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Senator Wayne D. Fontana
Senator Fontana

Senator Fontana spoke at a May 7 press conference to announce his intent to introduce legislation in response to recommendations that were made from a Joint State Government Commission, the Advisory Committee and Task Force on Lead Exposure.

Passage of an Important Lead Examination Task Force

Senate Resolution 33 (SR 33) of 2017 called for the Pennsylvania Senate to establish a bipartisan task force on lead that was charged with investigating the scope of the commonwealth’s lead-exposure problem, particularly as it relates to lead in drinking water.  This was a response to the Flint, Michigan events that took place in late 2016 in which the residents there had been exposed to dangerously high levels of lead through their drinking water system.  With the Centers for Disease Control stating there is no safe level of lead in the blood stream, many Pennsylvanians and officials became increasingly concerned about our own residents’ well being given our state’s aging home inventory and the fact that 71 percent of the commonwealth’s housing and infrastructure was constructed prior to the federal lead paint ban. 

Senator Fontana Discusses Lead Advisory Task Force Recommendations
Senator Fontana Discusses Lead Advisory Task Force Recommendations

Specifically, SR 33 required the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a comprehensive review and analysis of Pennsylvania’s laws, regulations, and policies concerning lead exposure, testing, abatement and remediation.  The review also included an assessment of the age of housing and infrastructure, lead exposure threats, and the prevalence of lead in structures in which children spend significant time.  The committee was made up of government officials, medical professionals, and representatives of water company municipal health departments, school districts, housing authorities, persons certified to remediate lead and parents and advocates. 

As a member of the task force, I am pleased to announce that the investigation and review has concluded.  Unfortunately, research for this report has confirmed that every county in Pennsylvania has homes, schools, daycares or drinking water systems that contain risks of lead exposure and for that reason the Pennsylvania Department of Health has declared that the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is “at risk” for lead exposure.  For that reason, a bi-partisan group of senators, who were involved in the Senate Task Force on Lead Exposure, will be introducing a series of bills. 

I will be introducing a bill that would establish a statewide rental housing registry of certified lead-free homes. Other bills being introduced will:

  • Require universal blood screening for children (Sens. Yudichak and Baker)
  • Mandate lead inspections/certifications of child-care facilities and facilities with vulnerable populations (Sen. Schwank)
  • Require all school drinking water systems to be inspected and certified (Sen. Yaw)
  • Consumer education that clarifies the state’s lead plumbing ban (Sen. Stefano)

Some of the other recommendations include by the Advisory Committee that the Senate will be exploring in the coming months are as follows:

  • Establish a lead abatement grant program to assist property owners in conducting lead abatement
  • Establish an interagency council to coordinate implementation of lead prevention programs and policies among the relevant state agencies
  • Permit municipal authorities operating public drinking water systems to replace lateral lead service lines
  • Require lead service line replacements and restrict partial lead water service line replacements
  • Adopt the Uniform Property Maintenance Code
  • Provide guidance on private well construction

I was pleased to be a part of this important task force and appreciate all the time and efforts that were put into getting to the bottom of this dangerous issue by my colleagues, fellow members of the Advisory Committee and the staff of the Joint State Government.  We worked in a cooperative and productive manner which makes me confident in the final product.  The legislation that has been introduced reflects many of the key issues that I feel the General Assembly can help rectify essentially protecting the health, safety and welfare of our residents. 

Did You Know…

Did you know that out of all 50 states, Pennsylvania has the 6th highest percentage of housing units constructed prior to the federal lead paint ban? 

Election DayOffices Closed

All Senate offices will be closed next Tuesday, May 21 for Election Day.  My offices will re-open as scheduled on Wednesday, May 22.

Senator Fontana presented a Senate Citation to the Avon Club in Ben Avon in recognition of their 75th anniversary on Saturday.

Senator Fontana presented a Senate Citation to the Avon Club in Ben Avon in recognition of their 75th anniversary on Saturday. Avon Club is a social and community service organization with membership open to women who live or work in the Avonworth School District.  The Club was founded in 1944 by women whose husbands were serving in World War II.

Election Day Information

Vote PA Next Tuesday, May 21 is Election Day!  For any questions related to voting, I encourage everyone to visit www.votespa.com.  The website offers information on voting rights, answers to frequently asked questions, and provides you with the ability to confirm your registration and much more.

Absentee Ballots

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the Primary Election is today.  All completed absentee ballot applications must be received by the Allegheny County Division of Elections Office no later than 5 p.m.  The Elections Office is located in the County Office Building at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Ross Street in downtown Pittsburgh:

542 Forbes Avenue, Room 601
Pittsburgh, PA  15219

When applying in person, as long as you are properly registered, you will be given an absentee ballot on the spot and you will be able to cast your vote right then and there.

If you have already applied for and received your absentee ballot, please know all voted absentee ballots must be received in the Elections Office no later than 5 p.m. this Friday in order to be counted.  If you have any questions or need any additional information, please visit the Absentee Ballot page at www.alleghenycounty.us or call 412-350-4520.

Locate Your Polling Place

If you are not sure where to vote on Election Day, or wish to confirm your polling place, Allegheny County and the Pennsylvania Department of State offers a simple-to-use online Polling Place locator. Click on the previous link to get started.  Simply enter your county, municipality, house number and street name.  Once you have entered that information, your polling place address will be displayed. 

If you feel your information is inaccurate in any way or have any further questions regarding your polling place or ballot, please call 412-350-4500.

Polling Place Changes

There are 27 polling place locations in Allegheny County that have changed since the November 2018 General Election.  Voters affected will be notified by letter from the Elections Division and notices will be posted at the old polling locations on Election Day to redirect voters to the new locations.

The following are locations in the 42nd Senatorial District that have changed:

Municipality Ward District New Location
Carnegie 2 3 Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall
300 Beechwood Avenue, Carnegie, PA 15106
Carnegie 2 4 Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall
300 Beechwood Avenue, Carnegie, PA 15106
Pittsburgh 26 12 Perry Traditional Academy Annex
3875 Perrysville Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15214
Pittsburgh 26 13 Perry Traditional Academy Annex
3875 Perrysville Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15214
Pittsburgh 26 15 Perry Traditional Academy Annex
3875 Perrysville Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15214
Pittsburgh 30 1 Knoxville Middle School, Georgia Avenue  
324 Charles Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15210
Pittsburgh 30 4 Maranatha Cristo Viene Church
185 Knox Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15210

How to Register Election Day Complaints

Any registered voter who wishes to file a complaint about alleged election law violations can do so online 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 in the county in which the voter making the complaint resides.

In Allegheny County, written statements of complaint are available at all polling places and the County Board of Elections.  You may also call 1-877-VOTES-PA (1-877-868-3772) to obtain a complaint statement or visit www.votespa.com.

Upcoming Real ID Information Session

Real IDI will be hosting another Real ID Information Session with Rep. Adam Ravenstahl and Avalon Borough on Tuesday, May 28 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. I encourage anyone looking to learn more about REAL ID to attend the session which is being held at the Avalon Borough Building, located at 640 California Avenue.

Representatives from PennDOT, Department of Vital Records, Department of Health and Allegheny County Courts will be on hand to answer questions about how to get a Real ID.

As I wrote in the March 5 edition of my News & Views, REAL IDs are now available. If you have questions about how to obtain a REAL ID I hope to see you on May 28.

Zone 6 Public Safety Council Meeting

The Zone 6 Public Safety Council is hosting their May meeting on Monday, May 20 at the Emanuel United Methodist Church, located at 825 Lorenz Street in Elliot, beginning at 6:30. Residents are invited to meet and talk with neighbors and police about public safety. This month’s meeting will feature presentations by the PA Child Advocacy Center and Allegheny County Police on the crime of child abuse. For more information on the Zone 6 Public Safety Council please visit https://mhowe0422.github.io/.

Volunteers Needed

AGHAllegheny General Hospital is seeking volunteers for their 2019 summer program. The program is designed to accommodate the schedules and abilities of all ages and backgrounds. A 50-hour commitment over a 3-month period is required, compliance with their orientation, and a willingness to help others. Volunteers receive free parking and a complimentary meal voucher each time they volunteer. AGH volunteer opportunities range from clinical to clerical. Their Emergency Department LINKs program is designed to enhance the patient experience by interactive volunteer rounding, their MyChart program provides volunteers the opportunity to work with the latest technology, and so much more!

Anyone interested in learning more please visit https://www.ahn.org/volunteer-application.

Fontana Fact

May is National Strawberry MonthMay is National Strawberry Month. In 2017, the United States produced 1.6 billion pounds of strawberries, valued at nearly $3.5 billion. The United States harvested strawberries from 52,700 acres located in 10 states. While the majority of strawberries are harvested in California and Florida, Pennsylvania is among the other eight states that harvest strawberries.

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Brookline District
1039 Brookline Boulevard
Suite 2
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Weekdays – 9 am – 5 pm
Harrisburg
543 Main Capitol | Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Weekdays – 8:30 am – 5 pm
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plaza
524 Pine Hollow Road
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Weekdays – 10 am – 4 pm
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – First Tuesday of each month or by appointment