Today is Election Day!
All Senate offices are closed today for Election Day. Polls across Pennsylvania are open today from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. If you have any questions related to voting, I encourage you to visit www.votespa.com. You may also reach the Allegheny County Elections Division by phone at 412-350-4500.
Polling Place Locator
If you are a newly-registered voter, have recently moved or have not voted in a while, and are unsure where your polling place is located, you can visit the Polling Place Locator Page offered by the PA Department of State. You will be asked to enter your county, municipality, house number and street name. Once that information is entered, the site will inform you of your polling place and provide the address. You will also be provided an opportunity to enter your name and birth date to determine if you are a registered voter and will also be able to view the ballot you will be presented with at your polling place. If you are unable to find your polling place on this site, or if any of your information is listed incorrectly on the site, please contact the Allegheny County Elections Division office at 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 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 for the county in which the voter making the complaint resides. Written statements of complaint are available at all polling places and the Allegheny County Board of Elections. You may also call 1-877-VOTES-PA (1-877-868-3772) to obtain a complaint statement.
All Senate offices will be closed this Friday, Nov. 10 in observance of Veterans Day. My offices will re-open as scheduled on Monday, Nov. 13.
Senator Fontana joined with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa and the Consumer Health Coalition at a press conference on Nov. 1 to inform the public that the open enrollment period on the health insurance marketplace runs through Dec. 15.
Health Insurance Marketplace – Open Enrollment
I want to let everyone know that open enrollment on the health insurance marketplace started on Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15. You can shop for plans, sign up, renew, or find a local navigator to assist you through the process, all by visiting www.healthcare.gov.
Despite President Trump’s inaccurate claims that “Obamacare is dead,” it is not. Over the last several months, the president and his administration have shamefully shortened the open enrollment period by more than a month, limited the hours of accessibility, and slashed the marketing budget for the enrollment period. But individuals who need health insurance can still apply and receive assistance at www.healthcare.gov.
The Senate Democratic Caucus has designed a website with information on enrollment – www.healthcareforpa.com. If you need insurance or have friends or family that do, please spread the word that open enrollment runs through Dec. 15.
On Saturday, across the United States, Americans will be commemorating Veterans Day with parades, wreath-laying ceremonies, monument dedications and other types of events. This is a special day to honor our veterans, remember the sacrifices so many have made, those who have fought for our freedom, those who have died and those who live on with the memories of war.
Here are some recent veteran-friendly bills that are being considered by the Pennsylvania General Assembly:
- Senate Resolution 5 (SR 5) – This resolution establishes a Task Force on Women’s Veterans’ Health Care to address the needs of the Commonwealth’s female veteran population. Specifically, the task force will study such things as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, and alcohol and substance abuse. The task force will provide recommendations to the governor by December 31, 2018. The resolution passed the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee on October 17 by a vote of 12-0.
- Senate Bill 552 (SB 552) – In hopes of generating additional revenues, this legislation creates the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Monuments and Memorial Trust Fund that will be used to maintain, promote, administer, operate and complete monuments and memorials dedicated to Pennsylvania veterans and military units. Under this bill, the Pennsylvania Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA) may accept gifts, donations, legacies from individuals, organizations, public or private corporations and others to solicit and raise money. This legislation passed the Senate 49-0 on October 16, 2017, and currently resides in the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
- House Bill 165 (HB 165) – Two new military decorations would be created under this bill which would be the Pennsylvania Achievement Medal (ranked 5th) and the Pennsylvania Veterans Service Award (ranked 13th). The legislation would also permit the governor to present the Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Medal to veterans and civilians which is currently only open to active members of the Armed Forces, National Guard, and Reserves. The decoration is for meritorious service beyond the normal dictates of duty to the Commonwealth. Additionally, the bill allows for the governor to present the Pennsylvania Meritorious Service Medal to veterans since it currently is only allowed to be presented to active members of the Armed Forces, National Guard and Reserves. This medal is presented for meritorious service rendered this Commonwealth and while holding a position of great responsibility.
- House Bill 824 (HB 824) – The National Guard established the National Guard Youth Challenge Program in 1933 which is a dropout recovery program that helps at-risk young people earn a high school diploma or its equivalent. Currently, the program operates in 27 states and Puerto Rico. The National Guard Youth Challenge Program will be created in Pennsylvania under this legislation. The program is for individuals, ages 16-18, who have terminated their attendance at a secondary school without achieving graduation. This 22-week program with a 12 month post mentoring period will focus on having the individual achieve a GED, as well as receive instruction on life skills, employment potential and leadership development. The bill passed the House on May 24, 2017 by a vote of 190-0. The bill is currently awaiting consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
- House Bill 1231 (HB 1231) – Currently, the PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs manages an online registry that captures roughly 7,000 of the over 894,000 veterans in Pennsylvania, which represents less than 1% of veterans living here. Under this legislation, a veterans’ registry program would be established and the bill requires that registrants’ information be provided to the County Director of Veterans Affairs. DMVA would have to coordinate with other state agencies who serve veterans, to create a form for those veterans who wish to be a part of the registry. By expanding the scope and impact of the registry, the department will be better be able to engage, inform and support veterans about benefits, programs and services available to them. HB 1231 passed the House on June 28 by a vote of 198-0. The legislation is currently located in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Faces Never Forgotten
The Pennsylvania Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA), in partnership with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), continues to locate photos of Pennsylvanians who sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War as part of the Wall of Faces program.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund wants to collect photos for each of the 58,307 men and women whose names are inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., so that they can keep the legacies of these service members alive for future generations. The photo campaign was launched in 2009 and today the VVMF still needs 57 photos from the 3,148 service members from Pennsylvania whose names are on the Vietnam Memorial, with nine being from Allegheny County Veterans.
For a complete listing of Pennsylvania service members whose photos are still needed please visit www.dmva.state.pa.us and click on the “Wall of Faces” tab. For information on how to submit a photo please visit http://www.vvmf.org/faces-never-forgotten.
Did You Know…
Did you know the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is one of the most visited memorials in Washington, D.C. with an estimated 5.6 million annual visitors?
Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans Benefit Program Ends in Less Than a Year
Eligible veterans who served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations from Aug. 2, 1990 until Aug. 31, 1991 have less than a year to collect a special one-time payment to honor their service and sacrifice. Applications for the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans Bonus are due by Aug. 31, 2018.
The bonus program, administered by the PA Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA), pays $75 per month for qualifying, active-duty service members, up to a $525 maximum. For personnel whose death was related to illness or injury received in the line of duty in Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm, there is an additional $5,000 available to the surviving family. Service members who were declared prisoners of war may also be eligible for an additional $5,000.
To be eligible for the bonus, a service member must have:
- Served with the U.S. Armed Forces, a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces or the Pennsylvania National Guard
- Served on active duty in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations during the period from Aug 2, 1990-Aug. 31, 1991
- Received the Southwest Asia Service Medal
- Been a legal resident of Pennsylvania at the time of active duty service
- Been discharged from active duty under honorable conditions, if not currently on active duty
For detailed instructions on how to apply, please visit www.persiangulfbonus.pa.gov.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is accepting applications for this season’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The program helps low income families pay their heating bills. You can apply and check the status of your application on the state’s COMPASS website (www.compass.state.pa.us). You can also pick up an application in my district offices or download one yourself from the DHS LIHEAP website. Completed paper applications should be returned to the Allegheny County Assistance Office, located at 5947 Penn Avenue, 4th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA, 15206.
Funding for LIHEAP is provided by the federal government and eligibility is based on the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines. The income limits for this season are as follows:
After your application is received you will receive a written notice explaining your eligibility and the amount of assistance you will receive. Payments are generally sent directly to a utility company or fuel provider and will be credited to your heating account. Crisis grants may also be available if you have an emergency situation and are in jeopardy of losing your heat. For more information, please contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095.
Fountain at Point State Park
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) will be suspending operation of the Point State Park fountain for the season beginning this Saturday, Nov. 11 at approximately 11 p.m. The fountain will be winterized over the next few weeks and will remain off line throughout the winter months. As in past years, DCNR officials plan to resume operation of the fountain in April 2018.
McKees Rocks Historical Society Celebrating 10 Years
The McKees Rocks Historical Society is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a dinner dance featuring music of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Kennedy Township Fire Hall, located at 1796 Pine Hollow Road, from 6 – 11 p.m. The silver anniversary celebration is BYOB and will also feature a basket raffle, 50/50 drawing, memorabilia and much more.
Reservations are required no later than Nov. 20. For information on how to purchase tickets please contact Deborah Valenti at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-200-2594 or call Vicki Batcha at 412-771-4266.
On this date in 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to a fourth term as President of the United States, defeating Thomas Dewey, the governor of New York in the general election. FDR is the only president to serve more than two terms in office. In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was passed, officially limiting a president’s tenure in office to two terms of four years each.
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
|Northside (Mobile Office)
Carnegie Library |
1230 Federal Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212