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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Privatization Bid Canceled for PA Lottery

Lottery TicketAfter being plagued with problematic negotiations and legal obstacles, Governor Corbett announced that he would not be extending a bid by United Kingdom-based Camelot Global Services to run Pennsylvania’s lottery system.  As you may recall, the single-bidder contract received eight extensions during the past year.

Throughout 2013, the state spent nearly $4.6 million on lawyers and consultants related to the proposed private management deal and I’m happy to see that Pennsylvania can now move on and continue to look for ways to maximize revenues for senior programs instead of outsourcing jobs to a foreign firm, especially for a system that has already proven to be efficient. In fact, our Lottery system has established itself as a model for others throughout the nation.  

The Pennsylvania Lottery began in 1972 and has become the most successful lottery operation in the country.  More recently, the Lottery posts profits of about $1 billion a year and in fact generated nearly $3.7 billion in the last fiscal year.  Over the past four decades, the Commonwealth’s Lottery has funneled $23.7 billion into programs for senior citizens and the elderly like the property tax and rent rebate program, transit services, senior centers and prescription drug programs.  I am proud of the operations of the state’s Lottery and will continue to support initiatives of this major Commonwealth asset. 

Delay in Reporting Requirements for Small Games of Chance

Small GamesThe Department of Revenue, who is partially responsible for administering the small games of chance regulations, recently announced that they are delaying the reporting requirements for all organizations in 2014.  Under the old law, both eligible organizations and clubs had to file a report by February 1, 2014.  February 1, 2015, will now be the new reporting date for clubs with proceeds of $20,000 or more.  Access to the online reporting system will be available from the Department’s website in late 2014. 

For more information on the reporting delay, please visit the Department of Revenue's Small Games of Chance page.

Welcome Mayor Peduto

Yesterday, Bill Peduto was sworn-in as Mayor of the city of Pittsburgh.  I am looking forward to working with Mayor Peduto and his staff on behalf of the residents of the 42nd Senatorial District, many of which reside in the city of Pittsburgh.  It is important that elected officials at all levels of government work together on behalf of the constituents we represent and I am confident that this will be the case with the new Mayor.  There are many city neighborhoods in the 42nd Senatorial District that need revitalized and I am eager to continue engaging with the new Mayor on how we can work together to rebuild these communities. 

Did You Know…

Did you know that Bill Peduto is the 60th Mayor of the city of Pittsburgh since 1816 and the 56th different person to hold the position?

LIHEAP Crisis Grants Available

LIHEAP LIHEAP The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Crisis Grant Program opened January 2nd.  LIHEAP crisis grants are available to address heating emergencies such as broken heating equipment, a lack of fuel, a danger of being without fuel, or for individuals who have had their utility service terminated.  The amount of the crisis grant cannot exceed the amount necessary to resolve the crisis situation.

You can apply for a crisis grant online at www.compass.state.pa.us or can visit one of my district offices to pick up an application.  You may also visit the crisis grant office located at 914 Penn Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh  For more information on the crisis grant program you may also call 1-800-622-3257.  The LIHEAP income limits are as follows:

Household Size

Income Limit

1

$17,235

2

$23,265

3

$29,295

4

$35,325

5

$41,355

6

$47,385

7

$53,415

8

$59,445

9

$65,475

10

$71,505

Electronic Recycling

Act 108 of 2010, the Covered Devices Recycling Act (CDRA), established a recycling program for many electronic devices.  Computers, computer accessories and monitors, and televisions are among items that are no longer allowed to be deposited in landfills.  Many of these products contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury as well as other materials that are better kept out of the environment.

DEP DEP These items must be taken to an electronics retail store or sponsored drop-off location where they will be collected for recycling purposes, without charge.  The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has complied a listing of all drop-off locations throughout the Commonwealth, where these items can be delivered.  To view a listing of drop-off locations throughout the state, and in Allegheny County, please visit DEP's Electronic Recycling Management Program page.  You may also contact the Recycling Hotline at 1-800-346-4242 for additional questions and information.

FAFSA Forms Available

PHEAA PHEAA As the Vice-Chair of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), I want to encourage high school seniors and their families to prepare to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as possible.  The FAFSA is the federal form that all students must submit to determine eligibility for most forms of need-based financial assistance, including the Pennsylvania State Grant, the Federal Pell Grant, work-study programs, the PA Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP), various scholarships, some school-based aid, and federal student loans.  The only way to find out if you qualify for awards is to complete and submit the FAFSA.  Students who are eligible for awards can reduce their family’s out-of-pocket expenses and make the cost of higher education more manageable.

Now is the time to get a jump on the application process by preparing before sitting down to complete the FAFSA application.  Students and families will be able to complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov and will need the following information when beginning the application process:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Student’s driver’s license
  • Alien registration number, if not a U.S. citizen
  • W-2 Forms
  • Records of untaxed income received, including workers’ compensation, child support, payments to tax-deferred pension and savings plans, etc.
  • Federal income tax return (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ)
  • Current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds, and other investments

The FAFSA can be submitted beginning January 1st and it is better to complete and submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after that date as schools’ financial aid deadlines vary.

Winter Driving Safety

drivingWith winter weather upon us I want to take this opportunity to remind you about the resources made available by the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to help you prepare and keep safe while travelling during the winter months.  Before travelling, be sure to visit www.511PA.com to view reliable and current traffic and weather information, including traffic delay warnings, average traffic speeds on urban interstates, access to traffic cameras and weather forecasts.  511PA also provides color-coded winter road conditions for all interstates.  You may also access 511PA by calling 511.

With winter weather often bringing unexpected and changing conditions, PennDOT encourages drivers to remain safe when travelling in poor conditions with the following tips:

  • Turn on your headlights when your wipers are on – it’s the law
  • Watch for wet-looking roads, they could actually be frozen
  • Use low beams in cases of heavy or blowing snow
  • Do not use cruise control on snow-covered roads
  • Slow down and increase following distance and avoid sudden starts and stops
  • 511 PA 511 Use extra caution on bridges and ramps where ice can form without warning
  • Do not pass or get between trucks plowing in a plow line
  • If you do become stranded, it’s better to stay with your vehicle until help arrives.  Run the engine every hour or so but make sure the tailpipe is clear and keep the downwind window cracked open.
  • Do not park or abandon your vehicle on snow emergency routes

For more information on PennDOT’s winter preparations and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, please visit the department’s “Ready for Winter” website at www.dot.state.pa.us/winter.

Christmas Tree Recycling Program

All Allegheny County residents can recycle their Christmas trees through the County’s Department of Parks annual Christmas Tree Recycling Program.  Trees may be dropped off daily through January 18th, from dusk to dawn, at each of the County’s nine regional parks.  All decorations, lights, tinsel and stands must be removed from the trees prior to drop-off.  The trees will be mulched and used in the County’s parks.  Following are the drop-off locations and the address for each park can be found by clicking on the park’s link:

City-County BuildingFontana Fact

The City-County Building opened in 1917 and is occupied by both City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County government offices.  Designed by Henry Hornbostel, the City-County Building is the fourth City Hall occupied by Pittsburgh’s municipal government since the city was incorporated in 1816.

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

  Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Fax: 412-344-3400
Harrisburg
543 Main Capitol
Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plz.
524 Pine Hollow Rd
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Fax: 412-331-2079
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Phone: 412-343-2080
Fax: 412-343-2418