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Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Swearing In

Senator Fontana was sworn in for his third full term in the State Senate on January 6th.  He is pictured here after the ceremony at the Capitol with his family (from left to right, rear row): daughter-in-law, Nicole; son, Matt; wife, Fran; son-in-law, Shawn; granddaughter, Gabriella; daughter, Missy; (from left to right, front row) grandson, Matthew; granddaughter, Josephine; granddaughter, Olivia; and grandson, Anthony.

Starting a New Term

Last Tuesday, January 6th, I was proud to be joined at the Capitol by my family and friends as I took the oath of office to start another term in the State Senate.  I am extremely grateful for the support given to me by my constituents in the 42nd Senatorial District and the faith and confidence you have bestowed in me to continue representing you.  Also, I am looking forward to serving as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus where it will be my responsibility to set the daily caucus agenda and lead the discussion on bills that are under consideration on the Senate floor.  I am also excited to serve as the Democratic Chair of the Urban Affairs and Housing Committee.

Swearing InThe voters in November were very clear – they are tired of political gamesmanship and want bipartisan solutions to our state’s most pressing problems.  Even though the outgoing administration saddled us with a daunting budget deficit, I am confident our new governor can help us find common ground and craft the best possible solutions to our most serious problems.

While our region as a whole has made significant progress over the past decade, there are still some glaring issues that need to be addressed.  One of the biggest issues is the lopsided tax burden that property owners continue to face.  I have again authored legislation that would require large non-profits to pay their fair share of the local burden that currently sits square on the backs of individual homeowners. 

The start of a new legislative session, with a new governor, hopefully allows us to have a genuine and serious conversation about the issue of tax fairness along with other important issues.  I will continue advocating for investments in economic development, investments that help put people to work, and help rebuild struggling neighborhoods, as well as equipping job seekers with the training they need to succeed in today’s economy.  Improving tax fairness should also allow us to properly and more adequately fund our schools.

I am proud that legislation I championed for several years finally became law this year.  Senate Bill 31 was signed into law as Act 44 of 2014 in May.  This legislation does away with the separate reporting requirement for schools and mandates that suspected child abuse be reported directly to the Department of Public Welfare’s Childline (1-800-932-0313) or the police within 24 hours for investigation.  The legislation also removed the different reporting requirements for school employees and puts them on the same level as other mandated reporters. 

This bill was the result of a phone call I received from a distraught mother in 2005 who said her son had been transported from school to an emergency room.  The child had bleeding brush burns, choke marks around his neck and broken blood vessels in his face — all caused by a teacher.  At that time, even though the mother, emergency room doctor and social worker all tried reporting the incident to Childline, they were told that the law prevented investigation because the injuries were not deemed serious enough.

I highlight this example and its origin to point out how important it is for me to hear from constituents.  In this case, I was able to get legislation passed to prevent this from happening again and to better protect our children, but it all started with a phone call from a constituent.  I encourage all my constituents to stay in touch and keep informed and to contact me to discuss legislative issues and express opinions and suggestions on matters before the General Assembly by either contacting my office or emailing me directly at  After all, I represent you and it’s important for me to know what my constituents think about issues that may come up for a vote.

My News & Views will continue to be distributed on a weekly basis and my Special Edition JOBS on a monthly basis.  Anyone wishing to receive these editions can sign up on my website at  I also can be followed on Twitter at

It is important to know that I and my staff are always available to assist you.  Since first elected in 2005, we have always ensured that any constituent who comes to us has his or her problem solved and if we can’t solve the problem directly, we are able to at least provide direction and/or information to get a solution.  Thank you again for the confidence you have placed in me and I look forward to continuing to serve you!

Offices Closed

All Senate offices will be closed on Monday, January 19th in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  My offices will re-open on Tuesday, January 20th as scheduled.

Honoring Dr. King

MLKOn the third Monday in January each year our nation pauses to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., providing an opportunity for all of us to reflect on his legacy as one of our nation’s great leaders.  Dr. King dedicated his life campaigning for racial justice and equality, also serving as an advocate for the poor.  By using the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance, Dr. King led a movement that brought profound changes in our attitudes toward one another and provided hope and inspiration to millions while helping to bridge the cultural divide. 

While a chance to reflect on the legacy of Dr. King, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday is also recognized as a National Day of Service.  On this day, people from communities all across America have the chance to come together, and work together on projects, and/or to solve problems.  Please visit to learn more about this National Day of Service.  If you are interested in finding and joining a project near you or are interested in organizing a project in your neighborhood, just enter your zip code to get started.

Reminder – LIHEAP is Open

LIHEAP LIHEAP With the weather turning colder and a recent survey by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) showing over 23,000 households in Pennsylvania have no heat related service, I want to remind everyone that the Department of Human Services (DHS) is accepting applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  The program helps low income families pay their heating bills.  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 one of the Allegheny County Assistance Offices.

Funding for LIHEAP is provided by the federal government and eligibility is based on Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.  The income limits for this season are as follows:

Household Size

Income Limit





















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 dealer and are credited to your account.  For more information, please contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095.

Prepare for Winter Weather

As the weather turns frigid, please be careful and understand the dangers associated with dropping temperatures.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health has put together a document to help all Pennsylvanians prepare for winter weather.  It includes how to monitor body temperature, warning signs for hypothermia and frostbite, how to dress warmly, and much more.  Please take a moment to review the winter weather safety document by clicking here.

Did You Know…

Did you know hypothermia is when the body's temperature dips below 95 degrees Fahrenheit?  Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and obvious exhaustion.


PHEAA PHEAA As the Vice-Chair of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), I want to encourage high school seniors and their families to prepare to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as possible.  The FAFSA is the federal form that all students must submit to determine eligibility for most forms of need-based financial assistance including the Pennsylvania State Grant, Federal Pell Grant, work-study programs, PA Targeted Industry Program (PA-TIP), various scholarships, some school-based aid, and federal student loans.  The only way to find out if you qualify for awards is to complete and submit the FAFSA.  Students who are eligible for awards can reduce their family’s out-of-pocket expenses and make the cost of higher education more manageable.

Now is the time to get a jump on the application process by preparing, before sitting down to complete the FAFSA application.  As of January 1st, students and families have been able to complete the FAFSA online at  The following information is needed when beginning the application process:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Student’s driver’s license
  • Alien registration number, if not a U.S. citizen
  • W-2 forms
  • Records of untaxed income received, including workers’ compensation, child support, payments to tax-deferred pension and savings plans, etc.
  • Federal income tax return (1040, 1040A, 1040EZ)
  • Current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds, and other investments

The FAFSA can be submitted beginning January 1st and it is better to complete and submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after that date as schools’ financial aid deadlines vary.  Once again in 2015, PHEAA will host FAFSA Completion Sessions across the commonwealth where PHEAA, in partnership with PASFAA (Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators), provides free assistance to families needing assistance in completing the FAFSA.  You can click here to view a listing of scheduled FAFSA Completion Sessions.  PHEAA will continue to update this listing as more sessions are scheduled in the coming weeks.

Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment

healthcareOpen enrollment on the federal health insurance marketplace,, concludes on February 15th.  When applying or renewing your coverage in the health insurance marketplace, you will need to provide some information about you and your household, including income and any insurance coverage you currently have.

Like last year, anyone seeking coverage and needing assistance with enrolling can enter their address or zip code at and view a listing of organizations with individuals who have been trained to assist customers.  The listing will include all organizations located in proximity to your home that can assist. Also listed will be their hours of operation and contact information. One change from last year is anyone seeking coverage can now view 2015 marketplace plans and prices prior to applying.  You may also sign up to receive text message alerts and updates about the marketplace on the website.  To begin looking for coverage on the marketplace, you can visit or call 1-800-318-2596.  If you or someone you know needs assistance and does not have a computer, my staff will be happy to assist in locating an organization nearby that can offer guidance in the enrollment process.

Citizen’s Police Academy

Pitt PoliceThe City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police sponsors an opportunity for members of the community to become closely acquainted with the roles and responsibilities of the Police Bureau.  The Pittsburgh Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) brings the police and community close together in a setting that offers a sample of police training to each participant.

The CPA session will begin on February 10th at the Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy, located at 107 Thackeray Street in Oakland.  The program will be held each Tuesday, from 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. for 15 weeks.  Participants experience some of the highlights of police training and are exposed to the operations of the Police Bureau.  Highlights include:  teaching of the basics of criminal law; search and seizure; patrol tactics; firearms; processing of a crime scene; how police canines are used; and learning about many of the specialty police units.  Instructors are law enforcement professionals who teach both veteran and recruit police officers. 

Class size is limited to 30 participants.  All interested persons must complete an application and give permission for the Police Bureau to conduct a background check.  The CPA application can be found by clicking here.  All applications must be received by February 3rd. 

For more information on the City of Pittsburgh Citizen’s Police Academy, please contact Sergeant Eric Kroll at:

Pittsburgh Police Training Academy
1395 Washington Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA  15206

Children's Museum of Pittsburgh Children's Museum of Pittsburgh Fontana Fact

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh enjoyed its second-busiest year in its 30-year history in 2014 with 250,000 visitors.  The Museum first opened in 1983 and occupied 5,000 square feet in the old Allegheny City post office building.  Today, the Museum is over 80,000 square feet.

Offices of State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

  Brookline District
932 Brookline Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15226
Phone: 412-344-2551
Fax: 412-344-3400
543 Main Capitol
Box 203042
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-787-5300
Fax: 717-772-5484
Kennedy Township
Kenmawr Plz.
524 Pine Hollow Rd
Kennedy Twp, PA 15136
Phone: 412-331-1208
Fax: 412-331-2079
Beechview Satellite
1660 Broadway Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Phone: 412-343-2080
Fax: 412-343-2418
Pittsburgh Police