Senator Fontana poses with Pittsburgh area members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority who were recently at the state Capitol in observance of AKA Day. AKA is an international service organization that was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1908. It is the oldest Greek-lettered organization established by African-American college-educated women.
Fontana’s Child Abuse Reporting Bill is Slated to be Signed into Law
After nearly a decade of relentlessly urging the Legislature to pass my legislation that would clarify and strengthen child abuse reporting in our schools, the Pennsylvania General Assembly has unanimously passed my Senate Bill 31 (SB 31). This legislation now heads to Governor Corbett’s desk to be signed into law!
Senate Bill 31 is an essential bill because it will help protect our kids and ensure their safety in schools. Specifically, my legislation does away with the separate reporting requirement for schools and mandates that suspected child abuse be reported directly to the Department of Public Welfare’s Childline (1-800-932-0313) or the police within 24 hours for investigation. The legislation will cover all students, from kindergarten through college. In addition, the bill removes the different reporting requirements for school employees and puts them on the same level as other mandated reporters. The new law will take effect on December 31, 2014.
I first authored this bill in 2005 after receiving a call from a distraught mother who said her son had been transported from school to an emergency room. The child had bleeding brush burns, choke marks around his neck and broken blood vessels in his face — all caused by a teacher. At that time, even though the mother, emergency room doctor and social worker all tried reporting the incident to Childline, they were told that the law prevented investigation because the injuries were not deemed serious enough.
Last year, a bipartisan, bicameral Legislative Task Force on Child Protection included Senate Bill 31 in its package of recommended bills. The task force was created by the General Assembly to thoroughly review state laws and procedures governing child protection and the reporting of child abuse. It issued a report that called for numerous changes to Pennsylvania’s laws.
The Commonwealth has a public and ethical responsibility to put mechanisms in place to protect our students, especially from abuse. It does not matter who is suspected of the abuse, all standards and cases should be handled the same. Today it makes me proud to be able to say I have helped create a safer environment at schools for students and a brighter future for all children across Pennsylvania!
All Senate offices will be closed next Tuesday, May 20th in observance of Election Day. My offices will re-open on Wednesday, May 21st as scheduled.
Election Day Information
For any questions related to voting, I encourage everyone to visit www.votespa.com. The site has information on voting rights, answers to frequently asked questions, and allows you to confirm your registration and much more.
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the Primary Election is today. All completed absentee ballot applications must be received by the Allegheny County Division of Elections no later than 5 p.m. The Elections Office is located in the County Office Building at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Ross Street in downtown Pittsburgh:
542 Forbes Avenue, Room 601
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
When applying in person, as long as you are properly registered, you will be given an absentee ballot on the spot and you will be able to cast your vote right there.
If you have already applied for and received your absentee ballot, please know all voted absentee ballots must be received in the Elections Office no later than 5 p.m. this Friday, May 16th in order to be counted. If you have any questions or need any additional information, please visit the Absentee Ballot page at www.alleghenycounty.us or call 412-350-4520.
Locate Your Polling Place
If you are not sure where to vote on Election Day, or wish to confirm your polling place, Allegheny County offers a simple-to-use online Polling Place Locator. Click on the previous link to get started. After selecting “continue” you will be asked to enter your municipality, house number and street name. Once you have entered that information, your polling place address will be displayed. You may also select “View Ballot” to see the ballot as it will appear before you when you go vote.
If you feel your information is inaccurate in any way, or have further questions about your polling place or ballot, please call 412-350-4500.
How to Register Election Day Complaints
Any registered voter who wishes to file a complaint about alleged election law violations can do so online by visiting www.votespa.com and clicking on the “Election Complaints” tab. The voter will be asked to enter their first and last name, address, county of residence and date of birth to ensure they are a registered voter. Once submitted, these complaint forms will be directed to the county election board in the county in which the voter making the complaint resides.
In Allegheny County, written statements of complaint are available at all polling places and the County Board of Elections. You may also call 1-877-VOTES-PA (1-877-868-3772) to obtain a complaint statement or visit www.hava.state.pa.us.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is accepting applications through June 30th for the 2013 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program. If you received a rebate last year, you should have received an application in the mail. If you did not receive an application, or did not apply last year and wish to apply this year, the applications can be obtained from any of my district offices and my staff would be happy to assist you in preparing your application.
The Property Tax/Rent Rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians age 65 and over; widows and widowers age 50 and over; and people with disabilities age 18 and over. Homeowners with a yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible to receive a rebate. The maximum standard rebate is $650.
Did You Know…
Did you know that proceeds from the Pennsylvania Lottery fund the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program and that since its inception the Lottery as contributed more than $23.7 billion to programs for seniors including the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program?
PA Women Veterans Symposium
I want to remind all Pennsylvania female service members and veterans of all military branches and components that this Monday, May 19th, is the deadline to register for the 2014 PA Women Veterans Symposium. The Symposium is scheduled for June 6th – June 8th at the Wyndham Grand Hotel in Pittsburgh and will feature informative general and breakout sessions and a health and wellness fair while providing an opportunity to meet with fellow female veterans from across Pennsylvania.
Registration opens at 3 p.m. on June 6th and will be followed by an evening reception. June 7th will feature a day of keynote speakers and informative breakout sessions before wrapping up on June 8th with a breakfast, closing sessions and discussions and additional activities. The Symposium also provides the chance to visit with vendors and exhibitors who will be on hand offering a variety of valuable resources.
Space is limited and registrations must be received by May 19th. For more information on the 2014 Women and Veterans Symposium, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs website. You may also download a registration form by clicking here.
APPRISE Lunch & Learn
Allegheny County APPRISE/Allegheny Link is hosting their next Lunch and Learn session this Thursday, May 15th from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Allegheny County Human Service Building, located at 1 Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh. The session will offer a panel discussion on VA Health Benefits.
The program will feature a comprehensive overview and discussion of accessibility, eligibility and enrollment in the benefits and services available through the VA health system. This will include the programs and services available to most recent veterans and homeless veterans along with behavioral health benefits, women’s health benefits, VA counseling centers and VA outpatient clinics, and long-term care and palliative care benefits available through the VA health care system. Panel members will include representatives from the VA system and VA medical facilities.
APPRISE is a free health insurance counseling program designed to help Pennsylvanians, age 60 years and older. For more information on the Lunch and Learn Series and this specific installment or to RSVP, please call 412-661-1670, ext. 645 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carnegie Library-West End Re-Opening
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - West End branch is re-opening its doors this Saturday at 10 a.m. The West End branch has been closed since October and has been undergoing major renovations that include the installation of an air conditioner, new windows, new heating and lighting systems, a new roof and an elevator. The Community Celebration to showcase the library’s new features is scheduled from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and will include a ribbon cutting, tours of the renovated facility, a 3D printing demonstration, crafts and a performance by the Pittsburgh Musical Theatre.
The Community Reel Arts Center in Stowe Township is hosting the Cleveland/Rocks Film Festival May 17th – May 25th at the Parkway Theater, located at 644 Broadway Avenue in Stowe. This film festival will provide Community Reel Arts Center an opportunity to share their vision and passion of revitalizing the old Parkway Theater to friends, film enthusiasts, and community supporters. The Parkway Theater will host an opening night gala event to kick off their first Film Festival with wine, cheese, beer and live music provided by guitarist James Tobin on May 17th beginning at 4:45 p.m. Seven films will be shown beginning that night through May 25th including a short film from McKees Rocks filmmaker Ralph Vitucio titled “Shipbreakers.” For more information on the Film Festival and for a schedule, please visit www.parkwaytheater.org.
Last Sunday was the annual Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure in Pittsburgh where thousands of runners and walkers took to the streets to raise funds for breast cancer screenings, treatment, and education programs in our communities. The annual event was first held in 1993 and the Pittsburgh affiliate of the Susan G. Koman Foundation covers 30 counties in western and central Pennsylvania.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
|| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
524 Pine Hollow Rd
| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216