Senator Fontana was honored to present officials in Bellevue Borough with a Senate citation in honor of the borough’s 150th anniversary which they celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 9. Also pictured are (left to right): Rep. Adam Ravenstahl; Avalon Mayor Brigitte Jackson; Senator Fontana; Bellevue Mayor Paul Cusick; Bellevue Council President Lynn Tennant Heffley; and Allegheny County Councilwoman Denise Ranalli Russell.
A New Law for First-Time DUI Offenders
First-time offenders that are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.10 or higher are now required to use an ignition interlock system thanks to passage of Act 33 of 2016. An ignition interlock device is a Breathalyzer that is hooked up to a vehicle’s ignition system and prevents the vehicle from starting if the device detects alcohol. Pennsylvania now joins 48 other states with the passage of this act.
The new law also creates an Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL) which will allow these individuals to continue to drive to work, pick up their children from school or participate in family activities while at the same time ensuring that they do not repeat the mistake of a DUI. An applicant must file a petition with PennDOT, accompanied by a $65 fee, and provide proof that each vehicle owned or to be operated by the individual is equipped with an ignition interlock.
To get an ignition interlock device installed, maintained and removed can run a driver between $900 to $1,300 and must be installed by a PennDOT-approved mechanic. The device would be installed for at least 12 months.
Before passage of Act 33, anyone who committed a second or subsequent DUI offense within a period of ten years or refused chemical testing was mandated to install an ignition interlock in their vehicle for one year after the restoration of operating privilege. The new law is extended to those who refused a blood test. It allows them to now apply for an IILL once they have served one-half of the required suspension of their operating privileges.
According to PennDOT, in 2016 there were 10,256 alcohol related crashes that resulted in 297 deaths in Pennsylvania. Between 2003 and 2015, more than 78,000 alcohol-related driving attempts were stopped in the commonwealth thanks to ignition interlock systems. With Act 33 going into effect, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has estimated that 5,000 more interlocks will be installed next year.
Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic
I will be hosting my annual Flu/Pneumonia Shot & Senior Clinic on Thursday, September 28 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. Light refreshments will be served.
Attendees can visit with Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy at their “Ask the Pharmacist” table and have questions answered on medications and receive blood pressure screenings. Representatives from PA APPRISE will also be on hand to counsel visitors about Medicare options.
The following organizations will also be present to provide seniors with important information on available resources, services and much more: ACCESS; Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Area Agency on Aging; Allegheny County Bar Association; Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; OASIS; the Office of the Consumer Advocate; PA Attorney General’s Office; and the PA Public Utility Commission.
Pathways to Pardons
On Wednesday, Oct. 4 from 6 – 8 p.m., along with Lt. Governor Mike Stack, I will be hosting a Pathways to Pardons town hall event at the Teamsters Temple Local 249, located at 4701 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
This event is geared towards individuals who want to learn in more detail about our commonwealth’s pardoning process. Many individuals have made bad decisions in the past and have a misdemeanor or felony conviction on their record but have served their punishments, rehabilitated themselves, and as contributing members to their communities and society, are seeking a pardon. The Pathways to Pardons event will allow these individuals wishing to learn about pardons to engage with experts in attendance on the pardon process and what to expect as they seek a pardon.
I will provide more details on the event as they become available. In the meantime, if you are interested in the process, please click here to watch a short video that briefly explains the Pennsylvania Pardoning Process.
Did You Know…
Did you know that 70 percent of those who apply for a pardon have had a drug or alcohol addiction in the past?
Green Light Go
Last week the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) opened the Green Light Go grant program. This program provides state funding for the operation and maintenance of traffic signals along critical and designated corridors on state highways. Municipalities, counties and planning organizations are all eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted through November 9 and the local government match has been reduced from 50 percent to 20 percent.
Eligible projects for the Green Light Go program include:
- Study and Removal of Unwarranted Traffic Signals
- Traffic Signal Retiming
- Development of Detour, Special Event and Operations Plans
- LED Replacement
- Asset Management
- Traffic Signal Operations (Real-Time Monitoring)
- Traffic Signal Maintenance
- Innovative Technologies
- Connections back to Traffic Management Center
- Detection Upgrades
- Controller Upgrades
- Modernization Upgrades
- ITS Applications
- Other Traffic Signal Improvements
For more information on the program, please click here or visit www.penndot.gov.
DEP Small Business Grants
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has opened its Small Business Advantage Grant program to eligible Pennsylvania small businesses. The program provides 50 percent matching grants, up to a maximum of $9,500, to enable small businesses to purchase energy efficient or pollution prevention equipment or adopt waste reduction processes.
Pennsylvania-based businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees are eligible. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and must save the small business a minimum of $500 and at least 25 percent annually in energy consumption or pollution prevention related expenses.
An overview of the program, eligibility requirements, application instructions, and a link to the online application are available by clicking here.
The program is open through June 30, 2018 or until funds are exhausted.
ALOCSAN Open House
The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) is hosting its award-winning Open House this Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at their wastewater treatment plant on the Northside. ALCOSAN’s Open House is the region’s largest watershed and environmental festival and is celebrating its 15th year this year. More than 40 exhibitors will be present, offering hands-on activities, displays and games for children and adults.
Last year, a record crowd of more than 2,300 people attended. A tour of the plant, where as much as 250 million gallons of wastewater is cleaned every day, is always a crowd favorite, so guests should register for a tour time as soon as they go through registration at the event. Visitors can save time by registering for admission in advance at www.alcosan.org, but the only way to get tour tickets is to pick them up on the day of the Open House.
Other highlights include seeing ALCOSAN’s state-of-the-art laboratory, getting up close with creatures that live in the watershed and taking a look at a 2,200-gallon tank filled with fish that will be pulled from the Ohio River on the morning of the event. Walk through a simulated sewer, learn to prepare for an emergency, find out how to connect household downspouts to rain barrels, and much more.
Admission and parking are free and a free shuttle will be provided from the Northside T stations. Free lunch is also provided. More information on ALCOSAN’s Open House can be found at www.alcosan.org.
Riverview Park in the Perry North neighborhood on the City of Pittsburgh’s Northside was created in 1894, 13 years before the City of Allegheny was annexed to the City of Pittsburgh. The 259-acre park was formed largely from farmland and today is known for its dense woodlands and steep topography.
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