Senator Fontana spoke at a press conference at the State Capitol last Tuesday, hosted by PennEnvironment, about the importance of continuing the Obama Clean Power Plan.
New Animal Anti-Cruelty Law
About a year ago, a 4-month-old Boston terrier made national headlines when it was discovered hours from death on a Lancaster County farm. A Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) volunteer discovered the puppy and asked the dog breeder to surrender the dog, which was soon named Libre, meaning “free.” Libre, was rushed to an emergency vet barely breathing, emaciated, suffering from severe maggot-infested bacterial infections in his skin and wounds that caused inflammation and hair loss. Libre also developed a secondary infection, pseudomonas, which can be difficult to treat.
In August, the dog breeder was charged with animal cruelty after he admitted to police that he did not provide proper medical care and that he knowingly left the dog in a kennel where he believed he would die. The sick puppy soon became the inspiration behind House Bill 1238 (HB 1238), legislation that brings the most significant changes to Pennsylvania’s animal abuse laws in three decades.
The legislation restructures the animal cruelty provisions into three offenses:
- Neglect – Denying an animal necessary food and potable water, clean and sanitary shelter, or necessary care. This would be a summary offense, or a misdemeanor of the third degree if the violation causes bodily injury or the risk of serious bodily injury.
- Cruelty – Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly ill-treating, overloading, beating, abandoning, or abusing an animal. This would be a misdemeanor of the second degree.
- Aggravated cruelty - Intentionally or knowingly torturing an animal or causing serious bodily injury or death to the animal. This would be a felony of the third degree.
Because of these new gradings, a court could order an animal abuser who has been charged with a felony to surrender the animal.
The legislation also puts into state statute acceptable tethering conditions:
- A dog is not tethered longer than 9 hours in a 24-hour period;
- A tether is a commonly used type for the size and breed of the dog and is at least three times the length of the dog or ten feet, whichever is longer;
- The tether is secured by a wall-fitted collar or harness by means of a swivel or other mechanism designed to prevent entanglement;
- The dog has access to potable water and shade;
- Cannot be tethered longer than 30 minutes in temperatures above 90 degrees or below 30 degrees.
However, it would be considered neglect if there is excessive waste in the area where the dog is tethered, there are open sores or wounds on a dog’s body or a tow or log chain, choke, pinch, prong or chain collar is used.
The new law includes provisions to protect veterinaries who report suspected animal cruelty in good faith will be immune from liability. Humane Society police officers would also receive civil immunity from suits for damages that arise from the conduct, granting them the freedom to report cases of abuse without fearing legal ramifications.
Before passage of HB 1238, Pennsylvania was only one of three states that did not have a felony statute for severe animal abuse. The commonwealth was well over due to join the rest of the country in creating a higher standard of care for our animals and hold abusers more accountable for their horrible actions. I was happy to support this legislation and hope that these more severe gradings will discourage individuals from abusing animals.
All Senate offices will be closed next Tuesday, July 4 in observance of the Independence Day holiday. My offices will re-open on Wednesday, July 5 as scheduled. Have a happy and safe 4th of July!
DEP Grants Available for Alternative Fuel Transportation
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is accepting grant applications for innovative, advanced fuel and vehicle technology projects that will result in cleaner advanced alternative transportation within Pennsylvania. DEP’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant (AFIG) Program offers funding for the purchase and use of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles. Grant applications will be accepted throughout 2017 with submission period deadlines in July and December.
The AFIG Program can assist school districts, municipal authorities, non-profits, corporations, LLCs, and partnerships registered to do business in Pennsylvania in offsetting the costs of implementing alternative fuel using transportation projects. This program is funded by annual gross receipts tax on utilities.
DEP is offering grants in the following project categories:
- Vehicle Retrofit or Purchase – To offset the incremental cost of purchasing alternative fuel vehicles or retrofitting existing vehicles to operate on alternative fuels.
- Alternative Fuel Refueling Infrastructure – To assist in the costs to purchase and install refueling equipment for fleet and workplace, home or intermediary refueling.
- Innovative Technology – To support research, training, development, and demonstration of new alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles.
Applications for grants in the AFIG Program will remain open to receive proposals throughout the 2017 calendar year. DEP will hold two submission periods. The first submission period deadline is Friday, July 14 at 4 p.m. with the second submission period deadline occurring Friday, Dec. 15 at 4 p.m.
The AFIG Program will accept applications at any time during the year and evaluate the applications received after each submission period and determine awards. Project applications received during the first submission period that do not receive an award can be resubmitted immediately for consideration during the next submission period in accordance with the AFIG Program rules.
AFIG guidelines and application instructions are available by clicking here or visiting www.dep.pa.gov. Applications must be submitted online through the eGrants system.
Did You Know…
Did you know that as of July 2015, there were over 2,300 electric vehicles registered in Pennsylvania and over 250 public charging stations available across the state?
Save the Date! – 13th Annual FontanaFest
The 13th Annual FontanaFest will once again be held at Highmark Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds! Save the date – Saturday, August 19 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.
Stay tuned throughout the summer for updates on the schedule of events, participants, and more!
Summer Food Program for Children
Children ages 18 and younger can participate in the Allegheny County Summer Food program which began in mid-June. Summer Food will run in over 80 locations in Allegheny County through August. At these locations children can receive a free breakfast and lunch during the summer recess from school. For more information on the program, including information on locations and times, please call the Allegheny County Department of Human Services at 1-800-851-3838. You may also click here to view a listing of locations.
Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program Extended
The deadline to file for the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue 2016 Property Tax/Rent Rebate program has been extended through December 31. Rebate distribution will begin on July 1 for anyone who returned their completed application by June 30. After June 30, rebates will be distributed as claims are reviewed and processed by the Department of Revenue.
If you filed a paper rebate last year, you should have received a 2016 application by now. If you have not received an application, or did not apply last year and wish to apply this year, applications are available at www.revenue.pa.gov or at 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 half of Social Security income is excluded. Some applicants who previously received rebates may continue to qualify despite Social Security cost-of-living adjustments that may have pushed their income past eligibility limits.
Fresh Paint Days in Pennsylvania – Grant Applications
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is accepting applications for their Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania program. The annual program, held in partnership with Behr and The Home Depot, is designed to provide community groups with paint and painting supplies to enable them to renew a community structure in need of some attention.
Applications and more information about the program are available by clicking here or visiting http://www.keeppabeautiful.org/grants-awards/fresh-paint-days/. Applications must be submitted no later than July 17. All applications will be evaluated by a review committee with grants awarded in August. Projects must be completed during Fresh Paint Days Pennsylvania, September 1 – 30.
Below are a list of grant criteria and more information about the program.
- Available to any tax-exempt group in Pennsylvania. Private property owners or individual applicants cannot apply.
- Each application is eligible for up to 20 gallons of exterior paint provided by Behr and a gift card for painting supplies.
- Only one building per application is allowed. Applicants can submit multiple applications.
- Once receiving award notification, applicants must provide proof of liability insurance and signed permission to paint from the property owner.
- Required to submit two “before” photos of the intended project.
For more information about the grant program please contact Michelle Dunn at 1-877-772-3673, ext. 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sound the Alarm
Please join the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross as they Sound the Alarm to save lives during a free smoke alarm installation event being held in the Allentown, Beltzhoover, and Knoxville neighborhoods of the City of Pittsburgh on Saturday, Sept. 23. Volunteers are needed to help the Red Cross install 1,000 free smoke alarms in area homes.
Working in teams, volunteers go door-to-door in the community, meeting with residents, educating them on the importance of home fire safety, and installing free smoke alarms as needed. Volunteer commitment is from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Full training and lunch is provided.
Those interested in volunteering can do so by visiting www.redcross.org/wpahomefire or by contacting Jen Bailey at Jennifer.email@example.com or 412-522-9512.
Downtown Italian StrEAT Festival
Are you a fan of authentic Italian food? Lively entertainment? Meatballs and pizza? Join the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation (PDCDC) next weekend for Highmark’s Italian StrEAT Festival!
This July 8-9, Penn Avenue between 6th and 9th Streets will be lined with authentic Italian vendors from the region. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, take a walk through the festival and experience the tastes, sights, and smells of Italy! The festival will feature live shows by local Pittsburgh performers Chase and the Barons, Right TurnClyde, and Bobby V, as well as a dance workshop by Allegro Dance Company. The event will also feature cooking demonstrations by local chefs, Italian wineries, games, raffles, kids’ activities, and much more!
You won’t want to miss Emporio’s meatball eating contest which will take place on Saturday, July 8 at 12 p.m. on the festival stage. Participants will see how many meatballs they can eat in seven minutes. The winner will be awarded a $500 gift certificate to Emporio: A Meatball Joint. To sign-up, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come back on Sunday, July 9 at 2:30 p.m. to watch DeLallo’s creative pizza contest! Local pizzerias will design and build a unique pizza creation on the festival stage to be assessed by a guest judge. Don’t miss it!
Highmark’s Italian StrEAT Festival hopes to bring a vibrant summer event to downtown Pittsburgh that will not only benefit the community, but provide a place for Pittsburgh families and friends to learn more about the rich Italian and Italian American heritage that has long been a unique part of Southwestern Pennsylvania. All are welcome to join in on the fun. Admission is free!
For more information and updates you can visit www.pdcdc.org or follow the PDCDC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
With the Penguins winning their second Stanley Cup championship in as many years, and fifth in their 50-year history, most are aware that there’s always a chance the Cup will be spotted during the summer somewhere in Pittsburgh. You’ll know it when you see it, as the Stanley Cup weighs 34 ½ pounds, stands nearly three feet tall and has the names of more than 2,500 individuals who were part of past championships engraved on the Cup.
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