.
Wednesday, April 17
In 2011, the state’s largest insurer, Highmark, signed an affiliation agreement with the financially troubled West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) and its five Pittsburgh-area hospitals to create an integrated health system. The goal of the acquisition is for the integrated health system to be a competitor to the largest hospital network in western Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Now, the acquisition agreement between Highmark and WPAHS is set to expire at the end of the month. At this point, it is up to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to make a decision on whether the money being spent by Highmark will compromise the health care system’s ability to pay the claims of its customers while still …
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
State Sen. Wayne Fontana plans to propose to the Senate that Pennsylvania recognize a specific week in April as National Library Week.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
Wednesday, April 10
Next week marks National Library Week throughout the country. First debuting in 1958, National Library week is sponsored by the American Library Association and observed by libraries nationwide each April. The kickoff will begin on Sunday, April 14, where communities across the United States will recognize of the role of libraries, librarians and library workers and the services and resources libraries and library staff provide to the community. Although all libraries within the Commonwealth have a great importance to the state, the 42nd district is very fortunate to have one of state’s major library systems as a resource, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP). To celebrate National Library Week, I will present a resolution in the …
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
The time has come to address whether all large non-profits are paying their fair share, State Sen. Wayne Fontana says.
Wednesday, March 27
Last week, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced the City of Pittsburgh would be filing a lawsuit against University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) seeking a removal of UPMC’s tax-exempt status and payment of back payroll taxes. I commend Mayor Ravenstahl and the city for challenging UPMC’s non-profit status and for bringing this issue before the Court of Common Pleas to determine whether UPMC deserves its current non-profit status. UPMC should welcome the opportunity to provide transparency and prove to the public that they are truly non-profit, once and for all. The time has come to address whether all large non-profits are paying their fair share. I have re-introduced legislation that would amend the Purely Public Charity Act …
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The bill, introduced by Sen. Fontana, aims to streamline the process of reporting child abuse.
Wednesday, March 20
As a response to the Jerry Sandusky and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia child abuse scandals, the Pennsylvania General Assembly created a Task Force on Child Protection in January 2012. The mission of the task force was to review the state’s child protection laws and procedures. After months of testimony throughout the state by various advocacy groups and professionals who deal with child abuse on a daily basis, the task force released their recommendations in November 2012. At a press conference on Tuesday, a bipartisan package of bills was introduced that provide for sweeping reform by updating Pennsylvania’s child protection laws based on recommendations by the taskforce. My longtime proposal, now Senate Bill 31 (SB 31), was part of the…
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
This ruling is a victory in favor of hard-working Pennsylvanians, State Sen. Fontana says.
Wednesday, March 13
Last week, the Commonwealth Court ruled that two statutes that stripped money from the successful adultBasic and Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities programs were unconstitutional because they diverted money from the federal Tobacco Settlement to finance items other than health care in the general budget. I consider this ruling a victory in favor of hard-working Pennsylvanians who have found themselves in a position where they lack health care benefits because of Corbett Administration policies of cutting programs for low-income residents. Under the Tobacco Settlement in 1998, tobacco companies agreed to distribute $200 billion over 25 years among Pennsylvania and other states. However, two subsequent laws were enacted that …
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
"I think the Governor and his administration need to re-evaluate why 21 other states have decided that an expansion would benefit their citizens, yet Pennsylvania does not feel the same," Fontana says.
Wednesday, March 6
Last year, the United States Supreme Court ruled that it is up to each individual state to voluntarily decide to expand the Medicaid program as part of the decision on the federal Affordable Care Act, which will begin to cover people on Jan. 1, 2014. Last week, Governor Corbett announced that at this time Pennsylvania will not opt into expansion. Medicaid is the state-federal program created in the 1960s to provide health care benefits for working individuals with income levels below the federal poverty level. An expansion in Pennsylvania would raise the income level of those who qualify for Medicaid to people earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $15,000 for a single person and $31,000 for a family of four…
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
State Sen. Wayne Fontana might consider a run for the office of Mayor for the City of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
State Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline, might consider a run for mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, according to a report by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Fontana, 62, told the Tribune-Review he would consider a run if he gains enough political support. Supporters are said to be circulating petitions. Current City of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced last week that he would not seek re-election. To read the full article, and see who the other mayoral candidates are, click here. Follow Dormont-Brookline Patch on Facebook and Twitter. For more news, sign up for our email Newsletter.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
This program, created last year, allows unemployed people to receive free job training while continuing to receive unemployment benefits.
Wednesday, February 27
Last July, Pennsylvania passed a law that created the Keystone Works program. Under this initiative, unemployed individuals can receive free job training with an employer while continuing to receive unemployment compensation benefits. Although this program is only in its beginning stages, Keystone Works is already proving to be a very successful program that not only benefits unemployed workers, but also businesses and the state. Keystone Works trainings are for open positions in high priority occupations (HPOs), as determined by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, which are in demand by employers, usually require higher level skills and are likely to provide family-sustaining wages. These HPO companies may train an employee …