Senator Fontana participated in a Town Hall Meeting hosted by Representative Dan Miller at the Castle Shannon Library on August 26th that discussed the state budget situation and other legislative issues.
Pennsylvania Now Offers Online Voter Registration
On Thursday, the Secretary of the Commonwealth and Governor Wolf announced that Pennsylvanians may now register to vote online. The commonwealth is the 23rd state to join this movement, with the measure being approved but just not implemented yet in five additional states and the District of Columbia. I have been a sponsor, co-sponsor and have supported a number of bills over the years that would make participation in our electoral process easier and applaud the administration over this move.
The new site is available in English and Spanish and also allows current registered voters to more easily make updates to their voter record, such as a change of name, address or party affiliation. Additionally, registered voters may request assistance at the polling place on the website. Please understand that the new online system will not replace the traditional means of registering to vote at your local county election bureau or through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), but instead will supplement it.
Not only is online voter registration a quicker process, but it also improves accuracy and security since the form will be transmitted directly to the proper county voter registration office for processing instead of the personal information passing through several individuals before the registration is complete. Online registration will also increase the integrity of the voting rolls and helps eliminate invalid records since the latest protocols in data security have been built into the registration system and will be constantly monitored and updated. Even more reassuring is that a The Pew Charitable Trust study reported that there have been no security breaches in any of the states already using an online system.
Online Voter Registration has been touted as a considerable cost saver for local county election officials. When an applicant completes the online form, the information is forwarded directly to the appropriate county voter registration office for processing. There, election staff will find that electronic applications eliminate the problem of trying to decipher often illegible handwriting and will not have to follow up on missing information on the electronic applications, because the online form cannot be submitted if any required data fields have not been completed.
Counties will receive the applications through the same system which currently forwards applications from PennDOT, so there will be minimal training needed for county election workers. And because the online voter registration site is directly linked to PennDOT’s Motor Voter system, if any applicant has a driver’s license or PennDOT ID card, the signature already on file with PennDOT can immediately be linked to the voter record.
Online voter registration has seen much success in the other states that are already utilizing the system, in particular, as a cost saving means. A May 2015 report by the Pew Charitable Trust said states using online voter registration have seen pre-application savings ranging from $0.50 to $2.34.
Governor Wolf’s announcement about online registration has already received many participants. By the conclusion of the day after Thursday announcement, 662 applications had already been submitted on the website and the number continues to grow daily.
I am pleased by Governor Wolf’s actions and strongly support measures that make voting more convenient and improve our citizens’ access to the polls. We live in an electronic age and can do many things online. I hope this new system brings greater participation in our local and presidential elections. To learn more about online voter registration, please visit www.votesPA.com.
All Senate offices will be closed on Monday, September 7th in observance of Labor Day. My offices will re-open on Tuesday, September 8th as scheduled.
Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic
I will be hosting my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic on Friday, September 25th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Quinn Hall at the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline. American HealthCare Group will be providing free vaccinations to any senior with the Medicare Part B health insurance card. Make sure to bring your card with you.
I am also pleased that several organizations from around the region will be present to provide seniors with important information on available services and resources including AARP, the Office of the Consumer Advocate, PA APPRISE Health Insurance Counseling Program, Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Seton Center, Allegheny County Bar Association and Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy, and more.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is accepting applications for the 2014 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program through the end of the year. If you did not receive an application, or did not apply last year and wish to apply this year, 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 maximum yearly income of $35,000 and renters with a maximum yearly income of $15,000 are eligible for a rebate. Keep in mind that half of Social Security income is excluded.
Due to program changes enacted last year to ensure claimants aren’t disqualified from rebates solely because of Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, homeowners and renters may be eligible for rebates even if their eligibility income is greater than these limits. Any homeowner who collected Social Security, received a property tax rebate in 2013 for claim year 2012 and had annual income last year, discounting half of Social Security, up to $36,129, is encouraged to apply for a rebate for claim year 2014. Any renter in that same situation with an annual income in 2014, discounting half of Social Security, up to $15,484, is also encouraged to apply.
Mentored Youth Fishing Day
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) will be holding a special Mentored Youth Fishing Day on Labor Day, September 7th at 17 panfish enhancement lakes around the commonwealth. The PFBC will also stock trout in four waters as part of this event. Additionally, the PFBC is offering a one-day adult resident or non-resident Labor day license for just $1, providing an easy and affordable way for individuals to take young anglers fishing, to introduce friends to fishing for the first time, or to just enjoy a relaxing day on the water by themselves.
To participate in the Mentored Youth Program, adult anglers (16 years or older) must have a valid fishing license and be accompanied by a youth. Youth anglers must obtain a free PFBC-issued permit or voluntary youth fishing license.
For more information the Mentored Youth Fishing Day and information on youth fishing licenses please visit www.GoneFishingPA.com.
Did You Know…
Did you know that so far in 2015 more than 18,700 kids have obtained a free permit and another 9,200 kids have purchased a voluntary youth fishing license?
Love Your Block Applications
Applications were released last week for the 2016 City of Pittsburgh Love Your Block program. This City of Pittsburgh program in partnership with Peoples Gas allows nonprofit organizations from across Pittsburgh to submit project proposals that can transform their blocks with up to $1,000 and the support of City departments. Competitive projects will be selected, after which City agencies will engage with awarded group members and listen to their block improvement requests. With the grant money, the selected groups purchase equipment and supplies, engage their neighbors, and roll up their sleeves to carry out their own brand of block beautification and repair.
Applications are currently available and completed applications are due November 2nd. Grantees will be announced on December 15th and all projects must be completed by June 30, 2016. For more information on the Love Your Block program please click here or visit www.pittsburghpa.gov/servepgh/loveyourblock. Anyone with additional questions can contact Lex Janes at 412-355-4795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALCOSAN Open House
ALCOSAN is hosting their annual Open House on Saturday, September 19th from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at their 56-acre campus, located at 3300 Preble Avenue. The region’s largest watershed and environmental festival features hands-on environmental activities and exhibits, treatment plant and laboratory tours, microbiology and watershed life demonstrations, and educational activities for all ages.
Kids looking to STEM careers and those looking to enter a trade will have an opportunity to meet engineers, scientists, mechanics, and laborers to learn about their experiences. ALCOSAN’s “Snuffleupagus” truck that cleans out the big sewer lines will be on hand, as well as the video robots that travel through the sewer lines to find blockages. Attendees can also walk through a simulated sewer pipe to better understand the challenges in stopping sewer overflows and what needs to happen collaboratively moving forward.
For more information on the Open House, please visit www.alcosan.org or call their Open House Hotline at 412-732-8002.
Open Your Heart to a Senior (OYHS), an initiative of the United Way of Allegheny County with lead partners, Family Services of Western Pennsylvania and North Hills Community Outreach, is in need of volunteers. OYHS needs volunteers countywide to help seniors remain independent and stay safe in their homes. They OYHS
initiative now has several nonprofit partners in Allegheny County to provide volunteer services to seniors. Volunteers can deliver meals, take seniors to appointments or the grocery store, help at senior centers, and much more. For more information on volunteering with OYHS please call the United Way helpline at 2-1-1 or email email@example.com.
On this date in 1971, 24 years after Jackie Robinson officially broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, the Pittsburgh Pirates became the first MLB franchise to field an all African American and Latino starting lineup. The starting lineup was: Rennie Stennett - second base; Gene Clines – center field; Roberto Clemente – right field; Willie Stargell – left field; Manny Sanguillen; catcher; Dave Cash – third base; Al Oliver – first base; Jackie Hernandez – shortstop; and Dock Ellis – pitcher. The Pirates defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 10-7 at Three Rivers Stadium.
Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana
|| Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
543 Main Capitol
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
524 Pine Hollow Road
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|| Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Tuesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Strip District (Mobile Office)
Pittsburgh Public Market
2401 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Thursdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Northside (Mobile Office)
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm