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 Pennsylvania 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.
Need a Ride?
I want to remind voters that both Uber and Lyft will be providing free rides to local polling places.
Today, a “Get to the Polls” button should appear on the Uber app. Users can click on it to find their local polling place and book a free ride to vote, using a promo code. Democracy Works and #VoteTogether are partnering with Uber on this initiative.
Lyft is also offering free and discounted rides to polling places today for Election Day. Vote.org and TurboVote will have codes for 50 percent off rides and Lyft will be providing free rides to voters in underserved communities, provided through partners Vote Latino, the Urban League and National Federation of the Blind.
Neighborhood Assistance Program
Act 100 of 2018 was signed into law in October which would increase the tax credit allocation for the Neighborhood Assistance Tax Credit Program (NAP) from $18 million to $36 million. The NAP program creates partnerships between businesses, government and grassroots community development organizations by allocating tax credits to corporate sponsors that invest in projects which improve distressed and underserved communities throughout Pennsylvania and neighborhood conservation. I was extremely pleased with passage of this bill since it was the House companion to my Senate Bill 512 (SB 512).
Before passage of Act 100, the NAP tax credit allocation of $18 million was the same amount as when it was created in 1971. Yet, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development receives over $50 million in requests every year, as well as matching corporate commitments of funding, but has had to reject more than half of those applicants as a result of the program’s funding cap. By doubling the cap on NAP, significantly more projects will now be funded that will directly benefit many of Pennsylvania’s struggling communities.
To be eligible for NAP funding, a project must fall under one of the following categories: affordable housing, community service, crime prevention, education, job training or neighborhood assistance. What many do not realize is that the Charitable Food Program (CFP) falls under NAP which is designed to help regional food banks or emergency food providers. The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is a great benefactor of NAP. As of June 2018, slightly more than $500,000 was awarded to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank through NAP's Charitable Food Program which resulted in food and funds donations valued at over $936,000. This made it possible for the Food Bank to provide over 1.69 million meals to our neighbors struggling with food insecurities.
I have introduced SB 512 for several years now and have been proud of the bipartisan support it has received. This program has a proven track record for communities that have struggled to grow jobs, improve their business districts and address blight. Without this important source of funding and the essential partnerships that are created under NAP, Pennsylvania’s distressed communities would have a much harder time rebuilding their communities and creating sustainable tax bases which are essential for economic revitalization and the overall quality of life.
All Senate offices will be closed on Monday, Nov. 12 in observance of Veterans Day. My offices will re-open as scheduled on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Veterans Trust Fund
The PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) is accepting applications for the 2018-19 Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF) grant cycle. Up to $800,000 in VTF grant funding will be competitively awarded for programs and services benefiting Pennsylvania veterans. Grant applications must be received by 3 p.m. EST on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.
Up to $150,000 is available to counties for new, innovative or expanded programs or services operated by county directors of veterans affairs or to the Pennsylvania Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs. Applicants in this category may request up to $20,000 per county with a priority focus on veterans’ outreach and veterans’ court programs.
Up to $650,000 is available for veterans’ service organizations with 501(c)(19) status and non-profits with 501(c)(3) status under the Internal Revenue Code that have a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans. Applicants in this category may request up to $50,000 for programs focusing on veteran homelessness, behavioral health initiatives and veterans’ courts.
Eligible applicants from either category may also submit applications for programs addressing newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.
Since the VTF’s inception in 2013, 126 grants totaling $2,932,860 have been awarded to organizations providing services to veterans in Pennsylvania. The VTF is funded by generous Pennsylvanians who voluntarily donate when applying for or renewing driver’s licenses, photo IDs, or motor vehicle registrations; purchasing Honoring Our Veterans license plates; or making private donations. State employees can also donate to the VTF during the annual State Employee Combined Appeal (SECA) campaign. Tax-deductible donations can be made online at www.donate.dmva.pa.gov or mailed to: Veterans’ Trust Fund, Bldg. 0-47, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, PA 17003-5002.
To learn more about the VTF and the grant application process, visit www.vtf.pa.gov or follow DMVA on Facebook at www.facebook.com/padmva.
Did You Know…
Did you know that Pennsylvania has the fourth largest veteran population in the country, with nearly 800,000 veterans?
Open Enrollment on HealthCare.gov
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 someone to assist you through the process, all by visiting www.healthcare.gov.
Please know that funding for open enrollment and consumer help has been reduced. Healthcare.gov will be down for maintenance for several hours nearly every Sunday during open enrollment. The website will go offline for 12 hours, from midnight until noon, every Sunday except Dec. 9, 2018.
There is great concern that the shorter enrollment period and the reduced funding for open enrollment will decrease the number of people signing up for health insurance. So please share this news with anyone you know who wishes to shop for plans on the marketplace and direct them to Healthcare.gov to sign up for health insurance for 2019.
LIHEAP is Open
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) began accepting applications for this season’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) on Nov. 1. 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.
Get Stuffed with Love
Rotary Clubs of Bethel-St. Clair and Northern Allegheny, and Holy Assumption of St. Mary Orthodox Church are partnering again this year to cook and assemble Thanksgiving meals to those in need, and Pittsburgh Police officers will deliver food on Thanksgiving Day. Over the last 15 years, this event has grown from feeding 250 people who are homeless, shut-ins, or disabled, to over 3,700 people.
Anyone in need of a Thanksgiving meal can contact their local police zone officer as listed below no later than Tuesday, Nov. 20:
Zone 1: Officer Sylvester Wright or Officer Darrick Payton, 412-323-7201
Zone 2: Officer Antoine Davis or Officer Eldridge Kimbrough, 412-255-2848
Zone 3: Officer Christine Luffey, 412-488-8425
Zone 4: Officer Victoria Butch, 412-422-6559
Zone 5: Officer Michael Gay or Officer Jeff Crawford, 412-665-3770
Zone 6: Officer Kenneth Stevwing, 412-937-3051
If you don’t need a meal but are interested in donating, please call one of the contacts listed above for more information.
It was on this day in 1860 that Abraham Lincoln, a Republican from Illinois, was elected as the 16th American President. Lincoln received only 40 percent of the popular vote but defeated the three other candidates: Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, a U.S. senator for Illinois.
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