Senator Fontana along with Representative Dan Deasy and House Speaker Mike Turzai participated in a check presentation from QVC to the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Mentor 2.0 Program at Brashear High School on April 27. This program pairs college-educated volunteers with ninth grade students at Brashear. These volunteers serve as mentors and provide effective support for students. QVC's $100,000 commitment over two years to the Mentor 2.0 Program is made possible through the state's EITC program.
New Law to Expedite Divorce for Victims of Spousal Abuse
Last year, Allegheny County had the highest number of victim deaths from domestic violence in the state. The unfortunate deaths of these 17 local individuals and dozens of others in Pennsylvania highlights the need for more safeguards to be put into place to help victims get out of these relationships before they become the next statistic. Thanks to passage of Act 24, now victims of spousal abuse can more easily get through the legal process of divorce and quickly end an unsafe marriage.
Currently in Pennsylvania, a spouse who refuses to consent to divorce can prolong the process for up to two years, even in the case of spousal abuse. Even more upsetting is that before a divorce is finalized, the couple is required to attend at least three court ordered face-to-face counseling sessions. Although the legal system was designed to encourage couples to work through issues and work their differences out, in some cases the system is being used as another tool to abuse and control someone.
Now with passage of Act 24, two obstacles will be tackled. A victim will be able to file for divorce and the law will presume the consent of the other party if they have been convicted of committing a personal injury crime against their spouse. In addition, the victim can object to court mandated divorce counseling if they have a protection from abuse order, were a victim of a personal injury crime, which the other party has been convicted or is in an accelerated rehabilitation disposition program because of their behavior.
Domestic violence is very serious and widespread for it affects all ages, races and social classes. The majority of fatal incidents of domestic violence in the commonwealth occur when a victim was seeking to end the abusive relationship, legal protection or custody of children. Act 24 breaks down unnecessary barriers by empowering victims to escape from an abusive relationship, take control of their divorce proceedings and move forward with their lives. I was pleased to vote in favor of this new law and feel that the General Assembly must continue to look for ways to help stop this vicious cycle.
The new law will take effect in June.
Did You Know…
Did you know that nationwide, one in five women and one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime?
Save the Date! – 12th Annual FontanaFest
I’m pleased to announce that the 12th Annual FontanaFest will once again be held at Highmark Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds! Save the date – Saturday, August 20 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Once again, parking will be free in the stadium’s West Lot, compliments of Forest City!
The annual community event is perfect for families and children, promoting healthy and active lifestyles by providing many fun activities and crafts. Children will also have the chance to play on several inflatables, an obstacle course, and a climbing wall. All Attendees also are provided with the opportunity to engage with several organizations from around the region and receive important information on available services and programs, nutrition, health care, jobs and jobs training. I’m also thrilled that once again this year, students from Pittsburgh Musical Theatre will join us to perform!
Stay tuned throughout the summer for updates on the schedule of events, participants, and more!
PA Link to Community Care
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and Department of Aging have collaborated on an initiative to enhance Pennsylvanians’ ability to learn about and access a wide variety of long-term supports and services available through federal, state, and county agencies for persons with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians.
The first phase of the project was launched in mid-March with an online information referral tool (IRT), which is available at https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/irt. Individuals can use the IRT anonymously to input information about themselves, a loved one, or client. The IRT will guide them through a series of questions then provide a list of resources that are based on the client’s specific needs in areas such as: intellectual disability; autism; physical disabilities; aging; addiction; mental illness; veterans’ needs; or help paying for prescriptions.
The initiative also includes improvements to the Department of Human Services’ COMPASS application. COMPASS is the online application where people can apply for many health and human service programs such as Medicaid, cash assistance, or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). With the improvements made to COMPASS, Pennsylvanians can submit applications for long-term living services and supports or request services for intellectual disability services, autism services, and early intervention services.
Additionally, the PA Link to Community Care website is anticipated to be launched this summer. This site will serve as a companion piece, providing flexibility, and additional opportunity for individuals to access important information about available long-term services and support programs. The site will be an extension to the existing PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources call center where caregivers, family members, or individuals in need of information currently call in to ask about services.
Agencies and individuals can access the IRT/COMPASS application through www.dhs.pa.gov/irt or www.compass.state.pa.us. The PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources can be reached at 1-800-753-8827.
Liberty Bridge Repairs
Rehabilitation of the Liberty Bridge has begun and will be ramping up in the very near future. This much-needed project includes bridge deck replacement, ramp reconstruction, structural steel repairs, painting, concrete repairs, signage improvements and the installation of a new alternating overhead lane control system.
To help keep everyone informed, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has created an email distribution list for Liberty Bridge traffic advisories and construction updates. You can enroll by sending your email address to Steve Cowan at email@example.com with “Subscribe – Liberty Bridge” in the email’s subject line.
PennDOT has also created a website dedicated to the project, www.penndot.gov/libertybridge. The site contains updates on the project, detour and other traffic information. You may also call 412-344-5436, a hotline number that will provide updates and information on the project.
Upcoming Shredding Event
I want to alert everyone about an upcoming shredding event.
On Saturday, May 14, together with Representative Dan Deasy and Green Tree Borough, we are hosting a shredding event in the parking lot at Green Tree Park from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
With consumer fraud and identity theft continuing to be an issue, we want to not only raise awareness and promote prevention, but also to provide individuals with the opportunity to have unneeded, confidential documents destroyed free of charge. You may bring documents that contain personal information such as social security numbers, credit card numbers and bank account numbers.
Meals on Wheels
The West Hills Meals On Wheels services clients in Coraopolis and Neville Island, along with nearby Crescent and Moon Townships. If you’re interested in volunteering as a kitchen helper or meal deliverer or wish to refer a neighbor or family member, please contact Meals on Wheels at 412-264-5973 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ohio Valley Hospital/Kennedy Township 5K
The 35th annual Ohio Valley Hospital and Kennedy Township 5K is scheduled for Saturday, May 14. The race begins at 8 a.m. and will take place rain or shine and will begin and end at Ohio Valley Hospital and pass through the heart of Kennedy Township.
Race participants, volunteers and sideline cheerleaders are all welcome to attend. A continental breakfast and awards ceremony will be held after the race for all participants and volunteers. Online registration for the race is available at www.active.com. Applications are also available at Ohio Valley Hospital’s information desk and the Kennedy Township Municipal Building. For more information please contact Megan Eaton at 412-777-6313 or email@example.com.
McKees Rocks Community Flea Market
The McKees Rocks Community Flea Market is being held in the Municipal Lot on Furnace Street in McKees Rocks. The Flea Market will run each Sunday through May 29 from 8 a.m. 3 p.m.
For more information including information on vendor tables please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seven-time Grammy Award winner Prince passed away at the age of 57 on April 21 in Minnesota. Prince began touring in 1979 and made his first tour stop in Pittsburgh on March 1, 1980 at The Stanley Theatre in downtown Pittsburgh.
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
|Northside (Mobile Office)
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Wednesdays – 10 am – 4 pm
|Lawrenceville (Mobile Office)
279 Fisk Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Thursdays - 11 am - 4 pm